Extreme 111° heat hits Texas; floods kill 9 in Haiti

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:25 PM GMT on April 26, 2012

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Another round of unprecedented April heat hit the U.S. yesterday, and this time it was Texas' turn to see large sections of the state with the hottest April temperatures in over a century of record keeping. Seven major airports in Texas set all-time April high temperatures yesterday:

Amarillo, TX: 99° (old April record 98° on 4/22/1989 and 4/22/1965)
Lubbock, TX: 101° (old April record 100° on 4/16/1925 and /22/1989)
Dalhart, TX: 96° (old April record 94° on 4/22/1989)
Borger, TX: 99° (tied April record set on 4/22/1965)
Midland, TX: 104° (old April record 101° on 4/21/1989)
Abilene, TX: 104° (old April record 102° on 4/16/1925)
Childress, TX: 106° (old April record 102° on three occasions, most recently on 4/3/2011)

According to wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt, both Texas and Oklahoma came within 2°F of their all-time April state high temperature record yesterday. Altus, Oklahoma hit 104°, falling 2° short of the April state record of 106° set at the Magnum Research Station in 1972. In the Texas Mesonet, it hit 111° at Knox City 3NW, which is just 2° short of the Texas April state record of 113° set at Catarina in 1984. According to Mr. Burt, What is amazing is that Knox City is in the north-central part of the state, not down in the Rio Grande region like Catarina. The 111° would probably be pretty close to whatever the all-time hottest temp for ANY month might be in that location (probably around 115°). On Sunday this week, Nevada just missed setting their April state high temperature record, when the mercury hit 105° in Laughlin (April state record: 106° in 1989.)


Figure 1. At least 36 of the roughly 400 major U.S. cities that maintain automated weather sensors at their local airports (8%) have set or tied all-time April high temperature records so far this month. The records set yesterday in Texas are not yet in the database, and are not included on this map. Image taken from our new Record Extremes page.

Earlier this week, all-time record April heat hit large portions of Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. At least 36 of the roughly 400 major U.S. cities that maintain automated weather sensors at their local airports (8%) have set or tied all-time April high temperature records so far this month; no all-time April cold records have been set. The U.S. has been on an extraordinary pace of setting high temperature records so far in 2012. During March 2012, an astonishing 32% of all the major airports in the U.S. set all-time March high temperature records. For the year-to-date, there have been 184 new all-time monthly high temperature records set at the major airports, and 6 all-time monthly low temperature records. Not surprisingly, the period January - March this year has been the warmest such period in the U.S. since record keeping began in 1895.



Figure 2. Total precipitable water (in mm) for this morning shows a surge of moisture moving westwards though the Caribbean. Precipitable water values in excess of 51 mm (2 inches, orange colors) are capable of generating heavy flooding rains. Image credit: University of Wisconsin CIMSS.

Heavy rains kill nine in Haiti
The rainy season has begun on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, where heavy rains that began on Monday have triggered mudslides and floods that killed nine people. Nearly 500,000 people are still homeless in Haiti from the January 2010 earthquake, making the country highly vulnerable to flooding disasters. Heavy flooding was also a problem this week in the neighboring Dominican Republic, where 11,000 people were evacuated; no deaths were reported there, however. Precipitation forecasts from the GFS model suggest that the worst is over for Hispaniola, with the axis of greatest moisture expected to move west of the island today. This surge of moisture will bring heavy rains to Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and South Florida during the remainder of the week.

Jeff Masters

I'll have another cup please (BigJohnsSalsa)
Gonna be a good day
I'll have another cup please

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Here is our historical late April Nor,Easter and the satellite snow print..
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Not much but the Colombian Heat Low








Link
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Visible..
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48 OrchidGrower: ...one could argue the Haitian situation is so dire, even hillsides full of eucalyptus or leucaena trees would be better than hills of flowing mud every rainy season.

Eucalyptus makes excellent firewood and charcoal... and leucaena makes excellent charcoal (the wood burns too rapidly to be a good choice as firewood).
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Wow, are we sure this is April!
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Quoting Grothar:


I was just posting that image. You're getting good,hydrus. Yep, it is early to see those down there.
Thanks Gro.....:)
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There are a number of reasons why Haiti has so many deadly events, but here is what happens to them on a fairly regular basis.....
Timeline of Haiti's natural disasters

Some of the worst natural disasters to batter Haiti:

_ 1770: Strong earthquake devastates Port-au-Prince in then French colony.

_ 1842: Earthquake destroys Cap-Haitien and other cities in northern Haiti and Dominican Republic.

_ 1935: Unnamed storm kills more than 2,000 in Haiti before moving on to Florida as hurricane, where 400 die.

_ 1946: Magnitude-8.1 quake strikes Dominican Republic and Haiti, causing tsunami that kills 1,790 people.

_ 1954: Hurricane Hazel kills hundreds in Haiti.

_ 1963: Hurricane Flora leaves more than 6,000 dead in Haiti and Cuba.

_ 1994: Hurricane Gordon blamed for hundreds of deaths in Haiti.

_ 1998: Hurricane Georges destroys 80 percent of Haiti's crops while killing more than 400.

_ May 2004: Three days of heavy rains cause floods that kill more than 2,600.

_ September 2004: Tropical Storm Jeanne causes flooding and landslides that kill 1,900 and leave 200,000 homeless in Gonaives, Haiti's third-largest city.

_ October 2007: Tropical Storm Noel triggers mudslides and floods, killing at least 57 Haitians.

_ August and September 2008: Three hurricanes and tropical storm kill some 800 in Haiti, devastate crops and cause $1 billion in damage.

_ January 12, 2010: Magnitude-7.0 quake levels buildings in Port-Au-Prince, raising fears of tens of thousands of deaths.

Sources: Associated Press archives, US Geological Survey.
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Quoting jeffs713:

Bamboo is also an option - but is the definition of invasive... and it also doesn't burn well... or provide anything except anchoring on a hillside.


There are clumping bamboos which are not invasive.

Bamboo is becoming a valuable crop. It makes beautiful floors and amazingly soft fabric. Bamboo is a major structural material in lots of the world.
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Quoting Patrap:
Alberta Aurora

The Geomagnetic Storming over the past several days produced some brilliant Aurora over many parts of North America. Here is yet another great movie submitted by Zoltan Kenwell showing us what it looked like over the skies of Alberta, Canada.



Thanks for the Auroras Pat.
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Quoting GainesvilleGator:
Here is a solution to Hait's lack of vegetation problem. Portlight can organize a flotilla of barges to ship down 40 lb bags of chipped tree debris. If the Hatian people have plenty of wood for charcoal then there would be no need to chop down trees. Seedlings can then be planted. This would be a ongoing mission.



'Seems daunting, but I think you're onto something here. Your comment reminded me that there are little solar-powered stoves which some hunger-relief organizations give to the poor, precisely because of people otherwise deforesting the land. That could indeed be part of the solution here -- remove the need for locals to chop down the growing seedlings.
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Quoting j0nd03:
Well let's think outside the box here. What about mass fruit bearing trees that are more valuable alive then dead? I am not just talking about fleshy fruit you get in the produce section. There are nut trees that produce nutrient rich fruit in the nut, too (nut trees sometimes get overlooked for their life sustaining fruit). I am not too familiar with tropical trees personally, but I know there must be many, MANY trees more valuable for the food they produce than the wood is for fuel.

I am probably living in a dreamworld, though by the sound of the comments.


In some of the poorest areas of India the government is paying villages to plant and maintain trees. Not a lot of money, but enough so that the trees are growing. Annually the trees are inventoried and payments are based on the number and quality of trees.

It would seem that this would be a good carbon offset project for someone to tackle. Plant food producing trees. Also plant trees which can be 'top harvested' for firewood. Pay people a stipend based on how well their portion of the forest is thriving. Let them make additional money from fruit/nuts/firewood.

Start people off with a more generous supplement and dial it back a bit as the trees start to produce.

If the trees are valuable then someone will keep watch over them. Not unlike the farmers in Nepal who sleep in their fields to ward off the rhinos....

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Quoting ScottLincoln:


Seems like enough time has passed since the 1950s that more relevant and more robust research would exist on this topic. I would be skeptical of that study, especially if you can find nothing else backing it up. If there is such a connection or pattern, it should show up in the more reliable data of since the 1970s...


Yes, I agree. I had read before about this, at least as far as the Texas coast was concerned. In that article it gave examples of how, I'm assuming, the same man had been correct about the correlation in the past. Basically he had called it right before hand. But I googled my fingers off to no avail trying to find out more about it. :)
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Quoting hydrus:
If it was hurricane season, this could have been serious trouble..


I fully agree......................... :)
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"Suspected tornadoes have struck two areas of England damaging buildings and uprooting trees.

Residents in Rugby in Warwickshire said a tornado had "ripped a path" through properties toppling a chimney stack and knocking down fences.

Meanwhile, more than 100 miles away, farm buildings were blown down killing 20 chickens near Halstead in Essex."

Link

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Quoting hydrus:
If it was hurricane season, this could have been serious trouble..


I was just posting that image. You're getting good,hydrus. Yep, it is early to see those down there.
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While the Atlantic and Caribbean is starting the "slow" transition to Summer and a few "thingies" have been cooking down there a bit lately (I think a few have noted an upward MJO pulse down there over the next few weeks) sheer is still way too high down there and a significant drop would not be expected for several weeks (taking us into June theoretically). But who knows; if the right conditions came together (the right disturbance in the right place with favorable low sheer) we could see an early bird in May or June. If the sheer starts to drop sooner that expected in May or early June, it would be time to start looking closely at the longer range models.

Right now, the sheer is oppressive....Link
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Quoting Grothar:
If it was hurricane season, this could have been serious trouble..
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Louisiana Hurricane History
David Roth
National Weather Service
Camp Springs, MD
Link

“We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control: the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land and spread chaos and disaster” - Part of “Prayer for Hurricane Season” read as Grand Chenier every weekend of summer (Gomez).
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Long term trends/hurricane cycles. Studies were made back in the 1950's by Dr. W. Armstrong Price on hurricane incidence along the Texas coast and the sunspot cycle. Regardless of whether this pattern exists because of sunspots or some other interannual climate cycle, using data back to 1829 there are periods in the hurricane climatology that have greater activity than others. These periods were defined as being “hurricane-rich” or “hurricane-poor”. Hurricane-rich periods last, on average, 11 years with an average of 8 landfalls in their midst. Hurricane-poor periods last, on average, 14 years and only 2 landfalls usually occur.
We are currently in a hurricane-rich period which began in 2003. This is expected to last
until around 2014, plus or minus a few years.


Seems like enough time has passed since the 1950s that more relevant and more robust research would exist on this topic. I would be skeptical of that study, especially if you can find nothing else backing it up. If there is such a connection or pattern, it should show up in the more reliable data of since the 1970s...
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Still a lot of moisture too...
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How bout burning money, there were a few wars would would of won, if instead of dropping bombs we had instead buried them in that same amount of cash so deep that they would of suffocated. Now in Haiti we just need to send money to burn... big barges full, small bills of $1's or $5's ... who's in? We'll drop it from planes so the politicians and war-lords won't have a chance to seize it first..

Quoting GainesvilleGator:
Here is a solution to Hait's lack of vegetation problem. Portlight can organize a flotilla of barges to ship down 40 lb bags of chipped tree debris. If the Hatian people have plenty of wood for charcoal then there would be no need to chop down trees. Seedlings can then be planted. This would be a ongoing mission.
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17 RitaEvac: It's called over population, and on an island....that ain't good

So is Earth, and we've already built upon and paved over an area the size of India.

Welcome to the Anthropocene

Some maps of major roads, railways, airliner paths, energy pipelines, and communications links
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Quoting GainesvilleGator:
Here is a solution to Hait's lack of vegetation problem. Portlight can organize a flotilla of barges to ship down 40 lb bags of chipped tree debris. If the Hatian people have plenty of wood for charcoal then there would be no need to chop down trees. Seedlings can then be planted. This would be a ongoing mission.


trust me, portlight does not have enough chipped trees.
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are there waterspout outbreaks over water?

I have always wondered if ,under the right conditions, those powereful 120+ kt jet streams over the Pacific, and Atlantic oceans ever lead to supercellular waterspout producing storms.
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Here is a solution to Hait's lack of vegetation problem. Portlight can organize a flotilla of barges to ship down 40 lb bags of chipped tree debris. If the Hatian people have plenty of wood for charcoal then there would be no need to chop down trees. Seedlings can then be planted. This would be a ongoing mission.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Drought making a comeback in TX, if we don't get widespread rains soon, things will start to deteriorate along the coast, and the hill country is already hurting, only gonna get worse.

Winds are gusty, full sun, hazy, reminding me of last year.



Yeah, we've been insanely "wet" this year so far even compared to normal. But I can't forget how quickly things went south last summer. Maybe going to take something tropical? I found this last night while looking for a correlation between the sunspots/solar cycles and hurricanes that someone asked about. There are numerous instances of tropical systems at least helping the droughts all over the state. As usual "over" helping in most cases. Welcome to Texas...

First to the sun cycle question Found this FWIW (lol, not what I was looking for so I'm cranky about it. ;D)...

Long term trends/hurricane cycles. Studies were made back in the 1950's by Dr. W. Armstrong Price on hurricane incidence along the Texas coast and the sunspot cycle. Regardless of whether this pattern exists because of sunspots or some other interannual climate cycle, using data back to 1829 there are periods in the hurricane climatology that have greater activity than others. These periods were defined as being “hurricane-rich” or “hurricane-poor”. Hurricane-rich periods last, on average, 11 years with an average of 8 landfalls in their midst. Hurricane-poor periods last, on average, 14 years and only 2 landfalls usually occur.
We are currently in a hurricane-rich period which began in 2003. This is expected to last
until around 2014, plus or minus a few years. Texas will be extremely prone to hurricane landfalls during the time frame. Whether or not we should expect as few as two or as many as 8 storms in the next decade, all it takes is one to make life miserable for residents along the coast.

As to droughts...

Benefits of tropical cyclones.
Of the 122 storms chronicled in this survey, 11 are credited with alleviating drought conditions across the Lone Star State. Without tropical storms and hurricanes moving into Texas, summer rainfall would be about 10% lower than what currently falls across eastern Texas. This could be disastrous for cotton, corn, and rice grown statewide, as they are highly dependent on this added rainfall contribution.

Texas Hurricane History
David Roth
National Weather Service
Camp Springs, MD
Link
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There's a few trees when you take an ax to them the ax just bounces off, really fibrous, only chainsaws work, and even that is an effort


Quoting jeffs713:

Bamboo is also an option - but is the definition of invasive... and it also doesn't burn well... or provide anything except anchoring on a hillside.
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Quoting CaribBoy:
We will need a yellow circle in the SE Caribbean! Convection firing nicely there with some isolated very cold tops. Interesting. SSTs are 27-28%uFFFDC..
Way to much shear, 60-100 knots.  Nothing has a chance down there but squally weather. ;)
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TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 AM EDT THU APR 26 2012



CARIBBEAN SEA...


THE UPPER TROUGH OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO CUTS ACROSS THE FAR NW
CARIBBEAN. A SURFACE TROUGH EXTENDS FROM THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN
NEAR 16N78W TO THE COAST OF COLOMBIA NEAR 9N76W GENERATING
SCATTERED SHOWERS/ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS WITHIN 120/150 NM
EITHER SIDE OF THE TROUGH AXIS. THE REMNANTS OF THE DISSIPATING
STATIONARY FRONT ARE NOW ANALYZED AS A SURFACE TROUGH EXTENDING
FROM THE W/CENTRAL ATLC ACROSS HISPANIOLA NEAR 19N71W TO 15N75W
AND CONTINUES TO GENERATE SCATTERED SHOWERS AND POSSIBLE
ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS WITHIN 120 NM OF THE TROUGH INCLUDING ALL
OVER HISPANIOLA AND PORTIONS OF E CUBA. OTHERWISE A BROAD UPPER
RIDGE DOMINATES THE REMAINDER OF THE CARIBBEAN BASIN ANCHORED
OVER VENEZUELA WITH A RIDGE AXIS EXTENDING N ACROSS THE LEEWARD
ISLANDS INTO THE CENTRAL ATLC FURTHER ENHANCING THE ACTIVITY
OVER HISPANIOLA. THE FRESH TO STRONG TRADE WINDS COVER MUCH OF
THE CENTRAL AND E CARIBBEAN AND WILL CONTINUE INTO SAT. THE
WESTERN TROUGH WILL TRACK WNW TO THE GULF OF HONDURAS LATE FRI
AND TO INLAND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA SAT.
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We will need a yellow circle in the SE Caribbean! Convection firing nicely there with some isolated very cold tops. Interesting. SSTs are 27-28C..
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Keep Haiti Green and Beautiful Initiative Launched on 19 April 2012 in Arcahaie, Haiti

The office of the Diaspora of Haitian President Martelly is working on a plan to address the environmental issues facing the country. At a ceremony in Arcahaie, Haiti on 19 April 2012, environmental activists committed to replanting trees, one of the primary concerns people have when they talk about Haiti’s environmental problems, which include the need for clean water, public sanitation, electricity and road infrastructure.

Nadine hosted the first internet radio program – Keep Haiti Green and Beautiful on BlogTalkRadio.
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Quoting OrchidGrower:



I believe "thinking outside the box" may indeed be what's needed here. There are trees that produce an inferior grade of wood but which grow phenomenally quickly, several feet a year (a few which even grow metres per year). Many are invasives and should normally never be considered for deliberate plantings. But one could argue the Haitian situation is so dire, even hillsides full of eucalyptus or leucaena trees would be better than hills of flowing mud every rainy season.

Bamboo is also an option - but is the definition of invasive... and it also doesn't burn well... or provide anything except anchoring on a hillside.
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Quoting jeffs713:

Just a teeny bit of shear there.
yeah sheared area of convective rains interesting for now
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Quoting j0nd03:
Well let's think outside the box here. What about mass fruit bearing trees that are more valuable alive then dead? I am not just talking about fleshy fruit you get in the produce section. There are nut trees that produce nutrient rich fruit in the nut, too (nut trees sometimes get overlooked for their life sustaining fruit). I am not too familiar with tropical trees personally, but I know there must be many, MANY trees more valuable for the food they produce than the wood is for fuel.

I am probably living in a dreamworld, though by the sound of the comments.



I believe "thinking outside the box" may indeed be what's needed here. There are trees that produce an inferior grade of wood but which grow phenomenally quickly, several feet a year (a few which even grow metres per year). Many are invasives and should normally never be considered for deliberate plantings. But one could argue the Haitian situation is so dire, even hillsides full of eucalyptus or leucaena trees would be better than hills of flowing mud every rainy season.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
XX/AOI/XL

Just a teeny bit of shear there.
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Alberta Aurora

The Geomagnetic Storming over the past several days produced some brilliant Aurora over many parts of North America. Here is yet another great movie submitted by Zoltan Kenwell showing us what it looked like over the skies of Alberta, Canada.

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XX/AOI/XL
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Quoting jeffs713:

Consistent with the geomagnetic storm kicking up the atmosphere from a solar wind stream that has been impacting us.


Been a whopper.

The graph is for the fluxgate magnometer at HAARP. That is a scientific instrument that measures intensities of magnetic fields.
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Some Asian glaciers 'putting on mass'



The Karakoram range is home to K2, the world's second highest mountain, as seen from space.
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For Dr. Masters/Admin -- regular updates on significant moisture surges would be a helpful thing to have, going forward, I would think. In today's case that goes double, since so many areas of South Florida are in drought or even on fire watches!

Many thanks for this posting today.

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Quoting Patrap:

Consistent with the geomagnetic storm kicking up the atmosphere from a solar wind stream that has been impacting us.
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World's glaciers 'out of balance'


The retreat of McCall Glacier in North Alaska. The left panel is 1958; the right panel is 2003
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Worst and peaked conditions for TX was September 2011

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Quoting aspectre:
Don't bet on it. Kudzu is edible.

And isn't as flammable as wood. (it is a type of grass, after all)

For an idea of how thoroughly the hillsides look, go to google earth (or maps), and look at Gonaives, Haiti. There is a major hill just north of the town center... completely and utterly stripped of all trees (and just about anything growing).
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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.