1-in-100 year rains cause extreme flooding in NY, PA; Nate, Maria, and Katia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:37 PM GMT on September 08, 2011

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An extreme rainfall event unprecedented in recorded history has hit the Binghamton, New York area, where 7.49" fell yesterday. This is the second year in a row Binghamton has recorded a 1-in-100 year rain event; their previous all-time record was set last September, when 4.68" fell on Sep 30 - Oct. 1, 2010. Records go back to 1890 in the city. The skies have now cleared in Binghamton, with this morning's rain bringing the city's total rainfall for the 40-hour event to 9.02". However, another large region of rain lies just to the south in Pennsylvania, and all of the rivers in the surrounding region are in major or record flood. The Susquehanna River at Binghamton is at 25.18', its highest level since records began in 1847, and is expected to overtop the flood walls protecting the city this afternoon. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Swatara Creek is 18' over flood stage, and more than 8' above its record flood crest. Widespread flash flooding is occurring across the entire area, and over 125,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.


Figure 1. Radar-observed rainfall from the Binghamton, NY radar.


Figure 2. The Susquehanna River at Binghamton is at its highest flood height on record this morning (25 feet.) Records at this gauge go back to 1847. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.


Figure 3. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, Swatara Creek is 18' over flood stage, and more than 8' above its record flood crest. Records at this gage go back to 1930. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.

The extreme rains are due the the remains of Tropical Storm Lee interacting with a stationary front draped along the Eastern U.S. Adding to the potent moisture mix last night was a stream of tropical moisture associated with Hurricane Katia that collided with the stationary front. You don't often see a major city break its all-time 24-hour precipitation record by a 60% margin, according to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, and he can't recall ever seeing it happen before. It's worth noting that the Susquehanna River Binghamton stream gage, which has been in operation since 1847, is due to be shut off in 3 weeks due to budget cuts. Here's the note at the USGS web site:

NOTICE (03/23/2011)--Data collection at this streamgage may be discontinued after October 1, 2011 due to funding reductions from partner agencies. Although historic data will remain accessible, no new data will be collected unless one or more new funding partners are found. Users who are willing to contribute funding to continue operation of this streamgage should contact Rob Breault or Ward Freeman of the USGS New York Water Science Center at 518-285-5658 or dc_ny@usgs.gov.

Tropical Storm Nate
Tropical Storm Nate formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico yesterday afternoon after the Hurricane Hunters found a well-defined surface circulation and 45 mph surface winds. Nate is the 14th named storm this year, and comes three days before the climatological half-way point of the Atlantic hurricane season, September 10. A typical hurricane season has just 10 - 11 named storms, so we've already had 35% more than a whole season's worth of storms before reaching the season's half-way point. At this rate, 2011 will see 28 named storms, equaling the all-time record set in 2005. Nate's formation date of September 7 puts 2011 in 2nd place for earliest date of arrival of the season's 14th storm. Only 2005 had an earlier formation date of the season's 14th named storm (September 6, when Hurricane Nate got named.) Third place is now held jointly by 1936 and 1933, which got their 14th storm of the season on September 10.

Latest visible satellite loops show that Nate's low-level center is exposed to view, due to northeasterly upper-level winds that are creating a moderate 10 knots of wind shear. This shear is keeping all of Nate's heavy thunderstorms pushed to the south side of the center. Sustained winds at Buoy 42055, about 100 miles to the northwest of the suspected center of Nate, were north at 31 mph at 6:50 am CDT this morning. We haven't had a hurricane hunter aircraft in the storm since yesterday afternoon, and the next plane is due to arrive near 2 pm this afternoon. Water vapor satellite loops show that here is a large area of very dry air from Texas to the north of Nate, and this dry air is probably interfering with the storm's development.

Up until last night's 8 pm EDT runs of the computer models, the models were in general agreement that Nate would meander in the Bay of Campeche for several days, until a ridge of high pressure built in to the north of the storm, forcing it westwards to a landfall in Mexico. However, the latest 2 am EDT run by the GFS model predicts that Nate may gain enough latitude to escape being forced westwards by the ridge, and instead move northwards to make a landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The GFDL, which uses the GFS for its initial conditions, is also on board with this idea, as is the HWRF model, to a lesser degree. The 2 am EDT run of the NOGAPS model did not go along with this idea, though. We will have to wait until the NOAA jet makes its first mission to sample the steering currents in the Gulf of Mexico to get a better idea on how probable this northern path might be; their first flight will be tonight, and the data will make it into the 8 pm models runs that will be available first thing Friday morning. As far as intensity goes, the very dry air to Nate's north should begin being less of a problem for it by Friday, when the upper level winds shift more to blow from the southeast, and the shear drops to the low range, 5 - 10 knots. Since the storm is moving very slowly, it will upwell cooler waters from the depths that will slow intensification, though. The earliest Nate would become a hurricane is probably on Saturday.


Figure 2. GOES-13 image of Hurricane Katia, Tropical Storm Maria, and Tropical Storm Nate taken at 8 am EDT September 8, 2011. Image credit: NASA/GSFC.

Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Maria is midway between the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands the coast of Africa, and due to arrive in the Northern Lesser Antilles late Friday night or Saturday morning. Satellite loops show that Maria has been ripped up pretty badly by the 10 - 20 knots of wind shear affecting it, with the low-level center exposed to view, and a few disorganized clumps of heavy thunderstorms lying to the west and northeast of the center. Water vapor satellite images show that Maria is embedded in a very moist environment. Ocean temperatures are near 28.5°C, which is 2°C above the 26.5°C threshold usually needed to sustain a tropical storm. Maria passed just south of Buoy 41041 this morning, and top sustained winds during passage were 42 mph, gusting to 56 mph. Maria will pass close to buoy 41040 near 8pm EDT tonight.

With wind shear predicted to continue in the moderate range for the next five days, and the storm struggling to maintain its circulation, strengthening of Maria to a hurricane before it reaches the Lesser Antilles seems unlikely at this time. None of the intensity models are calling for Maria to reach hurricane strength until well after the storm passes Puerto Rico. However, Mike Ventrice, a meteorology Ph.D. student at the University of Albany, pointed out to me yesterday that a atmospheric disturbance known as a Convectively-Coupled Kelvin Wave (CCKW) is passing through the Lesser Antilles Islands today, and is headed eastwards towards Maria at 25 mph. Maria will encounter this CCKW Thursday night or Friday morning. There is a great deal of upward-moving air in the vicinity of a CCKW, and will help strengthen the updrafts in Maria's thunderstorms, potentially intensifying the storm. None of our models are detailed enough to "see" CCKWs", so we may see more intensification of the storm than the models are calling for. Given the disorganized state Maria is currently in, though, the extra boost in upward motion provided by the CCKW may not make of a difference to the storm.

The track forecasts for Maria from the various models agree that the storm will affect the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. After it passes the Lesser Antilles, Maria has the usual amount of high uncertainty in its 5 - 7 day track forecast. The models are split on how strong the steering influence a trough of low pressure along the U.S. East Coast will have. The UKMET model prefers a more southerly track for Maria through the Turk and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas towards the U.S. East Coast, while the other models predict a more northwesterly track, with a potential threat to Bermuda. Climatology favors a track that would miss the U.S., with Dr. Bob Hart's track history pages suggesting that Maria has a 14% chance of hitting Canada, 5% chance of hitting Bermuda, and an 18% chance of hitting North Carolina.

Hurricane Katia
Hurricane Katia has brought a few rain showers and some gusty winds of 20 - 30 mph to Bermuda last night and this morning, but is not going to bring hazardous weather to the island as the storm makes it swing around Bermuda today and tomorrow. Latest satellite loops show that Katia is a shadow of its former Category 4 self, as dry air has eaten into the southwest side of the storm into the eye. Katia's outer rainbands should remain just offshore from North Carolina, New England, and the Canadian Maritime provinces at the point of closest approach. The main impact of Katia will be a multi-day period of high surf leading to beach erosion and dangerous rip currents.

I'll have an update this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

Bryn Athyn, PA (HighRdGeo)
Fetters Mill 9-8-11 morning
Bryn Athyn, PA

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Quoting nash28:


Ok this is getting ridiculous...

How ANYONE can call themselves a Republican or Democrat in today's day and age is stunning!!!! Any one of you who believes "your party" is righteous needs to have your heads examined. If you look/looked up to GWB or Obama, you need to have your heads examined. Neither party gives a rats stinky rear about you, and the quicker you figure that out, the less mentally constipated you will be. Mkay? Great.

Back to the weather... AGAIN!


All political parties should be abolished and everyone should run as independents.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3022
Meanwhile off the coast of Africa...

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Quoting redwagon:

Here's Hermine, hit 'Mexico' Sept 9-10 of last year. Brought 16" to some places in centex.

But here's the rain TX got out of her:

We need to be on the *NE* side of Nate.


Nate needs to be as large as Alex.
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Quoting Dakster:


Now you did it. Put Nate's information on post # 666...


Lol...Oops. It seems like I get the 666th post a lot. Sign maybe?
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
ok thanks
Member Since: August 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 378
Quoting scooster67:


Papa John chose a much better location. WOW!


Poor little Caesar's...
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Nate:

181630 1923N 09147W 9522 00435 //// +175 //// 202077 079 060 010 05


Now you did it. Put Nate's information on post # 666...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10251
Quoting FLdewey:
Just a few more inches before it starts to really hurt.



Binghamton Flood wall downtown - 8 foot drop on the other side.


Can't believe the wall is holding that good....apparently the Army Corps of Engineers wasn't involved in the construction.
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
676. Caner
Quoting angiest:


You are being trolled.


yeah i picked up on that as well...
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179
Recon is finding winds close to hurricane force with Nate.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
The Susquehanna River now has the biggest flow of any river in North America.

At Marietta, PA (south of Harrisburg, PA) the river flow is 564,000 CFS.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=0157600 0

At Vickburg, MS the current Mississippi river flow is 334,000 CFS.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=0728900 0

And yeah, I know how to do links. But the link button isn't working for me now.

This should pass the 1936 floods and be the second greatest flood on record for the Susquehanna.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
18:19:30Z 19.283N 91.800W 949.8 mb
(~ 28.05 inHg) 472 meters
(~ 1,549 feet) 1003.4 mb
(~ 29.63 inHg) - From 213 at 73 knots
(From the SSW at ~ 83.9 mph)

Recon from Nate. This can't be right
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Quoting scooster67:


Papa John chose a much better location. WOW!


Wow. Funny people. Funny.
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The Susquehanna River now has the biggest flow of any river in North America.

At Marietta, PA (south of Harrisburg, PA) the river flow is 564,000 CFS.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=0157600 0

At Vickburg, MS the current Mississippi river flow is 334,000 CFS.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=0728900 0

And yeah, I know how to do links. But the link button isn't working for me now.

This should pass the 1936 floods and be the second greatest flood on record for the Susquehanna.
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Quoting uptxcoast:


Be ready to but I would wait until there is a little better agreement on the track. This weekend might be a little premature. As always, any storm in the Gulf needs to be watched no matter where you are or what you think of "The Ridge"



You are being trolled.
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Nate:

181630 1923N 09147W 9522 00435 //// +175 //// 202077 079 060 010 05
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10244
664. Caner
Quoting DavidHOUTX:


ok so your saying there is a 98% chance of this hitting Texas now?


>>ROFLMAO<<

Makes me wish i had read that more thoroughly... I stopped reading after the first line or two and consigned it to standard drivel.
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179
Quoting skook:

Near Hershey pa.


Link


Papa John chose a much better location. WOW!
Member Since: September 26, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 637
662. JLPR2
Quoting bird72:
12z GFDL:


HOUR: .0 LONG: -50.32 LAT: 12.62 MIN PRESS (hPa): 1007.05 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 36.73
HOUR: 6.0 LONG: -51.82 LAT: 12.80 MIN PRESS (hPa): 1002.47 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 47.49
HOUR: 12.0 LONG: -53.35 LAT: 12.85 MIN PRESS (hPa): 1002.06 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 42.18
HOUR: 18.0 LONG: -55.06 LAT: 12.98 MIN PRESS (hPa): 999.64 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 44.39
HOUR: 24.0 LONG: -56.96 LAT: 13.48 MIN PRESS (hPa): 999.32 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 47.70
HOUR: 30.0 LONG: -58.67 LAT: 14.18 MIN PRESS (hPa): 996.91 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 57.42
HOUR: 36.0 LONG: -59.97 LAT: 15.10 MIN PRESS (hPa): 989.51 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 73.94
HOUR: 42.0 LONG: -61.63 LAT: 15.77 MIN PRESS (hPa): 987.63 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 63.90
HOUR: 48.0 LONG: -62.95 LAT: 16.48 MIN PRESS (hPa): 984.43 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 70.63
HOUR: 54.0 LONG: -64.35 LAT: 17.38 MIN PRESS (hPa): 978.40 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 75.44
HOUR: 60.0 LONG: -65.41 LAT: 18.17 MIN PRESS (hPa): 971.95 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 87.39HOUR: 66.0 LONG: -66.88 LAT: 18.84 MIN PRESS (hPa): 975.07 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 87.12
HOUR: 72.0 LONG: -68.30 LAT: 19.53 MIN PRESS (hPa): 976.64 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 87.55
HOUR: 78.0 LONG: -69.80 LAT: 20.28 MIN PRESS (hPa): 977.50 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 72.21
HOUR: 84.0 LONG: -71.01 LAT: 20.88 MIN PRESS (hPa): 976.57 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 89.10
HOUR: 90.0 LONG: -72.31 LAT: 21.57 MIN PRESS (hPa): 968.14 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 98.30
HOUR: 96.0 LONG: -73.53 LAT: 22.25 MIN PRESS (hPa): 965.78 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS): 91.99
HOUR:102.0 LONG: -74.50 LAT: 22.96 MIN PRESS (hPa): 961.40 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS):103.60
HOUR:108.0 LONG: -75.53 LAT: 23.50 MIN PRESS (hPa): 957.28 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS):106.43
HOUR:114.0 LONG: -76.40 LAT: 23.98 MIN PRESS (hPa): 955.42 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS):108.48
HOUR:120.0 LONG: -77.22 LAT: 24.39 MIN PRESS (hPa): 953.23 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS):105.46
HOUR:126.0 LONG: -77.85 LAT: 24.72 MIN PRESS (hPa): 951.92 MAX SURF WIND (KNOTS):107.43

:O :O :O doom!



If this materializes I guess I'll have to move my potted plants. :\
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661. SLU
Based on the latest visible imagery, MARIA does seem to have a tiny closed circulation.
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Quoting uptxcoast:
For everyone in the Houston area concerned about Nate, you should be.

1. A hit to our east would be devasting for reasons listed above.
2. A hit from a hurricane. While not likely anything in the Gulf should be watched.

My OPINION based on data right NOW is as following

70% chance hitting Mexico
28% chance Hitting the Northern gulf East of Texas
2% chance of some sort of craziness going on.

This could change in a heartbeat once the HH get into Nate again.

You should always be prepared for a Hurricane.
Now, you need to be prepared for an evacuation for fire. If you live in Texas it would be a good idea to keep all important paperwork with you at all times. I have Insurance policies, Hard Drive, Birth Certificates, etc in a bag right next to me. Pictures are in the car.

The point is we need to be prepared for a number of things and nothing can be ruled out.

Here's Hermine, hit 'Mexico' Sept 9-10 of last year. Brought 16" to some places in centex.

But here's the rain TX got out of her:

We need to be on the *NE* side of Nate.
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Quoting DFWjc:


We need like a CC/Aransas Pass float over...that should take care of most of the fires that are going, my dad is exhausted after 9 days of traveling to fight these things...


Well - God Bless your dad for helping. I missed a fire by 3 miles N of Lagrange. It was West of my place and ended up going South and burning 2000 acres and 7 homes.
Member Since: September 13, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 12
Quoting basti11:
ok first of all by NATE becoming a hurricane will not be a factor on THE DIRECTION he moves in...second the most CRITICAL TIME if NATE is going to change his direction will be from saturday morning until sunday at noon...now we have 2 factors that will cause this ...first factor is the HIGH PRESSURE which is south of NATE in the caribbean sea ...this will build north causing nate to drift north for a few hours...this high has to get stronger to complete the full task to get NATE TO the NORTHERN GULFCOAST..right now it remains a weak high...second factor the texas high is BUILDING AND STRENGTHNING OVER TEXAS..this could even shove NATE more to the south back into the YUCATAN..so as i see it there is no way for NATE to go except into TEXAS unless NATE gets sandwhiched between the 2 and causes him to just meander in the BOC for several days..if this occurs and i only give this a 2% chance then we would have BIG PROBLEMS ALONG THE GULFCOAST..


ok so your saying there is a 98% chance of this hitting Texas now?
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:


The anchovies are very fresh!


Just have to be careful they do not swim away from you.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10251
Quoting Msuknotmet:
Here we go again!

NEW YORK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The dreaded La Nina weather anomaly, blamed
for both drought and record snowfall in the U.S., has returned and will
garner strength during the coming winter, the U.S. Climate Prediction
Center forecast Thursday.
"While it is not yet clear what the ultimate strength of this La Nina will be, La Nina conditions have returned and are expected to gradually strengthen and continue into the Northern Hemisphere winter (of) 2011-12," the CPC said in a monthly update.
It said waters in the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean
cooled in August, and the "oceanic and atmospheric patterns reflect the
return of La Nina conditions."


I would LOVE another white Christmas. We rarely see them in the southeast.
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Quoting thesituation:
My husband has his boat at a Marina in Gavelston. Should he pull it out of the water this weekend because of the storm coming?
Yes! And go sail it back to Jersey!
Member Since: June 21, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 329
652. SLU
Recon heading to MARIA

At 17:56:00Z (last observation), the observation was 5 miles (8 km) between the S and SSW (191°) from Salem, Montserrat.
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Quoting Dakster:


They have a new boat up window there... (I know, I know, bad joke...) I guess I should step away from the vicodin...


The anchovies are very fresh!
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Here we go again!

NEW YORK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The dreaded La Nina weather anomaly, blamed
for both drought and record snowfall in the U.S., has returned and will
garner strength during the coming winter, the U.S. Climate Prediction
Center forecast Thursday.
"While it is not yet clear what the ultimate strength of this La Nina will be, La Nina conditions have returned and are expected to gradually strengthen and continue into the Northern Hemisphere winter (of) 2011-12," the CPC said in a monthly update.
It said waters in the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean
cooled in August, and the "oceanic and atmospheric patterns reflect the
return of La Nina conditions."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
649. Jax82
Quoting P451:
Seems the eastward progression of Nate stopped. And he may have every so slightly come a hair back west but appears stalled for the mot part.



Structure has not change. Convection all displaced in the SW Quad as a result of the combination of dry air and NE shear.



I hope there are no deforested mountains in Mexico, Nate may be visiting for a while.
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New

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647. ryang
Quoting barbadosjulie:
ryang....Thoughts for us?


I'm waiting to see what RECON finds 1st... interesting evening ahead.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12432
646. DFWjc
Quoting nativhoustonian:
One concern that we have in the Houston/Central Tx area is that we might get the West side winds of Nate, which compare to the winds of Lee that fueled the fires.

We are on pins and needles between drought, fires, and hurricanes. Winds are breaking dry tree limbs into electric lines and starting most of these fires.


We need like a CC/Aransas Pass float over...that should take care of most of the fires that are going, my dad is exhausted after 9 days of traveling to fight these things...
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Quoting thesituation:
My husband has his boat at a Marina in Gavelston. Should he pull it out of the water this weekend because of the storm coming?


Be ready to but I would wait until there is a little better agreement on the track. This weekend might be a little premature. As always, any storm in the Gulf needs to be watched no matter where you are or what you think of "The Ridge"

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644. Caner
Anyone know that time the 2pm model runs will complete, offhand?
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179
643. jpsb
Quoting thesituation:
My husband has his boat at a Marina in Gavelston. Should he pull it out of the water this weekend because of the storm coming?
If is is easy to pull it, why not? Better safe then sorry. That said it is way to early to know what conditions are going to be in Galveston due to Nate. Most boats can handle a T.S. in the marina if they are secured well and the boats around them also secured well. Use lots of spring lines so the boat can rise (or fall) with the water.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1191
642. skook
Quoting Caner:


Mental note:

Do not order pizza in Hershey, PA for a couple of years.




that is outside of hershey park.. which is also flooding, so you might wanna skip out on park food too..
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Quoting Caner:


Mental note:

Do not order pizza in Hershey, PA for a couple of years.


They have a new boat up window there... (I know, I know, bad joke...) I guess I should step away from the vicodin...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10251
Quoting Caner:


Mental note:

Do not order pizza in Hershey, PA for a couple of years.



If it keeps raining over there (I hope not) they're gonna have to change the name from Pizza Hut to the Krusty Crab
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Quoting Dakster:


Possible, but I am really interested in the HH data for the 8pm run tonight. That *might* help us get a clearer picture on what should be going on.

This will also help with what Maria should do, since she is also a potential threat to CONUS (and others along the way).


Did you really post about the Hersey Highway being constipated and no one responded??

What's wrong with this blog!!
Member Since: August 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5236
Quoting Caner:


That's not correct, actually.

The Netherlands has the highest incident per Sq KM, with the UK in second place.

However, that calculation encompasses countries entire landmasses, not local regions.

If you were to apply the landmass of the Netherlands or the UK to almost any plot of Midwestern states, they would be far, far far and away much higher.

So it's kind of a misleading stat. The overall landmass of the US just drags the average down.


Thank you,
Makes sense
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636. Caner
Quoting skook:

Near Hershey pa.


Link


Mental note:

Do not order pizza in Hershey, PA for a couple of years.
Member Since: June 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 179

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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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