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 Tazmanian:



wow where you find that commet at so i can report it
226 and I have been reporting him. Out of line imo
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Quoting Houstonweathergrl:
Question for military folks (or anyone else who might know). I have MRE's leftover from Ike. Are they still usable?


25 year shelf life
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Quoting Grothar:
Any chance this could develop into anything? :)



here is a pretty picture too look at

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
PECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY AREA - RUSKIN FL
312 PM EDT TUE AUG 14 2012

FLZ051-052-055-056-142015-
HARDEE-POLK-HILLSBOROUGH-MANATEE-
312 PM EDT TUE AUG 14 2012

...STRONG THUNDERSTORMS WILL AFFECT EASTERN HILLSBOROUGH...
NORTHEASTERN MANATEE...NORTHWESTERN HARDEE AND SOUTHWESTERN POLK
COUNTIES...

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATES THUNDERSTORMS
LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM PLANT CITY AIRPORT TO ALAFIA
RIVER STATE PARK TO DUETTE...OR ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM PLANT
CITY TO FISH HAWK TO 19 MILES SOUTH OF FISH HAWK...MOVING EAST AT 5
MPH...WILL AFFECT PLANT CITY AIRPORT...VALRICO...LITHIA SPRINGS STATE
PARK AND FISH HAWK...UNTIL 415 PM EDT.

GUSTY WINDS 35 TO 45 MPH WILL OCCUR. FREQUENT LIGHTNING IS EXPECTED.
TO BE SAFE GO INDOORS IMMEDIATELY. IF CAUGHT OUTSIDE...FIND A LOW
SPOT...AND STAY AWAY FROM TALL OBJECTS. THESE STORMS MAY PRODUCE PEA
SIZE HAIL. TORRENTIAL RAINS WILL REDUCE VISIBILITY TO NEAR ZERO AND
WILL CAUSE PONDING OF WATER ON ROADWAYS.

&&

LAT...LON 2816 8193 2782 8190 2748 8196 2748 8231
2782 8224 2815 8227
TIME...MOT...LOC 1911Z 270DEG 5KT 2801 8216 2782 8214
2757 8219

$$
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281. JLPR2
93L has made quite a dent in the dry air.



Let the fun begin.
:D
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8499
Quoting ncstorm:


my comment is there for you to read in case you want to read the current blog..but I will answer your question anyway, of course I wouldnt hope for the DNC convention to be cancelled..good substance there..big difference..

sorry everyone..didnt mean to interrupt the blog with tit for tat..

Thank you, that was a beautiful example of exactly what I was talking about in the previous blog, oh minion of Masters. :)
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Quoting Grothar:


I've studied blobs most of my life. Thanks.


And I've dated a few.
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A Lot of it is determined by how they are stored and where.

MRE shelf Life.
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SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
313 PM EDT TUE AUG 14 2012

FLZ071-072-142000-
INLAND BROWARD COUNTY FL METRO BROWARD COUNTY FL
313 PM EDT TUE AUG 14 2012

...A SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR NORTHEASTERN
BROWARD COUNTY...FOR FREQUENT TO EXCESSIVE LIGHTNING AND GUSTY WINDS
OF 45 TO 55 MPH ALONG WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF FUNNEL CLOUDS...

* UNTIL 400 PM EDT

* AT 307 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
LINE OF STRONG THUNDERSTORMS ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM PARKLAND
TO SUNRISE. THESE STORMS WERE NEARLY STATIONARY.

* THE LINE OF STORMS WILL AFFECT...
CORAL SPRINGS...
SUNRISE...
THE SAWGRASS EXPRESSWAY...
AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES.

THE PRIMARY IMPACTS WILL BE FREQUENT TO EXCESSIVE LIGHTNING AND GUSTY
WINDS OF 45 TO 55 MPH. LIGHTNING IS THE NUMBER ONE WEATHER RELATED
KILLER IN FLORIDA. TREES AND OPEN SHELTERS OFFER NO PROTECTION. THESE
WINDS CAN DOWN SMALL TREE LIMBS AND BRANCHES...AND BLOW AROUND
UNSECURED SMALL OBJECTS. SEEK SHELTER IN A SAFE BUILDING UNTIL THE
STORM PASSES.

THIS ACTIVITY WAS ALSO DEVELOPING IN AN ENVIRONMENT FAVORABLE FOR THE
FORMATION OF FUNNEL CLOUDS. STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO AND
LOCAL MEDIA FOR ADDITIONAL UPDATES AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

RESIDENTS NEAR THE PATH OF SHOULD REMAIN ON THE ALERT FOR ADDITIONAL
STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.

STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO AND OTHER LOCAL MEDIA FOR FURTHER
DETAILS OR UPDATES.

LAT...LON 2615 8021 2616 8034 2633 8034 2633 8022
2633 8020
TIME...MOT...LOC 1912Z 342DEG 0KT 2630 8026 2617 8028

$$

BAXTER
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275. JLPR2
wunderkidcayman, let it go.

Taz, just stop it! Don't drag on the problem.

There, might as well be just a cent instead of two. :P
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8499
Question for military folks (or anyone else who might know). I have MRE's leftover from Ike. Are they still usable?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Deleted
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more than likely yes
Quoting ParanoidAndroid:
It looks like a perilous trek across the Atlantic for Cape Verde storms this season. Is it safe to say that any storms to threaten the CONUS this year would be forming relatively close to home, and probably late September and October?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:





seem like your not calm too me stilling talking rude i see


no I'm not Taz

I am just mearly stating that 1mb drop that is nothing drastic I waiting for it to pass 1005mb and 60kts then I'll be ohh-ahhing 93L has got a long way to go to become a tropical cyclone if at all and looking at the models seems that its going to impact my other Island you see I'm caymanian and british so by the looks of it well following BAMD it heading to the UK

I am totaly calm really

look I really don't think EX-TD7 will develop maybe though in the BOC/GOM area but I was saying that it could redevelop in the W caribbean like TD16 2008 its close to land and its still got stuff going for it so that is what I ment about the EX-TD just to clear that up
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


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SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
257 PM EDT TUE AUG 14 2012

VAC165-171-WVC031-141915-
/O.CON.KLWX.TO.W.0031.000000T0000Z-120814T1915Z/
ROCKINGHAM VA-SHENANDOAH VA-HARDY WV-
257 PM EDT TUE AUG 14 2012

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 315 PM EDT FOR HARDY...
SHENANDOAH AND ROCKINGHAM COUNTIES...

AT 255 PM EDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO
WAS LOCATED 9 MILES SOUTHWEST OF MATHIAS...OR 11 MILES SOUTHEAST OF
ROUGH RUN...AND WAS MOVING EAST AT 10 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
BERGTON...
ORKNEY SPRINGS...
BASYE...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING AND AVOID WINDOWS. IF OUTDOORS OR IN A MOBILE HOME OR
VEHICLE...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

TORNADOES IN HILLY OR MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN ARE ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS
BECAUSE YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SEE OR HEAR THE TORNADO APPROACH. TAKE
COVER NOW.

&&

LAT...LON 3883 7902 3886 7876 3869 7875 3874 7904
3875 7905
TIME...MOT...LOC 1858Z 281DEG 10KT 3878 7897

$$


BJL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
GeorgiaStormz you sould look at post 254 and see what he said


why?
It's of no consequence to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jascott1967:


I like your manner of blobulation and firm grasp on the science of blobular behavior.


I've studied blobs most of my life. Thanks.
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am going too take a shower
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Quoting MrstormX:
Who cares what somebody said, let it go and lets talk about 93L please.



there not realy marh too say right now about 93L its a open wave well some what
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Some of you people need to breathe a little more.

Kai-Tak is hammering the Philippines:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
257 PM EDT TUE AUG 14 2012

VAC165-171-WVC031-141915-
/O.CON.KLWX.TO.W.0031.000000T0000Z-120814T1915Z/
ROCKINGHAM VA-SHENANDOAH VA-HARDY WV-
257 PM EDT TUE AUG 14 2012

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 315 PM EDT FOR HARDY...
SHENANDOAH AND ROCKINGHAM COUNTIES...

AT 255 PM EDT...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO
WAS LOCATED 9 MILES SOUTHWEST OF MATHIAS...OR 11 MILES SOUTHEAST OF
ROUGH RUN...AND WAS MOVING EAST AT 10 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
BERGTON...
ORKNEY SPRINGS...
BASYE...

TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A
STURDY BUILDING AND AVOID WINDOWS. IF OUTDOORS OR IN A MOBILE HOME OR
VEHICLE...MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT
YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

TORNADOES IN HILLY OR MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN ARE ESPECIALLY DANGEROUS
BECAUSE YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SEE OR HEAR THE TORNADO APPROACH. TAKE
COVER NOW.

&&
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Who cares what somebody said, let it go and lets talk about 93L please.
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Quoting gordydunnot:
Nice post Grothar. I remember when there were conservative democrats and liberal republicans. Not some iron clad one monolithic view of the world as I see it attitude. I'm hoping the current state of affairs isn't what it was like just before the last civil war but I'm afraid to look.


Good point. Remember, not all civil wars are fought with weapons.

I am just grateful I have remained a Liberal-Socialist-Moderate-Ultra Conservative-Democratic-Republican-Independent. It keeps me out of trouble.
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It looks like a perilous trek across the Atlantic for Cape Verde storms this season. Is it safe to say that any storms to threaten the CONUS this year would be forming relatively close to home, and probably late September and October?
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wunderkidcayman... step away from the computer, and go somewhere and do something else for a little bit cause I don't want to see you flip and get banned. Just calm down and come back later.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Ok, you win. The right hook knocked me out. Hey, I'm not picking a fight. This was only my 2nd post in 2 years. I've been lurking for all summer. Like I said, I love your passion for weather and I had to say something. Keep an eye to the sky because something is always on the horizon.

Peace:)



wow where you find that commet at so i can report it
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:


YO YOU QUIT THE ###@%#@@#


DO YOU WANT TO GET BANNED.?!?!?
REMOVE THE COMMENT AND LET IT GO..
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Quoting TXCWC:


We need the rain so fingers are crossed agreement continues! :)


I know y'all do. And fingers are crossed. :)
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 676
2012 Arctic Ocean ice area looks to be heading for a record minimum.

Link
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Quoting Grothar:


It appears to be remaining in a chaotic blobular state. Too much shear and dry air. Blobification would be slow to occur. However, I do believe this is another system that will cross over into the Pacific side. Blobishness often takes form there more easily this time of year. It would then be a case of cross-blobulation.


I like your manner of blobulation and firm grasp on the science of blobular behavior.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:



Did you see that on reddit because I literally just read it there!?!


no on G+
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Quoting MysteryMeat:
Updated models for 93L:

Photobucket



YO YOU QUIT THE BULL CRAP
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't you start now. LOL
Lol XD sorry I know I sound like wkc.
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247. TXCWC
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Hey TX! Starting to get some agreement here. And something in the Atlantic.



We need the rain so fingers are crossed agreement continues! :)
Member Since: May 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 502
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
ok I am totaly back to calm



hmm 1mb drop so what





seem like your not calm too me stilling talking rude i see
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I normally don't do this but a short story to compliment Grothars' words on tolerance. Here in Fort Walton Beach, FL, there are 2 high schools, Choctaw, the old one, and Fort Walton Beach(FWB), the new one. The football rivalry is 41 years old and the score is Choctaw 21 wins, FWB 20 wins. Each year, the home team kids do some vandalizing of the visiting teams cars and at each school, kids from the other school are arrested for attempted vandalism. One look at the parents behavior in the stands and you know where the kids are getting these behaviors. After the game each year, the priciples, faculty and coaches get together to share food, drinks and friendship. Rivalry does not equal hate. Hate is taught, not born...
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Quoting jascott1967:


Still looks discomblobulated to me.


LOL haven't heard that word for years.
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Quoting gordydunnot:
Nice post Grothar. I remember when there were conservative democrats and liberal republicans. Not some iron clad one monolithic view of the world as I see it attitude. I'm hoping the current state of affairs isn't what it was like just before the last civil war but I'm afraid to look.


There are still conservative dems and liberal republicans. It's just that none of them are in Congress. The districts have been gerrymandered so that extremism is the safe way to go for re-election and there is no room for compromise. That and the 24 hour media needs two jerks in suits shouting at each other all day arguing about sensational non-issues.
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It makes sense that more models over time should start seeing hints of a system in the western gulf. At any rate it's going to be a wet several days for northern Mexico and Texas.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Has it fully blobulated yet?


It appears to be remaining in a chaotic blobular state. Too much shear and dry air. Blobification would be slow to occur. However, I do believe this is another system that will cross over into the Pacific side. Blobishness often takes form there more easily this time of year. It would then be a case of cross-blobulation.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Has it fully blobulated yet?


Still looks discomblobulated to me.
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ok I am totaly back to calm


Quoting Tazmanian:
AL, 93, 2012081418, , BEST, 0, 252N, 521W, 25, 1014, WV,

hmm 1mb drop so what
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
This Is Why NOAA Supposedly Ordered 46,000 Rounds Of Ammunition



Did you see that on reddit because I literally just read it there!?!
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Updated models for 93L:

Photobucket

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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.

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