Sandy by the numbers: trying to comprehend a stunning disaster

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:19 PM GMT on November 01, 2012

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The immensity of the impact of Superstorm Sandy on the Eastern U.S. is difficult to comprehend, and the scenes of devastation coming from the impact zone are stunning and heart-wrenching. To help understand the extraordinary scale of this historic storm, I've put together a list of notable statistics from Sandy:

Death toll: 160 (88 in the U.S., 54 in Haiti, 11 in Cuba)

Damage estimates: $10 - $55 billion

Power outages: 8.5 million U.S. customers, 2nd most for a natural disaster behind the 1993 blizzard (10 million)

Maximum U.S. sustained winds: 69 mph at Westerly, RI

Peak U.S. wind gusts: 90 mph at Islip, NY and Tompkinsville, NJ

Maximum U.S. storm surge: 9.45', Bergen Point, NJ 9:24 pm EDT October 29, 2012

Maximum U.S. Storm Tide: 14.60', Bergen Point, NJ, 9:24 pm EDT October 29, 2012

Maximum significant wave height: 33.1' at the buoy east of Cape Hatteras, NC (2nd highest: 32.5' at the Entrance to New York Harbor)

Maximum U.S. rainfall: 12.55", Easton, MD

Maximum snowfall: 36", Richwood, WV

Minimum pressure: 945.5 mb, Atlantic City, NJ at 7:24 pm EST, October 29, 2012. This is the lowest pressure measured in the U.S., at any location north of Cape Hatteras, NC (previous record: 946 mb in the 1938 hurricane on Long Island, NY)

Destructive potential of storm surge: 5.8 on a scale of 0 to 6, highest of any hurricane observed since 1969. Previous record: 5.6 on a scale of 0 to 6, set during Hurricane Isabel of 2003.

Diameter of tropical storm-force winds at landfall: 945 miles

Diameter of ocean with 12' seas at landfall: 1500 miles


Figure 1. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of Superstorm Sandy around 3:35 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (7:35 Universal Time) on October 30. This image is from the “day-night band” on VIIRS, which detects light wavelengths from green to near-infrared. The full Moon lit up the tops of the clouds. Image credit: NASA.



Figure 2. Preliminary death and damage statistics for Sandy as compiled by Wikipedia on November 1, 2012.



Figure 3. Precipitation from Superstorm Sandy for the 7-day period ending at 8 am EDT Thursday, November 1, 2012. Image credit: NOAA/NWS/AHPS.



Figure 4. Top five weather-related power outages in the U.S.



Figure 5. Strong winds from Sandy blow snow in West Virginia on October 30, 2012. Image credit: Beau Dodson


Sandy's snows
Several cities set records for snowiest October day on record during Sandy: Elkin, WV (7", previous record, 4.6" in 1917) and Bluefield (4.7", previous record 3.2" in 1993.) Heavy snows caused roof collapses in West Virginia, and snows of two feet or more fell in four states--West Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, and Virginia. However, Sandy fell short of setting the all-time record for snowfall from a hurricane. The Vermont Journal estimated that the Snow Hurricane of 1804 dumped up to 4 feet of snow in Vermont.

36" Richwood, WV
34" Mount Leconte, TN
34" Sevier, TN
33" Clayton, WV
32" Snowshoe, WV
29" Quinwood, WV
28" Frostburg, WV
28" Davis, WV
28" Huttonsville, WV
28" Flat Top, WV
26" Redhouse, MD
26" Garret, MD
26" Craigsville, WV
24" Oakland, MD
24" Alpine Lake, WV
24" Nettie, WV
24" Norton, VA
24" Quinwood, WV
24" Alexander, WV

Links
Impressive loop of 1-minute visible satellite imagery spanning 6 days of Sandy's life.

A one-day time lapse video from a New York City webcam showing Sandy's impact on the city. It's eerie to see the city suddenly plunged into darkness.

First round of damage assessment aerial imagery collected by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey on Oct. 31 along the New Jersey coast.


Figure 6. Flooding in Haiti from Hurricane Sandy. Image credit: The Lambi Fund of Haiti.

Charities mobilize for Sandy
The outpouring of charitable donations in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy has been one of the bright spots in the gloomy aftermath of the storm. The main owners of The Weather Channel have agreed to match donations of up to $1 million to the American Red Cross, if you text SANDY to 90999 ($10). I also recommend my favorite disaster relief charity, Portlight.org. They are focusing their response efforts exclusively on the post-Sandy neeeds of people with disabilities.Check out the Portlight blog to see what they're up to; donations are always needed.

Sandy's greatest devastation occurred in Haiti, where rains of up to 20 inches in 24 hours unleashed rampaging flood waters that killed at least 54, left 200,000 homeless, wiped out thousand of acres of crops, and killed massive numbers of livestock. For impoverished families in Haiti still struggling to recover from the earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Isaac in August, Sandy was devastating.  These crops are the very essence of rural Haitian’s livelihoods, and there are fears widespread starvation will result. A disaster relief charity in Haiti that I've contributed to for many years, The Lambi Fund of Haiti, is seeking donations to help farmers purchase local seeds so that they can replant their crops in the wake of this latest terrible Haitian catastrophe.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane Sandy - Davis, W.V. (beaudodson)
Hurricane Sandy, Davis, W.V. - photos taken by Beau Dodson
Hurricane Sandy - Davis, W.V.
We Survived (teach50)
Everyone has seen photos of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy that destroyed New Jersey, NYC, & Long Island as well as other areas on the East Coast. I am finally back on line after 4 days without power. It has been a long ordeal. My block was extremely fortunate. We didn't have any trees fall and no flooding but the entire area is devastated. This is a photo of a tree that fell between the street, smashed, the car, and blew out the tires. No one was hurt.
We Survived

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cant see right now where a new Nor'easter could come from
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Quoting MechEngMet:
Coal is about 4 c/kwh, and nuclear is near 3 c/kwh. I've been out of the industry for a while so these numbers may have changed a bit in the last ten years. There is a place for solar power research, but until it can compete on a level playing field we're just hurting ourselves, our nation, (and our grandchildren) by using it. Be wary of the intentions of those who promote it.


1. Nuclear has low *marginal* costs, but extremely high capital and decommissioning costs. People like to pretend that the reason that no nuclear power plants were built for over two decades in the US is because of some sort of environmental regulations, when the reality is, there was just no investment money. Even the current wave of "next gen" reactors designed to reduce costs has slowed down a lot.

2. You are completely wrong about solar. First off, you act like all solar is PV. The large scale solar plants are solar thermal. Solar thermal is nearly grid cost-competitive in the desert southwest of the US, and the price keeps going down. PV panels have been plunging in price, to the point that now for home installations the cost of installing the panels is more than the panels themselves. But PV is still more expensive, whether on the residential scale or grid scale, than solar thermal.
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URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BISMARCK ND
702 AM CDT FRI NOV 2 2012

...A WINTRY MIX FOR NORTHWEST AND NORTH CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA
THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT...

.A STORM SYSTEM MOVING INTO THE NORTHERN PLAINS THIS MORNING...
WILL REMAIN OVER THE AREA THROUGH SATURDAY. THE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED
TO BRING A MIX OF RAIN...FREEZING RAIN AND SNOW TO NORTHWEST AND
NORTH CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA.

IN NORTHWESTERN NORTH DAKOTA...SNOW WILL FALL EARLY THIS MORNING
...MIXING WITH RAIN AND FREEZING RAIN...THEN CHANGE TO RAIN OR
SLEET ON MIDDAY FRIDAY. MAINLY SNOW IS EXPECTED FRIDAY NIGHT.

IN NORTH CENTRAL NORTH DAKOTA...SNOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP LATER
FRIDAY MORNING AND CONTINUE THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT.

SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHEST ALONG AND NORTH OF
THE HIGHWAY 2 CORRIDOR...WHERE 2 TO 4 INCHES IS POSSIBLE. A BAND
OF 1 TO 2 INCHES TO THE SOUTH OF THIS AREA WILL EXTEND FROM
WILLISTON TO GARRISON AND CARRINGTON.

LITTLE OR NO SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ARE EXPECTED IN THE
SOUTHWEST OR SOUTH CENTRAL.
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Here's a tiny bit of levity in this bad situation. As most of you know, Sandy formed just ahead of Tony on the hurricane name list Can you imagine if the names were switched , I can just see the headlines in the NY Post or NY Daily news, -- Tony WHACKS NJ.!
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Well heres one thing I can give way with the printed books I buy and instead buy a kindel and purchase them online.The only time I would buy a printed book will be if it is very special.
Used books from the local exchange are also a good choice.

Also, many libraries have ebooks you can check out and don't forget about the Friday Freebies and publisher's giveaways. That makes e-readers more affordable in the long run. I have a friend who is a voracious reader and hasn't bought an ebook in 1.5 years.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
Quoting Neapolitan:
During the internal combustion process, carbon atoms in the gasoline combine with the oxygen molecules in the intake air to create CO2. Since internal combustion engines burn roughly 15 pounds of air for every pound of gasoline, burning a gallon of gasoline burns 93 pounds or so of air. Of that 100 pounds or so of fuel and air burnt per gallon, roughly 17-20 pounds is CO2. (The rest is mostly nitrogen that was in the air to begin with, and water vapor created when hydrogen in the gasoline bonded with oxygen in the intake air.)


Really helpfull info. Thanks, Nea!
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another noreaster in 6 days, weaker than the last one................As East Coast recovers from Superstorm Sandy, a new, lesser storm is on the way


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/easter-sh ortly-sandy-article-1.1195750#ixzz2B4mmMxKj
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Utility crews from Decatur Alabama drove all the way to New Jersey to help out with the recovery and were turned back because they were not unionized. Hell, we don't even know what a labor union is in the South. Talk about red tape, another empty promise from Pres Obama!! We need better, rebuilt modernized infrastructure......ie roads power grids and the like but, the government $ spends it's money on crap(says the blonde) on Fox News.......I agree. The shrimp on a treadmill thing is beyond comment........waste.
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Quoting atris:


But what should we do ...I understand for example, that one transatlantic flight per person, on that flight equals the average person driving for a year . But If we use ships it would cause global Cooling. or are we supposed go back to pre 1850's living.

Theres an interesting piece that I remembered that was in The Guardian quite a while ago Link


It would take going back much farther than the 1850s. We humans were burning lots of coal to power trains and boilers, as well as heat homes and buildings back then. Coal is considered a dirty fuel compared to nuclear or natural gas.

IF we really wanted to reduce CO2 emissions we would be building nuclear plants everywhere we can fit one. Nuclear power plants produce No (Zip ZERO Nada!) CO2 emissions. Instead we're putting our grandchildren in debt to china, by borrowing money from china, to buy government subsidized solar panels ...from china.

At best solar panels produce electricity at 20 cent/kwh. Coal is about 4 c/kwh, and nuclear is near 3 c/kwh. I've been out of the industry for a while so these numbers may have changed a bit in the last ten years. There is a place for solar power research, but until it can compete on a level playing field we're just hurting ourselves, our nation, (and our grandchildren) by using it. Be wary of the intentions of those who promote it.
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Quoting yoboi:


i recall the first day reagan was in office he removed the panels, but if our current president is pushing green energy down our throats then he should lead by example.....and now they want to increase ethenol lets use more of our food crop silly the things the gov is doing....
Well, the fed did install solar panels on one building and I remember political groups on the right end of the spectrum going nuts because they were of Chinese origin. It seems this administration can't win for losing.

Besides, why are you looking to the federal government to take the lead in this when there are many simple things you can do at your local and personal level. You're criticizing the lack of a massive public works project when there are several more pressing projects on the table (burying utilities, bridge/highway repairs/updates, levee projects, etc...) and using it as a "gotcha" or, more troubling, as an excuse as to why you feel you shouldn't make a contribution to moving in the direction of a collective solution. Unless the real issue here is that you feel there's no need for a collective solution because you fail to see that there is a problem that needs solving.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
now THIS could be very bad,surrounded by LOWS in 24 hours...
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Well heres one thing I can give way with the printed books I buy and instead buy a kindel and purchase them online.The only time I would buy a printed book will be if it is very special.
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Quoting schwankmoe:


well, that describes Nea to a T, dunnit? all mansions and private jets...
.. For sure.. just like the rest of us!
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Quoting goosegirl1:



But that's the point of my soapbox rant I wrote earlier. Would you like to lose "some things" or "everything'?
I'll get back to you in a moment gonna have to think about that.Because I do need my car..I need my computer..I need my stove..Yeah gonna have to get back to ya on that one.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
I saw some video the other day about ocean acid.But yeah I shouldn't have to have my things taken away from me in order to live "green".



But that's the point of my soapbox rant I wrote earlier. Would you like to lose "some things" or "everything'?
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Quoting longislander102:
Checking in from Massapequa, Long Island, NY. (Well, actually from work in Babylon).

I am thankful I wasn't south of Merrick Road. No damage to my house. I haven't had electricity since Monday night. I have some cash, batteries, and flashlights and gas top stove. I can't complain.

I really curse the media (listening to the radio)for adding to the hype about gas running out. The word of mouth spread quickly, and bingo. Can't find gas along my route to work. But you know what? I know as power comes back, the stations with gas will be able to pump. Just takes time. OMG...the people panicking. Crazy!

Probably the same people complaining that LIPA isn't restoring power fast enough...just so they can sit on their asses and watch TV.

On the other hand, so many people pooring out support to those who lost everything in the surge. One large group of Massapequa moms, who live north of the Merrick road disaster, have opened their homes to anyone who needs to do laundry, charge cell phones, hot meals, or just a cup of hot coffee. They are getting donations together of clothes, or toys, baby strollers, and other items to give to those in need.

Where there is bad, also remember there is good.

Can't believe a coastal storm may head this way....jeez. *faintly lol*
real glad you made it thu ok,yes the models are saying a storm IS coming again, but from the great lakes, might be one of those bad winter storms..cant tell yet..stay safe up there ok..alot of folks in apartments etc are freezing and screaming for help or generators..this happened at a very bad time, especially the elderly..in the cold weather time
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I myself am terrified of rats or mice..this is why I cant do big city or rural living..I take my average town any day to not have deal with them..

First the Flood, Then The Rats:

HLN: Is it possible to know how many rats may be living around NYC? Best guess?

Ostfeld: No one has done the type of study needed to make a good estimate -- this would involve capturing, marking, and recapturing rats all over the city, a rather tall order. But my understanding is that there are at least as many rats as there are people in NYC.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16576
Quoting yoboi:


then how come we don't have solar panels at the white house and all federal buildings?????



Simple- it doesn't support big oil. The status quo.
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Quoting mikatnight:
Y'all seen this yet?

iNTERESTING COVER THERE..
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Quoting mikatnight:
Y'all seen this yet?




reported
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5093 Comments: 115939
Quoting atris:


I guess it would ...but it would kill the heart of the US economy . which is one of the most if not the most important economy in the world and therefore would have world wide implications .


And no harm Goosegirl I would rather not live without my laptop or fridge or television . Car would not be an issue . maybe if they put a few more ships out in the ocean then the damage we are doing can be negated
I saw some video the other day about ocean acid.But yeah I shouldn't have to have my things taken away from me in order to live "green".
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Quoting yoboi:


was not talking about him ,only the people that push the push the climate change theory....


so Nea doesn't 'push the climate change theory'? far as i can tell he does that here all the time. likewise, why did you demand to know his own fossil fuel usage, and defend it with that bit if you weren't at all talking about him?

you're kinda all over the map here.
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379. atris
Quoting yoboi:


i guess they could halt with restoring electric service on the east coast, that would reduce the carbon footprint.....


I guess it would ...but it would kill the heart of the US economy . which is one of the most if not the most important economy in the world and therefore would have world wide implications .


And no harm Goosegirl I would rather not live without my laptop or fridge or television . Car would not be an issue . maybe if they put a few more ships out in the ocean then the damage we are doing can be negated
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Quoting yoboi:


then how come we don't have solar panels at the white house and all federal buildings?????
We did use solar energy for some things at the White House back in the Carter years. Reagan had them ripped out.

If you're unhappy with the federal government not using solar energy are you working to let them know that? Are you involved in a solar federal building initiative?

What about at your local level? I've been involved in fund raising for the Austin Library System's solar panel installations. So far it's going very well and they're looking at expanding the program to the schools, if possible.

Are you also buying local foods and supporting your local farmers? That's an enormous help as well.

There are many instances in which small changes can add up to a big difference.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
377. MahFL
Quoting floridaT:
I believe in global warming however how can 1 gallon of gas put 20 pounds in the air when 1 gallon dosnt weigh near that. does 2 molecules of oxygen add that much?


Also remember all the O2 that is used in combustion is removed from the air, and unless a fresh supply of o2 is available the fire will go out.
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Quoting floridaT:
except it will slow the recovery
Well it's better than a Sandy part deluxe.
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Quoting yoboi:


then how come we don't have solar panels at the white house and all federal buildings?????


Because you pay their power bill every April 15th :)
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Well this upcoming storm shouldn't be that bad for the east cost at least that's what I'm hearing.Sandy was just the beginning of the nor easter season up here.I just want snow is all...
except it will slow the recovery
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Well this upcoming storm shouldn't be that bad for the east cost at least that's what I'm hearing.Sandy was just the beginning of the nor easter season up here.I just want snow is all...
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Quoting Neapolitan:
During the internal combustion process, carbon atoms in the gasoline combine with the oxygen molecules in the intake air to create CO2. Since internal combustion engines burn roughly 15 pounds of air for every pound of gasoline, burning a gallon of gasoline burns 93 pounds or so of air. Of that 100 pounds or so of fuel and air burnt per gallon, roughly 17-20 pounds is CO2. (The rest is mostly nitrogen that was in the air to begin with, and water vapor created when hydrogen in the gasoline bonded with oxygen in the intake air.)
that explains it. the same answer i found looking it up. like i tell my kids you learn something new every day.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Good Morning..

the models still have not back off.. a east coast noreaster.

00z CMC






00z Euro




If there is such a term called "reverse wish casting" then I'm going to do just that and hope that this doesn't come to fruition for the sake of the folks on the east coast.
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Y'all seen this yet?

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Quoting floridaT:
I believe in global warming however how can 1 gallon of gas put 20 pounds in the air when 1 gallon dosnt weigh near that. does 2 molecules of oxygen add that much?
During the internal combustion process, carbon atoms in the gasoline combine with the oxygen molecules in the intake air to create CO2. Since internal combustion engines burn roughly 15 pounds of air for every pound of gasoline, burning a gallon of gasoline burns 93 pounds or so of air. Of that 100 pounds or so of fuel and air burnt per gallon, roughly 17-20 pounds is CO2. (The rest is mostly nitrogen that was in the air to begin with, and water vapor created when hydrogen in the gasoline bonded with oxygen in the intake air.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14368
NASA's last space shuttle heading to Florida retirement home

Excerpt:

(Reuters) - NASA's third and last surviving space shuttle will move to its retirement home on Friday after a 10-mile road trip from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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Quoting atris:


But what should we do ...I understand for example, that one transatlantic flight per person, on that flight equals the average person driving for a year . But If we use ships it would cause global Cooling. or are we supposed go back to pre 1850's living.

Theres an interesting piece that I remembered that was in The Guardian quite a while ago Link



Why would going back to the 1850's be so bad? If we continue to use fossil fuels at the rate we are using them now, we will will find out in century or so when they run out. Your great-great-grandkids may live that way, who knows?

The sad fact is, the earth is only able to support the number of people we have now due to the use of fossil fuels for energy. Take away fossil fuels and petrochemicals, and there will be a reduction in population. Promise. We cannot even feed the number of humans on earth without fertilizer and pesticides manufactured from fossil fuel. This the main reason all of us contribute CO2 to the atmosphere, whether we like it not. We have to, to feed ourselves in the numbers we have right now.

So, we can let the conditions play out, causing billions to starve, a few to freeze, and many more to be displaced. The population will drop to a sustainable level and everyone will have to independantly find fuel sources and grow food for their own and family use. Those left will have to migrate to another place, looking for fertile ground to sustain life. Sound a lot like 1855 America, don't you think? Maybe with people moving north instead of west?

Or, we can research alternative energy that does not damage the atmosphere and climate. Some bright mind somewhere will conquer a new source of heat to do our bidding. There may still be casualties, as we have already done damage to our ecosystem, but over time that will begin to modulate if we are not pumping CO2 into the air. The seas may rise less, maybe not so many people have to move. New jobs in energy will be created. We will not have to fight each other so much over a dwindling resource, so reduced miltary spending may result.

Which future do you want? One you help create, or one you let happen?
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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