U.S. gets unusually boring January weather; Thursday storm to ease Midwest drought

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:59 PM GMT on February 16, 2013

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After an unusually intense period of extreme weather during 2011 and 2012, the U.S. had its quietest month in nearly two years during January 2013, according to NOAA's U.S. Climate Extremes Index (CEI). The index tracks the percentage area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing top-10% and bottom-10% extremes in temperature, precipitation, and drought. The CEI during January 2013 was 14%, which was the lowest since the 12% value during February 2011. On average, about 20% of the contiguous U.S. experiences top-10% extreme weather as defined by the CEI. In 2012, just two months (October and February) had below-average CEI, so the weather of January 2013 was a welcome relief from our recent "new normal" of increased extreme weather. Of course, the month wasn't completely without notable weather--the tornado outbreak of January 29 - 30 generated 57 tornadoes, the second largest January tornado outbreak on record. January 2013 ranked as the 39th warmest January since 1895, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in their latest State of the Climate report. Utah and Nevada had a top-ten coldest January; no states had a top-ten warmest January. The January warmth was enough to make the 12-month period ending in January 2013 the warmest such period for the contiguous U.S., with every state being warmer than average. Sixteen states, across the central U.S. and Northeast, were record warm, and 27 additional states were top ten warm.


Figure 1. Historical temperature ranking for the U.S. for January 2013. Utah and Nevada had a top-ten coldest January, and no states had a top-ten warmest January. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Drought conditions improve slightly; wetter weather on the way to Midwest drought region
January 2013 had slightly above-average precipitation over the contiguous U.S., but there were notable wet and dry extremes. Louisiana had its wettest January on record, and Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, and Mississippi all had top-ten wettest January weather. Florida, California, and Connecticut all had top-ten driest January weather. Heavy rains in Alabama and Georgia helped give that region no areas of exceptional drought for the first time since January 10, 2012. However, the core of the drought area over the Midwest U.S. shrank only slightly, with the area of the contiguous U.S. experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought going from 61% on January 1 to 56% on February 12. The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, issued February 7, calls for new areas of drought to develop over Florida, Texas, and California. However, some improvement in drought conditions is expected over about 40% of the drought region by April 30. The latest forecasts from the GFS and European (ECMWF) model show a modest shift in the jet stream pattern during the remainder of February, which may allow more moisture-bearing low pressure systems to pass through the main portion of the Midwest drought region. One storm for sure will arrive on Thursday, and many areas of the drought region should enjoy their their wettest day in months.


Figure 2. Drought conditions as of February 12, 2013, showed that 56% of the contiguous U.S. was in moderate or greater drought. Image credit: U.S. Drought Monitor.


Figure 3. Predicted precipitation for the 7-day period ending Saturday, February 23 at 7 pm EST. Almost the entire nation is expected to get precipitation, including the core of the drought region. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.

Forward on Climate rally on February 17th in Washington, D.C. 
On Sunday, February 17, at noon EST, what is expected to be the largest climate rally in history will take place in Washington D.C. The rally is a project of the Sierra Club, 350.org, and the Hip Hop Caucus. The organizers mustered 15,000 protesters last year in D.C. to protest the potential approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline (meant to bring oil from Canada's tar sands into the U.S.) Protesting the potential approval of the pipeline will be a major focus of Sunday's rally, as well. More broadly, the rally aims to put pressure on President Obama to make good on the promises he made during Tuesday's State of the Union Address:

"But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods – all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late….But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will."

It's about time that the President began talking about the reality of our changing climate, and the need to pursue aggressive actions to combat human-caused climate change. January 2013 was a welcome relief from the intense stretch of extreme weather our nation has suffered over the past two years. But the extreme weather of 2011 - 2012 is going to be more typical of our "new normal" of weather during the coming decades. Earth's climate is warming, and the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human activity is the main cause. Extreme weather events are increasing in response to the warming climate. People can take cost-effective actions to limit the damage, and our lawmakers are going to come under increasing pressure from grass-roots efforts like the Forward on Climate rally to act to slow down climate change.

I'll have a new post on Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting charlottefl:
Been there, done that... Was up in Tennessee in Jan '10. I was there 7 days. I think the highest it got was like 27. Not gonna lie, that was pretty brutal. (And not normal for them btw)


Hope you enjoyed Tennessee charlotte, I know I love this state!
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10480
The SST anomaly tripole effect is even more profound when we look at years with 3 or more U.S. hurricane landfalls.

This result is significant in that we see the same SST profile for high ACE years and high U.S. landfall years, illustrating the correlation between high intensity, long-track storms and landfalls on U.S. soil. This makes perfect sense, given that a very active season requires the deep tropics south of 20N to be active, as opposed to the mid-latitudes. Storms forming in the deep tropics are much more likely to make landfall before recurving.

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Hi Levi. Go back and see post #311 as there is somethng important that I posted and I want your imput about it.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
I get your point, but people should keep in mind this isn't a straight line across the Atlantic.

For example, the Gulf of Mexico is well north of 20N but we don't want this area to be below average if we want an above average season. Similar idea with waters within the entirety of the Caribbean, as well as the waters north of the Caribbean and the Bahamas region.

Basically we want waters to be anomalously warm in the tropics (roughly south of 20N), and additionally anomalously warm along the regions where tropical waves travel (GOMEX, Bahamas, etc).


Actually you'd be surprised. It is the source region that by far matters the most. If we take the top 10 Atlantic ACE years and average out the SST anomaly from the July-October period, we see that the GOM and Bahamas SSTA is actually much lower relative to the entire tropical Atlantic south of 20N.

It is, in fact, nearly a straight zonal band across the western 2/3 of the ocean.

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Quoting Astrometeor:




wxchaser97's spelling talents strike again I see. Hve fun with that Max.


yes, even in the blog... I REALLY need to do something about this.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Been there, done that... Was up in Tennessee in Jan '10. I was there 7 days. I think the highest it got was like 27. Not gonna lie, that was pretty brutal. (And not normal for them btw)
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


Oh No!!!! didnt get to 40!!!
call me when you dont pass freezing for 2 days.
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Quoting Levi32:


It's actually better (for storms) for the waters north of 20N to be colder relative to normal than the waters south of 20N.
I get your point, but people should keep in mind this isn't a straight line across the Atlantic.

For example, the Gulf of Mexico is well north of 20N but we don't want this area to be below average if we want an above average season. Similar idea with waters within the entirety of the Caribbean, as well as the waters north of the Caribbean and the Bahamas region.

Basically we want waters to be anomalously warm in the tropics (roughly south of 20N), and additionally, we want anomalously warm along the regions where tropical waves travel (GOMEX, Bahamas, the region just north of the Greater Antilles, etc).
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Quoting Grothar:


Yes, as we saw last season. Some strange storms. By the way, I predict a very big storm for the US in early March.


That is for Guam right?

By the way, that GOG thing vanished as expected.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


Hey laugh all you want but the morning low was 23.

The highs are in the low 50's which is still very chilly, and hey, winds are light and moisture is nearly non-existent with full sun, so that is a cold air mass. Because light winds and extremely dry air allows significant diurnal heating.

If it was cloudy, highs might not even hit 40.


Oh No!!!! didnt get to 40!!!
call me when you dont pass freezing for 2 days.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

That's one of the higher totals reported so far in the state. 5.5" is the highest I can find so far, out on Cape Cod. It's still snowing a little there so 6" will likely be the highest amount. This was a real close call, as has been mentioned this could have been another major blizzard if it was just a little closer, but the storm actually under performed by a pretty large amount, really no big deal up here.


I'm in Halifax Nova Scotia. This is a massive storm, and the center is about to pass almost directly overhead in the next couple of hours. I'm currently sitting at 961 mb under bright sunshine (that feels a bit weird), and nice warm temp of 6 C (43 degrees). Contrast that with snow in South Carolina today! Had very heavy rain move thru this afternoon, and its snowing north and west of us, with blizzard warnings flying. Its dead calm right now, but expecting gusts of 100km (60m) tonight and tomorrow on the backside of this still intensifying low.
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AccuWeather.com ‏@breakingweather
49 inches of snow on the ground in Sapporo, Japan today.
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Quoting Grothar:


Yes, as we saw last season. Some strange storms. By the way, I predict a very big storm for the US in early March.


welll, we know where we heard it first.. :)
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2639
Quoting charlottefl:
We've already reached our high of 59 and are on the way back down. Should be pretty cold tonight by SWFL standards, LOL. Dew point is only 26 outside.
I only made it up to 52 today just north of Tampa. Lowest dewpoint today was 17.
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(PWS)
Updated: 12:49 PM PST on February 17, 2013
Clear
69 °F
Clear
Humidity: 31%
Dew Point: 37 °F
Wind: 2 mph Variable
Wind Gust: 7.0 mph
Pressure: 29.89 in (Falling)
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 6 out of 16
Pollen: 8.40 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Clear -
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 794 ft

48.6 Low/ 70.0 High here, last nice day for a bit

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Quoting beell:


You sounded a bit more optimistic last week.

At 4 days out, I'm still watching fwiw. A 50knot LLJ, 60knots of southwesterly mid-level flow, a strong upper jet and 400-500 J/kg MLCAPE.

May see an MCS with severe potential along the southern fringe and close to the coast on Thursday into Friday.


I feel the same way about him and his changing of what he says, lol.

If TA is on, I am just prodding ya.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10480
361. beell
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

It never really looked significant to begin with.


You sounded a bit more optimistic last week.

At 4 days out, I'm still watching fwiw. A 50knot LLJ, 60knots of southwesterly mid-level flow, a strong upper jet and 400-500 J/kg MLCAPE.

May see an MCS with severe potential along the southern fringe and close to the coast on Thursday into Friday.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


That is right. There are many factors that guide a hurricane season to be active or not,not only the sst's and shear.


Yes, as we saw last season. Some strange storms. By the way, I predict a very big storm for the US in early March.
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nam-hires namer
20130217 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity hr60



by hr 60 our next sys organizes over cen tex region


next run 00z around 9 or 10 tonight
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
Quoting LargoFl:
Having grown up in NYC, i do notice why we in florida really feel this frigid temps..see up north they have months to get used to the cold, their blood thickens and their bodies adjust to the cold..do they feel it yes they do but..not like we do, see our bodies here never had the chance to adjust, we are still thinking 80 degree's..and when we step outside its in the 30's and 40's lol...our blood never gets the chance to thicken and prepare our bodies for the long cold spell..yes its COLD today..but by thursday its 80 degrees again..our bodies are freaking out LOL..it doesnt know what to adjust to...really strange


Having lived in various warm locations (TX, FL, CA) and in some seasonally colder locations (WA, OH, MD, KS) I know that for me, when I move somewhere it generally takes me one to two years to acclimate. Earlier this week, we had a lovely sunny day in Seattle that was 55F. I was working outside in a short sleeved shirt. This is in sharp contrast to when I lived in FL, where if it was below 70 I needed a sweatshirt. It's all relative, given enough time you can adapt to most weather.
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nam-hires namer
20130217 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity hr51

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Wouldnt the later years show that the ice is still decling by being under the 1979-2010 average? While the showing the 2013 line from 2000 average doesn't show in what direction the ice coverage is moving.
Should you wonder which way the ice is moving:



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nam-hires namer
20130217 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity hr42

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
THURSDAY


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Quoting Grothar:


That is as good an explanation as I have seen. New factors in tropical development are being studied all the time.


That is right. There are many factors that guide a hurricane season to be active or not thus this shows the sst's and shear as only two factors.
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nam-hires namer
20130217 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity hr39

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
nam-hires namer
20130217 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity hr36

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
nam-hires namer
20130217 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity hr33

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
We've already reached our high of 59 and are on the way back down. Should be pretty cold tonight by SWFL standards, LOL. Dew point is only 26 outside.
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nam-hires namer
20130217 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity hr30

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
nam-hires namer
20130217 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity hr27

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


LOL cold


Hey laugh all you want but the morning low was 23.

The highs are in the low 50's which is still very chilly, and hey, winds are light and moisture is nearly non-existent with full sun, so that is a cold air mass. Because light winds and extremely dry air allows significant diurnal heating.

If it was cloudy, highs might not even hit 40.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8016
Quoting Jedkins01:
Incredibly dry and cold arctic air mass over Florida. A dew point of 4!



Fair

52°F

11°C

Humidity14%
Wind SpeedVrbl 3 mph
Barometer30.30 in (1026.2 mb)
Dewpoint4°F (-16°C)
Visibility10.00 mi

Last Update on 17 Feb 2:53 pm EST

Current conditions at

Tallahassee Regional Airport (KTLH)

Lat: 30.4 Lon: -84.35 Elev: 69ft.


Total PW!



Unbelievably dry, there is nearly no moisture in the atmosphere, a polar-like air mass.


LOL cold
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Maybe levi when he can, elaborates in a more detailed way than what I am doing here about how the Gulf of Guinea is important for the North Atlantic Hurricane seasons depending on how things are in the West Sahel region in terms of being dry or wet. I gather that many people dont know a lot about the Gulf of Guinea and how it affects the tropical cyclone activity in the Tropical Atlantic. The thing is that when it turns cool,then the ITCZ lifts more northward than normal and the Sahel region moists up causing the tropical waves to be stronger as they emerge the African coast, Also, the cooling of the Gulf causes less sal events that causes the CV season to be active, again, because of the moist Sahel. In 2010, the western Sahel was very wet and that likely contributed to increased soil moisture and less dust in 2011. On the contrary,when the Gulf of Guinea warms,the effect is to cause the ITCZ to stay on average or even below normal latitudes during the summer months.Also,the West Sahel area turns drier, and also contibutes to much more sal events.

Here is a Dr Chris Landsea study about this.

Link

West Sahel rainfall index.

Link



Right now the Gulf of Guinea is warm.



That is as good an explanation as I have seen. New factors in tropical development are being studied all the time.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


I don't understand the point of this rally.
If anything it will have little effect, and will give more ammo to your opposition.



Typically extremism has a base argument point or major world issue that is valid, however, it is taken way beyond that. Also a push to somehow make you feel guilty as if by confronting the extremism makes you anti-(fill in the blank).

Furthermore, the actions taken often cause more harm than help, as you are stating.



Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8016
gonna be a cold night even for fla with freeze poss to south central areas

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


You always have the right, I was wondering what the point of exercising that right is in this situation.


So you can say to the future generations who are going to be worst affected by the climate change "At least we tried".
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Quoting Astrometeor:


Everyone here has the right to protest.

And who knows, even small things that we as humans do make big differences down the road.


You always have the right, I was wondering what the point of exercising that right is in this situation.
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Incredibly dry and cold arctic air mass over Florida. A dew point of 4!



Fair

52°F

11°C

Humidity14%
Wind SpeedVrbl 3 mph
Barometer30.30 in (1026.2 mb)
Dewpoint4°F (-16°C)
Visibility10.00 mi

Last Update on 17 Feb 2:53 pm EST

Current conditions at

Tallahassee Regional Airport (KTLH)

Lat: 30.4 Lon: -84.35 Elev: 69ft.


Total PW!



Unbelievably dry, there is nearly no moisture in the atmosphere, a polar-like air mass.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8016
afternoon all cold day today

Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 3:00 PM EST Sunday 17 February 2013
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 30.1 inches
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 2

Temperature: 12.6°F
Dewpoint: 1.8°F
Humidity: 61 %
Wind: N 13 mph
Wind Chill: -2
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56021
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


I don't understand the point of this rally.
If anything it will have little effect, and will give more ammo to your opposition.


Everyone here has the right to protest.

And who knows, even small things that we as humans do make big differences down the road.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10480
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


Can someone explain why we are still using an average from 13 years ago? Why not 1979-2010?


When doing a baseline comparison, you want the sliding average, in this case 1979-2000, to be a relatively flat line showing little variation. This gives a better comparative view when looking at specific years versus a long term mean. That being said, the NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center) are looking to revise the period to a 1979-2010 data set, but once those new numbers are added in, the loss in specific years in comparison becomes less statistically reliable. The more important thing to take from these graphs is the overall decreasing trend over time which seems to be speeding up.
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Quoting RTSplayer:


The updated average would be too heavily weighted by the most recent 10 years, which have been declining twice as fast as the previous 20. This would put the 34 average farther down on the graph. Therefore it would give the false impression that the rate of change is less than it actually is. So just keep that in mind. The average is based on the baseline of the first 21 satellite years, unless it says otherwise.

A more correct way of presenting this data is to show decadal averages, since it solves that problem without any misrepresentations or misinterpretations.

Like This:



Wouldnt the later years show that the ice is still decling by being under the 1979-2010 average? While the showing the 2013 line from 2000 average doesn't show in what direction the ice coverage is moving.
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Quoting WunderGirl12:
Thanks Dr. Masters!

Man, doing stupid stunts on my inline skates probably isn't a good idea...sprained wrist is the outcome...ouch. I'll survive though. :-D

WunderGirl12

P.S. Thank goodness I had my wrist guards on, otherwise I would have had a BROKEN wrist...
I remember when I attempted my first 'hockey stop' on inlines... i sprained my cranium (and that probably explains alot?!)
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.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


I don't understand the point of this rally.
If anything it will have little effect, and will give more ammo to your opposition.
Some people were walking past and asking questions as to what they were doing/talking about.But Washingonians are use to protest so nothing strange here.
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Quoting yonzabam:


Nea was referring to chemicals and bacteria on hands, not on meteorites.


Thanks for the clarification there yonzabam, I guess I am a little bit too inclined to proper grammar usage. The antecedent in the sentence I high-lighted was the meteorite not hands, I guess I got confused on the structure of the sentence.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10480
Doesn't this favor and El nino or it has no effect on enso?
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Quoting Astrometeor:
In reference of post 261 from Neapolitan:

Do not touch the meteorites with your bare hands, as they contain moisture, oils, and bacteria.

^Those meteorites only contain bacteria when they hit the ground, otherwise one is supposing there is life in space, which we have yet to positively confirm, therefore the bacteria do not contain any threat to human health.

Besides, for personal keep there is nothing wrong with touching a meteorite if one so chooses, however for scientific purposes they should be treated very carefully as Nea outlined beautifully.
It is your HANDS that contain moisture, oils, and bacteria, which would contaminate the meteorite, not the other way around. The reason not to touch it with bare hands is to preserve the integrity and scientific value of the meteorite, not for your safety.
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Quoting Xandra:
Live - Forward On Climate Rally & March - Washington DC



I don't understand the point of this rally.
If anything it will have little effect, and will give more ammo to your opposition.
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Quoting yonzabam:


Why not 1951-80? That's the reference period NASA uses for its global temperature anomaly data. Recent global warming only got underway in the late 70s, so the current situation, whether it be global temperature, or Arctic ocean ice area, should be viewed from that perspective.

Using recent reference periods muddies the issue, as it understates the magnitude of the current situation.


How is a larger sample size in science ever a bad thing?
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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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