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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11W UTOR MODERATE RI CYCLONE WARNING
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Quoting 987. TropicalAnalystwx13:

And I was being completely serious...we'll know after the season has ended. Until then, it's anybody's guess.


ok
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting 985. SuperStorm093:
No there will for sure be US threats, I am not saying we wont have a boring season, we might very well still have a dangerous season, but I just dont think we will have the numbers people are predicting.


Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting 983. mitchelace5:


Not trying to be bold or arrogant, just asking...

And I was being completely serious...we'll know after the season has ended. Until then, it's anybody's guess.
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Quoting 980. mitchelace5:
So I suppose no US threats this year? Not trying to be bold, just asking...

Well we have already had one US landfall (Andrea). Also, like TA said, ask again when the season is over. We just don't know how the timing will set-up.
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Quoting 980. mitchelace5:
So I suppose no US threats this year? Not trying to be bold, just asking...
No there will for sure be US threats, I am not saying we wont have a boring season, we might very well still have a dangerous season, but I just dont think we will have the numbers people are predicting.
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Quoting 981. TropicalAnalystwx13:

Ask again after the season has ended.


We had Andrea. Killed 3 people in the USA too.
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Quoting 981. TropicalAnalystwx13:

Ask again after the season has ended.


Not trying to be bold or arrogant, just asking...
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1017
Quoting 980. mitchelace5:
So I suppose no US threats this year?

Ask again after the season has ended.
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So I suppose no US threats this year? Not trying to be bold, just asking...
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting 969. MiamiHurricanes09:
I've legit spent the past half an hour looking through WP ATCF files for satellite estimates on Utor.

Nothing.
there are lacks in that basin none the less information is still getting out
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Well, I would have to look at the current conditions next year, I doubt we have another big SAL outbreak, so I would expect a more favorable atlantic, now lots of other stuff in question, but the SAL is a main contributor this year. And I am not a wishcaster like most, or downcaster, I am in reality.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Quoting 975. Camille33:

are you a downcaster!!


Seems like it to me. And I bet he will make these same predictions come next year.
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
Quoting 972. SuperStorm093:
rebuilding as I have said which will lead to less storms.

are you a downcaster!!
Member Since: July 2, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 1256
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here's our Caribbean feature again.

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Quoting 971. mitchelace5:
Guys, is it me, or is that SAL layer rebuilding?
rebuilding as I have said which will lead to less storms.
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Guys, is it me, or is that SAL layer rebuilding?
Member Since: July 27, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 501
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I've legit spent the past half an hour looking through WP ATCF files for satellite estimates on Utor.

Nothing.
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1017
Quoting 964. MississippiWx:


PINHOLE. OMG. LULZ.


I think the eye is near 10miles wide, o not necessarily pinhole like, because the intense storms n the southeastern eyewall have obscured the eye from clearing out.
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LINK

whats with that big poof over south America?
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Ah, what the heck, I'll probably do a blog on Utor over the next couple of days. Starting to get real interesting.
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Quoting 962. TropicalAnalystwx13:
I wish we had a clean ASCAT pass. Satellite intensity estimates alone suggest an intensity equivalent to a moderate Category 1 on the SSHWS.



PINHOLE. OMG. LULZ.
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Utor's eyewall has tremendous cold cloud tops on the southeastern side of the eyewall, are beginning to obscure the cyclones eye on satellite imagery, I think by tomorrow just before landfall it reaches max intensity as a category four typhoon.
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I wish we had a clean ASCAT pass. Satellite intensity estimates alone suggest an intensity equivalent to a moderate Category 1 on the SSHWS.

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48 hrs



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Quoting 955. Civicane49:
Very nice banding to the west.



See the various straitions on the south side of the storm, the outflow cirrus canopy shows tremendous outflow flow coming out of the future typhoon. I think it's near 100 knots right now by the way, structure with low level banding on the west side and a curved and of intense thunderstorms wrapping into the centers eyewall. Tremendous amount of water vapor and vorticity associated with Utor's heat engine. Just beautiful to watch, but I pray for those on Luzon.
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1017
SAB thinks T4.5/77kts.

10/0232 UTC 13.9N 129.9E T4.5/4.5 UTOR -- West Pacific
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Quoting 926. SLU:



The 588 line pretty much shows the direction the storms will go. They may have a hard time reaching the US with a setup like this.



This may sound completely insane and unbelieveable, but (just alone) Austin has dry aquifers and lakes that need 40" of rain. Over three storms. So if that 588 line is real, TX will take the brunt of the long-trackers. This would be a mass climatological correction of nearly a biblical order.
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Very nice banding to the west.

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Quoting 745. unknowncomic:
Since we have extra time on our hands, I chose this handle because:

1)Some of the people on this site need some comedy (if you know what I mean)--though am not a comedian by trade, mind you.
2) The comedian with a similar name from the Gong show in the 1980's was someone that made me laugh like crazy in a very dark time of my life.

Thank you for your support and carry on.


Well a few know mine is a take on a Star Wars character. I got a book when I was 20, was one of the first 'expanded universe' books called 'heir to the empire' by Timothy Zahn. It took place 5 years after Return of the Jedi. I read it over and over until the sequel came out i loved it that much. Kept my mind off some difficult things going on to boot. The character is a baddie, though not an evil baddie really. An alien who ends up in charge of the empire named Mitth-raw-nuruodo....so I put my name, Bev, into the --raw- spot and hence my handle. I already was using it for a number of things. One of my absolute fav characters in SW. Has popped up in a few other books concerning the past too. Would have LOVED that trilogy of books to have become a movie...though would never be as good as the book I suppose!

Anyway, yeah WPAC, they're surely over due for their first super. I don't trust any system to not RI there...just plain eek.

Can't believe the ULL is smack in the GOM already! Know I've not been on since 1pm my time, but thought was going to be days til it got there...heebeejeebies man

And I remember the gong show and your handle always reminds me of it! LOL My fav game show back then was Match Game! So much innuendo for a elementary aged kid hahaha
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Quoting 949. MiamiHurricanes09:
Wish we could have a proper assessment on intensity.



Some recon over there would help but there is none.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13290
Quoting 949. MiamiHurricanes09:
Wish we could have a proper assessment on intensity.



Yeah me too
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Quoting 914. Neapolitan:
The only "cycle" we're on is the one where we're adding insane amounts of fossil fuel CO2 into the atmosphere. Once coal and oil and natural gas are mostly gone, and once the CO2 they generated has stopped warming the planet many decades later, and once all the methane that was released from the oceans and the permafrost as a result of warming has converted itself to CO2 and also ceased warming the atmosphere, things will begin to cool down again. Of course, the oceans will be many meters higher than they are now, many national borders will be unrecognizable due to massive political and societal upheaval, and civilization will be vastly different than it is today. But, yes, some Arctic ice will likely eventually return.

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Quoting 946. Tropicsweatherpr:


That is the same thing that Chantal and Dorian went thruthat never allowed those storms to get stronger.


The trade winds will get weaker overall as we head towards September, but it won't be the same as Dorian and Chantal had to deal with. Different time of the year.
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Wish we could have a proper assessment on intensity.

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TS 11W.UTOR 00 hr 08/10/2013 00:00 13.60 130.50 28.32 982 29.97
HU 11W.UTOR 12 hr 08/10/2013 12:00 14.00 128.30 33.48 ??? 30.70
HU 11W.UTOR 24 hr 08/11/2013 00:00 14.90 125.80 41.20 ??? 30.33
HU 11W.UTOR 36 hr 08/11/2013 12:00 15.60 123.40 46.35 ??? 30.43
HU 11W.UTOR 48 hr 08/12/2013 00:00 16.40 121.30 46.35 ??? LAND
HU 11W.UTOR 72 hr 08/13/2013 00:00 18.20 116.10 36.05 ??? 29.38

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
Quoting 942. Envoirment:


The original track was further north. It would have had less interaction with land and a lower shear environment.

The current track will have it enter disruptive shear after it emerges from the Phillipines



Also the previous track would have meant it would have been over favourable TCHP/26C isotherm deepth for longer (due to less land interaction)





It could still push for major status before it hits the Phillipines though.


I still think it pushes for category four or five typhoon status.
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Quoting 944. TheDawnAwakening:


Actually that shows a strong ridge over the sub tropical Atlantic with a strong easterly trade wind flow south of 20n to about 70-75w.


That is the same thing that Chantal and Dorian went thru that never allowed those storms to get stronger.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13290
Quoting 937. KoritheMan:


Well, I don't know where he's going, but me and my brother are going to the French Quarter from the 23rd through 25th of this month, assuming no hurricane threats.

Come along!

No.

Trolol.
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Quoting 936. unknowncomic:
Looks like a zonal flow. They show go generally west until a weakness, say from a trough.


Actually that shows a strong ridge over the sub tropical Atlantic with a strong easterly trade wind flow south of 20n to about 70-75w.
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Quoting 939. KoritheMan:


I've explained it so much to the point where I'm sick of it. If people are too ignorant to understand something so simplistic, I suppose that's on them.


I suppose it is, I just think it's a ridiculous statement in a blog where it's about the tracking of hurricanes. We have to deal with the facts that people who love the weather realize the dangers that it brings.
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Quoting 920. Ameister12:

The initial forecast for Utor had it hitting Luzon as a strong Category 3 and had it peaking as a category 4 in the South China Sea before making landfall in China. I don't understand why they changed it so much.


The original track was further north. It would have had less interaction with land and a lower shear environment.

The current track will have it enter disruptive shear after it emerges from the Phillipines



Also the previous track would have meant it would have been over favourable TCHP/26C isotherm deepth for longer (due to less land interaction)





It could still push for major status before it hits the Phillipines though.
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Quoting 940. TheDawnAwakening:



The US doesn't need to see damage for that to be a dangerous setup, the Caribbean Sea islands have people too who could be greatly affected by hurricanes forming in the MDR.
but he was referring to the US
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Quoting 933. SuperStorm093:
Yeah to whoever said that was a dangerous setup, the US wouldnt see a lot of damage from that, storms would go south of the US into the Caribbean and mexico.



The US doesn't need to see damage for that to be a dangerous setup, the Caribbean Sea islands have people too who could be greatly affected by hurricanes forming in the MDR.
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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.