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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Quoting P451:


Up to 60.
WNW 15.

The large open feature on radar apparently is not the pinpoint center according to the NHC.


17.8N, 64.9 W




If correct....
That would mean the open feature is rotating around the LLC, which would explain it's westward and then west south westward motion.

The storm heading itself remains on a WNW, 285 degree, heading.

This would also place the surface center underneath the hot tower.



Its on the south side of the hot tower. The COC the HH have found is in the ENE quadrant of the larger clear area we have been seein on radar. Its a small area trying to close off just under and south of that hot tow. That clear area may close in on it. Also dry air entered on W side of COC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
OK...I've gotta vent...the Charleston-casters have just about worn me out today...we're a long way from needing to get our knickers in a knot over this...
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3914. Seflhurricane 7:55 PM EDT on August 21, 2011 +0
expect a hurricane watch for the NW bahamas tomorrow morning


I'd expect to see hurricane watch for SE and Central as well, especially if Irene transitions tonight, as it appears she may. Maybe even a warning for SE sometime tomorrow, though that seems a mite early to me.
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Quoting Patrap:


So is that Q2 cell or the C2 cell the potential eyewall?
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4017. Levi32
Water Vapor imagery shows an upper trough diving into the eastern United States. With this in mind, I find it unlikely that Irene will be able to maintain a nearly due west motion all the way to Cuba as the 18z GFDL depicts.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26685
994.9mb.

000400 1751N 06504W 8434 01452 9949 +199 +180 006015 016 018 001 00
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
4015. GoWVU
Quoting galvestonhurricane:




Looks like a SE hit!! If it does which I hope it is a fish storm, BUT if it does hit North of Charleston....
Member Since: September 12, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 380
4014. Dennis8
ROOSEVELT ROADS, PR

7:53 PM 80.1 °F 85.4 °F 75.9 °F 87% 29.72 in 5.0 mi NE 29.9 mph 47.2 mph 0.01 in Rain Light Rain
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
4013. Ryuujin
Quoting MississippiWx:
We finally have that convective burst over the center that has been lacking. It can now strengthen even quicker with a more centralized location of the convection, rather than the spotty convection we had earlier.



And it's pretty clearly headed WNW.. man I have a feeling this is going to miss Hispanola. It's just a feeling, but.. ugh. you know? Just a gut feeling. Could be wrong, probably is.
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4012. wpb
recon making center pass att
Member Since: May 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 573
4011. Gearsts
Power will be out soon:( GL to all Puerto Ricans and take it easy ^^
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
93L/Harvey refused to die all the way across the atlantic. A lot of folks wrote him off. Good for him!
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UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 21 AUG 2011 Time : 231500 UTC
Lat : 17:50:00 N Lon : 64:56:39 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.1 / 999.1mb/ 47.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.0 3.3 3.9

Center Temp : -23.6C Cloud Region Temp : -55.9C

Scene Type : CURVED BAND with 0.92 ARC in LT GRAY
Maximum CURVED BAND with 1.12 ARC in LT GRAY
at Lat: 17:37:47 N Lon: 65:08:23 W

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.5T/hour
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 100km
- Environmental MSLP : 1012mb

Satellite Viewing Angle : 23.9 degrees
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Random, but has anyone noticed that Harvey has exploded in its possibly less than 3 hours over the gulf?
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4007. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
4006. aquak9
Quoting zparkie:
sorry about the bad spelling my keyboard was sliding, getting nervous about property damage here.

It's ok, man...lotsa folk gettin' fussy.
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prico better be ready they've had so much rain already
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Do my eyes deceive me, Irene approaching the Eastern Seaboard....NYC maybe?

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Impressive

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Quoting HurricaneIrene:




And THAT my friend is why the NHC is so hesitant to move the track further eastward, Everyone in here should already know that the NHC relies heavily on the GFDL and HWRF models because unlike the rest, these two models were specifically created for forecasting hurricanes. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Either Drake, levi, or KMan will vouche for me in this respect.

Anyhow, link, plz?

Mark my words in here right now, good sir, the the NHC will only shift the track, significantly to the east, if and when both the GFDL and HWRF, first do so themselves. FACTS ARE FACTS. Those two are they're babies.


There has been talk from several meteorologists about the possibility of the approaching trough being weaker than is currently forecast by most of the models. Only time will tell.
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4001. galvestonhurricane
12:10 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting das8929:
So much for the big shift east... GOM is still in play!


Member Since: June 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 541
4000. Ryuujin
12:09 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting weatherh98:
""

Wait hold on breaking news the dry air that was inthe center maybe getting epelled and possibly the coc is under the newly developed hot tower otherwise the coc is moving wsw


No, no it's not. It's pretty clearly headed WNW.
Member Since: August 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 405
3999. stormwatcherCI
12:09 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting violet312s:
Link

Tourists standing on the St. Croix pier. Typical.
Had some tourists trying to surf in the waves we had with Gustav. Girl almost lost her life and ended up very battered and bruised.
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3998. Tazmanian
12:09 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Peak (10 sec. Avg.)
Flight Level Wind



58 knots
(~ 66.7 mph)
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
3997. MississippiWx
12:08 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
We finally have that convective burst over the center that has been lacking. It can now strengthen even quicker with a more centralized location of the convection, rather than the spotty convection we had earlier.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
3996. Surferdude
12:08 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Eyewall is closed...she is open for biz and on the move now :)
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3995. Relix
12:08 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting PRweathercenter:
Are you ready?

Perfectly!
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3994. Levi32
12:07 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
The center looks like it is back on track for Puerto Rico. The short-term due west wobble looks like it was just part of the overall WNW motion.
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3992. Patrap
12:07 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
San Juan Radar
NEXRAD Radar
Velocity Azimuth Display Wind Profile



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3991. das8929
12:07 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
So much for the big shift east... GOM is still in play!
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3990. prtr4192
12:07 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting portcharlotte:

Not sure what you are looking at but they have the storm on shore in Florida at 120 Hr



where is that info coming from ? link please
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3989. muddertracker
12:07 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting HCW:


Weed Trimmer ?


Wouldn't know anything about that...just worried about the people in that town...and the crazy tornadic activity this year...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 2351
3987. GoWVU
12:06 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting presslord:


Bill?!


Press I am with you, just saying the wildlife is acting strange and the ants are building big homes as well..
Member Since: September 12, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 380
3986. tropicfreak
12:06 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Note the similar forward direction and speed between Irene and Harvey.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
3985. FloridaPA
12:06 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting zparkie:
sorry about the bad spelling my keyboard was sliding, getting nervous about property damage here.


Start looking for a good Public Adjuster
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3984. Gorty
12:06 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting zparkie:
are these forcasters sure about the strength? this storm looks like a locomotive with no hit of decreasing strength, only gaining strength, who pissed irene off?


It's all about the center. A system can look mighty but if the center lacks organization and/or convection then the intensity won't be very high ala Irene.
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3983. Vero1
12:06 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 PM EDT SUN AUG 21 2011

BASED ON 1800 UTC SURFACE ANALYSIS AND SATELLITE IMAGERY THROUGH
2300 UTC.

...SPECIAL FEATURES...
TROPICAL STORM IRENE NEAR 17.7N 64.4W AT 2100 UTC AUG 21 OR
ABOUT 25 MI...40 KM E OF ST CROIX OR ABOUT 120 MI...195 KM E-SE
OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO. IRENE IS MOVING MOVING W-NW OR 285 DEG
AT 15 KT. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 999 MB. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED
WIND SPEED IS 45 KT GUSTS 55 KT. PLEASE SEE THE LATEST
INTERMEDIATE PUBLIC ADVISORY UNDER AWIPS/WMO HEADER MIATCPAT4/
WTNT34 KNHC AND THE FULL FORECAST/ADVISORY UNDER AWIPS/WMO
HEADER MIATCMAT4/WTNT24 KNHC FOR MORE DETAILS. SCATTERED
MODERATE TO STRONG CONVECTION IS MOSTLY N OF THE CENTER FROM
16N-23N BETWEEN 57W-67W. SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO RADAR CONTINUES TO
CAPTURE THE CENTER OF IRENE AND THE INNER RAIN BANDS. TROPICAL
STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 150 MILES...240
KM...MAINLY TO THE NORTH OF THE CENTER. A HURRICANE WARNING IS
IN EFFECT FOR PUERTO RICO...VIEQUES...AND CULEBRA AS WELL AS FOR
THE ENTIRE COASTLINE OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. ...

ATLANTIC OCEAN...
AGAIN...THE PRIMARY CONCERN IS T.S. IRENE. THE MOST RECENT
FORECAST CARRIES IRENE AS A MINIMAL HURRICANE INTO THE EASTERN
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC BEFORE PASSING OVER THE NORTH PORTION OF
HISPANIOLA MONDAY AND BETWEEN EASTERN CUBA AND GREAT INAGUA
ISLAND BY TUE EVENING. THIS TRACK KEEPS IRENE OVER HISPANIOLA
FOR 6-12 HOURS WHICH SHOULD WEAKEN THE SYSTEM BACK TO A TROPICAL
STORM BEFORE EXITING INTO THE WARM ATLANTIC WATERS. SYMMETRIC
CONVECTIVE OUTFLOW MANIFESTED AS CIRRUS CLOUDS EXTENDS AS FAR AS
660 NM NE QUADRANT AND 450 NM NW QUADRANT OF THE CENTER. THIS
SYMMETRIC OUTFLOW IS ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE ANTICYCLONE OVER THE
SYSTEM
DISCUSSED IN THE CARIBBEAN SECTION ABOVE. ELSEWHERE...A
1027 MB HIGH IS OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC NEAR 36N35W AND
EXTENDS A RIDGE W-SW INTO NORTH FLORIDA AND E-SE TOWARD THE
CANARY ISLANDS. SOUTH OF THE RIDGE LIES A LOW PRES CENTER NEAR
18N29W ASSOCIATED WITH THE MONSOON TROUGH. THIS LOW IS EMBEDDED
IN DRY AIR AND AFRICAN DUST THAT IS INHIBITING DEEP CONVECTION.
THIS LOW IS FORECAST TO MOVE NW OVER COOLER WATERS TO THE
CENTRAL ATLANTIC OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. ANOTHER LOW ALONG
THE MONSOON TROUGH IS INLAND OVER WEST AFRICA NEAR 16N12W. THIS
LOW HAS SCATTERED MODERATE TO STRONG CONVECTION WITHIN 45 NM N
SEMICIRCLE AND 150 NM S SEMICIRCLE OF CENTER. THIS SYSTEM WILL
BE CLOSELY MONITORED FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT AS IT MOVES OFFSHORE
OVERNIGHT MON NIGHT.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT
HTTP://WWW.HURRICANES.GOV/MARINE

$$
SCHAUER



Member Since: July 21, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 2233
3982. stormwatcherCI
12:06 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Not saying it's going to happen, but whenever these cyclones get entangled with the barrier islands I think of this storm.
.
.
warning: The following is graphic material and may not be suitable for young wishcasters. Parent wishcasters may want to consider not allowing their child wishcasters to view.
.
.
Link
.
.
.
Link
LOL. Left his clothes behind and danced all over town.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8428
3981. stormpetrol
12:05 AM GMT on August 22, 2011

3747. USAFwxguy 11:30 PM GMT on August 21, 2011 +0
Quoting stormpetrol:
I have the center at 17.4N/64.8W, will be interesting to see what the NHC says.


17.5, 65

Roughly, for now.

Actually I was .4 to the N and .1 to the west .5 total, you were off .3 to N and .2 to the west .5 in total, both of us basically off half of a degree either way you slice it. I still don't agree with the WNW movement though .1N & .5W WNW noway!JMO!
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3980. weatherguy74
12:05 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
My mistake let me try that again . . .



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3978. Tazmanian
12:05 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting das8929:
What on earth??





i think thats likey old
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
3977. Dem86Mets
12:05 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting WxLogic:
@66HR ...


Look at that ridging there. Nothing is set in stone right now, we need that G1V data more than anything.
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
3976. Tropicaldan
12:05 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Weather update from st martin

Winds and gusts gradually dying down but torrential rain has returned with a vengeance in the last hour.

Stay safe in the VI and PR tonight

Dan
Member Since: February 17, 2006 Posts: 3 Comments: 96
3975. bappit
12:05 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Interesting graphic from Wunderground showing extent of storm winds.

Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6100
3974. HCW
12:05 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting muddertracker:
Reed Timmer just f/b'd that a large tornado has reportedly destroyed an Ontario town...crazy!


Weed Trimmer ?
Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1409
3973. PRweathercenter
12:05 AM GMT on August 22, 2011
Quoting Relix:
8:00 PM AST Sun Aug 21
Location: 17.8°N 64.9°W
Max sustained: 60 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 995 mb
Are you ready?
Member Since: July 21, 2010 Posts: 60 Comments: 1011

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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.