Isaac pounding Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:01 PM GMT on August 29, 2012

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Hurricane Isaac continues to lumber slowly northwestwards at 6 mph, as it pounds Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida's Panhandle with torrential rains, high winds, and a damaging storm surge. The eye was partially over water for most of the 15 hours after Isaac's official landfall at 7:45 pm EDT Tuesday night, but New Orleans radar shows the eye of the storm is now fully ashore near Houma. The radar echoes show some weakening on the west side of the eyewall, where dry air has infiltrated the storm. Wind shear remains light, and upper level outflow over Isaac is as impressive as we've seen so far, with a strong outflow channel to the north, and a respectable one to the south, as well. Infrared and visible satellite loops show a very large, symmetric, and well organized storm, and Isaac is going to be able to stay near Category 1 hurricane strength all day today. This will allow Isaac to drop rainfall amounts of 15 - 20" in some areas of Louisiana before the storm is over. A few rainfall totals from Isaac through 11 am EDT:

9.26" New Orleans Lakefront Airport
5.59" Belle Chasse, LA
5.21" Mobile, AL
3.65" Hattiesburg, MS
3.42" Gulfport, MS
2.81" Biloxi, MS


Figure 1. Morning radar reflectivity image from New Orleans.

A dangerous storm surge event underway
Isaac is bringing a large and dangerous storm surge to the coast from Central Louisiana to the Panhandle of Florida. Late this morning was high tide along much of the coast, and the highest water levels of Isaac are likely being experienced at many locations. At 11:30 am EDT, here were some of the storm surge values being recorded at NOAA tide gauges:

8.0' Waveland, MS
8.2' Shell Beach, LA
2.0' Pensacola, FL
4.6' Pascagoula, MS
3.4' Mobile, AL

The peak 11.06' storm surge at 1:30 am EDT this morning at Shell Beach, which is in Lake Borgne, 20 miles southeast of New Orleans, exceeded the 9.5' surge recorded there during Category 2 Hurricane Gustav of 2008. In general, the storm surge heights from Isaac have been more characteristic of a strong Category 2 hurricane, rather than the weak Category 1 hurricane one might suppose Isaac is, based on its top sustained winds of 75 - 80 mph. The Saffir-Simpson Scale for ranking hurricanes is only a crude measure of their potential impacts.

A storm surge estimated at 12' moved up the Mississippi in Plaquemines Parish near Port Sulphur, LA, near 8:30 pm EDT Tuesday, causing overtopping of the levees and flooding of homes in the mandatory evacuation areas behind the levees. These levees were not part of the $14.5 billion levee upgrade New Orleans got after Hurricane Katrina, and were not rated to Category 3 hurricane strength, like the levees protecting New Orleans are. The surge continued upriver, elevating the water levels 10' in New Orleans (103 miles upstream from the mouth of the Mississippi), 8' in Baton Rouge (228 miles upstream), and 1.4' at Knox Landing, an amazing 314 miles upstream. The river was 7' low due to the great 2012 U.S. drought, and I suspect the near-record low flow rate of the river allowed the storm surge to propagate so far upstream. The salt water from the storm surge will be slow to leave the river, due to the continued winds of Isaac keeping the surge going, plus the very low flow rates of the river. One benefit of the heavy rains of 10 - 20 inches expected to fall over Louisiana over the next two days will be to increase the flow rate of the Mississippi River, helping flush the salt water out of the river. The low flow rates of the Mississippi had allowed salt water to move upriver to just south of New Orleans over the past few weeks, threatening the drinking water supply of Plaquemines Parish.


Figure 2. Tide gauge data from Waveland, Mississippi. The green line shows the storm surge. The red line is the storm tide, the height of the water above Mean Sea Level (MSL.) The storm tide at Waveland currently (9') is 2' higher than that of Category 2 Hurricane Gustav of 2008. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.

Tropical Storm Kirk in the Central Atlantic
Tropical Storm Kirk formed Tuesday night in the Central Atlantic. Kirk's formation at 03 UTC on August 29 puts 2012 in 4th place for earliest formation date of the season's 11th storm. Only 2005, 1995, and 1933 had an earlier formation date of the season's 11th storm. Kirk should stay well out to sea and not trouble any land areas.


Figure 3. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Kirk.

Invest 98L in the Eastern Atlantic
A tropical wave (Invest 98L) is about 750 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, and is moving west to west-northwest at about 15 mph. In their 8 am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 98L a 50% chance of developing by Friday morning. Several of the models develop 98L into a tropical depression by this weekend, but none of the reliable models foresee that 98L will be a threat to the Lesser Antilles. The storm may be a threat to Bermuda next week, but it is too early to say if it may threaten the U.S.

Jeff Masters

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446. SubtropicalHi
7:26 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting VirginIslandsVisitor:
Is it just me or is the blog suffering from a major lag?


Very quiet considering.
Hope everyone is out of harm's way.
I assume that some of our bloggers don't have power.
Member Since: June 27, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 377
445. FOREX
7:26 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting CybrTeddy:
409.

Way to far out to figure out where this might go whether into the islands or out to sea. Remember with Isaac most, if not all the models had it going out to sea well north of the islands. Intensity models sure like it, if it can stay out of the Caribbean it might have a shot to become a good strength hurricane.


Sure looks like a fish storm. GFS says so anyway.
Member Since: August 17, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1436
444. sunlinepr
7:26 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting CybrTeddy:

Got to be honest with you, this is the worst Category 1 hurricane I have ever seen in terms of storm surge damage. This and Irene.


The lesson that should have been learned from Katrina, for some, has been forgoten...

In NOLA, when there is a Hurricane, if your home is in inundable areas and there is a MANDATORY evacuation... you have to leave... How come we see people being rescued from the roofs... - "the ones that could breach throug it"... what about the old ones or dissabled who didn't had the strenght to open an escape in the roof?.... Right now, many houses are completly under water, you can't even see the roof... That irresponsibility puts in danger those who have to go and rescue those who didn't leave...
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9706
443. LAlurker
7:25 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting sar2401:


While those are contributing factors, the major issue is that levees and flood walls were reinforced further north in New Orleans. While they may be working to protect the NOLA metro area now, they allow water to increase in both flow rate and amount downstream. Those levees and flood walls will continue to be raised, and people downstream will continue to see worse flooding. The only options are to abandon areas downstream and allow them to flood, or start abandoning areas around NOLA so they can be uses as overflow retention basins. The present system of flood protection in NOLA will not hold without a constant increase in height, and even they will eventually fail in a larger storm. There is only so much air you can put in a balloon before it bursts.

Downstream? The water came from the Gulf.
Member Since: July 24, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 156
442. Tazmanian
7:24 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
98L is looking better and better evere sac

i have too say i think 98L is a TD now








we could be looking at TD 12 by 5am and am thinking 98L could be up too 70 too 80% at the next two


wow this is looking good 98L has in tell friday at 12am too make it too a name storm
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114751
441. LAlurker
7:24 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting floridaT:
and how do those folks in places like Idaho feel about never getting any of the money?

Never?
Link
Member Since: July 24, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 156
440. 954FtLCane
7:23 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting VirginIslandsVisitor:
Is it just me or is the blog suffering from a major lag?


It is very slow! I believe it's an entire wunderground problem. I tried going into regular wunderground and it takes a while to load as well
Member Since: September 30, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
439. redwagon
7:23 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting RitaEvac:
Looking east towards Galveston Bay, Isaac cloud shield closing in






When do you suppose Isaac might begin the turn NW or N?
Member Since: August 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3175
438. mynameispaul
7:22 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 369
437. DavidHOUTX
7:21 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting VirginIslandsVisitor:
Is it just me or is the blog suffering from a major lag?


is for me too
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 598
436. VirginIslandsVisitor
7:20 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Is it just me or is the blog suffering from a major lag?
Member Since: July 30, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 599
435. ncstorm
7:19 PM GMT on August 29, 2012


Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 14550
434. keithneese
7:19 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
At Providence Hospital in Mobile. Very heavy rain coming down now. It's been off and on all day. Thoughts are with those in Louisiana.
Member Since: February 7, 2008 Posts: 66 Comments: 179
433. SubtropicalHi
7:19 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting MississippiWx:
This picture was taken here in Hattiesburg yesterday right as a feeder band was coming through. You are looking at the administration building on the beautiful campus of the University of Southern Mississippi (aka Southern Miss).



Link


Mean looking skies.
That's how Gilbert's outer bands looked like in San Antonio (300 miles from it's eye)
Member Since: June 27, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 377
432. vince1
7:17 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting snow2fire:


Disaster assistance is one of the fundamental functions of the Federal Government and it's the Governor's responsibility to follow the established processes. It's for the people in his state.

I don't get what politics has to do with it...

FEMA’s Disaster Declaration Process: A Primer
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL34146.pdf

Apparently, if you have a disaster in your jurisdiction and request assistance, you should be wiling to let the govt. do whatever the hell it wants in the name of public good in all other realms of policy no matter how egregious the perceived overstep. Govt. knows best!
Member Since: August 6, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 209
431. TropicalAnalystwx13
7:16 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Isaac may have had Category 1 winds, but the storm surge was that of a Category 3. Unbelievable pictures coming in.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31502
430. Txrainstorm
7:13 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting TXnovice:

Thanks for the update. I have family there. Just south of Houston here (Pearland) and it's sunny and windy.


I do also..thanks for the update!
Member Since: September 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 95
429. Tortoiseshell
7:12 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting SrChiefFan1:


Oh please....Louisiana has received far over their far share of Federal assistance and funding during the past decade.....


And I expect they would be happy not to have needed it. I know I wish we never needed FEMA dollars in Florida. Lucky is the community that has no need for government assistance.

Back to the storm. As we so often see, communities right next to each other have widely varying experiences. That is why everyone must prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Member Since: June 8, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
428. vince1
7:11 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting floridaT:
ok ill explain smaller what do you cut? the nws? fema? meat and food inspection? those mres? the army corpe of engineers? air traffic control? center for desiese control ? the fbi? what exactly gets made smaller?

Dept. of Energy is a good example of a dept that could do with some cuts (or get dumped altogether). It was formed in the 70's to wean us off Mideast oil. This is just one example (Dept. of Education is another), but the $1.5 trillion yearly deficits and lack of budgets (since 2009) can't go on forever. The cuts will come, one way or another.
Member Since: August 6, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 209
427. MississippiWx
7:10 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
This picture was taken here in Hattiesburg yesterday right as a feeder band was coming through. You are looking at the administration building on the beautiful campus of the University of Southern Mississippi (aka Southern Miss).



Link
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10159
426. HurricaneHunterJoe
7:09 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
his eye looks to be improving and shrinking?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5133
425. kwgirl
7:09 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting yonzabam:


What a dump! I'm in Strathaven.
Now Now, no Clan rivalries. All of Scotland is beautiful. And I have been to that side of the Clyde river and the coast is beautiful.
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
424. CybrTeddy
7:08 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
401. CybrTeddy 2:52 PM EDT on August 29, 2012

Good points. Too early to know what the rest of the season will hold but, looking back after it is over, and if we do not get the numbers of majors predicted (if any), this will be known as the season of dry air restricted tropical storms in addition to other limiting factors (fast trade winds) in spite of favorable SSTs.....................


This season still exceeds expectations in almost every way. Most meteorologists went into this season expecting an average-inactive season, we're at 11 named and it is not even September yet. The dry air out and about is just mother nature trying to tell the season it's El Nino, not La Nina.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23590
423. LuvsStorms
7:08 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting aislinnpaps:


I know, the sun is trying to come out again here by the Lake, but windy. They just showed a computer model run on TWC and we will start getting the rain and winds sometime tonight with the majority of it tomorrow.


Thanks for that info. I'm at work and missed that run.
Member Since: September 1, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 133
422. Skyepony (Mod)
7:07 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
I'm thinking we will continue to see Isaac wobble slowly WNW for now, then hook up through LA probably clip maybe the east & the NE edge of TX, east side of OK may get a bit of rain, then move North up the west side of the MS River..leaving the moister east side to improve shipping, over MO and on to IL to kick off the fall planting season. I'm leaning just a touch west of OFCL.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37377
421. CybrTeddy
7:06 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Correction - now back to TS Isaac. Weakening as expected.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23590
420. syn627
7:06 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting oddspeed:

wow, not everyday an Interstate gets under water. If i read the mile post correctly in that pic (209) here's Google Maps showing what it normally looks like:Link http://goo.gl/maps/KA4Vz
Quoting syn627:
I-10 near LaPlace, LA closed

The area is on the far south and west side of Pontchartrain near Highway 55/51
Member Since: July 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 9
419. AllStar17
7:05 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
(click to enlarge)
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5300
418. RitaEvac
7:04 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Looking east towards Galveston Bay, Isaac cloud shield closing in





Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
417. StormDrain
7:04 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
NHC:

...ISAAC WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL STORM...LIFE-THREATENING HAZARDS FROM STORM SURGE AND INLAND FLOODING ARE STILL OCCURRING...

LOCATION...29.8N 90.9W
ABOUT 50 MI...80 KM WSW OF NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA
ABOUT 55 MI...90 KM SSE OF BATON ROUGE LOUISIANA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 6 MPH...9 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...974 MB...28.76 INCHES
Member Since: October 9, 2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 495
416. CybrTeddy
7:03 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Amazing that it made landfall last night, yet it's structure and winds are unchanged almost. Lotta problems still to come with this one. They are by no means out of the woods with Hurricane Isaac.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23590
415. stormchaser19
7:03 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
401. CybrTeddy 2:52 PM EDT on August 29, 2012

Good points. Too early to know what the rest of the season will hold but, looking back after it is over, and if we do not get the numbers of majors predicted (if any), this will be known as the season of dry air restricted tropical storms in addition to other limiting factors (fast trade winds) in spite of favorable SSTs.....................


Not a good vertical instability in the whole hemisphere
Member Since: June 20, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2150
414. CaicosRetiredSailor
7:01 PM GMT on August 29, 2012

NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center

A spectacular GOES-14 high resolution rapid-scan satellite loop of Hurricane Isaac as it made landfall along the Louisiana coastline late Tuesday. The imagery is at one minute intervals. Kudos to NOAA's Environmental Visualization Lab for this. Here's the link

http://youtu.be/N4SCe_YCw_s
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5997
413. Progster
7:01 PM GMT on August 29, 2012


Here's the 4 day Ensemble forecast from ECMWF. I can't retrieve the comparable GFS or CMC, but I would be interested to see those, as I suspect the ECMWF was the best performing global domain model on Isaac, by far. Early in Isaac's development, the Euro was the only model that consistently trended west of the others. If anyone has the 96h (same time frame) charts for those I would appreciate it if they could post them.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 490
412. mati
7:00 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting LargoFl:
some people who should be thanked..............


hurricane hunters website

Link
Member Since: September 6, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
411. CybrTeddy
7:00 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
409.

Way to far out to figure out where this might go whether into the islands or out to sea. Remember with Isaac most, if not all the models had it going out to sea well north of the islands. Intensity models sure like it, if it can stay out of the Caribbean it might have a shot to become a good strength hurricane.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23590
410. TXnovice
6:57 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting CCkid00:
Denham Springs, La. em>

Thanks for the update. I have family there. Just south of Houston here (Pearland) and it's sunny and windy.
Member Since: August 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 80
409. LostTomorrows
6:56 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting CybrTeddy:
12z GFS 156 hours, "Leslie" moving out in the open Atlantic as a very powerful hurricane. Somehow, due to the amount of dry air I don't think 98L will intensify that quickly. Remember with Isaac that most if not all the models where showing it going out to sea as a powerful CV hurricane, instead it's over Louisiana right now.. but I don't think it will end up in the Caribbean, probably still going to go north of the islands.. We'll have to watch this one.




Kirk's intensifying as well. Unlike Isaac, Kirk is a small storm and can wind up easier, so it could very well approach hurricane status. Overall, the path should be similar to Gordon.


As I mentioned before, I suppose what is now future Leslie has grave potential to be Bermuda's next Fabian. I know some people who lived in Bermuda at the time, and they said it was terrifying.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 564
408. CybrTeddy
6:56 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting sar2401:


OK, and where are those pictures from? Unless someone happens to recognize something in a picture, they could be flood pictures from anywhere. If you're trying to provide information to people in the affected areas, please provide a caption and location for pictures you post.


The first few are from Waveland MS, which if anyone follows Reed Timmer on facebook would already know where he is, the rest are in Braithwaite, LA I believe.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23590
407. weathermanwannabe
6:56 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
401. CybrTeddy 2:52 PM EDT on August 29, 2012

Good points. Too early to know what the rest of the season will hold but, looking back after it is over, and if we do not get the numbers of majors predicted (if any), this will be known as the season of dry air restricted tropical storms in addition to other limiting factors (fast trade winds) in spite of favorable SSTs.....................
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8811
406. aislinnpaps
6:55 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting LuvsStorms:


It's almost surreal to know that we're having such a mild weather day and not very far at all this horrific drama is unfolding.


I know, the sun is trying to come out again here by the Lake, but windy. They just showed a computer model run on TWC and we will start getting the rain and winds sometime tonight with the majority of it tomorrow.
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3115
405. DavidHOUTX
6:55 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Cool Radar Loop goes out to about 120 hours.


http://weatherspark.com/#!maps;a=USA/LA/New_Orlea ns
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 598
404. CybrTeddy
6:54 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Potent anti-cyclone centered over 98L.


850mb vort is also increasing.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23590
403. sar2401
6:54 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
Quoting CybrTeddy:
More storm surge pictures.







Got to be honest with you, this is the worst Category 1 hurricane I have ever seen in terms of storm surge damage. This and Irene.


OK, and where are those pictures from? Unless someone happens to recognize something in a picture, they could be flood pictures from anywhere. If you're trying to provide information to people in the affected areas, please provide a caption and location for pictures you post.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 13240
402. cwolfsheep
6:53 PM GMT on August 29, 2012


Most of the system is on land now. A blogger did a nice writeup on the data viz for this.
Member Since: September 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
401. CybrTeddy
6:52 PM GMT on August 29, 2012
12z GFS 156 hours, "Leslie" moving out in the open Atlantic as a very powerful hurricane. Somehow, due to the amount of dry air I don't think 98L will intensify that quickly. Remember with Isaac that most if not all the models where showing it going out to sea as a powerful CV hurricane, instead it's over Louisiana right now.. but I don't think it will end up in the Caribbean, probably still going to go north of the islands.. We'll have to watch this one.




Kirk's intensifying as well. Unlike Isaac, Kirk is a small storm and can wind up easier, so it could very well approach hurricane status. Overall, the path should be similar to Gordon.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23590
Every time Isaac looks like he is weakening, he tightens up again. He's going to remain tropical for a few more days, it seems. I wonder what his effects will be like where I am, in eastern Ontario... I have a feeling he will be carrying a lot of moisture for the remainder of his life - including when he trudges his way through my neck of the woods.

A lot of storms this year aren't getting their acts together until just before landfall, and then they surprise everyone.
Member Since: August 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 564
i been asking stormjunkie every year since 07 if he was gonna chase that year. he chased here in nc in 06 at oak island/ long beach and i was worried aboutt him. and to think now he has hit the bigtime lol
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398. JeffM
Quoting sar2401:


Bull. Every officer has not reported for duty. Some can't because they are unable to get into NOLA, others simply won't, the same as what happened in Katrina. The National Guard is not there to "supplement" the NOPD, they are there to provide the law enforcement and citizen protection that NOPD is not capabale of doing. They are also there to keep an eye on the NOPD officers that are on duty. NOPD is the most poorly run and one of the most corrupt police agencies in the country.


Tell us how you really feel! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aislinnpaps:


It'll depend on the track. If it goes straight north, then 2 to 6 inches of rain and wind gust up to 50 mph they say for us. If it follows the Euro, it'll be alot more rain and winds.


It's almost surreal to know that we're having such a mild weather day and not very far at all this horrific drama is unfolding.
Member Since: September 1, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 133
Quoting Waltanater:
Last I heard it was 615,000.


CNN has that number around 673k.
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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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