Caribbean disturbance slow to develop; 5 EF-5 tornadoes this year confirmed

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:33 PM GMT on June 03, 2011

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The tropical disturbance (Invest 93L) that crossed over Florida on Wednesday, bringing welcome rains of 1 - 3 inches, is now a naked swirl of low clouds over the central Gulf of Mexico. The disturbance is embedded in a large area of dry air associated with an upper level low pressure system, and this dry air is discouraging development. 93L is also moving into a region of moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, and NHC is giving 93L a 0% chance of developing into a tropical depression before the storm makes landfall in Mexico south of Brownsville on Saturday. There are a few heavy thunderstorms trying to fire up near the center of 93L's fairly well-formed circulation, but I don't think this storm is going to bring more than 1 - 2 inches of rain to the coast on Saturday.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the Central Caribbean disturbance.

Central Caribbean disturbance 94L
Disorganized heavy thunderstorm activity continues in the region between Central America and Jamaica. Wind shear has fallen to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, and is predicted to continue to fall over the next two days. This should allow the disturbance, dubbed Invest 94L by NHC on Friday afternoon, to increase in organization, though it will take many days for it to approach tropical depression status, since it is so large and poorly organized. The last two runs of the NOGAPS model have developed the disturbance into a tropical depression or storm by early next week, with the system moving northwards into Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and eastern Cuba. The other major models do not show the disturbance developing during the coming week. NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. A surge of moisture accompanying a tropical wave may aid development when the wave arrives in the Western Caribbean on Sunday. Water temperatures in the Central Caribbean are about 1°C above average, 29°C, which is plenty warm enough to support development of a tropical storm. Residents of Jamaica, eastern Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic should anticipate the possibility that heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches may affect them today through Sunday.

Five EF-5 tornadoes confirmed in 2011
The National Weather Service in Oklahoma City announced Wednesday that the violent tornado that hit Binger, El Reno, Peidmont, and Guthrie, Oklahoma on May 24, killing nine people, was an EF-5 with winds greater than 210 mph. The rating was given based on measurements made by a University of Oklahoma portable "Doppler on wheels" radar. The long track, large wedge tornado caused extensive damage, with well built houses cleanly swept from their foundation and trees debarked. This tornado brings the total number of EF-5 tornadoes this year to five, tying 2011 with 1953 for 2nd place for greatest number of these top-end tornadoes in one year. Only 1974 (six) had more. The EF-5 tornadoes of 2011:

1) The April 27, 2011 Neshoba/Kemper/Winston/Noxubee Counties, Mississippi tornado (3 killed, 29 mile path length.)

2) The April 27, 2011 Smithville, Mississippi tornado (22 killed, 15 mile path length.)

3) The April 27, 2011 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado (71 killed, 25 mile path length.)

4) The May 22, 2011 Joplin Missouri tornado (138 killed, 14 mile path length.)

5) The May 24, 2011 Binger-El Reno-Peidmont-Guthrie, Oklahoma tornado. (9 killed, 75 mile path length.)


Figure 2. Aerial view of damage from the May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Image credit: Wikipedia.

A few other remarkable statistics on the tornado season of 2011, compiled from NOAA's official press release and Wikipedia's excellent tornado pages:

- The April 25 - 28 tornado outbreak, with 330 tornadoes, was the largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record. The previous record was 148 tornadoes, set during the April 3 - 4, 1974 Super Outbreak.

- For April 27, 186 tornadoes have been confirmed. This is the largest 1-day tornado total on record, beating the 148 recorded in 24 hours on April 3 - 4, 1974.

- The April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak, with 162 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the fourth largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record.

- The May 21 - 26 tornado outbreak, with 158 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the 5th largest 6-day or shorter tornado outbreak on record. A May 2003 6-day outbreak had 289 tornadoes, and a May 2004 6-day outbreak had 229 tornadoes. The year 2011 now has three of the top five tornado outbreaks on record.

- April confirmed tornado total was 683, making it the busiest tornado month on record. The previous record was 542 tornadoes, set in May 2003. The previous April record was 267 tornadoes, which occurred in April 1974. The 30-year average for April tornadoes is 135.

- If the three deaths in Massachusetts from Wednesday's tornadoes are confirmed, this year's tornado death toll will be 522, beating 1953 as the deadliest tornado year since modern tornado records began. That year, 519 people died, and three heavily populated cities received direct hits by violent tornadoes. Waco, Texas (114 killed), Flint, Michigan (115 killed), and Worcester, Massachusetts (90 killed) all were hit by violent F-4 or F-5 tornadoes. A similar bad tornado year occurred in 1936, when violent tornadoes hit Tupelo Mississippi (216 killed), and Gainesville, Georgia (203 killed.) During that time period, the tornado death rate per million people was 60 - 70 times as great as in the year 2000 (Figure 4), implying that this year's tornadoes would have killed many thousands of people had we not had our modern tornado modern warning system.

- The May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado killed 138 people and injured 1150, making it the deadliest U.S. tornado since 1947, and 8th deadliest in history. The $1 - $3 billion estimate of insured damage makes it the most expensive tornado in history.

- Damage from the April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak was estimated at $3.5 - $6 billion, making it the most expensive tornado outbreak of all-time.

- The tornado that hit Springfield, Massachusetts on June 1 was at least an EF-3 with 136 - 165 mph winds. It was only the 9th EF-3 or stronger tornado to hit Massachusetts since 1950, and the third deadliest, with three deaths.

- The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965 for highest number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4, and EF-5 tornadoes (Figure 3.)


Figure 3. Number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes from 1950 to 2011. The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965. There is not a decades-long increasing trend in the numbers of these most dangerous of tornadoes. Image credit: NOAA/National Climatic Data Center (updated using stats for 2008 - 2011 from Wikipedia.)


Figure 4. Death rate per million people per year in U.S., 1875-2000. Thin line with dots is raw rate, curved thick line is death rate, filtered by 3-point median and 5-point running mean filter, and straight solid lines are least squares fit to filtered death rate for 1875-1925 and 1925-2000. Dashed lines are estimates of 10th and 90th percentile death rates from 1925-2000. The death rate fell from 8 per million to .12 per million between 1940 and 2000. Image credit: A Brief History of Deaths from Tornadoes in the United States, Harold Brooks and Charles Doswell III.

Joplin tornado the 7th U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011
The Joplin tornado is the 7th U.S. weather disaster of 2011 costing more than a billion dollars. With a major flooding disaster coming on the Missouri River, and hurricane season still to come, 2011 has an excellent chance of beating 2008's record of nine billion-dollar weather disasters. The billion dollar weather disasters of 2011 so far:

1) 2011 Groundhog Day's blizzard ($1- $4 billion)
2) April 3 -5 Southeast U.S. severe weather outbreak ($2 billion)
3) April 8 - 11 severe weather outbreak ($2.25 billion)
4) April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak ($3.5 - $6 billion)
5) Mississippi River flood of 2011 ($9 billion)
6) Texas drought ($1.2 billion)
7) Joplin tornado ($1 - $3 billion)


Figure 5. River flood outlook for the U.S. Image credit: NOAA.

The next U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster: a Missouri River flood?
A great 100-year flood has arrived along the Missouri River and its tributaries from Montana to Nebraska. Record spring rains, combined with snow melt from record or near-record winter and spring snows, brought the Missouri River at Williston, North Dakota to 27.9' yesterday, just an inch short of the highest crest on record (28.0' on 4/01/1912.) Tributaries to the Missouri, such as the Souris River in North Dakota and the North Platte River in Nebraska, are already flooding at all-time record heights. With warm summer temperatures and additional rainfall expected over much of the area during the coming week, snow melt and rain runoff will swell area rivers even further, creating a damaging 100-year flood. Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt has the details in his latest post, and I will be writing more on this latest epic flood next week.

I'll have a new post on Monday, or earlier if the Caribbean disturbance shows significant development.

Jeff Masters

Joplin Tornado Damage (thebige)
Joplin Tornado Damage
And Bigger.... (weatherfanatic2010)
Here it is turning into a monster.
And Bigger....

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Quoting Hurricanes12:
94L will be checked out by an aircraft today, correct?


000
NOUS42 KNHC 032045 AMD
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0445 PM EDT FRI 03 JUNE 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 04/1100Z TO 05/1100Z JUNE 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-003 AMENDMENT

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (CARIBBEAN)..........ADDED:
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70
A. 04/2000Z
B. AFXXX 01AAA INVEST
C. 04/1630Z
D. 16.0N 78.0W
E. 04/2000Z TO 04/2315Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
G. RESOURCES PERMITTING

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK............CHANGED:
BEGIN 12-HRLY FIXES AT 05/1800Z IF SYSTEM DEVELOPS.
3. REMARK: INVEST FOR 03/1800Z CANCELED AT 03/1130Z.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
SEF
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:


The first mission had been set for tomorrow yesterday (if that makes sense...). Not sure if that's been changed.
NOUS42 KNHC 032045 AMD
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
0445 PM EDT FRI 03 JUNE 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 04/1100Z TO 05/1100Z JUNE 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-003 AMENDMENT

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (CARIBBEAN)..........ADDED:
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70
A. 04/2000Z
B. AFXXX 01AAA INVEST
C. 04/1630Z
D. 16.0N 78.0W
E. 04/2000Z TO 04/2315Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
G. RESOURCES PERMITTING

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK............CHANGED:
BEGIN 12-HRLY FIXES AT 05/1800Z IF SYSTEM DEVELOPS.
3. REMARK: INVEST FOR 03/1800Z CANCELED AT 03/1130Z
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Current Significant Tropical Weather Advisories:

ABPW10 (Western/South Pacific Ocean)
- ABPW10 Text
- Satellite Image

ABIO10 (Indian Ocean)
- ABIO10 Text
- Satellite Image
Nothing in the Central/Eastern Pacific or North Atlantic.


This was posted just down the page, but I'll post again.

Link
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
It is scheduled to as long as it does not get cancelled.

Quoting NICycloneChaser:


The first mission had been set for tomorrow yesterday (if that makes sense...). Not sure if that's been changed.


Yeah, I'm guessing it's later today. Thanks.
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This tropical wave is a lot more disorganized than satellite pictures suggest. The center is not under the blow up of clouds. The ASCAT view shows the center to be far from the tall cloud tops. I think the GFS is correct: Storm won't develop.

If the blowup of clouds manages to replenish itself for three days, I will reconsider my support for the GFS. As things stand now, there's lots of wish casting going around here. I must admit, however, I did not expect the storm to replenish itself and produce that big blob of clouds this morning. I want to feel more excited for the wave but other than it being a significant show of what's to come in the hurricane season, it's not much to be excited about. It is, for sure, a strong tropical wave.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

I just check and refreshed the pages... no TCFA for 94L


I'm probally looking in the wrong place...

No Active Tropical Warnings in the Atlantic, Caribbean, or Gulf of Mexico

By Maritime.CDO@navy.mil (FWC-N CDO) from Fleet Weather Center Norfolk Virginia. Published on Sat, Jun 04, 2011.
As of Sat, 04 Jun 2011 12:15:02 GMT
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Yup - 94L has a TCFA. First one of the year.

Current Significant Tropical Weather Advisories:

ABPW10 (Western/South Pacific Ocean)
- ABPW10 Text
- Satellite Image

ABIO10 (Indian Ocean)
- ABIO10 Text
- Satellite Image
Nothing in the Central/Eastern Pacific or North Atlantic.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15938
Quoting Hurricanes12:
94L will be checked out by an aircraft today, correct?


The first mission had been set for tomorrow yesterday (if that makes sense...). Not sure if that's been changed.
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Quoting Hurricanes12:
94L will be checked out by an aircraft today, correct?
It is scheduled to as long as it does not get cancelled.
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A TCFA is surely issued. The navy usually issue them in tandem with the NHC warning their ships.


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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:


Wow, pretty good circulation there. This thing has really got going in the last 24 hours.
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94L will be checked out by an aircraft today, correct?
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Quoting Hurrykane:


TCFA CHECKLIST:
Link


Thank you.
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Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15938
these lines are starting to spread out meaning the upper level anticyclone is growing

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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Yup - 94L has a TCFA. First one of the year.


What exactly does a TCFA mean in terms of when a system is going to develop? Does it just mean there's a reasonable chance of development in the next few days?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Yup - 94L has a TCFA. First one of the year.

I just check and refreshed the pages... no TCFA for 94L
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15938
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
If you look at the bottom of the image it says times are in GMT which is the same as UTC or the same as the difference in time between us and the UK. They are 5 hours later than us so if it was at 2:05 GMT on 4/6/11 it would be the same as 10:05 EST on 3/6/11.
Quoting stormpetrol:


2:05 am June 4, this am about 5-6 hours ago! I posted it earlier just after it came out
No SP, it is 10:05 our time last night. :)
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so, either it's not stationary anymore or the mid-level vortex is migrating over to the surface low.
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1552. IKE

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Yup - 94L has a TCFA. First one of the year.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Looks like the surface low is on the western edge of the convection @ 16N 76.7W. Appears to be heading wnw right now.




Actually, the surface low is further west along 16N @ 78W
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:
Models seem to be in two distinct groups in terms of formation now, NOGAPS, CMC and HWRF develop it, strong TSs for NOGAPS and HWRF and a hurricane (suprise suprise) for the CMC. ECMWF, GFS and GFDL just keep a broad low pressure area.


Yeah, models have been very inconsistent with this system.
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Models seem to be in two distinct groups in terms of formation now, NOGAPS, CMC and HWRF develop it, strong TSs for NOGAPS and HWRF and a hurricane (suprise suprise) for the CMC. ECMWF, GFS and GFDL just keep a broad low pressure area.
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Quoting emcf30:

Do you by any chance know how old a ASCAT image is from when they time stamp it?


2:05 am June 4, this am about 5-6 hours ago! I posted it earlier just after it came out
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Looks like the surface low is on the western edge of the convection @ 16N 76.7W. Appears to be heading wnw right now.

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1544. emcf30
This is interesting.

US: Flaws in death toll report on Haiti quake

By TRENTON DANIEL, Associated Press – Fri Jun 3, 10:35 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Flaws have been found in a controversial U.S. report estimating the death toll from Haiti's earthquake last year was far lower than previously thought, a U.S. official said Friday.

Entire Article
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Lets compare these 2 systems. 92W and 94L.

92W


94L


Similar??
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15938
Quoting Gearsts:
That means?


TCFA stands for Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert. If there's a system that's gathered enough points on their scale (I'm sure that will be posted shortly) the NRL issues a TCFA for a system on their site
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1541. aquak9
I wouldn't be surprised if one day, the Fukushima plant just melted right thru the mantle. I can't imagine how much heat that mess is generating.
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1540. Gearsts
Quoting Hurrykane:
Navy has a TCFA on it.
That means?
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1799
1539. IKE

Quoting severstorm:

Sorry to hear that,I know you were pulling for them.
Maybe today I get some.....

Today: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after
1pm. Some of the storms could produce small hail and gusty winds.
Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 98. North northwest wind around 5
mph.

Tonight: A 20 percent chance of showers and
thunderstorms before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 72. South
wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Sunday: A 20 percent
chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1pm. Mostly sunny and hot,
with a high near 100.
Heat index values as high as 105. Calm wind
becoming south around 5 mph.

Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 72. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Monday: Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 102. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Unless I'm mistaken, I do not see a TCFA on the NRL site for 94L.
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Morning all. Anybody notice the free-floating T-wave in the C ATL? And it isn't even 7 Jun yet...

lol
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Quoting Hurrykane:
Navy has a TCFA on it.

As I can see there is nothing on the navy site yet should be there within 2-4 hours
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Quoting IKE:

.01 :(

Had thunderstorms going SW and they all stayed just south of me or dissipated before they got here.

Maybe today...40% chance.

Sorry to hear that,I know you were pulling for them.
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1534. emcf30
Quoting Neapolitan:
While the blog's eyes are on the Caribbean--and rightly so--I thought I'd mention that radiation in Fukushima's reactor #1 has shot up to an extremely high 4,000 millisieverts per hour this morning, and there is steam rising from the unit. (FWIW, that radiation level is equivalent to 222 dental X-rays per second. A worker can exposed to that level of radiation for only about three-and-a-half minutes over the course of a year before becoming ill.)

The mess continues. And now, back to the tropics...

Definately not a good situation. We will be reading stories like this for many years
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1533. IKE

Quoting severstorm:
Morning Everyone, Ike did you get your rain last night?
.01 :(

Had thunderstorms going SW and they all stayed just south of me or dissipated before they got here.

Maybe today...40% chance.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
This lack of rainfall has turned me into a wishcaster. I'm liking this 00Z NoGaps run, serve it up please.

Morning All. 94L looking rather healthy.


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Morning Everyone, Ike did you get your rain last night?
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A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE...CENTERED ABOUT 100 MILES SOUTH OF
JAMAICA...CONTINUES TO PRODUCE AN AREA OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS
OVER THE WEST-CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA. UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE
EXPECTED TO BE CONDUCIVE FOR SOME DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM OVER
THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS...AND THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30
PERCENT...OF TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
HEAVY RAINS COULD CAUSE FLASH FLOODING AND MUD SLIDES OVER PORTIONS
OF HAITI... THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...JAMAICA...AND EXTREME
SOUTHEASTERN CUBA OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AS THE LOW REMAINS
NEARLY STATIONARY.
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While the blog's eyes are on the Caribbean--and rightly so--I thought I'd mention that radiation in Fukushima's reactor #1 has shot up to an extremely high 4,000 millisieverts per hour this morning, and there is steam rising from the unit. (FWIW, that radiation level is equivalent to 222 dental X-rays per second. A worker can exposed to that level of radiation for only about three-and-a-half minutes over the course of a year before becoming ill.)

The mess continues. And now, back to the tropics...
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This is another neat link from that page I linked earlier. ( It has absolutely nothing to do with where the storm is going) but it's fun anyway.

The storm is 1,388.8 statute miles (2,235.1 km) to the SE (133°) of the location you entered.
The location you entered is 1,388.8 statute miles (2,235.1 km) to the NW (313°) of the storm.

Your Latitude: 29.884864N
Your Longitude: 93.939902W
Storm Latitude: 16.3N
Storm Longitude: 77.8W

Link
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Quoting AussieStorm:

I think you mean 5hrs earlier. I am 14hrs ahead of Miami/EST. It's 21:56 here and 07:56 in Miami/EST.
No, Aussie. It is later in the UK than it is here. It is around midday there now and only 7 am here.
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for all that didn't look for this here it is

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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
If you look at the bottom of the image it says times are in GMT which is the same as UTC or the same as the difference in time between us and the UK. They are 5 hours later than us so if it was at 2:05 GMT on 4/6/11 it would be the same as 10:05 EST on 3/6/11.

I think you mean 5hrs earlier. I am 14hrs ahead of Miami/EST. It's 21:56 here and 07:56 in Miami/EST.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15938

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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