July Atlantic hurricane outlook

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:55 PM GMT on July 13, 2012

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It's mid-July, and we have yet to see a named storm form in the Atlantic this month. The computer models are not predicting any development through at least July 20, and if we make it all the way to the end of the month without a named storm forming, it will be the first July since 2009 without a named storm. Since the current active hurricane period began in 1995, 13 of 17 years (76%) have had a named storm form during July. The busiest July occurred in 2005, when five named storms and two major hurricanes formed. These included Hurricane Dennis and Hurricane Emily--the strongest hurricanes ever observed so early in the season. Only eight major hurricanes have formed in July since record keeping began in 1851. As seen in Figure 1, most of the last half of July activity occurs in the Gulf of Mexico and waters off the Southeast U.S. coast. These type of storms form when a cold front moves off the U.S. coast and stalls out, with the old frontal boundary serving as a focal point for development of a tropical disturbance (as happened for Alberto, Beryl, Chris, and Debby in 2012.) There will be at least two cold fronts moving off the U.S. Mid-Atlantic coast over the next two weeks. The first of these fronts will push offshore around July 20, and we will need to watch the waters offshore of North Carolina for development then. Formation potential will be aided by ocean temperatures that are about 0.7°C (1°F) above average along the U.S. East Coast.


Figure 1. Tracks of all tropical storms and hurricanes 1851 - 2006 that formed July 16-31. The U.S. coast from North to Texas are the preferred strike locations. Only a few storms have formed in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean in July. Wind shear is typically too high and SSTs too cool in July to allow African waves in the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic to develop into tropical storms. However, a few long-track "Cape Verdes" hurricanes have occurred in July, spawned by tropical waves that came off the coast of Africa. African tropical waves serve as the instigators of about 85% of all major hurricanes.


Figure 2. The seasonal distribution of Atlantic hurricane activity shows that July typically has low activity. Image credit: NHC.

Sea Surface Temperatures: slightly above average
The departure of Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) from average over the tropical Atlantic between Africa and Central America was about 0.3°C above average during June (Figure 3.) This figure has not changed much over the first two weeks of July. These temperatures are not warm enough to appreciably affect the odds of a July named storm or hurricane. The strength of the Azores-Bermuda high has been near average over the past two weeks, driving near-average trade winds. The latest 2-week run of the GFS model predicts continued average-strength trade winds through late-July, so SSTs should remain about 0.3°C above average during this period, due to average amounts of cold water mixing up from below due to the wind action on the water.


Figure 3. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) departure from average for July 12, 2012. SSTs were 0.3°C above average over the tropical Atlantic's Main Development region for hurricanes, from Africa to Central America between 10° and 20° North Latitude. Note the large region of above average SSTs along the Equatorial Pacific off the coast of South America, the hallmark of a developing El Niño episode. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS

El Niño on the way?
For two consecutive weeks, ocean temperatures 0.5 - 0.6°C above average have been present in the tropical Eastern Pacific, which is right at the threshold for a weak El Niño episode. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Niño Watch, and gives a 61% chance that El Niño conditions will be present during the August - September - October peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. The likely development of a full-fledged El Niño episode means that Atlantic hurricane activity will probably be suppressed in 2012, due to the strong upper-level winds and high wind shear these events typically bring to the tropical Atlantic.


Figure 4. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) departure from average for the the equatorial Eastern Pacific (the area 5°N - 5°S, 120°W - 170°W, also called the "Niña 3.4 region"). El Niño conditions exist when the SST in this region rises 0.5°C above average. As of July 9, 2012, SSTs in the Niño 3.4 region had risen to 0.5°C above average. To be considered an "El Niño episode", El Niño conditions must occur for five consecutive months, using 3-month averages. Image credit: NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Wind shear: above average
Wind shear is usually defined as the difference in wind between 200 mb (roughly 40,000 foot altitude) and 850 mb (roughly 5,000 foot altitude). In most circumstances, wind shear above 20 knots will act to inhibit tropical storm formation. Wind shear below 12 knots is very conducive for tropical storm formation. High wind shear acts to tear a storm apart. The jet stream has two bands of strong high-altitude winds that are currently bringing high wind shear to the Atlantic. The southern branch (subtropical jet stream) is bringing high wind shear to the Caribbean, and the northern branch (polar jet stream) is bringing high wind shear to the waters offshore of New England. This configuration often leaves a "hole" of low shear between the two branches, off the Southeast U.S. coast and over the Gulf of Mexico. The jet stream is forecast to maintain this two-branch pattern over the coming two weeks. Wind shear has been about 10 - 20% higher than average over the first two weeks of July, and is predicted to be mostly above average for the coming two weeks. This will cut down on the odds of a July storm.


Figure 5. Vertical instability over the Caribbean Sea in 2012 (blue line) compared to average (black line.) The instability is plotted in °C, as a difference in temperature from near the surface to the upper atmosphere. Thunderstorms grow much more readily when vertical instability is high. Instability has been lower than average, due to an unusual amount of dry air in the atmosphere, reducing the potential for tropical storm formation. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS/CIRA.

Dry air: above average
As seen in Figure 5, there has been an unusual amount of dry, stable air in the Caribbean this year creating low levels of vertical instability. This has occurred due to a combination of dry air from Africa, and upper-atmosphere dynamics creating large areas of sinking air that dry as they warm and approach the surface. The Gulf of Mexico and tropical Atlantic between the coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles have also seen low vertical instability this summer. June and July are the peak months for dry air and dust coming off the coast of Africa, and the Saharan dust storms have been quite active over the past two weeks. Expect dry air to be a major deterrent to any storms that try to form in the tropical Atlantic during July.

Steering currents: average
The predicted steering current pattern for the next two weeks is a typical one for July. We have an active jet stream bringing many troughs of low pressure off the East Coast of the U.S. These troughs are frequent enough and strong enough to recurve any tropical storms or hurricanes that might penetrate north of the Caribbean Sea. Steering current patterns are predictable only about 3 - 5 days in the future, although we can make very general forecasts about the pattern as much as two weeks in advance. There is no telling what might happen during the peak months of August, September, and October--we might be in for a repeat of the favorable 2010 and 2011 steering current pattern, which recurved most storms out to sea--or the unfavorable 2008 pattern, which steered Ike and Gustav into the Gulf of Mexico.

Summary: a below average chance of a July tropical storm
Given that none of the computer models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the coming seven days, SSTs are only slightly above average, and wind shear and vertical stability are above average, I'll go with a 30% chance of a named storm forming in the Atlantic during the remainder of July.


Figure 6. Hurricane Emilia over the Eastern Pacific at 20:35 UTC July 10, 2012. At the time, Emilia was a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds. Emilia peaked earlier in the day as a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds--the strongest hurricane in the East Pacific so far in 2012. Image credit: NASA.

An active Eastern Pacific hurricane season
It's been a very active start to the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, where we've already had six named storms, four hurricanes, and three intense hurricanes. A typical season has 4 named storms, 2 hurricanes, and 0 intense hurricanes by July 14. The formation of Tropical Storm Fabio on July 12 marks the 4th earliest formation of the Eastern Pacific's season's sixth storm. The record is held by the year 1985, when the season's sixth storm formed on July 2. Record keeping began in 1949.

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

Jeff Masters

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The "I" storms have been on a roll these past few years.Will Isaac follow that path?.
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Detroit area 7 day forecast from wxyz in Detroit.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
2209. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting LargoFl:
Some U.S. residents may have a rare chance to see the aurora borealis, more commonly known as the northern lights, late tonight and into early Wednesday morning.

While the best viewing will be across Canada, including Edmonton and Winnipeg, the lights will be visible in parts of Alaska. The lights will also be visible in Portland, Ontario, Canada, which means they could be seen in upstate New York.

AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker said it will be cloudy along the St. Lawrence River on New York's northern border, while hit-or-miss showers could occur in southern New England in the early evening.

The lights may also be seen as far south as Madison, Wis., and Lansing, Mich. Walker said that this corridor will also be partly cloudy with some hit-or-miss storms.
i will be watchin waitin to see what comes
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53827
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
East coast shear:

Where do you get that map and opthers like it?
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
2207. LargoFl
....................................Tampa Bay area 7-day
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
2206. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
2205. LargoFl
Some U.S. residents may have a rare chance to see the aurora borealis, more commonly known as the northern lights, late tonight and into early Wednesday morning.

While the best viewing will be across Canada, including Edmonton and Winnipeg, the lights will be visible in parts of Alaska. The lights will also be visible in Portland, Ontario, Canada, which means they could be seen in upstate New York.

AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker said it will be cloudy along the St. Lawrence River on New York's northern border, while hit-or-miss showers could occur in southern New England in the early evening.

The lights may also be seen as far south as Madison, Wis., and Lansing, Mich. Walker said that this corridor will also be partly cloudy with some hit-or-miss storms.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Action switches to the east coast tomorrow.


I'm really not buying that, I would think it will be uniform coverage setup, in other words, equal coverage on both sides.
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Quoting Jedkins01:

Keep in mind that I said NEARLY the entire county, not the entire county ;)


Action switches to the east coast tomorrow.
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Quoting LargoFl:
..coming down in buckets here now


I don't know about coming down in buckets, it's just steady stratiform rain, I'd rather just have it be sunny, this stuff is boring, I was expecting some big thunderstorms, since we didn't get them I'd rather have sun than overcast with light to moderate rain lol.
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Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
As we all know hurricane Igor was later retired..but it's like nature was purposely holding off on the name till the right(unfortunately for Newfoundland and Bermuda) conditions and steering patterns set up....T.D 2 could have became Bonnie and T.D five could have became Earl..So that means Igor would have been Fiona which was a weak sheared tropical system...Mmm.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Well isnt it just too bad it ended :(

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2198. LargoFl
FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL
604 PM EDT SUN JUL 15 2012

FLC057-152300-
/O.NEW.KTBW.FA.Y.0048.120715T2204Z-120715T2300Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
HILLSBOROUGH FL-
604 PM EDT SUN JUL 15 2012

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RUSKIN HAS ISSUED AN

* URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOOD ADVISORY FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY IN FLORIDA.

* UNTIL 700 PM EDT

* AT 605 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
RAINFALL RATES OF TWO INCHES PER HOUR ASSOCIATED WITH THUNDERSTORMS
OVER THE ADVISED AREA...LOCALIZED FLOODING IS IMMINENT OR OCCURRING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

KEEP CHILDREN FROM BEING SWEPT AWAY IN FLOODED DITCHES AND DRAINS.
FLOOD WATERS ARE USUALLY DEEPER THAN THEY APPEAR AND MAY STALL YOUR
VEHICLE. JUST ONE FOOT OF FLOWING WATER IS POWERFUL ENOUGH TO SWEEP
VEHICLES OFF THE ROAD. TURN AROUND...DONT DROWN.

&&

LAT...LON 2778 8230 2778 8207 2766 8207 2766 8230

$$
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2197. LargoFl
..coming down in buckets here now
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
Quoting jrweatherman:


I live in Palm Harbor and getting a really nice storm.

Keep in mind that I said NEARLY the entire county, not the entire county ;)
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Cloud tops continuing to warm on Fabio:

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2194. beell
"spurious vorticity" in the GFS anyone?
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Quoting redwagon:

For a whole three minutes. It was like a day at the spa.


Well isnt it just too bad it ended :(
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


the gfs is probably feeding back each low it forms and starting a new one, and having more feed back, etc, till we have that mess out there
If the GFS scenario polayed out then a) there would be cooler ssts and higher rip current threat for awhile, b) lots of storms going over the same area, c) a fun time on the blog.
This opotential set up looks like trainning thunderstorms exceopt ver water and the t-storms are TS.
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2191. LargoFl
..........................................this from noaa...i wonder if a geomagnetic storm affects weather at all?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
2190. LargoFl
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


if you want to see that in FL, prepare for massive blackouts and power surges...
..yes if anything happens its going to be tonight when its the strongest the sites say..hope not gee
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
Quoting wxchaser97:
What about me, is there a chance I'm apart of this or am I a cv storm(Isaac).
Awww yeah baby :)!!!.Isaac would be a beautiful storm to track.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I think you're right... It's very unlikely the solar storm is disrupting WU... Something sure is though, lol... Blog definitely hasn't been working right.
Quoting wxchaser97:

The scary part is the GFS showing this run for run for a while now. MAweatherboy1 you brought up good questins there. We don't know until it happens but it would be something if it did. We would all be busy tracking multiple storms at once.


when the GFS is consistent with something, is for one reason with debby we know what happened
Member Since: June 20, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2159
2187. LargoFl
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



im pretty sure thats just for their site from the solar info they have
..yes the solar sites are jamming with traffic
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
East coast shear:

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


radio silence?
me?

For a whole three minutes. It was like a day at the spa.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

I would love it if we saw Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, and Helene off the same front if that is indeed what the GFS is showing. Talk about inflating the season numbers though if that happened.
What about me, is there a chance I'm apart of this or am I a cv storm(Isaac).
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
0Z GFS showed 2+ named storms, 06Z showed 2+ named storms, 12Z showed 2+ named storms, and the 18Z GFS showed 2+ named storms.
This reminds me of the time the GFS was very consistent with Debby.It just wouldn't give up.And it paid off.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
0Z GFS showed 2+ named storms, 06Z showed 2+ named storms, 12Z showed 2+ named storms, and the 18Z GFS showed 2+ named storms.


at least 2.
but we will see.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
i made a comment 3 minutes ago and it aint there yet.....
how long for this one to show up?
I have been having the same issue combined with an error message.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting wxchaser97:

The scary part is the GFS showing this run for run for a while now. MAweatherboy1 you brought up good questins there. We don't know until it happens but it would be something if it did. We would all be busy tracking multiple storms at once.

I would love it if we saw Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, and Helene off the same front if that is indeed what the GFS is showing. Talk about inflating the season numbers though if that happened.
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Quoting redwagon:

Blessed Radio Silence.... so peaceful when I can't see your posts.


radio silence?
me?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Easy though... We don't if...
A. any of those are strong enough to be Ernesto.
B. they are (sub)tropical or non tropical.
There is a chance we could have both those possibilities..but look at the sst off of the east coast..
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Quoting wxchaser97:

The scary part is the GFS showing this run for run for a while now. MAweatherboy1 you brought up good questins there. We don't know until it happens but it would be something if it did. We would all be busy tracking multiple storms at once.


the gfs is probably feeding back each low it forms and starting a new one, and having more feed back, etc, till we have that mess out there
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
0Z GFS showed 2+ named storms, 06Z showed 2+ named storms, 12Z showed 2+ named storms, and the 18Z GFS showed 2+ named storms.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32033
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
i made a comment 3 minutes ago and it aint there yet.....
how long for this one to show up?

Blessed Radio Silence.... so peaceful when I can't see your posts.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
3 to 2 storms off of the same frontal system..The GFS is having a field day
Quoting ncstorm:


FOUR!!!..
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


is that the 5th one over MS?
Are we racing the EPAC or something?
Quoting ncstorm:


never seen that happen before but if it did?? but the crazy part of that is that the GFS is has been consistently showing 3 systems forming off the east coast
Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Easy though... We don't if...
A. any of those are strong enough to be Ernesto.
B. they are (sub)tropical or non tropical.

The scary part is the GFS showing this run for run for a while now. MAweatherboy1 you brought up good questins there. We don't know until it happens but it would be something if it did. We would all be busy tracking multiple storms at once.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:



im pretty sure thats just for their site from the solar info they have

I think you're right... It's very unlikely the solar storm is disrupting WU... Something sure is though, lol... Blog definitely hasn't been working right.
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Quoting wxchaser97:
Would all of these be TS's because if so then wow 4 of em


and some nice vort over GA and another low behind that, and you have 6 TCs.....

GFS = High off its success
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
Quoting LargoFl:
people all over the web are having trouble like we are..this from one site..............................GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A strong geomagnetic storm is in progress as Earth's magnetic field reverberates from a CME strike on July 14th. At first the CME's impact seemed relatively weak, but conditions in the wake of the CME have become stormy. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say that satellites in geosynchronous orbit may have been directly exposed to solar wind plasma. Also, Northern Lights have appeared in the United States as far south as California, Utah and Nebraska. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Brad Goldpaint sends this picture of the auroras reflecting from Sparks Lake in central Oregon:

Meanwhile in the southern hemisphere, the aurora australis has been sighted in New Zealand, Australia, and directly above the South Pole itself.

Note: Extremely high levels of web traffic are slowing the response of our Realtime Photo Gallery, below. We are working to solve the problem--not only for now, but also for future high-traffic storms. Go ahead and click on the link. If you can't see the pictures right away, please return later today and try again



im pretty sure thats just for their site from the solar info they have
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
Quoting wxchaser97:
Would all of these be TS's because if so then wow 4 of em
We would certainly catch up to the east pacific in terms of named storms.Lol.
Quoting ncstorm:


never seen that happen before but if it did?? but the crazy part of that is that the GFS is has been consistently showing 3 systems forming off the east coast
I know last year Bret and Cindy formed from the same frontal system.
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Quoting LargoFl:
..amazing this solar storm is, man i wish we could see THAT here in florida tonight..must be beautiful


if you want to see that in FL, prepare for massive blackouts and power surges...
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
2168. LargoFl
people all over the web are having trouble like we are..this from one site..............................GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A strong geomagnetic storm is in progress as Earth's magnetic field reverberates from a CME strike on July 14th. At first the CME's impact seemed relatively weak, but conditions in the wake of the CME have become stormy. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say that satellites in geosynchronous orbit may have been directly exposed to solar wind plasma. Also, Northern Lights have appeared in the United States as far south as California, Utah and Nebraska. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Brad Goldpaint sends this picture of the auroras reflecting from Sparks Lake in central Oregon:

Meanwhile in the southern hemisphere, the aurora australis has been sighted in New Zealand, Australia, and directly above the South Pole itself.

Note: Extremely high levels of web traffic are slowing the response of our Realtime Photo Gallery, below. We are working to solve the problem--not only for now, but also for future high-traffic storms. Go ahead and click on the link. If you can't see the pictures right away, please return later today and try again
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
Geomagnetic storming has kicked back up to moderate levels:

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Quoting washingtonian115:
3 to 2 storms off of the same frontal system..The GFS is having a field day
Quoting ncstorm:


FOUR!!!..

Easy though... We don't if...
A. any of those are strong enough to be Ernesto.
B. they are (sub)tropical or non tropical.
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i made a comment 3 minutes ago and it aint there yet.....
how long for this one to show up?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9727
2164. LargoFl
Quoting Patrap:
www.solarham.net


VHF Aurora 2 meter (144mhz) and 6 meter (50mhz) is currently full of aurora signals here in Ontario, Canada. If you are high in latitude, time to turn the yagis north.

Pine City, Minnesota Aurora (Early Sunday) - by Carlton McMillan K5CJM
..amazing this solar storm is, man i wish we could see THAT here in florida tonight..must be beautiful
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
2163. LargoFl
......................................GT you ok over there?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
2162. ncstorm
Quoting washingtonian115:
3 to 2 storms off of the same frontal system..The GFS is having a field day


never seen that happen before but if it did?? but the crazy part of that is that the GFS is has been consistently showing 3 systems forming off the east coast
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15288
Would all of these be TS's because if so then wow 4 of em
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942

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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.