Irene's rains heaviest on record in Vermont; Tropical Storm Katia forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2011

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Record flooding continues in the Northeast from Irene's torrential rains. Hardest hit was Vermont, where heavy rains in the weeks prior to Irene's arrival had left soils in the top 20% for moisture, historically. Irene dumped 5 - 8 inches of rain over large sections of Vermont, with a peak of 11.23" at Mendo. The reading from Mendo was the greatest single-day rainfall in Vermont's history, according to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, beating the 9.92" that fell at Mt. Mansfield on 9/17/1999 during the passage of Tropical Storm Floyd. The 13.30" that fell on East Durham, NY during Irene was just shy of New York State's all-time 1-day rainfall record: 13.70" at Brewster on 9/16/1999, from Tropical Storm Floyd.


Figure 1. Wunderphotographer 43BJAGER recorded this image of a house in Sharon, Vermont, that started out the week on the other side of this underpass.

According to the final Hurricane Irene summary from the NWS, the storm dropped 20" of rain in two locations, one in North Carolina and one in Virginia. Here are the highest rain amounts from the hurricane for each state:

Virginia Beach, VA: 20.40"
Jacksonville, NC: 20.00"
East Durham, NY: 13.30"
Freehold Twp, NJ: 11.27"
Mendon, VT: 11.23"
Ellendale, DE: 10.43"
New Hartford, CT 10.15"
Baxter St. Park, ME: 9.91"
Savoy, MA: 9.10"
Lafayette, PA: 8.82"
Pinkham North, NH: 7.33"
Warren, RI: 5.37"

Tropical Storm Katia forms
Tropical Storm Katia formed this morning in the far Eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Katia will be in a moist, low wind shear environment with ocean temperature 1 - 2°C above the threshold needed to support a hurricane, and should be able to intensify to major hurricane strength when it passes to the north of the Lesser Antilles Islands 5 - 6 days from now. It is possible that some of the outer spiral bands of the storm might bring heavy rain squalls to the northern Lesser Antilles, but it would be a surprise if the core of the storm passed through the islands. The long term fate of Katia is unknown. Dr. Bob Hart's Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability web page suggests shows that tropical storms in Katia's current position have a 19% chance of hitting North Carolina, a 16% chance of hitting Canada, an 11% chance of hitting Florida, and a 47% chance of never hitting land.


Figure 2. The morning run of the GFS Ensemble prediction. The ensemble prediction was done by taking a lower-resolution version of the GFS model and changing the initial distributions of temperature, pressure, and humidity randomly by a few percent to generate an ensemble of 20 different computer projections of where Katia might go. The operational (highest-resolution) version of the GFS model (white line) is usually more accurate, but the ensemble runs give one an idea of the uncertainty in the forecast.

Katia is the 11th named storm this year, and comes a full twelve days before the half-way point of the Atlantic hurricane season. Climatologically, September 10 marks the half-way point. A typical hurricane season has just 10 - 11 named storms, so we've already had a whole season's worth of storms before reaching the half-way point. At this rate, 2011 will see 25 named storms, making it the 2nd busiest season on record, behind 2005. Katia's formation date of August 30 puts 2011 in 5th place for earliest date of arrival of the season's 11th storm. Only 2005, 1995, 1936, and 1933 had an earlier 11th storm.

Gulf of Mexico development possible late this week
Several of our best computer models for predicting formation of tropical cyclones, the GFS and ECMWF, are predicting that an upper level pressure interacting with a tropical wave now over the the Western Caribbean could combine to spawn a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico late this week or early next week. The formation location is likely to be off the coast of Louisiana or Texas, but the track of the system is hard to predict at this point.


Figure 3. Portlight volunteer Thomas Hudson clears a driveway yesterday in Hollywood, Maryland.

Portlight disaster relief effort in Maryland
Hurricane Irene heavily damaged the town of Hollywood, Maryland, when a tornado cut off electric power, water, and phone service. Portlight and Team Rubicon volunteers arrived before emergency personnel, after following up on a local tip. What they found was an isolated area whose plight was unknown to the larger community. Most residents were trapped at their homes by heavy debris. Portlight and Team Rubicon worked for two days to clear paths to each address, extract vehicles from debris, and cut down trees that constituted safety hazards. Portlight also instructed local residents how to operate and maintain chainsaws and safely clear debris. No other volunteer organizations or emergency personnel arrived at any time, and Portlight succeeded in meeting the specific needs of the underserved, unserved, and forgotten. Visit the Portlight blog to learn more; donations are always welcome.

I'll have a new post on Wednesday discussing if the evacuations and media hype surrounding Irene were excessive.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Really? I live near the Apex/Cary area...power NEVER went out...but I was surprised at some of the gusts given that Irene was passing well to our east....


I'm near Apex too - power goes out all the time - I finally stopped setting the electronic clocks. The wind gusts were a little surprising considering we were on the very edge of the storm. I was a little concerned about my neighbor's 15 degree leaning 140' tall half dead gum tree - but the wind was blowing away from my house. It will hit something for sure - and it won't be pretty.
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Quoting Methurricanes:
ISn't it bad Katia weakened, then it opened the door for more westward Movement, rather the WNW movement.
Yes
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Don't worry...you can't count on me NOT calling this a fish storm because it goes to Bermuda or Canada...

....and even if it was over open waters...its still not a fish storm as it can affect shipping interests...


Thanks, although I would certainly prefer that last scenario.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Not a lot happening. Katia could become a classic CV system out in the middle of nowhere but closer to home in the GOM another 5 days could bring some tension.
What do you see as most probable for this area?
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Quoting JupiterX:


I feel like we will be forgotten and everyone will see it as a fish if that run verifies.


Don't worry...you can't count on me NOT calling this a fish storm because it goes to Bermuda or Canada...

....and even if it was over open waters...its still not a fish storm as it can affect shipping interests...
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ISn't it bad Katia weakened, then it opened the door for more westward Movement, rather the WNW movement.
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ADT continues to slowly rise. Showing a 73mph cyclone ATM. Raw T-number is that of a hurricane.

2011AUG31 011500 3.9 993.5 63.0 3.9 4.1 4.1 NO LIMIT OFF OFF -61.62 -64.52 UNIFRM N/A N/A 12.98 36.58 FCST MSG2 44.5
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There is mischief going on at Fenway Park!
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1457. bappit
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Best image I found...

The wind speeds may have had something to do with it plus the proximity to Bermuda.
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1456. WxLogic
Quoting aislinnpaps:
So if Katia slows down, or stays a little disorganized, she would move more west before the northern turn?


Correct in a way... just like Emily/Irene. Pretty sure you noticed that the aforementioned TS/HURR (respectively) were disorganized enough to allow them to take a more western track until they fully got to develop and it was then when they started acquiring a more northerly track.

Now in regards speed, if Katia continues to move too fast then she won't be able to get her act together and would imply a further western deviation in the track, but if it slows then it'll be able to organize better and be able to feel more "atmosphere" and be easily drawn to incoming TROF(s).

The above is with the assumption a strong enough Bermuda/Azores High(s) are in place.
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Quoting Inyo:
Here in Vermont the hype was not excessive (if anything it was under-hyped), it was the RAIN that was excessive! The wind was mostly a non-issue. It's been an interesting experience to say the least. I'd never been in a hurricane, and have always found them fascinating, even though so destructive. But going through a hurricane remnant stops being fun really fast when the fire department comes to your door and tells you that the river will soon be flowing down main street. I was only in the shelter for a couple of hours but it REALLY gave me an appreciation for what people went through when they faced disasters like Katrina. It isn't fun sitting there wondering if your house survived... but on the other hand, I felt almost calm, once we were safe, because there was absolutely not a single thing I could do about it.

As it turned out our community was spared everything except some basement flooding and road erosion. Others were not so lucky...

The weirdest thing about the hurricane? Smelling the ocean, like I was standing next to it, when in fact it was over 100 miles away. This was on a mountain pass in Vermont in the fog that came with the first of the rains.


Interesting observation. I remember moving back to the coast from North Dakota. Winds from the south and I could smell the GoM over 100 miles away. :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
I would be very surprised if we did not have 93L by tomorrow night.
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Quoting bluenosedave:


And Nova Scotia. And Newfoundland. Me no likee.


I feel like we will be forgotten and everyone will see it as a fish if that run verifies.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


That's one HECK of a model shift to the east...what happened? Are models more picking up on a trough to recurve Katia toward Bermuda/Canada? This better not be the next Fabian....


Likely taking expected intensity into consideration.
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Quoting muddertracker:

Texas ate Don like he was prime rib on an all you can eat buffet...


LOL.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32689
I totally agree on being prepared. Being prepared is one thing - executing the plan is something else.

The problem is that if people decide go when the roads are clear and evacuation is easy, the information won't be as good as what most people want. So, they're inclined to stay until they're sure they'll actually get hit and by then it might be too late to shop, fill up the tank, drive somewhere else, etc.

Timing counts too... Maybe a personal plan should include deadline - like pilots use when the shoot an instrument landing... If they can't see the runway at 200', they go around - no matter what. They don't have the option to fly down to 190' and see if things get better... they do a go around - period.

But it's hard to set a firm time for action when you haven't been ordered to evacuate and you know having more information will help you make a better decision. So, if you're not careful you fly that plane into the ground...

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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
93L soon, could see an upgrade to 20% at 2Am. Thinking Katia will be 65 mph storm at 11 PM, and the track will be shifted slightly north, or stay the same. and intensity forecast could reach 130 or 135 mph. Hope lee somes this way, EXTREME water restrictions begin this weekend, and we can only hand water, Here Lee! come get us girl! You know you want to, PLEASE!
According to the models we could at least get a tropical low, just hope it doesn't get pushed away by the Ridge building back in too early. That would just be depressing to see, especially after what happened with Don. That little sucker pissed me off, POOF! and gone at landfall, EVAPORATION HAS OCCURED.

Texas ate Don like he was prime rib on an all you can eat buffet...
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
So if Katia slows down, or stays a little disorganized, she would move more west before the northern turn?


(1) If Katia slows down...then it will more likely do a stair step motion (W...then NW...then back W) because it will be behind schedule for riding the trough...trough would pick it up at first but then not be able to fully pick it up such that it goes back west....

(2) If Katia weakens...also more likely to go west...because it will not be as vertically tall like strong storms are...and it won't feel the upper trough as much...

But I personally don't see Katia as being slow or being weaker than expected at the moment...
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1447. Inyo
Here in Vermont the hype was not excessive (if anything it was under-hyped), it was the RAIN that was excessive! The wind was mostly a non-issue. It's been an interesting experience to say the least. I'd never been in a hurricane, and have always found them fascinating, even though so destructive. But going through a hurricane remnant stops being fun really fast when the fire department comes to your door and tells you that the river will soon be flowing down main street. I was only in the shelter for a couple of hours but it REALLY gave me an appreciation for what people went through when they faced disasters like Katrina. It isn't fun sitting there wondering if your house survived... but on the other hand, I felt almost calm, once we were safe, because there was absolutely not a single thing I could do about it.

As it turned out our community was spared everything except some basement flooding and road erosion. Others were not so lucky...

The weirdest thing about the hurricane? Smelling the ocean, like I was standing next to it, when in fact it was over 100 miles away. This was on a mountain pass in Vermont in the fog that came with the first of the rains.
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Quoting bluenosedave:


Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I have a large outdoor event planned for this weekend. The forecast is excellent right now, but this is something to keep an eye on.


CMC has been too aggressive with most east-coast developments on stalled frontal boundaries this season but this potential devlopment has a much broader model consensus. Also, the mechanism for development is a little different, so its a little more credible. Check the satellite imagery from time to time over the Bermuda area for the next day or two and we will see. Incidently, I think the risk, if this materialises, is higher for the Rock than for the south-shore, so with any luck the current forecast will hold and you'll have a fine day.
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Quoting ncstorm:


Bermuda is in the crossfires..


And Nova Scotia. And Newfoundland. Me no likee.
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1444. bwi
Still with the westerlies last hour down south of the Yucatan channel:

Conditions at 42056 as of
(7:50 pm CDT on 08/30/2011)

Wind Direction (WDIR): WSW ( 250 deg true ) Wind Speed (WSPD): 5.8 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 7.8 kts
Wave Height (WVHT): 3.9 ft
Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 8 sec
Average Period (APD): 5.0 sec
Mean Wave Direction (MWD): ESE ( 103 deg true )
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.85 in
Pressure Tendency (PTDY): +0.07 in ( Rising )
Air Temperature (ATMP): 77.2 °F
Water Temperature (WTMP): 86.2 °F
Dew Point (DEWP): 74.1 °F
Heat Index (HEAT): 78.6 °F
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
93L soon, could see an upgrade to 20% at 2Am. Thinking Katia will be 65 mph storm at 11 PM, and the track will be shifted slightly north, or stay the same. and intensity forecast could reach 130 or 135 mph. Hope lee somes this way, EXTREME water restrictions begin this weekend, and we can only hand water, Here Lee! come get us girl! You know you want to, PLEASE!
According to the models we could at least get a tropical low, just hope it doesn't get pushed away by the Ridge building back in too early. That would just be depressing to see, especially after what happened with Don. That little sucker pissed me off, POOF! and gone at landfall, EVAPORATION HAS OCCURED.


No to be nitpicky but I believe Lee is meant to be a male name.
Member Since: August 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
Quoting hotrods:
Think the models have Katia going to far north at the moment, she's not looking to good right now.
The less good she looks the more apt she is to track south of the models for now. I would not take our eyes off her until she crosses the 20 degree line.
Member Since: January 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 586
93L soon, could see an upgrade to 20% at 2Am. Thinking Katia will be 65 mph storm at 11 PM, and the track will be shifted slightly north, or stay the same. and intensity forecast could reach 130 or 135 mph. Hope lee somes this way, EXTREME water restrictions begin this weekend, and we can only hand water, Here Lee! come get us girl! You know you want to, PLEASE!
According to the models we could at least get a tropical low, just hope it doesn't get pushed away by the Ridge building back in too early. That would just be depressing to see, especially after what happened with Don. That little sucker pissed me off, POOF! and gone at landfall, EVAPORATION HAS OCCURED.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


That's one HECK of a model shift to the east...what happened? Are models more picking up on a trough to recurve Katia toward Bermuda/Canada? This better not be the next Fabian....


It's not that much of a model shift, this has sort of been the solution the past few runs, with subtle timing differences (also to be fair the trough which creates the weakness seems to change run to run)
Member Since: August 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
Quoting TX2FL:


The satellite images of that storm looked no scarier than the water inside of a toilet bowl when it flushes..


That's pretty scary......NOT!
Member Since: July 30, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 388
So if Katia slows down, or stays a little disorganized, she would move more west before the northern turn?
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Quoting ncstorm:


Bermuda is in the crossfires..


That's one HECK of a model shift to the east...what happened? Are models more picking up on a trough to recurve Katia toward Bermuda/Canada? This better not be the next Fabian....
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1436. TX2FL
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Aye! Jose is brought up again...for some reason I found this storm really annoying...maybe because it wasn't expected...LOL


The satellite images of that storm looked no scarier than the water inside of a toilet bowl when it flushes..
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1435. hotrods
Think the models have Katia going to far north at the moment, she's not looking to good right now.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
What's this Katia that you speak of?
We've been tied up in blog business for awhile:)
Do tell, what's going on.
Kman....our grounding rod.


Not a lot happening. Katia could become a classic CV system out in the middle of nowhere but closer to home in the GOM another 5 days could bring some tension.
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I see the GFS can't get Fl. from the east so now it's going to try from the west.
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Quoting snow2fire:


It's a long drive to Atlantic Beach under good conditions - a lot of 2 lane roads or you have to go way around. I was in Cary - a little wind and less than 1 inch of rain - power went out 3 times but came right back. We all know a little shift in direction can be the difference between a little wind and a lot of damage in NC - better safe than sorry especially if you have somewhere to go.



Really? I live near the Apex/Cary area...power NEVER went out...but I was surprised at some of the gusts given that Irene was passing well to our east....
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I just finished my blog entry if anyone wants to read.

I will be back after I workout. See you guys later.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 601 Comments: 21198
Quoting Bayside:


I'm not saying it's so, but wasn't it during Ike that someone pretended to be someone else and then didn't show up for a while and everyone got worried...then earlier this year that person was on here bragging about it and saying he was reformed... Then he disappeared and g'pa appeared... I'm just saying... In any case, he was probably fine if he stayed or went, and he made for good talking point about being prepared and the need for evacuating.


You're a glass half full kind of person aren't you? ;>)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting lottotexas:
Is Huffman's site down? Can't connect.


Not working for me too.
Member Since: July 30, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 388
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


I haven't heard...I too was disappointed that he may have decided to stay in Atlantic Beach.

I remember the models shifting east toward Cape Hatteras in the days before...and I said to him that was better for you and I...but I would be cautious as the models can shift back...and even if it went straight to Hatteras...Atlantic beach would have gotten a strong northerly wind.....


It's a long drive to Atlantic Beach under good conditions - a lot of 2 lane roads or you have to go way around. I was in Cary - a little wind and less than 1 inch of rain - power went out 3 times but came right back. We all know a little shift in direction can be the difference between a little wind and a lot of damage in NC - better safe than sorry especially if you have somewhere to go.

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To be honest I am glad the NHC alerted us about Jose, we did receive t.s. winds (or at least very close). Hopefully Jose will be the last system we have to deal with although recent model runs show that might not be true.
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Quoting lottotexas:
Is Huffman's site down? Can't connect.
Not for me. Working fine.
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1425. xcool
93L COME soon
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I found a pretty neat picture of Irene's final landfall.
Also, here's Katia from the same site.
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1423. Bayside
Quoting snow2fire:
Does anyone know what happened to grandpa? He was thinking about leaving crystal coast in NC and going to Raleigh where his daughter lives.

he got frustrated with the blog and the trolls when Irene was coming in. I hope he got to Raleigh and had a chance to relax and watch the storm go past.


I'm not saying it's so, but wasn't it during Ike that someone pretended to be someone else and then didn't show up for a while and everyone got worried...then earlier this year that person was on here bragging about it and saying he was reformed... Then he disappeared and g'pa appeared... I'm just saying... In any case, he was probably fine if he stayed or went, and he made for good talking point about being prepared and the need for evacuating.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


See...it all depends who is at the switch at the time because organized convection in somewhat subjective...

Maybe they had an intern at the switch at that moment...or maybe Taz secretly works at the NHC and he was at this moment (just kidding Taz)....



lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115435
Is Huffman's site down? Can't connect.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I didn't see him at the advent of his classification. However, subsequent satellite pictures were less than impressive, to say the least. As Stewart, the less conservative amongst the NHC stated yesterday regarding Katia (then TD12): "one thunderstorm does not make a tropical storm".


See...it all depends who is at the switch at the time because organized convection in somewhat subjective...

Maybe they had an intern at the switch at that moment...or maybe Taz secretly works at the NHC and he was at this moment (just kidding Taz)....
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Quoting JupiterFL:


Jason,
Are you creating handles again?


Hmmm...sarcasm? I wasn't aware that fellow could go a post without caps lock on or typing "WOW". No, I didn't really get the content of that post I referenced. It said it was a joke, but 133.9 * i knots? That's the simplified answer, but I don't get what it symbolizes.

Also, to hit up the Jose discussion, didn't it end up producing a 61 mph gust not too far from its essentially naked circulation? If a storm is producing surface gusts like that, you think it'd be worthy of classification, even if you could only make a tongue-in-cheek reference to "organization".
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Quoting Progster:
Outside of Katia and the potential GOMEX system. there's another area near Bermuda that bears watching for subtropical development. Most of the models develop a tropical/subtropical depression through the next 48 hours with CMC the most agressive, as usual. There's some divergence aloft NW of the TUTT and a good supply of moisture around the Bermuda high available. Most of the phase diagrams take it into warm-core territory for a few days. May just bring some rain and a bit of wind to Nova Scotia or Newfoundland.



Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I have a large outdoor event planned for this weekend. The forecast is excellent right now, but this is something to keep an eye on.
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Quoting HIPPOCRITT:

School is back in session, thats why he's not here.


Yes I fear he duped many people into worrying about nothing.
Member Since: August 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
Quoting ncstorm:


Bermuda is in the crossfires..



poor Bermuda
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115435
Quoting ncstorm:


Bermuda is in the crossfires..


cue up crossfire hurricane...
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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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