CSU and TSR predict above average 2012 Atlantic hurricane season

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:17 PM GMT on December 07, 2011

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Above-average Atlantic hurricane activity is likely for 2012, but there is a 40% chance of an El Niño event that will keep hurricane activity below average, according to the latest seasonal forecast issued today by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). For the first time in twenty years, the CSU team is not issuing a December forecast with a specific number of tropical storms and hurricanes. Instead, they have issued a more qualitative forecast, which I think is a great idea, since their quantitative December forecasts have shown no skill. Their outlook for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season:

15% chance: Very active season with 14-17 named storms, 9-11 hurricanes, 4-5 major hurricanes
45% chance: Active season with 12-15 named storms, 7-9 hurricanes, 3-4 major hurricanes
30% chance: Inactive season with 8-11 named storms, 3-5 hurricanes, 1-2 major hurricanes
10% chance: Very inactive season with 5-7 named storms, 2-3 hurricanes, 0-1 major hurricanes

An average season has 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The main reason that CSU's December forecasts have shown no skill is because we have no skill predicting El Niño events nine months or more into the future. When an El Niño event occurs, bringing much above average wind shear over the tropical Atlantic, hurricane activity is substantially reduced. Making successful seasonal hurricane forecasts requires that one make a successful El Niño forecast.


Figure 1. Forecasts of El Niño conditions by 20 computer models, made in November 2011. The longest range forecasts for July-August-September (JAS) at the right side of the image show that 3 models predict weak El Niño conditions, 8 predict neutral conditions, and 1 predicts a weak La Niña. El Niño conditions are defined as occurring when sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America (the "Niño 3.4 region) rise to 0.5°C above average (top red line). La Niña conditions occur when SSTs in this region fall to 0.5°C below average (blue line.) Image credit: Columbia University.

What will El Niño do in 2012?
We currently have a borderline weak to moderate La Niña episode in the Eastern Pacific, characterized by cooler than average waters off the equatorial coast of South America. While we can say with good confidence that La Niña will continue through the winter and into spring, it is highly uncertain what might happen next summer and fall to La Niña. In April and May, we typically see La Niña fade to neutral, and in many cases, a full-blown El Niño will develop by the fall. As the CSU team notes, there have been fourteen years since 1950 which had La Niña conditions that were similar to what we are experiencing this December. During the following years' hurricane season, an El Niño event developed 36% of the time, in those fourteen years. In 2012, the odds of a fall El Niño may be higher than this, since we have gone three years since the last El Niño, and these events typically occur every 3 - 7 years. Of the 12 El Niño/La Niña computer models that made November predictions for the July-August-September 2012 portion of hurricane season (Figure 1), only 3 (20%) predicted that El Niño would arrive. However, these models have no skill predicting El Niño so far in advance.

2012 Atlantic hurricane season forecast from Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.
The British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR), issued their 2012 Atlantic hurricane season forecast today. TSR is calling for an above-average year, with 14.1 named storms, 6.7 hurricanes, and 3.3 intense hurricanes. TSR predicts a 49% chance of an above-average hurricane season, 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 21% chance of a below normal season. TSR bases their December forecast on predictions that sea surface temperatures next fall in the tropical Atlantic will be above about 0.1°C above average, and trade wind speeds will be about 0.2 m/s slower than average. The trade wind speed prediction is based on a forecast for neutral El Niño conditions in August - September 2012.

I like how TSR puts their skill level right next to the forecast numbers: 3% skill above chance at forecasting the number of named storms, 0% skill for hurricanes, and 7% skill for intense hurricanes. That's not much skill, and really, we have to wait until the June 1 forecasts by CSU, NOAA, and TSR to get a forecast with reasonable skill.


Figure 2. Forecast skill of the TSR, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and CSU (Colorado State University) seasonal hurricane outlooks 2002-2011 as a function of lead time. NOAA does not release seasonal outlooks before late May. It is clear there is little skill in forecasting the upcoming number of Atlantic hurricanes from the prior December. Skill climbs slowly as the hurricane season approaches. Moderate skill levels are reached by early June and good skill levels are achieved from early August. Image credit: Tropical Storm Risk, Inc (TSR).

Jeff Masters

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Quoting weatherbro:


But Boston's a different story lol.


do what?

boston is getting lots of nice cold rain...lol
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Quoting SPLbeater:


im probably going to take a bunch of critisizing comments for this, but God has a plan, it will be carried out regardless of what man does. every move man makes he knew would happen. alot are prophesized. and alot that he said would happen over 2k years ago, have taken place as anticipated. let the Lord lead, and you wont be worried about a thing(not saying you are now, lol)
I won't criticize you, but I will laugh at you.

"Yeah lets just jump off this cliff because God has a plan and we don't have to be worried about a thing."

Brilliant. I guess I am criticizing you now, but saying we don't have to worry about anything because God has it all planned out is quite literally ridiculous. That statement is supported by absolutely no facts or evidence.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting watchingnva:


dont plan on much of anything bud...youll get some late night back end flakes that wont stick...i found it funny that some folks down around the richmond area, thought they had a legit chance of snow tonight...really?...no...and the cold air is taking its sweet time getting over the apps...so the i95 corridor has nothing to worry about...


But Boston's a different story lol.
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....Geaux Sneaux!


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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Yes it will, but hopefully more to the east so there can be more snow here just West of DC


dont plan on much of anything bud...youll get some late night back end flakes that wont stick...i found it funny that some folks down around the richmond area, thought they had a legit chance of snow tonight...really?...no...and the cold air is taking its sweet time getting over the apps...so the i95 corridor has nothing to worry about...
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Yes it will, but hopefully more to the east so there can be more snow here just West of DC


lol the fact its so close and its still only fall bodes well for us!
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
Finally a little cool down coming for only about 24 hours though.



Your memory must be short lived, we have had many cool periods this Fall besides this one that is arriving.

Also, the brunt of the cold air will be short lived. But we should see nice temps through the extended with highs low to mid 70's and lows in the 50's. So, it at least won't warm up to highs in the low 80's with humidity at all.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


The low behind that one is the dominant/becoming the dominant one.



Yes it will, but hopefully more to the east so there can be more snow here just West of DC
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Quoting JLPR2:
All it needs is a pocket of lower wind shear, which is hard to come by off-season.



Impressive...
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Low is located approximately over Richmond right now, with a pressure about 999 MB



The low behind that one is the dominant/becoming the dominant one.

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All it needs is a pocket of lower wind shear, which is hard to come by off-season.


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Quoting Dragod66:
2012 a neutral year eh? ... hmmm wasnt a particular season neutral? Something bad happens every 12 year in the century:

1712 - Great Northern war
1812 - War of 1812
1912 - Titanic sinks
2012 - ?

although I don't believe in this "doomsday" thing, it is quite interesting that all these happened a century a part and they were the big news story of their respective centuries. One other interesting note... they are all man made disasters (no acts of nature)


1812 was also the year that Napoleon took his fateful march onto Moscow. That pretty much trumps anything else that happened in 1812.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Wow the low right now entering western Virginia is really starting to bomb out, winds increasing here to almost 25-30 sustained and Tstorms really intensifying moving across the state.


Low is located approximately over Richmond right now, with a pressure about 999 MB

Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Norfolk NEXRAD Radar

Base Reflectivity 0.50° Elevation


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Quoting Dragod66:
2012 a neutral year eh? ... hmmm wasnt a particular season neutral? Something bad happens every 12 year in the century:

1712 - Great Northern war
1812 - War of 1812
1912 - Titanic sinks
2012 - ?

although I don't believe in this "doomsday" thing, it is quite interesting that all these happened a century a part and they were the big news story of their respective centuries. One other interesting note... they are all man made disasters (no acts of nature)


Link
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Wow the low right now entering western Virginia is really starting to bomb out, winds increasing here to almost 25-30 sustained and Tstorms really intensifying moving across the state.
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There are now 379 Giorni day's until the 2012 Winter Solstice.

Enjoy your evening.
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Quoting Dragod66:
2012 a neutral year eh? ... hmmm wasnt a particular season neutral? Something bad happens every 12 year in the century:

1712 - Great Northern war
1812 - War of 1812
1912 - Titanic sinks
2012 - ?

although I don't believe in this "doomsday" thing, it is quite interesting that all these happened a century a part and they were the big news story of their respective centuries. One other interesting note... they are all man made disasters (no acts of nature)


"The life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.". - Hobbes

Something went down pretty much every year, particularly the further back you go. 2012 is looking like something related to economic problems, if any such cataclysm occurs.

Btw, watched the last episode of Frozen Planet. While it discusses climate effects, it only mentions global warming once and certainly nothing about causes or such. It was simply illustrating what is occurring.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Next year's naming list --

Interesting Fact: The name 'Beryl' has never been used as a hurricane before.

Alberto | Beryl | Chris | Debby | Ernesto | Florence
Gordon | Helene | Isaac | Joyce | Kirk | Leslie
Michael | Nadine | Oscar |Patty | Rafael | Sandy | Tony | Valerie | William
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32813
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


(Click image to enlarge)



Well the NWS in Melbourne tends to have a warm bias compared to surrounding offices. The NWS in Ruskin has colder numbers tomorrow night. I'll bet on them being right as apposed to the warmer numbers. This is a strong frontal system. Yes there will be quick wind shift but it wont be that much warmer, unless you live on the Atlantic Coast, which will be moderated by winds shifting to northeast over night.
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Quoting SPLbeater:


the titanic sunk when it scraped an iceberg...and it SUNK. you know before they put the titanic in the water, some men scratched on the bottom of the hull"not even God can sink this ship" and look what happened. but with the iceberg, you oughta call that one 50/50 LOL


you make a good point, buy.
Member Since: August 24, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 625
Quoting Dragod66:
2012 a neutral year eh? ... hmmm wasnt a particular season neutral? Something bad happens every 12 year in the century:

1712 - Great Northern war
1812 - War of 1812
1912 - Titanic sinks
2012 - ?

although I don't believe in this "doomsday" thing, it is quite interesting that all these happened a century a part and they were the big news story of their respective centuries. One other interesting note... they are all man made disasters (no acts of nature)


the titanic sunk when it scraped an iceberg...and it SUNK. you know before they put the titanic in the water, some men scratched on the bottom of the hull"not even God can sink this ship" and look what happened. but with the iceberg, you oughta call that one 50/50 LOL
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
2012 a neutral year eh? ... hmmm wasnt a particular season neutral? Something bad happens every 12 year in the century:

1712 - Great Northern war
1812 - War of 1812
1912 - Titanic sinks
2012 - ?

although I don't believe in this "doomsday" thing, it is quite interesting that all these happened a century a part and they were the big news story of their respective centuries. One other interesting note... they are all man made disasters (no acts of nature)
Member Since: August 24, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 625
Quoting yqt1001:
I know no one cares about the SHem, but this cannot be a 60mph (10-min), 75mph (1-min) cyclone.



Otherwise, it's nice to see something major going on in the tropics.

I care about them , Shem storms can get very interesting and when you got nothing else to track you might as well track these ones!:)
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As WxGeekVA noted in #59, the Tropical Cyclone Report for Arlene has been released. Also as noted, there weren't many changes. The only real change is that Arlene's total ACE was raised from 1.6275 to 1.8775 (the storm existed for about six more hours than previously thought). That's not much, to be sure, but it was nevertheless enough to jump the storm from 15th to 12th place on the season's ACE list, leapfrogging Harvey, Lee, and Gert.

That's eight down. Still to come: Jose, Lee, Emily, Bret, Sean, Maria, Rina, Philippe, Ophelia, Irene, and Katia.
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Quoting yqt1001:
I know no one cares about the SHem, but this cannot be a 60mph (10-min), 75mph (1-min) cyclone.



Otherwise, it's nice to see something major going on in the tropics.

I don't track these systems, but just judging by it's satellite image, it's around 90-100 mph (1-min) or so.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32813
My 2012 Atlantic hurricane season forecast in graph form:

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32813
Quoting yqt1001:
I know no one cares about the SHem, but this cannot be a 60mph (10-min), 75mph (1-min) cyclone.



Otherwise, it's nice to see something major going on in the tropics.


i care about the SHem. i cre about all the tropics, im anticipating development in the SW Pacific, cuz thats my #2 favorite basin :D

I agree. looks more of a 100mph Cat 2, give or take 5 mph
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
I know no one cares about the SHem, but this cannot be a 60mph (10-min), 75mph (1-min) cyclone.



Otherwise, it's nice to see something major going on in the tropics.
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As noted on previous blog, a proper windstorm (FU-Berlin seems to be calling it 'Friedhelm'. Quite Teutonic) is coming into the UK tomorrow, looking like around a 958mb storm with up to 90mph winds. Usually they cross to the north, but this one is going right over.



Might go higher or lower depending. Red warnings are very rare, the last one I remember seeing was last year for snow and one other time for a tornado. I think part of the warnings are due to where the winds will hit as opposed to the speeds (there was a storm with gusts up to 95mph a couple of weeks ago, but that was restricted to the western isles. This is the prime Scottish commuter belt).

Been a little while since we've had strong lows in succession so early.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Tampa forecast for tonight from wunderground

Tonight: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. Colder. Lows in the mid 40s near the coast and around 40 inland. North winds 10 to 20 mph with gusts to around 30 mph in the evening. Chance of rain 20 percent. Wind chill readings around 35.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I had to hide that image, slowed my computer wayy down.


got an HP? xD lol, its down
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Quoting Jedkins01:
I live in Central Florida, by the coast for that matter, and they have 53 for my spot. Further inland they are showing 47 to 50 and low 40's north. Not mid to upper 50's It won't be that warm. Unless you're right along the atlantic coastal areas.


(Click image to enlarge)
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32813
Quoting CybrTeddy:
67. Take that image down of Katia down stat, its ruining the bandwidth on here.

I had to hide that image, slowed my computer wayy down.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32813
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The National Weather Service is calling for mid to upper 50s tomorrow night.

Unless you're wanting somebody to disregard the National Weather Service....
I live in Central Florida, by the coast for that matter, and they have 53 for my spot. Further inland they are showing 47 to 50 and low 40's north. Not mid to upper 50's It won't be that warm. Unless you're right along the atlantic coastal areas.
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67. Take that image down of Katia down stat, its ruining the bandwidth on here.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
I wish the weather would make up its mind, either stay cold which I prefer, or stay hot. This hot and cold stuff just makes people sick.


Its normal for it to fluctuate between warm and cool this time of year in Florida. When we get into January and February, the cold is more continuous, but its still very much up in down with temps. Think about this, in Florida we are very close to the warm and moderate Caribbean. We can get cold with frontal passages but when the wind shifts out of the south it warms back up ahead of the next front.

This happens every year in Florida, so if its making people sick either they haven't lived here long or they forget it happens every year lol.


However, I think it has become more pronounced in recent years, frontal systems I believe are getting stronger. Winters have consistently gotten colder and windier the past several years as apposed to how they used to be growing up here. Likely its due to strong troughing/powerful frontal systems sweeping through in the winter.
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Quoting yqt1001:
I was thinking 80mph for her after dissipation. TAWX mentioned something about her RIing, I said category 2 at most depending on how she departs the Caribbean region. She left the Caribbean region as a RIing category 2. XD Full credit to you TAWX for predicting that.

I don't think anyone predicted that Ophelia would reach 140mph north of Bermuda in October. Just crazy.

Ophelia would've been a horrible disaster for Bermuda had she been farther west. At least Fabian was a weakening category 3 hurricane when it past over, Ophelia was still RIing at that point that she passed by Bermuda...

lol, thanks.

I thought a Category 2 hurricane was possible, maybe even Category 3. But I must say, I didn't expect Ophelia to reach Category 4 status. XD
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32813
Quoting Jedkins01:


It will not be in the mid to upper 50's tomorrow night, disregard those forecast numbers.

The National Weather Service is calling for mid to upper 50s tomorrow night.

Unless you're wanting somebody to disregard the National Weather Service....
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32813
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Low of 44 here in Orlando as well but back to mid to upper 50's Thursday night.


It will not be in the mid to upper 50's tomorrow night, disregard those forecast numbers.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Yep! Ophelia was the most photogenic storm his year in my opinion. Certainly, when Ophelia dissipated over the Lesser Antilles it was never in my opinion going to ever reach hurricane status, heck even beyond 50 again was questionable, but it became the strongest major hurricane of the season and I just thought that was impressive.


i like them big hurricanes with the eye thats over 40 miles wide, so Katia was my favorite this year(in the Atlantic)
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
I can't believe it is snowing here!
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Quoting yqt1001:
I was thinking 80mph for her after dissipation. TAWX mentioned something about her RIing, I said category 2 at most depending on how she departs the Caribbean region. She left the Caribbean region as a RIing category 2. XD Full credit to you TAWX for predicting that.


I figured intensification was possible, because that area which Ophelia was predicted to move into was a sweet spot this year, vertical instability was normal to above normal there compared to the rest of the Atlantic, as well as shear was low. Many of our storms formed in that area off of troughs, which are usually very fragile to develop. Katia and Maria both also strengthened in that area.

However, Ophelia managed to align itself with a trough that was pushing it out to sea in a way that it provided ventilation in that sweet spot area, and naturally even though with less than optimal SST's and quickly moving northward in October, Ophelia rapidly intensified to a power major hurricane.
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I was thinking 80mph for her after dissipation. TAWX mentioned something about her RIing, I said category 2 at most depending on how she departs the Caribbean region. She left the Caribbean region as a RIing category 2. XD Full credit to you TAWX for predicting that.

I don't think anyone predicted that Ophelia would reach 140mph north of Bermuda in October. Just crazy.

Ophelia would've been a horrible disaster for Bermuda had she been farther west. At least Fabian was a weakening category 3 hurricane when it past over, Ophelia was still RIing at that point that she passed by Bermuda...
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Yep! Ophelia was the most photogenic storm his year in my opinion. Certainly, when Ophelia dissipated over the Lesser Antilles it was never in my opinion going to ever reach hurricane status, heck even beyond 50 again was questionable, but it became the strongest major hurricane of the season and I just thought that was impressive.


yay, i was right lol. and im with ya there, after dissapation, i figured 60mph would be a miracle lol
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488
Quoting SPLbeater:


is your avatar Hurricane Ophelia from this year? looks similar


Yep! Ophelia was the most photogenic storm his year in my opinion. Certainly, when Ophelia dissipated over the Lesser Antilles it was never in my opinion going to ever reach hurricane status, heck even beyond 50 again was questionable, but it became the strongest major hurricane of the season and I just thought that was impressive.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


No change, not a surprise. Peak intensity at 65.


is your avatar Hurricane Ophelia from this year? looks similar
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Arlene TCR is out.

Link


No change, not a surprise. Peak intensity at 65.
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Arlene TCR is out.

Link
Member Since: September 3, 2011 Posts: 13 Comments: 3477
Quoting CybrTeddy:


I doubt that we will see under 13 named next year tbh, while December forecasts are usually off, they're usually accurate enough to tell us if a season will be active or inactive.

CSU in Dec. 2010 predicted for 2011:
17-9-5.
Actual Activity:
19-7-3.

CSU in Dec. 2009 predicted for 2010:
16-9-5
Actual Activity:
19-12-5.

CSU in Dec. 2008 predicted for 2009:
14-7-3
Actual Activity:
9-3-2.

2009 and 2006, the only two inactive seasons since 1997, where both predicted to be above average, but did not due to a El Nino. 2004 and 2002 had a El Nino Modoki, something that is new to the weather world. We are in a period though that it is more likely than not, warm-neutral conditions in 2012 seems the most likely to me.
if its warm neutral numbers should be around 13-16
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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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