The Steering of Dorian

By: Lee Grenci , 3:54 PM GMT on July 26, 2013

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The 5 A.M. discussion from the National Hurricane Center indicated that Tropical Storm Dorian "lost organization" as it encountered southwesterly wind shear and middle- to upper-tropospheric dry air (one of the traditions I learned from the late John Hope was to never use "he" or "she" to describe a named tropical cyclone). NHC's discussion also focused on low- to middle-tropospheric winds associated with the the Atlantic subtropical high-pressure system (06Z GFS model analysis of 700-mb heights early this morning) as the primary steering currents for Tropical Storm Dorian (see the 06Z GFS model analysis of 700-mb heights and 700-mb streamlines below (larger image). At the time, Dorian was moving to the west-northwest at 17 knots.



The 06Z GFS model analysis of 700-mb heights and 700-mb streamlines on July 26, 2013. 700-mb wind speeds are color-coded in knots. Larger image. Courtesy of Penn State.

When I was a young forecaster (a long, long time ago), I typically looked at mid-tropospheric winds as a proxy for the general movement of tropical cyclones. That's because mid-tropospheric winds serve as a rough approximation for the mean airflow in the troposphere. More specifically, old timers like me looked at the winds between 700 mb and 500 mb at a radius of approximately five to seven degrees latitude from the center of the storm (one degree latitude equals 60 nautical miles). As it turns out, winds in the layer from 700 mb to 500 mb often tend to correlate best with the movement of tropical cyclones (at these radii, environmental winds are essentially unaltered by the circulation associated with the tropical cyclone).

Obviously, my approach as a young forecaster was old school. Nonetheless, my simple method had some merit. Indeed, research has shown that a deep-layer mean flow (between 1000 mb to 100 mb, for example) can be used as a tool to assess steering currents (this technique captures the spirit of my old-school approach).

Subtropical highs are not the only features that steer tropical cyclones. Indeed, mid-latitude systems (500-mb troughs, for example) can also steer tropical cyclones as they move poleward from the Tropics. At times, two tropical cyclones can steer each other, assuming that they're close enough for their circulations to interact (the Fujiwhara effect...a topic for a future blog). Finally, tropical cyclones contribute to their own steering, especially when steering currents are rather weak (the Beta effect, which is fodder for another future blog).


The variation of the steering layers for tropical cyclones with minimum central pressure. Larger image. Courtesy of CIMSS and Dr. Chris Velden.

That's all well and good, Grenci, but why did NHC specifically reference "low- to mid-tropospheric winds in their 5 A.M. discussion today? Experience gained from the careful observations of operational forecasters eventually prompted further research aimed at establishing the connection between the minimum pressure of a tropical cyclone and the corresponding depth of the steering layer. The bar graph above (larger image), which displays the minimum pressure of tropical cyclones versus the depth of their steering layers in the Atlantic basin, supports the notion that the steering layer for a tropical depression is shallower and resides lower in the troposphere. In contrast, the steering layer for strong hurricanes is much deeper. The simple physical connection for you to take away after reading my blog is that a weak tropical cyclone (like Dorian) is usually associated with a shallow vortex. Thus, the mean wind in a correspondingly shallow and low-level layer serves as the steering current. As a general rule, the deeper the vortex, the deeper the layer mean that steers the tropical cyclone.


The 09Z analysis of the streamlines designating the mean wind in the layer from 850 mb to 700 mb on July 26, 2013. Larger image. Courtesy of CIMSS.

To get a better sense for the movement of Dorian, focus your attention on the first layer on the left of the bar graph above (central pressure between 1000 mb and 1010 mb). The steering current for Dorian and other similarly weak tropical storms boils down to the mean wind between 850 mb (roughly 5000 feet) and 700 mb (10000 feet). The 09Z analysis from CIMSS (above; larger image) indicates the streamlines of the mean wind in the layer between 850 mb and 700 mb. Wind speeds are color-coded in knots.

At the other end of the spectrum, note the deep steering layers for strong tropical cyclones whose central pressures are lower than 940 mb or range from 940 mb to 949 mb.

I should point out that these results do not include the impact of the Beta effect on the movement of a tropical cyclone. Moreover, other factors such as season, latitude, easterly versus westerly environmental flow, the rates at which the intensity of tropical cyclones changes with time, etc., probably can skew these results a bit, but, as a general rule, the bar graph above will get you in the ballpark in all the ocean basins.

We've come a long way since I was a young forecaster.

Lee

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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Look what happened in Moca. A tornado.

a href="" target="_blank">Link

I think something went wrong with your image. :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17471
Quoting 665. TropicalAnalystwx13:
The CFS has an increasingly wet Atlantic over the next four weeks.

#1:



#2:



#3:



#4:


We could be setting up for a very active late August and September... the GFS and its ensembles still have a good deal of dry air for the next two weeks but beyond that things may turn favorable just in time for the peak of the season. Next couple weeks will probably require some patience though as they look pretty boring.
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Quoting 625. washingtonian115:
Byyyye Dorian.You were a waste of a good name.I'll be waiting on what Karen will do.
He is not out Washi.Until his last breath.
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675. JLPR2
Going by climatology the Eastern Pacific is about to enter its busiest month.



The Atl is still a month away from its busiest month, which is September.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
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Quoting 666. Tribucanes:



When over half your posts are defensively responding and playing the martyr it gets old real fast. Own your past selfcasting, make light of it, and move on. Are you an easy target and do you make it far worse for yourself by getting overly defensive all the time? YES! Being able to laugh at yourself is very crucial in life. If you made light of the criticism and could own at least some of it, it would stop. You do make some good observations like Dorian to go further West and South, that was right on.

why thank you
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Quoting barbamz:


Yes, Germany can get that hot. It's not so unusual, but new records may be broken in the East of our country on Sunday.
Worst heatwave occurred in 2003. I'll never forget this and I really hope it won't happen again. Now at least we are getting some thunderstorms and the atmosphere is unstable. Back then it was rock solid for many weeks without any cloud near the main land of Western Europe.

OMG! I was in Frankfurt in August 2003 on a business trip. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I expected things to be slow, with all the traditional August vacations, but it over 95 every day, and it appeared that everyone who could flee to the mountains did. All the museums were closed, most of the other public buildings were closed, almost all my favorite restaurants were closed. The place looked like a ghost town. I finally ended up at McDonalds. The good thing was there were only about three other customers, which was really a good thing, since there were only two people working. I had three days to kill and really wanted to see Minatur Wunderland in Hamburg, so I was going to take the train up there. I called before I left, and they were closed! The woman on the phone said they couldn't get enough staff to open because people were taking all their days off they had saved up and going to the mountains or the Adriatic. Then I thought I would take the train over to the beach on Piran, Slovenia. Hah! There wasn't a hotel room to be had any closer than Ljubljana, which was about 100 miles away. I finally spent the three days wandering around the parks and going to the cinema, which was open. Frankfurters aren't normally the most happy go lucky Germans I've ever met, but most of the people I saw looked half suicidal. Last trip I ever made in August to Germany. :-)
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 17471
Global Warming changes the Jet Stream,

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Quoting 603. LargoFl:
well so far it looks like the people living in south florida can breathe a sigh of relief..remember folks it was they who might have taken the first Hit from dorian...
Dorian could be an omen.
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Quoting 640. huntsvle:


How much are you buying into that?
That's why it's called a bold prediction. I'll go 40% and bank on that ULL filling in and backing southwestward. With an ULL to the south and a ridge to the north to cause good ventilation.
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Quoting 663. huntsvle:


I'm sure you didn't, but a little chuckle here and there isn't a bad thing. I've seen you crack some jokes as well. It's all in food fun. Relax. If it bothers you that much, just don't respond...the argument just occludes the blog anyway.

ok fine will do

Quoting 665. TropicalAnalystwx13:
The CFS has an increasingly wet Atlantic over the next four weeks.

#1:



#2:



#3:



#4:


now that is wet
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Quoting 662. JLPR2:


Well it's normal considering it's still July.
Now, if we hit August 20 without a decent storm then yes, the Atl would be having problems.


Look what happened in Moca. A tornado.

Link
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Quoting 642. wunderkidcayman:

your not funny


????
not funny and you have no sense or heart so look at you're self before others



When over half your posts are defensively responding and playing the martyr it gets old real fast. Own your past selfcasting, make light of it, and move on. Are you an easy target and do you make it far worse for yourself by getting overly defensive all the time? YES! Being able to laugh at yourself is very crucial in life. If you made light of the criticism and could own at least some of it, it would stop. You do make some good observations like Dorian to go further West and South, that was right on.
Member Since: April 18, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2437
The CFS has an increasingly wet Atlantic over the next four weeks.

#1:



#2:



#3:



#4:

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32870
Come on future 90L/TS Erin,you can do it.
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Quoting 658. wunderkidcayman:

I didn't join this blog for sarcasm


I'm sure you didn't, but a little chuckle here and there isn't a bad thing. I've seen you crack some jokes as well. It's all in food fun. Relax. If it bothers you that much, just don't respond...the argument just occludes the blog anyway.
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662. JLPR2
Quoting 655. CaribBoy:


The Atlantic is sure very boring and pathetic.


Well it's normal considering it's still July.
Now, if we hit August 20 without a decent storm then yes, the Atl would be having problems.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Quoting 649. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:



looks floating away to me

Jesse Ferrell ‏@Accu_Jesse 8 h
@RyanMaue @bigjoebastardi Confirmed that the melting "North Pole Webcam" in media yesterday is really 350 miles S

Link
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Calling Erin it's your turn to step up to the plate..
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time for a crown and 7 and a farewell toast for lil "D"....(if it does regenerate, i'll gladly toast that,too)
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Quoting 647. huntsvle:


WOW....when did you all get so vicious with each other. Callllmmmmm down, it's all in sarcasm.

I didn't join this blog for sarcasm
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Quoting 642. wunderkidcayman:

your not funny


????
not funny and you have no sense or heart so look at you're self before others
What the ....?!?! It was a dry humor joke man.
Siberia Heat: Did The Arctic Region Break A Heat Record?

Did the Arctic region break a heat record?

According to English-language outlet The Siberian Times, temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius, or 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit, were recorded in the Siberian city of Norilsk on July 21. The average temperature in July in the region is 13.6 C, or 56.48 F.

Weather historian Christopher C. Burt explains on the website Weather Underground that the entire Russian Arctic region has seen warm weather as of late. Burt adds that Norilsk has seen its warmest nights in recent days -- some 20.2 C, or 68.26 F -- and that wildfires have erupted in the region.
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Quoting 643. GTstormChaserCaleb:
In my CaribBoy voice, "Boring!" :P


The Atlantic is sure very boring and pathetic.
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Quoting 601. weatherlover94:
Has there ever been a storm that is forecast to die and then comes back to life before it dies ?


Many examples, but one that sticks in my mind is Hurricane Kristy in 2006 in the East Pacific, also Hurricane Cosme of 2007 in the East Pacific. Both survived against forecasts of dissipation within 12 hours, both lost all convection but then refired some again and again, with Kristy even restrengthening to a tropical storm after being one advisory away from being declared a remnant low because of having no convection. I always find it a fascinating watch when a storm fights a hostile environment.

If you are interested, read the discussions from NHC under this link here for Kristy:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2006/KRISTY.shtml ?
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That's all that matters to me!

Quoting 541. boltdwright:


Good. Means more surf in the Gulf!
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650. JLPR2
Dorian dissipating is great news for my area, just hit 14 inches for July today. I don't need more rain...

Precipitation:
To date: 14.04
Normal to date 4.63
Normal month total 5.07
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
Quoting 644. Chucktown:
An interesting tidbit from Accuweather about the North Pole webcam moving some 350 miles away !!

Link



looks floating away to me

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I forecasted this becomming a wave yesterday,which made many ignore me here. I warn people not to give up on this,it will reform in the west bahamas. The ULL Tutt axis is becomming a ridge in front of the system...it degenerated due to the low level easterlies racing the low level vort ahead of the anticyclone...it got sheared by it's own ventilation as a result.
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Quoting 642. wunderkidcayman:

your not funny


????
not funny and you have no sense or heart so look at you're self before others


WOW....when did you all get so vicious with each other. Callllmmmmm down, it's all in sarcasm.
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SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PEACHTREE CITY GA
445 PM EDT FRI JUL 26 2013

GAZ095-105-262130-
445 PM EDT FRI JUL 26 2013

...SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY FOR 50 MPH WINDS IN DOOLY AND HOUSTON
COUNTIES UNTIL 530 PM EDT...

AT 445 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A
STRONG THUNDERSTORM OVER UNADILLA...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 5 MPH.

THIS STORM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE PEA SIZED HAIL...FREQUENT
CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING AND WIND GUSTS TO 50 MPH AS IT MOVES ACROSS
DOOLY AND HOUSTON COUNTIES THROUGH 530 PM EDT. SOME LOCATIONS IN THE
PATH OF THIS STORM INCLUDE PINEHURST...UNADILLA...HENDERSON...GROVE
PARK...GROVANIA AND ELKO. HEAVY DOWNPOURS WILL CAUSE PONDING OF WATER
ON ROADWAYS.

&&

LAT...LON 3226 8392 3230 8388 3229 8385 3233 8385
3245 8373 3232 8359 3230 8361 3225 8360
3225 8362 3223 8360 3217 8382
TIME...MOT...LOC 2046Z 226DEG 5KT 3227 8380

$$
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Quoting 643. GTstormChaserCaleb:
In my CaribBoy voice, "Boring!" :P

LOLOLOLOL.
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An interesting tidbit from Accuweather about the North Pole webcam moving some 350 miles away !!

Link
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Quoting 635. 62901IL:

Bold Prediction Time:Dorian will dissapate in the next 10 hours.
In my CaribBoy voice, "Boring!" :P
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Quoting 622. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


WKC ya in a few hrs it will spin up to a c5 and beeline right for your front door


yeah right

your not funny

Quoting 624. scott39:
Dont you have a heart Kid? We dont him to suffer. Lets not be selfish and greedy. There we be plenty of other TCs in the sea...Lol.. sarcasm flag way up!

????
not funny and you have no sense or heart so look at you're self before others
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THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTH CENTRAL
AND SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS...NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHWEST LOUISIANA...
SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA...AND EAST AND NORTHEAST TEXAS.

.DAY ONE...THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT...

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT THE
REGION...WITH LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL OF ONE TO OVER TWO INCHES
POSSIBLE AT TIMES WITH THE PASSAGE OF AN UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE
AND A NEARLY STATIONARY FRONTAL BOUNDARY. ENOUGH HEATING MAY
RESULT IN MODERATE INSTABILITY THIS AFTERNOON TO ALLOW
FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS...ESPECIALLY ACROSS
PARTS OF NORTHEAST TEXAS...NORTHWEST LOUISIANA...AND SOUTHWEST
ARKANSAS. DAMAGING WINDS...HAIL...AND LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL
WILL BE THE PRIMARY THREATS. THE SEVERE THREAT EXPECTED TO
CONTINUE THROUGH THIS EVENING AS LARGE SCALE FORCING INCREASES
ALONG AND AHEAD OF A SURFACE FRONT. THE HEAVY RAINFALL AND
POTENTIAL TRAINING OF STORMS WILL RESULT IN LOCALIZED FLOODING
OF LOW LYING...POOR DRAINAGE AREAS ESPECIALLY TONIGHT ACROSS
SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS AND NORTH CENTRAL AND NORTHWEST LOUISIANA.
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Quoting 631. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Bold prediction time: Dorian will become a hurricane and pull an Andrew, not the same strength though.


How much are you buying into that?
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Quoting 608. SLU:
CaribBoyyyyyyyyy

INTERESTS IN THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS SHOULD MONITOR THE
PROGRESS OF DORIAN.


I'm praying for a BIG BIG BLOW UP TONIGHT XD

Very meager chance though :((((
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The Low east of FL NE Coast and the ULL that will affect Dorian should he live that long....



A WESTERN ATLANTIC OCEAN MIDDLE LEVEL TO UPPER LEVEL
TROUGH PASSES THROUGH 32N75W TO 28N77W. THE TROUGH SUPPORTS
A COLD FRONT THAT PASSES THROUGH 32N75W TO A 1015 MB LOW
PRESSURE CENTER THAT IS NEAR 30N75W. A TROUGH EXTENDS FROM
THE LOW CENTER TO 28N80W...ACROSS FLORIDA...TO 28N84W IN
THE GULF OF MEXICO. A SECOND SURFACE TROUGH IS ABOUT 90 NM
TO THE NORTH OF THE FIRST TROUGH...BETWEEN 79W AND 86W.
CONVECTIVE PRECIPITATION...WIDELY SCATTERED MODERATE TO
ISOLATED STRONG IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN TO THE NORTH OF 26N
BETWEEN 70W AND 79W. COMPARATIVELY DRIER AIR IN SUBSIDENCE
IN WATER VAPOR IMAGERY COVERS FLORIDA WITHIN 130 NM TO THE
NORTHWEST OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE IN FLORIDA.

A MIDDLE LEVEL TO UPPER LEVEL CYCLONIC CIRCULATION CENTER
IS NEAR 25N64W. A TROUGH EXTENDS FROM THE CYCLONIC CENTER
NORTHWARD TO 31N66W. THE TROUGH CONTINUES SOUTHWARD FROM THE
CYCLONIC CENTER TO THE MONA PASSAGE...AND TO 16N72W IN THE
CARIBBEAN SEA. CONVECTIVE PRECIPITATION...RAINSHOWERS ARE
POSSIBLE IN NORTHWESTERN PUERTO RICO...IN NORTHERN COASTAL
AREAS OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC NEAR 70W...AND IN THE
NORTHWESTERN CORNER OF HAITI. SCATTERED MODERATE TO STRONG
WITHIN 200 NM ON EITHER SIDE OF 21N66W 27N64W 32N63W
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decouple complete

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Quoting 608. SLU:
CaribBoyyyyyyyyy

INTERESTS IN THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS SHOULD MONITOR THE
PROGRESS OF DORIAN.


Monitor it for what though? I mean I suppose the Islands should make preparations...like securing all loose wind chimes and going down a few notches on the SPF necessary for a beach trip? ;-)
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Quoting 631. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Bold prediction time: Dorian will become a hurricane and pull an Andrew, not the same strength though.

Bold Prediction Time:Dorian will dissapate in the next 10 hours.
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notting going on for the next 10 days!! wow!! I am going to take a few numbers off this years with storms.. this year we will get 14 names storms this years I was going with 18 before!!
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It had a good life for being in the east/central Atlantic in July. We'll see how the next few hours go.


Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32870
I really thought Dorian would at least survive until 60W, even as a weakling. This storm started out as an overachiever and is now underachieving. Part of me is disappointed not to have something interesting to track in the Atlantic, but this is good news for the Caribbean islands.
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Bold prediction time: Dorian will become a hurricane and pull an Andrew, not the same strength though.
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Flash Flood Warning

------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
OKC097-270000-
/O.NEW.KTSA.FF.W.0031.130726T2008Z-130727T0000Z/
/00000.0.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TULSA OK
308 PM CDT FRI JUL 26 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TULSA HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
MAYES COUNTY IN NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA...

* UNTIL 700 PM CDT

* AT 304 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
THUNDERSTORMS WITH VERY HEAVY RAIN OVER THE WARNED AREA. UP TO 1.5
INCHES OF RAINFALL HAS ALREADY OCCURRED WITHIN A SHORT TIME...
WITH AN ADDITIONAL INCH OR SO POSSIBLE. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT HAS
REPORTED THAT AT LEAST ONE VEHICLE HAS BEEN WASHED OFF OF A
ROADWAY.

* RUNOFF FROM THIS EXCESSIVE RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLASH FLOODING TO
OCCUR. SOME LOCATIONS THAT COULD EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE...
PRYOR...ADAIR...CHEROKEE STATE PARK...CHOUTEAU...DISNEY...
LANGLEY...LOCUST GROVE...PENSACOLA...ROSE...SALINA...SPAVINAW AND
SPAVINAW STATE PARK.
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Quoting 625. washingtonian115:
Byyyye Dorian.You were a waste of a good name.I'll be waiting on what Karen will do.

Don't forget Ingrid :p
Member Since: February 13, 2012 Posts: 11 Comments: 3885
Quoting 616. wunderkidcayman:

yeh plenty of times


lol


the magic will soon happen
only magic is a disappearing act take one
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