Massive African Dust Storm Cooling Atlantic Hurricane Odds for Early August

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:10 PM GMT on July 31, 2013

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A massive dust storm that formed over the Sahara Desert early this week has now pushed out over the tropical Atlantic, and will sharply reduce the odds of tropical storm formation during the first week of August. The dust is accompanied by a large amount of dry air, which is making the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) much drier than usual this week. June and July are the peak months for dust storms in the Southwest Sahara, and this week's dust storm is a typical one for this time of year. Due in large part to all the dry and dusty air predicted to dominate the tropical Atlantic over the next seven days, none of the reliable computer models is predicting Atlantic tropical cyclone formation during the first week of August.


Figure 1. A massive dust storm moves off the coast of Africa in this MODIS image taken at 1:40 UTC July 30, 2013. Image credit: NASA.


Video 1. The predicted movement through August 3 of this week's Africam dust storm, using the NOAA NGAC aerosol model. Image credit: NOAA Visualization Laboratory.

How dust affects hurricanes
Saharan dust can affect hurricane activity in several ways:

1) Dust acts as a shield which keeps sunlight from reaching the surface. Thus, large amounts of dust can keep the sea surface temperatures up to 1°C cooler than average in the hurricane Main Development Region (MDR) from the coast of Africa to the Caribbean, providing hurricanes with less energy to form and grow. Ocean temperatures in the MDR are currently 0.7°F above average, and this anomaly should cool this week as the dust blocks sunlight.

2) The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) is a layer of dry, dusty Saharan air that rides up over the low-level moist air over the tropical Atlantic. At the boundary between the SAL and low-level moist air where the trade winds blow is the trade wind inversion--a region of the atmosphere where the temperature increases with height. Since atmospheric temperature normally decreases with height, this "inversion" acts to but the brakes on any thunderstorms that try to punch through it. This happens because the air in a thunderstorm's updraft suddenly encounters a region where the updraft air is cooler and less buoyant than the surrounding air, and thus will not be able to keep moving upward. The dust in the SAL absorbs solar radiation, which heats the air in the trade wind inversion. This makes the inversion stronger, which inhibits the thunderstorms that power a hurricane.

3) Dust may also act to produce more clouds, but this effect needs much more study. If the dust particles are of the right size to serve as "condensation nuclei"--centers around which raindrops can form and grow--the dust can act to make more clouds. Thus, dust could potentially aid in the formation and intensification of hurricanes. However, if the dust acts to make more low-level clouds over the tropical Atlantic, this will reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the ocean, cooling the sea surface temperatures and discouraging hurricane formation (Kaufman et al., 2005.)


Figure 2. Map of the mean summer dust optical thickness derived from satellite measurements between 1979 and 2000. Maximum dust amounts originate in the northern Sahel (15° to 18° N) and the Sahara (18° to 22° N). The Bodele depression in Chad is also an active dust source. Image credit: Evidence of the control of summer atmospheric transport of African dust over the Atlantic by Sahel sources from TOMS satellites (1979-2000), by C. Moulin and I. Chiapello, published in January 2004 in Geophysical Research Letters.

Dust in Africa's Sahel region and Atlantic hurricane activity
The summertime dust that affects Atlantic tropical storms originates over the southwestern Sahara (18° - 22° N) and the northwestern Sahel (15° - 18° N) (Figure 3.) The dust from the Southwest Sahara stays relatively constant from year to year, but the dust from the Northwest Sahel varies significantly, so understanding this variation may be a key factor in improving our forecasts of seasonal hurricane activity in the Atlantic. The amount of dust that gets transported over the Atlantic depends on a mix of three main factors: the large scale and local scale weather patterns (windy weather transports more dust), how wet the current rainy season is (wet weather will wash out dust before it gets transported over the Atlantic), and how dry and drought-damaged the soil is. The level of drought experienced in the northwestern Sahel during the previous year is the key factor of the three in determining how much dust gets transported over the Atlantic during hurricane season, according to a January 2004 study published in Geophysical Research Letters published by C. Moulin and I. Chiapello. In 2012 (Figure 3), precipitation across the northwestern Sahel was much above average, which should result in less dust than usual over the Atlantic this fall, increasing the odds of a busy 2013 hurricane season.


Figure 3. Rainfall over the Northwest Sahel region of Africa was about 200% of average during the 2012 rainy season. The heavy rains promoted vigorous vegetation growth in 2013, resulting in less bare ground capable of generating dust. Image credit: NOAA/Climate Prediction Center.

The future of African dust: highly uncertain
A September 2013 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society by Joseph Prospero and Olga Mayol-Bracero, "Understanding the Transport and Impact of African Dust on the Caribbean Basin," discusses the large uncertainties on how African dust may change due to climate change. Over the past decade, there has been no clear relationship between African dust and climate indices such as rainfall in the Sahel or the El Niño/La Niña cycle, which "makes it difficult to predict how dust emissions and transport might change over the coming decades as climate changes. The problem is exacerbated by the inability of models (IPCC 2007) to agree on future rainfall trends over large areas of North Africa (including the Sahel) that are known to be major dust sources today and in the recent past."

Links
Saharan Air Layer Analysis from the University of Wisconsin

Atlantic dust forecast from the Tel-Aviv University Weather Research Center

The Saharan Air Layer (SAL) was first described in 1972, in this classic paper: Carlson, T. N., and J. M. Prospero (1972), The Large-Scale Movement of Saharan Air Outbreaks over the Northern Equatorial Atlantic, Journal of Applied Meteorology, 11(2), 283-297

Dr. Amato Evan published a study in Science magazine March 2009 showing that 69% of the increase in Atlantic sea surface temperatures over the past 26 years could be attributed to decreases in the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

Kaufman, Y. J., I. Koren, L. A. Remer, D. Rosenfeld, and Y. Rudich, 2005a: The effect of smoke, dust, and pollution aerosol on shallow cloud development over the Atlantic Ocean. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 102, 11 207–11 212.

Wang, Chunzai, Shenfu Dong, Amato T. Evan, Gregory R. Foltz, Sang-Ki Lee, 2012, Multidecadal Covariability of North Atlantic Sea Surface Temperature, African Dust, Sahel Rainfall, and Atlantic Hurricanes, J. Climate, 25, 5404–5415.
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00413.1

Jeff Masters

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1426. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40982
Quoting 1416. yoboi:



I don't think thats an eye....


wink wink ;)
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Pressure of 997MB in the Bahamas?
Link
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1423. pcola57
Good Morning All..
Sorry if this has been already posted..



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1421. yoboi
Quoting 1413. VR46L:


I couldn't cope with them giant rats , normal ones freak me out .. Don't get why someone thought it was a good idea to introduce them into Southern USA...


Alot of people I know make boudain and gumbo with them....
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Anybody need a laugh? Watch this totally G rated clip of Michael Davis at Ford's Theater performing for President Reagan. If you don't laugh, you ain't watching!
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t
Quoting 1414. SFLWeatherman:



Only 5-15kts of shear over ex-Dorian ATM, something may be trying to get going near Exuma/ Central Bahamas.
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Quoting 1378. Grothar:
This is 7 minutes long, but the everglades is facing a serious problem.


Thanks for posting that. I used to be a project manager for Everglades restoration with USACE and worked frequently with Ron. I spent a lot of times out on those tree islands and it breaks my heart to see this. As was said in the film, it's not the fact that these high-water events happen that is unnatural, it's the duration. We made some progress, but the hydrology was so altered that it won't ever be fully reversed.
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1416. yoboi
Quoting 1409. RitaEvac:


Breakfast on the sideboard is coming. And no that's an eye, and everyone in south FL should panic!



I don't think thats an eye....
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Evening all

Released today by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 3 month rainfall and temperature outlook.






100mm = 3.94in

Temperature




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1413. VR46L
Quoting 1411. yoboi:


we have them bad here in coastal louisiana....


I couldn't cope with them giant rats , normal ones freak me out .. Don't get why someone thought it was a good idea to introduce them into Southern USA...
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Honestly if Dorian can work more down to the surface, it actually maintains convection, and if its time over water is long enough....re-generation is possible but there's a bunch of IFs
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1411. yoboi
Quoting 1403. indianrivguy:


no.. the pythons prolly wish they were...


we have them bad here in coastal louisiana....
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The convection associatd with low pressure in the Bahamas has a good to decent chance at development the next 48 hours as wind shear has died down to around 5-10 knots over the system, low level convergence has increased and there is weak upper level divergence present, likely due to the presence of an upper level low promoting upper level convergence near the system.the Bahamas will continue to promote an environment capable of producing a tropical cyclone as shear is low and SSTs are warm. Also there is moisture around. The low level vorticity remains stacked with the mid level lows, so there is a good chance an inner core will develop further today. Convective processes will need to be carefully watched and there are signs there is a surface low developing further over the central Bahamas. I put chances of development at 30%.
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Quoting 1408. Grothar:
It looks like doughnut



Breakfast on the sideboard is coming. And no that's an eye, and everyone in south FL should panic!
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1408. Grothar
It looks like a doughnut

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What will it take for people to understand that Dorian has been dead for a week now? He's gone. Not coming back till another takes his place in 2019. Sure this tropical wave might get a chance at developing, but that's it. Just a chance. Erin will not come from these remnants.

^^ My two cents.
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Good Morning!

6:57 am (10:57 GMT)

Dexter casts his orbs to the east at the end of Iris Street in Lantana, Florida and wonders when the rains will come (and why is there water covering his crab hunting grounds - high tide, sorry little guy).


Finally got the rain gauge installed yesterday! Now all we need is something to put into it. July ended with a total of 8.22" for the month, which was significantly more than the total for June, but nowhere near what we got in May. Be interesting to see how the el cheapo rain gauges stack up to the pro model required for the CoCoRaHS program.



Rainlog

Also, this from Wunderground:

...Record July rainfall in Fort Lauderdale...

The total rainfall for the month of July at The Fort Lauderdale international Airport was 15.49 inches. This establishes a new record for the wettest July in the city of Fort Lauderdale. The previous record-wettest July was in 1985 when 14.02 inches of rain was recorded.
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1404. VR46L
Looks like Ex Dorrian is back on down time ... losing convection already

GOES-East 4 km IR4 Floater 2

Loop Embedded

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Quoting 1401. yoboi:


is there a nutria problem in the glades????


no.. the pythons prolly wish they were...
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1402. Grothar
Quoting 1392. 69Viking:


Doesn't look good with the remnants of Dorian about to arrive there in a day or so. I bet the invasive pythons are enjoying it.


The local news is reporting on what would happen if we get much more rain. I really don't think they are hyping this. It really is looking bad for the time being. Those pythons!!!
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1401. yoboi
Quoting 1397. Grothar:


That is very similar to what was on the local news last night. The showed the developed areas where I remember used to be everglades. When I was a kid I used to go gator-wrestling out there. Here is a picture of me getting one good. :)





is there a nutria problem in the glades????
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Last comment of the am before I check out to get some work done. With the very stable air in the Gulf, and higher wind sheer in the Central Gulf at the moment, the best chance for development of the remnants, if any, is probably over the next 48 hours, in the Bahamas or Florida Straits, unless the whole mess just moves onshore over South Florida as a rain event.

See Yall later to check.............Have a great day.
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You sure showed that gator who was boss. :D
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The 248 nm radar out of Miami is starting to show some of the ull and you can see hints of rotation. By lunch, we should be able to see a good bit of what is going on from our radars.

This is live, and should update itself;

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1397. Grothar
Quoting 1387. indianrivguy:


The original ecosystem was much wetter and did not allow birds nesting where they are now, nor the larger herds of deer and pig. If the system was still allowed to drain itself as it used to, the water would be going to tide much faster, and might not be as deep, but the current habitats simply would not exist.

Having said that, after putting millions of people on what "used" to be wetland increases the burden on the diked and levied Glades that are left. That it has been dry enough for these birds to nest and deer roam tells me how badly the water supply has been mismanaged. They are still not entirely weened from the mantra of dewater quickly is our mission.


That is very similar to what was on the local news last night. The showed the developed areas where I remember used to be everglades. When I was a kid I used to go gator-wrestling out there. Here is a picture of me getting one good. :)





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Ex-Dorian over the Bahamas may be working down to the surface. The outer cloud bands from it over the Caribbean are following a west wind, which is unusual for Cayman which usually has an east wind. This implies that Ex-Dorian over the Bahamas is slowly working down to the surface, and has quite a large/broad/circulation that extends all the way into the Caribbean. The strongest cluster of storms is over the Bahamas, and Cuba/Florida are going to get some heavy rain and gusty winds next 24-48 hours regardless of development. ULL has weakened and a surface feature is taking over. Notice also the moisture surge that was over the eastern Pacific causing all those storms there moving into the western Atlantic, causing huge areas of convection over the SW Caribbean, and without a doubt getting set to enhance ex-Dorain.
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Yes it is a shame, most of the higher and dryer habitat for these animals that was to the east, is now occupied by you know who. Stop looking at me it got much easier when they got A/C and mosquito control down here.
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Quoting 1392. 69Viking:


Doesn't look good with the remnants of Dorian about to arrive there in a day or so. I bet the invasive pythons are enjoying it.


Probably some Anacondas too slithering around the Glades.
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Mornin. Dorian just won't go away will he?
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Quoting 1378. Grothar:
This is 7 minutes long, but the everglades is facing a serious problem.



Doesn't look good with the remnants of Dorian about to arrive there in a day or so. I bet the invasive pythons are enjoying it.
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Quoting 1385. DataNerd:


Sattilite derived upper level winds indicate the ULL has been collapsing likely since yesterday and is still doing so. So this is not predominantly a baroclinic feature.

There is something going on at the surface again.


It has been baroclinic for the past 72 hours; however if the ULL backs off, or dissipates, and the t-storms persist and start to feed of of the warm sst's, possible development (or at least an invest) is not out of the question.

The real issue is where the remnants head; if they move onshore of South Florida, then it would not have time to develop. If it moves through the Florida Straits and over/near the Florida keys it would need to be really robust because there is very stable air in the Gulf right now, with no available moisture to draw from, regardless of favorable wind sheer conditions.

Basically the same thing that happened to Dorian; not a lot of moisture to draw from when it leaves the current location and surrounded by very stable air...........Might explain one of the factors NHC is looking at in blowing it off at the moment thinking, perhaps correctly, that the convection will dissipate.

You need all the right ingredients to click at the same time and the dry stable air surrounding the remnants are probably the main impediment to development.

Just my personal opinion.
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Once going to the link, click on the area of interest to get a close-up/zoomed view of X-D's remnants:Link
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ULL is breaking down and has been for the last couple of days. Still there is no lower convergence. So most of the surface low is not entirely on the surface more 500mb-850mb or mid level circulation. But if convection persist I will be much more easier to get a surface low in favorable conditions 5-10kts of shear a benefit of being stacked under a Upper low.
Member Since: May 25, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2043
Good Morning everyone, Grother appears to be correct, looks like Dorian may have one last run before making into the gulf/ Florida
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Quoting 1356. Grothar:


LOL. It really looks bad in the everglades. Many of the ground nesting fowl have their eggs under water and they are finding many animals drowned. I have seen high water there, but never like this. Can you find anything out? They now have restrictions on where the airboats can go and most of the roads have been closed.

Link


The original ecosystem was much wetter and did not allow birds nesting where they are now, nor the larger herds of deer and pig. If the system was still allowed to drain itself as it used to, the water would be going to tide much faster, and might not be as deep, but the current habitats simply would not exist.

Having said that, after putting millions of people on what "used" to be wetland increases the burden on the diked and levied Glades that are left. That it has been dry enough for these birds to nest and deer roam tells me how badly the water supply has been mismanaged. They are still not entirely weened from the mantra of dewater quickly is our mission.
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Quoting 1378. Grothar:
This is 7 minutes long, but the everglades is facing a serious problem.



I know Gro the Kissimmee River is running at extremely high levels and that water is flowing right into Lake O. Also 3" to 5" of rain fell last evening to my west in Lake County which brought many lakes in the area to flood levels.
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Quoting 1383. weathermanwannabe:
Good Morning Friends. Looks like lots of folks are keeping on the "D" remnants in the Bahamas. Here is a relevant portion of the am NHC discussion:

AN UPPER LOW IS TO THE S CENTERED OVER THE BAHAMAS NEAR 24N77W AND EXTENDS S ACROSS CUBA INTO THE W CARIBBEAN SUPPORTING A SURFACE TROUGH THAT EXTENDS FROM 26N75W TO THE COAST OF CUBA NEAR 22N77W GENERATING SCATTERED SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS FROM 22N-25N BETWEEN 74W-78W WITH CLUSTERS OF SCATTERED SHOWERS/ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS FROM 25N-28N BETWEEN 73W-77W.

That is a reference to the baroclinic nature of the ongoing convection; the ULL is dumping down cooler air from above into the warmer moist air in the trough helping to keep the convection firing.

It is a rare event to have a ULL work down to the surface, on it's own, to form a tropical cyclone; hence no model support for formation of this cluster. In this case, the ULL is meeting persistent remnants.

The cons; normally, the area of convection close to a ULL will dissipate when the ULL wins the fight and the t-storms dry out and dissipate. Further, if pressures start to drop, and the disturbance is able to survive under the ULL and keep firing convection, a depression could still form.

The pros: Something has to give, the convection or the ULL, if this area does not move much and the convection persists for another 24 hours. Alternatively, the ULL could back away and the remnants could start to blossom as they move towards South Florida or the Florida Straits.

Wind sheer (see below) is actually very low at the moment in the area where the remnants are located and sst's are favorable:

Link

I would conclude that we have to keep an eye open to the possibility of development if the ULL backs off but it could take a few days and could theoretically take place in the Easter Gulf; however, that would all depend on whether the convection can persist over the next 72 hours.

With all of the above said, and with the new NHC 5 day period, tropical storm formation is not expected for the next five days...................... :)


Sattilite derived upper level winds indicate the ULL has been collapsing likely since yesterday and is still doing so. So this is not predominantly a baroclinic feature.

There is something going on at the surface again.
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If I didn't know better the Blob in the Bahamas looks like it's getting an eye on the RGB in motion. Attention all Floridian's/ Bahamian's/ gulf alert. J/k but still watching.
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Good Morning Friends. Looks like lots of folks are keeping on the "D" remnants in the Bahamas. Here is a relevant portion of the am NHC discussion:

AN UPPER LOW IS TO THE S CENTERED OVER THE BAHAMAS NEAR 24N77W AND EXTENDS S ACROSS CUBA INTO THE W CARIBBEAN SUPPORTING A SURFACE TROUGH THAT EXTENDS FROM 26N75W TO THE COAST OF CUBA NEAR 22N77W GENERATING SCATTERED SHOWERS/THUNDERSTORMS FROM 22N-25N BETWEEN 74W-78W WITH CLUSTERS OF SCATTERED SHOWERS/ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS FROM 25N-28N BETWEEN 73W-77W.

That is a reference to the baroclinic nature of the ongoing convection; the ULL is dumping down cooler air from above into the warmer moist air in the trough helping to keep the convection firing.

It is a rare event to have a ULL work down to the surface, on it's own, to form a tropical cyclone; hence no model support for formation of this cluster. In this case, the ULL is meeting persistent remnants.

The cons; normally, the area of convection close to a ULL will dissipate when the ULL wins the fight and the t-storms dry out and dissipate. Further, if pressures start to drop, and the disturbance is able to survive under the ULL and keep firing convection, a depression could still form.

The pros: Something has to give, the convection or the ULL, if this area does not move much and the convection persists for another 24 hours. Alternatively, the ULL could back away and the remnants could start to blossom as they move towards South Florida or the Florida Straits.

Wind sheer (see below) is actually very low at the moment in the area where the remnants are located and sst's are favorable:

Link

I would conclude that we have to keep an eye open to the possibility of development if the ULL backs off but it could take a few days and could theoretically take place in the Easter Gulf; however, that would all depend on whether the convection can persist over the next 72 hours.

With all of the above said, and with the new NHC 5 day period, tropical storm formation is not expected for the next five days...................... :)
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The Masssive Texas Drought continues. I feel bad for those folks as the Texas drought just doesn't want to end.

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Quoting 1376. DataNerd:
Likely going to be on the TWO by this afternoon unless something changes:





I should note I will be in NOLA next week on business until the 11th, so should something come of this wave I may get to see it first hand

If it develops and comes ashore while I am there I will take pictures and video for you guys.


hey DN! Let's hope not but if that happens, please document it for us. Thanks
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1380. Skyepony (Mod)
Event into space in China on Thursday, 01 August, 2013 at 06:11 (06:11 AM) UTC.
Description
A meteorite hit a village in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Thursday. The meteorite crashed at a dump site in a village of Xinjing's Akto County around 2:00 a.m. Thursday and punched a 3-meter wide, 2-meter deep hole in the ground. Local authorities say no casualties have been reported and investigation and research work on the meteorite fragments is ongoing.
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No one will disagree that Dorian is/was a tough little storm. It has lasted and lasted. History may not mention it much, but Dorian will go down as a fighter.
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1378. Grothar
This is 7 minutes long, but the everglades is facing a serious problem.

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8.76" of rain in April, 6.51" in May, 16.60" in June, and 8.46" in July here on the NW side of Orlando. That's a whopping 40.33" of rain just since April 1st. Amazing!
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Likely going to be on the TWO by this afternoon unless something changes:





I should note I will be in NOLA next week on business until the 11th, so should something come of this wave I may get to see it first hand

If it develops and comes ashore while I am there I will take pictures and video for you guys.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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