Fourteen U.S. billion-dollar weather disasters in 2011: a new record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:12 PM GMT on November 04, 2011

Share this Blog
33
+

It's time to add another billion-dollar weather disaster to the growing 2011 total of these costly disasters: the extraordinary early-season Northeast U.S. snowstorm of October 29, which dumped up to 32 inches of snow, brought winds gusts of 70 mph to the coast, and killed at least 22 people. Not since the infamous snow hurricane of 1804 have such prodigious amounts of October snow been recorded in New England and, to a lesser extent, in the mid-Atlantic states. Trees that had not yet lost their leaves suffered tremendous damage from the wet, heavy snow. Snapped branches and falling trees brought down numerous power lines, leaving at least 3 million people without electricity. The damage estimate in Connecticut alone is $3 billion, far more than the damage Hurricane Irene did to the state. Hundreds of thousands still remain without power a week after the storm, with full electricity not expected to be restored until Monday.


Figure 1. Wet, heavy snow from the October 29, 2011 snowstorm weighing down trees still sporting their fall leaves in Winchester, VA. Image credit: wunderphotographer MaddScientist98.

The October 29 snow storm brings the 2011 tally of U.S. billion-dollar weather disasters to fourteen, thoroughly smashing the previous record of nine such disasters, set in 2008. Between 1980 - 2010, the U.S. averaged 3.5 of these weather disasters per year. Through August, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) estimated that ten weather disasters costing at least $1 billion had hit the U.S., at total cost of up to $45 billion. However, the October 29 snow storm brings us up to eleven billion-dollar disasters, and a new disaster analysis done by global reinsurance company AON Benfield adds three more. Flood damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee in the Northeast on September 8 is now estimated at more than $1 billion, and two outbreaks of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes--one in April and one in June--now have damage estimates exceeding $1 billion. A remarkable seven severe thunderstorm/tornado outbreaks did more than $1 billion each in damage in 2011, and an eighth outbreak July 10 - 14 came close, with damages of $900 million. In total, the fourteen billion-dollar disasters killed 675 people. Tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods in these fourteen disasters killed over 600 people, putting 2011 into fourth place since 1940 for most deaths by severe storms. Only 2005, with over 1,000 deaths caused by Katrina, 1969, with over 700 hurricane and flood-related deaths, and 1972, with 676 hurricane and flood-related deaths, were deadlier years for storms, according to NOAA. The fourteen billion-dollar weather disasters of 2011 caused $53 billion in damage, putting 2011 in fifth place for most damages from billion-dollar weather disasters. The top damage years, according to NCDC in adjusted 2011 dollars, were 2005 (the year of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma), 2008 (Hurricane Ike), 1988 (Midwest drought), and 1980 (Midwest drought). With nearly two months remaining in 2011, the potential exists for more billion-dollar weather disasters this year. Our first opportunity comes Tuesday, when the NOAA Storm Prediction Center is forecasting the possibility of a severe weather outbreak centered over Arkansas and Missouri.


Video 1. Remarkable video of the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the April 25 - 30, 2011 Super Outbreak. This tornado outbreak was the most expensive U.S. weather-related disaster of 2011, with damages estimated at $9 billion. Fast forward to minute four to see the worst of the storm.

Here are AON Benfield's estimates of the damages and NCDC's estimates of the death tolls from 2011's fourteen billion-dollar weather disasters (a clickable version of this table with information on each disaster is available on our severe weather resource page):



Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back with a new post on Monday.

Angela Fritz is subbing for Ricky Rood this week, and has written an interesting post on the latest climate change controversy, the release of the new Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study by skeptic Dr. Richard Muller.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 182 - 132

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

pretty sure the Galveston Hurricane had 6000 deaths... should be on the list Dr. M.

*edit my bad, "Since 1940"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


who reads nowadays....


I do. It keeps you smart.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WoodyFL:


That's why I stay neutral on everything. I hate when I find out I'm wrong.


In my case, Woody, I would love to find out that I am wrong on this. I do not know what would make me happier.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Asteroid 2005 YU55 To Narrowly Miss Earth (PHOTOS, VIDEO)





An asteroid a quarter-mile-wide will, astronomically speaking, narrowly miss Earth next week.

And while it is the closest an asteroid this size has come to the home planet since 1976, there's no need to call Bruce Willis ... yet.

"There is no chance that this object will collide with the Earth or moon," Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program office, told Reuters.

But that doesn't mean the asteroid -- named 2005 YU55 -- won't be a threat to earth in the future.

Lance Benner, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a video from NASA (available below) that scientists haven't been able to reliably compute the asteroid's path beyond a couple of hundred years from now.

At its closest point, the space rock will be about 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) away, which is 0.85 the distance between the moon and the Earth. NASA says that the asteroid will reach this point at 6:28 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

"In effect, it'll be moving straight at us from one direction, and then go whizzing by straight away from us in the other direction," Benner said.

An asteroid this size -- which, according to Scientific American is larger than an aircraft carrier -- would cause widespread damage if it were to hit Earth, however. The Associated Press spoke to Jay Melosh, a professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Purdue University, who said that the asteroid would create a four-mile wide crater 1,700 feet deep. It could cause 70-foot tsunami waves and shake the ground like a magnitude-7 earthquake.

Even though the asteroid will be inside the orbit of the moon, NASA said that the space rock's gravitational pull shouldn't have any "detectable effect" on Earth's tectonic plates or tides.

Yeomans told HuffPost that the flyby will give astronomers a great view of 2005 YU55 and is an opportunity to do research into the asteroid's composition. He said that it's a C-Type asteroid, which means it contains carbon-based minerals which could potentially be used in future space exploration.

"These objects are important for science ... they're potential resources for raw materials in space that we may wish to take advantage of some day," he said.

The New York Times reported last month on proposed fuel stations in space that one study says could put astronauts on an asteroid by 2024.

o.o
Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2301
Quoting cornchucker:
Love this blog...but if you are going to create a blog stating that 2011 was basically the costliest year on record for natural disasters, as a scientist, at least criticize the parameters. I am not saying that it is not valid, but at the very least, place more emphasis on inflation values as well as globalization and the drastic increase in population. Otherwise, the argument and the agenda become sincerely diminished.

As has been addressed more than once, costs on the list have all been adjusted to the 2011 Consumer Price Index. That is, inflation has been factored in. Also, 2011 hasn't been the costliest year; it's just had the greatest number of individual billion-dollar disasters. And the list only goes back to 1980, so save for a few areas that were unaffected this year, there really hasn't been any "drastic" increase in population.

There's no argument, no agenda. Just plain un-spun facts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bappit:

Heck, I heard that on the radio from an Accuweather guy. Joe used to work there before they fired him. The most recent tropical discussion says this.

THE LOW WILL BEGIN TO WEAKEN AS IT MOVES FURTHER SE BY SUN MORNING WITH WEAKENING FRONT TO NEAR THE WINDWARD PASSAGE. THE LOW WILL BECOME STATIONARY BY LATE SUN INTO MON THEN DRIFT W TUE WITH FRONTAL TROUGH TO
HISPANIOLA.

They didn't fire him, he resigned.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31537
Asteroid 2005 YU55 To Narrowly Miss Earth (PHOTOS, VIDEO)





An asteroid a quarter-mile-wide will, astronomically speaking, narrowly miss Earth next week.

And while it is the closest an asteroid this size has come to the home planet since 1976, there's no need to call Bruce Willis ... yet.

"There is no chance that this object will collide with the Earth or moon," Don Yeomans, the manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program office, told Reuters.

But that doesn't mean the asteroid -- named 2005 YU55 -- won't be a threat to earth in the future.

Lance Benner, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a video from NASA (available below) that scientists haven't been able to reliably compute the asteroid's path beyond a couple of hundred years from now.

At its closest point, the space rock will be about 201,700 miles (324,600 kilometers) away, which is 0.85 the distance between the moon and the Earth. NASA says that the asteroid will reach this point at 6:28 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

"In effect, it'll be moving straight at us from one direction, and then go whizzing by straight away from us in the other direction," Benner said.

An asteroid this size -- which, according to Scientific American is larger than an aircraft carrier -- would cause widespread damage if it were to hit Earth, however. The Associated Press spoke to Jay Melosh, a professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Purdue University, who said that the asteroid would create a four-mile wide crater 1,700 feet deep. It could cause 70-foot tsunami waves and shake the ground like a magnitude-7 earthquake.

Even though the asteroid will be inside the orbit of the moon, NASA said that the space rock's gravitational pull shouldn't have any "detectable effect" on Earth's tectonic plates or tides.

Yeomans told HuffPost that the flyby will give astronomers a great view of 2005 YU55 and is an opportunity to do research into the asteroid's composition. He said that it's a C-Type asteroid, which means it contains carbon-based minerals which could potentially be used in future space exploration.

"These objects are important for science ... they're potential resources for raw materials in space that we may wish to take advantage of some day," he said.

The New York Times reported last month on proposed fuel stations in space that one study says could put astronauts on an asteroid by 2024.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127636
Quoting Wunderwood:
Joe Bastardi is tweeting about a hybrid storm forecast to develop next week east of the Bahamas but no one here is discussing. He also says it could get a name.

Heck, I heard that on the radio from an Accuweather guy. Joe used to work there before they fired him. The most recent tropical discussion says this.

THE LOW WILL BEGIN TO WEAKEN AS IT MOVES FURTHER SE BY SUN MORNING WITH WEAKENING FRONT TO NEAR THE WINDWARD PASSAGE. THE LOW WILL BECOME STATIONARY BY LATE SUN INTO MON THEN DRIFT W TUE WITH FRONTAL TROUGH TO
HISPANIOLA.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Love this blog...but if you are going to create a blog stating that 2011 was basically the costliest year on record for natural disasters, as a scientist, at least criticize the parameters. I am not saying that it is not valid, but at the very least, place more emphasis on inflation values as well as globalization and the drastic increase in population. Otherwise, the argument and the agenda become sincerely diminished.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Tough weekend on the Carolina Coast...storm off shore !!


Gale Warning in effect through Saturday evening
Forecast as of 6:39 PM EDT on November 4, 2011
Surf City To Cape Fear Nc Out 20 Nm-
Tonight
N winds 35 to 40 kt. Gusts up to 55 kt. Seas 6 to 9 ft...building to 7 to 10 ft after midnight. Showers with isolated tstms this evening...then a chance of showers after midnight.
Sat
NE winds 30 to 35 kt with gusts up to 55 kt. Seas 7 to 10 ft.
Sat Night
NE winds 20 to 25 kt with gusts up to 35 kt. Seas 7 to 10 ft.
Sun
NE winds 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 25 kt. Seas 5 to 8 ft.
Sun Night
NE winds 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 25 kt. Seas 5 to 7 ft.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Joe Bastardi is tweeting about a hybrid storm forecast to develop next week east of the Bahamas but no one here is discussing. He also says it could get a name.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
59°F at Carrollwood, Tampa at this hour. The question is: could we get upper 40s early morning ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormTracker2K:
People, a 1 degree fluctuation (Globally) can have big implications on wx patterns. This is the reason for more and more of these big wx disasters over the last 10 to 20 years globally. This post by Doc pretty much sums it up guys.
And as pple keep pointing out, we have very little in the way of global, or even localized wx records to take us back to earlier warm periods within the human historical period. Our understanding of how longer climate cycles will impact short-term wx patterns is really very limited indeed. Despite the sophistication of the models used by climatolagists who theorize that we are undergoing AGW, we are still very unknowledgeable about the short-term impacts because the models they are using only can paint a broad picture. Meanwhile we're lucky if we can forecast next year's La Nina or El Nino with any real accuracy. Remember 2006?

Quoting WoodyFL:
I would really like to know if anyone has changed their position today one way or the other?
Hey. I'm just glad the conversation is sane and mostly understandable....

Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Hahaha, how you doin Baha?
Too much work, not enough rest, plus some rather annoying residual health issues....

Other than that, I fine.... lol

And a free comment: I really love the imagery of great looking storms. However, my choice of beautiful picture is Mitch, hands down. That was one gorgeous cyclone, kiddoes.... I think it tops Gilbert and Wilma, despite their stronger storm status.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
Quoting BobWallace:
Unless we find alternatives for every thing made from a barrel of oil, we are still screwed.

Well, do we want to screw ourselves more or do we want to screw ourselves less?

We can get off of oil for most of our transportation using current technology. Just look at the Chevy Volt. Switching to PHEVs like the Volt would cut personal petroleum use to a very small percentage of what it now is. Current Volt owners report that they buy a 9.3 gallon tank of gas for every 1,000 miles driven. That's about 20% as much gas as the average US auto uses.
....

OK, I want this car. I'm buying that 9.3 gal. tank of gas three times a month, or every 175 or so miles. Unfortunately for me, despite the 330 or so days a year when Nassau gets sun, solar technology is not so readily available here [though I admit it's a lot more viable now than it was even 5 years ago].

I read somebody's post earlier this week that talked about concerns that solar panels would be ripped from roofs during hurricanes and become projectiles. However, I've been reading about the latest in solar technology which provides "panels" as flexible strips which can be rolled out on flat surfaces and at least potentially rolled up and taken into the house in case of a hurricane strike.

I find it hard to believe that all Americans are just sitting there trying to turn the clock back. I have a feeling the innovators are simply not getting the press.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
Quoting Cotillion:


Jupiter and Neptune have a whole higher level of perfection.

What else would you expect? They are much larger and have a stronger core than Earth.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5630
Quoting 1911maker:
Quoted from Bobwallace
....
Were we to switch to renewable energy for our electricity, heating and transportation we would no longer need to extract carbon from underneath the Earth and pump it into our atmosphere. We can do everything with renewables that we now do with fossil fuels. And we can save money by switching to renewables...................


I commented on this in the climate blog yesterday so this is a bit redundant. But given the statement above, here it is again worded different

What oil is used for
~%40 is gasoline and Diesel fuel
~%60 is:
Plastic
Asphalt
Pharmaceuticals
Pesticides (herbicide and insecticide) (think food here)
and a great many more things.

a list of things made from oil I grabbed off the net at random.

Link

Unless we find alternatives for every thing made from a barrel of oil, we are still screwed.

Even if we had the magic "energy" replacement for coal, Natural gas, Gasoline, and diesel fuel, the demand for oil will stay the same
.

Way to many people focus on the evil SUV instead of the big/complete picture. A barrel of oil is more then energy.

I see your point. HOwever, we could be devoting 100% of that oil to making the things we need instead of burning 40% of it in our cars / houses. We could be working harder to make our oil-extracted items, like plastics, more recyclable.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Can a storm get any more perfect?

Cyclone Monica


Jupiter and Neptune have a whole higher level of perfection.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Can a storm get any more perfect?

Cyclone Monica

This is as perfect as it gets.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4903
Imagine this in the Western Caribbean during mid-September.



or this..

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31537
Quoting tonkawa:
If making any comparisons to the past, please include adjustments for inflation and a thorough consideration of growth of population and structure density.
I do know that people compiling these types of lists do make some effort to adjust "then" costs to "now" dollars. Dunno how much of that includes differences in coastal residency increase, infrastructural development, etc.

Quoting DallasGumby:

Rare, perhaps, but not new. You don't have to look too far back in the history of the United States to find a block of years that makes this year look like a walk in the park. In the 1920s, the Great Plains from Texas into Canada had an unusually wet decade. Then, in the 1930s (especially 1930-1936), we entered a period called the Dust Bowl, which left in its wake a mass migration of some 2.5 million people from the Great Plains and caused many towns to be abandoned.

No one likes this year's drought. But, so far it doesn't light a candle to the 1930s; and, here's praying its a shorter-term proposition.
I was about to say we are not used to looking at longer term cycles of climate as having short-term effects on our weather. It has been becoming clearer to me that whatever conditions existed, likely worldwide, between about 1910-1940, are being to a certain extent replicated in the last 2-3 decades. Stuff like the PDO, which hasn't really been studied as thoroughly as it can be, needs more effective interpretation. Add to that changes that are driving massive ice melting at the North Pole, and we may be seeing a pattern the earth hasn't experienced for a very long time indeed.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Can a storm get any more perfect?

Cyclone Monica

Yes -- Hurricanes Wilma, Allen, Gilbert, and a lot more in the Atlantic alone.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31537
Quoting BahaHurican:
Afternoon all... that Tuscaloosa footage is still as chilling today as it was the first time I saw it in the spring....

I do, but I haven't gone back to the top of the blog yet.... lol



Hahaha, how you doin Baha?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6145
I don't know if anyone has seen this, but a picture from saturn of a storm system catching itself by moving so fast... I couldn't imagine that on earth...

Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6145
Quoting troy1993:
Is this blog a weather blog or is it a climate blog now?

I just assume it's a whatever-kind-of-blog-the-site-owner-feels-like-wr iting-about blog, so it can be about tropical weather, weather or any type, climate, politics, the mating habits of South American tree frogs, 16th Century French literature, or whatever else Dr. Masters feels like discussing. I'm here as his guest; if I don't like what he's serving, I'm free to go elsewhere, but it would be rudely presumptuous of me to ask him to serve something else.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Afternoon all... that Tuscaloosa footage is still as chilling today as it was the first time I saw it in the spring....

Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


who reads nowadays....
I do, but I haven't gone back to the top of the blog yet.... lol

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21556
Can a storm get any more perfect?

Cyclone Monica
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting yqt1001:
I was looking around..I found a composite image of Cyclone Monica at Dvorak intensity of 8.0 (or 879mb, 200mph 1-min winds, but operationally only 916mb and 180mph).



Impressive isn't she!
And noticed where the storm strengthened, very Andrew like with that NW movement and a bend back to the W with an even S of W movement. Must be the pumping of the Ridge as some like to call it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I was looking around..I found a composite image of Cyclone Monica at Dvorak intensity of 8.0 (or 879mb, 200mph 1-min winds, but operationally only 916mb and 180mph).



Impressive isn't she!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

You want me to read? Especially something I give very little about?

No thanks.


who reads nowadays....
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6145
Quoting Xandra:

You will understand why if you read the article from Skeptical Science ;)

You want me to read? Especially something I give very little about?

No thanks.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31537
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

W-Why is that image moving?

You will understand why if you read the article from Skeptical Science ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WoodyFL:


That's why I stay neutral on everything. I hate when I find out I'm wrong.


Can never be wrong if you don't answer. I like it.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6145
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


You cannot change your position until you have seen the data that would support such a change. The more data you have, the better you are able to assess if a change of position is needed, or not.


That's why I stay neutral on everything. I hate when I find out I'm wrong.
Member Since: April 24, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 601
Choctaw High School...the other High School in Fort Walton Beach, FL (in the panhandle)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RipplinH2O:
3 comments in one day. HUGE for me. Have a nice weekend everyone and for those in the FWB area, GO VIKINGS, BEAT CHOCTAW!


What in the world is a Choctaw?
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6145
3 comments in one day. HUGE for me. Have a nice weekend everyone and for those in the FWB area, GO VIKINGS, BEAT CHOCTAW!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RipplinH2O:
Makes the screen a lot shorter too...


Is that so you don't have to stand on your chair to read it yoda? ;)
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6145
Makes the screen a lot shorter too...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RipplinH2O:
No, but I have hit the "-" a record number of times


Safe place to be.
Member Since: April 24, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 601
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

W-Why is that image moving?


Its scaring me a little bit...

All that graph is actually focusing on is that there has been a level off the last decade...
And I'm pretty sure that's not the intention.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6145
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Only about 8 times.



Big LOL
Member Since: April 24, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 601
Quoting WoodyFL:
I would really like to know if anyone has changed their position today one way or the other?
No, but I have hit the "-" a record number of times
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Oh yeah I've flipped flopped back in forth, like the computer models. :P This subject takes a ton of research!


LOL. Well, keep reading both sides.
Member Since: April 24, 2011 Posts: 1 Comments: 601
Quoting WoodyFL:
I would really like to know if anyone has changed their position today one way or the other?


You cannot change your position until you have seen the data that would support such a change. The more data you have, the better you are able to assess if a change of position is needed, or not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting troy1993:
Is this blog a weather blog or is it a climate blog now?

Weather, and tropical weather at that. Who would have guessed?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WoodyFL:
I would really like to know if anyone has changed their position today one way or the other?


Only about 8 times.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6145
Quoting WoodyFL:
I would really like to know if anyone has changed their position today one way or the other?
Oh yeah I've flipped flopped back in forth, like the computer models. :P This subject takes a ton of research!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting troy1993:
Is this blog a weather blog or is it a climate blog now?

The climate discussion is germane to Dr. Master's posts from yesterday and today.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting troy1993:
Is this blog a weather blog or is it a climate blog now?
LOL, it's both how's the weather at your location? Mine is a pleasant 65°F with a NW wind at 19mph gusting to 23mph.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 182 - 132

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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