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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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
more snow coming soon!!
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
510. etxwx
Wild weather kills 24 in South China

The scattered debris of a factory shows the severity of a storm that swept through Shatian township in Dongguan, Guangdong province, on Wednesday. Photo provided to China Daily

Tornado, hail, thunderstorms cause more than $210m in economic losses
Updated: 2013-03-22 01:44
By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou, Sun Li in Fuzhou and He Dan in Beijin (China Daily)

Excerpt: At least 24 people have died and four are missing after extreme weather hit five provinces in South China this week, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Thursday. Starting on Tuesday, tornados, rain and strong winds swept Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong and Guizhou provinces, and about 215,000 people evacuated for their safety, according to a notice released on the ministry's website.

By 12 am on Thursday, 1.53 million people had been affected by the disastrous weather conditions. More than 2,000 residential buildings collapsed, and 248,000 houses were damaged. About 92,900 hectares of crops were damaged, and the crops on 16,400 hectares were destroyed, it said. The economic loss is estimated at 1.31 billion yuan ($210 million).

A super tornado, accompanied by thunderstorms and hailstones, hit several townships and subdistricts in Dongguan, Guangdong, on Wednesday afternoon, killing nine people by 10 am on Thursday. The storm also left 272 people injured, 11 of them seriously, said Deng Haoquan, secretary-general of the city government at a news conference on Thursday.

More here.
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Quoting Levi32:


+ freaking 1.

At least other weather forums I've seen actually stay on the topic of meteorology. This place is full of fire-breathing political ideologues now. Half the time I don't even want to post anything given the context it would be placed in.


Hi Levi. You have mail.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


That's just called pre-season.

During the season, that all will be replaced by "The ECMWF is god!", "POOF!", "The ECMWF isn't the consensus, so I will be discounting it", and of course.. "where's the LLC!?!?"

You're such a wishcaster.
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507. wxmod
There are 4 satellite image abberations in this arctic image from today (diagonal streaks). The photo can be seen at the link below. There are a bunch of these streaks on the original image.
The bottom image shows a wider view of the arctic sea ice between Greenland and the North Pole.

http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subset s/?subset=Arctic_r04c03.2013080.terra.250m


******




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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Still to early to declare anything coming off of Africa to be a "Tropical Wave" Look for our First wave of the Season to emerge off Africa in May.
Fact: The earliest date of a Tropical Wave in the past 10 season was May 2nd.


You've been keeping count? Not bad, I can't even remember the first tropical wave last season.
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Quoting Levi32:


+ freaking 1.

At least other weather forums I've seen actually stay on the topic of meteorology. This place is full of fire-breathing political ideologues now. Half the time I don't even want to post anything given the context it would be placed in.

Yeah, I usually don't post anything aside from observations. People can then do with them what they will. I have many personal opinions about some of the conversations/arguments that occasionally erupt on the blog but I mostly keep them to myself. It just isn't worth it for me to get caught up in that stuff.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11669
Quoting Levi32:


+ freaking 1.

At least other weather forums I've seen actually stay on the topic of meteorology. This place is full of fire-breathing political ideologues now. Half the time I don't even want to post anything given the context it would be placed in.


That's just called pre-season.

During the season, that all will be replaced by "The ECMWF is god!", "POOF!", "The ECMWF isn't the consensus, so I will be discounting it", and of course.. "where's the LLC!?!?"
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503. auburn (Mod)
Quoting Doppler22:
3 things you never talk about to a group:
1. Religion
2. Politics
3. (not as much) Sports

So can we please get off this religious talk as people are free to practice any religion......

ANYWAY, i've been seeing some models give me up to 4" of snow Monday, which I would've liked a month ago but i'm getting tired of the snow now. I want Spring weather to come now


That is some great advice...
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Vertical instability is rising. The late March to mid-May timeframe is usually when we're able to see how the season will turn out in regards to this factor. If it's below average, it will probably stay below average, and vice-versa.



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I've been seeing some models give me up to 4" of snow Monday, which I would've liked a month ago but i'm getting tired of the snow now. I want Spring weather to come now
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500. etxwx
How about a newsbreak?

Photo: Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times

A heavy smog shrouded the China Central Television building in Bejing. Li Keqiang, the new prime minister, said the air pollution had made him “quite upset.”

As Pollution Worsens in China, Solutions Succumb to Infighting
By EDWARD WONG - New York Times
Published: March 21, 2013
Excerpt: BEIJING — China’s state leadership transition took place this month against an ominous backdrop. More than 13,000 dead pigs were found floating in a river that provides drinking water to Shanghai. A haze akin to volcanic fumes cloaked the capital, causing convulsive coughing and obscuring the portrait of Mao Zedong on the gate to the Forbidden City.

So severe are China’s environmental woes, especially the noxious air, that top government officials have been forced to openly acknowledge them. Fu Ying, the spokeswoman for the National People’s Congress, said she checked for smog every morning after opening her curtains, wore a face mask when it looked bad and strapped one on her daughter, too. Li Keqiang, the new prime minister, said the air pollution had made him “quite upset” and vowed to “show even greater resolve and make more vigorous efforts” to clean it up.

What the leaders neglect to say is that infighting within the government bureaucracy is one of the biggest obstacles to enacting stronger environmental policies. Even as some officials push for tighter restrictions on pollutants, state-owned enterprises — especially China’s oil and power companies — have been putting profits ahead of health in working to outflank new rules, according to government data and interviews with people involved in policy negotiations.


Complete story can be found here.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
'Tis what happens when you have a large hoard of followers :) and that's all I have to say about that(in Forest Gump's voice).

Anyway the models are laughable showing 5(and in the NAM's case) 12 inches of snow.lol.Inthink we'll see no snow at all.The ECWMF is right on the money.


i'll be in your boat this time
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting ncstorm:
Its Detox time. I got ban today behind a 15 year old calling me out for supposedly attacking another blogger. I'm going to take a break and come back near hurricane season or a major tornado outbreak. The battle was lost but the war wasnt won..And no I dont have any other handles so I wont be posing as "WilmingtonHurricane" or any other new handle. I have been here over 7 years and this was my second ban (the first ban was justified but this wasnt)

I leave the blog in capable hands..










happy to see you back nc... just don't feed what does not needs to be.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting Ameister12:
Some of the arguments people get into on this blog are so stupid. Just saying.


+ freaking 1.

At least other weather forums I've seen actually stay on the topic of meteorology. This place is full of fire-breathing political ideologues now. Half the time I don't even want to post anything given the context it would be placed in.
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life is short lighten up a little
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
Some of the arguments people get into on this blog are so stupid and pointless. Just saying.
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493. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting TomTaylor:
I'm laughing even harder now.

I hope one day humans can evolve beyond religion. There's nothing wrong with having "faith" or something to "believe in." But we must not forget those premises. You are believing, nothing more and nothing less.
Imagine
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Another day...Washi at least you just need to wait another 9 months for winter to come again and maybe you will get snow :)
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4403
Quoting allahgore:


I guess if you can't prove things you laugh?
There's nothing wrong with having "faith" or something to "believe in." But we must not forget those premises. You are believing, nothing more and nothing less.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
Quoting allahgore:


Prove that GOD is fake.
Am I the only one who laughs at these types of religious comments?
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54479
Still to early to declare anything coming off of Africa to be a "Tropical Wave" Look for our First wave of the Season to emerge off Africa in May.
Fact: The earliest date of a Tropical Wave in the past 10 season was May 2nd.
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Quoting ncstorm:
and I also want to make it clear before I leave that I wasn't making any disparaging remarks against Taz...I only called TA "Taz Jr" because Taz loves to use the phrase that "people have a life and cant be here"..I clearly bolded that part to reference what I meant.

I dont need the teen titans to justify why I got a ban..

I apologize only for disrupting the blog with non weather discussion.

I also see my original comment was removed where I did bold that part and reference why I called him Taz JR..a setup indeed..







I didn't see the comments you had a prob with...but assumed it had something to do with Taz saying things like that LOL

I don't always agree with you, but have never found you offensive in your opinion. I respect others' opinion even when I don't agree. And not like you don't contribute in general otherwise...much more than I do ;p
Member Since: October 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 855
Quoting allahgore:


I got a 4 hr ban for suggesting nea to study something. Guess you have to be in the click because i have seen him do much worse.
'Tis what happens when you have a large hoard of followers :) and that's all I have to say about that(in Forest Gump's voice).

Anyway the models are laughable showing 5(and in the NAM's case) 12 inches of snow.lol.Inthink we'll see no snow at all.The ECWMF is right on the money.
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Quoting TampaBayStormChaser:
Quoting:

451. RTSplayer 11:41 PM GMT on March 21, 2013 +0
More Islamist rocket attacks in Israel today, while Obama was there.

The most important thing Americans can do at this point is educate themselves on the evils of Islam.

------------------------------------------------- -----
Half of my family practices Islam, including my Aunt and many of my cousins, along with many close friends. They are some of the most peaceful people I know. While there is evil in Islam, there is evil in many religions. Every religious book has wonderful, peaceful passages. Those same books have violent passages. The most important thing humans can do is practice peace regardless of what religion they follow.
Many of those religious texts were written in reference to times of war between tribes. During such times, the only way to survive, from an evolutionary perspective, was to band together in groups with common beliefs and fight off invaders or protect one's family. Unfortunately, due to psychological factors and ubiquitous violence, many people still feel compelled to follow the violent verses of religious texts that were written for another time.


I'm pretty sure all the religions preach peace at their base. It's just most of them can be twisted to use them for violence etc. I think the main problem for a westerner with Islam, has more to do with the tribal attitudes of many Islamic countries, more than Islam itself. As a religion, it's not terribly different than Chrisitanity or Judaism at their core. But the tribal attitudes are more difficult for those in the west to deal with, myself included when it comes to the treatment of women. But it's not the religion itself, as Christianity at the base, treats women no better, as way back then women were nothing more than property.
It's been difficult for western countries to deal with, as the 'enemy' hasn't been another country, like in the old days when it was the USSR. But you have some hard line Islamists, from differing countries, waging a war against non-Islamists. So, easier to portray all Islamic people as being dodgy, even though the majority are not and are not much different than me or you.
but that's a problem with all the mainstream religions, their texts were written in far different time and I think, too much placed upon them as such. Christianity has been twisted through the times, but I don't think Islam as much, which makes it harder to accept in the modern world. Christianity not much better in that, but it has evolved for better or worse. I can go on as have always been fascinated by religion, but about to go to bed, so don't want to start debate or get anyone wound up. Not trying to diss anyone, just my observations!

Anyway, wild and windy here tonight! Will be good to see how a drive home this weekend is with the snowy conditions forecast in relation to my old place! Was a dodgy drive home late at night up a steep, windy road. Now, nowhere near that, so hoping won't be as scary late at night!
Member Since: October 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 855
anywho, moving right along...

this is the snowpack depth departure from normal - blues represent 16"-30" above the "normal" for this time of year



Red River Valley:

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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Model news:

The expectations have increased for the next GFS/GEFS implementation next April (2014). A semi-Lagrangian T1500 GFS (13 km) and T574 GEFS is likely, and physics/analysis changes will also be a part of the implementation. Also, keep an eye on the recently updated Canadian model; statistics for the deterministic model are looking better.


Link
Resolution is nice, but where is 4D-Var data assimilation?

How is it that every global model uses this except ours? Data assimilation is the most significant source of model error since errors amplify over time. Why is NCEP not doing anything about this?

Gosh. Friggin ncep
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477. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Advisory
TROPICAL LOW 15U
8:44 AM WST March 22 2013
=========================================

At 8:00 AM WST, Tropical Low (1000 hPa) was located near 14.1S 94.5E or 330 km southwest of Cocos Island has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The low is reported as moving west at 8 knots.

Gale Force Winds
==================
120 NM from the center in southern quadrants

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5/2.5/D0.5/24 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 14.6S 92.2E - 40 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Cyclone)
24 HRS: 15.8S 89.9E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)
48 HRS: 19.1S 86.8E - 25 knots (Tropical Low)

Additional Information
========================
The cloud pattern has been variable overnight but has started to show some improvement in convection and banding over the last few hours. The DT has slightly improved to a 2.5 using curved band analysis over several images. MET and PT are consistent with 2.5. ADT has been variable due to a fluctuation between curved band and shear pattern analyses. Final intensity is estimated at 35 knots, although these winds are expected in southern quadrants and do not wrap around the system.

Conditions for development are moderately favorable until Friday night when shear will increase. It is possible that the system will manage to wrap gales around the center during Friday, but it is considered more likely that gales will be limited to the southern quadrants.
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and I also want to make it clear before I leave that I wasn't making any disparaging remarks against Taz...I only called TA "Taz Jr" because Taz loves to use the phrase that "people have a life and cant be here"..I clearly bolded that part to reference what I meant.

I dont need the teen titans to justify why I got a ban..

I apologize only for disrupting the blog with non weather discussion.

I also see my original comment was removed where I did bold that part and reference why I called him Taz JR..a setup indeed..





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Quoting wxchaser97:

Overreacting a little much?
Age really doesn't matter in this case.
You did use an opportunity to make a comment toward Nea. Also calling TA "Taz jr" wasn't the smartest idea.
However, it will be nice when you get back from taking your break.


Wow, calling someone 'Taz jr' is pretty harsh I have to say! :P


Member Since: October 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 855
409 AussieStorm Oh My Gosh. I just heard on the radio news the Tornado in Southern NSW/Northern Victoria be called a "mini-Tornado".

Guess Oz's a lot like Texas: if PecosBill can ride it, t'ain't much a tornado on the Texas scale of things
Of course an Aussie wouldn't be able
to find anything as harmless as a rattlesnake to use as a lasso.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Its Detox time. I got ban today behind a 15 year old calling me out for supposedly attacking another blogger. I'm going to take a break and come back near hurricane season or a major tornado break. The battle was lost but the war wasnt won..An no I dont have any other handles so I wont be posing as "WilmingtonHurricane" or any other new handle. I have been here over 7 years and this was my second ban (the first ban was justified but this wasnt)

I leave the blog in capable hands..









Overreacting a little much?
Age really doesn't matter in this case.
You did use an opportunity to make a comment toward Nea. Also calling TA "Taz jr" wasn't the smartest idea.
However, it will be nice when you get back from taking your break.
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Quoting Skyepony:
The LA salt dome/corporate storage troubles keep getting deeper. The Assumption Salt dome failure (this was the one Ike spent a day centered on)..is still ongoing with buy out talks beginning for the evacuees..these people have been out of their homes more than 6 months..

Now new & this one is about 50 miles away..Sheriff Ackal says Lake Peigneur Could be Worse than Assumption Sinkhole.


I believe that; Same location of the 1980 Lake Peignuer Drilling Disaster
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Its Detox time. I got ban today behind a 15 year old calling me out for supposedly attacking another blogger. I'm going to take a break and come back near hurricane season or a major tornado outbreak. The battle was lost but the war wasnt won..And no I dont have any other handles so I wont be posing as "WilmingtonHurricane" or any other new handle. I have been here over 7 years and this was my second ban (the first ban was justified but this wasnt)

I leave the blog in capable hands..








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The Red River floods fairly often, and it isn't always because of deep snowpack - this year hasn't been terribly exceptional in that regard. (edit: I take that back - it is above normal.) But even normal years, if it stays cold up in Canada while the drainage basin warms in spring, it can get ice dammed and back up all over the valley. That's why our farmland is so good :)

Quoting ScottLincoln:


The 50% chance of major flooding is being caused by anomalously high snow cover and the increased chance of the snow melting quickly due to the heavy snowpack remaining on the ground later into spring than usual. This one (potential) event is caused from those physical factors; weather, not climate change.

Now the statistics suggesting a trend upward in the frequency of major flooding over a duration of numerous years, that's a different story. There are multiple possibilities, from land use change to flood control changes to increased average snowfall from climate change.
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Quoting aspectre:
401 aspectre: "The...flood outlook for Fargo [NorthDakota] and...Moorhead [Minnesota] includes a 50 percent chance that the river would...surpass the fifth-highest crest...There's a 10 percent chance of an all-time record."
449 trunkmonkey: caused by global warming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seeing as you are so insistent, I'll concede the possibility that the southward-drooping jetstream didn't happen all by itself.


The 50% chance of major flooding is being caused by anomalously high snow cover and the increased chance of the snow melting quickly due to the heavy snowpack remaining on the ground later into spring than usual. This one (potential) event is caused from those physical factors; weather, not climate change.

Now the statistics suggesting a trend upward in the frequency of major flooding over a duration of numerous years, that's a different story. There are multiple possibilities, from land use change to flood control changes to increased average snowfall from climate change.
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Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 101 Comments: 10349
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401 aspectre: "The...flood outlook for Fargo [NorthDakota] and...Moorhead [Minnesota] includes a 50 percent chance that the river would...surpass the fifth-highest crest...There's a 10 percent chance of an all-time record."
449 trunkmonkey: caused by global warming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seeing as you are so insistent, I'll concede the possibility that the southward-drooping jetstream didn't happen all by itself.
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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.