TD 13 intensifying; Katia may pass uncomfortably close to U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:28 PM GMT on September 02, 2011

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Tropical Depression Thirteen formed last night over the Northern Gulf of Mexico and is slowly intensifying, but isn't in a hurry to go anywhere. What TD 13 will do is dump torrential rains along the northern Gulf Coast over the next three or more days. So far, rain amounts along the coast have mostly been below one inch. At New Orleans Lakefront Airport, just 0.32" inches of rain had fallen from TD 13 as of 10 am CDT. Some coastal regions have received up to two inches, according to radar rainfall estimates. TD 13 is generating a large area of 30 - 35 mph winds over the Gulf of Mexico. At 7:20 am CDT, winds at the Mississippi Canyon 711 oil rig were southeast at 47 mph. This is above tropical storm force, but the wind instrument was 348 feet (106 m) above the ocean surface, and winds near the surface were probably considerably lower, near 35 mph. Latest surface wind observations from an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft support leaving TD 13 as a tropical depression. Long range radar out of Mobile, Alabama shows heavy rain showers building along the northern Gulf Coast, but these rain showers are not well-organized into spiral bands. Strong upper-level winds out of the west-northwest are creating a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear over TD 13, keeping the storm's heavy thunderstorms disorganized and pushed to the east side of the storm. However, latest satelllite loops show TD 13 is becoming increasingly organized, with a respectable spiral band forming on the southeast side, and an increase and areal coverage of heavy thunderstorm activity. This is very likely to be a tropical storm later today.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated rainfall from TD 13 from the New Orleans radar.


Figure 2. U.S. drought conditions on August 30. The rains from TD 13 have the potential to bring major drought relief to drought-stricken portions of the coast. Note how Eastern North Carolina is no longer in drought, thanks to the rains from Hurricane Irene. These rains also came close to putting out a persistent fire that had been burning in the Great Dismal Swamp near the Virginia/North Carolina border. Image Credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.

Forecast for TD 13
TD 13's large size, ill-formed circulation center, and the presence of dry air on its west side due to an upper-level trough of low pressure argue against rapid intensification of the storm for the next three days. Also tending to slow intensification will be the slow movement of the storm, which will allow cold water from the depths to rise to the surface, thanks to wind and wave action. Tropical cyclones strongly cool the water's surface when they pass over it, as seen in the time vs. depth chart of sea surface temperatures during Hurricane Irene's passage along the New Jersey coast (Figure 3.) However, the Gulf of Mexico has some very warm waters near TD 13 that extend to great depth (Figure 4), so the surface cooling imparted by TD 13 will be less than that seen for Hurricane Irene. As TD 13 moves closer to the coast, more and more of its circulation will be over land, which will also slow intensification. NHC's 11 am EDT wind probability forecast for TD 13 gave the storm a 23% chance of intensifying into a hurricane by Sunday. Assuming TD 13 does not attain hurricane strength, wind damage and storm surge damage will likely not be the main concern--fresh water flooding from heavy rains will be the most dangerous impact. Also of concern is the possibility of tornadoes. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is currently not highlighting the Gulf Coast in their "slight risk" area for severe weather, due to the lack of enough solar heating to create instability. However, there will be plenty of wind shear in the lower part of the atmosphere that can potentially create spin in the coastal thunderstorms, and it is possible that as TD 13 intensifies, it may be able to generate several dozen tornadoes.

Coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the extreme western Panhandle of Florida will likely receive very heavy flooding rains that will intensify Saturday and peak on Sunday. These rains should be able to put out the stubborn marsh fire east of New Orleans that has brought several days of air quality alerts to the city, but may cause moderate to severe flooding problems in other areas. The latest rainfall forecast from NOAA Hydrological Prediction Center shows that a large area of 15+ inches of rain is expected over Southeast Louisiana and coastal Mississippi. The region is under moderate drought, so flooding problems will be delayed compared to what we'd normally expect from heavy rains of over a foot. Flash flood watches are posted for New Orleans and surrounding areas, and rainfall amounts of 1 - 3 inches per hour are possible in some of the heavier rain squalls. Ocean temperatures are near record warmth, 88°F (31°C), which will provide plenty of moisture for heavy rains, and plenty of energy to help TD 13 strengthen into a strong tropical storm. Steering currents will be weak in the Gulf this weekend and early next week, which will likely make the motion of TD 13 erratic at times.


Figure 3. EPA, in conjunction with Rutgers University and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, has an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV, aka the Glider) deployed off the coast of NJ (since early August) continuously monitoring ocean temperature, density, salinity, sound velocity and dissolved oxygen at different depths. The AUV's path and data are displayed at the following website: http://marine.rutgers.edu/cool/auvs/index.php?did =221&view=imagery. The plot of temperature versus time above shows that in the weeks prior to the arrival of Irene, the ocean was heavily stratified, with warm waters of 24 - 26°C (75 - 79°F, red colors) extending from the surface to a depth of 10 - 15 meters. A sharp thermocline existed at a depth of about 15 meters, and ocean temperatures were colder than 14°C (57°F, dark blue colors) below the thermocline. The strong winds and high wave action of Hurricane Irene on August 28 - 29 stirred up cold water from the depths to the surface, cooling the surface waters to 17 - 19°C (63 - 67°F). In the days since the hurricane, surface waters have begun to warm again. Thanks go to Kevin Kubik, Deputy Director of the Division of Environmental Science and Assessment for EPA Region 2, for making me aware of this data.


Figure 4. The total amount of heat energy in the ocean available to fuel a tropical cyclone, in kilojoules per square centimeter of surface area. Tropical cyclones that move over ocean areas with TCHP values in excess of 70 - 90 kJ/cm^2 commonly undergo rapid intensification. Waters that are warm to a great depth have the highest TCHP, and the Loop Current that brings warm water northwards from the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico usually has the highest TCHP values in the Atlantic. Currently, we have an eddy that broke off from the Loop Current earlier this summer, now located a few hundred miles south of the Louisiana coast, that also has high TCHP values. Image Credit: NOAA/AOML.

Hurricane Katia
Hurricane Katia is continuing its long trek across the Atlantic Ocean today, and will not pose a danger to any land areas over the next five days. Katia is still struggling with dry air and moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots. Latest satellite loops show surface-based arc-shaped clouds racing to the southwest away from Katia's core, a sign that dry air is penetrating into Katia's thunderstorms and creating strong downdrafts that are robbing the storm of heat and moisture. Katia is over warm ocean waters of 28.5°C, and these waters will increase in temperature to 29°C over the next five days. Katia will pass well north of the region of cooler waters stirred up by the passage of Hurricane Irene last week.

The models are split on when the upper-level trough of low pressure bringing the wind shear to Katia will move away, and the storm may spend two more days battling wind shear and dry air before the upper-level trough pulls away to the north and allows Katia to intensify more readily. It is still unclear how much of a threat Katia may pose to the U.S., but it is becoming increasingly clear that Katia will pass uncomfortably close to the U.S. East Coast. The trough of low pressure currently steering Katia to the northwest will lift out early next week, and a ridge of high pressure is expected to build in, forcing Katia more to the west. This decreases the danger to Bermuda, but increases the danger to the U.S. A second trough of low pressure is expected to begin affecting Katia by the middle of next week, and will potentially recurve the storm out to sea before it hits the U.S. However, the models differ widely on the strength and timing of this trough. Meteorologist Grant Elliot of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology in Perth pointed out to me yesterday that the long-range forecast for Katia has more than the usual amount of uncertainty, due to the inability of the computer models to agree on what will happen to Tropical Storm Talas in the Western Pacific. Talas is expected to hit Japan early on Saturday as a strong tropical storm, then race northwestwards into the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. Talas is then expected to transition into a powerful extratropical storm in the waters south of Alaska. This storm will create a ripple effect downstream in the jet stream, all the way to North America, by early next week. The timing and amplitude of the trough of low pressure off the U.S. East Coast expected to potentially recurve Katia out to sea next week is highly dependent upon the strength of Tropical Storm Talas during its transition to an extratropical storm. The computer models are not very good at handling these sorts of transitions, leading to more than the usual amount of uncertainty in the long-range outlook for Katia. It will probably be another 2 - 3 days before the models will begin to converge on a solution for the long-term fate of Katia. Dr. Bob Hart's Historical Tropical Cyclone Probability web page suggests shows that tropical storms in Katia's current position have a 17% chance of hitting North Carolina, a 21% chance of hitting Canada, a 13% chance of hitting New England, and a 55% chance of never hitting land. One almost certain impact of Katia on the U.S. will be large waves. Long period swells from Katia will begin affecting the Bahamas on Sunday night, then reach the Southeast U.S. by Monday morning. By Tuesday morning, the entire U.S. East Coast will see high surf from Katia, and these waves will increase in size and power as the storm grows closer. Given the slow movement of Katia as it approaches the coast, plus its expected Category 1 to 3 strength as it approaches, the storm will probably cause extensive beach erosion and dangerous rip tides for many days.

94L
A well-organized low pressure system with a surface circulation but limited heavy thunderstorm activity due to high wind shear is 450 miles south of Halifax, Canada. This disturbance, (94L), is headed northeast out to sea, and is being given a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by NHC. 94L is under a high 25 - 30 knots of wind shear, but this shear is expected to fall to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, by Saturday morning. However, sea surface temperature will fall from 27°C today to 25°C Saturday morning underneath 94L, and the storm will have a very short window of time to get organized enough to get a name. At this point, it's really a subjective judgement call on whether or not 94L is already a tropical storm.


Figure 5. A Portlight volunteer works to clear storm debris from Hurricane Irene 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 each morning over the coming holiday weekend; wunderground meteorologists Angela Fritz, Rob Carver, and Shaun Tanner will be handling the afternoon and evening posts. Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Jeff Masters

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2987. DFWjc
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


ROFLMFAO! Thanks HoustonTxGal (hangs head down in shame)
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2986. pcola57
Quoting DFWjc:


looks like a baby with it's umbilical cord wrapping around...


A possible birthing ?
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2984. DFWjc
Quoting luigi18:

Fetus!


HA beat ya!!!
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2983. luigi18
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Woop woop. Dat outflow...



LOL.

Fetus!
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2982. DFWjc
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Woop woop. Dat outflow...



LOL.


looks like a baby with it's umbilical cord wrapping around...
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2981. h0db
Katia moving 5-day cone

I'm not doubting the NHC, but follow the orange dot at the pointy end showing actual location.
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2980. pcola57
Quoting DFWjc:


oops that was supposed to be my inner voice...dang it


LOL..LOL!!
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Quoting JasonisAFOOLman:
SOMEONE BRING OUT THE FUNKTOP! LETS GET THIS PARTY STARTED!
Woop woop. Dat outflow...



LOL.
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2978. Levi32
Quoting louisianaboy444:


Watch this Levi and tell me what you think this is a very reliable Meteorologist out of Lafayette...

http://www.katc.com/videos/weather-your-desk-frid ay-10pm-update1/


Well I dislike how his only reason for calling Lee not fully tropical is that "there is a lot of dry air on the western side" lol. His discussion of the storm effects was fine, but he didn't really give his forecast for Lee, and just showed the model solutions. Overall his presentation of what to be aware of was great though.
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2977. DFWjc
Quoting franck:


Thanks for that graphic!


oops that was supposed to be my inner voice...dang it
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2975. franck
Quoting DFWjc:


my phone only does caps, i was using the toilet and chatting at the same time...LOL


Thanks for that graphic!
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2974. pcola57
Quoting P451:



I agree with your posts.

Unfortunately many on here are not open to such lines of thinking....and questioning the NHC, or Dr. M, or even some of the "well respected" bloggers is considered a violation of the community standards to them.

It's a common dynamic you will find to be quite pervasive.

It is a reason many very good bloggers and mets have left this site over the years. They just grew tired of the attacks.



Well put P451.I couldn't agree more.
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Quoting DFWjc:


my phone only does caps, i was using the toilet and chatting at the same time...LOL
what kind of phone do you have ? I am not going there on the second part of your post...btw, I hope you washed your hands...
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Quoting hunkerdown:
Sorry, understood.


Its fine, I'm not mad, or attacking you or anyone else here, just having some discussion.
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Quoting DFWjc:


my phone only does caps, i was using the toilet and chatting at the same time...LOL


TMI!
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2970. DFWjc
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:
thx mississippi and DFW..

DFW.. I hear ya mane.. I had a few problems like that with sum morons.. But the best thing to do is to try your best to ignore idiots like that.. I know sometimes they will get out of hand..

O well.. Probably come back later.. y'all behave now.. Peace!!


sounds good! catch ya later...
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2969. DFWjc
deleted
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2967. DFWjc
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


I have been looking for that, I used all my blinks and other drivers are getting upset with me!


you've got mail...
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Quoting Jedkins01:


You may have misunderstood what I was commenting on, I never said Lee isn't a tropical storm, recon confirmed it is. But the fact is, tropical storm force winds are not being felt in Louisiana except gusts in rain bands. But the hap shows a large portion of Southeast Louisiana in tropical storm force winds.

When there isn't any data in that area supporting tropical storm force winds at the surface, there is no reason for me to trust the map. That is illogical.
Sorry, understood.
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thx mississippi and DFW..

DFW.. I hear ya mane.. I had a few problems like that with sum morons.. But the best thing to do is to try your best to ignore idiots like that.. I know sometimes they will get out of hand..

O well.. Probably come back later.. y'all behave now.. Peace!!
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Quoting HoustonTxGal:


Here we go again
I was letting him know he had mail...
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00z NOGAPS passing just northeast of the Bahamas. This has been my thinking for a while now...a track somewhat similar to Irene. Kind of a trend that happened last year occurring this year again (take Alex's, 02L's, Matthew's, Karl's, and Richard's tracks for example...they all were pretty similar). Just this year's pattern, if you will.

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Quoting DFWjc:


Hey HouTxGal can we use some of this?



I have been looking for that, I used all my blinks and other drivers are getting upset with me!
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2960. GetReal
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
2959. scCane


Looks like it is sucking in a bit of dry air.
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
Well, I'm off to bed, too. I'll be dreaming of the rain they say is coming. All night it's danced just short of us, so maybe it'll be here in the morning.

Levi, don't defend yourself to anyone. You don't have to.

Everyone in the possible flood zones, stay safe and don't take any unnecessay chances.
I've been wanting to tell you, that you have a cute puppy there :)
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Quoting hunkerdown:
I believe both Levi and recon has proved otherwise.


You may have misunderstood what I was commenting on, I never said Lee isn't a tropical storm, recon confirmed it is. But the fact is, tropical storm force winds are not being felt in Louisiana except gusts in rain bands, even though the hap shows a large portion of Southeast Louisiana in tropical storm force.

When there isn't any data in that area supporting tropical storm force winds at the surface, there is no reason for me to trust the map. That is illogical.


With Lee moving north into the coast, I'm sure tropical storm force winds will begin being felt, and will spread inland eventually, and might already be on the extreme southern coast, but there isn't a widespread area of southeast Louisiana in a tropical storm force wind field yet, all you need is a pair of eyes and look through the data.
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Quoting hunkerdown:
incoming...


Here we go again
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Quoting jascott1967:


That's not at all the scenario you portrayed. I know damn well you had the disturbance in the gulf tugging Katia into the lower CONUS as a possibility. I watch your tidbits, I find them informative and I know you're not being honest with the one you doctored regarding the GOM disturbance and Katia. No shame in admiting you're wrong.


Ease up a bit brother, I don't think Levi would doctor his videos
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2954. DFWjc
Quoting HoustonTxGal:


Yes, but it is in short supply due to the drought. Hard to come by.


Hey HouTxGal can we use some of this?

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2953. scott39
Looks like the shear is blowing S to W and Lee may have more of a chance to develope some more before it makes landfall....If Lee does it soon like it looks. With the center being more WSW, this puts Lee over water a little bit longer. If it goes over SE La. still turning to the NE slowly, it could go over more water. Time will tell.
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2952. pcola57
Quoting MississippiWx:


Yeah, Levi showed sustained winds on a buoy that were well over tropical storm force. Taking buoys out of the equation, recon is finding constant winds in excess of tropical storm force.


Starting to ramp up a tad.Not Good.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


Yeah but when there are no tropical storm force winds present in the entire area, I'm not going to just believe the NHC is right because they said so. The NHC are weather experts, and I do have a lot of respect for them, but they are human beings, and they can be wrong, they didn't create the Universe.

To err is human.
incoming...
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Quoting jascott1967:


That's not at all the scenario you portrayed. I know damn well you had the disturbance in the gulf tugging Katia into the lower CONUS as a possibility. I watch your tidbits, I find them informative and I know you're not being honest with the one you doctored regarding the GOM disturbance and Katia. No shame in admiting you're wrong.


You're the one who needs to do the admitting, my friend. You're taking parts of different videos and putting them together.
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2948. Levi32
2932.

Flight-level wind reduction to surface estimate is generally around 10% or so. 40-45kt winds have been consistent on the oil rig anemometers, and that's far lower than any aircraft flight level...even a 20% reduction still supports tropical storm force.
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2947. air360
For most of the model runs (especially GFS) it shows katia making a sudden turn to the N or even NE right before the east coast. Is such a drastic turn even possible? It seems that its almost a straight 90 degree turn on some runs. Just wondering if it can literally and realistically "turn so drastic"
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Well, I'm off to bed, too. I'll be dreaming of the rain they say is coming. All night it's danced just short of us, so maybe it'll be here in the morning.

Levi, don't defend yourself to anyone. You don't have to.

Everyone in the possible flood zones, stay safe and don't take any unnecessay chances.
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2945. DFWjc
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


No ur good.. I know this blog can get out of control lots of times with trolls and all.. But anyways, I come in Peace! lol


after last blog, let's just say, i couldn't be restrained from that jerk...
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Quoting Levi32:


45kt (40kt) reports get rounded down to 40kts (35kts) at the surface if they are at flight-level, and oil rigs are even closer to the ground than flight-level. Those reports support TS force winds.


Watch this Levi and tell me what you think this is a very reliable Meteorologist out of Lafayette...

http://www.katc.com/videos/weather-your-desk-frid ay-10pm-update1/
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Quoting franck:


So it just makes a gallon? Can't buy concentrate..like orange juice??


Yes, but it is in short supply due to the drought. Hard to come by.
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Quoting JGreco:


Thats funny...didn't Levi just state that they found gusts higher than the sustained winds currently depicted on the NHC site for Lee. I must have been imagining things....never mind.


Yeah, Levi showed sustained winds on a buoy that were well over tropical storm force. Taking buoys out of the equation, recon is finding constant winds in excess of tropical storm force.
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2941. Levi32
Quoting jascott1967:


That's not at all the scenario you portrayed. I know damn well you had the disturbance in the gulf tugging Katia into the lower CONUS as a possibility. I watch your tidbits, I find them informative and I know you're not being honest with the one you doctored regarding the GOM disturbance and Katia. No shame in admiting you're wrong.


Please read post 2882. The situations portrayed were different, though yes involving the same system, and a week or more out I might add.
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Quoting DFWjc:


never said you were, just don't wanna go there two nights in a row... no offense to you, just saying that's all. my apologies if you took it that way...


No ur good.. I know this blog can get out of control lots of times with trolls and all.. But anyways, I come in Peace! lol
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2939. DFWjc
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:
Levi or Mississipi.. Or anyone that wants to answer if y'all want.. After this SW drift, would it be possible if it stalls.. If it does.. What direction you think it will go from there? Back to the North or go NNE or neither of those..


here's what WU has...

Tropical Storm Lee
Wind: 45 MPH — Location: 28.2N 91.6W —Movement: N
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2938. franck
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
Very funny stuff ...


So it just makes a gallon? Can't buy concentrate..like orange juice??
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2937. srada
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:
Hi everyone.. hope everyone is playing nice haha .. Well just checking up and been busy.. hmm a SW drift by Lee.. Thats not good, more time in the water def has a chance to get stronger.. Specially for a slow mover like this one..

Hey i had a thought earlier.. Can we name the next hurricane Shaniqua or something? I feel like if we give hurricanes ghetto names, people will be more inclined to get away from them. Hurricane Irene sounds friendly. Hurricane Shaniqua will rip out your weave if you look at it wrong.. what y'all think?? lol


hmmm..what I think is that Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell) wants his look back..
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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.