Isaac approaching hurricane strength

By: Angela Fritz , 9:14 PM GMT on August 27, 2012

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Isaac is walking the line of hurricane status this afternoon after a hurricane hunter mission investigated the storm and found winds of 80+ mph with the SFMR instrument, which looks down at the surface from the plane and estimates what wind speeds are. This instrument has a notoriously rough time in doing so when there's heavy rain, and since the strongest winds were recorded coinciding with the strongest rain, you can imagine that this region of high wind speed could be suspect. The hurricane hunter mission is still in the storm, so I imagine they will issue a special update if needed. Currently the best estimate of wind speed within the storm is 70 mph. Isaac's pressure has been dropping today as well and is now 981 mb. Isaac is moving northwest at 12 mph--no change since this morning. Satellite loops show that Isaac remains large, though asymmetric, with most of the strong thunderstorm activity on the west and southwest side. Isaac's southeast side continues to struggle with dry air and wind shear, which could help to moderate Isaac's intensity as it approaches the coast.

An oil platform in the northern Gulf of Mexico is reporting sustained winds from the north-northeast at 40 mph this afternoon. A buoy west of Tampa, Florida is recording sustained winds around 30 mph, and platforms south of Louisiana are recording winds from 35-40 mph. The widespread heavy rain of yesterday has lightened up in Florida, but a strong line of thunderstorms in one of Isaac's outer bands is training northward along and offshore of the east coast of Florida, affecting everyone from Miami to Jacksonville.

This afternoon the AP reported that Isaac's death toll in Haiti jumped to 19, which puts Isaac's total death count at 21. It appears most of the deaths in Haiti were due to collapsing structures.


Figure 1. Satellite imagery of Tropical Storm Isaac around 3pm EDT on Monday.

Track forecast:
Models seem to be coming into better agreement today on where Isaac will make landfall, closing in on Louisiana and New Orleans as most likely landfall point. The ECMWF, HWRF, and UKMET all suggest New Orleans as the landfall location. The GFS is only slightly west of that. The GFDL is the farthest west, predicting landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border. Landfall timing remains Tuesday night. Beyond landfall, Isaac is expected to move north toward the Midwest through the rest of this week, however, models are showing that the system will likely slow down around landfall time, prolonging impacts like surge and inland flooding.

Intensity forecast:
The closer Isaac gets to landfall without having formed an eye, the better it is for intensity at landfall. Isaac has strengthened only modestly in the past 24 hours, and is still struggling with a less-than-conducive atmospheric environment. The HWRF remains on the high end of the intensity spectrum, suggesting Isaac will be a weak category 2 upon landfall. Other models suggest it will be a strong category 1, but the difference is splitting hairs. The National Hurricane Center's official forecast is for Isaac to continue strengthening over the next day, reaching category 2 at landfall.


Figure 2. Tide gauge data from St. Petersburg, Florida. The green line shows the storm surge. As Isaac's counterclockwise winds blew offshore this morning, water levels feel two feet at St. Petersburg. The winds switched to onshore this afternoon as the center of Isaac moved more to the northwest, bringing a storm surge of two feet to the city.

Storm surge observations from Isaac
This morning, as Isaac's counter-clockwise winds brought offshore winds to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, ocean waters fell two feet along the coast. This afternoon, winds have shifted to blow onshore, and a two foot storm surge has been observed at Naples, Fort Meyers, and St. Petersburg on the west coast of Florida. Water levels have also begun to rise along the coast of Louisiana, with a storm surge of 1.5 feet already occurring at Shell Beach on the east side of New Orleans in Lake Borgne.

Angela and Jeff

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That's one strong TS.

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 7290
2653. Houdude
Isaac's current track is starting to stir memories of Alicia in 1983, which formed south of N.O. and tracked WNW to Galveston.
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2652. GetReal
Quoting Tazmanian:
they this found 968mb



Maybe HWRF was not that far off on the depth of Isaac???
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
Well, Isaac's pressure has fallen significantly from 977 millibars to 968 millibars. Still not to the center.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 108 Comments: 30237
2650. LargoFl
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2649. GetReal


Very significant expansion of the core in the NE quad, putting COC deeper into it... Moisture is on the increase on NE side of system wrapping around to the west. Sun coming up increasing instability in the atmosphere... Look for increase in convection across the N side of Isaac in next two hours.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8802
thats is a 9mb drop from 977mb where the nhc as it now
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Quoting interstatelover7165:
That's not malfunctioning...

Well, it doesn't look like it. On the other hand, NOAA just made a pass, and was like 10mb higher than that. Weird.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



oh dear i think we could be seeing a RI now
Oh crap oh crap oh crap
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Quoting Bobbyweather:
968.4 mb
(~ 28.60 inHg

Are you kidding me???? A 968mb tropical storm. They should just retire this name just for being the weirdest and most elusive tropical cyclone in the Atlantic Basin. Never have I seen any one storm behave this weird
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they this found 968mb
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I live in Germany, so now more TWC for me...but who in the world is THAT? I would watch the weather a lot more if she was on all the time.
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Isaac still not a hurricane.
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
113400 2756N 08828W 8433 01238 9684 +200 +200 017032 033 040 001 01



oh dear i think we could be seeing a RI now
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What are those 4 or 5 odd puffs of smoke that are clearly visible, and somewhat symetrical, in the dry area between Isaac's rain bans, out in the Gulf?
Look at the loops. They look timed and not like all the other weather around them.
Is our navy working on weather modification? I know China is doing it.
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Quoting CloudGatherer:
What is this, malfunctioning instruments? Weird.

Time: 11:34:00Z
Coordinates: 27.9333N 88.4667W
Acft. Static Air Press: 843.3 mb (~ 24.90 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,238 meters (~ 4,062 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 968.4 mb (~ 28.60 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 17� at 32 knots (From the NNE at ~ 36.8 mph)
Air Temp: 20.0�C* (~ 68.0�F*)
Dew Pt: 20.0�C* (~ 68.0�F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 33 knots (~ 37.9 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 40 knots (~ 46.0 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
That's not malfunctioning...
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:
Damn the coffee, think I'll get started on the tequila (margarita's) and beer. Y'all stay tuned I'll b hammered giving some play by play tonight lol. Hey if you don't start early, then you can't drink all day.


Spoken like a true oilfield trasher..lol Glad to see
your not on a rig...I'm at home in Lake Charles ..my boat evacuated to Cameron Sunday...
Member Since: September 8, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 984
2636. LargoFl
wow possible 17+ inches of rain.............
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2635. bwi
Every time Isaac seems to be walling off a complete inner core, something happens to disrupt, part of the eye collapses etc.

Looks good on sat now, though. We'll see.
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We're about to get our first significant band in Mobile soon. Not too bad though
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968.4 mb
(~ 28.60 inHg
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113400 2756N 08828W 8433 01238 9684 +200 +200 017032 033 040 001 01
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
What is this, malfunctioning instruments? Weird.

Time: 11:34:00Z
Coordinates: 27.9333N 88.4667W
Acft. Static Air Press: 843.3 mb (~ 24.90 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,238 meters (~ 4,062 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 968.4 mb (~ 28.60 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 17 at 32 knots (From the NNE at ~ 36.8 mph)
Air Temp: 20.0C* (~ 68.0F*)
Dew Pt: 20.0C* (~ 68.0F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 33 knots (~ 37.9 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 40 knots (~ 46.0 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 1 mm/hr (~ 0.04 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
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2630. LargoFl
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Quoting Melagoo:
is that an eye wall forming?


no ist done that every 4 hours for the past 5 days..then the govt fly planes in and it dies!
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Damn the coffee, think I'll get started on the tequila (margarita's) and beer. Y'all stay tuned I'll b hammered giving some play by play tonight lol. Hey if you don't start early, then you can't drink all day.
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Quoting Patrap:
First Light has broke here in NOLA so we off to get er' done.

Be safe, civil and Kind.

..."once I thought I saw you, in a crowded hazy bar, dancing on the Light, from Star to Star"..
You guys stay safe there
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STORM INFORMATION
AT 4 AM CDT...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ISAAC WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 27.5N...LONGITUDE 88.1W. THIS WAS ABOUT 200 MILES SOUTHEAST OF NEW ORLEANS LA...OR ABOUT 205 MILES SOUTH OF GULFPORT MS. STORM MOTION WAS NORTHWEST OR 305 DEGREES AT 12 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE 70 MPH.

.SITUATION OVERVIEW...
WHEN MAKING DECISIONS...DO NOT FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK. ISAAC IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE MOVING NORTHWEST TOWARD THE CENTRAL GULF COAST FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS. IT IS CURRENTLY FORECAST TO MAKE LANDFALL AS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE NEAR THE SOUTHWEST PASS OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TUESDAY NIGHT. ISAAC IS A VERY LARGE TROPICAL STORM WHICH IS FORECAST TO BECOME A HURRICANE LATE TONIGHT. ISAAC IS FORECAST TO MOVE SLOWLY ACROSS THE REGION TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY. BECAUSE ISAAC IS SO LARGE IN AREA AND WILL BE MOVING SLOWLY THROUGH THE REGION...VERY HEAVY RAIN AND SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE CAN BE EXPECTED.
AS TROPICAL STORM ISAAC APPROACHES...SUSTAINED TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN THIS MORNING AND HURRICANE FORCE WINDS TONIGHT. MAXIMUM WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BE IN THE 55 TO 75 MPH RANGE WITH GUSTS TO 90 MPH. AS TROPICAL STORM ISAAC APPROACHES THE COAST...THERE IS AN INCREASING CHANCE FOR COMBINED STORM SURGE AND ASTRONOMICAL TIDE WATERS UP TO 10 FEET ABOVE MEAN SEA LEVEL WITHIN AREAS CLOSER TO THE COAST...RESULTING IN WORST CASE FLOOD INUNDATION OF 6 TO 9 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL MAINLY IN AREAS OUTSIDE HURRICANE PROTECTION LEVEES. THE LOCATIONS MOST LIKELY TO REALIZE THE GREATEST FLOODING INCLUDE LOW LYING AREAS BORDERING LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN AND MAUREPAS. ONSET OF STORM SURGE FLOODING SHOULD BE THIS MORNING AND INCREASE TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY.

Instructions:

FOR THOSE UNDER A WARNING...NOW IS THE TIME TO RUSH TO COMPLETION PREPARATIONS FOR THE PROTECTION OF LIFE AND PROPERTY. EVACUATE IF DIRECTED TO DO SO BY LOCAL OFFICIALS...OR IF YOUR HOME IS VULNERABLE TO HIGH WINDS OR FLOODING. FOR INTERESTS AT PORTS...DOCKS...AND MARINAS...URGENTLY COMPLETE PRESCRIBED PREPARATIONS ACCORDING TO YOUR EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PLAN FOR TROPICAL CYCLONES. IF YOU LIVE ON A BOAT...MAKE FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR SECURING YOUR CRAFT BEFORE LEAVING IT. BE SURE TO ACCOUNT FOR THE POSSIBLE CLOSURE OF BRIDGES AND CAUSEWAYS. REGARDING ANY COASTAL WATERS UNDER A WARNING...SMALL CRAFT SHOULD REMAIN IN PORT AND WELL SECURED. FOR ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONARY AND PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION... PLEASE REFER TO THE DETAILED RECOMMENDATIONS RELATIVE TO YOUR LOCATION AS FURTHER DESCRIBED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE AND LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

Target Area:
Lower Jefferson
Lower Lafourche
Lower Terrebonne
Orleans
St. Charles
St. John The Baptist
Upper Jefferson
Upper Lafourche
Upper Plaquemines
Upper St. Bernard
Upper Terrebonne

Link
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Quoting Melagoo:
is that an eye wall forming?




it has a eye wall and the eye even came out for a little
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2624. LargoFl
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2623. Melagoo
is that an eye wall forming?
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Quoting Diabellical:
A friendly hello from a long-time lurker and weather enthusiast. New Orleans here, 70119.
Stay safe out there
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even no there going too be 80 too 100mph winds on ground level in New Orleans but on some of the higher levels skyscraper that down town has winds could be 115 too 140 mph with lots of falling grass in too the streets be low
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Quoting LAlurker:
Glad I wasn't on "Mars" at 3:15 this AM.

Link


Mars (due south of the mouth of the river) is now reporting 47 gusting to 52.
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2619. LargoFl
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LOL after the landmass between Mobile and New Orleans fiasco, The Weather Channel won't quit saying Mississippi. A simple apology would have been sufficient.
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A friendly hello from a long-time lurker and weather enthusiast. New Orleans here, 70119.
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2616. LargoFl
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Quoting uncwhurricane85:


our govt for sure alters these storms, its cheaper to do that than let a cat 5 hurricane hit the U.S....they say they dont but when have they ever told the truth


It's the Corexit in the water dissolving Isaac. :-)
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Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


Also dealing with other factors, it wasnt totally favorable to rapid devolop.. But the season isn't over yet and there is other potentials out there, we might have to watch in the near future.. There has been a lot of drier air as of late and the gulf isn't that deep of heat content like in the past.. Some Variables are playing a key role of not letting Isaac to get strong.. IMO


please.. gordon was a border line sat 3 moving at 20mph in 75 degree water just above the SAL....isaac is in 85 degree water, a little dry air..very favorable upper air pattern, moving at 10mph as of late...theres really no reason it shouldnt have at least gained hurricane status already
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Glad I wasn't on "Mars" at 3:15 this AM.

Link
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2612. tkeith
Quoting Tazmanian:




it can still be come a cat 2 or 3 storm the more it moves W the more it stays overe open water
There is always that possibilty Taz...it aint over till it's over.
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2611. LargoFl
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Back later, going to get my run while I can.
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Quoting tkeith:
I see the NHC has backed off the Cat 2 forecast. That's good.

Welcome home Pat...I guess :)




it can still be come a cat 2 or 3 storm the more it moves W the more it stays overe open water
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2608. Patrap
First Light has broke here in NOLA so we off to get er' done.

Be safe, civil and Kind.

..."once I thought I saw you, in a crowded hazy bar, dancing on the Light, from Star to Star"..
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Quoting Patrap:


Moon Halo

The familiar 22° halo around the Sun or Moon occurs because of refraction in tiny hexagonal ice crystals in the air. With the 60° apex angle of the prism formed by extending the sides of the crystal and the index of refraction of ice (n=1.31) one can calculate the angle of minium deviation to be 21.84°.
I am waiting for a photo of a sun halo I took yesterday at about 1:00pm to get approved. I started getting my mobile phone connected to WU about an hour ago. Funny to see it is already a topic. Hope I can post it soon
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Quoting IcemanMC:
I wouldn"t be surprised if it was seeded, It certainly seems this storm struggled to gain strength when conditions were certainly favorable. When you mess with mother nature she usually wins.


Also dealing with other factors, it wasnt totally favorable to rapid devolop.. But the season isn't over yet and there is other potentials out there, we might have to watch in the near future.. There has been a lot of drier air as of late and the gulf isn't that deep of heat content like in the past.. Some Variables are playing a key role of not letting Isaac to get strong.. IMO
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2605. LargoFl
TROPICAL STORM ISAAC LOCAL STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE AL
521 AM CDT TUE AUG 28 2012

...ISAAC ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING A HURRICANE...

.NEW INFORMATION...THE HURRICANE WATCH FOR WASHINGTON...WAYNE...PERRY
AND GREENE COUNTIES HAS BEEN CANCELED. HOWEVER...A TROPICAL STORM
WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT.

.AREAS AFFECTED...
THIS LOCAL STATEMENT PROVIDES IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS FOR PEOPLE AND MARINE INTERESTS IN SELECT
LOCATIONS OF INLAND SOUTHEAST MISSISSIPPI...SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...
THE WESTERN FLORIDA PANHANDLE AND GULF COASTAL WATERS DESTIN TO
PASCAGOULA OUT 60 NM.

.WATCHES/WARNINGS...
A HURRICANE WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS...UPPER
MOBILE...UPPER BALDWIN...LOWER MOBILE...LOWER BALDWIN...STONE AND
GEORGE.

FOR MARINE INTERESTS...A HURRICANE WARNING CONTINUES FOR
PORTIONS OF GULF COASTAL WATERS DESTIN TO PASCAGOULA OUT 60 NM.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS...
WASHINGTON...INLAND ESCAMBIA...COASTAL ESCAMBIA...INLAND SANTA
ROSA...COASTAL SANTA ROSA...INLAND OKALOOSA...COASTAL OKALOOSA...
WAYNE...PERRY AND GREENE.

FOR MARINE INTERESTS...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING CONTINUES FOR
PORTIONS OF GULF COASTAL WATERS DESTIN TO PASCAGOULA OUT 60 NM.

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR PORTIONS OF INLAND SOUTHEAST
MISSISSIPPI...SOUTHWEST ALABAMA AND THE WESTERN FLORIDA
PANHANDLE. PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY FOR ANY FLOOD WARNINGS THAT
MIGHT BE IN EFFECT FOR YOUR AREA.

.STORM INFORMATION...
AT 5 AM CDT...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ISAAC WAS LOCATED NEAR
LATITUDE 27.5N...LONGITUDE 88.1W. THIS WAS ABOUT 220 MILES SOUTH
OF MOBILE AL. STORM MOTION WAS NW OR 305 DEGREES AT 12 MPH. STORM
INTENSITY WAS 70 MPH.

.SITUATION OVERVIEW...
ISAAC IS FORECAST TO MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI OR SOUTHEAST
LOUISIANA COAST THIS EVENING. ISAAC WILL IMPACT OUR AREA TODAY AS
TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ONSET THIS LATER THIS MORNING. CONDITIONS
WILL LIKELY DETERIORATE FURTHER THIS AFTERNOON AS THE HIGHER WIND
SPEEDS AND GUSTS DEVELOP OVER SOUTHEAST MISSISSIPPI AND COASTAL
SECTIONS OF ALABAMA. THE TORNADO THREAT ALSO INCREASES THROUGH MIDDAY
AS ISAAC`S NORTHEASTERN OUTER RAINBANDS FURTHER DEVELOP.

STORM SURGE OF 4 TO 8 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL IS POSSIBLE ACROSS
COASTAL ALABAMA...INCLUDING MOBILE BAY WITH 2 TO 4 FEET ACROSS THE
WESTERN FLORIDA PANHANDLE.

SQUALLS AND VERY HEAVY RAIN ASSOCIATED WITH THE TROPICAL CYCLONE WILL
BEGIN TO AFFECT THE AREA TODAY...AND CONTINUE THROUGH AT LEAST WEDNESDAY
NIGHT. WIDESPREAD HEAVY RAINFALL AMOUNTS ARE FORECAST TO ACCOMPANY
THIS SYSTEM. STORM TOTALS OF 9 TO 16 INCHES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS
SOUTHEAST MISSISSIPPI AND SOUTHWESTERN ALABAMA...WITH 15 INCHES
LOCALLY. RAINFALL TOTALS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES ARE EXPECTED FURTHER EAST
ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL ALABAMA AND THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE. HIGHER TOTALS
ARE POSSIBLE FURTHER EAST IF THE TRACK OF ISAAC SHIFTS EAST.

AS WITH ALL TROPICAL SYSTEMS...THE RIP CURRENT RISK WILL REMAIN AT
HIGH LEVELS FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS.
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2604. tkeith
I see the NHC has backed off the Cat 2 forecast. That's good.

Welcome home Pat...I guess :)
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.