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 E46Pilot:


Cindy, Franklin, and Jose


All three met the qualifications to be a tropical cyclone, believe it or not.
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18z GFS keeps the steering currents very weak in the GOM and make the system quite strong.
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Quoting Levi32:
Visible imagery shows fast trade winds entering the western Caribbean from the east and then slowing down abruptly once they hit the tropical wave axis just west of the Cayman Islands. This shows a piling up of air which is promoting thunderstorm activity in the area.



So Levi, if Lee develops and lingers in the GOM while Katia is approaching the Antilles, this will cause Katia to curve out to see? Did I hear that right?
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seems all the CV storms this year will do the curving up into the Central Atlantic States and this happens every decade...North Carolina sticks out there and gets hit often once our weather systems get in this cycle...

I feel bad for my Central ATlantic State friends, but I am ok not being a target this year.
Preparing for a hurricane and then if you get hit all the expenses that come out of your pocket.. are not worth the excitment...and I am a weather geek..
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Such as?


Cindy, Franklin, and Jose
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Quoting Levi32:
It's great news that Katia is developing fast, because the faster she becomes a powerful hurricane, the more likely she will be to find a way to escape out to sea before reaching land. Bermuda may still have to worry, though.
Hopefully misses them.

Wouldn't mind tracking a big one for a change...no more pee wees lol.
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Quoting muddertracker:

Any convergence/divergence in that area? (sorry..on work computer...can't look it up for myself)


Well "piling up of air" is basically the definition of convergence, so yes there is some low-level convergence and some upper-level divergence.
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Quoting muddertracker:

Any convergence/divergence in that area? (sorry..on work computer...can't look it up for myself)


Convergence:



Divergence:

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Quoting TheNewGuy:
HWRF-GEN



Are more and new running models starting to show this as well?
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting E46Pilot:
I think some of the storms this season had no business being named.


Every storm named this year had a closed surface circulation, and persistent convective flare-ups near their centre. They've all been tropical storms. That's just how it is.
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It's great news that Katia is developing fast, because the faster she becomes a powerful hurricane, the more likely she will be to find a way to escape out to sea before reaching land. Bermuda may still have to worry, though.
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Quoting Levi32:
Visible imagery shows fast trade winds entering the western Caribbean from the east and then slowing down abruptly once they hit the tropical wave axis just west of the Cayman Islands. This shows a piling up of air which is promoting thunderstorm activity in the area.


Any convergence/divergence in that area? (sorry..on work computer...can't look it up for myself)
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Pokes my head of from long lurkerdom...

Oh my GOD, a tendril from the ensemble models is touching S. Florida! *turns to a quivering mass of jelly*

Now...we've gotten that out of the way, Nobody else needs to hyperventilate on the blog. Please. Pretty please?

Back to lurkerdom.
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Quoting Dakster:


Hmmm. ANDREW, DAVID, FLOYD, and IKE all come to mind as male name PITA storms... I am sure there are many others.


HUGO
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Good Evening...

@168HR 18Z GFS (too close for comfort):

Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4925

The problem with all this reporting and hype is that it must be directly proportional to the number of reporters and readers in a given area, multiplied by the amount of inexperience of the general background populations.
If you are going to have a hurricane event in the GOM then everybody except a few tourists trying to emulate lobsters will know what to expect.
If you have an hurricane event on/off the upper east coast then you are dealing with millions of people who have no real idea of the consequences of the storms.
Simple though not conclusive solution to this is to produce/show, videos of what might happen to justify the evacuations etc.
Just a thought.
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898. SLU
This is turning out to be another one of these long tracked, classical Cape Verde-type major hurricanes. There very little to prevent KATIA from making a steady march to major hurricane status.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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Quoting E46Pilot:
I think some of the storms this season had no business being named.


Such as?
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Levi, given that we are 11 named storms into the regular alphabet, do you think we will surpass 2010's total number of named storms before the end of the year? Looks kind of hard not to...



8 names in September and October....I suppose it's within the realm of possibility, but seriously, this season is absolutely nothing special so far. The ACE only just now went up a few points above normal for this year to date. It's these random no-namers that live for 12 hours and then go poof.
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HWRF-GEN has an amazing UL enviorment for the possible GOM system.

Could be quite potent if this were to come to fruition.

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Quoting fsumet:
The New York Times published an article yesterday detailing how Hurricane Irene did, in fact, live up to the "media hype" some have been criticizing (thanks Daniel Dix for first bringing it to my attention!). The author did a ranking of storms based on the proportion of media reports for that storm during its lifetime. The top 3 storms by proportion of articles dedicated to them (definition of hype?) were Ivan, Andrew, and Floyd. Irene tentatively comes in at #10. Katrina at #14.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/ 29/how-irene-lived-up-to-the-hype

This got me thinking about the reporting of hurricanes relative to the amount of damage they ultimately cause. Of course we can't really know exactly how much damage a storm will cause before it hits land, but it's interesting to see which storms deserved more coverage and which maybe should have had less. If you divide the normalized damage for the top 20 costliest U.S. storms by the "News Coverage" stat developed by the author, you get this list:

1. Georges (98) 69.1
2. Floyd (99) 43.6
3. Isabel (02) 40.0
4. Gustav (08) 34.3
5. Rita (05) 27.0
6. Frances (04) 26.8
7. Ivan (04) 24.7
8. Fran (96) 21.9
9. Jeanne (04) 16.3
10. Irene (11) 16.1
11. Hugo (89) 15.4
12. Juan (98) 15.1
13. Opal (95) 13.4
14. Allison (01) 8.3
15. Alicia (83) 8.2
16. Wilma (05) 7.5
17. Charley (04) 5.7
18. Andrew (92) 5.5
19. Ike (08) 5.1
20. Katrina (05) 1.7

Based on this list, the most "over-hyped" of the costliest storms would be Hurricanes Georges, Floyd, and Isabel. It could be argued that the 3 costliest storms (Katrina, Andrew, and Ike) did not receive nearly as much coverage as they should have given the damage they were about to cause at the time. Irene fit snugly in the middle at #10 of 20. If you do the same technique for deaths, the most "over-hyped" of the deadliest storms would be Gustav, Ivan, and Andrew; the storms to not receive enough coverage were Katrina, Allen, Tropical Storm Charley (98), and Tropical Storm Allison.


and none of you ever talk about Wilma who put everyone in South Florida without power for weeks and destroyed so many buildings and landscapes and infrastructure...

But Wilma hit South Florida...and that does not mean too much because in 2004/2005 Florida got hit like 8 times!

Even here on the blogs once I got back when I went to work where we had computers/power.. I could not believe everyone had moved on .. Wilma was no big deal...I was amazed..no one even cared that all of South Florid was without power and had so much damage..
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I think some of the storms this season had no business being named.
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Quoting tropicfreak:
The only way I see Katia being a threat is if something forms in the gulf, that could mess up the system of upper level troughs.



Actually according to Levi a gulf system would do the exact opposite. It would cause the system to re-curve more quickly into the atlantic.
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Katia well on the way to becoming the seasons second hurricane...wouldn't surprise me to see one by 5a.m tbh. Consolidating central dense overcast with the circulation tucked underneath. Well-defined banding features and good poleward and equatorward outflow courtesy of an anticyclone allowing for <5 knots of upper-level winds affecting the cyclone.
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Visible imagery shows fast trade winds entering the western Caribbean from the east and then slowing down abruptly once they hit the tropical wave axis just west of the Cayman Islands. This shows a piling up of air which is promoting thunderstorm activity in the area.

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Quoting Levi32:


Humberto and Anita as well:



Wow that is some RI.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3710
Levi, given that we are 11 named storms into the regular alphabet, do you think we will surpass 2010's total number of named storms before the end of the year? Looks kind of hard not to...

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Quoting tropicfreak:


And we can get all the way through the greek alphabet in October, and who knows in November!
Who knows we might get all the way to OMEGA!! I wonder what list of names they would use next, the Roman Alphabet?
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HWRF-GEN

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Center tucked under the deep convection and Katia is ready to intensify.This could become a classic major CV hurricane IMO. Will be back on the blog later.

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Quoting Levi32:


Exactly, which is why home-grown developments always have to be watched extra closely.


Alicia was a very good example of that...
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882. Oct8
Quoting Neapolitan:

I've linked to that New York Times/FiveThirtyEight piece maybe three or four times here hoping to drive the point home that Irene wasn't overhyped in general (though some broadcast and cable outlets certainly went overboard and then some).


People need to be cautious of the cable outlets and to separate commentary from reporting. The problem is that reporting does not draw viewership as well as commentary. I find it hard to believe people suddenly became critical about Cable News. OMG. The whole business model is about hype. What about the terrorist threat-level bar? That seemed excessive. I mean people seemed to think we could forecast terrorists better than the weather. How odd.
Member Since: August 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
I off guys.See ya tomorrow.
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Quoting nofailsafe:
Here's something kind of fun:

"After moving inland, surface observations indicated that Allison quickly weakened to a tropical depression. It drifted slowly northward before becoming stationary over eastern Texas near Lufkin on 7 June. On 8 June, Tropical Depression Allison began to move slowly southward. It eventually moved back over the Gulf of Mexico around 0000 UTC on the 10th, at nearly the same location where it had made landfall as a tropical storm. Although the low-level center remained over warm water on the 10th, very dry air in the mid- and upper-levels of the troposphere overlaid the surface center. The dry air, combined with moderate upper-level westerly shear, inhibited the redevelopment of thunderstorms near the low-level center."

This is regarding Allison 2001 Tropical Cyclone NHC Report

The earlier models today indicated that the low wasn't going to get too far on-shore and might back off either to the east or west.

Just something I thought might be interesting while we wait for the run to finish.


Thanks..what a Friday night Saturday am that was.....25 plus inches in my rain gauge. I have never seen such a hard deluge....5" in an hour easily at one point.
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879. SLU
Climatology indicates that whenever August is very active, September normally follows suit. An additional 5 - 8 named storms, most of these being hurricanes, isn't too far fetched during the month of September. More to follow ....
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Quoting washingtonian115:
The female name are always the meanest on a hurricane list.


Mitch was one mean mofo..Ivan...Andrew...
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Quoting TheNewGuy:

Katia you sly dog you....
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Quoting Tazmanian:





yup



SEP we could get too W


And we can get all the way through the greek alphabet in October, and who knows in November!
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6872
Here's something kind of fun:

"After moving inland, surface observations indicated that Allison quickly weakened to a tropical depression. It drifted slowly northward before becoming stationary over eastern Texas near Lufkin on 7 June. On 8 June, Tropical Depression Allison began to move slowly southward. It eventually moved back over the Gulf of Mexico around 0000 UTC on the 10th, at nearly the same location where it had made landfall as a tropical storm. Although the low-level center remained over warm water on the 10th, very dry air in the mid- and upper-levels of the troposphere overlaid the surface center. The dry air, combined with moderate upper-level westerly shear, inhibited the redevelopment of thunderstorms near the low-level center."

This is regarding Allison 2001 Tropical Cyclone NHC Report

The earlier models today indicated that the low wasn't going to get too far on-shore and might back off either to the east or west.

Just something I thought might be interesting while we wait for the run to finish.
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Quoting Levi32:


Exactly, which is why home-grown developments always have to be watched extra closely.
I just hope this doesn't turn out to be any of the hurricanes listed above.Ihope it's just a rain maker for the gulf to bust the drought.
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Quoting fsumet:
The New York Times published an article yesterday detailing how Hurricane Irene did, in fact, live up to the "media hype" some have been criticizing (thanks Daniel Dix for first bringing it to my attention!). The author did a ranking of storms based on the proportion of media reports for that storm during its lifetime. The top 3 storms by proportion of articles dedicated to them (definition of hype?) were Ivan, Andrew, and Floyd. Irene tentatively comes in at #10. Katrina at #14.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/ 29/how-irene-lived-up-to-the-hype

This got me thinking about the reporting of hurricanes relative to the amount of damage they ultimately cause. Of course we can't really know exactly how much damage a storm will cause before it hits land, but it's interesting to see which storms deserved more coverage and which maybe should have had less. If you divide the normalized damage for the top 20 costliest U.S. storms by the "News Coverage" stat developed by the author, you get this list:

1. Georges (98) 69.1
2. Floyd (99) 43.6
3. Isabel (02) 40.0
4. Gustav (08) 34.3
5. Rita (05) 27.0
6. Frances (04) 26.8
7. Ivan (04) 24.7
8. Fran (96) 21.9
9. Jeanne (04) 16.3
10. Irene (11) 16.1
11. Hugo (89) 15.4
12. Juan (98) 15.1
13. Opal (95) 13.4
14. Allison (01) 8.3
15. Alicia (83) 8.2
16. Wilma (05) 7.5
17. Charley (04) 5.7
18. Andrew (92) 5.5
19. Ike (08) 5.1
20. Katrina (05) 1.7

Based on this list, the most "over-hyped" of the costliest storms would be Hurricanes Georges, Floyd, and Isabel. It could be argued that the 3 costliest storms (Katrina, Andrew, and Ike) did not receive nearly as much coverage as they should have given the damage they were about to cause at the time. Irene fit snugly in the middle at #10 of 20. If you do the same technique for deaths, the most "over-hyped" of the deadliest storms would be Gustav, Ivan, and Andrew; the storms to not receive enough coverage were Katrina, Allen, Tropical Storm Charley (98), and Tropical Storm Allison.


All I can say is "great work!" You should send that analysis to Dr. M.
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Quoting fsumet:
The New York Times published an article yesterday detailing how Hurricane Irene did, in fact, live up to the "media hype" some have been criticizing (thanks Daniel Dix for first bringing it to my attention!). The author did a ranking of storms based on the proportion of media reports for that storm during its lifetime. The top 3 storms by proportion of articles dedicated to them (definition of hype?) were Ivan, Andrew, and Floyd. Irene tentatively comes in at #10. Katrina at #14.

http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/ 29/how-irene-lived-up-to-the-hype

This got me thinking about the reporting of hurricanes relative to the amount of damage they ultimately cause. Of course we can't really know exactly how much damage a storm will cause before it hits land, but it's interesting to see which storms deserved more coverage and which maybe should have had less. If you divide the normalized damage for the top 20 costliest U.S. storms by the "News Coverage" stat developed by the author, you get this list:

1. Georges (98) 69.1
2. Floyd (99) 43.6
3. Isabel (02) 40.0
4. Gustav (08) 34.3
5. Rita (05) 27.0
6. Frances (04) 26.8
7. Ivan (04) 24.7
8. Fran (96) 21.9
9. Jeanne (04) 16.3
10. Irene (11) 16.1
11. Hugo (89) 15.4
12. Juan (98) 15.1
13. Opal (95) 13.4
14. Allison (01) 8.3
15. Alicia (83) 8.2
16. Wilma (05) 7.5
17. Charley (04) 5.7
18. Andrew (92) 5.5
19. Ike (08) 5.1
20. Katrina (05) 1.7

Based on this list, the most "over-hyped" of the costliest storms would be Hurricanes Georges, Floyd, and Isabel. It could be argued that the 3 costliest storms (Katrina, Andrew, and Ike) did not receive nearly as much coverage as they should have given the damage they were about to cause at the time. Irene fit snugly in the middle at #10 of 20. If you do the same technique for deaths, the most "over-hyped" of the deadliest storms would be Gustav, Ivan, and Andrew; the storms to not receive enough coverage were Katrina, Allen, Tropical Storm Charley (98), and Tropical Storm Allison.

I've linked to that New York Times/FiveThirtyEight piece maybe three or four times here hoping to drive the point home that Irene wasn't overhyped in general (though some broadcast and cable outlets certainly went overboard and then some).
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Gulf hurricanes are the most dangerous in my opinion.With the right envierment they can intensify in a blink of an eye.Not to mention they are land locked.


Exactly, which is why home-grown developments always have to be watched extra closely.
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Quoting Levi32:


Anita as well:

Gulf hurricanes are the most dangerous in my opinion.With the right envierment they can intensify in a blink of an eye.Not to mention they are land locked.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
With those sst and favorable conditions forcasted I wouldn't be surprised if we have a hurricane in the gulf next week(Hey it's my damn opinion if anybody has a problem!!!).It's happened before....Alicia.


Humberto and Anita as well:

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Quoting washingtonian115:
With those sst and favorable conditions forcasted I wouldn't be surprised if we have a hurricane in the gulf next week(Hey it's my damn opinion if anybody has a problem!!!).It's happened before....Alicia.
855 see 857 looks like they might think Saturday or Sunday! That might be this week.
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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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