Flash Floods Kill 3 in Colorado; Dangerous 93L Developing in Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:06 PM GMT on September 12, 2013

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Devastating flash floods swept though numerous canyons along the Front Range of Colorado's Rocky Mountains Wednesday night and Thursday morning, washing out roads, collapsing houses, and killing at least two people. The floods were triggered by widespread torrential rains of 4 - 6" that fell in less than twelve hours, thanks to a flow of extremely moist air from the southeast that pushed up against the mountains. These sort of upslope rain events are so-named because as the air flows uphill, it expands and cools, forcing the moisture in it to fall as rain. Balloon soundings from Denver last night and this morning recorded the highest levels of September moisture on record for the station. The total precipitable water (PW), which is how much water would fall at the ground if the entire amount of water vapor through the depth of the atmosphere was condensed, was 1.33" at 12Z (8 am EDT) on September 12, and 1.31" at 00Z September 12. The previous September record was 1.23", set on September 10, 1980. Balloon soundings began in 1948. Wednesday night's rainfall was heaviest near Boulder, Colorado, where a flash flood watch continues through Thursday evening. Though rainfall amounts today are not expected to be as great as on Wednesday, the soils are saturated, and additional flash flooding will occur today as an upper-level low centered over the southern Great Basin continues to pull a moist southeasterly surface flow of air across Eastern Colorado. A map of Boulder flood zones and detailed history of previous floods in the area may be found here.


Figure 1. Flooding in Boulder, Colorado on Wednesday evening, September 11, 2013. Photo posted by brandish on Instagram @photogjake.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated rainfall for the Colorado's Front Range from the September 11 - 12 flash flood event. Rainfall amounts of 6 - 8" (dark rad colors) were indicated near Boulder (circle with a "+" symbol), and confirmed by rain gauge measurements.


Video 1. Flooding in Boulder, Colorado at 36th and Colorado Street on Wednesday night, September 11, 2013.

Dangerous 93L developing in the Gulf of Mexico
A low pressure system (Invest 93L) over the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche is generating heavy rains over the Yucatan Peninsula and adjacent waters as it moves west-northwest at about 5 mph. Radar loops from Mexico show that 93L has a pronounced rotation and is developing low-level spiral bands, and there is a strong possibility that the Air Force hurricane hunter plane scheduled to investigate 93L Thursday afternoon will find that a tropical depression has formed. Satellite loops show only a modest area of heavy thunderstorms, but these are steadily growing in intensity and areal coverage. The atmosphere is unusually moist, ocean temperatures are a very warm 29 - 29.5°C (84 - 85°F), and wind shear is a moderate 10 - 15 knots. These favorable conditions for development are expected to continue through Monday, according to the latest SHIPS model forecast. The computer models predict a landfall location along the Mexican coast between Veracruz and a location a few hundred miles south of the Texas/Mexico border by early next week. The storm is expected to maintain a forward speed of about 5 mph during the coming five days, and this slow motion will potentially allow 93L enough time to intensify into a hurricane before landfall. The high levels of moisture and slow motion of 93L make it a very dangerous rainfall threat, and I expect rainfall amounts of 5 - 10 inches will affect portions of the Mexican coast between Veracruz and Brownsville, Texas over the next five days. An added danger is the presence of tropical disturbance 90E in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, on the other side of Mexico. If 93L intensifies sufficiently, it could draw in the moisture from 90E across Southern Mexico, resulting in torrential rains on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of Southern Mexico. In their 8 am EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 2-day odds of development of 60% and 5-day odds of 80%.


Figure 3. Latest satellite image of Tropical Depression Ten.

Humberto peaks in intensity
Hurricane Humberto is headed northwards over the far Eastern Atlantic, and has likely peaked in strength, with 85 mph winds. Humberto is listed in NHC's preliminary Best-Track data repository as having achieved hurricane strength at 8 am EDT on September 11, which would tie it with Hurricane Gustav of 2002 for latest appearance of the season's first hurricane since 1941. Satellite loops show that Humberto is well-organized hurricane with a distinct eye, but the storm has moved over waters cooler than 26°C, and wind shear has risen to 20 knots, which will likely cause weakening over the next few days. Humberto is not expected to be a threat to any land areas.

Gabrielle heads towards Canada
Tropical Storm Gabrielle is headed northwards to Canada after bringing 40 mph winds and just over an inch of rain to Bermuda on Tuesday night. Satellite loops show that wind shear has ripped up Gabrielle, leaving the storm with almost no heavy thunderstorms, and exposing the low level circulation to view. Wind shear is expected to rise to an extremely high 45 - 70 knots on Friday as Gabrielle encounters a trough of low pressure, which will likely destroy the storm. Gabrielle's remnants will likely bring heavy rain to the Canadian Maritime Provinces on Friday and Saturday.

Jeff Masters

After the Rain (mtnwoman67)
Lots of rain in Colorado for weeks. Last evening's setting sun gave us a great show east of us.
After the Rain

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It just seems SO close to land to me...where is the stall they are talking about??
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Quoting 542. will40:

im beginning to think they are flying a crop duster lol

L0l! they will run out of fuel before they get there at this rate :)
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Quoting 448. sar2401:

I just don't think most people understand that Colorado is really a desert. 1.23" of PW might not sound like much to those of us in the SE, where PW's of near 2.00" are normal, but the Front Range doesn't have well developed drainage systems, so it doesn't take much to cause some fast and deadly flash floods. My so went to CU for his Master's and lived there for about 10 years, and boulder has some of the worst weather in the US, with heat waves, droughts, flash floods, tornadoes, and higher winds than most place is the US that have been hit by major hurricane have experienced. I'd certainly like to hear what's happening along the front range. Unfortunately, pictures that Dr. Master chose to post of a moron in a drainage channel during a flash flood, and a bunch of college students playing in flood waters aren't helping any when it comes to any sympathy for the people who died in the floods and landslides. I wish they would be removed and have pictures of actual damage shown, not pictures of people who's bike rides were interrupted.


Great points. Another contributor to the flooding is that the ground is very hard and does not retain the water very well at all. I live just North in Cheyenne and need a pickaxe to plant a tree. A little rain here goes a long way.
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The Weather Channel ‏@weatherchannel 10 m
MT @skilling: Waterspouts have formed out over Lake Michigan off Kenosha, WI & over Winthrop, Harbor. Link
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Quoting 537. floridafisherman:



so.... does this mean I can get banned for posting a weather related topic, even if its not tropical weather? that seems pretty harsh to me....


Only post things about the tags at the footer of the blog post that Jeff Masters wrote (so right now, the tags are flooding and hurricane/tropics). :P
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B-oinnnnng'
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Quoting 538. Torito:


IKR! LMAO

im beginning to think they are flying a crop duster lol
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TRMM recently caught Humberto very well. Convection seems to be concentrated or displaced much to the northeast of the center.
Link to enlarge.
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Enough with this Fox News/CNN nonsense. There's a dangerous tropical cyclone developing in the BoC, and a hurricane that has the potential to strengthen further in a few days time into a major hurricane. Take it to another blog or go fly a kite. You had almost an entire year's worth of inactivity to discuss this.
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Product: Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15 KNHC)
Transmitted: 12th day of the month at 18:59Z
Date: September 12, 2013
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Mission Purpose: Investigate fifth suspect area (flight in the North Atlantic basin)

Mission Number: 1
Observation Number: 14

18:59:00Z 22.817N 91.767W 428.1 mb
(~ 12.64 inHg) 7,040 meters
(~ 23,097 feet) - 337 meters
(~ 1,106 feet) From 79° at 16 knots
(From between the ENE and E at ~ 18.4 mph) -13.5°C
(~ 7.7°F) -26.4°C
(~ -15.5°F) 18 knots
(~ 20.7 mph) 13 knots
(~ 14.9 mph) 0 mm/hr
(~ 0 in/hr) 11.6 knots (~ 13.3 mph)
72.2%
Time Coordinates Aircraft
Static Air Pressure Aircraft
Geopotential Height Extrapolated
Surface Pressure D-value Flight Level Wind (30 sec. Avg.) Air Temp. Dew Point Peak (10 sec. Avg.)
Flight Level Wind SFMR
Peak (10s Avg.) Sfc. Wind SFMR
Rain Rate Estimated Surface Wind (30 sec. Avg.)
Using Estimated Reduction Factor Peak Wind at Flight Level to
Est. Surface Reduction Factor

HDOB Observations

Independent Calculations from Tropical Atlantic

At 18:49:30Z (first observation), the observation was 405 miles (651 km) to the ESE (113°) from Brownsville, TX, USA.

At 18:59:00Z (last observation), the observation was 188 miles (302 km) to the NW (313°) from Mérida, Yucatán, México.
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Quoting 536. CaneHunter031472:


LOL, By the time they get there 93L will be well inland.


IKR! LMAO
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Quoting 516. whitewabit:
When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself



so.... does this mean I can get banned for posting a weather related topic, even if its not tropical weather? that seems pretty harsh to me....
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Quoting 533. HurricaneAndre:


LOL, By the time they get there 93L will be well inland.
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BTW...


IN THE LONG TERM AT THIS TIME...COMPUTER MODELS DOESN`T SHOW
ANY SIGNIFICANT WATER EVENT AFFECTING THE LOCAL AREA.


XD LOL
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Quoting 525. CaneHunter031472:


Back in the day when Columbus was trying to get funding to find a new route to the east, The science taught that the earth was flat, and the "realist" of that time in conjunction with the church would burn you alive if you argued against that.


Untrue. " Ancient Greek mathematicians had already proven that the Earth was round, not flat. Pythagoras in the sixth century B.C.E. was one of the originators of the idea. Aristotle in the fourth century B.C.E. provided the physical evidence, such as the shadow of the Earth on the moon and the curvature of the Earth known by all sailors approaching land. And by the third century B.C.E., Eratosthenes determined the Earth's shape and circumference using basic geometry. In the second century C.E., Claudius Ptolemy wrote the "Almagest," the mathematical and astronomical treatise on planetary shapes and motions, describing the spherical Earth. This text was well known throughout educated Europe in Columbus' time. [Related: Earth Is Flat in Many People's Minds]

Columbus, a self-taught man, greatly underestimated the Earth's circumference. He also thought Europe was wider than it actually was and that Japan was farther from the coast of China than it really was. For these reasons, he figured he could reach Asia by going west, a concept that most of educated Europe at the time thought was daft — not because the Earth was flat, but because Columbus' math was so wrong. Columbus, in effect, got lucky by bumping into land that, of course, wasn't Asia."
Link
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Looks like march.... BORING!!!!


IN THE LONG TERM AT THIS TIME...COMPUTER MODELS DOESN`T SHOW
ANY SIGNIFICANT WATER EVENT AFFECTING THE LOCAL AREA.
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:


Well said they all have an agenda whether its democratic or republican networks. It's funny Nea plussed the post.


Oh cool there is a feature that tells you who pluses the post? Please tell me how i can see that! :o) Hope you arent drowning in Wekiva today :o)
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Quoting 416. WalkingInTheSun:


Just Dandy!
Now the Borg will know where to find us!
If Vee Ger doesn't come back first!

About a tenth when checked at lunch, blue skies to NW when came back, so done for now. Ground under trees still dry and could barely tell on ground that isn't, but anything helps. Hope some gets where needed and stops where isn't. Keep posting Mr. Mixon, sorry to see only one southern route out of mtns open. Qualifies for me (and the Doc if people care to read his post).
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WOAHHHH THUNDER for the first time in over a month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! maybe I will finally get rain!!!!!!!

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526. wpb
12z models 93l west to mexico then inland
gfdl hwrf
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Quoting 501. Xulonn:
You might consider asking those who started today's back-and-forth by posting a typical Fox News incomplete and misleading AGW/CC report to refrain from doing so in the future and take it to Dr. Rood's CC blog when the subject is not part of Dr. Masters' current blog entry. That ill-considered posting provoked responses from AGW/CC realists who defend the science that is taught, supported and discussed by Drs. Masters and Rood.

Those you seem to see as "global warming alamists" did not start today's disturbance, but only responded to a posting of false and misleading AGW/CC denialist claptrap.

I am perfectly willing to lurk and follow the severe and tropical weather discussion, and will not post on AGW/CC unless someone on the denialist side broaches the subject with false and/or misleading information.


Back in the day when Columbus was trying to get funding to find a new route to the east, The science taught that the earth was flat, and the "realist" of that time in conjunction with the church would burn you alive if you argued against that.
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:


Yeah 92 for a high and a 100% chance of Trolls.


Sorry, the National Weather Service says its going to be 88. How much rain do you think? 0.254" 2.885"? Just wondering how long i need to water my yard!! TIA
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The Boulder Daily Camera is reporting that from 6pm Wednesday to 9:15am today, 7.21" of rain have fallen in Boulder. Holy Moly!

And we can expect up to 2" more later today.

http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_240751 01
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Boco 12, vertical evacuation. Gather supplies while you can, if you can. Hang in there, you'll be ok.

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Quoting 511. CaribBoy:


I can say you are not conservative XD

Nor are you my friend
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Reporting on science should not have an agenda, no matter the network. Come on people. The article posted couldn't even get the most basic of facts correct even though they linked to the paper itself. That's why you should avoid whatever media slant is put on science. Read the paper itself, although that gets much harder to do after the article has told you what you should be understanding regarding the paper.

Quoting 489. CaneHunter031472:


Do what I do, I identify them and then I put them on my Ignore list. Maybe we could start a AWG denialist blog in here. United we'll win.


What is this even supposed to mean? This isn't some us versus them war. This is quite simple, people either a) understand the science, b) don't understand the science, c) are misinformed about the science, or d) willfully ignorant of the science.
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Product: Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15 KNHC)
Transmitted: 12th day of the month at 18:49Z
Date: September 12, 2013
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Mission Purpose: Investigate fifth suspect area (flight in the North Atlantic basin)

Mission Number: 1
Observation Number: 13

18:49:00Z 23.717N 91.517W 428.1 mb
(~ 12.64 inHg) 7,049 meters
(~ 23,127 feet) - 347 meters
(~ 1,138 feet) From 72° at 20 knots
(From the ENE at ~ 23.0 mph) -13.7°C
(~ 7.3°F) -20.1°C
(~ -4.2°F) 21 knots
(~ 24.1 mph) 13 knots
(~ 14.9 mph) 0 mm/hr
(~ 0 in/hr) 12.4 knots (~ 14.2 mph)
61.9%
Time Coordinates Aircraft
Static Air Pressure Aircraft
Geopotential Height Extrapolated
Surface Pressure D-value Flight Level Wind (30 sec. Avg.) Air Temp. Dew Point Peak (10 sec. Avg.)
Flight Level Wind SFMR
Peak (10s Avg.) Sfc. Wind SFMR
Rain Rate Estimated Surface Wind (30 sec. Avg.)
Using Estimated Reduction Factor Peak Wind at Flight Level to
Est. Surface Reduction Factor

HDOB Observations

Independent Calculations from Tropical Atlantic

At 18:39:30Z (first observation), the observation was 385 miles (620 km) to the SSW (192°) from New Orleans, LA, USA.

At 18:49:00Z (last observation), the observation was 405 miles (651 km) to the ESE (112°) from Brownsville, TX, USA.
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Quoting 516. whitewabit:
When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself



ty much needed
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Quoting 321. TimSoCal:
Days like today are a little bit heartbreaking for me. I work in insurance, and I keep having to tell people in CO that their homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods. It's sad, because I can hear the desperation in their voices, and I wish there was something else I could do.

Earthquake insurance as well--while West Virginia isn't a place you think of as an earthquake hotspot, I was inside my doublewide when the Mineral, Virginia quake hit, and I can tell you that another 30 seconds of shaking would have meant things falling.

It's very inexpensive, and if we get another such and it damages us, it's going to turn out to have been the best bargain we ever got.
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516. whitewabit (Mod)
When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself
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I must admit 93L looking rather pathetic at the moment
Member Since: September 6, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 304
Quoting 501. Xulonn:
You might consider asking those who started today's back-and-forth by posting a typical Fox News incomplete and misleading AGW/CC report to refrain from doing so in the future and take it to Dr. Rood's CC blog when the subject is not part of Dr. Masters' current blog entry. That ill-considered posting provoked responses from AGW/CC realists who defend the science that is taught, supported and discussed by Drs. Masters and Rood.

Those you seem to see as "global warming alamists" did not start today's disturbance, but only responded to a posting of false and misleading AGW/CC denialist claptrap.

I am perfectly willing to lurk and follow the severe and tropical weather discussion, and will not post on AGW/CC unless someone on the denialist side broaches the subject with false and/or misleading information.

Yep. The Fox nonsense was posted several times.
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Bill O'Reilly taught me about how the tides work.
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Quoting 503. wunderkidcayman:
I say Gabby is still a TS
I say Humberto has no change
I say 93L is either TD10 or TS Ingrid at 5pm or 8pm tonight
I say EX-98L will be upgraded to orange circle on next TWO and reactivated as 98L


I can say you are not conservative XD
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here invest 93L

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_al932013.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201309121842
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 93, 2013, DB, O, 2013091012, 9999999999, , , , , , WARNING, 3, AL932013
AL, 93, 2013090912, , BEST, 0, 174N, 839W, 20, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 93, 2013090918, , BEST, 0, 177N, 842W, 20, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 93, 2013091000, , BEST, 0, 179N, 847W, 20, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 93, 2013091006, , BEST, 0, 180N, 853W, 20, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 93, 2013091012, , BEST, 0, 180N, 857W, 20, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1010, 100, 50, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091018, , BEST, 0, 180N, 864W, 20, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1010, 100, 50, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091100, , BEST, 0, 180N, 871W, 20, 1008, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1010, 100, 50, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091106, , BEST, 0, 180N, 880W, 25, 1009, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 180, 120, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091112, , BEST, 0, 181N, 887W, 25, 1008, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 180, 120, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091118, , BEST, 0, 183N, 893W, 25, 1008, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 180, 120, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091200, , BEST, 0, 186N, 900W, 25, 1007, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 180, 120, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091206, , BEST, 0, 190N, 912W, 25, 1006, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1009, 180, 120, 35, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091212, , BEST, 0, 195N, 927W, 30, 1005, LO, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0, 1009, 180, 120, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
AL, 93, 2013091218, , BEST, 0, 197N, 937W, 30, 1005, LO, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1009, 180, 120, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,
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So let me see if I have this straight: FOX News is bad, they intentionally deceive and have a non-science biased agenda. Yet, FOX News is the #1 rated cable news network and has been for years. FOX actually has an audience the size of all other cable news outlets combined. Also, Nea posted a while back a "scientific" study showing watching FOX actually made one a little dumber each time you watched it. So...more people are watching FOX than not watching FOX knowing that they decieve and have a non-science biased agenda AND watching it makes you dumber. Who then, are the alarmists preaching to? The smart minority that does not watch FOX and already agree with them? Waste of time if you ask me...
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20-30kts wind just starting to appear on the recon data as it draws closer to 93L. Only about 2 more hours to go till we actually get decent data.

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Quoting 499. rmbjoe1954:


Any rain yet, CaribBoy?

What island are you on?


On St Barths, where no significant rains fell... since october 2012....

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Quoting 485. StormTrackerScott:


Yeah 92 for a high and a 100% chance of Trolls.


Best comment of the day today right there. LOL
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At 18:49:00Z (last observation), the observation was 405 miles (651 km) to the ESE (112°) from Brownsville, TX, USA.


recon getting close
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I say Gabby is still a TS
I say Humberto has no change
I say 93L is either TD10 or TS Ingrid at 5pm or 8pm tonight
I say EX-98L will be upgraded to orange circle on next TWO and reactivated as 98L
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Quoting 495. Boco12:
Yup, the rain here in Boulder continues to get progressively worse as another set of heavy rains approach our town. The flooding here is absolutely insane and the relentless rain doesn't seem to help. CU Boulder is continuously sending out alerts to us students. An hour ago, a wall of water was reported to be travelling down Boulder Creek. I'm slightly worried as my residence is close to the swollen Boulder Creek. It also doesn't help that I live in the basement...


Boco12 - might want to consider an alternative for the rest of the day and evening...Stay safe.
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Quoting 451. 69Viking:


There was no mention of it in the Doc's blog today yet it rears it's ugly head.
You might consider asking those who started today's back-and-forth by posting a typical Fox News incomplete and misleading AGW/CC report to refrain from doing so in the future and take it to Dr. Rood's CC blog when the subject is not part of Dr. Masters' current blog entry. That ill-considered posting provoked responses from AGW/CC realists who defend the science that is taught, supported and discussed by Drs. Masters and Rood.

Those you seem to see as "global warming alamists" did not start today's disturbance, but only responded to a posting of false and misleading AGW/CC denialist claptrap.

I am perfectly willing to lurk and follow the severe and tropical weather discussion, and will not post on AGW/CC unless someone on the denialist side broaches the subject with false and/or misleading information.
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Areal Flood Advisory
START:Thu 2:37pm
END: Thu 4:30pm
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Quoting 470. CaribBoy:


And TD 11 east of the Lesser Antilles too?


Any rain yet, CaribBoy?

What island are you on?
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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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