The odds of a hurricane spoiling the Republican National Convention in Tampa

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:48 PM GMT on August 14, 2012

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On September 25, 1848, the Great Gale of 1848, the most violent hurricane in Tampa's history, roared ashore as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane with 115 - 135 mph winds. Major R. D. S. Wade weathered the storm in Fort Brooke, in what is now downtown Tampa. Here is what he wrote this to his commanding officer in Washington D.C.: "The waters rose to an unprecedented height, and the waves swept away the wharves and all the buildings that were near the Bay or river." A 15-foot storm surge was observed at Fort Brooke, and the peninsula where St. Petersburg lies in Pinellas County was inundated "at the waist" and "the bays met," making St. Petersburg an island. After the hurricane, "Tampa was a scene of devastation. Magnificent old oaks were toppled by the hurricane's winds. At Fort Brooke the barracks, horse shed, and other structures were gone. The pine forest north of the garrison was filled with wreckage and debris. The hurricane's powerful surge had shifted sand all along the coast and reshaped many of the keys near Tampa Bay. Navigation routes were filled in and closed, making charts of the area produced before 1848 almost useless after the hurricane. In terms of intensity and destruction, the 1848 storm remains perhaps the greatest in Tampa's history" (Barnes, 1999.)


Figure 1. Pencil sketch of the Captains' Quarters, drawn by one of the officers stationed at Fort Brooke in 1845. Fort Brooke was one of the largest military establishments in the United States at the time. Image Credit: The Tampa Bay History Center.

Fort Brooke today
Fort Brooke is the current site of the Tampa Bay Convention Center, which hosts the Republican National Convention on August 27 - 30 this year. The convention center is in Evacuation Zone A, which is evacuated for Category 1 hurricanes. The Tampa Bay Times Forum and two major convention hotels--the Tampa Marriott Waterside and the Embassy Suites--are in Evacuation Zone B, which is evacuated for Category 2 hurricanes. In a worst-case Category 4 hurricane, the Convention Center could be immersed in 20 feet of water. Clearly, even a Category 1 hurricane would be enough to spoil the convention. So, what are the odds of a mass evacuation order being issued for Tampa Bay during the convention?


Figure 2. Predicted height above ground of the water from a worst-case Category 4 hurricane in the Tampa Bay region, as computed using NOAA's SLOSH storm surge model. The Tampa Bay convention center would go under 20 feet of water, and St. Petersburg would become an island, as occurred during the 1848 hurricane.


Figure 3. Perhaps the most spectacular hurricane image ever captured: view of Hurricane Elena on September 1, 1985, as seen from the Space Shuttle Discovery. At the time, Elena was a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds, located just 80 miles offshore from Tampa Bay, Florida. The hurricane prompted the largest mass evacuation in Tampa Bay history.

Two mass evacuations in Tampa in the past 25 years
Two hurricanes have prompted mass evacuations of more than 300,000 people from the Tampa Bay area over the past 25 years. The first was Hurricane Elena of 1985, a Category 3 hurricane that stalled 80 miles offshore for two days on Labor Day weekend, bringing a 6 - 7 foot storm surge, wind gusts of 80 mph, and torrential rains. On August 13, 2004, another mass evacuation was ordered for Hurricane Charley. Thanks to a late track shift, Charley missed Tampa Bay, and instead hit well to the south in Port Charlotte as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds. More limited evacuations of low-lying areas and mobile homes in the 4-county Tampa Bay region were ordered for three other hurricanes in the past fifteen years--Hurricane Georges of 1998, Hurricane Frances of 2004, and Hurricane Jeanne of 2004. Other historical storms which would likely trigger mass evacuations were they occur today include:

The 1921 hurricane. One of only two major hurricanes to hit Tampa, this Category 3 storm brought a storm tide of 10.5 feet.

Hurricane Easy of 1950. The hurricane parked itself over the west coast of Florida, drenching residents with record-breaking rains, and brought a 6.5 ft storm surge to Tampa Bay.


Figure 4. Damage to Bayshore Boulevard after the 1921 Tampa Bay hurricane. The road leads to the Tampa Bay Convention Center from the south.


Figure 5. Track of the Tampa Bay Hurricane of 1921, one of only two major hurricanes ever to hit the city. This Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds brought a storm tide of 10.5 feet to Tampa Bay.


Figure 6. A near miss: just a slight deviation in the path of Hurricane Charley of 2004 would have brought the Category 4 hurricane into Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay's vulnerability to hurricanes
Tampa Bay doesn't get hit very often by hurricanes. The last time it suffered a direct hit by any hurricane was 1946, when a Category 1 storm came up through the bay. The Tampa Bay Hurricane of October 25, 1921 was a the last major hurricane to make landfall in the Tampa Bay Region. At that time, there were 160,000 residents in the 4-county region, most of whom lived in communities on high ground. Today there are 2.75 million residents in the region, most of whom live along the coast and low-lying areas or in manufactured housing. About 1/3 of the 4-county Tampa Bay region lies within a flood plain. Over 800,000 people live in evacuation zones for a Category 1 hurricane, and 2 million people live in evacuation zones for a Category 5 hurricane, according to the 2010 Statewide Regional Evacuation Study for the Tampa Bay Region. Given that only 46% of the people in the evacuation zones for a Category 1 hurricane evacuated when Category 4 Hurricane Charley threatened the region, the potential for hundreds or thousands of people to die when the next major hurricane hits the region is high. In the long run, I expect a multi-billion dollar sea wall will be built to protect Tampa Bay from storm surges, since sea level rise will make storm surge damages increasingly problematic. A 2007 study by Tufts University titled, Florida and Climate Change, found that a 2.25 foot increase in sea level--which many sea level rise scientists expect will happen by the end of the century--would put 152,000 people in Pinellas County (where St. Petersburg is located) at risk of inundation.

The hurricane forecast for the Republican National Convention
Given that there have been two mass evacuations of Tampa during the past 25 years during the peak three-month period of hurricane season--August, September, and October--history suggests that the odds of a mass evacuation order being given during the 4-day period that the Republican National Convention is in town are probably around 0.2%. Any tropical waves which might develop into hurricanes that could hit Tampa during the convention would have to come off the coast of Africa next week. Looking at the latest 16-day forecast from the GFS, all of the tropical waves coming off of Africa next week are predicted to exit too far north to make the long crossing of the Atlantic and threaten the Gulf Coast. While something could develop in the Gulf of Mexico from the remains of an old cold front, it is rare for such storms to grow strong enough to deserve mass evacuations. So far, early signs point to a hurricane-free Republican National Convention at the end of August.

References
Barnes, J., 1999, Florida’s Hurricane History. The University of North Carolina Press.

Weisberg, R.H, and L. Zheng, 2006, "Hurricane storm surge simulations for Tampa Bay", Estuaries and Coasts Vol 29, No. 6A, pp 899-913.

History of Pasco County: The 1921 Hurricane

The 2010 Statewide Regional Evacuation Study for the Tampa Bay Region

The Tampa Bay Catastrophic Plan for a Category 5 $250 billion hurricane

Jeff Masters

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Quoting RitaEvac:
Thought ol Gramps was in NC watching Irene barrel his way last year and dissapeared... now he's back with a May 29th, 2012 screen name

A fellow Texan!

This came thru last night, LCRA met, just read it though, and today's atmo structure over TX is pretty much like yesterdays with more Tstorms forecast:

...Scattered thunderstorms have developed in the vicinity of the cold over the Hill Country and the northern part of Central Texas. With the current structure of the atmosphere, any of today’s storms could produce very strong downburst winds along with some small hail.

Downbursts/microbursts have been a very recent problem in Centex so when the storms roll through later keep that in mind.
Member Since: August 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3280
Quoting jascott1967:


If the remnants of TD7 reform, fires up and becomes a TS or Hurricane in the GOM and heads my way as the GFS is suggesting I'm going to have a word with wunderkidcayaman. He's been trying to breath life into this thing since day one.


Haha. ;)
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Quoting yoboi:


if a squirrel is blind how does the squirrel get it's nuts for winter???? maybe he has to help feed it....


- Maybe like a catfish, using smell & its whiskers?
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The Doc also only spoke to a "mass evacuation" possibility. What would be far, far more likely is a TD or TS affecting the convention. If the weather starts interfering with travel, power, etc., then that's something that can steal the energy from the convention.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5689
Quoting mitthbevnuruodo:


I was thinking that myself. What if he didn't mention it, but then mentioned severe weather risk for the Democratic convention? The people would be mad he never mentioned the Republican one. I thought it was just topical because of time and location and didn't think anything of it being for one side or the other.

Anyway...oh hey, 93L looks like it's getting some spin...wasn't it supposed to recurve already anyway?! they've been saying it for ages now...gonna be in Miami before it does at this rate :D


Wondering if any chance 93L will dive & avoid being swept away to NE, then go W.
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Having experienced Elena that wild and wooly Labor Day weekend in 85 was one big blur.

As the Storm approached the Miss Gulf Coast we scrambled to get all our woodworking machines upstairs as we were located in Long Beach just 3 Blocks from the Beach.
Then the Storm turned toward Fla,Tampa and we got everything back down by forklift and had a Barbecue and Holiday. When I awoke that Sunday morn, we saw the storm had reversed course and was coming in Monday Morn I believe.

When Elena struck you knew it,

We were a mile form the Seebee Base in Gulfport at our Apt for it. And at one point during the Backside blow, it took myself and 3 other men to keep the Garage door from leaving with the wind. Also, a Tornado spun down n Gulfport near the Middle School and the Gym was a Shelter. It peeled the roof off the Gym and dropped it on the Cars in the adjacent lot. No one was injured fortunately.

Elena was retired and was my second dance with a Hurricane Eyewall, as my first was Betsy in 65.

And my last K in 2005...discounting Gustav as it slid
just west of us in 08.

Video from a Local that day.




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Quoting WalkingInTheSun:


What about "splut"?
Part sex, part splat & part slut: "splut".


Hmmmm...it has potential. I'll call my ex-wife and find out how much.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 614
Quoting stormpetrol:
Keep an eye on 13.5N/78W


Yep. Looking interesting down there. Also that post showing a system developing by MX & moving up into TX soon, too.
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floodfest.this.wkend...dirty.word.is...cyclone.debb ie
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Quoting intampa:
i just want to chime in on the OWNER of this blog posting about a storm at the RNC convention in tampa. seems like its his blog the man can talk about what ever he wants. if you dont like it there are other weather blogs. and besides whats the big deal... every night on the news both democrat and republican local politicians are all discussing what we would do if it did happen. its not politcal its a very real issue to deal with and just discussing does not indicate some leaning of political ideas. most of all to the people who were quoted earlier telling dr masters what he should or should not post on his blog is a little much... its his blog he can talk about what ever he wants!

OMG! I'm not telling him what to do - just pointing out that anything related to the words Republican or Democrat always, always starts crap in the blog...then weather topics turn to political arguments. Sorry I even mentioned it. Geez
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Damn after reading back through the blog it got INTENSE earlier! I don't see anything wrong with what Dr Masters said and have no idea why it would get people so fired up. I am a proud democrat and couldn't care less if someone asked what the chances of Charlotte being hit by a hurricane/any other kind of weather event are. If anything I think it'd be interesting to see what the chances are. That kind of thing actually NEEDS to be discussed (and I'm sure it was by republicans planning it) so they can be prepared in case something like a hurricane does happen during the convention. If you took what he said the wrong way, sorry, but you are way too sensitive... if you don't like it, maybe you should come back tomorrow instead of ruin the blog with right wing political jargon in response to Dr. Master's very reasonable post
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Political this afternoon I see !!! I guess if a weather post about the potential for a hurrican or TS to strike during a political convention in mid August, leaves the door open for political bashing SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU ALL. I guess we will be missing a few bloggers on here for 24 WU jail. Please behave for the rest of the evening this is a weather blog after all.
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Thought ol Gramps was in NC watching Irene barrel his way last year and dissapeared... now he's back with a May 29th, 2012 screen name
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Not really I believe as our solar system revolves around our Galaxy there is a certain merry ground type of movement to the whole solar system.This up and down movement takes many thousand of years to complete. I not sure. I'm sure someone will correct me but is it 26,000 yrs with the solar system passing thru the mid=point every 13,000.
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470. MTWX
Quoting FLWaterFront:


I agree. Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of people in the US and in the world who are apolitical, in general terms. Such people have not fallen for or fallen into the divide and control mind program and thus are independent thinkers who generally do not belong to any political party or ascribe to any particular political ideology.

Non-political people also usually learn to respect the views of others, even when these views or opinions do not conform to their own ideas and opinions (gasp!).
And people like this usually prefer not to argue with anyone about politics, regardless of the nature or degree of expressed feelings and opinions, on any subject. Instead, they would rather discuss other things and in a friendly and non-argumentative manner, again seeking to respect a wide variety of viewpoints and opinions.

For such persons, the subject of the potential risk of a hurricane striking a given location at the proposed time for a political convention taking place at that location does not bring forth any desires to inject political ideology into the discussion in any form or fashion, mainly because the subject at hand relates to meteorology and not political ideology. Hard to believe for some I suppose but there are a lot of people who fit this general description.


Have to add a few extra plusses +++++
Member Since: July 20, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1393
Quoting Patrap:


No, the Great alignment of the Sun rising in the Galactic center occurs only once every 13,000 years, or Halfway thru Earths 26,000 years precessional Wobble.


Yes it does...
Neil Degrasse Tyson




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i just want to chime in on the OWNER of this blog posting about a storm at the RNC convention in tampa. seems like its his blog the man can talk about what ever he wants. if you dont like it there are other weather blogs. and besides whats the big deal... every night on the news both democrat and republican local politicians are all discussing what we would do if it did happen. its not politcal its a very real issue to deal with and just discussing does not indicate some leaning of political ideas. most of all to the people who were quoted earlier telling dr masters what he should or should not post on his blog is a little much... its his blog he can talk about what ever he wants!
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Quoting ParanoidAndroid:
That blob to the E of ex-TD7 looks blobtastic.


Yup, starting to kick up on the ol' blobometer.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


In the galatic drift? nahhhh


Er, that would be the Great "Rift".
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464. MTWX
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Yep....the Dr. didn't say anything political. And my contribution had nothing to do with politics. It was about the odds, and trying to answer the question he posed. In other words, there are other things to talk about that are relevant to the blog and weather related. Maybe his 1 in 500 conclusion can be questioned for this year. As I interpret it, that 1 in 500 figure is the generic, "one size fits all years" , type of odds. If you have some reason(that hopefully makes sense and goes beyond "a feeling") then you could present it.
.


It was a good blog... Just not liking what the bloggers have turned it into....
Member Since: July 20, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1393
Quoting caneswatch:


Well he apologized Taz, I think it's best to accept the apology and move on.


So frustrating! Tried to plus this and hit the wrong button on my I-pad. Buttons are too dang close together.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


This alignment happens every year Rita...


In the galactic rift? nahhhh
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


This alignment happens every year Rita...


No, the Great alignment of the Sun rising in the Galactic center occurs only once every 13,000 years, or Halfway thru Earths 26,000 years precessional Wobble.

2012 AD - Mayan Calendar Galactic Alignment
By Keith Hunter
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the 12z CMC predicts a lot of rain as well like the GFS for Mexico and Southern Texas





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459. yoboi
Quoting jascott1967:


If the remnants of TD7 reform, fires up and becomes a TS or Hurricane in the GOM and heads my way as the GFS is suggesting I'm going to have a word with wunderkidcayaman. He's been trying to breath life into this thing since day one.


i hear ya.........
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Quoting RitaEvac:
To change the blog mood.....there's gonna be an alignment in our galaxy that Mayans predicted thousands of years ago and are dead on with the arrival. Scientists with modern technology said they were only off by a few degrees which is remarkable for knowledge of that time. In other words buckle up, cuz things are gonna get REAL INTERESTING, when everything comes together.


This alignment happens every year Rita...
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Nice looking wave over Mali:

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Quoting hurricanehanna:
Doc M, while I think you brought up an interesting topic in discussing the possibility of a storm interrupting a political convention...I would think twice before doing it again. As usual, the debates and discussions turn ugly in here and feelings are hurt. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has the right to have their point of view respected. However, this is not a perfect world and most feel the need to "one-up" others when they don't agree... Politics needs to stay out of the weather blog. Just my 2 cents.

Back to watching the GOM


I agree. Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of people in the US and in the world who are apolitical, in general terms. Such people have not fallen for or fallen into the divide and control mind program and thus are independent thinkers who generally do not belong to any political party or ascribe to any particular political ideology.

Non-political people also usually learn to respect the views of others, even when these views or opinions do not conform to their own ideas and opinions (gasp!).
And people like this usually prefer not to argue with anyone about politics, regardless of the nature or degree of expressed feelings and opinions, on any subject. Instead, they would rather discuss other things and in a friendly and non-argumentative manner, again seeking to respect a wide variety of viewpoints and opinions.

For such persons, the subject of the potential risk of a hurricane striking a given location at the proposed time for a political convention taking place at that location does not bring forth any desires to inject political ideology into the discussion in any form or fashion, mainly because the subject at hand relates to meteorology and not political ideology. Hard to believe for some I suppose but there are a lot of people who fit this general description.
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Quoting yoboi:



are they flipping coins??? heads tails...


If the remnants of TD7 reform, fires up and becomes a TS or Hurricane in the GOM and heads my way as the GFS is suggesting I'm going to have a word with wunderkidcayaman. He's been trying to breath life into this thing since day one.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 614
Quoting stormpetrol:
All that convection is suspect could some of that get into the boc and start something there?
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A Hurricane doesn't have to Strike Tampa during the RNC Convention, or the DNC one as well to create changes.

It only has to be a strong Cane and threaten the US Coastline to bring about changes at a Convention.

Gustav did that only 4 years ago.


Aug 30, 2008 4:08pm
McCain: Hurricane Gustav May Suspend RNC



ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace that will air Sunday morning, Sen. John McCain indicated that the GOP convention could be suspended because of Hurricane Gustav.
"It wouldn’t be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster," McCain told Wallace.
McCain said that he has been in touch with the governors of the Gulf Coast states—where Gustav is expected to make landfall—and that his campaign would continue to monitor the now-Category 4 storm.
"I’m afraid, Chris, that we may have to look at that situation and we’ll try and monitor it. I’ve been talking to Governors Jindal [La.], Barbour [Miss.], Riley [Ala.], Crist [Fla.], I’ve been talking to all of them," McCain told Wallace. "So we’re monitoring it from day to day and I’m saying a few prayers too."
A Republican convention official tells ABC News, however, that at this point, there are no plans to cancel the convention but there are several contingency plans that are being looked at in terms of delegation travel and the program of speakers. Both Crist and Jindal are scheduled to speak at the convention this week, but no decisions have been made yet on their plans to come to Minneapolis-Saint Paul.
This official says the Republican National Convention Committee is "still moving forward with opening the convention on Monday" as planned and notes that there is official business that has to happen at the convention, like the actual nomination of John McCain and the platform ratification.
The RNCC has issued the following statement from 2008 Republican National Convention President and CEO Maria Cino:
"Like all Americans, our prayers are with those who will be affected by Hurricane Gustav. We continue to closely monitor the movement of the storm and are considering necessary contingencies. We are in communication with the Gulf state governors to make sure the convention is taking all the appropriate steps as the hurricane progresses. The safety of our affected delegations is our first priority and preparing for Gustav comes before anything else."
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Quoting hurricanehanna:

is that ex-07 or the blob that was behind it?


The one behind it, but looks they had some kind of merger!
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Dr M. makes nor takes any political stand in this entry.

Only those who see RNC , then their Bells and Programming kicks in are actually chirping looking back over the posts.
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I think the odds of a hurricane spoiling the republican convention are 5%
Of the odds that Romney will spoli the republican convention.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Post 431. I made sure I saved it for future reference just to see if that is really where it ends up.
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Quoting stormpetrol:

is that ex-07 or the blob that was behind it?
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Yep....the Dr. didn't say anything political. And my contribution had nothing to do with politics. It was about the odds, and trying to answer the question he posed. In other words, there are other things to talk about that are relevant to the blog and weather related. Maybe his 1 in 500 conclusion can be questioned for this year. As I interpret it, that 1 in 500 figure is the generic, "one size fits all years" , type of odds. If you have some reason to think this year is different(that hopefully makes sense and goes beyond "a feeling") then you could present it.
.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5689
Quoting bappit:

The sad thing is that Dr. Masters did not make any sort of political statement--as far as I can tell. The WUBA's took it and ran. On the other hand, I think it was totally predictable.


I was thinking that myself. What if he didn't mention it, but then mentioned severe weather risk for the Democratic convention? The people would be mad he never mentioned the Republican one. I thought it was just topical because of time and location and didn't think anything of it being for one side or the other.

Anyway...oh hey, 93L looks like it's getting some spin...wasn't it supposed to recurve already anyway?! they've been saying it for ages now...gonna be in Miami before it does at this rate :D
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Not sure why I put myself through all of this every year
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Keep an eye on 13.5N/78W
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
This is just my opinion but if one gets their feelings hurt when arguing over politics, then that is not a topic they should get into an argument about, and just stay out of it. Politics is a heated debate you lose the debate when you start getting all emotional. Just sayin...oh and I don't see anything wrong with Dr. Masters making the connection between the RNC and the potential that exists for a hurricane to hit Tampa Bay around that time, because it is just more than politics it's about the people who come down during that time to go to the convention and participate in other events sponsored by the RNC. If there was a hurricane people would have to know ahead of time whether they need to cancel their plans and even worry about evacuating.

There is potential for a storm to hit many places...and I'm sure that the RNC has plans to do whatever is necessary IF a storm develops. As does the DNC. My whole point is that politics always starts arguments in here...people have been banned for this. He and the moderators only want weather discussed so why strike the match ?
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Sorry Guys, but if you want to talk political stuff please take it somewhere else.The blog is still talking about weather/hurricanes not straight up political.So if you want to continue that I would go to another blog but for us that want to talk weather stay in. That is all.
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BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM HECTOR ADVISORY NUMBER 14
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP082012
200 PM PDT TUE AUG 14 2012

...HECTOR DRIFTING WESTWARD AND BECOMING LESS ORGANIZED...


SUMMARY OF 200 PM PDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...17.6N 114.9W
ABOUT 270 MI...435 KM WSW OF SOCORRO ISLAND
ABOUT 490 MI...785 KM SW OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 270 DEGREES AT 5 MPH...7 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1000 MB...29.53 INCHES
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To change the blog mood.....there's gonna be an alignment in our galaxy that Mayans predicted thousands of years ago and are dead on with the arrival. Scientists with modern technology said they were only off by a few degrees which is remarkable for knowledge of that time. In other words buckle up, cuz things are gonna get REAL INTERESTING, when everything comes together.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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