An Active Atlantic Hurricane Season Still Predicted by NOAA, CSU, and TSR

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:07 PM GMT on August 09, 2013

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As we stand on the cusp of the peak part of hurricane season, all of the major groups that perform long-range seasonal hurricane forecasts are still calling for an active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA forecasts an above-normal and possibly very active Atlantic hurricane season in 2013, in their August 8 outlook. They give a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of an near-normal season, and 5% chance of a below-normal season. They predict a 70% chance that there will be 13 - 19 named storms, 6 - 9 hurricanes, and 3 - 5 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 120% - 190% of the median. If we take the midpoint of these numbers, NOAA is calling for 16 named storms, 7.5 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 155% of normal. This is well above the 1981 - 2010 average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Hurricane seasons during the active hurricane period 1995 - 2012 have averaged 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 151% of the median.


Figure 1. Tropical Storm Dorian on July 25, 2013, when the storm reached peak intensity--sustained winds of 60 mph. Formation of early-season tropical storms like Chantal and Dorian in June and July in the deep tropics is usually a harbinger of an active Atlantic hurricane season. Image credit: NASA.

NOAA cites five main reasons to expect an active remainder of hurricane season:

1) Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are above average in the Main Development Region (MDR) for hurricanes, from the coast of Africa to the Caribbean. As of August 9, SST were 0.4°C (0.8°F) above average.
2) Trade winds are weaker than average across the MDR, which has caused the African Monsoon to grow wetter and stronger, the amount of spin over the MDR to increase, and the amount of vertical wind shear to decrease.
3) No El Niño event is present or expected this fall.
4) There have been two early-season tropical storms in the deep tropics (Tropical Storms Chantal and Dorian), which is generally a harbinger of an above-normal season.
5) We are in an active hurricane period that began in 1995.

Colorado State predicts a much above-average hurricane season
A much above-average Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2013, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued August 2 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 18 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 142. The forecast calls for an above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (40% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (40% chance, 30% chance is average). The risk of a major hurricane in the Caribbean is also above average, at 53% (42% is average.)

Analogue years
The CSU team picked five previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar to what we are seeing this year: cool neutral ENSO conditions and slightly above-average tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Those five years were 2008, a very active year with 16 named storms and 4 major hurricanes--Gustav, Ike, Paloma, and Omar; 2007, an active year with 15 named storms and two Category 5 storms--Dean and Felix; 1996, an above average year with 13 named storms and 6 major hurricanes--Edouard, Hortense, Fran, Bertha, Isidore, and Lili; 1966, an average year with 11 named storms and 3 major hurricanes--Inez, Alma, and Faith; and 1952, a below average year with 7 named storms and 3 major hurricanes. The average activity during these five analogue years was 12.4 named storms, 7.2 hurricanes, and 3.8 major hurricanes.

TSR predicts an above-average hurricane season: 14.8 named storms
The August 6 forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season made by British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR) calls for an active season with 14.8 named storms, 6.9 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 121. The long-term averages for the past 63 years are 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes, and an ACE of 103. TSR rates their skill level as good for these August forecasts--47% - 59% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. TSR predicts a 58% chance that U.S. land falling activity will be above average, a 26% chance it will be near average, and a 16% chance it will be below average. They project that 4 named storms will hit the U.S., with 1.8 of these being hurricanes. The averages from the 1950-2012 climatology are 3.1 named storms and 1.4 hurricanes. They rate their skill at making these August forecasts for U.S. landfalls just 9% - 18% higher than a "no-skill" forecast made using climatology. In the Lesser Antilles Islands of the Caribbean, TSR projects 1.4 named storms, 0.6 of these being hurricanes. Climatology is 1.1 named storms and 0.5 hurricanes.

TSR's two predictors for their statistical model are the forecast July - September trade wind speed over the Caribbean and tropical North Atlantic, and the forecast August - September 2013 sea surface temperatures in the tropical North Atlantic. Their model is calling for warmer than average SSTs and near average trade winds during these periods, and both of these factors should act to increase hurricane and tropical storm activity.


Figure 2. Comparison of the percent improvement over climatology for May and August seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 1999-2009 (May) and 1998-2009 (August), using the Mean Squared Error. Image credit: Verification of 12 years of NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts, National Hurricane Center.


Figure 3. Comparison of the percent improvement in mean square error over climatology for seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 2003-2012, using the Mean Square Skill Score (MSSS). The figure shows the results using two different climatologies: a fixed 50-year (1950 - 1999) climatology, and a 2003 - 2012 climatology. Skill is poor for forecasts issued in December and April, moderate for June forecasts, and good for August forecasts. Image credit: Tropical Storm Risk, Inc.

FSU predicts an above-average hurricane season: 15 named storms
The Florida State University (FSU) Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) issued their fifth annual Atlantic hurricane season forecast on May 30, calling for a 70% probability of 12 - 17 named storms and 5 - 10 hurricanes. The mid-point forecast is for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) of 135. The scientists use a numerical atmospheric model developed at COAPS to understand seasonal predictability of hurricane activity. The model is one of only a handful of numerical models in the world being used to study seasonal hurricane activity and is different from the statistical methods used by other seasonal hurricane forecasters such as Colorado State, TSR, and PSU (NOAA uses a hybrid statistical-dynamical model technique.) The FSU forecast has been one of the best ones over the past four years:

2009 prediction: 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes. Actual: 9 named storms, 3 hurricanes
2010 prediction: 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes. Actual: 19 named storms, 12 hurricanes
2011 prediction: 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes. Actual: 19 named storms, 7 hurricanes
2012 prediction: 13 named storms, 7 hurricanes. Actual: 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes

Penn State predicts an above-average hurricane season: 16 named storms
A statistical model by Penn State's Michael Mann and alumnus Michael Kozar is calling for an active Atlantic hurricane season with 16 named storms, plus or minus 4 storms. Their prediction was made using statistics of how past hurricane seasons have behaved in response to sea surface temperatures (SSTs), the El Niño/La Niña oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and other factors. The statistic model assumes that in 2013 the May 0.87°C above average temperatures in the MDR will persist throughout hurricane season, the El Niño phase will be neutral to slightly warm, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) will be near average.

The PSU team has been making Atlantic hurricane season forecasts since 2007, and these predictions have done pretty well, except for in 2012, when an expected El Niño did not materialize:

2007 prediction: 15 named storms, Actual: 15
2009 prediction: 12.5, named storms, Actual: 9
2010 prediction: 23 named storms, Actual: 19
2011 prediction: 16 named storms, Actual: 19
2012 prediction: 10.5 named storms, Actual: 19

UK Met Office predicts a slightly above-average hurricane season: 14 named storms
The UKMET office forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, issued May 13, calls for slightly above normal activity, with 14 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and an ACE index of 130. In contrast to the statistical models relied upon by CSU, TSR, and NOAA, the UKMET model is done strictly using two dynamical global seasonal prediction systems: the Met Office GloSea5 system and ECMWF system 4. In 2012, the Met Office forecast was for 10 tropical storms and an ACE index of 90. The actual numbers were 19 named storms and an ACE index of 123.


Figure 4. Total 2013 Atlantic hurricane season activity as predicted by twelve different groups.

NOAA predicts a below-average Eastern Pacific hurricane season
NOAA's pre-season prediction for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 23, calls for a below-average season, with 11 - 16 named storms, 5 - 8 hurricanes, 1 - 4 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 60% - 105% of the median. The mid-point of these ranges gives us a forecast for 13.5 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes, and 2.5 major hurricanes, with an ACE index 82% of average. The 1981 - 2010 averages for the Eastern Pacific hurricane season are 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.

NOAA predicts a below-average Central Pacific hurricane season
NOAA's pre-season prediction for the Central Pacific hurricane season, issued on May 22, calls for a below-average season, with 1 - 3 tropical cyclones. An average season has 4 - 5 tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Hawaii is the primary land area affected by Central Pacific tropical cyclones.

West Pacific typhoon season forecast not available this year
Dr. Johnny Chan of the City University of Hong Kong usually issues a seasonal forecast of typhoon season in the Western Pacific, but did not do so in 2012 or 2013. An average typhoon season has 27 named storms and 17 typhoons. Typhoon seasons immediately following a La Niña year typically see higher levels of activity in the South China Sea, especially between months of May and July. Also, the jet stream tends to dip farther south than usual to the south of Japan, helping steer more tropical cyclones towards Japan and Korea.

Quiet in the Atlantic this weekend
There are no Atlantic threat areas to discuss today, and none of the reliable models for tropical cyclone formation is predicting development during the coming seven days. However, there are some indications that the atmosphere over the tropical Atlantic will become more conducive for tropical storm formation beginning around August 15. The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a pattern of increased thunderstorm activity near the Equator that moves around the globe in 30 - 60 days, may move into the Atlantic then, increasing tropical storm formation odds. At the same time, the computer models are indicating an increase in moisture over the tropical Atlantic, due to a series of tropical waves expected to push off of the coast of Africa. There will also be several eastward-moving Convectively-Coupled Kelvin Waves (CCKWs) traversing the Atlantic during that period. These atmospheric disturbances have a great deal of upward-moving air, which helps strengthen the updrafts of tropical disturbances. Formation of the Eastern Pacific's Hurricane Gil and Henriette were aided by CCKWs. These same CCKWs will cross into the Atlantic and increase the odds of tropical storm formation during the period August 15 - 20.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 1879. Grothar:


Naga should win this one. Anyone who can spell existential deserves a little recognition.
Aren't you setting the bar a bit low?
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1889. yqt1001
Quoting 1875. MAweatherboy1:
Sunrise in the West-Pac:



Nice to see the major TC drought coming to an end
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850mb vorticity off Cape Verde

Is Atlantic waking up?
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Quoting 1885. Grothar:


I didn't join until 2009, but I had been on here since 2005. I was afraid to actually write on the blog because someone might yell at me and start an argument. Fortunately that has never happened. Everyone has been so nice. I think Katrina was my first one.


Charley back in 04 was my first, but with me being 13 at the time, I wasn't allowed (parents) to make an account, but I could read all I wanted. I joined in 2006.
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Doc's blog says game on starting around the 15th.

Will the dry air clear out by then?
Sure looks lively in Central Africa right now.

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1885. Grothar
Quoting 1876. CybrTeddy:


Anyone with a user date that predates 2010 I'd imagine.


I didn't join until 2009, but I had been on here since 2005. I was afraid to actually write on the blog because someone might yell at me and start an argument. Fortunately that has never happened. Everyone has been so nice. I think Katrina was my first one.
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1884. nigel20
Quoting 1877. java162:



Dominica

Great island, most of Dominica is like the Blue Mountains here in Jamaica...very lush and green.

Has it been dry in Dominica? It has been very dry across the Caribbean for most of July.
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Wally called it a weak tropical wave in the Marine Weather Discussion


VERY WEAK TROPICAL WAVE ALONG 62W MOVE W THROUGH WED WITH NO SIGNIFICANT SUSTAINED WIND OR SEA HEIGHT IMPACT...BUT SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MODERATE CONVECTION WHICH MAY BRIEFLY PRODUCE GUSTY WINDS AND ROUGH SEAS.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11346
1882. beell
Quoting 1868. Levi32:


It's a very low-amplitude, long wavelength wave, but it's there. It may not be called a tropical wave if it did not originate in Africa, but that doesn't mean it can't be a wave of some other kind. The convection appears stationary because it's getting heavily sheared at the moment and is clinging to the divergent flank of the TUTT.



Which is kinda where the discussion started in regards to an "easterly wave".

AN UPPER LEVEL LOW IS CENTERED NE OF THE
LEEWARD ISLANDS NEAR 18N59W. PRIMARILY NW WINDS ALOFT DOMINATE E
OF 70W WITH THE BASE OF THE TROUGH LOCATED OVER THE WINDWARD
ISLANDS NEAR 12N61W. WHILE LOW-LEVEL MOISTURE CONVERGENCE IS
GENERATING ISOLATED SHOWERS AND TSTMS BETWEEN 62W-70W...THE
MIDDLE TO UPPER LEVEL DYNAMICS BECOME STRONGER E OF 62W AND ARE
GENERATING SCATTERED SHOWERS AND TSTMS 11N-17N BETWEEN 53W-62W.
MOST OF THE STRONGEST CONVECTION REMAINS DIRECTLY EAST OF SAINT
LUCIA ALONG 14N AT THIS TIME.

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Quoting 1874. MisterPerfect:


Sorry..for snapping at you wash. :(

Florida has been hit by hurricanes more than any other state. We sort of panic down here this time of year, for a reason. Its the price we pay for living in paradise, I guess. Sorry again. I'm not a hater...of people...I hate hurricanes.

I hate people that are named after hurricanes.
That Utor simply annoys me, always has and always will!!!!!
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1879. Grothar
Quoting 1866. LAbonbon:


Geez, Gro - I don't know if this is the best comment of the day, or if Naga wins for his 'blog is having an existential crisis'


Naga should win this one. Anyone who can spell existential deserves a little recognition.
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1878. gator23
Quoting 1870. washingtonian115:
Until people started yelling out the insults.Did you not see that?.I forgot gators have eyes on the side of there heads.Second we (and still are) water logged from rain tropical rains will only make it worst.And you once again (like you are doing now) came at me with a stank attitude.


Florida is water logged from tropical rains and tropical rain will make it worse so of course people here woule be concerned. I believe you said "i despise people like you" pretty harsh. I never said anything like that to you
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1877. java162
Quoting 1862. nigel20:

What island are you from?



Dominica
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Quoting 1843. weatherman994:
Who here tracked the 2009 cane season.


Anyone with a user date that predates 2010 I'd imagine.
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Sunrise in the West-Pac:

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Quoting 1859. washingtonian115:
As usual everyone misses the people who are yelling out insults to me.But it's my fault right.You said the weather world kinda revolves around Florida right?.


Sorry..for snapping at you wash. :(

Florida has been hit by hurricanes more than any other state. We sort of panic down here this time of year, for a reason. Its the price we pay for living in paradise, I guess. Sorry again. I'm not a hater...of people...I hate hurricanes.
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Quoting 1834. hurricanes2018:
tropical wave lost all it rain and t.storms

dry air pocket

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Quoting 1869. GeorgiaStormz:
Just watched a summer tstorm build onto a storm to my north.

Violent updraft. Only now showing up on radar.
Interesting.


With such a strong updraft, it's likely that the precipitation wouldn't fall right away, as the updraft is strong enough to suspend the precipitation. After so much is lofted or the updraft weakens, then it begins to fall back down, allowing the radar to pick up on it.
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Wow:

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Quoting 1860. gator23:


Interesting... you got upset with me for saying the same thing about a ghost storm hitting your area last month... weren't you going to leave for a while?
Until people started yelling out the insults.Did you not see that?.I forgot gators have eyes on the side of there heads.Second we (and still are) water logged from rain tropical rains will only make it worst.And you once again (like you are doing now) came at me with a stank attitude.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17836
Just watched a summer tstorm build onto a storm to my north.

Violent updraft. Only now showing up on radar.
Interesting.
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1868. Levi32
Quoting 1819. beell:


No real SE/NE indication of a wind shift in the low level clouds-pretty much straight easterly, and the convection seems stationary. Might not be a wave.



It's a very low-amplitude, long wavelength wave, but it's there. It may not be called a tropical wave if it did not originate in Africa, but that doesn't mean it can't be a wave of some other kind. The convection appears stationary because it's getting heavily sheared at the moment and is clinging to the divergent flank of the TUTT.

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1867. gator23
Quoting 1847. stpetefla:
I, for one, LOVE living in Florida after growing up in New Jersey. Yes, we do show a lot of concern about tropical storms this time of year, but we also put up with listening about snow issues during the winter. Don't worry, Wash - your turn will come soon to be concerned about the weather. Just give us Floridians our time too.


Not to mention we had to listen to how "unprecedented" Sandy was for 6 months while Florida has already been hit by two tropical systems with no one outside of the TWC reporting it.
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Quoting 1861. Grothar:


Please stay on topic.


Geez, Gro - I don't know if this is the best comment of the day, or if Naga wins for his 'blog is having an existential crisis'
Member Since: June 26, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1914
Come on guys, relax a bit. The blog has seemed on edge all week. :)
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1864. nigel20
Quoting 1861. Grothar:


Please stay on topic.

lol!
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well y'all have been a hoot. I came on here this afternoon just thinking of lurking but found it hard to not comment.
atleast the lack of storms make it easier to keep up with the blog.
It seems like even a TD makes this blog almost impossible to keep up with anymore.

Everyone have a good night. And go Fins, Ginats, Saints, Redskinds....etc!!!
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1862. nigel20
Quoting 1857. java162:


We have had 2 inches of rain already from last night.... The radar is actually pretty clear as compared to the early hours of the morning....quite a few thunderstorms as well

What island are you from?
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1861. Grothar
Quoting 1853. nigel20:
Is the flare up of showers over the eastern Caribbean a Tropical wave or a trough? I'm not seeing such a feature on the surface chart, but there is quite a bit of rain to the west of the eastern Caribbean.




Please stay on topic.
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1860. gator23
Quoting 1794. washingtonian115:
Yeah your right.You CHOSE to move the Florida without my permission and blessing because I don't know you and your grown.The weather world doesn't revolve around Florida and because some people feel it does have a snobby attitude when outsiders like my self don't really care to discuss it because it has no relevance to me.You can live in Florida but I don't care to and never will.


Interesting... you got upset with me for saying the same thing about a ghost storm hitting your area last month... weren't you going to leave for a while?
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Quoting 1851. ricderr:
You've failed.Not from Washington state.As I said before steering pattern is in a bad position for Florida.So laugh now why it's quite in the Atlantic.If the pattern holds it will be me wishing you all the best.lol.


to wish ill of your fellow man is a sad sad state to live in
As usual everyone misses the people who are yelling out insults to me.But it's my fault right.You said the weather world kinda revolves around Florida right?.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17836
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1857. java162
Quoting 1853. nigel20:
Is the flare up of showers over the eastern Caribbean a Tropical wave or a trough? I'm not seeing such a feature on the surface chart, but there is quite a bit of rain to the west of the eastern Caribbean.




We have had 2 inches of rain already from last night.... The radar is actually pretty clear as compared to the early hours of the morning....quite a few thunderstorms as well
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Quoting 1845. washingtonian115:
You've failed.Not from Washington state.As I said before steering pattern is in a bad position for Florida.So laugh now why it's quite in the Atlantic.If the pattern holds it will be me wishing you all the best.lol.


Unlike some bloggers here, I am one of those Floridians that sees no hurricanes a blessing. I'll pop the cork when one turns out to fishland. Spend an early morning listening to the wind howl at 200mph for a few hours, it'll do it to you too. Its not very nice to wish catastrophic events on people. We down here in aligator-infested, child murdering Florida certainly don't wish any of our past disasters on anyone else. If there's ever a state of people that know how to prepare for and rebuild because of hurricanes, it is we.
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Quoting 1829. Chicklit:

...lest we forget...


It's going to dry out and go away!
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1854. ricderr
Isnt it grand that for once this is not a
"Carolinas" discussion..carry on..



nope...that's only in the political blogs LOL
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1853. nigel20
Is the flare up of showers over the eastern Caribbean a Tropical wave or a trough? I'm not seeing such a feature on the surface chart, but there is quite a bit of rain to the west of the eastern Caribbean.


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1852. Grothar
Quoting 1849. ncstorm:
Isnt it grand that for once this is not a
"Carolinas" discussion..carry on..


At least you live in a safe state.:)
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1851. ricderr
You've failed.Not from Washington state.As I said before steering pattern is in a bad position for Florida.So laugh now why it's quite in the Atlantic.If the pattern holds it will be me wishing you all the best.lol.


to wish ill of your fellow man is a sad sad state to live in
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1850. Grothar
Quoting 1846. MisterPerfect:


oh..yeah D.C. is certainly free from crime, right?


Tell that to Washi, not me. I don't live there. I was just pointing out you had her about 2500 miles from where she is. I never mentioned anything about crime.
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1849. ncstorm
Isnt it grand that for once this is not a "Carolinas" discussion..carry on..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16225
1848. ricderr
not too bad today...humidity will come tomorrow..today its just hot. miss u man

yep...a little fishing would be nice...i tell everyone i now have beach property (desert sand that is)...i'm just a thousand miles from the water

jessica is from florida herelf...so someday we'll be back
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I, for one, LOVE living in Florida after growing up in New Jersey. Yes, we do show a lot of concern about tropical storms this time of year, but we also put up with listening about snow issues during the winter. Don't worry, Wash - your turn will come soon to be concerned about the weather. Just give us Floridians our time too.
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Quoting 1842. Grothar:


I think Washi live in Washington, DC. I don't know of any volcanoes, just some hotspots in Georgetown.


oh..yeah D.C. is certainly free from crime, right?
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Quoting 1837. MisterPerfect:


sorry your state is so boring. with your bears and moose running around (mind your population still growing also) volcanoes, anarchists and what not? And its butt-cold up there. Yeah, I'd be hating Florida too if I lived next to Grizzly Adams. LOL
You've failed.Not from Washington state.As I said before steering pattern is in a bad position for Florida.So laugh now why it's quite in the Atlantic.If the pattern holds it will be me wishing you all the best.lol.


stormhawg yep glad to see you've properly introduced yourself to the blog.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17836
Quoting 1815. washingtonian115:
Lol.With your Alligators snakes running around (mind you population still growing) hurricanes child murders and what not?.Yep sure am hating.I'm off...

When one comes around (hurricanes).I'll be up in my air conditioned house chilling and watching the news while you all panic.



douchebags will be douchebags....
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Who here tracked the 2009 cane season.
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1842. Grothar
Quoting 1837. MisterPerfect:


sorry your state is so boring. with your bears and moose running around (mind your population still growing also) volcanoes, anarchists and what not? And its butt-cold up there. Yeah, I'd be hating Florida too if I lived next to Grizzly Adams. LOL


I think Washi live in Washington, DC. I don't know of any volcanoes, just some hotspots in Georgetown.
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Quoting 1838. ricderr:
Why don't they like people from Florida?

haters gonna hate



what's up my brother?.....any humidity today? LMAO


not too bad today...humidity will come tomorrow..today its just hot. miss u man
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Quoting 1817. muddertracker:


Playa's gawn play!
oh lawdie didn't we lose that game to penn state... who's more hated now the Canes or PSU?..
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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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