Dangerous Tropical Storm Irene headed for the Dominican Republic

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:38 PM GMT on August 21, 2011

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Tropical Storm Irene roared into life last night, transitioning from a tropical wave to a 50 mph tropical storm in just a few short hours. Irene is getting organized quickly, and has the potential to become a hurricane by Monday morning. All interests in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, and South Florida should prepare for the arrival of this dangerous storm. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft in the storm found the strongest winds near 18°N latitude to the north of Irene's center at 8am this morning. After passing through the center, the plane returned to the area of strongest winds two hours later, and found that flight level winds at 5,000 feet had increased by about 5 - 8 mph. However, the pressure in the latest center fix taken at 10am EDT remained the same as two hours previously, 1007 mb, and the plane noted that Irene's center was not circular, signs that the storm still has some work to do before serious intensification can begin. Visible satellite loops and radar out of Martinique show the storm has rapidly organized this morning, with well-developed spiral bands forming and a large area of intense thunderstorms to the north of the center. Irene has shrugged off the dry air that was bothering it yesterday, and wind shear has fallen to the low range, 5 - 10 knots, as analyzed by the University of Wisconsin CIMSS group. Torrential rains and strong gusty winds are affecting the northern Lesser Antilles this morning. A wind gust of 41 mph was recorded at St. Eustatius at 8am local time.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Irene.

Track forecast for Irene
The computer models are in agreement that Irene will pass just south of Puerto Rico tonight, then hit the south coast of Hispaniola in the Dominican Republic or Haiti on Monday afternoon. Irene should then emerge into the channel between Haiti and Cuba on Tuesday afternoon, when the storm will have 12 or so hours over water before having to contend with Cuba. A trough of low pressure is expected to move across the Eastern U.S. on Wednesday and Thursday, turning Irene to the northwest and north by Thursday. The timing and strength of this trough varies considerably from model to model, and will be critical in determining where and when Irene will turn to the north. Irene's strength will also matter--a stronger Irene is more likely to turn northward earlier. The most likely path for Irene is a track just east of the Florida Peninsula and into Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina by next weekend, but a landfall near Miami then directly up the Florida Peninsula is also a reasonable solution--like Tropical Storm Fay of 2008 did. Fay formed just off the coast of Puerto Rico, and was never quite able to get organized enough to become a hurricane, due to passage over Hispaniola and Cuba. Fay topped out as a strong tropical storm with 70 mph winds, and did over $500 million in damage in the U.S., mostly due to flooding rains in Florida that accumulated to over 25 inches in a few areas. Fay also dumped heavy rains on Hispaniola, triggering flooding that claimed eight lives.


Figure 2. Track of Tropical Storm Fay of 2008.

Intensity forecast for Irene
Irene is embedded in a large envelope of moisture now, and wind shear will remain low, 5 - 10 knots, for the next five days. With water temperatures very warm, 28 - 30°C, these conditions should allow for intensification except when land is interfering. Irene's current appearance on satellite loops gives me the impression of a storm that is not fooling around, and I expect Irene will be a hurricane before hitting Hispaniola on Monday. Passage over Hispaniola will not destroy Irene, since it is a fairly large storm. Once the storm finishes with Hispaniola, it will have to deal with Cuba, which will keep Irene from intensifying significantly. Once Irene pops off the coast of Cuba Wednesday or Thursday into the Florida Straits, Irene will likely be a tropical storm. If the storm then has at least a day over water before hitting land, it will likely become a hurricane again, and could become a major hurricane if it ends up missing South Florida and moving over the warm waters on either side of the Florida Peninsula.

Harvey hits Belize
Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall at 2pm EDT on Saturday near Dangriga Town, Belize, as a tropical storm with 60 mph winds. Harvey continues to dump very heavy rains on southern Mexico, but dissipation is expected tonight as the storm pushes inland. Harvey was a small storm, and the strongest winds were confined to a short stretch of coast near where the center came ashore. Winds at Belize City, Belize on Saturday topped out at 15 mph.


Figure 3. Radar image of Harvey taken at 11:30am EDT on Saturday, August 20, 2011, a few hours before landfall in Belize. A small closed eye is visible just south of the offshore islands of Belize. Image credit: Belize National Meteorological Service.

Invest 98L northwest of the Cape Verde Islands
A tropical wave few hundred miles northwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, Invest 98L, has become disorganized and lost most of its heavy thunderstorms. The disturbance is moving over colder waters and encountering drier air, and NHC is giving 98L only a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Tuesday. The latest set of model runs keep 98L well out to sea away from any land areas over the next five days.

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Long-range radar out of Puerto Rico

Jeff Masters

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all tenants should have insurance
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...IRENE HEADING FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS...
9:00 AM AST Mon Aug 22
Location: 19.0°N 67.2°W
Max sustained: 80 mph
Moving: WNW at 14 mph
Min pressure: 990 mb
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Quoting aussiecold:


there are millions of people with out insurance( tenants)


The point here is not insurance it's how to deal with a dangerous storm coming to town.
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7520. ackee
where IRENE centre is in the mona passage OR north of PR
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So Irene held her own and basically strengthened going over or just as she left Puerto Rico. Not sure how they are only predicting a Cat 2 at landfall, she seems ripe for some rapid intensification now that she is pulling away from Puerto Rico and probably will miss Hispaniola. Get ready, those waters are very warm!
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7518. nash28
Quoting AllStar17:


It will further have to be shifted north because of the current position.


Again....Don't expect any major shifts from the NHC. The models haven't made any major shifts in either direction. Not to mention the fact that the COC is not too far off the forecast points.
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7517. Michale
I remember in '99, Floyd followed the FL East Coast track, but then veered further eastward around the Space Coast...

Irene could do the same, no?

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The only "not so bad" news for us in TCI is that so far we only are forecast to have Tropical Storm force winds. I'm out soon to get gas for my generator, looks like a busy day today.
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7515. snotly
pressure up and winds up? weird.
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Quoting yesterway:


What's all this about prepare. Put your shutters up, turn off the power and reserve a room out of town. When it's all over meet your insurance agent back at your home to access the damage (if any). Resume your life. Simple!

there are millions of people with out insurance( tenants)
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Quoting RukusBoondocks:



why?


It will further have to be shifted north because of the current position.
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Quoting NICycloneChaser:


Gaining latitude, but moving at 265/270? You're contradicting yourself.


My bad, just misread the chart. Good find. I meant she would need to head at 280 degrees to graze Hispanolia, I think she's moving closer to 300 if anything, but the NHC has her at 295 which would still keep her well away from Hispanolia. My aplogizes for the goof.
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Everyone currently within the NHC cone needs to keep their guard up with this system. I want to remind everyone of just how quickly a five day track can change under similar synoptic scenarios as we have with Irene.

Hurricane Jeanne of 2004 track while in the same position that Irene finds herself this morning-

By a day later, the NHC is showing a South Carolina landfall-

Models begin to indicate that the first trof will pull northward too quickly and leave Jeanne being pushed west again by a building high.

By later that same day, the NHC comes to this conclusion. I think we all know what the track ends up doing...

I am in no way forecasting this to happen with Irene, but I am just reminding everyone that these tracks are nowhere near being set in stone. In fact, in Jeanne's case, the NHC was basically following the model consensus the entire time; the models remained in fairly good agreement throughout the duration of the storm while wildly flopping back and forth.
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7510. Skyepony (Mod)
Looks like we had a brief eye scene there in the night.

2011AUG22 051500 3.6 992.6/ +0.0 / 57.0 3.6 3.9 4.2 0.7T/6hr OFF OFF -65.36 -65.76 UNIFRM N/A 18.08 66.08 FCST
2011AUG22 054500 3.7 991.2/ +0.0 / 59.0 3.7 4.0 4.1 0.7T/6hr OFF OFF -58.56 -63.30 UNIFRM N/A 18.12 66.21 FCST
2011AUG22 061500 3.8 989.8/ +0.0 / 61.0 3.8 4.0 5.8 0.5T/hour OFF OFF -19.76 -64.26 EYE 24 IR 18.51 66.07 COMBO
2011AUG22 064500 3.8 989.9/ +0.1 / 61.0 3.8 4.1 5.7 0.5T/hour OFF OFF -12.06 -62.69 EYE 26 IR 18.55 66.30 COMBO
2011AUG22 071500 3.9 988.7/ +0.3 / 63.0 3.9 4.1 5.4 0.5T/hour OFF OFF -11.76 -60.28 EYE 29 IR 18.59 66.53 COMBO
2011AUG22 074500 3.9 988.9/ +0.4 / 63.0 3.8 3.3 3.3 NO LIMIT ON OFF -21.86 -54.41 EMBC N/A 18.28 66.70 FCST
2011AUG22 081500 3.9 988.9/ +0.5 / 63.0 3.7 3.0 3.0 NO LIMIT ON OFF -52.66 -55.97 UNIFRM N/A 19.27 66.77 SPRL
2011AUG22 084500 3.9 989.0/ +0.6 / 63.0 3.5 3.0 3.0 NO LIMIT ON FLG -48.36 -56.06 UNIFRM N/A 19.21 66.89 SPRL
2011AUG22 091500 3.9 989.2/ +0.8 / 63.0 3.6 4.0 4.0 NO LIMIT ON OFF -72.36 -65.20 UNIFRM N/A 18.76 66.40 SPRL
2011AUG22 094500 3.9 989.4/ +0.9 / 63.0 3.6 4.1 4.1 NO LIMIT ON OFF -70.96 -66.64 UNIFRM N/A 18.89 66.50 SPRL
2011AUG22 101500 3.9 989.5/ +1.1 / 63.0 3.6 4.1 4.1 NO LIMIT ON OFF -70.56 -67.42 UNIFRM N/A 18.91 66.60 SPRL
2011AUG22 104500 3.9 989.7/ +1.2 / 63.0 3.6 3.9 3.9 NO LIMIT ON OFF -66.26 -65.48 UNIFRM N/A 18.74 66.70 SPRL
2011AUG22 111500 3.9 989.7/ +1.3 / 63.0 3.7 4.1 4.1 NO LIMIT ON OFF -66.66 -64.92 UNIFRM N/A 18.97 66.91 SPRL
2011AUG22 121500 4.0 988.6/ +1.6 / 65.0 4.0 3.9 3.9 NO LIMIT OFF OFF -55.16 -62.21 UNIFRM N/A 19.02 67.22 SPRL
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Quoting AllStar17:
This track appears to be shot:



why?
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Quoting lennit:
hmm ok here is my little tidbit.. i have looked back as far as i can and have not found on system in aug or sept. that is where Irene is at now moving in that direction that suddenly turn N and went thru the Bahamas ..all have been gradual bends and either hit Fl or was right along the coast

Good morning,
I believe that Hugo (1989) went through P.R. - skirted east of Bahamas then on to S/E coast (Charleston)
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7507. Michale
Quoting yesterway:


That's Cat 2 arrival your location...


Ahhhh OK... That makes sense..

Thanx...
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7506. NJ2S
Quoting Patrap:
12z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Irene
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)




Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)





Quoting Patrap:
12z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Irene
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)




Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)







I know that Florida to north Carolina should be our next focus of concern for the US.... What about points north some of the models on right side of the cone don't look good for the midatlantic especially VA to Long island ? Any thought or forecasts for us in the north?
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7505. hotrods
Looks like CMC track is moving back west a tad.
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H.Irene's_12pmGMT_ATCF : Starting 21August_12pmGMT and ending 22August_12pmGMT

The 4 shorter line-segments represent HurricaneIrene's path
and the westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.

Using straightline projection of the travel-speed&heading derived from the ATCF coordinates spanning the 6hours between 6amGMT then 12pmGMT :
H.Irene's travel-speed was 14.5mph(23.2k/h) on a heading of 303.9degrees*(NW)
H.Irene was headed toward passage over HawkesNestSalina,GrandTurk ~21hours from now

Copy&paste 16.8n62.4w-17.5n63.7w, 17.5n63.7w-17.9n65.0w, 17.9n65.0w-18.2n65.9w, 18.2n65.9w-18.9n67.0w, gdt, 18.2n65.9w-21.426n71.138w, iga into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 22August_6amGMT)

* 303.75degrees is midway between WNW and NW
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7503. ncstorm
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15999
7502. MahFL
Quoting Tampa77:
How far do tropical storm winds extend from the center on the west side of the storm? I would think that even if South FL didn't get a direct hit, they could get tropical force winds and rain. It is still reason to prepare.


Right now, roughly 60 miles to the sw side. The info is in the forcast advisory. In 3 days time forcast to be 75 miles.
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Link

Irene became a hurricane at the 7th advisory which is a 5 AM, why don't I see the red for hurricane force?

Irene advisory 9B just released

BULLETIN
HURRICANE IRENE INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 7B
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011
900 AM AST MON AUG 22 2011

...IRENE HEADING FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS...


SUMMARY OF 900 AM AST...1300 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...19.0N 67.2W
ABOUT 90 MI...140 KM WNW OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
ABOUT 75 MI...125 KM ENE OF PUNTA CANA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...80 MPH...130 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...990 MB...29.23 INCHES

OVER 7500 POSTS...record!
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This track appears to be shot:
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7499. FLdewey
We need someone to start directing traffic out there...

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Quoting Michale:
Our local radio (St Augustine, FL), as of 0845, is reporting Irene to be a Cat 2. If this is true, then she is way ahead of schedule.

Can anyone confirm??


That's Cat 2 arrival your location...
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Also, go to my blog for all the current stuff on Irene as it stays current 24-7 with 5 interactive Loops at the site.
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7496. FLdewey
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Quoting charlottefl:
Pressure is up a couple of mb...


It likely never was 987mb, that was just an estimate that turned out to be slightly out.
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7494. 34chip
Quoting ecupirate:


I noticed the same this morning. Radio this morning said it was going to go into the Floriday Keys?

Im sure the local media will start covering it this evening and into tomorrow.
I live in Key West and all they say is its to be watched but models are show north and east of thr Florida keys.
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Gotta run........got Tee times at Rocky Point at 10am...see ya in about 4 hours. The next batch of MODEL runs will be very important as to the direction IRENE will be taking. By this evening, we should have a good feel i believe. Everyone have a good morning, and thinks about the what if's.
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Quoting ILwthrfan:
Irene continues to gain latitude. I'd be inclined to say shes heading at 265/270 versus a 290/285 heading needed for her to graze the Hispanolia coastline.



Gaining latitude, but moving at 265/270? You're contradicting yourself.
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Pressure is up a couple of mb...
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There is no 'tryin to reason with a hurricane season'....enjoy!

http://youtu.be/Xg-zwba7l5w
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7489. hotrods
Watching the news earlier this morning, channel 9 in Orlando, they said ECFL starting with Orlando could get torpical storm force winds and the coast, hurricane force, depending on the future track.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


That's most likely too extreme, especially when you consider the NHC discussion.


Thats stacy for you. Avila up next could have a different tone.
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Hope Irene will add to our experience on how to take nature seriously.... no matter how big or small a storm is, prepare like it is the worst...
She's been a Good drill for what is down in Africa's conveyor belt

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Quoting TampaSpin:
Got 2 Nephews and wives that live in Jacksonville......beach front no less.....I just called them....to consider options.
to ride a short board or long board?
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Wait...did the pressure just increase?

The winds are a bit higher though.
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000
WTNT34 KNHC 221302
TCPAT4

BULLETIN
HURRICANE IRENE INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 7B
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092011
900 AM AST MON AUG 22 2011

...IRENE HEADING FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS...


SUMMARY OF 900 AM AST...1300 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...19.0N 67.2W
ABOUT 90 MI...140 KM WNW OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
ABOUT 75 MI...125 KM ENE OF PUNTA CANA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...80 MPH...130 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...990 MB...29.23 INCHES
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7483. Michale
Our local radio (St Augustine, FL), as of 0845, is reporting Irene to be a Cat 2. If this is true, then she is way ahead of schedule.

Can anyone confirm??
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7482. ncstorm
Quoting ecupirate:


I noticed the same this morning. Radio this morning said it was going to go into the Floriday Keys?

Im sure the local media will start covering it this evening and into tomorrow.


I hope so..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15999
Quoting StuartLurker:
Just a side note....SST's in the gulfstream waters (just off east coast of FLA) are 86 degrees (30c)....lots of fuel for the fire.
It is primed to the max,no doubt about that!!
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7480. scott39
Quoting Grothar:


Shh! We are not allowed to mention "pumping the ridge on here. Even though I have witnessed it many times, there are some on here who do believe it exists.
It exists but only ever now and then:)
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Man that trough is going to create a huge weakness right up and in to the Carolinas. Florida only has to worry about outer bands of showers and strong rip currents. East coast has been due and it finally looks like Irene is going to be coming around asking for dues! The name Irene sounds wicked for a hurricane!!
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Quoting yesterway:


Connie, Do you really expect anything but confusion at a public forum with hyped up maniacs all trying to convince everyone they have the answer. Get out of here and go to the website of your local county emergency management. They will have links to all pertinent information whereby you can make sound decisions regarding your response to this event.


I already look at all of that stuff.... I just like reading everyones opinions... ...and there are some people who post here that know what they are talking about....BUT i always listen to what the nhc has to say...
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Eyy Adrian

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This year is another story.........BUT, the GFDL has always been one of the more dependable Models......i just can't throw the GFDL out the door yet. I believe its been pretty close to being very accurate thus far with Irene.
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Andrew reached hurricane strength on the morning of 22 August, thereby becoming the first Atlantic hurricane to form from a tropical wave in nearly two years. An eye formed that morning and the rate of strengthening increased. Just 36 hours later, Andrew reached the borderline between a category 4 and 5 hurricane (see addendum on upgrade to category 5) and was at its peak intensity (Table 1). From 0000 UTC on the 21st (when Andrew had a barely perceptible low-level center) to 1800 UTC on the 23rd the central pressure had fallen by 92 mb, down to 922 mb. A fall of 72 mb occurred during the last 36 hours of that period and qualifies as rapid deepening (Holliday and Thompson, 1979).
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Quoting hurricane23:
Could head out to sea based on those northward wobbles the past 24hrs or so. 12z models are even futher east.


LOL
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7473. beell
I think the original context of "pumping the ridge" was defined as the outflow from a single storm strengthening the ridge just ahead of its forward direction. This probably does not occur to any meaningful degree in the real world.

I have seen a ridge get pumped by interaction of two storms in close proximity. And in this case, according to the NHC, the piling up/convergence of air from the mid-latitude westerlies to the N of Irene.

Quite a difference from the original theory postulated and promoted by "others".
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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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