Hurricane Sandy pounding Jamaica, may hit U.S. this weekend; TS Tony forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:21 PM GMT on October 24, 2012

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Hurricane warnings are flying for Jamaica and Eastern Cuba, as an intensifying Hurricane Sandy plows north-northeast at 13 mph towards landfall. The Hurricane Hunters are in the storm, and measured surface winds of hurricane strength--75 to 80 mph--in the storm's northeast quadrant near 9:25 am EDT. Sandy's pressure at the time of the 9:28 am center fix was 973 mb, and the temperature in the eye had warmed 2°C since the 7:48 am fix, a sign of strengthening. Intermittent rain squalls from Sandy have been affecting Jamaica since Monday night, and Kingston, Jamaica has picked up 2.12" of rain from Sandy as of 9 am EDT. Winds in Jamaica have been below 20 mph as of 10 am EDT, but will start to rise quickly in the next few hours. The Hurricane Hunters found a large 55 mile-diameter eye that was open to the WNW this morning, and it is likely that Kingston will receive high winds of 55 - 65 mph from the western eyewall, which will cause considerable damage to Jamaica's capital. The eastern tip of Jamaica will likely see the eye pass overhead, and will receive the strongest winds. The eye is beginning to appear on visible satellite loops, and Sandy is showing an increasing degree of organization as it closes in on Jamaica. Sandy is the tenth hurricane of the 2012 hurricane season, which is now tied for eighth place for most hurricanes in a year since record keeping began in 1851.


Figure 1. Morning microwave satellite image of Tropical Storm Sandy taken at 8:45 am EDT. The large 55-mile diameter eye was just south of Jamaica. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Near-term forecast for Sandy
Wind shear is forecast to be in the moderate range and ocean temperatures will be a warm 28°C through Thursday morning, which will favor intensification. However, Sandy doesn't have much time left over water before it encounters the high mountains of Jamaica this afternoon, which should interrupt the intensification process. The strongest Sandy is likely to be at landfall in Jamaica is a 90 mph Category 1 hurricanes. After encountering Jamaica, Sandy won't have time to re-organize much before making landfall in Eastern Cuba near 10 pm EDT tonight, and the strongest the storm is likely to be then is a 90 mph Category 1. Passage over the rugged terrain of Cuba should weaken Sandy's winds by 20 - 30 mph, and it will be difficult for the storm to regain all of that lost strength in the face of the high wind shear of 20 - 30 knots it will encounter Thursday and Friday. I expect that Sandy will be a 60 - 70 mph tropical storm as it traverses the Bahamas.


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Storm Sandy taken at 11:45 am EDT Tuesday, October 23, 2012. At the time, Sandy had top winds of 50 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Sandy: a potential billion-dollar storm for the mid-Atlantic and New England
On Friday, a very complicated meteorological situation unfolds, as Sandy interacts with a trough of low pressure approaching the U.S. East Coast and trough of low pressure over the Central Atlantic. The Central Atlantic trough may be strong enough to pull Sandy northeastwards, out to sea, as predicted by the official NHC forecast, and the 06Z GFS, 00Z UKMET, 00Z Canadian, and 06Z HWRF models (00Z is 8 pm EDT, and 06Z is 2 am EDT.) However, an alternative solution, shown by the 00Z ECMWF, 06Z GFDL, and 06Z NOGAPS models, is for Sandy to get caught up by the trough approaching the Eastern U.S., which will inject a large amount of energy into Sandy, converting it to a powerful subtropical storm that hits the mid-Atlantic or New England early next week with a central pressure below 960 mb and sustained winds of 60 - 70 mph. Such a storm would likely cause massive power outages and over a billion dollars in damage, as trees still in leaf take out power grids, and heavy rains and coastal storm surges create damaging flooding. The full moon is on Monday, which means astronomical tides will be at their peak for the month, increasing potential storm surge flooding. A similar meteorological situation occurred in October 1991, when Hurricane Grace became absorbed by a Nor'easter, becoming the so-called "Perfect Storm" that killed 13 people and did over $200 million in damage in the Northeast U.S.


Figure 3. The Wednesday morning 06Z (2 am EDT) run of the GFS model was done 20 times at lower resolution with slightly varying initial conditions of temperature, pressure, and moisture to generate an ensemble of forecast tracks for Sandy (pink lines). These forecasts show substantial uncertainty in Sandy's path after Friday, with a minority of the forecasts taking Sandy to the northeast, out to sea, and the majority now predicting a landfall in the Northeast or mid-Atlantic states of the U.S. The white line shows the official GFS forecast, run at higher resolution.

When might Sandy arrive in the mid-Atlantic and New England?
The models vary significantly in their predictions of when Sandy might arrive along the U.S. coast. The 06Z NOGAPS model predicts Sandy's heavy rains will arrive on North Carolina's Outer Banks on Saturday, then spread into the mid-Atlantic and New England on Sunday. The 00Z ECMWF model predicts that Sandy's rains won't affect North Carolina until Sunday, with the storm making landfall in New Jersey on Monday night. The GFDL model is in-between these extremes, taking Sandy ashore in Delaware on Monday morning. The trough of low pressure that Sandy will be interacting with just moved ashore over the Western U.S. this morning, and got sampled by the 12Z (8 am EDT) set of land-based balloon-borne radiosondes for the first time. One of the reasons the models have been in such poor agreement on the long-term fate of Sandy is that the strength of this trough has not been very well known, since it has been over the ocean where we have limited data. Now that the trough is over land, it will be better sampled, and the next set of 12Z model runs, due out this afternoon between 2 pm - 4pm EDT, will hopefully begin to converge on a common solution. I'll have an update this afternoon once the 12Z model runs are in.


Figure 4. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Tony.

Tropical Storm Tony forms in the middle Atlantic
Tropical Storm Tony formed Tuesday night in the middle Atlantic, becoming the nineteenth named storm of this very busy 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. Tony has a modest area of heavy thunderstorms, as seen on visible satellite images, but is battling dry air , wind shear, and ocean temperatures that have fallen below 26°C. Tony will not threaten any land areas, and will likely be dead by Thursday night.

Tony's place in history
Tony is the Nineteenth named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, tying this year with 1887, 1995, 2010, and 2011 for third busiest Atlantic season since the HURDAT historical data base began in 1851. With five more weeks left before the November 30 end of hurricane season, 2012 is likely to move into second place for most named storms before the year is out, as all six prior Atlantic hurricane seasons with nineteen or more named storms have had at least one named storm form after October 24. Here, then, is a list of the seven busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record:

2005 (28 named storms)
1933 (20 named storms, according to a new re-analysis)
2012 (19 named storms)
1887 (19 named storms)
2010 (19 named storms)
2011 (19 named storms)
1995 (19 named storms)

It's pretty remarkable that we've now had three straight years with nineteen named storms in the Atlantic. But how many of these storms might not have been counted in the pre-satellite era (before 1960)? Here's a list of weak and short-lived storms from 2010 - 2012 that stayed far out sea, and would likely have gone unnoticed in the pre-satellite era:

2012:
Tropical Storm Joyce
Tropical Storm Oscar
Tropical Storm Tony

2011:
Tropical Storm Jose
Tropical Storm Franklin

2010:
Tropical Storm Gaston

Even if we correct for the possible over-count of approximately two named storms per year during the 2010, 2011, and 2012 hurricane seasons, compared to the pre-satellite era, there is nothing in the HURDAT data base that compares to the type of activity we've seen the past three years. One likely contributor to the unusual string of active years is the fact hurricane season has gotten longer, perhaps due to warming ocean temperatures. I discussed in a 2008 blog post that Dr. Jim Kossin of the University of Wisconsin published a 2008 paper in Geophysical Research Letters titled, "Is the North Atlantic hurricane season getting longer?" He concluded that yes, there is a "apparent tendency toward more common early- and late-season storms that correlates with warming Sea Surface Temperature but the uncertainty in these relationships is high".

Jeff Masters

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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Euro bottoms out at 934 millibars just west of the mouth of the chesapeake bay, bringing extremely high winds to the whole are october 29-30

Then it clips the delmarva peninsula, bringing extremely high winds there.

It finally makes landfall on the southern edge of New Jersey before moving inland into Pennsylvania.

Right now North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey are in the most trouble.

Delaware and Maryland are gonna get it if the ECMWF has its way.


I am ready here in VA. So not ready to lose power especially if temperatures after the storm will dip below freezing!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Euro bottoms out at 934 millibars just west of the mouth of the chesapeake bay, bringing extremely high winds to the whole are october 29-30

Then it clips the delmarva peninsula, bringing extremely high winds there.

It finally makes landfall on the southern edge of New Jersey before moving inland into Pennsylvania.

Right now North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey are in the most trouble.

Delaware and Maryland are gonna get it if the ECMWF has its way.


No matter where it hits, the superstorm/snowicane/whateveryouwanttocallit scenario is almost certin. People MUST prepare!
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:

Awesome pic/animation (post# 602)! Only one thing I might ask... could you post a still with a link to the image, instead of the animation? Its going to nuke loading times for the blog as an animation.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5886
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Quoting jeffs713:

Wow. That is more like a recipe for going to the ER. depressant + anti-anxiety + sedative. What could possibly go wrong? (why not toss some Ativan or Versed in there?)
A little hyperbole here, but hey, since we're playing: "why not toss some Ativan or Versed in there?". That would be duplicate therapy - Ativan (lorazepam), Versed (midazolam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are all benzodiazepines... "What could possibly go wrong?" Respiratory depression is the most likely thing that could go wrong.
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The bottom line is the forecast for Sandy beyond the Bahamas remains uncertain to say the least.
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Quoting sporteguy03:


I know Levi mentioned the NW quadrant possibly being the strongest and a path through the NW Bahamas would definitely bring worse weather to Florida. Your right though is the Eastern half get more weighted and what distance does it pass from Florida as it goes through the Bahamas.


If it gets to west end and the weather is packed in the west we would be really, really close to the 50K sustained winds. Granted that would be a "Worst" case scenario but, it is possible. That would throw people for a loop for sure. Way too close for comfort to get complacent, IMO. Look at what happened to Charley.
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Mammoth hurricane.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
The thing is though, the GFS takes it into Maine/New Hamsphire while the Euro takes it into New Jersey.

That is a HUGE cone of uncertinty there.

Especially with how big the circulation will likely be once it is that far north.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5886
Quoting LargoFl:
OK the GFS HAS changed..156 hours..no more out to sea..


Maybe mother nature is going to teach Wall Street a little lesson...
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Pottery, I agree with you, its a shame when all this money goes down there and disappears. Seems like it should be equipment and food only and people sent down to teach and instruct people how to build an infrastructure.But its pretty much the same crap all over the world. Pull on peoples heart strings and screw the ones that need help. Won't start on birth control.
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One of the web cam images from Jamaica.

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Euro bottoms out at 934 millibars just west of the mouth of the chesapeake bay, bringing extremely high winds to the whole are october 29-30

Then it clips the delmarva peninsula, bringing extremely high winds there.

It finally makes landfall on the southern edge of New Jersey before moving inland into Pennsylvania.

Right now North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey are in the most trouble.

Delaware and Maryland are gonna get it if the ECMWF has its way.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731


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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54460
Quoting kmanislander:
Northern eyewall near to or just starting to come ashore



That eyewall looks EPIC!
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
The thing is though, the GFS takes it into Maine/New Hamsphire while the Euro takes it into New Jersey.

That is a HUGE cone of uncertinty there.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Anything over 40MPH and I will probably lose power. Its a bummer but its one of the downfalls of living close to the cost and around a lot of trees.
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Northern eyewall near to or just starting to come ashore

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Quoting kmanislander:


Never felt a thing, fortunately
Neither did I lol.
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OK the GFS HAS changed..156 hours..no more out to sea..
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Quoting ncstorm:


No one said a landfall in NC, I know I didnt..the models keep trending west which means a greater impact..that Euro model clearly showed at least 70mph winds for my area..

I know. I never said (or implied you did) either. When people hear "impact" they think "landfall". Landfall means the full brunt of the storm, while brush means you will get smacked, but not with the whole 2x4. If Sandy is 100 miles off the coast, OBX will get some TS winds without a doubt, as would the surrounding coastline.

Also... I wasn't aware the ECMWF had a 10m wind product. (I could be wrong, though... since I only see the ECMWF stuff y'all post)
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Quoting K8eCane:


Wow! Hope yall will be OK up there for sure


Lucky for me, I live in the upper midwest
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting LargoFl:
so the models are slowly coming into agreement, by friday they should know for sure and the bad warnings go out up there


Yep, the snowicane scenario is looking even better with eatch run.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2873
Quoting jeffs713:

Oh, I know. I'm going by how the NOGAPS has done overall. It hit on Ernesto - it also misses a lot. Its kinda like the 6th round QB that throws one incredible 4th quarter for a come-from-behind win... and loses 6 other games.


Im a big cheerleader for the Nogaps as the blog knows so I watch it a lot..funny but the Nogaps when it has been wrong always correct itself along with the other models and shows the right track..this is different..I have never seen the NOGAPS consistently showing a track and keep at it..we shall see if its just cooky again..
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


The GFS is now taking sandy right into the NORTHEAST!


Wow! Hope yall will be OK up there for sure
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mid 80's and a jump in humidity here in Mobile.....It feels more like an early June day or mid September day as opposed to a late October day....

All i can figure is that the humidity has increased tremendously due to Sally.....Nothing else to cause humidity like this this late in the year.....
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


The GFS is now taking sandy right into the NORTHEAST!
so the models are slowly coming into agreement, by friday they should know for sure and the bad warnings go out up there
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Quoting LargoFl:
LOL i ditto that


He must live in the NE
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Quoting K8eCane:


We might not want to know. Give me an hour, then tell me.
LOL i ditto that
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Quoting K8eCane:


We might not want to know. Give me an hour, then tell me.


The GFS is now taking sandy right into the NORTHEAST!
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Quoting K8eCane:



Oh Lordy. Im just gonna find my xanax bottle. I am aware of everything, but dont give a crap after about 2 of em. Mama and the boy can fend for theirself.



LOL!! waiting to see what the officials say about the trending west..
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:


Irene was a purely tropical, tight, CAT 3. This situation "SHOULD" be a little different with Barclonic Forcing involved. All depends on when and what the interaction with the inverted trough is. If all the weather is dumped in the western semi as some of the models are indicating, it could be a very different experience. Especially if Sandy pauses/loops as the models are indicating this afternoon, some as far west as West End.


I know Levi mentioned the NW quadrant possibly being the strongest and a path through the NW Bahamas would definitely bring worse weather to Florida. Your right though is the Eastern half get more weighted and what distance does it pass from Florida as it goes through the Bahamas.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Never felt a thing, fortunately


Me neither.
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Miami fishermen are going to have a few days off..........FRIDAY...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. NORTH NORTHWEST
WINDS 30 TO 37 KNOTS WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 50 KNOTS ALONG THE
COAST TO NORTH NORTHWEST 34 TO 41 KNOTS WITH GUSTS TO AROUND
55 KNOTS IN THE GULF STREAM. SEAS 13 TO 15 FEET WITH OCCASIONAL
SEAS UP TO 19 FEET ALONG THE COAST AND UP TO 17 TO 21 FEET WITH
OCCASIONAL UP TO 24 FEET IN THE GULF STREAM. INTRACOASTAL WATERS
EXTREMELY ROUGH IN EXPOSED AREAS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND SLIGHT
CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39309
Quoting ncstorm:


funny but the Doc mentions the Nogaps A LOT! and shall I remind you that it outperform ALL the models on Ernesto..sigh..the Nogaps just cant win for losing on this blog:)

Oh, I know. I'm going by how the NOGAPS has done overall. It hit on Ernesto - it also misses a lot. Its kinda like the 6th round QB that throws one incredible 4th quarter for a come-from-behind win... and loses 6 other games.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Guys, guess where the GFS is taking Sandy now.


We might not want to know. Give me an hour, then tell me.
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581. 7544
just asking but do you think sandy will have a bigger efffect on se fl than IRENE OR ISSAC or the same THANKS
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Guys, guess where the GFS is taking Sandy now.
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T.C.F.W
18L/TS/S/CX
MARK
17.30N/76.83W
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Quoting ncstorm:


No one said a landfall in NC, I know I didnt..the west it keeps coming, the worse the effects will be...that Euro model clearly showed at least 70mph winds for my area..



Oh Lordy. Im just gonna find my xanax bottle. I am aware of everything, but dont give a crap after about 2 of em. Mama and the boy can fend for theirself.
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Quoting odinslightning:



I never said it was the masses in Haiti...It was their leaders, there presidents....like Baby Doc....

Point taken.
Papa Doc and Baby Doc were pretty unique in their style.....

But the stage had been set long before that, when Europe (and everyone else) blockaded Haiti because of their revolution.
They were cut off from the rest of the world for 100 years.

Incidentally, there is a very strong UN presence in Haiti now and for the past 10 years or so.
The money sent there has been enormous.
But nothing has changed. The Rape of Haiti continues. This time by the entities that manage the funds, to a large degree.

It's a tragedy with no end in sight. Very sad.
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Quoting SouthTampa:
I have the magic mix for long haul flights (pharmacist approved because I am a pharmacist): 4 beers, 0.5 mg Xanax and 1 Unisom (doxylamine). Too bad this is only a 2 hr flight.

Wow. That is more like a recipe for going to the ER. depressant anti-anxiety sedative. What could possibly go wrong? (why not toss some Ativan or Versed in there?)

edit: Since someone not related to this post called me out via WUmail - I posted this as a nursing student a semester away from graduating as an RN with a BSN - don't take the "magic mix" without doctor's orders - it isn't the best idea for continued health.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Not as much as you might think for systems like this. Mountains can do far stranger things to a systems structure than weaken it. My guess is that it will weaken to 70-75mph in the passing, then strengthen to 90-100mph in the Bahamas. Not entirely sure what the NHC is thinking that it won't intensify after Cuba.


I'd take a guess at a disrupted core, especially if it plows through the most mountainous terrain of Cuba. It certainly is fine line and storms have behaved weird when they get near these areas. Issac and Ike never were never able to regenerate a core after disruption with Cuba.

Shear is expected to ramp up from late Thursday on. Still a lot of variables at play, especially 3 days out. Once Sandy emerges from Cuba I believe we are going to have a much more accurate grasp of the track and intensity.
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
either way it goes, some nasty weather in store for florida this weekend..but afterwards a cold front will finally get here to me, about tuesday the lows in the 50's..yessss
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Quoting jeffs713:


I think y'all might get some of the outer bands, but I seriously would doubt a landfall in NC. Much better chance of a brush against OBX (brush as in 50-100 miles off the coast) while the storm is in the process of transitioning into something extratropical.

Good idea on testing the generator - generators should be tested twice per year anyway (you never know what winter may bring).


No one said a landfall in NC, I know I didnt..the models keep trending west which means a greater impact..that Euro model clearly showed at least 70mph winds for my area..
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Not as much as you might think for systems like this. Mountains can do far stranger things to a systems structure than weaken it. My guess is that it will weaken to 70-75mph in the passing, then strengthen to 90-100mph in the Bahamas. Not entirely sure what the NHC is thinking that it won't intensify after Cuba.

The NHC suspects it won't intensify after Cuba because of "increased shear".
I don't believe it though. I agree with you.
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571. 7544
Quoting sporteguy03:

If the Nogaps is right then yeah Florida is much higher at risk for effects based on that run.


has not budge one bit on where it wants to take sandy for days
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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.