Sandy slams Cuba, intensifies over the Bahamas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:39 PM GMT on October 25, 2012

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Hurricane Sandy shrugged off wind shear of 20 knots and passage over the southeastern tip of Jamaica yesterday afternoon, explosively deepening into a top-end Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds. Sandy made landfall in Southeastern Cuba around 1 am EDT this morning near Santiago de Cuba, which experienced sustained winds of 78 mph, gusting to 114 mph. Winds at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba peaked at 58 mph, gusting to 72 mph, at 3 am local time this morning, and the base received 3.51" of rain from Sandy as of 8 am EDT this morning. Punta Lucrecia, Cuba on the north coast of Cuba received 8.42" of rain from Sandy as of 8 am EDT. Cuban state media is reporting that one person was killed on Cuba, and damage was heavy, with thousands of homes damaged or destroyed. Damage was also substantial on Jamaica, where one person was killed, and power was knocked out for 70% of the island's residents. One death has been reported in Haiti due to flooding.

Sandy survived the crossing of Cuba's high mountains with its inner core relatively intact, and is now re-intensifying over the warm waters of the Central Bahama Islands. The latest 9:30 am center fix from the Hurricane Hunters found a central pressure of 965 mb, down 3 mb in 1.5 hours. The eye is intermittently visible on satellite loops, and Sandy appears to be holding its own against the high 30 knots of wind shear affecting it.


Figure 1. Hurricane Sandy approaching landfall in Southeast Cuba as seen by Cuban radar at 10:15 pm EDT Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Image credit: Cuban Institute of Meteorology.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Sandy.

Forecast for Sandy
Wind shear is expected to rise to 40 - 55 knots by Friday, as Sandy interacts with a trough of low pressure to its west. The high shear should disrupt Sandy's inner core and reduce the maximum winds. However, the trough will also inject energy into Sandy, and the hurricane's winds will spread out over a wider area of ocean, keeping the storm surge threat high. This large wind field will likely drive a storm surge of 5 - 8 feet in the Bahamas. Sandy will make its closest pass by Nassau around 8 am EDT Friday.

The latest set of 00Z (8 pm EDT) and 06Z (2 am EDT) computer model runs are in substantial agreement for the next 3 days, but Sandy's future is as clear as mud after that. Sandy will continue to punish the Bahamas today and Friday, as it tracks north to north-northwest. Sandy will probably come close enough to the Southeast U.S. on Saturday afternoon to spread heavy rains to the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina. However, the 4 - 6 day computer model forecasts for Sunday - Tuesday diverge widely. The GFS model, which has been one of our two top models for predicting hurricane tracks the past two years, has been very inconsistent with its handling of Sandy. Runs of the GFS model done 6 hours apart, at 8 pm last night and 2 am EDT this morning, were 300 miles apart in their position for Sandy on Tuesday, with the latest run predicting a landfall in Maine on Wednesday morning. On the other hand, the ECMWF model, our other top model for predicting hurricane tracks, has been very consistent in its handling of Sandy. The ECMWF model has Sandy hitting Delaware on Monday afternoon, the same forecast it has had for three consecutive runs. The other models tend to follow one extreme or the other, and NHC is picking a solution somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. An extra set of balloon-borne radiosondes is going to be launched at 2 pm EDT Thursday all across the U.S., which should help this evening's model runs. Extra radiosondes will be launched every 6 hours through Saturday afternoon.


Figure 3. This Maximum Water Depth storm surge image for the Bahamas shows the worst-case inundation scenarios for a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds, as predicted using dozens of runs of NOAA's SLOSH model. For example, if you are inland at an elevation of ten feet above mean sea level, and the combined storm surge and tide (the "storm tide") is fifteen feet at your location, the water depth image will show five feet of inundation. No single storm will be able to cause the level of flooding depicted in this image. Sandy's maximum storm surge may reach levels portrayed in this image for some islands in the Bahamas. See wunderground's storm surge pages for more storm surge info.

The Northeast U.S. scenario
If Sandy makes landfall farther to the north near Maine and Nova Scotia, heavy rains will be the main threat, since the cold waters will weaken the storm significantly before landfall. The trees have fewer leaves farther to the north, which will reduce the amount of tree damage and power failures compared to a more southerly track. However, given that ocean temperatures along the Northeast U.S. coast are about 5°F above average, there will be an unusually large amount of water vapor available to make heavy rain. If the trough of low pressure approaching the East Coast taps into the large reservoir of cold air over Canada and pulls down a significant amount of Arctic air, the potential exists for the unusually moist air from Sandy to collide with this cold air from Canada and unleash the heaviest October rains ever recorded in the Northeast U.S., Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. This Northeast U.S. scenario would probably cause damages near $100 million dollars.

The mid-Atlantic U.S. scenario
Landfall Monday along the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday, as predicted by the ECMWF and NOGAPS models, would likely be a billion-dollar disaster. In this scenario, Sandy would be able to bring sustained winds near hurricane force over a wide stretch of heavily populated coast, causing massive power outages, as trees still in leaf fall and take out power lines. Sandy is expected to have tropical storm-force winds that extend out more than 300 miles from the center, which will drive a much larger storm surge than its winds would ordinarily suggest. The full moon is on Monday, which means astronomical tides will be at their peak for the month, increasing potential storm surge flooding. Fresh water flooding from heavy rains would also be a huge concern. Given the ECMWF's consistent handling of Sandy, I believe this mid-Atlantic scenario has a higher probability of occurring than the Northeast U.S. scenario. However, it is likely that the models are overdoing the strength of Sandy at landfall. The models have trouble handling the transition from tropical storm to extratropical storm in these type of situations, and I expect that the 940 mb central pressure of Sandy predicted at landfall Monday in Delaware by the ECMWF model is substantially overdone.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, Doug. How come when I was saying it this morning at 6 AM everyone was laughing at me? Don't they take me seriously? :)
Gro......I never laugh at you.I was up at 4:30 am riding my bike........ I was too tired to laugh.....Thanks Gro..Just kidding..I love you Gro
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, Doug. How come when I was saying it this morning at 6 AM everyone was laughing at me? Don't they take me seriously? :)



Who knows?

I know I didn't make it up, but I like it and it fits!
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Member Since: May 23, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4689
Unless you are the blog police, in which case, I apologize officer CybrTeddy.


Not Cyber. Taz is the blog cop.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
FRANKENSTORM! The East coast Halloween trick. Peolple are gonna remember this one!


Hey, Doug. How come when I was saying it this morning at 6 AM everyone was laughing at me? Don't they take me seriously? :)
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


And what if he does? He has the right. This is a blog, not a meteorological organization.


Likewise, he has the right to ask WHY he is wishcasting for his area.

Unless you are the blog police, in which case, I apologize officer CybrTeddy.

Barometric Pressure.
Member Since: July 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 596
Quoting bigwes6844:
lmao at the BAMD! they saying forget the mid atlantic its going to NC. LOL


The BAM models are just single trajectory models. They are not really true track forecast models. That is why they are normally quite different than the other models.
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FRANKENSTORM! The East coast Halloween trick. Peolple are gonna remember this one!
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I'm getting off of work for the day and don't have the energy to read back through 600+ posts but I was curious what effect, if any, the shortwave moving through Wyoming may have on the setup downstream, if any.

Link
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18Z nam INIT 25 OCT hr 084 TILL 84


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Quoting SavannahStorm:
Buoy plot off of Jacksonville- Keep in mind this buoy is over 400 miles from the center. It is also registering 10 ft seas already.

That's about the same as it is here in C IL ahead of the front. Except for the 10' seas of course!
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Quoting Skyhawk85U:
So, hypothetically speaking, say you lived in MA and had an early morning flight out of Boston on Monday that stopped in Baltimore on the way to a vacation in Jamaica. Changing the flight to Sunday would cost an extra $700. What would you do???

Sigh - I love a good storm, but I'd rather be in Jamaica next week and not ruin my vacation. You think it will have Baltimore and Boston shut down by Monday morning or will we make it out in time?


Check your airline, they may be offering "no fee" ticket changes.

Also keep in mind many airlines will get their planes out of harms way so expect many cancellations as they re-position them elsewhere. You'll be cutting it really close.
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18Z nam INIT 25 OCT hr 072 TILL 84


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The ULL to WSW of Patty seems to be pumping dry air to the south a bit...The ULL is getting stronger could bring it closer to the florida coast...
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Was trying to link the cone for you... for some reason I am not getting the right link to copy..

www.nhc.noaa.gov has the cones...
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It looks like the eye is approaching southern Cat Island, and based on the previously forecast motion should be moving along the eastern coast of that island by now...
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Quoting Losttsol:


I think you'll be OK, getting out in the nick of time.


Thanks - that's what it was looking like to me so far but I'm really a novice at this weather. Kind of a junkie when it comes to big storms, and I'm a private pilot so I have some weather training, but I haven't gotten this far into the technical stuff before. Really interesting reading all the comments on here.
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Quoting CothranRoss:

What website is that model from?

Weather Bell, but I don't have access to those models, so I vultured it off of Ryan Maue's twitter page.
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What does the current forecast cone look like? I haven't seen it in a while.

Are the models mostly in agreement that it's going to be further east than expected? That's what I gather from reading the forum so far, but I'm no expert.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
I wouldn't worry about it; it's just coincidence. Yep, nothing but coincidence...


If you consider how big the earth is and how many defined locations there are with historic weather records its not at all surprising really is it?
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Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
Quoting kwgirl:
Good afternoon. Key West is being lashed by winds and rain. We had to cancel Pretenders today. The risk on the stage right by the water is just too dangerous for people. The wind is coming in off the bay right across the stage. I know Miami must be getting hit as well. Everyone stay safe.


Yes, we are getting bursts of rain and wind here in South Miami-Dade.
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Quoting kwgirl:
Good afternoon. Key West is being lashed by winds and rain. We had to cancel Pretenders today. The risk on the stage right by the water is just too dangerous for people. The wind is coming in off the bay right across the stage. I know Miami must be getting hit as well. Everyone stay safe.
Not a very good day for Fantasies
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Quoting Neapolitan:
I wouldn't worry about it; it's just coincidence. Yep, nothing but coincidence...


Is that what they call AGW now?
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

I was quite skeptical at first, and still am to a degree, but that is a pretty good model consensus, which is amazing when they are all so low. Oh, and the 12Z GFS went lower than you have listed from what I see.


What website is that model from?
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Quoting Grothar:
A barometric pressure below 950 is not out of the question with this storm as it approaches the NE coast



Who made the BAMD mad at North Carolina? With hurricanes and other stronger tropical systems its not normally that much of an outlier from the other guidance.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 71 Comments: 2485
Good afternoon. Key West is being lashed by winds and rain. We had to cancel Pretenders today. The risk on the stage right by the water is just too dangerous for people. The wind is coming in off the bay right across the stage. I know Miami must be getting hit as well. Everyone stay safe.
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
Quoting Josihua2:


Simply put, because this is a worldwide tropical weather blog and some of us have already had relatives in Mindanao affected by Tropical Storm Son-Tinh.

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Buoy plot off of Jacksonville- Keep in mind this buoy is over 400 miles from the center. It is also registering 10 ft seas already.

Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 2343
Quoting presslord:
seems like we're having a "Once every 100 Years" weather event about once a month....
I wouldn't worry about it; it's just coincidence. Yep, nothing but coincidence...
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Quoting TomTaylor:
12z runs in good agreement for Superstorm Sandy

12z Euro...932mbs
12z GFS...941mbs
12z GFDL...925mbs
12z CMC...939mbs
12z UKMET...945mbs

That is a 5 model consensus on a storm going under 945mbs in October off the East coast, in less than 5 days. The only global model outlier was the HWRF which kept it in the 950s because it didn't hook the storm back in to the east coast. Regardless, the modeled event has probably never happened before for this time of year. A sub 945mb storm off the East Coast in October is incredibly rare and likely the lowest pressure ever for an extratropical/subtropical storm in this region of the world in October. As Levi put it, this would redefine the 'Perfect Storm'.


It is 4 days out though, so there's room for model error.

I was quite skeptical at first, and still am to a degree, but that is a pretty good model consensus, which is amazing when they are all so low. Oh, and the 12Z GFS went lower than you have listed from what I see.

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Hopefully the new radiosondes readings will help with the models...

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Quoting Grothar:
A barometric pressure below 950 is not out of the question with this storm as it approaches the NE coast

lmao at the BAMD! they saying forget the mid atlantic its going to NC. LOL
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Quoting Josihua2:
Not sure what you are talking about Josi........But my ex was very good looking
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Quoting presslord:
seems like we're having a "Once every 100 Years" weather event about once a month....


At least it isn't the once in a 10,000 year events... Those are much worse.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
646. Wow, what an impressive and intelligent comment. How long did it take you to think of that? I'm impressed.
Admin removed it already
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A barometric pressure below 950 is not out of the question with this storm as it approaches the NE coast

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Quoting indianrivguy:
Baha, Diane Krall does several versions of that song... the Rio version is more bossa nova, the Spain version has some very nice bass play.

Mannn, I have a protest to attend in awhile, lordy are we going to get wet. We are protesting the unnatural Okeechobee Lake discharges that have killed our St. Lucie estuary. We really really really need Sandy's precip to stay offshore..

Peace


I hope you brought a boat or at least a floatation device with you.
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seems like we're having a "Once every 100 Years" weather event about once a month....
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #31
TROPICAL STORM SON-TINH (T1223)
3:00 AM JST October 26 2012
====================================

Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #14
CYCLONIC STORM MURJAN (ARB01-2012)
20:30 PM IST October 25 2012
========================================





not being mean or anything but i love how you post this up knowing everyone here is 99.9% focused on sandy in the Atlantic. but good looking out elsewhere tho!
(y)
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646. Wow, what an impressive and intelligent comment. How long did it take you to think of that?
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18Z nam INIT 25 OCT hr 060 TILL 84


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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I don't understand where everybody is getting this from. You guys realize it is already a sub-965 millibar tropical cyclone, right? And you realize that it's in an extreme baroclinic zone meaning that, while the winds will gradually decrease, the pressure will also rapidly fall. There is no reason to suggest that this won't deepen below 950 millibars before landfall. Sandy will not be a typical hurricane by then, and it will not have the winds that a storm of that pressure would normally have, but that doesn't mean it won't be extremely dangerous and destructive.


we are talking about a storm with
Winds of a hurricane category 1 with pressure of category 3 ...and a 1 1/2 more big than the state of texas
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HURRICANE SANDY DISCUSSION NUMBER 14
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182012
500 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012

SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS THAT STRUCTURAL CHANGES ARE ALREADY
OCCURRING WITH SANDY. DRY AIR ALOFT AND SOUTHWESTERLY FLOW
ASSOCIATED WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW CENTERED NEAR WESTERN CUBA ARE
IMPINGING ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE CIRCULATION. AS A RESULT...THE
OUTFLOW IS RESTRICTED IN THE SOUTHWEST QUADRANT AND THE CLOUD
PATTERN IS BECOMING MORE ASYMMETRIC. HOWEVER...THE HIGHEST FLIGHT-
LEVEL WINDS FROM THE AIRCRAFT WERE STILL 109 KT AT THE END OF THE
LAST MISSION AND THE CENTRAL PRESSURE REMAINS AT 963 MB. THE
INITIAL INTENSITY REMAINS 90 KT FOR THIS ADVISORY. SOME DECREASE IN
THE MAXIMUM WINDS IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS AS
SANDY BECOMES MORE ENTANGLED WITH THE UPPER-LEVEL LOW...HOWEVER THE
GLOBAL MODELS SHOW SANDY REMAINING A VERY DEEP CYCLONE AND THE WIND
FIELD EXPANDING DURING THIS TIME. LATER IN THE PERIOD...SOME
RE-INTENSIFICATION IS SHOWN AS SANDY DEEPENS AGAIN OFF THE U.S.
EAST COAST WHILE IT INTERACTS WITH ANOTHER SHORTWAVE TROUGH.
REGARDLESS...SANDY IS EXPECTED TO BE A LARGE CYCLONE AT OR NEAR
HURRICANE INTENSITY THROUGH MOST OF THE FORECAST PERIOD.


THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 360/17...AS SANDY HAS BEGUN TO
ACCELERATE NORTHWARD DUE TO THE UPPER LOW. THE REASONING FOR THE
TRACK FORECAST REMAINS LARGELY UNCHANGED. SANDY WILL BE PULLED
NORTHWESTWARD AND SLOW DOWN ON FRIDAY WHILE IT INTERACTS WITH THE
UPPER-LEVEL LOW. THEN A NORTH-NORTHEASTWARD ACCELERATION IS
EXPECTED BY SATURDAY AS A LONGWAVE TROUGH MOVES INTO THE EASTERN
UNITED STATES. MOST OF THE TRACK MODELS NOW SHOW A TURN BACK TOWARD
THE NORTHWEST BY THE END OF THE PERIOD DUE TO SANDY INTERACTING
WITH AN AMPLIFYING SHORTWAVE TROUGH OVER THE CAROLINAS AND
MID-ATLANTIC STATES. HOWEVER...THERE REMAIN SOME SIGNIFICANT
DIFFERENCES IN THE TIMING OF THIS INTERACTION...AS THE ECMWF HAS
SANDY FARTHER WEST AND INTERACTING WITH THE SHORTWAVE SOONER
RELATIVE TO MOST OF THE REST OF THE GUIDANCE...WHICH SHOWS A WIDER
TURN AND A TRACK FARTHER NORTH. THE NEW NHC FORECAST IS CLOSE TO
THE PREVIOUS ONE...AND LIES ROUGHLY BETWEEN THE ECMWF AND THE GFS
ENSEMBLE MEAN. REGARDLESS OF THE EXACT TRACK OF SANDY...IT IS
LIKELY THAT SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS WILL BE FELT OVER PORTIONS OF THE
U.S. EAST COAST THROUGH THE WEEKEND AND INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK.


NOTE THAT THE TROPICAL CYCLONE WIND SPEED PROBABILITIES ARE NOT
DESIGNED TO HANDLE THE TYPE OF STRUCTURAL CHANGES ANTICIPATED WITH
SANDY DURING THE FORECAST PERIOD. AS A RESULT...THESE PROBABILITIES
WILL UNDERESTIMATE THE ACTUAL RISK OF STRONG WINDS AWAY FROM THE
CENTER OF SANDY.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 25/2100Z 24.5N 75.6W 90 KT 105 MPH
12H 26/0600Z 26.0N 76.0W 85 KT 100 MPH
24H 26/1800Z 27.4N 77.0W 80 KT 90 MPH
36H 27/0600Z 28.3N 77.0W 75 KT 85 MPH
48H 27/1800Z 29.8N 76.0W 65 KT 75 MPH
72H 28/1800Z 33.0N 73.0W 70 KT 80 MPH
96H 29/1800Z 37.5N 72.5W 70 KT 80 MPH
120H 30/1800Z 40.5N 75.0W 55 KT 65 MPH...POST-TROPICAL

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN
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Quoting TomTaylor:
12z runs in good agreement for Superstorm Sandy

12z Euro...932mbs
12z GFS...941mbs
12z GFDL...925mbs
12z CMC...939mbs
12z UKMET...945mbs

That is a 5 model consensus on a storm going under 945mbs in October off the East coast, in less than 5 days. The only global model outlier was the HWRF which kept it in the 950s because it didn't hook the storm back in to the east coast. Regardless, the modeled event has probably never happened before for this time of year. A sub 945mb storm off the East Coast in October is incredibly rare and likely the lowest pressure ever for an extratropical/subtropical storm in this region of the world in October. As Levi put it, this would redefine the 'Perfect Storm'.


It is 4 days out though, so there's room for model error.



Just an FYI. The 1991 Perfect Storm had pressure reading of 972mb.
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18Z nam INIT 25 OCT hr 054 TILL 84


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BULLETIN
POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE TONY ADVISORY NUMBER 13
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL192012
500 PM AST THU OCT 25 2012

...TONY BECOMES A POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE...


SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...31.2N 34.0W
ABOUT 615 MI...990 KM SW OF THE AZORES
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...ENE OR 75 DEGREES AT 22 MPH...35 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1001 MB...29.56 INCHES
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Quoting presslord:


or, maybe, not...just sayin'

The advisory is out. Just sayin'

BULLETIN
HURRICANE SANDY ADVISORY NUMBER 14
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182012
500 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012

...SANDY NEAR CAT ISLAND IN THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS...
...WIND FIELD EXPANDING...


SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...24.5N 75.6W
ABOUT 60 MI...95 KM SE OF ELEUTHERA IN THE BAHAMAS
ABOUT 125 MI...200 KM ESE OF NASSAU IN THE BAHAMAS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...105 MPH...165 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 360 DEGREES AT 20 MPH...32 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...963 MB...28.44 INCHES
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It's hard to stay calm when we could be looking at a storm that redefines the name "perfect storm". Just sayin'.


or, maybe, not...just sayin'
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Baha, Diane Krall does several versions of that song... the Rio version is more bossa nova, the Spain version has some very nice bass play.

Mannn, I have a protest to attend in awhile, lordy are we going to get wet. We are protesting the unnatural Okeechobee Lake discharges that have killed our St. Lucie estuary. We really really really need Sandy's precip to stay offshore..

Peace
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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.