First tornado death of 2013 ends record 219-day streak without a tornado death

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:50 PM GMT on January 30, 2013

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A powerful tornado ripped through Adairsville, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta, at 11:19 am EST this morning, killing at least one person in a mobile home park. The tornado caused major structural damage in the downtown district, and overturned approximately 100 cars on I-75 near Exit 306 (see eyewitness video here, with swear words.) Eight injuries, some serious, are also being reported from a tornado just southeast of Calhoun, GA around 11:30am EST. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has placed most of the Southeast in their "Slight Risk" region for severe weather for Wednesday, a step down from the "Moderate Risk" potential issued on Tuesday for the Midwest. Three other tornadoes have hit Georgia today, and there were 79 reports of wind damage due to high winds as of 2 pm EST along the cold front that triggered today's severe weather, from Alabama to Pennsylvania. Tornado watches continue for a wide swath of the Southeast this afternoon, from Alabama to North Carolina.


Figure 1. Car overturned by the tornado near Adairsville, Georgia, on January 30, 2013. Image courtesy of WSB-TV on http://pic.twitter.com/2lAL0Lmc.



Figure 2. Radar reflectivity (top) and Doppler velocity (bottom) images of the tornado that hit Adairsville, Georgia at 11:19 am EST Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Adairsville is under the circle with a "+" in it.


Figure 3. A wild weather day in the Southeast: NOAA's Storm Prediction Center logged four preliminary reports of tornadoes as of 2 pm Wednesday, along with 79 reports of damaging winds.


Video 1. View of the Adairsville, Georgia tornado of January 30, 2013. Note the blue power flashes as the tornado brings down power lines.

Record string of 219 days without a tornado death ends
Today's fatality ends the longest continuous stretch without a tornado death ever recorded in the U.S.--219 days. The last time the U.S. saw a tornado death was at Venus in Highlands County, Florida, from an EF-0 tornado associated with Tropical Storm Debby on June 24, 2012. The previous record was 197 straight days without a tornado death, which ended on February 28, 1987. Part of the reason for the long stretch without a tornado death during 2012 - 2013 was the relative lack of tornadoes. According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC), the total number of tornadoes during 2012 was just 936. This is the first time since 2002 that fewer than 1000 tornadoes have been recorded. The jet stream was positioned unusually far north in Canada during much of 2012, which brought drought to much of Tornado Alley. It's tough to get tornadoes when you're experiencing near-record drought conditions and very few thunderstorms. Saskatchewan, Canada saw as many tornadoes in July 2012 as all of the U.S., thanks to the more northward position of the jet stream.


Figure 4. June 24, 2012: A tornado spawned by Tropical Storm Debbie crosses Lake Winterset in Winter Haven, Florida. Another tornado from Debbie on this day caused the last tornado death in the U.S., at Venus in Highlands County, Florida. Image credit: wunderphotographer whgator3.

Record moisture and rains
Today's severe weather outbreak was helped by record levels of January moisture, as a flow of unusually moist air rode northwards from the Gulf of Mexico, where water temperatures were about 0.5°F above average. Meteorologists use a term called "precipitable water" to discuss how much water vapor is in the atmosphere. Precipitable water is defined as how much rain would fall on the ground if one took a vertical slice of the atmosphere above a given location and condensed all the water vapor into rain. Precipitable water levels tend to be highest in the summer, since warm air holds more waver vapor, and can exceed two inches in the Midwest U.S. In winter, though, it is rare to see precipitable water values higher than one inch. However, precipitable water was well over an inch well into Canada, and three upper air stations--Detroit, MI, Lincoln IL, and Caribou, Maine--set all-time records for January moisture, and four other stations had their 2nd highest January moisture on record. From the 00Z January 30 to 00Z January 31 upper air balloon soundings taken at the 73 radiosonde stations in the contiguous U.S., we observed these record or near-record precipitable water values for January:

Detroit, MI: New Record: 1.21" Old record: 1.20" 1/11/75
Lincoln, IL: New record: 1.46" Old Record: 1.35" 1/12/60
Caribou, Maine: New Record: 1.21" (Ties old record of 1.21" 1/14/2005)
Alpena, MI: 2nd place, 0.99". First place: 1.01", 1/5/97
Buffalo, NY: 2nd place, 1.21". First place: 1.34", 1/15/95
Wilmington, OH: 2nd place, 1.44" First place: 1.51", 1/12/2005
Gray, ME: 2nd place, 1.36" First place: 1.38" 1/20/96

Green Bay (4th), Albany, NY (4th), Sterling, VA (4th), Shreveport (6th), Little Rock (3rd), Nashville, TN (10th), Chatham, MA (10th), and Maniwawi, Quebec (4th) all had top-ten January precipitable water values. Radiosonde data goes back to 1948.

The exceptional moisture led to record rains in many regions of the Midwest, with numerous locations setting daily precipitation records. Two airports recorded their wettest January day on record, including Madison, WI (1.84", previous record 1.80" on January 1, 1892) and Houghton Lake, MI (1.21", old record 1.08" on in 1938.) Top-five wettest January days in recorded history were also set at Muskegon, MI (2.48"), Marquette, MI (1.21"), and South Bend, IN (1.94".) Here where I live, in Southeast Michigan, being outside yesterday was like walking through a surreal white soup. Rains like nothing I've ever seen in January fitfully poured from the sky throughout the day, ponding up on the frozen ground. Eerie white fog swirled over the sodden snow drifts as thunder rumbled overhead in temperatures 25°F above average. What planet was this? The heavy rains of 1.60" that fell in 26 hours at the nearby Flint airport made this month our wettest January in recorded history, with 3.66" of precipitation.

Jeff Masters

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We were expecting 100km/h (60 mph) gusts today.

Here is the official highest gust of the day nearest me:

31/08:26 AM (94 km/h)

Also several new maximum high records have been established on January 30 in Quebec:
Maniwaki 8,4 degrees (old record 4,0 in 1988)
Dorval 7,8 degrees (old record 5,2 in 1988)
Lennoxville 12,5 degrees (old record 7,2 in 1938)
Quebec 4,7 degrees (old record 4,0 in 1979)
Bagotville 2,7 degrees (old record 2,2 in 1974 and 2008)
Mont-Joli 8,6 degrees (old record 3,3 in 1974)

Source

And Ontario...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 new record high temperatures
------------------------------------------------- ------------
Location new record [c] old record [c] (year)
------------------------------------------------- ------------
Windsor 14.5 11.6 (2006)
Sarnia 12.4 11.0 (2006)
London 10.5 8.9 (2006)
Hamilton 10.5 8.9 (1975)
Vineland 13.5 9.8 (2006)
Welland 12.8 10.2 (2006)
Kitchener 9.9 7.3 (2006)
Elora 8.8 6.6 (2006)
Wiarton 9.5 6.7 (2008)


Wednesday, January 30, 2013 new record high temperatures
------------------------------------------------- ------------
Location new record [c] old record [c] (year)
------------------------------------------------- ------------
Windsor 15.6 9.5 (1988)
Sarnia 14.7 9.8 (1988)
London 14.2 9.1 (1988)
Hamilton 13.4 11.3 (2003)
Vineland 16.8 11.1 (1969)
Welland 15.0 12.8 (1914)
Kitchener 13.5 8.5 (1988)
Elora 12.8 7.4 (1988)
Toronto Pearson 14.0 9.1 (2006)
Buttonville aprt 13.5 9.9 (1988)
Wiarton 10.1 9.6 (1988)
Trenton 13.9 8.2 (1988)
Peterborough 12.6 8.5 (1988)
Kingston 10.6 6.0 (1988)
Ottawa Airport 11.7 5.6 (1974)
Petawawa 7.1 6.1 (1974)
Muskoka 9.3 6.0 (2006)

Source
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Ok, we get it. China is full of pollution. Don't have to post same stuff every single time you come onto the blog.
Actually, pollution could be referred to as seeding. Particles end up in the atmosphere and cause percipitation. Depending on what is in the atmosphere... I for one would not want to eat any of their vegetation or farm raised fish. Just a thought.
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For those wondering last night, the report of over 100 cars flipped by the Adairsville tornado was actually confirmed this morning.

As I said a few hours ago, the tornado has been given a rating of a "high-end EF3".
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31868
434. VR46L
Quoting MrMixon:
Water vapor shows a couple plumes en route to Florida:



Yeah it has a chance of making it ...

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Good afternoon everyone, I'm under a winter weather advisory for 1-4" of snow and blowing snow. I got some really heavy snow squalls this morning and more minor ones after that. A snow squall contributed to a massive and deadly pileup in SW Detroit on I-75 this morning with at least 4 dead. Another multi car pileup occurred on US-23 in Genesee County.
I-75 crash:
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7940
Water vapor shows a small plume en route to Florida:



EDITED (to account for the fact that my lack of observational skills lead to me posting an old wv image... this one makes more sense next to the image VR46L posted at #434).
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For those curious, the well circulated photo of the smashed up truck wrapped in power lines (seen above from another angle) has a happy ending... the owner (seen in this photo) was apparently unhurt and says the tornado picked it up from the parking lot where he was working across the street and dumped it in the middle of the road.

Source: Aljazeera, who have put together an impressive collection of photos from the storm.
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Dozens of photos from yesterdays storms in North Georgia.

Link
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Quoting VR46L:


Are you in the NE ?

The next one Not too far away if so.

Yes, SE PA. Very rural area! Briefly saw some comments. My mother came here from Bainbridge, Co. Down N. Ire in 1957. Trying to catch up on news and mews here. Catch up later.
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428. VR46L
Quoting JustPlantIt:
Got the internet back... Yay. Just lost that sometime early this AM. Kept the power here... some minor flooding that the sump was able to keep up with. Debris from trees down. Dogs got to walk themselves this am within the fenced area as it was really gusty and I have way too many weak Walnut and Norway Maples. Just lit a cleaned and gleaned woodstove. Huge change in temps from yesterday. I'm ready for the next storm!


Are you in the NE ?

The next one Not too far away if so.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Got the internet back... Yay. Just lost that sometime early this AM. Kept the power here... some minor flooding that the sump was able to keep up with. Debris from trees down. Dogs got to walk themselves this am within the fenced area as it was really gusty and I have way too many weak Walnut and Norway Maples. Just lit a cleaned and gleaned woodstove. Huge change in temps from yesterday. I'm ready for the next storm!
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426. VR46L
Quoting PedleyCA:


That's why there are so many ex-U.K. people over here.

I wouldnt know about that,(not from UK:p) but it explains why so many Irish emigrate to USA and Australia..
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
The TCR of Hurricane Lane (Peak at 75kts) is out and that means the EPAC side is complete. Only the Chris and Sandy reports are left in the North Atlantic side.

Link


thanks for that Info... Lane originally peaked at 85 mph right?

Im dying for Sandy's
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The TCR of Hurricane Lane (Peak at 75kts) is out and that means the EPAC side is complete. Only the Chris and Sandy reports are left in the North Atlantic side.

Link
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Quoting VR46L:


May I had about 2 nice weeks when it was 70 ish .. But the majority of last summer was depressing wet and cool .yuk!


That's why there are so many ex-U.K. people over here.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
422. VR46L
Quoting yonzabam:


Not often, these days. I think there were only a few days last 'summer' when the temperature rose above 70F here in Scotland.

Summer heatwaves seem to be a thing of the past. I work outdoors, and the past week has to be the worst I've experienced this millennium. Constant gales and pouring rain. I wear wet weather gear and still get soaked to the skin. It even goes through my boots.



May I had about 2 nice weeks when it was 70 ish .. But the majority of last summer was depressing wet and cool .yuk!
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Quoting VR46L:


That is heaven ... I might see that in June or July LOL


Not often, these days. I think there were only a few days last 'summer' when the temperature rose above 70F here in Scotland.

Summer heatwaves seem to be a thing of the past. I work outdoors, and the past week has to be the worst I've experienced this millennium. Constant gales and pouring rain. I wear wet weather gear and still get soaked to the skin. It even goes through my boots.

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420. VR46L
Quoting PedleyCA:


If 40 was the High. I would be crying like a baby.....


Nope I will take the drop for a clear dry day without wind!
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419. VR46L
Quoting stormchaser43:

Nice.

Washingtonian115 complains about the heat. GeorgiaStormz complains about tranquil weather. I don't complain with 60's and 70's. :-)

stormchaser43


Neither do I !

Chaser
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Quoting VR46L:


Not were I am at this time of year ... when A high is dominate, will hardly see 40░F


If 40 was the High. I would be crying like a baby.....
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
417. VR46L
Quoting PedleyCA:


Sometimes we wish that was all we got in June-July June is usually gloomy here, but July can be HOT.


Yeah I think if we all could have 75 all year round and rain at night we would be all happy , but then the weather would be boring.....
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416. VR46L
Quoting PedleyCA:


Highs are good. That is why my weather is nice right now. But there can be just as bad as a Low in it can be too warm....


Not were I am at this time of year ... when A high is dominate, will hardly see 40░F
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Quoting VR46L:


That is heaven ... I might see that in June or July LOL


Sometimes we wish that was all we got in June-July June is usually gloomy here, but July can be HOT.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
Quoting VR46L:


I am liking that high building up towards me !!! Happy days!!


Highs are good. That is why my weather is nice right now. But they can be just as bad as a Low in it can be too warm....
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
Quoting ScottLincoln:


Here is one site you could try:
http://ge.ssec.wisc.edu/modis-today/


Thanks! That's much better than what I've been able to find.

And thanks Ped, but I can't find fresh clear images there.

Quoting PedleyCA:





Modis
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411. VR46L
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


whoops...never mind...


LOL
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Quoting VR46L:


Ireland


whoops...never mind...
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409. VR46L
Quoting PedleyCA:


Normal 66 �F 44 �F
Record 93 �F (2003) 25 �F (1946)
Yesterday 69 �F 39 �F

These are the normal temps for the day. So this is all bonus....

Forecast is 75..... whoo-hoo


That is heaven ... I might see that in June or July LOL
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408. VR46L
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


about where are you at? south?


Ireland
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Quoting VR46L:


Sweet !! That sounds like heavenly temperatures, not too warm but not cold either


Normal 66 F 44 F
Record 93 F (2003) 25 F (1946)
Yesterday 69 F 39 F

These are the normal temps for the day. So this is all bonus....

Forecast is 75..... whoo-hoo
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
Quoting VR46L:


I am liking that high building up towards me !!! Happy days!!


about where are you at? south?
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405. VR46L
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Nice strong nor'easter...could be a big snowstorm if the temps remain cold...


I am liking that high building up towards me !!! Happy days!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Quoting ChillinInTheKeys:
wxmod, where do you get your MODIS satellite images? I've tryed the NASA site but can only find images that are several days old and not nearly as clear as those that you post.
BTW, I don't mind you posting these as they're relevant to weather whether they're a big conspiracy(ship stack plumes, airplane contrails)or not, they do effect us.



Modis
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
Quoting ChillinInTheKeys:
wxmod, where do you get your MODIS satellite images? I've tryed the NASA site but can only find images that are several days old and not nearly as clear as those that you post.
BTW, I don't mind you posting these as they're relevant to weather whether they're a big conspiracy(ship stack plumes, airplane contrails)or not, they do effect us.


Here is one site you could try:
http://ge.ssec.wisc.edu/modis-today/
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Nice strong nor'easter...could be a big snowstorm if the temps remain cold...
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401. VR46L
Quoting PedleyCA:
Today's State Extremes
State Highs:
Riverside 68°F
Fullerton 66°F
Miramar MCAS 64°F
Los Angeles 64°F
Santa Monica 64°F

State Lows:
Truckee-Tahoe 14°F
South Lake Tahoe 17°F
Alturas 19°F
Big Bear City 24°F
Montague 24°F

This is amusing....

I have 67.7


Sweet !! That sounds like heavenly temperatures, not too warm but not cold either
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Live from Breckenridge! 3 inches yesterday and 7 inches overnight! A little warmer this morning than the last two days..
16F and light snow ATM.


I'm sure glad Breck is getting something. Here on the east side of the Continental Divide (Boulder/Denver/Ft. Collins area) we're approaching critically low snow levels. The system that just tore across the Midwest and Southeast dropped a lousy 1" of snow in Nederland. Boulder is currently about 3' (yes, FEET) of snow behind where it was last year... and last year was an exceptionally low snow year.

But our winds have certainly kept up their usual winter bluster. The Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park is STILL burning (LINK). Just ten days ago firefighters had to put down a small grassfire in the foothills west of Boulder (LINK). So until things change it seems our fire "season" along the Front Range doesn't end, even in the depths of winter. If we don't get snow soon I predict this year's fire season for Colorado will be one for the history books (even worse than last year's, which broke several records for the largest and most expensive fires).

Now, February and March are typically our snowiest months, so there's still hope... but the 10-day forecast shows few signs of improvement in the near-term.

Anyone have any snow they want to share... please?

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Link
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
In case you didn't see this, it was posted for my area...New York City overnight...


NWS NYC
1247 AM EST THU JAN 31 2013

...STRONG THUNDERSTORMS WILL IMPACT BERGEN...BRONX...ESSEX...
FAIRFIELD...HUDSON...KINGS (BROOKLYN)...NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)...
NORTHWESTERN NASSAU...PASSAIC...PUTNAM...QUEENS...ROCKLAND...UN ION...
WESTCHESTER AND WESTERN NEW HAVEN COUNTIES...

AT 1244 AM EST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING
A SMALL CLUSTER OF HEAVY SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ALONG A LINE
EXTENDING FROM PLAINFIELD TO HOBOKEN TO CROWN HEIGHTS...AND MOVING
NORTHEAST AT 100 MPH.

100 MPH MOVEMENT.... NEVER SEEN SUCH A FAST MOVEMENT? WTH!!!



Then Aussie asked me since it was moving at 100 mph and the storms had 60 mph winds, then it would be 160 mph the impact of winds???
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Today's State Extremes
State Highs:
Riverside 68°F
Fullerton 66°F
Miramar MCAS 64°F
Los Angeles 64°F
Santa Monica 64°F

State Lows:
Truckee-Tahoe 14°F
South Lake Tahoe 17°F
Alturas 19°F
Big Bear City 24°F
Montague 24°F

This is amusing....

I have 67.7
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
wxmod, where do you get your MODIS satellite images? I've tryed the NASA site but can only find images that are several days old and not nearly as clear as those that you post.
BTW, I don't mind you posting these as they're relevant to weather whether they're a big conspiracy(ship stack plumes, airplane contrails)or not, they do effect us.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Still warmer on the East corner of U.S.

Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 5767
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Does anyone knows if SPC did the preliminary data about how strong was the Adairsville Tornado?


I hear preliminary data has it as a high end
EF-3
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Quoting wxmod:


It affects your weather. A tornado outbreak in January is not going to be out of the ordinary if the China pollution doesn't stop. Rather than complain about the images I post, quit buying Chinese goods, then you won't have to feel so guilty about the situation.


Tornado outbreaks in January had happened before. This isn't the first time.
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392. wxmod
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Ok, we get it. China is full of pollution. Don't have to post same stuff every single time you come onto the blog.


It affects your weather. A tornado outbreak in January is not going to be out of the ordinary if the China pollution doesn't stop. Rather than complain about the images I post, quit buying Chinese goods, then you won't have to feel so guilty about the situation.
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Snow squall warning for
City of Toronto

Snow squalls with near zero visibility in blowing snow and bursts of heavy snow today and tonight.

In the wake of an Arctic cold front that blasted across the regions last night, a strong surge of much colder air has arrived and snow squalls have quickly developed in the strong and gusty westerly flow off of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

Radar indicates multiple snow squall bands, with two that are particulary intense. The first emanates off of Lake Huron from north of Goderich eastward through Arthur and then toward Central Toronto. The second extends from around Sauble Beach eastward through the north part of Lake Simcoe and further east toward Apsley (northeast of Peterborough). These snow squalls will likely remain nearly stationary for a few hours and then are expected to drift slowly southward.

Snowfall amounts will be highly variable, however could approach 20 to 25 cm in areas where the snow squalls are persistent.

Motorists should note that winter driving conditions have returned and will be hazardous due to the very low to nil visibility from blowing snow and local heavy snow causing rapid accumulation on untreated roads. These hazardous conditions may develop quite suddenly.

By Friday, the snow squalls are expected to have moved out of some regions, however they will likely continue to affect parts of grey, Bruce, Huron and Perth counties throughout the day.

Please refer to the public forecast for further details.
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Does anyone know if SPC did the preliminary data about how strong was the Adairsville Tornado? Any link to the data?
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Quoting wxmod:
China pollution machine. MODIS satellite photo today



Ok, we get it. China is full of pollution. Don't have to post same stuff every single time you come onto the blog.
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I need model data for Feb 14 through Feb 18th. Can anyone help me! ahhhh. Closest thing I can find is twister data is the GFS going out to 9-17 day, but its only one and I don't think The CPC isn't banking a lot of money on that particular solution.
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387. wxmod
Georgia coast silt. MODIS today

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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.