Leslie headed towards Bermuda; Tropical Storm Michael forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:01 PM GMT on September 04, 2012

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Tropical Storm Leslie continues to suffer from moderately high wind shear of 15 - 20 knots, due to strong upper-level winds out of the northwest. The shear is keeping heavy thunderstorms confined to the southeast quadrant of the storm. Satellite loops show that Leslie has almost no heavy thunderstorm activity near its center, and the storm is crawling north at walking pace, 3 mph. Leslie's slow forward speed means that the storm is staying over the cold water stirred up by the storm's winds, inhibiting intensification. According to the latest SHIPS model forecast, the shear is expected to stay moderately high through Tuesday night, then drop to the low category, 5 - 10 knots, by Thursday afternoon. At that time, Leslie will be over warm ocean waters of 29 - 30°C, and the reduction in shear and warm waters should aid intensification. However, Leslie's motion will continue to be slow, keeping the storm over its cool water wake, and keeping any intensification slow. Once Leslie begins moving more quickly on Saturday, this effect will diminish, and Leslie could be at Category 2 strength on Sunday morning, as indicated in the official NHC forecast. Steering currents for Leslie are expected to be weak through Friday, as Leslie is stuck between two upper level lows. The latest guidance from our top computer models continues to show Leslie making a very close pass by Bermuda on Saturday. Leslie is a huge storm, and tropical storm-force winds are expected to extend outward from its center 250 miles by Friday. Bermuda is likely to see a 48-hour period of tropical storm-force winds beginning Friday night that lasts until Sunday night. The official NHC forecast shows Leslie nearly making a direct hit on Bermuda, but the uncertainty in 4-day NHC forecasts is around 200 miles. Thus, the latest 11 am EDT NHC wind probability forecast calls for just a 12% chance of hurricane force winds on Bermuda on Saturday. Nevertheless, Leslie is capable of bringing an extended period of hurricane-force winds lasting six or more hours to Bermuda Saturday night through Sunday morning, should a direct hit materialize.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Leslie. The low-level circulation center has very little in the way of heavy thunderstorms surrounding it, thanks to strong northwest winds creating 15 - 20 knots of wind shear.

Leslie will stay stuck in a weak steering current environment until a strong trough of low pressure approaches the U.S. East Coast on Saturday. This trough should be strong enough to pull Leslie quickly to the north on Saturday and Sunday, and Leslie may be close enough to the coast that the storm will make landfall in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, Canada on Monday, September 10. None of the reliable models have shown that a direct hit on New England will occur, but we can't rule that possibility out yet. The storm may also miss land entirely, and brush by the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Large swells from Leslie reached Cape Hatteras, North Carolina last night, and will begin pounding the entire Eastern Seaboard today through Sunday. These waves will be capable of causing significant beach erosion and dangerous rip currents. The Hurricane Hunters are scheduled to make their first flight into Leslie on Wednesday afternoon.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Michael.

Tropical Storm Michael forms in the Central Atlantic
Tropical Storm Michael has formed in the Central Atlantic on Monday, but is not destined for fame. Satellite loops show that this is a very small tropical cyclone, and the storm is well away from any land areas. Michael is under moderately high shear of 15 - 20 knots, and this shear is forecast to remain at 15 - 20 knots through Wednesday. Since Michael is such a small storm, just a modest increase in shear could destroy it. But if Michael survives until Thursday, when shear is expected to fall to the low range, it has the opportunity to strengthen.

Michaels's formation on September 4 puts 2012 in third place for earliest formation date of the season's thirteenth storm. The record is held jointly by 2005, which had Hurricane Maria form on September 2, and 2011, which had Tropical Storm Lee form on September 2 (there was an unnamed tropical storm that year before Lee.) None of the models show that Michael will threaten any land areas. Michael is a classic example of the type of storm that likely would have been missed before the advent of satellites, since the storm is small, far from land, and may be short-lived.

Jeff Masters

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After Marco and Mike well just designate the M storm Miniature or the next one should be Minnie to be on the safe side.Leslie is starting to look a little better overall on the visible satellite. No real motion though maybe drifting NW.
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Quoting WxLogic:


A piece of the "energy"... in this case 700/850MB VORT broke off from the main circulation which is heading S/SE. This "energy" is moving to the ENE/NE towards MA/NH.

Given that is part of Isaac then I'm concluding that why they're referring to it as Isaac's remnants.


There's definitely another piece of former Isaac that's moving south, or at least enough of it to create a pretty strong trough. It has been steadily raining here in Central AL since yesterday afternoon. We had some pretty hefty thunderstorms overnight and the total two day rainfall is now over 4 inches. This is way more than we ever got from te "real" Issac. The storms continued to generate and regenerate all night, which is highly unusual here in September. Even now, I'm watching new storms generate near Birmingham, even though the atmosphere has been completely worked over and rain cooled. This is not a normal trough, and some remnant of Isaac is working its way south. I'm not usually one to believe in weird models but I think they're on to something this time. What will happen if this low gets into the Gulf is beyond me to know, but strange weather patterns on land can lead to strange weather patterns over water too.
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Quoting sar2401:
While I obviously don't know the answer, it seeems like it would be the other way round. Before about 1945, very few systems were classified as tropical storms unless they affected land or were large enough to disrupt shipping. Storms were not even named until 1950, and the concept of a tropical storm versus a hurricane wasn't common until about 1920. Before that, all storms of tropical origin were called tropical cyclones. The concept of closed circulation before naming is relatively recent. The basic issue is how many of the current tropical depressions or cyclones would even have been noted before satellites. Michael is probably a good example, since it's outside of the normal shipping lanes, very small, and not expected to affect land. Storms like Michael probably occured with about the same frequency before 1960 but they were never named or counted as a tropical storm. I don't think the issue is that we have more tropical storms today, rather that there many tropical storms that occured in the past we never knew about. However, this seems like a unsolvable puzzle.
Yes, what you have mentioned is well-covered in the scientific literature, for example,
Atlantic Hurricane Database Re-analysis Project. But the other side of the coin is that satellites have allowed us to closely monitor when a closed circulation has formed. In the past, tropical waves with storm-force winds may have been named. That has not been considered, to my knowledge.
(edit - open link)
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Whatever the complex is over southern Alabama it looks like a very nice boiling kidney bean on visible and it's bringing rain to the wrong place. :(

Nature, you're a tease.
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Quoting hydrus:
I appreciate your post. The long range models cannot always predict whether or not a storm will form or where it will go, but they are a great tool when it comes to seeing what patterns may evolve. In short, the models do a better job at predicting what patterns will occur than where or when a storm will develop..:)


Yes. I find that looking at the long range helps me scope out the important factors influencing development of any given storm. Not that I know how to read them all that well, but I at least know what they are and can follow discussions of alternate tracks and outcomes as the storm progresses.

I didn't understand this utility of long range forecasts previously, so I have more respect for them now. You just need to be aware of what they are helpful for (hint: not forecasting landfall).
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Quoting JLPR2:
The last two hurricanes to hit PR directly were Hugo(89) and Georges(98) formed in Sept 10 and Sept 15 respectively. So yes, September is the month I'm like an Eagle watching towards the East. XD


That is true. If that 12z GFS run turns into the real thing,PR would be badly hit with the worst side of it as it goes thru the Mona Channel.
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:
If Ex Isaac regenerates, I still hear no predictions on how this might influence Leslie downstream.

It would be a difficult thing to put into the models, given how hard intensity is to gauge.

If Ex Isaac deepens enough, wouldn't that push or dissolve the ULL off the southeast coast?

My guess is that it would.


There are many variables to account for, but the main one would be shear. If the remnants are able to intensify enough to generate an ULAC above it then it could induce an upper low development (or regenerate the ULL currently over SE FL) to the E of "ex-Isaac" and produce enough S/SW shear to cause Leslie to decouple and not intensify further.

On the other hand if the remnants stay weak as they're expected to be (for now) then Leslie will be able to couple much better at all levels and intensify as forecasted by NHC.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4965
Without a doubt most serious storms are the product of Aug.15 thru Oct.15. So as the graph shows we are in the middle of the season as far as serious storms are concerned. Remembering there are exceptions to every rule.
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Quoting guygee:
Michael is a classic example of the type of storm that likely would have been missed before the advent of satellites(xxx^H^H^H No, wait, make that airplanes,or maybe even make that "ships"-Vessels that travel the Seas) since the storm is small, far from land, and may be short-lived.

Pre-satellite (and pre-aerial reconnaissance), I wonder how many tropical waves got classified as Tropical Storms since there was not a good way to check for a closed circulation except from scattered ground and ship observations?
I do not recall that possibility being taken seriously enough in the research recalibration of past Atlantic-basin named storms per year.


While I obviously don't know the answer, it seeems like it would be the other way round. Before about 1945, very few systems were classified as tropical storms unless they affected land or were large enough to disrupt shipping. Storms were not even named until 1950, and the concept of a tropical storm versus a hurricane wasn't common until about 1920. Before that, all storms of tropical origin were called tropical cyclones. The concept of closed circulation before naming is relatively recent. The basic issue is how many of the current tropical depressions or cyclones would even have been noted before satellites. Michael is probably a good example, since it's outside of the normal shipping lanes, very small, and not expected to affect land. Storms like Michael probably occured with about the same frequency before 1960 but they were never named or counted as a tropical storm. I don't think the issue is that we have more tropical storms today, rather that there many tropical storms that occured in the past we never knew about. However, this seems like a unsolvable puzzle.
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Small flareup of convection near the center.

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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Thanks Logic, so what are the chances that the remnants of Isaac hit where Debby hit? Only 2 storms I could think of are Frances and Jeanne.



Chances are high given current setup ( as advertised by models ). As we know things could change and it could pull a Leslie too and meander around the E to extreme E GOM if it goes too far S to feel the pull of the departing TROF and awaits for that void to get filled by a High and then get steered by another approaching TROF.

Based on my observations and in summary. The further N it stays the quicker it will get away ( sent to the E and NE). If it stays further S then what I discussed above will be a good possibility.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4965
Quoting RTSplayer:
There is another issue with present day floods.

In the 1980's there were far fewer people living in this area, and there were still dirt and gravel roads, even long, parish operated ones around. There were probably 30% to 50% fewer houses in the area, and far fewer paved or concrete drive ways.
All of these are things which inhibit soil absorbing water, since you have impermeable layers of concrete, asphault, and housing on top of so much additional land....
These are all good points.
FEMA produces the maps that define the flood zones for the entire USA. FEMA has in place a "zero-change" policy that requires developers to create water drainage and retention systems to compensate for increased runoff. As a simple example, a neighbor of mine built a shed in his backyard. Code required him to dig a small ditch in his backyard to compensate for the increased runoff. As soon as the inspector left he filled in the ditch. This applies on a larger scale, as I see the ponds built around older developments silting in and turning into shallow swamps full of vegetation. There is a real lack of re-inspection and enforcement on the "zero-change" policy. Additionally, agriculture is exempted from the zero-change policy, and I do not think that FEMA changes the flood-zone maps when the big corn farmers tile their land to improve run-off in rainy years.
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125. JLPR2
The last two hurricanes to hit PR directly were Hugo(89) and Georges(98) formed in Sept 10 and Sept 15 respectively. So yes, September is the month I'm like an Eagle watching towards the East. XD
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End of the run:

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Quoting gordydunnot:
I think that graphic was how many storms were in existence a particular date. I think a lot of the beginning Sept storm actually formed the last 10 days of August. I maybe wrong but it seems to me the last 10 days August and the first 10 days of Sept. have always been by far the busiest. So feel free to straighten me out on this anyone.
True... graphic is showing how many hurricanes was alive on that date. I think it's the best to focus on that peak is from August 20 to October 1.
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If Ex Isaac regenerates, I still hear no predictions on how this might influence Leslie downstream.

It would be a difficult thing to put into the models, given how hard intensity is to gauge.

If Ex Isaac deepens enough, wouldn't that push or dissolve the ULL off the southeast coast?

My guess is that it would.
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I think that graphic was how many storms were in existence a particular date. I think a lot of the beginning Sept storm actually formed the last 10 days of August. I maybe wrong but it seems to me the last 10 days August and the first 10 days of Sept. have always been by far the busiest. So feel free to straighten me out on this anyone.
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120. 7544
ex isacc already raining on the panhandle today moving south going to get in the gom soon interested to see what happens he may hang out long enough to reform imo time will tell
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119. JLPR2
Everyone freak out, convection developing almost right on top of the LLC. XD

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Quoting WxLogic:
12Z NGP

12Z CMC
Thanks Logic, so what are the chances that the remnants of Isaac hit where Debby hit? Only 2 storms I could think of are Frances and Jeanne.

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There is another issue with present day floods.


In the 1980's there were far fewer people living in this area, and there were still dirt and gravel roads, even long, parish operated ones around. There were probably 30% to 50% fewer houses in the area, and far fewer paved or concrete drive ways.

All of these are things which inhibit soil absorbing water, since you have impermeable layers of concrete, asphault, and housing on top of so much additional land.

This might not sound like much, but if you take a 2400sq ft "structure" and displace 15 inches of rain, and assume the first 1 to 3 inches would have soaked up in the soil for a 1.5 to 2.5 day event, while 12 to 14 inches would have run off about the same speed anyway, you end up with an additional 200 to 600 cubic feet of water per 2400 square foot of housing, concrete driveway, or paved road that has been added since the previous flood, all of this running off immediately, and doing so much faster than the "natural" environment would have caused.


Pick a new subdivision with a half mile of road and a cul-de-sac and 22ft wide, and a 30ft radius cul-de-sac, and that's an area of 60,900ft sq.


Now figure 1 to 3 inches of rain that would have been soaked up, but instead ran off because of the impermeable layer (and I'm still ignoring the drive ways and house foundation size;)...

You get 5,000 to 15,000 cubic feet of water (37,000 to 112,000 gallons). This is just from one new road a half mile long plus a cul-de-sac. Again, ignores the driveways and house foundations...


Figure this for all new roads and all new concrete driveways and all new houses along the upper portion of an entire drainage basin, and that starts adding up to several FEET (vertically) of displaced water flowing down a river, flooding out people farther down stream.



I know some of this is accounted for, but probably not all of it.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting NEwxguy:
so does Isaac have a split personality now. Everyone saying remnants of Isaac moving toward the gulf,and up here in the Northeast were getting the remants of Isaac causing heavy rains.


REMNANTS OF ISAAC WILL BRING LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL AND FLOODING
POTENTIAL...WITH GREATEST THREAT DURING TONIGHT ACROSS WESTERN
MASSACHUSETTS AND SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE.


A piece of the "energy"... in this case 700/850MB VORT broke off from the main circulation which is heading S/SE. This "energy" is moving to the ENE/NE towards MA/NH.

Given that is part of Isaac then I'm concluding that why they're referring to it as Isaac's remnants.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4965
Over 100 storms formed on September over the course of 100 years. September is the most active month of the season.

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114. JLPR2
Quoting GTcooliebai:
360 hrs.



It was an interesting run, those two develop as CV systems and head west thanks to a high pressure developing after Leslie and Michael exit to the north, it sees a high pressure strong enough to send one all the way into the Eastern Caribbean but then pulls both of them north as a through exits the US East Coast, weakening the high pressure and it seems they reach their peaks as hurricanes out in the open waters of the Atl.
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Models suggesting that this will be a very active September. Just remember, at least one hurricane forms on 9 Septembers over the course of 10 years average or 90% of time. Don't let your guard down!
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12Z NGP

12Z CMC
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4965
so does Isaac have a split personality now. Everyone saying remnants of Isaac moving toward the gulf,and up here in the Northeast were getting the remants of Isaac causing heavy rains.


REMNANTS OF ISAAC WILL BRING LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL AND FLOODING
POTENTIAL...WITH GREATEST THREAT DURING TONIGHT ACROSS WESTERN
MASSACHUSETTS AND SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Can you direct me to this literature. I would like to look it over. Does this also coincide with your believe that warmer SST's are causing storms to go further north. Thanks guy.
Sure. Start with the IPCC website. Download the reports, they are full of references to the scientific literature. Then read those papers, and read the references in those papers, then repeat until you are satisfied that you are really getting the full picture.

Just bothering to read the IPCC reports alone should give you a clear picture.

P.S. The "storms forming further north" is my own opinion based on observation. I have posted about it in this blog many times in the past. No, it does not coincide with anything in the IPCC reports to my knowledge.
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Nice we have Michael...13/5/0

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107. 7544
Quoting GTcooliebai:
360 hrs.



irene part two lol
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6753
Quoting GTcooliebai:
360 hrs.



only 15 days out... best start preparing.
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360 hrs.

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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Oh no. I'm flattered. But no, that's another Jeff. That's Jeffs713. He lives in my neighborhood. He is pursuing nursing.


I see. Sorry about the confusion there.

Carry on.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Is that the trend. What are the scientists saying in regards to AGW then. Can you please inform the blog because no one seems to know what is going on. More storms, more storms to the north, bigger storms, more intense storms, less intense storms. Which is it? Is it all of the above?
Read the scientific literature over the past decade at least. Then look at the data yourself. Sorry I cannot condense this very complex topic in a blog post.

My statement is that there has been a trend in the North Atlantic for the range of tropical cyclogenesis to expand farther north due to warmer SSTs farther north. Those warmer SSTs are almost certainly due to AGW. That is my simple point.
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Hey Tomball- did you ever finish nursing school?
If so, congratulations!
If not- then NEVER GIVE UP - -

we love your stamina
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Quoting guygee:
Yeah, sorry, nobody ever claimed AGW meant more tropical cyclones in the scientific literature, to my knowledge. Do you have a reference?

OTOH, I have claimed that AGW could mean more TCs in the Atlantic and other basins just because more of the ocean is covered with favorable SSTs. If you map the northernmost limit of tropical cyclogenesis in the North Atlantic there is a clear trend to the north. Check it out for yourself in the NHC archives. Graduate students...possible paper?



I have a response to this, because I've attempted to map average regional SST rise based on AGW and the believe that SST should rise faster closer to the poles.


Only problem is I need a free image hosting site so I can upload it for people to see.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting RTSplayer:



One of the local stations, WAFB 9, tried to do this, but it's truly hard to comprehend the combined effects of surge, rain, and duration.

These effects were extremely hard to understand and predict, and recall that the previous analog flood was again spring related, and not involving a surge, further, it was before the modern computers and digital age for cameras, gauges, or models, all besides the road changes I already mentioned above. So comparing data from previous "analog" floods was obviously nearly impossible.

Even Betsy did not do this on it's course, as we have several 65 to 75 year old eye witnesses, people who were adults at the time of previous hurricanes and spring floods, all of whom said the water was at least X number of feet higher this time than it's ever been.


This is very problematic for understanding, because in some cases the official records for previous floods are known to be flawed, and there may be more flaws in some isolated locations.

Then once you actually identify the problems, you have to tailor a forecast to the local topography and the storm's characteristics on some sort of absolute severity scale., and try to figure out exactly what's going to happen on any given site.

I just don't think that's possible until better research is done on the topography of all of these effected areas. You can't model future storm surge or flooding properly if you can't even explain previous flooding events.


I agree - I was doubtful whether a meaningful scale could be devised - nevertheless, I would still like to see something a little more comprehensive and I am sure that NHC etc are thinking of it anyway.
All that said, locally (where I live)this is exactly what I try to establish - relatively easy because of small size, good GIS mapping and Flood modelling and relatively long local experience.
A reason why IMO, at a certain stage, GOOD local forecasts can be much better than NHC Forecasts
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GFS seems to be slowly gaining consistency showing several storms.



Seems the peak of the season will be pretty interesting.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Are they worse now than the 1950's?


I wrote at length about this some time yesterday.

Yes, they are worse than the 1950's, by a significant amount on average, in nearly all metrics:

Average number of storms per season.
Most powerful storm(s) per season.*
Largest storm per season.
etc.

* there are a few exceptions depending on which intensity metric you use, and whether you count only landfalls or max intensity over water.

Based on pressure, Katrina and Rita are the two most powerful storms ever recorded in the Gulf, while Wilma was the most intense hurricane ever recorded based on pressure, and probably tied or first based on winds in post-season analysis by independent agencies or researchers.

In most metrics, half or more of the top ten AND top 20 has happened in the past 10 to 17 years.

All of the top 11 largest hurricanes have happened in the past 24 years.



I could save myself some time by telling you to go to wiki article on "atlantic hurricane records" or some such, and just look at what percentage of those records are in the past 5, 10, 15, and 20 years vs the entire history of atlantic hurricanes.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting NOLABean:
...So, we stayed. We had no money to evacuate this time. I still have the same car that broke down in Gustav...
Thank you for your post, it is a terrible yet revealing story. I am so tired of the pompous bloviaters on this blog criticizing people who did not evacuate, without taking into consideration the economic factors. This is clearly an area where local, state and federal governments should lend a hand with airplanes, buses and trains, whatever it takes. The private sector? Their only responsibility is to make a profit for shareholders and pay gigantic salaries for fatcat CEOs. Saving peoples lives? No profit in that.
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How small is Michael?
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
I thought AGW initially meant more storms. Then I remember recently it's been changed to reflect fewer storms but stronger ones?? Where have all the majors been this year. Okay now I'm confused!!!!!!!!


AGW never meant more tropical storms. Nor does it cause tropical storms. Tropical storms are weather related phenomena that are only influenced by climatological conditions.

AGW means more heat. More heat means more energy (and over the ocean, more water vapor). That creates conditions that are more conducive to strong tropical development. However, whether or not a tropical system forms is greatly influenced by other weather conditions, such as wind shear.

Current climate model ensembles predict that while heat and water vapor will increase, average wind shear is projected to as well. Thus, on average there should EVENTUALLY be fewer tropical systems on average, but the ones that do form will have a lot more energy to draw on.

Climate is measured on multi-decadal scales.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

What are the biggest killers of a Storm. Wind, Surge and possibly Rain. But to me, number 1 and 2 is Wind and Surge.


I hear where you are coming from - however, it also depends on location. Take for example Mitch in Honduras - rain was the killer, in Haiti, Rain is the killer (normally).
and BTW - am NOT trying to start an argument :-)
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Quoting hydrus:
Could you please link me to that site G.S.?


Its just www.twisterdata.com
They have the GFS/NAM and the useless RAP.
It has a lot of the data from the models, its what i use for the GFS and NAM in severe weather season, and you can also click on a location and get forecasted Skew-Ts and Hodographs
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725

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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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