Summer in March, 2012, draws to a close

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:54 PM GMT on March 23, 2012

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The most incredible spring heat wave in U.S. and Canadian recorded history is finally drawing to a close today, after a ten-day stretch of unprecedented record-smashing intensity. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many spring temperature records broken, and by such a large margin. Airports in fifteen different states have set all-time records for March warmth, which is truly extraordinary considering that the records were set in the middle of the month, instead of the end of the month. The 29.2°C (85°F) measured at Western Head, Nova Scotia yesterday was the third warmest temperature ever recorded in Canada in March, according to Environment Canada and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera (top two records: 31.1°C at Alberini Beaver Creek BC on March 29th 1926, and 29.4°C in 1921 at Wallaceburg.) Michigan's all-time record for March warmth was toppled on Wednesday, when the mercury hit 90°F at Lapeer. The previous record, 89° at Lapeer in 1910, was matched at three stations yesterday--Ypsilanti, Dearborn, and Lapeer. The duration, areal size, and intensity of the Summer in March, 2012 heat wave are simply off-scale, and the event ranks as one of North America's most extraordinary weather events in recorded history. Such a historic event is difficult to summarize, and in today's post I will offer just a few of the most notable highlights.


Figure 1. Clear skies over the Eastern U.S. caused by a blocking ridge of high pressure on March 21, 2012, are apparent in this visible satellite image. The comma-shaped cloud pattern over the Central U.S. is associated with a "cut-off" low pressure system. This low is moving over the Eastern U.S. today through Saturday, and will bring an end to "Summer in March" over the U.S. and Canada. Image credit: NOAA's Environmental Visualization Lab, and modified by Andrew Freedman of Climate Central.

Low temperatures beating previous high temperature records for the date
I've never seen a case where the low temperature for the date beat the previous record high. This happened on at least four occasions during "Summer in March, 2012":

The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan hit 52° on March 21, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date.

The low at Mt. Washington, NH on March 21 (44°) beat the previous record high for the date (43°.)

The low temperature for International Falls, Minnesota on March 20 bottomed out at 60°F, tying the previous record high for the date.

The low temperature in Rochester, Minnesota on March 18 was 62°F, which beat the previous record high for the date of 60°.

Breaking all-time April records for warmth in March
Not only did many locations in Canada set records for their all-time warmest March day during "Summer in March, 2012", a number also broke their record for warmest April day:

St. John, New Brunswick hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 21. Previous March record: 17.5°C on March 21, 1994. April record: 22.8°C.

Kejimkujik Park, Nova Scotia hit 27.9°C on March 21. Previous March record: 22.5°C on March 30, 1986. April record: 25°C on April 27, 1990.

Yesterday, I reported that Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 27.2°C (81°F) on March 22, 2012. Previous March record: 25.8° set the previous day. April record: 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. However, Rob Paola, a meteorologist with Environment Canada's Prairie and Arctic Storm Prediction Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, wrote to tell me that Halifax did not break its April record: In fact, Halifax recorded a temperature of 29.5°C on April 28, 2009. For some reason, that stat does not show up on EC's normal/extremes climate site for Halifax, which only has data up to 2006 for extremes. More details on my blog at http://robsobsblog.blogspot.ca/

Breaking daily temperature records by more than 30°F
It is exceptionally rare for a weather station with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily temperature record by more than 10°F. During "Summer in March, 2012", beating daily records by 10° - 20°F was commonplace, and many records were smashed by over 20°. Two stations broke records by more than 30°F, which is truly surreal. Western Head, Nova Scotia hit 29.2°C (85°F), yesterday, breaking their previous record for the date (10.6°C in 1969) by 18.6°C (33°F.) Yesterday's high temperature was 24°C (44°F) above average. Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula--dubbed "Michigan's Icebox", since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state--hit 85° on March 21. This broke the previous record for the date (53° in 2007) by 32°, and was an absurd 48°F above average.

Breaking daily temperature records nine consecutive days or more
It is extremely rare for stations with a 50+ year period of record to break a daily high temperature record for seven or more days in a row. The longest such streak of consecutive high temperature records at International Falls, Minnesota, was a 5-day period March 3 - 7, 2000. The city has tied or broken their high temperature for the date ten consecutive days, as of yesterday. This streak will likely end today, as the high is predicted to be 60 - 65, and the record high for the date is 66. Chicago, Illinois has tied or broken their daily high temperature record the past nine days in a row. This ties the nine-day streak of record highs set on August 26 - September 3, 1953. Other cites that have set daily high temperature records the past nine days in a row include Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana. Numerous cities have broken high temperature records on seven consecutive days during "Summer in March, 2012", including Gaylord, Pellston, and Traverse City in Michigan.


Figure 2. All-time high temperature records set in March 2012 for the U.S. The grey icons show locations where the March record was broken on multiple days. Image taken from wunderground's new record extremes page, using data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

The big picture: the impacts of "Summer in March, 2012"
I've always said living in Michigan would be much more bearable if we could just get rid of March. March weather here is always horrible, with brutal cold, high winds, damaging ice storms, heavy snow, interminable cloudy stretches with no sun, all interspersed with a few teasing warm spells. Well, this year, I got my wish. This March, we started with twelve days of April weather, followed by ten days of June and July weather, with nine days of May weather predicted to round out the month. This has been a huge benefit to the economy--vastly reduced heating costs, no snow removal bills, and far fewer traffic accidents due to icy roads. However, there is major downside to the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave. The growing season is now in full swing, five weeks early. A damaging freeze that will severely impact the fruit industry and other sensitive plants is very likely. Indeed, the forecast calls for lows in the upper 20s in the cherry-growing region of Michigan near Traverse City on Monday night. The exceptional March warmth has also melted all the snow in the northern U.S. and southern Canada, drying out the soils and setting the stage for a much warmer than average summer, and an increased chance of damaging drought conditions. The early loss of snowpack will also likely cause very low flow rates in the major rivers in late summer and early fall, reducing the amount of water needed for irrigation of crops. Low flows may also cause problems for navigation, limiting commercial barge traffic on Midwest rivers.

Links
Andrew Freedman of Climate Central interviewed a number of climate scientists who are experts in studying the link between extreme weather events and climate change for his post, Global Warming May Have Fueled March Heat Wave Odds.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt will be posting a more comprehensive summary of the "Summer in March, 2012" heat wave this weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back Monday with a new post. I expect I'll be hard at work this weekend, mowing my lawn for the first time ever in March!

Jeff Masters

2012 03 22 Neighbor's Magnolia Tree drops its blossoms (gatyamgal)
Because of our week of record breaking Temps here in Bettendorf, IA, the neighbor's tree bloomed and lost its blossoms 3 weeks early. What will April bring?
2012 03 22 Neighbor's Magnolia Tree drops its blossoms
Spring Landscape (thebige)
Spring Landscape
Jefferson Memorial (KEM)
Cherry blossoms in Washington DC.
Jefferson Memorial

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Quoting trunkmonkey:


Crap like this is why I don't trust the guvment, Arkansas and east Texas has flooding last week, so did Louisiana, this map shows dryness!


There's a simple explanation to the fact that they still label it as dry. The overall average rainfall (over an amount of time unknown to me) is still below normal.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Wrong on so many levels, friend. For instance, anyone who works and/or buys anything pays taxes, and at a higher percentage of income, so that 50% thing is just an ugly myth; the US has one of the lowest effective corporate tax rates in the world; and I'm not sure why you singled out "Hispanics on the welfare role", as that ethnic group makes up just over a quarter of all families receiving some form of public assistance, with white families making up a larger percentage. Seriously, dude: you gotta stop watching only Fox. It's bad for your brain. ;-)

Nice batch of moderate showers with some muted morning thunder rumbling in the distance right now. Pleasant way to wake up...
He is talking about Fed income taxes. Its true that 46% of americans dont pay the income tax. A couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero. The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.Low incomes (or, if you prefer, the standard deduction and personal exemptions) account for fully half of the people who pay no federal income tax.The second reason is that for many senior citizens, Social Security benefits are exempt from federal income taxes. That accounts for about 22% of the people who pay no federal income tax.The third reason is that America uses the tax code to provide benefits to low-income families, particularly those with children. Taken together, the earned income tax credit, the child credit, and the childcare credit account for about 15% of the people who pay no federal income tax.Taken together, those three factors — incomes that fall below the standard deduction and personal exemptions; the exemption for most Social Security benefits; and tax benefits aimed at low-income families and children — account for almost 90% of the Americans who pay no federal income tax. And that is pretty much what makes up the 50% that do not pay the Fed income tax.

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Quoting LargoFl:
Good morning! simply Beautiful here this morning!! sunny skies and cooler Yessss!..dont worry south florida, the rain IF you get any will be the light showery kind, nothing to worry about and you will LOVE the cooler temps coming


.
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799. Skyepony (Mod)
90P is dead already~ on to 91P..it may already be dead too..

91P
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Neapolitan, you have to understand Trunkmonkey's comments.

He's just like every other tax paying American; tired of working hard for his money and seeing so many people not playing by the rules and getting hand outs with no punishment.

On a different note: I wish we could just skip summer and get straight fall. I miss the cool weather already.

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797. Skyepony (Mod)
Radiation spiked in Tokyo at 0:30 on 3/25/2012


Quoting trunkmonkey:


Crap like this is why I don't trust the guvment, Arkansas and east Texas has flooding last week, so did Louisiana, this map shows dryness!


Maps are worthless without checking the map key..this one has nothing to do with weather;)
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


A cold front will move through South Florida today. Scattered showers are anticipated for the northern half of the region this morning, and then scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected along the front as it moves through South Florida this afternoon. The front is expected to be near Lake Okeechobee around noon today, and then move into the Florida Straits by the early evening. The best chance of rain is up towards the Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale areas this afternoon. With southwest flow across the region, highs today will climb into the low to mid 80s, warmest towards the Atlantic coast. A few places may even climb into the upper 80s.
Good morning! simply Beautiful here this morning!! sunny skies and cooler Yessss!..dont worry south florida, the rain IF you get any will be the light showery kind, nothing to worry about and you will LOVE the cooler temps coming
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39273
Quoting Neapolitan:
Wrong on so many levels, friend. For instance, anyone who works and/or buys anything pays taxes, and at a higher percentage of income, so that 50% thing is just an ugly myth; the US has one of the lowest effective corporate tax rates in the world; and I'm not sure why you singled out "Hispanics on the welfare role", as that ethnic group makes up just over a quarter of all families receiving some form of public assistance, with white families making up a larger percentage. Seriously, dude: you gotta stop watching only Fox. It's bad for your brain. ;-)

Nice batch of moderate showers with some muted morning thunder rumbling in the distance right now. Pleasant way to wake up...


Then your in favor of the flat tax, then everyone pays their share! right?
I work in the Ghetto, I see all the fraud every day of my life, it's out of control!
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Quoting trunkmonkey:


It can't happen anymore, with 3 million Hispanics on the welfare role, a populus only 50% paying taxes, and the United States has the highest corporate tax in the world, and more taxes on the horizon.
Income tax is on the rise after the elections, then Obama Care takes effect, more taxes for the working,
NASA has laid off 30,000 people. The area around the Cape is a Ghost town.
The new theme is NO work for money.
At least the people who worked for NASA had a product we could see!
Wrong on so many levels, friend. For instance, anyone who works and/or buys anything pays taxes, and at a higher percentage of income, so that 50% thing is just an ugly myth; the US has one of the lowest effective corporate tax rates in the world; and I'm not sure why you singled out "Hispanics on the welfare role", as that ethnic group makes up just over a quarter of all families receiving some form of public assistance, with white families making up a larger percentage. Seriously, dude: you gotta stop watching only Fox. It's bad for your brain. ;-)

Nice batch of moderate showers with some muted morning thunder rumbling in the distance right now. Pleasant way to wake up...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13556
Current Georgia Lake Levels

The following lake levels are updated daily.
Lake Name Current Level Full Pool +/- Full Pool Reading Date - Time
Allatoona(GA) 837 840 -3 3/24/2012 20:15
Blue Ridge(GA) 1,669.50 1,681.00 -11.5 3/24/2012 11:30
Carters(GA) 1,075.07 1,074.00 1.07 3/24/2012 20:15
Chatuge(GA NC) 1,919.60 1,925.00 -5.4 3/24/2012 11:30
Eufaula(AL GA) 186.73 188 -1.27 3/23/2012 11:59
Harding(AL GA) 519.94 521 -1.06 3/24/2012 10:41
Hartwell(GA SC) 652.8 660 -7.2 3/24/2012 10:02
Jackson(GA) 523.8 528 -4.2 3/24/2012 7:00
Lanier(GA) 1,065.53 1,071.00 -5.47 3/24/2012 19:15
Nottely(GA) 1,764.70 1,775.00 -10.3 3/24/2012 11:30
Oconee(GA) 434.74 435 -0.26 3/24/2012 7:00
Oliver(AL GA) 127.7 129 -1.3 3/24/2012 8:51
Russell(GA SC) 474.11 482 -7.89 3/24/2012 21:00
Seminole(FL GA) 76.97 77.5 -0.53 3/23/2012 11:59
Sinclair(GA) 338.51 340 -1.49 3/24/2012 7:00
Strom Thurmond(GA SC) 322.48 330 -7.52 3/24/2012 8:00
Weiss(AL GA) 562.34 564 -1.66 3/24/2012 20:25
West Point(GA AL) 632.91 635 -2.09 3/24/2012 10:41



Southern GA, is in a drought can't you see the empty reservoirs!
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Quoting aspectre:
I'd have thought it was closer to the norm in Malaysia.

Wet and Dry Counties


Crap like this is why I don't trust the guvment, Arkansas and east Texas has flooding last week, so did Louisiana, this map shows dryness!
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A cold front will move through South Florida today. Scattered showers are anticipated for the northern half of the region this morning, and then scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms are expected along the front as it moves through South Florida this afternoon. The front is expected to be near Lake Okeechobee around noon today, and then move into the Florida Straits by the early evening. The best chance of rain is up towards the Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale areas this afternoon. With southwest flow across the region, highs today will climb into the low to mid 80s, warmest towards the Atlantic coast. A few places may even climb into the upper 80s.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Anyone needs a Shrimpin boat?



Tsunami-tossed boat spotted off western Canada
Associated PressAssociated Press – 12 hrs ago

A Japanese fishing boat lost in the Pacific Ocean after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami was sighted March 20, 2012 drifting 150 nautical miles off the southern coast of Haida Gwaii near British Columbia, Canada by the crew of an aircraft on a routine surveillance patrol. The vessel is considered an obstruction to navigation, and a Notice to Shipping has been issued by the Canadian Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Canadian Department of National Defence via The Canadian Press)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A large fishing vessel swept away by the tsunami that devastated Japan last year has been spotted adrift off British Columbia in western Canada.

Jeff Olsson of Victoria's Joint rescue coordination center says an airplane contracted by the government spotted the 50-foot-long (15-meter-long) vessel recently about 160 miles (260 kilometers) west of Haida Gwaii, slowly drifting toward shore.

The vessel has been identified as coming from Hokkaido, Japan. Olsson says no one is believed to be aboard and there's no environmental danger.

A maritime warning has been issued because the vessel could pose a navigational hazard.

About 5 million tons of debris were swept into the ocean in March 2011 when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.


Looks like target practice for the Canadian Navy!
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weathers normal here mild dry winter is over thunderstorm season starts mid may some yrs its bad. e cen fl.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
How convenient, there's a gap in the squall coming into FL that's just big enough to fit Hillsborough County..

If mother nature's going to take away the early Summer that I've been enjoying, at least bring a good and beautiful storm with it.
amazing, everyone else got bad weather from this storm, hail tornado's rain that flooded streets, wind etc, what do WE get when it finally reaches us? nada, enough rain to slightly wet the street....bah
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39273
I'd have thought stoppages and laps under yellow flag due to rain were closer to the Malaysian norm

Wet and Dry Counties
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Quoting PolishHurrMaster:
Formula 1 race in Malaysia was stopped because of rain. Extremes are everywhere.


I'd hardly call rain extreme in the slightest.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 585 Comments: 20854
Formula 1 race in Malaysia was stopped because of rain. Extremes are everywhere.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


I am sorry. I never realized that you had so much scientific evidence to support your claims. I must certainly appear to all to be the clown. This, of course, will be solely based on the evidence you have just presented before us.

Seriously, Jedkins01. Do you have any scientific reasoning behind your position?
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Quoting Jedkins01:



lol what you don't like to laugh?


No, it's just that you've been on edge lately when it comes to climate change debates.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 585 Comments: 20854
Too bizarre. Here in northeast Arkansas we've had all kinds of bugs out, including "june bugs", but tonight there is a firefly in the house. Normally they don't come out until the end of May, at least.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Jed, bro, you can do better than this.



lol what you don't like to laugh?
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Quoting Jedkins01:


Jed, bro, you can do better than this.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 585 Comments: 20854
Quoting mlewchuk:


What would the damage estimate go to if the asteroid developed a pinhole eye?


Asteroidnomical?
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Quoting hydrus:
TABLE OF TERRORS
The following data about Near-Earth Objects are from the Anglo-Australian Observatory's research astronomer Duncan Steel's book Rouge Asteroids and Doomsday Comets.

About 2,000 objects massive enough (1 km diameter) to cause global catastrophe are known to cross Earth's orbit. Such an impacting object would wipe out 25% of humanity.
About 10,000 objects of 500 m size cross Earth's orbit.
About 300,000 objects of 100 m size cross Earth's orbit.
About 150 million objects of 10 m size cross Earth's orbit.
Some 70% of potential impactors are asteroids; the rest are comets.
About 50% of the Earth-crossing asteroids most likely are extinct or dormant comets.



FREQUENCY OF IMPACTORS:
Pea-size meteoroids - 10 per hour
Walnut-size - 1 per hour
Grapefruit-size - 1 every 10 hours
Basketball-size - 1 per month
50-m rock that would destroy an area the size of New Jersey - 1 per 100 years
1-km asteroid - 1 per 100,000 years
2-km asteroid - 1 per 500,000 years
A "nemesis" parabolic comet impactor would give us only a 6-month warning.


What would the damage estimate go to if the asteroid developed a pinhole eye?
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hmm, I wonder if in 2500 when all the normal names have been retired most probably, would they go for an E name, such as the name for the Iceland Volcano, Ejafjallajökull? :D
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Holy Hail batman! This image from Michelle Dix Corvin in Smith Mountain Lake, VA @ZoomRadar Incredible!!!



Hmm... raining marshmallows. I'd say that's pretty common don't ya think?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
How convenient, there's a gap in the squall coming into FL that's just big enough to fit Hillsborough County..

If mother nature's going to take away the early Summer that I've been enjoying, at least bring a good and beautiful storm with it.


pshh, that happens to you?
Try living in an even more tropical area (the Bahamas) and only get 5 thunderstorms directly over my house over the ENTIRE year.
That's how unlucky I am... and unless you (speaking to all bloggers) live in an area where thunderstorms just can't form, I win.

:D
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Holy Hail batman! This image from Michelle Dix Corvin in Smith Mountain Lake, VA @ZoomRadar


Incredible!!!
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

No, I was just saying I want one.


You look a little tired there Kori...lol.


I worked 9 to 6 that day. I don't make exceptions and go to bed early, even for days like that.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 585 Comments: 20854
How convenient, there's a gap in the squall coming into FL that's just big enough to fit Hillsborough County..

If mother nature's going to take away the early Summer that I've been enjoying, at least bring a good and beautiful storm with it.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24186
Quoting KoritheMan:


Surely not with this next system (the shortwave poised to move into the Great Basin)?

No, I was just saying I want one.

Quoting KoritheMan:


Me?

You look a little tired there Kori...lol.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32278
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Ready for our next high risk..

I guess I am, unless it's not close to me.

Last high risk day (March 2) scared me. Seeing does tornadoes head straight for me and my family in Cincinnati was a frightening experience. We got lucky they missed us.
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Quoting Cyclone2012:
New avatar, I see.


Me?
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 585 Comments: 20854
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Ready for our next high risk..


Surely not with this next system (the shortwave poised to move into the Great Basin)?
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 585 Comments: 20854
Ready for our next high risk..
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32278
I'm off as well...good night all
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OK, Nigel, it is all yours. Good Night fellow bloggers. Left Coast out......
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Quoting PedleyCA:
Seems like it. It is very quiet.

Yeah...seems that way
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Seems like it. It is very quiet.
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Has everyone gone to bed?
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Quoting SPLbeater:
night all

Good night
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Quoting Ameister12:
This is incredible!

Incredible is an understatement
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night all
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4486
Glad I live on the West Coast. We don't see the abundance of strange weather as much here.
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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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