Over 500 Killed in India's Monsoon Floods

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:25 PM GMT on June 21, 2013

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Earth's deadliest natural disaster so far in 2013 is the deadly flooding in India's Himalayan Uttarakhand region, where torrential monsoon rains have killed at least 556 people, with hundreds more feared dead. At least 5,000 people are missing. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, Uttarakhand received more than three times (329%) of its normal June rainfall from June 1 - 21, and rainfall was 847% of normal during the week June 13 - 19. Satellite estimates indicate that more than 20" (508 mm) or rain fell in a 7-day period from June 11 - 17 over some regions of Uttarakhand, which lies just to the west of Nepal in the Himalayas. Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand, received 14.57" (370 mm) of rain in 24 hours on June 16 - 17. This was the highest 24-hour rainfall in city history, according to an official from the India Meteorological Department. Dr. Dave Petley's Landslide Blog details that the torrential rains triggered a massive landslide that hit Uttarakhand's Hindu shrine in Kedarnath, which lies just a short distance from the snout of two mountain glaciers. The shrine is an important pilgrimage destination this time of year, and was packed with visitors celebrating the char-dham yatra: a pilgrimage to the four holy sites of Gangotri, Kedarnath, Yamnotri and Badrinath. Apparently, heavy rainfall triggered a collapse event on the mountain above Kedarnath, which turned into a debris flow downstream that struck the town. The main temple was heavily damaged, and numerous buildings in the town were demolished. It was Earth's deadliest landslide since the August 2010 Zhouqu landslide in China.

According to Aon Benfield's May Catastrophe Report, Earth's deadliest natural disasters of 2013 so far:

Winter weather, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, 1/1 - 1/20, 329 deaths
Earthquake, China, 4/20, 196 deaths
Flooding, Southern Africa, 1/10 - 2/28, 175 deaths
Flooding, Argentina, 4/2 - 4/4, 70 deaths
Flooding, Kenya, 3/10 - 4/30, 66 deaths


Figure 1. Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) arrive to rescue stranded Sikh devotees from Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara, a religious Sikh temple, to a safe place in Chamoli district, in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Monday, June 17, 2013. AP photo.


Figure 2. Satellite-estimated rainfall for the 7-day period June 11 - 17, 2013, from NASA's TRMM satellite exceeded 20 inches (508 mm) over portions of India's Uttarakhand province, leading to catastrophic floods. Image credit: NASA.

A record early arrival of the monsoon
The June 2013 monsoon rains in Uttarakhand were highly unusual, as the monsoon came to the region two weeks earlier than normal. The monsoon started in South India near the normal June 1 arrival date, but then advanced across India in unusually rapid fashion, arriving in Pakistan along the western border of India on June 16, a full month earlier than normal. This was the fastest progression of the monsoon on record. The previous record for fastest monsoon progression occurred in 1961, when all of India was under monsoon conditions by June 21. Reliable monsoon records go back to 1961, and are patchy before then. Fortunately, no more heavy rain is expected in Uttarakhand over the next few days, as the monsoon will be active only in eastern India. Heavy rains are expected again in the region beginning on June 24. Wunderblogger Lee Grenci's post, Summer Monsoon Advances Rapidly across India: Massive Flooding Ensues, has more detail on the meteorology of this year's monsoon. There is criticism from some that the devastating floods were not entirely a natural disaster--human-caused deforestation, dam building, and mining may have contributed. "Large-scale construction of dams and absence of environmental regulations has led to the floods," said Sunita Narian, director general of Delhi based advocacy group Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).


Figure 3. The summer monsoon arrived in southwest India right on schedule (June 1) in South India, but it spread northward much faster than usual, reaching Pakistan a full month earlier than normal. Solid green contours indicate the progress of the 2013 summer monsoon (each contour is labeled with a date). You can compare this year's rapid advance to a "normal" progression, which is represented by the dashed, red contours (also labeled with dates).

Monsoons in India: a primer
Disastrous monsoon floods are common in India and surrounding nations, and 60,000 people--an average of 500 people per year--died in India due to monsoon floods between 1900 - 2012, according to EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database. EM-DAT lists sixteen flood disasters which killed 1,000 or more people in India since records began in 1950. Here are the number of people killed in these events, along with the month and year of occurrence and locales affected:

4892, Jul 1968, Rajasthan, Gujara
3800, Jul 1978, North, Northeast
2001, May - Oct, 1994, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh
2000, Jul 1961, North
1811, Aug 1998, Assam, Arunachal, Bihar
1600, Aug 1980, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
1591, Jul 28, 1989, Maharashtra, Andhra Prade
1479, Sep 1995, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab
1442, Aug 1997, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal
1200, Jul 24 - Aug 5, 2005 Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
1200, Aug 1987, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal
1103, Jul 3 - Sep 22, 2007, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh
1063, Jun 11 - Jul 21, 2008 West Bengal, Orissa
1023, Jun 1971, North
1000, Sep 22 - Oct 9, 1988, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh
1000, Oct 1961

The monsoon occurs in summer, when the sun warms up land areas more strongly than ocean areas. This happens because wind and ocean turbulence mix the ocean's absorbed heat into a "mixed layer" approximately 50 meters deep, whereas on land, the sun's heat penetrates at a slow rate to a limited depth. Furthermore, due to its molecular properties, water has the ability to absorb more heat than the solid materials that make up land. As a result of this summertime differential heating of land and ocean, a low pressure region featuring rising air develops over land areas. Moisture-laden ocean winds blow towards the low pressure region and are drawn upwards once over land. The rising air expands and cools, condensing its moisture into some of the heaviest rains on Earth--the monsoon. Monsoons operate via the same principle as the familiar summer afternoon sea breeze, but on a grand scale. Each summer, monsoons affect every continent on Earth except Antarctica, and are responsible for life-giving rains that sustain the lives of billions of people. In India, home for over 1.1 billion people, the monsoon provides 80% of the annual rainfall. The most deadly flooding events usually come from monsoon depressions (also known as monsoon lows.) A monsoon depression is similar to (but larger than) a tropical depression. Both are spinning storms hundreds of kilometers in diameter with sustained winds of 50 - 55 kph (30 - 35 mph), nearly calm winds at their center, and generate very heavy rains. Typically, 6 - 7 monsoon depressions form each summer over the Bay of Bengal and track westwards across India.

The future of monsoons in India
A warming climate loads the dice in favor of heavier extreme precipitation events. This occurs because more water vapor can evaporate into a warmer atmosphere, increasing the chances of record heavy downpours. In a study published in Science in 2006, Goswami et al. found that the level of heavy rainfall activity in the monsoon over India had more than doubled in the 50 years since the 1950s, leading to an increased disaster potential from heavy flooding. Moderate and weak rain events decreased during those 50 years, leaving the total amount of rain deposited by the monsoon roughly constant. The authors commented, "These findings are in tune with model projections and some observations that indicate an increase in heavy rain events and a decrease in weak events under global warming scenarios." We should expect to see an increased number of disastrous monsoon floods in coming decades if the climate continues to warm as expected. Since the population continues to increase at a rapid rate in the region, death tolls from monsoon flooding disasters are likely to climb dramatically in coming decades. However, my greater concern for India is drought. The monsoon rains often fail during El NiƱo years, and more than 4.2 million people died in India due to droughts between 1900 - 2012. Up until the late 1960s, it was common for the failure of the monsoon rains to kill millions of people in India. The drought of 1965 - 1967 killed at least 1.5 million people. However, since the Green Revolution of the late 1960s--a government initiative to improve food self-sufficiency using new technology and high-yield grains--failure of the monsoon rains has not led to mass starvation in India. It is uncertain whether of not the Green Revolution can keep up with India's booming population, and the potential that climate change might bring more severe droughts. Climate models show a wide range of possibilities for the future of the Indian monsoon, and it is unclear at present what the future might hold. However, the fact that one of the worst droughts in India's history occurred in 2009 shows that serious droughts have to be a major concern for the future. The five worst Indian monsoons along with the rainfall deficits for the nation:

1) 1877, -33%
2) 1899, -29%
3) 1918, -25%
4) 1972, -24%
5) 2009, -22%

References
Goswami, et al., 2006, " Increasing Trend of Extreme Rain Events Over India in a Warming Environment", Science, 1 December 2006:Vol. 314. no. 5804, pp. 1442 - 1445 DOI: 10.1126/science.1132027

Wunderground's climate change blogger Dr. Ricky Rood wrote a nice 3-part series about the challenges India faces due to climate change after he completed a 2009 trip there.


Video 1. Flood waters claim a multi-story apartment building in Uttarakhand province, India, on June 17, 2013.

Historic flooding in Calgary, Alberta
Torrential rainfall on Wednesday night and Thursday has resulted in the most extensive flooding in Alberta Province, Canada in at least 8 years, with some 100,000 people facing evacuations in the city of Calgary. Wunderblogger Christopher C. Burt has a look at the disaster in his latest post. The floods are due, in part to the "stuck" jet stream pattern that brought record heat to Alaska this week.

Jeff Masters

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158. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting islander101010:
neighbors use pesticide companys to spray their lawns first good rain most of it washes off into the mosquito lagoon. i can see this being forbidden in the future.


What are they spraying for ?? Most lawn company's spray a herbicide on but haven't heard of the spraying for pests that would fall under Pest Control !
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Quoting dabirds:
Looks like it's still trying to get to you ILwthr! Wonder how we lucked into Lunt? Now just have to get him some receivers, a good back or two would help.


And a competent coach would not hurt as well...lol. He will have to sit out a year, but this year will be rough. We just have absolutely no line whatsoever.

Cliff Alexander visited Groce and company today. #4 recruit in the country according to rivals. We are one in ten on his list, most have us pegged as No. 3 currently behind MSU and Kansas, but I would not be surprised if Groce reeled him in for 2014.

I'm sitting here in Decatur, and they still have no rain in the forecast for this evening and that was updated at 3pm. Storms are grinding to a halt though, should be interesting evening for me, I'll take all the rain I can get.

I see the Cardinals are still reigning over everyone in baseball. Unreal the run they have had over the last decade or so.


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Good Afternoon,
From a Sun Sentinel article:

Does it have to be raining where you are to be hit by lightning?

No, and that's largely why lightning is so dangerous. Thunderstorms can spit lightning miles from their cores and strike victims who might be in the sun, said Jim Lushine, a retired weather service meteorologist.

Similarly, he noted that tornadoes associated with thunderstorms frequently form in dry areas, where air is rising, "while heavy rain comes where the air is sinking."

The combined Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade county area has recorded more lightning deaths than any other three contiguous counties in the United States, on average two per year. Most occur during the summer months and people ages 10-19 are struck more than any other age group, the weather service said.

Whole Story
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Strong straight winds thunderstorms in South Dakota now. GR2Analyst got widespread 60 knots winds with 70 knots in some spots. This screenshot was taken with the warnings off so you can see it more clearly.

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neighbors use pesticide companys to spray their lawns first good rain most of it washes off into the mosquito lagoon. i can see this being forbidden in the future.
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Re 131 Those girls are really dumb!
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PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR 6 TO 10 AND 8 TO 14 DAY OUTLOOKS
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK, MD
300 PM EDT FRI JUNE 21 2013


Excerpt:

MODEL GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO INDICATE TROPICAL CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE
EAST PACIFIC WHICH IS CONSISTENT WITH THE PREDICTED MJO EVOLUTION. THIS
TROPICAL CYCLONE ACTIVITY MAY INDUCE A GULF OF CALIFORNIA MOISTURE SURGE.
THEREFORE, ELEVATED ODDS FOR ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE FORECAST ACROSS
PARTS OF THE SOUTHWESTERN CONUS. A SLOW-MOVING COLD FRONT IS EXPECTED TO
PROVIDE THE FOCUS FOR WIDESPREAD CONVECTION AND INCREASE CHANCES FOR ABOVE
MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE EASTERN CONUS. THE PAST SEVERAL RUNS OF THE GFS
MODEL INDICATE A TROPICAL CYCLONE TRACKING NORTH FROM THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN.
REGARDLESS OF ANY EFFECTS FROM A TROPICAL SYSTEM, THE EASTERN CONUS IS FORECAST
TO BE QUITE WET DURING THIS PERIOD.



US HAZARDS OUTLOOK
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
300 PM EDT JUNE 21 2013


Excerpt:

THE MJO IS FORECAST TO STRENGTHEN AND BECOME MORE COHERENT ACROSS THE WESTERN
HEMISPHERE AND AFRICA, WHICH MAY ENHANCE RAINFALL IN THE SOUTHWEST. THIS
RAINFALL IS LIKELY TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ONSET OF THE NORTH AMERICAN
MONSOON. EXPECTED MJO ACTIVITY ALSO HAS THE POTENTIAL TO SUPPORT TROPICAL
CYCLONE ACTIVITY IN THE EAST PACIFIC AND PARTS OF THE ATLANTIC OCEAN.
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Horrible news in this article as well:
India flood and landslide death toll nears 600 as army steps up evacuations
Associated Press in Joshimath / The Guardian, Friday 21 June 2013 18.37 BST
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5020
Hey Ped! Tony Carey for today? KSHE had it for the Classic this a.m., MTV blast from past (when they were Music TV, should be RCTV now - reality c**p tv).
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A rotation got tight in one of SD storms, but when I tried to take a screenshot, my computer froze and I had to shut it down. Frustrating...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Just so everybody knows why I've been in chat today, I'm not. It's glitched or something.

I do have a life, haven't been there all day. :)


That's how you know you are in chat too much. It just kind of expects you to be there. :-)
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Quoting JrWeathermanFL:

I've thought about that before. It could form as a CV system, hit Costa Rica, cross the Pacific to Indonesia and go through the Indian past Sri Lanka. But what's the possibility of having all favorable conditions and a straight west track.
A 0.00000016457% chance;)
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Live TV coverage of Calgary flooding

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?playlistId=1.1335319

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Flooding Forces 100,000 From Their Homes In Calgary, Canada
by EYDER PERALTA
June 21, 2013 8:45 AM




Because of flooding that could prove historic, authorities in Calgary, Canada, have ordered 100,000 people in 22 communities across the city to evacuate their homes.

As the CBC reports, intense rain has caused flooding throughout Alberta province in Canada. More rain is expected today.
The CBC adds:

"Mudslides forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway, isolating the mountain resort towns of Banff and Canmore.
" 'The message tonight is that we are still expecting that the worst has not yet come in terms of the flow,' [Calgary Mayor Naheed] Nenshi told CBC News early Friday in a telephone interview from an emergency operations centre."
The Calgary Herald reports the flooding could rival what happened during the floods of June of 2005, which damaged 40,000 homes. The paper reports that police went door to door last night asking people in low-lying areas to leave.

The Herald says the Calgary Zoo is thinking about moving its big cats to holding cells at the Calgary Court Centre.

CTV News has dramatic video coming from smaller communities in Alberta. Residents in Black Diamond told CTV the water rose in a matter of minutes. Some were trapped inside their homes and had to be helped out on heavy equipment.

One video making the rounds online this morning comes from Bragg Creek, just west of Calgary. It shows an entire house being dragged by the swollen river until it smashes into an overpass.

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Incredible aerial view of flooding in Southern Alberta
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5020
As advertised by the GFS at least a week ago, the trades in the Central and Eastern Atlantic have died down and now a fairly significant warm-up has occurred in the Eastern MDR.



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Yes people noticing the spin off of Florida. There was a low formed there last night and it has since strengthened from a 1020 mb low to a 1017 one
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Quoting dogsgomoo:
Afternoon all.

Since flooding is on the topic list today I wanted to let y'all know what's going on up in Southern Alberta, Canada right now.


My oh my, that's severe.

And I fear our good Doc will have to get used to write new entries at least twice a day, if/as this kind of freak weather will continue ;-)
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5020
Quoting JrWeathermanFL:

I've thought about that before. It could form as a CV system, hit Costa Rica, cross the Pacific to Indonesia and go through the Indian past Sri Lanka. But what's the possibility of having all favorable conditions and a straight west track.
It will beat the record for longest cyclone in the Atlantic names.
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 18 Comments: 2211
GFS full resolution is showing strong cat.1 to a Cat.2 hurricane...
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Published on Jun 21, 2013



Calgary Flooding June 21,2013 from Scots man's hill overlooking Stampede Ground. 1 in 200 year event for the 2nd time in 7 years. The co fluency of the Elbow and Bow is a kilometre or so from here.


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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!


I've thought about that before. It could form as a CV system, hit Costa Rica, cross the Pacific to Indonesia and go through the Indian past Sri Lanka. But what's the possibility of having all favorable conditions and a straight west track.
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Quoting gbreezegirl:
Gulf Breeze here.


Navarre
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Quoting Civicane49:


Hurricane John in 1994 formed over the eastern Pacific, crossed over the Central Pacific, the western Pacific, and to the central Pacific again. It lasted a month.

Impressive.
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 18 Comments: 2211
Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!



Hurricane John in 1994 formed over the eastern Pacific, crossed over the central Pacific, the western Pacific, and to the central Pacific again. It lasted a month.

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 82 Comments: 7056
Area off the Southeast coast is interesting. Flow around the Bermuda high from the southeast and building ridge to the north is helping to induce cyclonic turning at the surface. We sometimes get a trough-split that develops into a TC where the models don't pick up on it. Shear is a bit high currently, but there is anti-cyclonic turning in the upper levels near the disturbed area. I'd watch it for a quick spin up tonight into tomorrow, especially since it's sitting over the warm Gulf Stream.

It more than likely doesn't have enough time to do anything significant, however. Just something to look at during a slow time.

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Bragg Creek Alberta Floods 6-20-2013

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Quoting luvtogolf:


Don't worry. Global Warming will grant your wish.

Seriously?
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!



Don't worry. Global Warming will grant your wish.
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Happy summer/winter and longest/shortest day of the year everyone! Daylight is 14 hours,55 minutes long for me today.
 
The GFS has now had 3 runs in a row that has brought potential Chantal up from the caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico making landfall along the northern Gulf Coast as a strong tropical storm(or in the latest run a hurricane) by early in the first week of July. Things could get interesting pretty soon. We'll have to see whether the Euro picks up on this potential storm as well.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!


I shall name the storm "Ginger"
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!


lol. It would go from the atlantic to the caribean, to the epac, to the cpac, to the wpac, to the indian ocean and it would end its journey where it started if it wasn't vaporized by the desert in Africa.
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Quoting FOREX:


Have you seen the last few GFS runs with a possible storm in the panhandle in early July? Not sure what Euro is showing.
Yes,may be like a Cindy in 2005. With the same strength.
Member Since: June 11, 2013 Posts: 18 Comments: 2211
Quoting Tornado6042008X:

It has happened once before.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Just joking it has never happened. It would be very fascinating though:)

I wood LOVE to see it happen.
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New tornado warning in South Dakota, but this look more like straight winds thunderstorms on GR2Analyst. 50 knots or more expected from this line.

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Looks like it's still trying to get to you ILwthr! Wonder how we lucked into Lunt? Now just have to get him some receivers, a good back or two would help.
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Is anyone on weather chat right now?
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!


It has happened once before.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Just joking it has never happened. It would be very fascinating though:)
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:

Messy will probably be the word today, not a favorable setup for many tornadoes, though one or two can't be ruled out. Large hail will be the main threat, along with damaging winds. A tornado watch was just issued a couple minutes ago.
I meant it was glitchy few moments ago. It's not glitchy anymore but the rotation does look messy still, although it still have green TVS.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!


So do I, like it's ever gonna happen tho.
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Quoting PanhandleChuck:
Milton
Gulf Breeze here.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!


It can track thru Indonesia going to the Indian Ocean to make landfall in Eastern Africa and that ends the worldwide travel.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!

haha You need to chose Honduras as the point of landfall,I would prefer the storm to cross the southern phillippines and cross the malay peninsula to reach the Indian ocean and making lanfall in Africa at the end of its life.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 3705
I wanna see a storm go from the Atlantic, survive the crossing into the EPAC, then go all the way through the CPAC, then get to the WPAC and finally die after making landfall somewhere there. That storm would make it around the globe and would have lasted a month!

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Hard to tell if there is a strong rotation at 0.50 degrees:



But it looks strong at 2.40 degrees:

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112. VR46L
Quoting flcanes:
Wow. If the GFS is right, then we will have Andrea, which matched arlene, Barry, which matched bret, and this 3rd storm, which will match cindy.............


Ssshhh!!!

LOL!!!

By that way of thinking the 1014mb in the atlantic would be Dorian...equal to Dennis Yikes!!!!



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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Just so everybody knows why I've been in chat today, I'm not. It's glitched or something.

I do have a life, haven't been there all day. :)
Yeah I thought it was weird that you were in chat at 4am local time,What I thought it was that you left the chat open or you didn`t disconect.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 3705


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Just so everybody knows why I've been in chat today, I'm not. It's glitched or something.

I do have a life, haven't been there all day. :)
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Quoting hurricanes2018:
DO YOU SEE A SPIN OFF THE EAST COAST HERE.



you dont need too yell
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About JeffMasters

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