An unusually quiet March for tornadoes--only 6 so far

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:37 AM GMT on March 21, 2013

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After an unusually active January for tornadoes, with approximately double the activity of a typical January, tornado activity dropped to near-normal levels in February, and virtually flat-lined during March. The five confirmed tornadoes in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama on Monday, March 18 brought the March 2013 tornado tally to just six. Monday's severe weather outbreak in the south brought hail up to the size of softballs to Jackson, MS, and damage from the hailstorm is estimated in the tens of millions.

Since 2000, the U.S. has averaged 89 tornadoes each March, so we have a long way to go to reach average. The 154 tornadoes last year in March 2012 was the fourth highest March total since records began in 1950 (record: 170 in March 2007.) Records for most and least tornadoes in a month have been set 24 times over the past 60 years. Ten of those records have been set in the past decade--six for the fewest tornadoes, and four for the most, said tornado researcher Harold Brooks last week. In addition, the three earliest starts of tornado season and the four latest have all occurred since 1997, and "We've had a dramatic increase in the variability of tornado occurrence," Brooks said. The jet stream, which plays a key role in tornado formation, has been wildly variable in recent years, leading to the large swings in tornado activity.


Figure 1. The EF-2 tornado with 120 mph winds that hit Meriwether and Pike County, Georgia on Monday, March 18, 2013 was one of just six March tornadoes in 2013. The cell labeled "3" spawned the tornado. Two other supercells are also labeled (cell #1 brought hail to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.) Thanks go to Stu Ostro of TWC for providing the image.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is highlighting only a small "Slight Risk" area for severe weather on Thursday over Northern Texas, and another "Slight RIsk" area on Saturday over the Southeast U.S. The winter-like jet stream pattern we are in is likely to be dominant for at least the next week, and perhaps into April. So, March 2013 has a shot at making the top-five list for the quietest March months on record for tornado activity. Years with fewest March tornadoes since 1950:

1) 1951: 6
2) 1969: 8
3) 1966: 12
4) 1958: 15
5) 1978: 17


Forecasting the End
We're safely past the December 21, 2012 date of the predicted Mayan Apocalypse, so its permissible to engage in a bit of "what if" speculation on how civilization on Earth might ultimately meet its doom. That's the premise of The Weather Channel's "Forecasting the End" series, which begins airing Thursday March 21 at 9 pm EDT. I'll be making appearances in six of the episodes, set to air each Thursday through mid-April. You might hear me say the phrase, "It would be a bad day on planet Earth" more than once during the shows, as the type of events being considered--an asteroid strike, super volcano eruption, gamma ray burst, encounter with a rogue planet, and massive methane expulsion event--would all do very bad things to earth's climate, making human life on Earth a tenuous proposition. The spectacular graphics should make for an enjoyable show.

New Wettest Place on Earth Discovered?
After successfully helping cast down one iconic world record--the bogus 136°F measured at El Azizia, Libya in 1922--wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera are at it again. Mr. Burt documents in his latest blog post a challenge to the world's rainiest location, which is officially Mawsynram, Meghalaya State, India, with an annual average precipitation of 11,872 mm (467.40”). It turns out that Puerto Lopez, Colombia may be even wetter.

I'll have a new post on Friday.

Jeff Masters

Sample of hail (sirenscall)
3/18/13
Sample of hail

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Quoting Neapolitan:
Much as I appreciate you and some of my other fans here comparing me to the most popular character on the 3rd most popular show on television, you should know that while I, too, speak Klingon, my vocabulary in that language is more limited than Sheldon's, so we're not all that similar. Sorry...

;-)
I don't believe it has anything to do with speaking Klingon, Sheldon. Maybe it is because you like to pretend to be superheros, on second thought that's not it. I will see if you can figure it out. I know sometimes the obvious eludes you but hey take a stab at it.



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Quoting nymore:
At the rate debt is going, we won't have a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out as they say

As long as your govt doesn't drag our economy down with it. I know where sell a s*** load of Iron Ore and Coal to China which should help keep us afloat till you guys get back on your feet.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting LargoFl:
LOOL aussie...my guess is tons of people will now get a missed payment notice..

Don't you guy make payments by the net yet? I thought you guys over there were a little more advance with techno stuff since you normally get it before us.

Anyways, I'm going to bed. Night all.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting nymore:
Come on that is the name I have used for him for a year or better now. Ah what the hell go ahead and use it, as they say if the shoe fits
Much as I appreciate you and some of my other fans here comparing me to the most popular character on the 3rd most popular show on television, you should know that while I, too, speak Klingon, my vocabulary in that language is more limited than Sheldon's, so we're not all that similar. Sorry...

;-)
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Quoting AussieStorm:

You guys can't afford to put on your world famous airshows? Dang, that's bad. Didn't a few pilot and spectators die due to accidents at airshows last year?
At the rate debt is going, we won't have a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out as they say
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Quoting Minnemike:
what's the Australian word for how you peck at Nea?
:P

That would be a Dag.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting MTWX:


He must of stepped out for a bit... but yes, he lives in that area....


O ok i was wondering because i went to college there
Member Since: February 3, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 755
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


no wonder, Aussie's time is 2:25 AM

What you mean by that Max? 02:32 to be exact
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting kwgirl:
Which way was it bound Largo? I always worry about the payments we make not getting to the destination. The money we spend replacing checks!


It was headed south :(
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Hello Sheldon.
Come on that is the name I have used for him for a year or better now. Ah what the hell go ahead and use it, as they say if the shoe fits
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Quoting AussieStorm:

You guys can't afford to put on your world famous airshows? Dang, that's bad. Didn't a few pilot and spectators die due to accidents at airshows?


Yes, it has happened from time to time. Always a tragedy for sure
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Yes I know about Toba. Also your guys have a super-volcano in you neck of the woods that is over-due. Yellowstone.


I also didn't mean from sunset to sunrise. Who is Justine Bleiber?
what's the Australian word for how you peck at Nea?
:P
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151. MTWX
Quoting AussieStorm:

Yes I know about Toba. Also you guys have a super-volcano in you neck of the woods that is over-due. Yellowstone.


Sure is! It was getting kinda worysome a few years back, when the shield started to bulge! It eventually relaxed again, but you never know when it will finally blow it's top...
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Quoting AussieStorm:

You guys can't afford to put on your world famous airshows? Dang, that's bad. Didn't a few pilot and spectators die due to accidents at airshows?


no wonder, Aussie's time is 2:25 AM
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting goosegirl1:
We are really, really lucky to be here on earth at all, when you think of all the species who were not as lucky, or clever, or adaptive, or sexy, or social as humans evolved to be.
As one of my favorite authors put it:
Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth's mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result -- eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly -- in you."

--Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Quoting FtMyersgal:


The Florida International Air show being held in Punta Gorda this week end had the Air Force cancel the performance of F-22 Raptors due to sequestration. Army still not confirming they are sending a Blackhawk helicopter to the show.

You guys can't afford to put on your world famous airshows? Dang, that's bad. Didn't a few pilot and spectators die due to accidents at airshows last year?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting goosegirl1:


Keeper beat me to the punch :)

Read about the Burgess Shale: Link

And about Toba:

We are really, really lucky to be here on earth at all, when you think of all the species who were not as lucky, or clever, or adaptive, or sexy, or social as humans evolved to be.Link

Yes I know about Toba. Also you guys have a super-volcano in your neck of the woods that is over-due. Yellowstone.

Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, my bad; I sometimes forget I'm dealing here with a few who interpret all things literally. See, when people refer to things happening "overnight", they don't generally mean "during a single period between one sunset and the following sunrise"; they mean "very quickly or suddenly". As in: "Justin Bieber was an overnight sensation", or "A solution to global warming cannot be implemented overnight".

That's what I meant, of course. My apologies for any confusion this caused you.

I also didn't mean from sunset to sunrise. Who is Justine Bleiber?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting LargoFl:
LOOL aussie...my guess is tons of people will now get a missed payment notice..
Which way was it bound Largo? I always worry about the payments we make not getting to the destination. The money we spend replacing checks!
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145. MTWX
Quoting WDEmobmet:


Are you located in Auburn/Opelika area?


He must of stepped out for a bit... but yes, he lives in that area....
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Quoting kwgirl:
According to the Commander of the base here the Military has grounded all air shows as of April 1. Blue Angels, Golden Knights and the Thunderbirds.


The Florida International Air show being held in Punta Gorda this week end had the Air Force cancel the performance of F-22 Raptors due to sequestration. Army still not confirming they are sending a Blackhawk helicopter to the show.
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Quoting goosegirl1:


Keeper beat me to the punch :)

Read about the Burgess Shale: Link

And about Toba:Link


We are really, really lucky to be here on earth at all, when you think of all the species who were not as lucky, or clever, or adaptive, or sexy, or social as humans evolved to be.
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Quoting auburn:
This is the benz after the storm this past week-end...took off the side mirrors and the headlight lenses as well..what a mess..I also have holes in the roof..some were the size of softballs..




Holy Cow... That sucks dude
Member Since: February 3, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 755


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Quoting AussieStorm:

Hello Sheldon. I mean John

If a super volcano erupted earths population wouldn't become extinct overnight. It would take months even years for that to happen.

A highly-contagious, extremely deadly pandemic wouldn't also make the world population zero overnight as it would take carriers to expose each and every country and every single person, which would be highly unlikely and if any pandemic ever did start, you'd more or less be guaranteed effected countries would be grounded to stop the spread.

I must say, I like your imagination though. Or maybe you've just watched to many movies.


Keeper beat me to the punch :)

Read about the Burgess Shale: Link

And about Toba:

We are really, really lucky to be here on earth at all, when you think of all the species who were not as lucky, or clever, or adaptive, or sexy, or social as humans evolved to be.Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Hello Sheldon. I mean John

If a super volcano erupted earths population wouldn't become extinct overnight. It would take months even years for that to happen.

A highly-contagious, extremely deadly pandemic wouldn't also make the world population zero overnight as it would take carriers to expose each and every country and every single person, which would be highly unlikely and if any pandemic ever did start, you'd more or less be guaranteed effected countries would be grounded to stop the spread.

I must say, I like your imagination though. Or maybe you've just watched to many movies.
Oh, my bad; I sometimes forget I'm dealing here with a few people who interpret all things literally. See, when people refer to things happening "overnight", they don't generally mean "during a single period between one sunset and the following sunrise"; they mean "very quickly or suddenly". As in: "Justin Bieber was an overnight sensation", or "A solution to global warming cannot be implemented overnight".

That's what I meant, of course. My apologies for any confusion my choice of wording caused you.
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Quoting auburn:


I hope this round is Hail free..I lost 2 cars and a roof in the last storm this past weekend ti hail damage..never have I seen a storm like it in all my 48 years.


Are you located in Auburn/Opelika area?
Member Since: February 3, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 755
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:






Thanks but why you post that?
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting Astrometeor:
Comets are for one, HUGE compared with asteroids in both size and energy.
Not to be argumentative, but--huh? Asteroids are solid, rocky objects with densities in the range of 3 or so grams per cubic centimeter, and the largest of these--Ceres--is nearly 600 miles in diameter. Comets, on the other hand, generally have nuclei with densities of around 0.5g cm3--hence the names "dirty snowballs" and "icy dirtballs"-- with diameters in the 2-5 mile range. Of course, comets falling inward from the Oort cloud can be moving along pretty swiftly by the time they're in our neck of the woods, but, still, both asteroids and comets tend to collide with other planetary bodies (i.e, Earth) at speeds between about 10 and 75 km/s, so an impact by an asteroid will almost always release far more energy than would an impact by a comet nucleus of the same diameter.

Having said all that: I, too, am really excited about next year's Martian approach by the comet. That may be one for the ages...
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Hello Sheldon. I mean John

If a super volcano erupted earths population wouldn't become extinct overnight. It would take months even years for that to happen.

A highly-contagious, extremely deadly pandemic wouldn't also make the world population zero overnight as it would take carriers to expose each and every country and every single person, which would be highly unlikely and if any pandemic ever did start, you'd more or less be guaranteed effected countries would be grounded to stop the spread.

I must say, I like your imagination though. Or maybe you've just watched to many movies.





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Quoting AussieStorm:

Largo, I hope it didn't contain the $1 i was sending Taz. Oh well, he'll never get it now. lol
LOOL aussie...my guess is tons of people will now get a missed payment notice..
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39309
Brad Panovich8:46 AM (edited) - Public
COLD AIR STICKING AROUND: It's the second day of spring and it just plain cold. High today will struggle to reach the mid-40s for highs, even with full sunshine. That's 20° below average for this time of the year. Then tonight it drops to a record low of 23° which would surpass the record of 24° set in 1965. We will stay in the 40s and 50s for at least the next 7-10 days. So much for spring starting. #cltwx #ncwx #scwx
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9731
a viewer sent this in to local news about that fiery crash on I-75 this morning..I-75 is still closed may be for hours yet.........................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39309
Quoting LargoFl:
important...folks in florida should now...that semi that burned this morning on I-75...was carrying Mail...

Largo, I hope it didn't contain the $1 i was sending Taz. Oh well, he'll never get it now. lol
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting Astrometeor:


No, I doubt NASA is on this, maybe the producers of TWC talked to them for some scientific info and model graphics, but if I was NASA, I would shy away from publicity like this, unless they themselves were to promote such a thing.

NASA is a governmental agency, not an entertainment group.


so TWC is going space related stuff with their own money or something... lol.

totally NOT weather related
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting AGWcreationists:
I always felt that kimchi explains why Kim Jong Il's generals kept a safe distance from him:


Maybe he has bad BO but no one is game to tell him or they might be made to disappear.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
important...folks in florida should now...that semi that burned this morning on I-75...was carrying Mail...
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 39309
Quoting RTSplayer:


Notice, many of the large "patches" have disappeared as the more advanced telescope is proving all the ridiculous lamestreams prior assertions wrong. Most of the patchiness and graininess is obviously just caused by the limitations of technology; metaphorical dust on the lense, not some profound feature of the universe.

Oh well, I had more written, but erased it.

One day people will figure this out, and I'm convinced the existing lamestream cosmology theories will be fully exposed as the joke they really are.


When the inhomogeneity of the CMBR ws first discovered, the 'standard model' predicted it would be seen at a certain level of resolution.

At that resolution, nothing was seen. They had to take it to a level of resolution ten times finer before the map showed temperature variations (or what they interpret as being temperature variations).

Nevertheless, it was hailed as 'confirmation' of the Big Bang, and everyone promptly forgot about the original prediction, and retrospectively created a new prediction which agreed with the observations.

This goes on all the time in cosmology, and they call it 'science'. The standard model also predicted that the 'expansion of the universe' ought to be decelerating. Obervations in the 80s showed that the galaxies were actualy accelerating. So, they invented a completely new force of nature, called 'dark energy' to explain this. No one knows what dark energy is, or how it exerts its effect. It's just needed to keep the Big Bang show on the road. It is an absolute scientific scandal.

If you want a better explanation for the observations, see here.

Link
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Quoting Neapolitan:

Hello Sheldon. I mean John

If a super volcano erupted earths population wouldn't become extinct overnight. It would take months even years for that to happen.

A highly-contagious, extremely deadly pandemic wouldn't also make the world population zero overnight as it would take carriers to expose each and every country and every single person, which would be highly unlikely and if any pandemic ever did start, you'd more or less be guaranteed effected countries would be grounded to stop the spread.

I must say, I like your imagination though. Or maybe you've just watched to many movies.
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15940
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


hi astro...is TWC and NASA on a business or something


No, I doubt NASA is on this, maybe the producers of TWC talked to them for some scientific info and model graphics, but if I was NASA, I would shy away from publicity like this, unless they themselves were to promote such a thing.

NASA is a governmental agency, not an entertainment group.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10349
Quoting gulfbreeze:
Enjoy there may not be but a few air shows. We hope they don't cancel our beach show in July on Pensacola Beach!WE are the home for the Blues.
According to the Commander of the base here the Military has grounded all air shows as of April 1. Blue Angels, Golden Knights and the Thunderbirds.
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Thank You Dr. Masters,
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Quoting Astrometeor:
Well, thanks Dr. Masters.

If at all possible, I would like to see TWC do something on what a comet would do to Earth. Comets are for one, HUGE compared with asteroids in both size and energy. While these types of collisions are rare, we might get to witness one next year. Just not on this planet.

Mars is in the crossfires of a comet designated C/2013 A1, meaning C for comet, 2013 is discovery year, and A1 means it was the first to be discovered this year.

Wiki page for it

I don't really like these guys perspective, they don't show the solid nucleus that is in all comets, but it is alright:

Visualization


hi astro...is TWC and NASA on a business or something
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Well, thanks Dr. Masters.

If at all possible, I would like to see TWC do something on what a comet would do to Earth. Comets are for one, HUGE compared with asteroids in both size and energy. While these types of collisions are rare, we might get to witness one next year. Just not on this planet.

Mars is in the crossfires of a comet designated C/2013 A1, meaning C for comet, 2013 is discovery year, and A1 means it was the first to be discovered this year.

Wiki page for it

I don't really like these guys perspective, they don't show the solid nucleus that is in all comets, but it is alright:

Visualization
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10349
potential for naming Virgil?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
light snow in my backyard this morning.
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Quoting Jeff Masters:
We're safely past the December 21, 2012 date of the predicted Mayan Apocalypse, so its permissible to engage in a bit of "what if" speculation on how civilization on Earth might ultimately meet its doom. That's the premise of The Weather Channel's "Forecasting the End" series, which begins airing Thursday March 21 at 9 pm EDT. I'll be making appearances in six of the episodes, set to air each Thursday through mid-April. You might hear me say the phrase, "It would be a bad day on planet Earth" more than once during the shows, as the type of events being considered--an asteroid strike, super volcano eruption, gamma ray burst, encounter with a rogue planet, and massive methane expulsion event--would all do very bad things to earth's climate, making human life on Earth a tenuous proposition. The spectacular graphics should make for an enjoyable show.
I look forward to watching the series.

Humanity's overnight disappearance from the planet due to some cataclysmic event such as those detailed in the series--a massive belch of methane, a supervolcano, an asteroid/cometary impact, a GRB--would indeed make for "a bad day on planet Earth". But it wouldn't necessarily be a bad day for planet Earth. That is, the globe would go right on spinning in our absence, revolving round and round for eons much as it did for eons before our distant ancestors crawled from the primordial sludge and began their slow evolution into what we are today.

It's human nature to forget--or ignore--the fact that we've only been here for the blink of en eye, as that let's us also ignore the fact that we could be gone just as quickly. But we truly have been hanging around this place only a very, very short time. In the well-known analogy, if all of the planet's history--from the time the crust cooled enough to solidify until now--were laid out along the length of a football field, modern humans wouldn't make an appearance until just a couple of millimeters from the goal line.

Of course, we create fictions to help us forget about that ephemeral existence. We tell ourselves that we have dominion over all; we invent gods to explain our existence, and then we invent comforting afterlives that give us the comforting power of immortality. We tell ourselves that we've been here forever, so we'll be here forever. But the truth is that far more species have gone extinct over Earth's long history than exist at this very moment. And no single species--including our own--has a greater right to the planet than any other. If circumstance and happenstance conspire to sling a massive asteroid our way, or for a passing gamma ray burst to irradiate us and blow off the planet's protective ozone layer, or for a massive underground magma plume to blow through the earth's crust, we'll be gone. Just. Like. That. And none of those lies we've told ourselves will help.

The good news: GRBs are rare (perhaps just a few every million years in a galaxy the size of the Milky Way), as are supervolcanic eruptions (once every several hundred thousand years) and ELE-capable asteroid impacts (tens of millions of years between events).

The bad news: there are lots of other ways humanity can be decimated or destroyed, not all of them natural--and most far more likely to occur than the ones mentioned in the series. A highly-contagious, extremely deadly pandemic would do a number on us. So would even a "limited" thermonuclear war. And, of course, there's the ongoing and worsening threat of climate change via fossil fuel pollution.

Despite everything we've told ourselves, all life on this planet is indeed very tenuous. It may not seem that way as we survey what we have built over the centuries, but it is. And discomforting as that is to be reminded of, keeping it in your thoughts can make you appreciate all the more the time we all have here. No?
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Quoting LargoFl:


nice sat map you got
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Just noticed these products from HGX. It's pretty incredible to see how many flood events have occurred in just the past 20 years!





Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11669
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
29.2 inches of snow have fallen in Snyder Lake, Mich. since Monday. As of today, there's a total of 62" on the ground!

but then if it's on a lake then it's all gone, unless frozen.


That would be awesome!!!

...for a day or two, then it would start to suck...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting pcola57:
Planck challenges our understanding of the Universe

UK Space Agency Report

Official ESA Video









Europes Planck satellite - a flagship mission for the UK Space Agency - has compiled the most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background (the relic radiation from the Big Bang). The new map refines our understanding of the Universes composition and evolution, and unveils new features that could challenge the foundations of our current understanding of its evolution.

For More see above Links..


Notice, many of the large "patches" have disappeared as the more advanced telescope is proving all the ridiculous lamestreams prior assertions wrong. Most of the patchiness and graininess is obviously just caused by the limitations of technology; metaphorical dust on the lense, not some profound feature of the universe.

Oh well, I had more written, but erased it.

One day people will figure this out, and I'm convinced the existing lamestream cosmology theories will be fully exposed as the joke they really are.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520

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About

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