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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2315. hydrus
The wave train is in full swing..
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2313. Drakoen
Here's a look at the ECMWF:

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2312. jpsb
Quoting synthvol:
LCH WSFO a.m. Discussion (abbreviated):

FXUS64 KLCH 311119
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
IF A PROLONGED EAST TO SOUTHEAST FETCH DOES DEVELOP...THIS COULD CAUSE SOME WATER PILING ALONG THE COAST


Another Frances? Sure hope not.
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"Thanks...I've decided to post twice a day..."

Thank YOU Allyson. We appreciate the info very much!!!
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the worst scenario for birth!!
31-08-1979
Cat 5 Hurricane David


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2307. jpsb
Quoting Allyson00:


Thanks...I've decided to post twice a day.
Great, looking forward to your posts.
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Quoting GetReal:


I believe that this is what hydrus is trying to post.
That looks more in line with levi/s prediction from the other day.
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TS.Katia's_12pmGMT_ATCF : Starting 30August_12pmGMT and ending 31August_12pmGMT

The 4 eastern line-segments represent TropicaStormKatia'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 :
TS.Katia's travel-speed was 19.8mph(31.9k/h) on a heading of 287.0degrees(WNW)
TS.Katia was headed toward passage over Cordinez,Cuba ~4days23hours from now

Copy&paste 12.0n32.8w-12.6n34.7w, 12.6n34.7w-13.1n36.6w, 13.1n36.6w-13.6n38.3w, 13.6n38.3w-14.1n40.0w, icr, 13.6n38.3w-21.0n75.58w into the GreatCircleMapper for more info

The previous mapping (for 31August_6amGMT)
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2303. vince1
Quoting Neapolitan:

If you truly wish to be objective, have a look at the NREL's "Response to the Report 'Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources' from King Carlos University (Spain)" (PDF). Now, if you're the type that thinks all government people are corrupt socialists, and that only the fossil fuel industry is truly looking out for the best interests of everyone, you'll probably choose to disregard the NREL response. OTOH, if you believe the fossil fuel industry is capable of deceit, you'll find it enlightening.

Thanks for providing the response. It's the first time I've seen it...sadly, deceit is not above anyone guided by power (politicians, governments) or money (corporations). One great point that report made was that declining costs in renewable energy result in lower job growth, which is basic economics. It's a shame the PHDs fudged this reality along with who knows what else (I need to read the entire report when I'm more awake).
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LCH WSFO a.m. Discussion (abbreviated):

FXUS64 KLCH 311119
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
619 AM CDT WED AUG 31 2011
.PREV DISCUSSION... /ISSUED 413 AM CDT WED AUG 31 INTERESTING AND TOUGH (no...really??? my comments)FORECAST FOR THIS CYCLE. CONFIDENCE IS STILL
LOW...(who'da thunk after THAT grand opening??)THE FURTHER THE FORECAST GOES OUT DUE TO UNCERTAINTY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A TROPICAL WAVE...THAT WILL ENTER THE GULF OF MEXICO TODAY. AS FOR TODAY...NOT EXPECTING TOO MUCH IN THE WAY OF CHANGES........A DISORGANIZED TROPICAL WAVE IS NOTED ON SATELLITE APPROACHING THE YUCATAN PENINSULA...THIS SYSTEM SHOULD CONTINUE TO MOVE WEST-NORTHWEST...WITH TROPICAL MOISTURE FROM THE SYSTEM REACHING THE COASTAL WATERS LATER TONIGHT...AND GRADUALLY INTO THE FORECAST AREA ON THURSDAY...THAT WILL HELP INCREASE RAIN CHANCES...AND ALSO HELP LOWER DAYTIME HIGH
TEMPERATURES A BIT. RAPID DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM DOES NOT SEEM LIKELY AT THIS TIME...AND THAT IS WHY MODELS SUCH AS THE NAM AND CMC ARE DISCOUNTED. IN THE MID TERM...THE ECMWF SOLUTION SEEMS LIKE THE BEST TO LOOK AT...AS IT IS REALLY CLOSE TO ITS ENSEMBLE MEAN AND TO THE GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN. IN THIS SCENARIO...A SURFACE LOW GRADUALLY DEVELOPS IN THE WEST CENTRAL GULF EAST OF THE LOWER TEXAS COAST ON FRIDAY...AND MEANDERS AROUND THE NORTHWEST GULF STAYING OFF THE EAST TEXAS COAST THROUGH THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND. THIS WILL ALLOW A GRADIENT TO DEVELOP BETWEEN THE SURFACE LOW AND HIGH PRESSURE TO THE NORTH...WITH A DECENT EAST TO SOUTHEAST FLOW ACROSS THE FORECAST AREA. THIS SHOULD ALLOW AN INCREASE IN TROPICAL MOISTURE...ESPECIALLY FROM I-10 TO THE SOUTH. DUE TO THE UNCERTAINTY...HAVE KEPT POPS IN THE CHANCE RANGE AT THIS POINT THROUGH THE WEEKEND. ALSO...IF A PROLONGED EAST TO SOUTHEAST FETCH DOES DEVELOP...THIS COULD CAUSE SOME WATER PILING ALONG THE COAST
OVER THE WEEKEND...WHICH COULD LEAD TO HIGHER TIDES BETWEEN 1/2 AND 1 FOOT...AGAIN SUBJECT TO CHANCE ONCE POSITION OR STRENGTH OF SURFACE LOW...IF IT DOES DEVELOP...COMES ABOUT.

STILL LOOKING AT THE POSSIBILITY OF A DECENT COLD FRONT FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR...JUST AFTER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND...WHICH MAY BRING DRIER AND COOLER CONDITIONS...AND LIFT OUT ANY TROPICAL LOW.
RUA

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2301. WxLogic
Quoting Drakoen:
The global models show varying solutions to handling the trough that may recurve Katia. The GFS shows what could potentially be Lee sharpening the upper level trough over the Eastern United States allowing Katia to recurve far east. The ECMWF has a rather complicated solution by keeping Lee farther west (in the GOM) than the other models and developing an area of low pressure associated with a 500mb shortwave trough off the Mid-Atlantic states allowing Katia to recurve. The models that keep Katia farther west such as the NOGAPS, UKMET, and CMC depict Lee not sharpening the upper level trough enough (UKMET), or keeping Lee far enough west, (CMC), or not developing Lee much at all NOGAPS.

At this point, i'm much more worried about the potential for Lee to develop and impact the Gulf Coast States as a significant tropical cyclone.


Now that you mention it... GFS depicted a quite deep TROF across C/E CONUS. Definitely not the depth you would expect in August.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Good morning

Some interesting possibilities opening up as to the long term solution for Katia. Several of the model runs have the ridge building to the West as Katia tries to turn NW keeping the storm fairly far to the West and just North of the PR area.

The GFS has a potential collission between Katia and the GOM system just off the SE coast which, if it did play out as shown on the GFS runs, would probably cause a Fujiwhara effect between the two. When this happens the two systems rotate around a common center point between them cyclonically but they might then merge and Katia as the stronger of the two would dominate.

The danger of this scenario playing out is that it would occur close to the SE coast and could produce a radical track shift for Katia that could bring it close to a landfall. I am very interested to see the future runs of the GFS to see if it hangs on to this as well as how it handles the Fujiwhara interaction between the two.


Oh god not again...

Future Lee is supposed to move back east over Florida I'm assuming?
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Very interesting. The GFDL has moved from the northern camp to be in the southern camp. Remember during Irene the GFDL was stubborn and always farthest to the west. However, it then got in line with the more eastern models and those turned out to be correct.
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2298. hydrus
Quoting GetReal:


I believe that this is what hydrus is trying to post.
lol..I am trying to post a few things..:)...
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2297. 7544
morning looks like all the cmc keeps trying to bend katia further to the west and the others trying to do the same whats changing them ? tia
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2296. Drakoen
The global models show varying solutions to handling the trough that may recurve Katia. The GFS shows what could potentially be Lee sharpening the upper level trough over the Eastern United States allowing Katia to recurve far east. The ECMWF has a rather complicated solution by keeping Lee farther west (in the GOM) than the other models and developing an area of low pressure associated with a 500mb shortwave trough off the Mid-Atlantic states allowing Katia to recurve. The models that keep Katia farther west such as the NOGAPS, UKMET, and CMC depict Lee not sharpening the upper level trough enough (UKMET), or keeping Lee far enough west, (CMC), or not developing Lee much at all NOGAPS.

At this point, i'm much more worried about the potential for Lee to develop and impact the Gulf Coast States as a significant tropical cyclone.
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5:00am Advisory
*Click graphic to magnify (graphics can further be magnified in Link window by clicking on them)

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My twin brother paid me $5k to tattoo his SSN on my foot. Makes it easy for him to start over if something ever happens.
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I've finally been able to post a new blog on Katia's analog storms, after many previous failed attempts. Once again, feel free to point out any errors. The entry discusses major hurricanes following previous east coast storms.
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Quoting skfnek:
Allyson00....sorry to hear you won't be posting those very informative updates. As a Galvestonian I glean every bit of credible data possible and as an XOM retiree I know you have vast resources available to you as a employee of a large O&G company. Thanks again for the updates and sorry you had to put up with so much bullspit.


Thanks...I've decided to post twice a day. I've been with the company (BHP Billiton) for 10 years and am pretty familiar with the "rules". Believe me they send out notices on anything and everything that is disallowed! I'm not going to get fired for posting the info, it would just be a warning. Again, not really upset with anyone and appreciate all the support and concern. Just that I've been a long time member but never post, and when I finally did I felt like I got bashed so was going to back off, but I've got thick skin :) Have to coming from swamps of La.
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2291. hydrus
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2290. GetReal


I believe that this is what hydrus is trying to post.
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2289. Squid28
Quoting Allyson00:


No worries I won't be posting anymore....it's not worth the aggravation. But FYI, we have more than 38,000 employees who all have access to these updates so not too concerned with how many "extra" people read it. It's a summary anyway, it's not like I'm posting the tons of graphics and tools that go along with it, nor posting a link to their server with login information. I'm also posting their copyright info so they get the credit and future business.

Back to being a lurker only ....hope you all have a good day !


If you are going to start a wumail list, I would be greatful if you would include me on it as well.

FWIW, I used to have access to the impact reports as well, and would post the giving credit to them as well with no problems on this blog. That was a few years back though.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Invest:
A weather system for which a tropical cyclone forecast center (NHC, CPHC, or JTWC) is interested in collecting specialized data sets (e.g., microwave imagery) and/or running model guidance. Once a system has been designated as an invest, data collection and processing is initiated on a number of government and academic web sites, including the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (UW-CIMSS). The designation of a system as an invest does not correspond to any particular likelihood of development of the system into a tropical cyclone; operational products such as the Tropical Weather Outlook or the JTWC/TCFA should be consulted for this purpose.


Up to the individual forecast center.



Link

Thanks!
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Quoting Allyson00:


PAC has changed so much since I was a kid. I cringe everytime a large storm pushes up surge into the area and eats away at the swamps. We're losing land at a record rate. It's such a beautiful area (except for the monster mosquitos)!


I'd love to discuss our coastal erosion and land loss problems, but would need a new blog for that. Isle de Jean Charles is almost gone. Probably will be with the next few storms.
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Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:


Good question - been wondering myself what agency/criteria is used to determine "invest" status... TIA for anyone who can answer this...


Invest:
A weather system for which a tropical cyclone forecast center (NHC, CPHC, or JTWC) is interested in collecting specialized data sets (e.g., microwave imagery) and/or running model guidance. Once a system has been designated as an invest, data collection and processing is initiated on a number of government and academic web sites, including the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (UW-CIMSS). The designation of a system as an invest does not correspond to any particular likelihood of development of the system into a tropical cyclone; operational products such as the Tropical Weather Outlook or the JTWC/TCFA should be consulted for this purpose.


Up to the individual forecast center.



Link
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Quoting P451:


Check out my blog entry for what I had here. I'm on Ossining's NE border if you will.

I heard there were some street closures in Ossining from tree damage. Power is still touch and go in some areas of the town. I think there was some flooding problems as you know it's hilly and we've got all those little streams around here that like to flash flood.

I think any heavy damage was extremely isolated here.
,great to hear,i talked to grandma the day of and luckily she never lost power,however 90% of my friends in ct i talk to have lost power,somegetting it back ,some stillwaiting
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2283. skfnek
Allyson00....sorry to hear you won't be posting those very informative updates. As a Galvestonian I glean every bit of credible data possible and as an XOM retiree I know you have vast resources available to you as a employee of a large O&G company. Thanks again for the updates and sorry you had to put up with so much bullspit.
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Quoting ringeaux:


I love 'The PAC'... Good info in those reports. Not sure if anyone was trying to run you off, maybe just making you aware of the 'possible' implications of sharing a paid service. Those are great reports, tho. Thanks.


PAC has changed so much since I was a kid. I cringe everytime a large storm pushes up surge into the area and eats away at the swamps. We're losing land at a record rate. It's such a beautiful area (except for the monster mosquitos)!
Member Since: April 7, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 39
2281. hydrus
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Quoting hurricanehanna:
silly question on my part, but....at what point does an area of interest become and invest? Does it have to do with the percentage of possible development given by the NHC? Just curious. TIA


Good question - been wondering myself what agency/criteria is used to determine "invest" status... TIA for anyone who can answer this...
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2278. ncstorm
Quoting scott39:
Looks like it has grown since yesterday.


yes, because the models are seeing this staying around for several days..thats a lot of moisture..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13451
Quoting CajunCrawfishhunter:


Curious. I see peopel complain about teh media overhyping storms. Tell the over 30 people that died from Irene and tell thier families that the storm was over hyped tell the millions without power it was overhyped. Tell the folks that lost businesses that it was overhyped.

Beign prepared and telling people to be careful and prepar is not overhyping. If only one life was lsot it was not overhyped.

True,people die everyday. Just not from hurricanes! Don't get me wrong,they counted one death,because an elderly man was putting up plywood and died from a heart attack!
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2276. scott39
Quoting ncstorm:
Looks like it has grown since yesterday.
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Quoting scott39:
There is too much ignorance in this world.

No truer words have ever been spoken.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


lol...."can't we all just get along"


Forgive me, I need to add one:

"Use No Hooks"
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Quoting vince1:
OK, Neapolitan, just saw your response about that Spain study on green jobs. Honestly, the truth is hard to find, but if you're suggesting the PHD who conducted the study was bankrolled to make big energy look good, I'd like some proof, lol. Not "rigorous" according to whom? Al Gore? :P

Sorry, just prodding, I am trying my damndest to be civil and objective. :)

If you truly wish to be objective, have a look at the NREL's "Response to the Report 'Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources' from King Carlos University (Spain)" (PDF). Now, if you're the type that thinks all government people are corrupt socialists, and that only the fossil fuel industry is truly looking out for the best interests of everyone, you'll probably choose to disregard the NREL response. OTOH, if you believe the fossil fuel industry is capable of deceit, you'll find it enlightening.
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2272. jpsb
Quoting kmanislander:


We are into the peak weeks for development now and the conditions that were negatively impacting the early season storms are falling away. You will see at least two or three very powerful hurricanes this year IMO, that is alomst a certainty, though not written in stone as is anything with the tropics.
You are probably correct, I've been watching the tropics for 20 years. This year seems a little strange to me, storms are struggling more to develop then I recall in other years.

On another topic I must say forecasting storm tracks has improved greatly in recent years, very impressive how the NHC can now forecast tracks, very impressive.
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Quoting Allyson00:


Appreciate the note and support from you and several others. I'll post the morning and afternoon reports...just to give you guys another prospective on it all. I've lived on the Gulf Coast (Houston, TX & Point-Aux-Chenes, La.) all of my 43 years so I know that information is knowledge in these situations and no one can accurately predict Mother Nature. I'm not easily scared away just don't want to cause any trouble.

Got to get back to work...that's what could get me written up...not posting weather updates :)


I love 'The PAC'... Good info in those reports. Not sure if anyone was trying to run you off, maybe just making you aware of the 'possible' implications of sharing a paid service. Those are great reports, tho. Thanks.
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I'm seeing people post about Irene being "overhyped"....after seeing photos of the damage and the flooding, I'm not sure how this can be true. Granted, you didn't see catastrophic damage and huge numbers of lives lost, but isn't it better to be over-prepared than caught off guard? If the storm had been worse, and the NHC "under-hyped" it, then people would really be complaining. Just my two cents worth this AM.
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2269. scott39
There is too much ignorance in this world.
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2268. ncstorm
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13451
Well, I will check back later and see if this has changed much. Later...


Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
HPC Preliminary Extended Forecast Discussion

Excerpt:

THEREAFTER...TOO MUCH UNCERTAINTY IN THE STRENGTH AND POSITION OF THE GULF OF MX DISTURBANCE LEAD TO MORE OF AN ENS APPROACH TO CONCLUDE THE PERIOD OF INTEREST. IT DOES APPEAR THE WESTERN GULF WILL BE FAVORED GIVEN THE MAJORITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL ENS MEMBERS RESIDE IN THAT PORTION OF THE BASIN. BUT...A MORE CONSERVATIVE APPROACH WAS UTILIZED GIVEN THE FCST UNCERTAINTY IN PLACE.




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About JeffMasters

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