Disturbance 99L more organized; record melting in Austrian Alps

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:02 PM GMT on August 01, 2012

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A tropical wave (Invest 99L) near 11°N 47°W, about 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, is showing increasing organization, and has the potential to develop into a tropical depression today or tomorrow as it moves westward at 15 - 20 mph. Visible satellite loops show that the disturbance now has two respectable low-level spiral bands, one to the north and one to the south, and a moderate amount of heavy thunderstorms near the center. The thunderstorm activity has not changed much in intensity this morning. A well-defined surface circulation is not evident on satellite images, but last night's 8:30 pm EDT pass from the ASCAT satellite showed a broad, elongated center with light winds had formed. Water vapor satellite loops show that 99L has a reasonably moist environment, and the latest Saharan air layer analysis shows that the dry air from the Sahara is not present in large quantities over the central tropical Atlantic. WInd shear over the disturbance has increased some since Tuesday, and is now at the moderate level, 10 - 15 knots. Ocean temperatures are 28°C, (82°F) which is about 0.5°C above average for this time of year.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Invest 99L.


Figure 2. Vertical instability over the tropical Atlantic 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, sinking air in the atmosphere, reducing the potential for tropical storm formation. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS/CIRA.

Forecast for 99L
Wind shear is expected to remain light to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, through Friday, ocean temperatures will remain near 28°C, and mid-level moisture will be a moderate 60 - 70%, according to the 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model. The disturbance has gained a bit of latitude and is now at 11°N, which will help it leverage the Earth's spin more to acquire its own spin. These conditions are probably sufficient for 99L to become Tropical Depression Five, with Thursday being the most likely day for this to happen. However, the reliable computer models are not very eager to develop 99L, and none show it becoming a hurricane over the next five days. This is probably because the atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic is unusually stable for this time of year (Figure 2), with large-scale areas of dry, sinking air present. Climatologically, we see very few Cape Verdes-type hurricanes forming near the Lesser Antilles Islands this early in August, and I expect 99L will struggle at times over the next few days. This is particularly likely if 99L goes north of 13°N, where a band a high wind shear of 20 - 40 knots associated with the subtropical jet stream lies. At 8 am Wednesday, NHC gave 99L a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Friday morning. Residents and visitors to the Lesser Antilles Islands should anticipate heavy rains and strong winds from 99L beginning to affect the islands as early as Friday morning. The long-range fate of 99L next week is uncertain, but a track west to west-northwest through the Caribbean is the most popular solution from the models.


Figure 3. Typhoon Saola (bottom) and Typhoon Damrey (top) perform a pincer maneuver on Shanghai, China in this MODIS photo from NASA's Terra satellite taken at 02 UTC August 1, 2012. Image credit: NASA.

Two typhoons headed towards China
In the Western Pacific, typhoon season is in full swing with two typhoons headed towards China. The more dangerous of the two is Category 2 Typhoon Saola, which is predicted to skirt the northern coast of Taiwan and hit mainland China 300 miles south of Shanghai on Friday as a Category 3 typhoon. Typhoon Damrey, a Category 1 storm located just south of Japan, is expected to hit China about 150 miles north of Shanghai on Thursday at Category 1 strength.

Extreme heat in Oklahoma
The withering heat in America's heartland continued on Tuesday, with the prize for most ridiculous heat a 113° temperature recorded in Chandler, Oklahoma. A close second: Tulsa hit 112°, just 3° below the city's all-time high of 115° set on August 10, 1936. The low temperature in Tulsa was 88° Tuesday morning, tying the record for warmest low temperature in city history set just the previous day. Six locations in Oklahoma hit 112° or hotter Tuesday, and the forecast calls for highs near 112° again today over portions of Oklahoma.

Extreme dryness in the Central U.S.
A few final tallies for July precipitation are in, and several U.S. cities in the heart of the drought region set new records for driest July:

Joplin, MO: 0.00" (ties record set in 1946)
Springfield, MO: 0.32" (previous record 0.33" in 1953)
Sioux Falls, SD: 0.24" (previous record, 0.24" in 1947, normal is 3.09")

Record early snow melt in the Austrian Alps
One of the longest meteorological data records at high altitude comes from Sonnblick, Austria, on a mountaintop in the Alps with an elevation of 3106 meters (10,200 feet.) The observatory typically sees maximum snow depths of 3 - 4 meters (10 - 13 feet) during winter. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, the snow had never completely melted at Sonnblick until the summer of 1992. Complete snow melt did not happen again until August 12, 2003, and has happened an average of once every two years since then--but always in September. Yesterday, on July 31, the snow completely melted at Sonnblick, the earliest melting since record keeping began in 1886. It's been an exceptionally hot summer in Austria, which experienced its 6th warmest June since record keeping began in 1767. Sonnblick Observatory recorded its all-time warmest temperature of 15.3°C (60°F) on June 30. Vienna hit 37.7°C (100°F) that day--the hottest temperature ever measured in June in Austria. Note that the two mountains in the Alps with long climate records, Saentis in Switzerland and Zugspitze in Germany, beat their records for earliest melting last year in 2011 (Saentis beat the previous record of 2003, and Zugspitze tied the record set in 2003.)


Figure 4. The Sonnblick Observatory in Austria on April 26, 2010. Image credit: Michael Staudinger.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting yoboi:


i have been thru quite a few storms, and katrina was by far the worse, if you werent there in person ya truly don't understand, i am not saying other storms don't have emotional tolls but the magnitude was on a large scale.


I survived Andrew, 1992. Don't worry, I understand, and also know that the storms were the same, and very different.
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
SO 99L moving WNW or NW today it is at 12 or 13N now!:)

its just a the WNW jog will not last expected to move West-North of due West it is at 11.8N not 12 or 13N
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11024
Quoting yoboi:


i have been thru quite a few storms, and katrina was by far the worse, if you werent there in person ya truly don't understand, i am not saying other storms don't have emotional tolls but the magnitude was on a large scale.


No one was saying "which storm was better" but when you belittle someone's else experience and claim they dont know what they are talking bout especially if they were in the same storm as you were then thats where the problem comes in...People were crying at the images on TV and sent support through donations, their own personal time, put up their houses for people needing shelter..etc..in all..katrina wasnt just a NO storm..it was an America storm because the nation's people pulled together to help those affected..

My family was in Mississippi so yes Katrina has a personal emotional toll for me
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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1100 AM PDT WED AUG 1 2012

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

A SMALL AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER...ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL
WAVE...HAS FORMED ABOUT 700 MILES SOUTHWEST OF MANZANILLO MEXICO.
DEVELOPMENT...IF ANY...IS EXPECTED TO BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS THE WAVE
MOVES TO THE WEST AT 10 TO 15 MPH. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...
10 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48
HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
Were only a few days away from the Mars entry or the 7 minutes of Terror.

Should be a Wild Ride down for the Spacecraft
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Quoting Chiggy:
12Z GFS at 240 hrs, Hurricane in the SW GoM. This is of course 10 days from now BUT the consistency of the GFS runs over the few fays is remarkable. Third run in a row that it is showing a strong system in the SW GoM.


My birthday
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Quoting Patrap:


O yeah, time will do dat.

I used to Drink at Tony's outside the Gate a spell.

..bac in 84'.
True. Air Force base in Havelock is HUGE. Didn't know you served there.
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Hey..THIS happens this Sunday..amazing how far we have come and can DO this.............................................. ......ASADENA, Calif. --
(AP) — It's NASA's most ambitious and expensive Mars mission yet — and it begins with the red planet arrival late Sunday of the smartest interplanetary rover ever built. Also the most athletic.

Like an Olympic gymnast, it needs to "stick the landing."

It won't be easy. The complicated touchdown NASA designed for the Curiosity rover is so risky it's been described as "seven minutes of terror" — the time it takes to go from 13,000 mph to a complete stop.

Scientists and engineers will be waiting anxiously 154 million miles away as the spacecraft plunges through Mars' thin atmosphere, and in a new twist, attempts to slowly lower the rover to the bottom of a crater with cables.

By the time Earthlings receive first word of its fate, it will have planted six wheels on the ground — or tumbled itself into a metal graveyard.

If it succeeds, a video camera aboard the rover will have captured the most dramatic minutes for the first filming of a landing on another planet.

"It would be a major technological step forward if it works. It's a big gamble," said American University space policy analyst Howard McCurdy.

The future direction of Mars exploration is hanging on the outcome of this $2.5 billion science project to determine whether the environment was once suitable for microbes to live. Previous missions have found ice and signs that water once flowed. Curiosity will drill into rocks and soil in search of carbon and other elements.

Named for the Roman god of war, Mars is unforgiving with a hostile history of swallowing man-made spacecraft. It's tough to fly there and even tougher to touch down. More than half of humanity's attempts to land on Mars have ended in disaster. Only the U.S. has tasted success, but there's no guarantee this time.

"You've done everything that you can think of to ensure mission success, but Mars can still throw you a curve," said former NASA Mars czar Scott Hubbard who now teaches at Stanford University.

The Mini Cooper-sized spacecraft traveled 8½ months to reach Mars. In a sort of celestial acrobatics, Curiosity will twist, turn and perform other maneuvers throughout the seven-minute thrill ride to the surface.

Why is NASA attempting such a daredevil move? It had little choice. Earlier spacecraft dropped to the Martian surface like a rock, swaddled in airbags, and bounced to a stop. Such was the case with the much smaller and lighter rovers Spirit and Opportunity in 2004.

At nearly 2,000 pounds, Curiosity is too heavy, so engineers had to come up with a new way to land. Friction from the thin atmosphere isn't enough to slow down the spacecraft without some help.

During its fiery plunge, Curiosity brakes by executing a series of S-curves — similar to how the space shuttle re-entered Earth's atmosphere. At 900 mph, it unfurls its huge parachute. It then sheds the heat shield that took the brunt of the atmospheric friction and switches on its ground-sensing radar.

A mile from the surface, Curiosity jettisons the parachute and fires up its rocket-powered backpack to slow it down until it hovers. Cables unspool from the backpack and slowly lower the rover — at less than 2 mph. The cables keep the rocket engines from getting too close and kicking up dust.

Once the rover senses touchdown, the cords are cut.

Even if the intricate choreography goes according to script, a freak dust storm, sudden gust of wind or other problem can mar the landing.

"The degree of difficulty is above a 10," said Adam Steltzner, an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the mission.

It takes 14 minutes for radio signals on Mars to travel to Earth. The lag means Curiosity will already be alive or dead by the time mission control finds out.

The rover's landing target is Gale Crater near the Martian equator. It's an ancient depression about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined with a 3-mile-high mountain rising from the center of the crater floor.

Scientists know Gale was once waterlogged. Images from space reveal mineral signatures of clays and sulfate salts, which form in the presence of water, in older layers near the bottom of the mountain.

During its two-year exploration, the plutonium-powered Curiosity will climb the lower mountain flanks to probe the deposits. As sophisticated as the rover is, it cannot search for life. Instead, it carries a toolbox including a power drill, rock-zapping laser and mobile chemistry lab to sniff for organic compounds, considered the chemical building blocks of life. It also has cameras to take panoramic photos.

Humans have been mesmerized by the fourth rock from the sun since the 19th century when American astronomer Percival Lowell, peering through a telescope, theorized that intelligent beings carved what looked like irrigation canals. Scientists now think that if life existed on Mars — a big if — it would be in the form of microbes.

Curiosity will explore whether the crater ever had the right environment for microorganisms to take hold.

Even before landing, it got busy taking radiation readings in space during its 352-million-mile cruise — information that should help its handlers back home determine the radiation risk to astronauts who eventually travel to the red planet.

Curiosity's journey has been fraught with bumps. Since NASA had never built such a complicated machine before, work took longer than expected and costs soared. Curiosity was supposed to launch in 2009 and land in 2010, but the mission — already $1 billion over budget — was pushed back two years.

The delay created a cascade. Burdened with budget woes, NASA reneged on a partnership with the European Space Agency to land a drill-toting spacecraft in 2018. The space agency is in the midst of revamping its Mars exploration program that will hinge heavily on whether Curiosity succeeds.

The extra time allowed engineers to test and re-test the rover and all its parts, taking a spacecraft stunt double to the Mojave Desert as if it were Mars. For the past several months, engineers held dress rehearsals at the sprawling JPL campus 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles in anticipation of landing day when they will carry on a decades-old tradition of passing out "good luck" peanuts.

Practice is over. It's show time. To Mars or bust.

___

Follow Alicia Chang's Mars coverage at: http://www.twitter.com/SciWriAlicia
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Yeah, you can keep going with that Levi spill, but we all have minds of our own. Btw the NHC went with everyone else too. The only reason the GFS ended up being correct is because southwest shear never let up, causing convection to be heavily weighted to the northeast. And no, this is not a Debby setup.


This is definitely an Ernesto 2012 setup. As we know every storm is like a fingerprint no 2 are the same.
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Quoting Patrap:
Andrew was a Bad Hurricane as well, in Louisiana too.



It did impact 2 States.

Considerable damage to oil platforms was reported, with one company losing 13 platforms, had 104 structures damaged, and five drilling wells blown off course.

Total losses to oil companies reached approximately $500 million (1992 USD). In Louisiana, Andrew produced hurricane force winds along its path, which left about 152,000 without electricity, downed 80% of trees in the Atchafalaya River Basin, and caused significant agricultural damage.

An F3 tornado in St. John the Baptist Parish damaged or destroyed 163 structures. 17 deaths were reported in Louisiana, six of which were drowning victims offshore. With 23,000 homes damaged, and 985 homes and 1,951 mobile homes destroyed, property losses in the state exceeded $1.5 billion (1992 USD)
Andrew made landfall as a mid range cat4 hurricane in Louisiana.
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625. CJ5
Quoting doabarrelroll:


All im saying is we are entitled to our opinion. I am in no way diminishing those that died during Katrina. But please dont act like you are the only one to have seen a true disaster on this blog. I still have nightmares.


LOL. I see you tried to have a Katrina discussion. Sorry, unless your opinion jives with the USMC Vet you are not going anywhere. He owns everything Katrina.
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623. yoboi
Quoting doabarrelroll:

Andrew.


andrew was bad but by square miles impacted katrina was worse...
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2328
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Havelock... ugh!!! We lost to Havelock High School in state semifinal last year... I traveled 3 hours just to watch my school get beat up by kids who now plays in SEC, 64-7. Still, not bad for my school who was playing first year varsity football program without senior... anyway, back to topic.

Oh, Patrap? It's Craven County, not Havelock County.


O yeah, time will do dat.

I used to Drink at Tony's outside the Gate a spell.

..bac in 84'.
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Quoting hydrus:
Wuzup Dog. Hey, if it brings beneficial rains to severely drought stricken areas without killing and causing billions in damage I am all for it.:)

Mornin' hydrus and most definitely. I just wish there was more focus at the government and corporate levels on learning to live with these 'monsters of the deep.' People in affected and even not directly affected areas need to be more involved in shaping our relationships with these things. Reality is that we need hurricanes and storms. The lands and waters need such storms and so we desperately need to learn to build/plan in order to coexist with them randomly rolling over our heads.

I'm happy when they fizzle or veer east never to be heard from again. But I can't help worrying if they do so too often and what that means about the overall large scale patterns in place.

Ehhhh. Too early to tell either way this hot August 1st 2012. Just popped in on a break to check on lil' 99L and waxing "philosophicane" wondering what this season will bring as it ramps up.
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Quoting jrweatherman:


Poof....


Truth hurts, I guess.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
Quoting jrweatherman:


Poof....

We don't need to know you put him on ignore. It's a waste of space.

Almost TWO time. I personally think they'll go 80%.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31462
Quoting barbados246:


we just had an advisory telling us it should reach us by friday morning

I hope it's just a rainmaker but be prepared. As we know there isn't a definite grasp on intensity yet so who knows how strong it'll be. I'm sure you know the drill.
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617. MahFL
Quoting 69Viking:


They should have obeyed the evacuation orders.


My father in law did, he did not take many valubles with him, and was to say the least "very surprised" when he went to check his house after Katrina passed, and a cop who knew him told him he could not go check it (conditions had not been made safe ), and he also told him the house was completely gone.
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Andrew was a Bad Hurricane as well, in Louisiana too.



It did impact 2 States.

Considerable damage to oil platforms was reported, with one company losing 13 platforms, had 104 structures damaged, and five drilling wells blown off course.

Total losses to oil companies reached approximately $500 million (1992 USD). In Louisiana, Andrew produced hurricane force winds along its path, which left about 152,000 without electricity, downed 80% of trees in the Atchafalaya River Basin, and caused significant agricultural damage.

An F3 tornado in St. John the Baptist Parish damaged or destroyed 163 structures. 17 deaths were reported in Louisiana, six of which were drowning victims offshore. With 23,000 homes damaged, and 985 homes and 1,951 mobile homes destroyed, property losses in the state exceeded $1.5 billion (1992 USD)
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SO 99L moving WNW or NW today it is at 12 or 13N now!:)
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I hate it when the latest GOES image is a dud... It screws up all of the subsequent loops too.

EDIT: It's even better when it screws up ALL of the channels...
Member Since: June 18, 2010 Posts: 3 Comments: 941
Quoting Patrap:


I thought you were a snappy Tom sort like NC.

LOL

But then again, yer both, really emotional seems.


Cherry Point was my last duty station, and I sure dont miss Havelock County at all.

Havelock... ugh!!! We lost to Havelock High School in state semifinal last year... I traveled 3 hours just to watch my school get beat up by kids who now plays in SEC, 64-7. Still, not bad for my school who was playing first year varsity football program without seniors... anyway, back to topic.

Oh, Patrap? It's Craven County, not Havelock County.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


I'm not bashing the GFS infact the GFS shifted north big time this run. Also Myself and 2 or 3 others were the only ones saying Debby was going to FL. While the rest of the Blog was going by what Levi was telling them would happen. Myself, Grother, and ncstorm posted countless graphics of why this would happen and got bashed for it. Either way this looks like another Debby set up.



Yeah, you can keep going with that Levi spill, but we all have minds of our own. Btw the NHC went with everyone else too. The only reason the GFS ended up being correct is because southwest shear never let up, causing convection to be heavily weighted to the northeast. And no, this is not a Debby setup.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
..O the sweet smell of success,

handle me with care..
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Quoting stormpetrol:
At 2pm I would expect to see 99L bumped up 70%, possibly 80%.

agreed

hmm seems like everything is failing today the models now 99L's floater
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11024
607. yoboi
Quoting doabarrelroll:


He is emotional. He is always emotional. He thinks that we "dont understand".


i have been thru quite a few storms, and katrina was by far the worse, if you werent there in person ya truly don't understand, i am not saying other storms don't have emotional tolls but the magnitude was on a large scale.
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2328
Quoting MississippiWx:


Step #1 of what I was trying to prove after Debby. The GFS only made sense to Florida wishcasting when it was the only model bringing it to them. Now, one storm later, Floridians are bashing the GFS already for taking it away from them. Lol. Priceless.

Happy model-watching. I'm out for a while since that should really stir the pot. :-D


Poof....
Member Since: May 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 843
605. TXCWC
Quoting StormTracker2K:
Debby part 2? Very possible FL could get hit by it's 3rd Tropical system in just 9 weeks.



Way too soon to say that with any confidence - but definitely a good shift right on the track for GFS on the 12Z. More shifts either to the right or left sure to come in the coming days.
Member Since: May 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 502
Quoting stormpetrol:
99L looks to be organizing quickly now and headed WNW straight toward Barbados.


we just had an advisory telling us it should reach us by friday morning
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Until we get a storm,we can only speculate. I think it's gonna hit Florida! Buckle up!
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For what its worth which is nothing according to this blog..the 12Z NOGAPS continues its NW crusade..
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600. wxmod
North pole today

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Quoting doabarrelroll:


He is emotional. He is always emotional. He thinks that we "dont understand".


I thought you were a snappy Tom sort like NC.

LOL

But then again, yer both, really emotional seems.


Cherry Point was my last duty station, and I sure dont miss Havelock County at all.

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Quoting doabarrelroll:


He is emotional. He is always emotional. He thinks that we "dont understand".
Dude... He was in New Orleans during Katrina. That makes us don't understand what really happened during Katrina.
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Member Since: June 20, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2150
The 12z CMC is out..



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Quoting CybrTeddy:
FWIW, there are two recons on the books tomorrow.
..yes and this storm is a week away, alot can happen in the meantime..hasnt even formed yet officially..tomorrow morning we will know more..one way or another, and better still when the recon reports in huh
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Quoting SLU:
Interesting .......

The north-bound CMC has now stepped in line with the consensus and takes 99L into the central Windwards....

Link or map please. Interesting in seeing it. Little by little it has been moving south down the coast but such a large change would surprise me.
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At 2pm I would expect to see 99L bumped up 70%, possibly 80%.
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I'm out for a while, I know right before the next TWO but I nave to go.
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Quoting doabarrelroll:


ok... creeper...

All im saying is we are entitled to our opinion. I am in no way diminishing those that died during Katrina. But please dont act like you are the only one to have seen a true disaster on this blog. I still have nightmares.


Er, dont recall saying that at all, please show us where I did.

Keep a lid on yer boil, it could cause a stroke.

Then you wont be a er, Pilot no mo.

I did say er, PEACE dint I?


Temperature
95.5 F
Feels Like 112 F

Fresca?
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FWIW, there are two recons on the books tomorrow.
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588. TXCWC
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

With a trough over the Northeast, I have a hard time believing it would continue west.


And IF that turns out to be the case (more of a northern track componet once in the W Car./Gulf)then watch out - as 12Z GFS run obviously showing favorable conditions once past the E/Cen. Car.
Member Since: May 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 502
587. SLU
Interesting .......

The north-bound CMC has now stepped in line with the consensus and takes 99L into the central Windwards....
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Step #1 of what I was trying to prove after Debby. The GFS only made sense to Florida wishcasting when it was the only model bringing it to them. Now, one storm later, Floridians are bashing the GFS already for taking it away from them. Lol. Priceless.

Happy model-watching. I'm out for a while since that should really stir the pot. :-D


I'm not bashing the GFS infact the GFS shifted north big time this run. Also Myself and 2 or 3 others were the only ones saying Debby was going to FL. While the rest of the Blog was going by what Levi was telling them would happen. Myself, Grother, and ncstorm posted countless graphics of why this would happen and got bashed for it. Either way this looks like another Debby set up.

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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.