Historic Nor'easter poised to slam Boston and the Northeast U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:43 PM GMT on February 07, 2013

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A potentially historic Nor'easter is brewing for the Northeast U.S., where blizzard watches are up for much of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The storm, dubbed "Nemo" by the Weather Channel, is expected to bring heavy snows of 1 - 2 feet, coastal wind gusts over hurricane force, and moderate to major coastal flooding. During the peak of the storm, Friday night into Saturday morning, snowfall rates of 2 - 3" per hour can be expected. These intense bursts of snow may be accompanied by lightning and thunder. The cites of Boston, Hartford, Providence, Portland, and Burlington are all likely to get more than a foot of snow, and two feet of snow will probably fall along a swath from the western suburbs of Boston to Southwest Maine. With the Nor'easter generating these heavy snows expected to bomb out with a central pressure of 972 - 976 mb, the rapid flow of air around this low pressure center will generate ferocious sustained winds near 50 mph at the coast, with wind gusts in excess of hurricane force--74 mph. The combination of heavy snow and high winds will make travel extremely dangerous or impossible, with near-zero visibility in white-out conditions. Total snowfall from the storm is likely to rank in the top ten for Boston since weather observations began at Logan Airport in 1936. According to NWS, here are the top snowstorms since 1936 for Logan Airport:

1. February 17-18, 2003 27.5"
2. February 6-7, 1978 27.1"
3. February 24-27, 1969 26.3"
4. March 31-April 1, 1997 25.4"
5. January 22-24, 1945 22.8"
6. January 22-23, 2005 22.5"
7. January 20-21, 1978 21.4"
8. March 3-5, 1960 19.8"
9. February 16-17, 1958 19.4"
10. February 8-10, 1994 18.7"
11. January 7-8, 1996 18.2"
11. December 20-22, 1975 18.2"
11. December 26-27, 2010 18.2"


Figure 1. Predicted wind speeds in knots at 7 am EST Saturday, February 9, 2013, from the 00Z February 7, 2013 run of the European (ECMWF) model. The model is predicting sustained winds of 50 knots (57.5 mph) will affect Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Multiply by 1.15 to convert knots to mph.

Serious coastal flooding expected in Massachusetts
The high winds from the storm will drive a damaging storm surge of 2 - 4' along the coast of Eastern Massachusetts Friday night and Saturday morning. Of particular concern is the flooding that will occur during the Saturday morning high tide cycle, as that is the time of the new moon, which will bring the highest tide of the month. The ocean's height in Boston varies naturally by about ten feet between low tide and high tide, so it matters greatly when the storm surge arrives, relative to the tidal cycle. Thus we speak of the "storm tide"--how how the water gets above the high tide mark, due to the combination of the storm surge and the tide. During Hurricane Sandy, on October 29, 2012, a potentially very damaging storm surge of 4.57' hit Boston, but arrived near low tide, so the water level during the peak surge did not rise above the normal high tide mark. As of noon EST on February 7, 2013, the latest storm surge forecast from the GFS model is calling for a storm tide of about 3.4' above high tide (MHHW, Mean Higher High Water) on Saturday morning, which would cause only minor flooding in Boston. This would be the 10th highest water level on record in Boston since tide gauge records began in 1921. According to former NHC storm surge expert Mike Lowry, who now works for TWC, the official top 5 storm tides at the Boston tide gauge, relative to MHHW, are:

1. 4.82' - February 7, 1978 (Blizzard of 1978)
2. 3.92' - January 2, 1987
3. 3.86' - October 30, 1991 (Perfect Storm)
4. 3.76' - January 28, 1979
5. 3.75' - December 12, 1992

More serious flooding is expected in Cape Cod Bay to the southeast of Boston, where the northeast winds from the storm will pile up a higher storm surge. A storm surge of 3 - 4' is predicted from Scituate to Sandwich Harbor Saturday morning. The surge will be accompanied by battering waves 20' feet high, and major flooding and coastal erosion is expected. Major coastal flooding is also expected on the east end of Nantucket Island.


Figure 2. Coastal flooding hazards during the high tide cycle on Saturday morning, February 9, 2013, as predicted at 12 pm EDT Thursday, February 7, 2013, by the NWS Boston.

Links:

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Our winter Storm page:
http://www.wunderground.com/winter-storm/nemo-2013.asp

Jeff Masters

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still there in 48 hours gee..............
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
This comes from a poster on accuweather forum:

Something Undertakerson mentioned regarding the "Fujiwara Effect" early this morning. Very fascinating because as some already this is something that is very rare that is happening. Two rather strong systems phasing together. The southern storm isn't formed from the northern storm as a typical Miller B. It is a hybrid type of creation where the southern storm that already exists grabs the energy from the northern storm.

In most situations this would never happen as the southern storm would likely go OTS trying to move away from the strong northern storm. But in this case the escape route is blocked by the big HP to the north at it is almost like the southern storm is "forced" to phase with the northern system.
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Storms like this in February are why the superbowl doesnt need to be in an open air stadium in NJ/NY
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Quoting Luisport:
Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Canadian 10km regional model explosively develops & stalls warm-seclusion blizzard off tip of New Eng 972 mb +48hrs Link
that would be really bad for the folks up there
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Canadian 10km regional model explosively develops & stalls warm-seclusion blizzard off tip of New Eng 972 mb +48hrs Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Mike Seidel ‏@mikeseidel

Look who is sitting across from me on my flight to Boston. And why does he keep poking me with that yardstick?

You know.... He'll make that snow look good!!!!
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Central Georgia in 7 days..gimme some of this LOL.............A SECOND SYSTEM WILL APPROACH THE AREA AND BRING MORE RAIN
CHANCES TO THE STATE SUNDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY. CURRENTLY 2 TO 5
INCHES OF PRECIPITATION ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE AREA WITH ISOLATED
HIGHER AMOUNTS NEAR 6 INCHES ESPECIALLY ACROSS CENTRAL SECTIONS OF
THE FORECAST AREA. WITH WET ANTECEDENT CONDITIONS...FLOODING IS
LIKELY. THERE IS LITTLE INSTABILITY WITH THIS SYSTEM SO
THUNDERSTORMS ARE NOT EXPECTED THROUGH DAY 7 AT THIS TIME.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Mike Seidel ‏@mikeseidel

Look who is sitting across from me on my flight to Boston. And why does he keep poking me with that yardstick?



Well thank God he's only poking you with a yardstick!
;-) !
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Can I at least come visit this weekend? ;)



If you don't mind sleeping on the floor and listening to my husband and daughter constantly whine about "whens the power coming back on? I hate winter! blah, blah, blah..."

Wait a minute... but if I go down there I won't have to deal with them... hey, hold on!
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Quoting ScottLincoln:

Snowfall forecasts are typically not as good as rainfall forecasts. As such, the forecasts will end up with much higher uncertainty ranges, and sometimes we end up getting amounts still outside of the range.
There are many things that can affect the depth of snow that remains at the end of a storm that we don't need to take into account with rainfall. To name a few, ground temperature, snow compaction, and snow crystal type.

Here is one tool you could try and use that will give you multiple scenarios of snowfall, both from different models and with/without compaction:
http://www.meteor.iastate.edu/~ckarsten/bufkit/im age_loader.phtml?site=kbos

As for the model showing a different snowfall amount than what you currently observe, there might be a few things to consider. Is your immediate area almost snow free, but nearby areas still have some snow/drifts? The grid cells in the model have to come up with a average over a large area which isn't always representative of individual locations within. The model may also be initializing on bad snow cover data.
Is the NOHRSC snow cover/snow water equivalent analysis better for your area than the model initializations?


You are amazing, thank you so much for responding and sorry that I took so long to get back to you. That linked forecast is spot on showing me with ~0 ground cover, and matches almost exactly what I am seeing with the models as to addition of snow on top of what the initialization shows from the storm. So I guess the initialized amount doesn't make a huge difference then when looking at storm totals? I understand some of what makes snowfall prediction hard, as you said compaction, level of moisture, crystal size, all sorts of different things can make a difference between an inch of precipitation falling as a foot of snow or six inches, I was just curious as to why the baseline seemed so far off and now I think I understand a little bit better.

Do you know roughly how large the grid cells are for these models? Just around me I'm talking about at least a 10km sq area where there is less than an inch of snow cover, but both GFS and NAM show ~6 inches on initialization. They've actually come down on their initialization amounts over the last day or so, saying now between 2-3 inches, but that's still on the high side. I guess the part that confused me the most is that I'm about 5 miles from the local NWS office at KBGM, and I know they have less than an inch of snow there as well.

Also, as a personal aside, I want to thank each and every one of you experts that come here and are willing to help people like me that want to learn more about weather. I've been a member here for I think like 6 months, and have learned more about weather in that time than the previous 26 years. I am astounded that people with so much knowledge are willing to take the time out of their day to help people like me.
Member Since: October 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 162
Mike Seidel ‏@mikeseidel

Look who is sitting across from me on my flight to Boston. And why does he keep poking me with that yardstick?

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
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I keep seeing all these Blizzard of '78 photos randomly posted. Well lucky for us NWS Taunton posted a Paper on it a few weeks ago with plenty of eye-candy. I suggest you guys take a look it's a great read.
Link
http://www.erh.noaa.gov/box/papers/Bliz78NWS.pdf

On another note I am really wishing I was back home in Northeast MA right now. Looks like they might hit the jackpot with this one. Who would of that, I move to Colorado and a single storm back home is about to drop more snow then i've seen all season in Boulder. I think I may have to migrate to the Pacific NW where i can snowboard 10/12 months of the year. Colorado hasn't been cutting it the past few seasons!
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Quoting mikeylikesyouall:
Other thing i've noticed about the storm Graphics is the slow movement for a Nor'Easter, usually they move rather quickly but not this storm system. The 2 high pressure systems in Quebec and Eastern Newfoundland are to blame for slow movement.
I think 'Largo' keyed in on this already about the slowness and potential impact.
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Those lakes are exploding with ice now. This means we could have near average ice cover soon.

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I'm hoping Northern Maine will get some more snow!
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How certain is it that the system from the south will merge with the nor'easter? Are the projected 2' snowfalls dependent on this happening?
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Quoting pcola57:




Hey Bielle..Here's the Link to Keeper's blog..takes a few seconds to load..

Thanks, pcola!
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Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

WRF 4km stalls full-power cyclone off tip of Mass., does a loop, 24-48 hrs of snow & hurricane force winds
Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026

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33 minRyan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Friday, winds at 1000 feet will crank up to hurricane force & warm-core formation & extreme backside convective snows.

Link
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
Other thing i've noticed about the storm Graphics is the slow movement for a Nor'Easter, usually they move rather quickly but not this storm system. The 2 high pressure systems in Quebec and Eastern Newfoundland are to blame for slow movement.
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Quoting klaatuborada:


No thanks. It's too muggy down there! I used to live in VA and summers would kill me.

I'm used to Nor'Easters, (the winds blew the th away), hurricanes and winter storms. It's not for the feint of heart, especially in the winter.


Can I at least come visit this weekend? ;)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
111. etxwx
For those not familiar with it, here is WU's Prepare Page
featuring information on Winter Weather Preparedness and
Winter Weather Lingo
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Quoting Bielle:


Keeper, could have a link to these forecast maps? Thanks


Quoting pcola57:


I'm pretty sure he has links to them in his blog..


Hey Bielle..Here's the Link to Keeper's blog..takes a few seconds to load..
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6819
Quoting klaatuborada:


No thanks. It's too muggy down there! I used to live in VA and summers would kill me.

I'm used to Nor'Easters, (the winds blew the th away), hurricanes and winter storms. It's not for the feint of heart, especially in the winter.
Aaah, that's a two finger shot!!!!

Preferably Irish. LOL
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COASTAL HAZARD MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
411 AM EST THU FEB 7 2013

...MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING POSSIBLE FRIDAY EVENING...

CTZ009-NYZ071-073-078-079-081-176-177-072100-
/O.CON.KOKX.CF.A.0001.130208T2300Z-130209T0500Z/
SOUTHERN FAIRFIELD-SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER-BRONX-
NORTHWESTERN SUFFOLK-NORTHEASTERN SUFFOLK-SOUTHEASTERN SUFFOLK-
NORTHERN QUEENS-NORTHERN NASSAU-
411 AM EST THU FEB 7 2013

...COASTAL FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FRIDAY EVENING...

* LOCATIONS...ALONG WESTERN LONG ISLAND SOUND AND TWIN FORKS OF
LONG ISLAND.

* TIDAL DEPARTURES...3 TO 5 FT DURING THE TIMES OF HIGH TIDE
FRIDAY EVENING.

* WAVE ACTION...3 TO 5 FT WAVES ON TOP OF STORM TIDE ALONG
WESTERN LONG ISLAND SOUND...AND 5 TO 7 FT ALONG THE EASTERN
ENDS OF THE TWIN FORKS OF LONG ISLAND.

* BEACH EROSION...SIGNIFICANT BEACH EROSION IS POSSIBLE ALONG
THE TWIN FORKS OF LONG ISLAND.

* TIMING...FRIDAY EVENING.

* IMPACTS...WIDESPREAD FLOODING OF VULNERABLE SHORE ROADS AND/OR
BASEMENTS DUE TO HEIGHT OF STORM TIDE AND WAVE ACTION IS
POSSIBLE. NUMEROUS ROAD CLOSURES MAY BE NEEDED. LIVES MAY BE
AT RISK FOR PEOPLE WHO PUT THEMSELVES IN HARM/S WAY. ISOLATED
STRUCTURAL DAMAGE MAY BE OBSERVED...PARTICULARLY ALONG THE
EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE TWIN FORKS OF LONG ISLAND.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A COASTAL FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS FAVORABLE FOR
FLOODING ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP. COASTAL RESIDENTS SHOULD BE
ALERT FOR LATER STATEMENTS OR WARNINGS...AND TAKE ACTION TO
PROTECT PROPERTY.

&&
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


can we trade places then? :)


No thanks. It's too muggy down there! I used to live in VA and summers would kill me.

I'm used to Nor'Easters, (the winds blew the th away), hurricanes and winter storms. It's not for the feint of heart, especially in the winter.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
what happens if this coming nor'easter picks up speed headed north?..it will catch alot of folks off guard and not ready huh.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Oh, and I forgot. My husband and I were in Boston for the blizzard of 78. It was amazing. There were no planes flying, no cars moving, it was so quiet and amazing.

But most importantly the biggest snowball fight in the history of mankind took place on Massachusetts Avenue starting right in front of Berklee College of Music. It went for the entire block and complete strangers were lobbing snowballs from one side of the street to the other. They had plowed some, cars were still buried under 9 feet of snow, but that's where you hid and where you threw from, up over the bank, and anyone in the street was fair game, and the guys with the good arms threw right over the front bank and over the other bank on the other side of the street. It was awesome to be in, and awesome to watch from the upper floors in the dorms.

The downside was, no power, and food was questionable, but I was still a teenager and it was fun and an adventure.
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its gusting to 24 here i
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Model Diagnostic Discussion

Excerpt:

THE CURRENT THINKING IS TO GO HALFWAY BETWEEN THE RECENT 12Z NAM/GFS SOLNS WHICH WOULD MAKE THE 00Z ECMWF A REASONABLE STARTING PT. GIVEN THE UNCERTAINTY...COMBINING THE 00Z ECMWF WITH THE 06Z GEFS MEAN/00Z ECMWF ENS MEAN WOULD BE PRUDENT HERE.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
I would not be surprised if NY, MA, CT and/or some others declare state of emergency in advance to a potential devastation from Nemo.


Aren't you in class Max?.. :)
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6819
meanwhile around here..sun,breezy and no rain......
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
I would not be surprised if NY, MA, CT and/or some others declare state of emergency in advance to a potential devastation from Nemo.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Quoting klaatuborada:
Crap - I am not thrilled. For those who don't know, I live on Cape Cod.

My beloved Race Point is going to get slammed, as well as P-Town. Two weeks ago I got the fireplace inspected and cleaned, and I was hoping that Murphy's law would kick in and because I did it, there wouldn't be any reason to use it. I think, maybe though, my instincts in regards to the weather patterns for the past year pushed me to get it ready, because my husband kept saying, "Why are you on about the fireplace?". Woman's Intuition indeed.

I'm charging everything I can charge, phones, computers, batteries. I've got 4 Smart UPS battery backups and as soon as the power goes out I'll unplug everything on them and use them as recharging stations. Filling the tank tomorrow, got extra wood, enough for three days at least, Bunsen burner, batteries, candles, easy foods, and at least we'll be able to use the snow to keep food cold. Three cats for extra warmth, (three cat night instead of three dog night). I still have to get booze.

But it's going to be rain first, then that will freeze and the snow will be on top. Winds are going to be whippin', and as long as a tree doesn't smash into the house, we should be ok.


can we trade places then? :)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
This type of a storm reminds me of white Juan Feb 2004 without the early warnings. Shearwater, Nova Scotia just over 3 feet of snow in 24 hours with a few hours of thunder snow.Portions of the province like Ecum Secum just over 5 feet total.You guys can google "white Juan" fantastic sattellite image on wilkpedia. I remember Moncton, New Brunswick recieveng huge snowfall amounts from several storms over the years 151 cms or 5 feet in 2 days with wind gusts of 70 mph, that was a very bad situation, buildings needed to be dug out.These pictures of these storms will be exactly what portions of Mass and southern Maine with look like, tomorrow .Regardless i'll see if i can post some pics of where i live in Halifax for the blog, should be rather windy here as the low bombs outs just to our south.
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Winter safety info and preparedness information from ready.gov can be found here.

Get ready now so you can be comfortable and stay safe ...and as Largo said, help out your neighbors too.
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Crap - I am not thrilled. For those who don't know, I live on Cape Cod.

My beloved Race Point is going to get slammed, as well as P-Town. Two weeks ago I got the fireplace inspected and cleaned, and I was hoping that Murphy's law would kick in and because I did it, there wouldn't be any reason to use it. I think, maybe though, my instincts in regards to the weather patterns for the past year pushed me to get it ready, because my husband kept saying, "Why are you on about the fireplace?". Woman's Intuition indeed.

I'm charging everything I can charge, phones, computers, batteries. I've got 4 Smart UPS battery backups and as soon as the power goes out I'll unplug everything on them and use them as recharging stations. Filling the tank tomorrow, got extra wood, enough for three days at least, Bunsen burner, batteries, candles, easy foods, and at least we'll be able to use the snow to keep food cold. Three cats for extra warmth, (three cat night instead of three dog night). I still have to get booze.

But it's going to be rain first, then that will freeze and the snow will be on top. Winds are going to be whippin', and as long as a tree doesn't smash into the house, we should be ok.
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR NORTHEAST FLORIDA...
SOUTHEAST GEORGIA AND THE ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT...

THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE REGION THIS
AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE INTO THE EARLY EVENING. A FEW OF THESE
STORMS COULD BE STRONG...ESPECIALLY ALONG AND NORTH OF INTERSTATE
10. THE MAIN HAZARD WITH THESE STORMS WOULD BE STRONG WIND GUSTS.
AN ISOLATED TORNADO COULD NOT BE RULED OUT THIS AFTEROON AS WELL.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38128
While the more reliable models generally simulate 18-24 inches for Boston, some have simulated stunning totals over 30 inches for Boston, which would best the all-time record.

Here are the top 10 storm recorded at Logan Airport:

1. February 17-18, 2003: 27.5 inches
2. February 6-7, 1978: 27.1 inches
3. February 24-27, 1969: 26.3 inches
4. March 31-April 1, 1997: 25.4 inches
5. January 22-23, 2005: 22.5 inches
6. January 20-21, 1978: 21.4 inches
7. March 3-5, 1960: 19.8 inches
8. February 16-17, 1958: 19.4 inches
9. February 8-10, 1994: 18.7 inches
10. December 20-22, 1975, January 7-8, 1996, and December 26-27, 2010: 18.2 inches

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9725
the 12z CMC
15 hours


24hours


30hours


39 hours
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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