Historic 2012 U.S. drought: 6th greatest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 10:59 PM GMT on July 16, 2012

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The great drought of 2012 is upon us. The percentage area of the contiguous U.S. covered by moderate or greater drought increased to 56% by the end of June, and ranked as the sixth largest drought since U.S. weather records began in 1895, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in their monthly State of the Climate drought report on Monday. The last time more of the U.S. was in drought occurred in December 1956, with 58%. June 2012 ranked as the 10th greatest U.S. drought on record, when considering the percentage area of the U.S. in severe or greater drought (33%.)


Figure 1. June 2012 ranked in sixth place for the greatest percent area of the contiguous U.S. covered by moderate or greater drought, since record keeping began in 1895. Graphic created from data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

The forecast: hot and dry with increasing drought
The great drought of 2012 is going to steadily worsen during the remainder of July. Recent runs of the global computer forecast models predict a continuation through the end of July of the large-scale jet stream patterns that have brought the U.S. its hot, dry summer weather. The most extreme heat will tend to be focused over the center portion of the county. That was certainly the case Monday, with temperatures near or in excess of 100° observed from South Dakota to Michigan. High temperatures near 100°F are expected in Chicago and Detroit on Tuesday, and over much of the Midwest.


Figure 2. Comparison of drought between June 2012 (top) and June 1988 (bottom) shows that drought conditions covered a similar proportion of the contiguous U.S., but the spatial patterns were different. The 2012 drought is especially intense over the Southwest U.S., but in 1988, this region experienced a very active summer monsoon season that kept the region moist. However, in 1988, the Northern Plains were much drier than in 2012. Image credit: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

A multi-billion dollar drought disaster underway
Agronomists and drought experts are comparing the scale and intensity of the 2012 drought to the 1988 drought. With the forecast offering little optimism, the costs of the 2012 drought are certain to be many billions of dollars, and the disaster could be one of the top ten most expensive weather-related disasters in U.S. history. Droughts historically have been some of the costliest U.S. weather disasters. A four-year drought and locust plague from 1874 - 1877 cost $169 billion (2012 dollars), and was arguably the most expensive weather related disaster in U.S. history (see Jeffrey Lockwood's 2004 book, Locust.) The costs of the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s, which displaced 2.5 million people, are incalculable. The costs of government financial assistance alone were $13 billion in 2012 dollars (Warrick, 1980.) The 1988 drought cost $78 billion (2012 dollars), the second most expensive weather disaster since 1980, behind Hurricane Katrina.

The associated heat wave of the great drought of 2012 is also a major concern. The heat waves associated with the great droughts of 1980 and 1988 killed between 7,500 - 10,000 people, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. The heat waves of the 1930s are blamed for 5,000 deaths. The death toll from the 2012 heat wave is approaching 100, including 23 in Chicago, up to 19 in Wisconsin, 18 in Maryland, 17 in St. Louis, and 9 in Philadelphia. The toll will undoubtedly grow as more heat-related deaths are discovered, and as the heat continues.


Figure 3. The U.S. has seen twelve weather-related disasters costing at least $15 billion since 1980, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Two of the top three most expensive disasters have been droughts.

Tornadoes kill one, injure ten in Poland
A series of rare tornadoes hit northern and western Poland over the weekend, killing one and injuring ten. At least 100 homes were destroyed, and one of the twisters measured 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter. Tornadoes are quite rare in Poland. According to the publication, An updated estimate of tornado occurrence in Europe by Nikolai Dotzek (2003), Poland reports about two tornadoes per year, and probably has two more per year that are unreported. Thanks go to wunderground member beell for posting this link.


Video 1. Raw footage of the weekend tornadoes that hit Poland.

Jeff Masters

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Miami NWS Discussion

MODELS STILL SUGGEST THE INTRUSION OF A 595 DAM RIDGE BUILDING
ACROSS THE BAHAMAS AND INTO SOUTH FLORIDA LATE WEDNESDAY AND
PERSISTING THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK. THIS WILL BE ACCOMPANIED
BY THE SAHARAN DUST WHICH SHOULD BE MOST NOTICEABLE THURSDAY AND
FRIDAY IN THE FORM OF A HAZY SKY. WITH THE ABSENCE OF A DEEP
MOISTURE LAYER DURING THE LATTER HALF OF THE WEEK...ESPECIALLY
DURING THIS TIME OF YEAR...TEMPERATURES SHOULD SOAR INTO THE MID AND
UPPER 90S ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA. HEAT INDEX VALUES ARE STILL
EXPECTED TO RUN IN THE 105-109 RANGE ACROSS MAINLY INTERIOR AND
WESTERN AREAS.

THE DRY PATTERN LOOKS TO BE SHORT LIVED HOWEVER AS DEEPER
MOISTURE IS EXPECTED TO RETURN INTO THE WEEKEND.
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243. MahFL
Quoting nigel20:

Hopefully most of the drought stricken areas of the US will get relief sooner rather than later!


Actually thats no going to happen, the outlook is for continued drought.
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Record high temperatures in the low 100s will spread across the area today with humidity resulting in dangerous heat indicies of 105-110 degrees. A cold front will bring a round of showers and thunderstorms tonight followed by high temperatures in the 80s tomorrow. Highs on Thursday will be near 80 everywhere.
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


10 Years ago during the strongest recorded El Nino,the Atlantic Tropical Basin was limited to 8 Tropical Cyclone's and 1 Sub Tropical Cyclone. But all it takes is 1 Hurricane to wreck your life. Keep your guard up! Here is Hurricane Danny, a Cat1 Hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast on July 19,1997.
that.was.no.life.changer
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


10 Years ago during the strongest recorded El Nino,the Atlantic Tropical Basin was limited to 8 Tropical Cyclone's and 1 Sub Tropical Cyclone. But all it takes is 1 Hurricane to wreck your life. Keep your guard up! Here is Hurricane Danny, a Cat1 Hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast on July 19,1997.


I think you meant 15 years ago
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Quoting LargoFl:

It seems like now we're entering into the downward pulse of the MJO in reality. We've seemed to be in upward phase the last few weeks, even though on paper we were not.
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THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR SOUTHEAST ALABAMA...
SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH CENTRAL GEORGIA...AND THE FLORIDA BIG BEND
AND PANHANDLE...AND ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT...

WIDESPREAD THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON. SOME STORMS
COULD PRODUCE FREQUENT LIGHTNING AND GUSTY WINDS. LOCALLY HEAVY
RAINFALL IS ALSO POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY ACROSS NORTH FLORIDA AND
EXTREME SOUTH GEORGIA. IN THESE ISOLATED AREAS...RAINFALL ON THE
ORDER OF 2 TO 4 INCHES IN A FEW HOURS IS POSSIBLE.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY...

HIGHER THAN AVERAGE RAIN CHANCES WILL CONTINUE THROUGH AT LEAST
THURSDAY. STORMS WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING GUSTY WINDS AT TIMES
AND AN ISOLATED SEVERE STORM CANNOT BE RULED OUT. WIDESPREAD
SEVERE WEATHER IS NOT EXPECTED.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION IS NOT ANTICIPATED TODAY...HOWEVER...SPOTTERS
ARE URGED TO PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE EVOLVING WEATHER IN CASE
ACTIVATION BECOMES NECESSARY.
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THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST
FLORIDA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
AN UNSTABLE AIRMASS WILL CONTINUE TO FAVOR SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS TODAY. THE STRONGEST STORMS SHOULD BE TO
THE NORTH OF INTERSTATE FOUR WHERE THE BEST UPPER-LEVEL DYNAMICS
EXIST. SOME STORMS WILL CONTAIN STRONG GUSTY WINDS AND SMALL HAIL.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY.

...THUNDERSTORM IMPACT...
DRIER AIR WILL BEGIN TO MOVE INTO THE REGION FROM THE SOUTH ON
THURSDAY AND REMAIN WITH US ON FRIDAY. STILL...ENOUGH MOISTURE
COMBINED WITH TEMPERATURES CLIMBING INTO THE MIDDLE 90S WILL ALLOW
A FEW STORMS TO DEVELOP EACH AFTERNOON. SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM
COVERAGE IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE OVER THE WEEKEND AS MOISTURE
RETURNS. NO ORGANIZED AREAS OF STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS ARE
EXPECTED AT THIS TIME.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION WILL NOT BE NEEDED TODAY.

$$
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.......................................its moved down into manatee county now
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Quoting TampaBayStormChaser:
Just had torrential rain with a large thunderstorm over Central and Southern Pinellas County
..good morning, yeah sure had alot of lightning with it, woke me up
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Canadien Model 3 Pacific possibles and 2 Atlantic possibles
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4940
230. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #21
TROPICAL STORM KHANUN (1207)
15:00 PM JST July 17 2012
=====================================

SUBJECT: Category One Typhoon In Sea South Of Okinawa

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Storm Khanun (992 hPa) located at 26.8N 129.6E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 15 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0

Gale Force Winds
===================
210 NM from the center in northeast quadrant
120 NM from the center in southwest quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
=========================

24 HRS: 32.6N 126.2E - 45 knots (Tropical Storm/CAT 1) - South southwest of Juju Island
48 HRS: 39.0N 124.6E - 40 knots (Tropical Storm/CAT 1) -Yellow Sea
72 HRS: 42.2N 123.9E - Tropical Depression in District of northeastern China

Additional Information
=======================

Tropical Storm Khanun will accelerate for the next 24 hours then slow down.

Tropical storm will move northwest for the next 24 hours then move northward

Khanun will be upgraded to severe tropical storm within 12 hours

Cyclone will develop because it will stay in high sea surface temperature area

Final initial Dvorak number will be 3.0 after 24 hours
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At 850mb
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4940


Still forecasting possible action off east coast.
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Two areas of interest according to this probability map.
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15 Years ago during the strongest recorded El Nino,the Atlantic Tropical Basin was limited to 8 Tropical Cyclone's and 1 Sub Tropical Cyclone. But all it takes is 1 Hurricane to wreck your life. Keep your guard up! Here is Hurricane Danny, a Cat1 Hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast on July 19,1997.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4940
Hmmm, it seems as though the tropics are trying to fight back, now that it's entering the latter half of July, when tropical activity kicks it into higher gear (still about a month and a bit until the highest, I guess). I still doubt anything will develop until at least towards the end of the month, but we could still see several storms yet. It still looks as though the mess south and east of Florida is trying to become something, but it has a ways to go before it can.

PS: The heat and extreme dry conditions are also going through Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia here in Canada. I've never seen anything this bad here, and I live in Ottawa, ON. There've been random brush/grass fires popping up just under the constant glare of sunlight; one of which popped up right in the city and spread to a tree and then two houses before firefighters detained it. One also burned for a few days before it was detained, in a field just between Ottawa and the suburb of Bells Corners. We've been lucky this drought has also had little wind to go with it, otherwise these grass fires would quickly become monstrous. It's rained once in July thus far... on the 3rd. It rained about 1/4 of a millimetre.

Normally droughts don't effect these areas, especially to such a degree, but even my friend from Oklahoma says h's been seeing better weather these days.
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Overnight storms in the area:



On the topic of the SAL, 2006 we had a constant outbreak of African Dust that pushed into the MDR of the Atlantic which put a cap on Cape Verde development that year. Now it looks like the steering currents are different this year and will be a mute point if development is closer to home and more landfalls.

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CV - African wave E of it....

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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting aerojad:
Was wondering if you guys could help me out with something. Rivers are obviously falling because of the drought over most of the country but I can't seem to find any information on what an 'average' river level is, and what is considered to be too low.

I can find tons of stuff like this from the AHPS: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo= dvn&gage=rcki2

Tells me the current and forecast stages, as well as the definitions of various flood stages, but there's no line for normal, or what's too low for shipping.

I've found a very few gauges along the Mississippi where they list the low water impacts, but the vast majority doesn't.

Does anyone know where I can find average river levels?


Look for the USGS and the Army Corps of Engineers online sites, they have historical data on river levels. The concept of "normal" really only applies for man-made or dredged channels, or for natural rivers on the scale of a couple of decades. A natural river will silt over in places, islands will form, and the course of the river will change over time. If the river flow is constrained by levees, then the "normal" levels tend to rise over time.

Here is an example link for data on the Mississippi at McGregor IA : http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=0 5389500&agency_cd=USGS You can find historical data for the site or you can navigate up or down the river to other sites with level gauge data and find average levels for specified time periods.
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pink is the dust more intense the pink well more intense the dust
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 1:00 AM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 29.79 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 4

Temperature: 80.2°F
Dewpoint: 65.7°F
Humidity: 61 %
Wind: SW 14 gust 20 mph
Humidex: 92
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Seems like I've heard this statment in the last several days. Since I don't know how to predict exactly when the SAL will let go of its grip...I'll believe it when I see it...LOL


Lets present it here as a theory.... The answer should prove us right or wrong maybe one month from now....

We can save this image for comparison purposes....

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--------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------



WOCN51 CWTO 170501
Humidex advisory
Updated by Environment Canada
At 1:01 AM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012.
------------------------------------------------- --------------------
Humidex advisory for:
Gatineau
City of Toronto
Windsor - Essex - Chatham-Kent
Sarnia - Lambton
Elgin
London - Middlesex
Simcoe - Delhi - Norfolk
Dunnville - Caledonia - Haldimand
Oxford - Brant
Niagara
City of Hamilton
Halton - Peel
York - Durham
Huron - Perth
Waterloo - Wellington
Dufferin - Innisfil
Grey - Bruce
Barrie - Orillia - Midland
Belleville - Quinte - Northumberland
Kingston - Prince Edward
Peterborough - Kawartha Lakes
Stirling - Tweed - South Frontenac
Bancroft - Bon Echo Park
Brockville - Leeds and Grenville
City of Ottawa
Prescott and Russell
Cornwall - Morrisburg
Smiths Falls - Lanark - Sharbot Lake
Parry Sound - Muskoka
Haliburton.

Extreme heat and high humidex today.

------------------------------------------------- --------------------
==discussion==
The peak of the current heat episode is expected later today as
torrid temperatures and high humidity spread all of across Southern
Ontario. Humidex values ranging from 40 to 45 are expected. General
relief should come in the form of a cold front tonight bringing
somewhat cooler and less humid conditions for Wednesday with the
possible exception of Extreme Southwestern Ontario. This front is
expected to generate scattered thunderstorms, a few of which may
become severe.

During times of high heat and humidity, the public, especially those
who are susceptible to heat stress, are advised to stay in an air
conditioned place when possible or seek shady areas, drink Plenty of
water and limit physical outdoor activity.

This is an advisory that high humidex values are expected in these
regions. Monitor weather conditions and listen for updated
statements.

END/OSPC
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
Quoting sunlinepr:
While we see blue areas (Dry Air or SAL), wave intensification will be inhibited... But looks like more greens are invading E of CV....


Seems like I've heard this statment in the last several days. Since I don't know how to predict exactly when the SAL will let go of its grip...I'll believe it when I see it...LOL
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213. wxmod
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/geoengi neering-climate-change/

"Across all four models tested, the team showed that geoengineering could lead to adverse effects on the Earth’s climate, including a reduction in global rainfall."

"One particular concern is the study’s assumption of a quadrupling of carbon dioxide levels. “If it ever gets to that stage, then we have probably passed the point where geoengineering can be useful anyway,” says Rayner."

“Unfortunately, we don’t have hundreds of years before climate change really takes hold. So researching climate engineering now is much better than undertaking that effort only when it becomes clear it is necessary.”
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
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Fabio continues to weaken.

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While we see blue areas (Dry Air or SAL), wave intensification will be inhibited... But looks like more greens are invading E of CV....

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I've updated my blog this evening for the Atlantic...my 54th post of the season...still boring in the Atlantic though...
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My 2nd tropical wx blog is outLink
Whats left of Fabio:
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Is 112 people in 1.2 Billion really an outbreak?


That is the real problem... if that is a new disease, you would like to contain it and keep it for only 112 people before it escapes the country or infects 1.2 billion...

The spanish flu of 1918 began infecting a single person...

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Quoting wxmod:


I wouldn't be trusting the government of China to give full details. Seeing how they treat the air and water there, it may not be a disease, but more of a chemical reaction.


Even if it is really a new disease, when these reports escape the regime and are published, it's because the problem is more serious....
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Is 112 people in 1.2 Billion really an outbreak?
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:

Ex-Emilia entering stage right in the Hawaii area. Looks like it will pass south of Hawaii like Ex-Daniel...


True....Looks more disorganized and weaker than Daniel....

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Quoting sunlinepr:

Ex-Emilia entering stage right in the Hawaii area. Looks like it will pass south of Hawaii like Ex-Daniel...
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199. wxmod
Quoting sunlinepr:


Something is going on....

China on alert as disease outbreak kills 112 in June
Posted on July 16, 2012
July 16, 2012 – BEIJING — The Chinese province of Hunan urged parents on Sunday to seek immediate treatment for children showing symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease after official figures showed 112 people died from the illness last month. The disease, which children are especially vulnerable to, also infected more than 381,000 people, the Ministry of Health reported last week. “The disease incidence rate in June was much higher than that of last June, which has much to do with the high temperatures this summer,” said Liu Fuqiang with the provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The province urged parents and teachers to send children to hospital as soon as they showed symptoms of the disease, including mouth sores, skin rashes or fever. In June, 34,768 cases were reported and 17 people died from the disease in Hunan, the statement said. According to the Ministry of Health, over 460,000 people were infected by the disease in May, leading to 132 deaths. In recent days, health departments in numerous Chinese provinces and regions, including Gansu, Fujian, Jiangsu and Xinjiang have issued warnings over the outbreak of the disease, state press reports said. n international lending organization has slightly lowered its outlook for global growth over the next two years, warning that Europe’s financial crisis and slower expansion in China and India have weakened the world economy. -AFP


I wouldn't be trusting the government of China to give full details. Seeing how they treat the air and water there, it may not be a disease, but more of a chemical reaction.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:




Something is going on....

China on alert as disease outbreak kills 112 in June
Posted on July 16, 2012
July 16, 2012 – BEIJING — The Chinese province of Hunan urged parents on Sunday to seek immediate treatment for children showing symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease after official figures showed 112 people died from the illness last month. The disease, which children are especially vulnerable to, also infected more than 381,000 people, the Ministry of Health reported last week. “The disease incidence rate in June was much higher than that of last June, which has much to do with the high temperatures this summer,” said Liu Fuqiang with the provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The province urged parents and teachers to send children to hospital as soon as they showed symptoms of the disease, including mouth sores, skin rashes or fever. In June, 34,768 cases were reported and 17 people died from the disease in Hunan, the statement said. According to the Ministry of Health, over 460,000 people were infected by the disease in May, leading to 132 deaths. In recent days, health departments in numerous Chinese provinces and regions, including Gansu, Fujian, Jiangsu and Xinjiang have issued warnings over the outbreak of the disease, state press reports said. n international lending organization has slightly lowered its outlook for global growth over the next two years, warning that Europe’s financial crisis and slower expansion in China and India have weakened the world economy. -AFP
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Quoting aerojad:
Was wondering if you guys could help me out with something. Rivers are obviously falling because of the drought over most of the country but I can't seem to find any information on what an 'average' river level is, and what is considered to be too low.

I can find tons of stuff like this from the AHPS: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo= dvn&gage=rcki2

Tells me the current and forecast stages, as well as the definitions of various flood stages, but there's no line for normal, or what's too low for shipping.

I've found a very few gauges along the Mississippi where they list the low water impacts, but the vast majority doesn't.

Does anyone know where I can find average river levels?
The best go-to blogger for that would probably be ScottLincoln. He might could help you out.

(T-69)
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My 2nd tropical wx blog is outLink
Whats left of Fabio:
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Very Impressive storms in Zephyrhills Fl tonight. Lots of lightning and thunder. Rain rate at 7.41in/hr. So far 2.19 inches and still really raining hard.
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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.