Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Phailin Rapidly Intensifying, Headed Towards India

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:22 PM GMT on October 10, 2013

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Very dangerous Tropical Cyclone Phailin, in the North Indian Ocean's Bay of Bengal, has put on an impressive burst of rapid intensification, going from a tropical storm with 65 mph winds to a formidable Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds in just twelve hours. Satellite estimates of Phailin's strength at 8 am EDT ranged as high as 135 mph. Satellite images show that Phailin, whose name means "a sapphire" in Thai, continues to intensify. The cloud tops of the very intense thunderstorms in the eyewall are expanding and cooling, showing that their updrafts are growing stronger and pushing the clouds higher into the atmosphere. Water temperatures are warm, 28 - 29°C, and the ocean heat content is very high, 80 - 100 kJ/cm^2--a level often associated with rapid intensification. With wind shear low, Phailin should be able to continue to intensify until an eyewall replacement cycle begins. It is very difficult for a tropical cyclone to maintain an eye diameter less than ten miles across before the inner core grows unstable and the eyewall collapses, with a new, larger-diameter eyewall forming from an outer spiral band. This process typically weakens the top winds of a tropical cyclone by 5 - 15 mph, but spreads hurricane-force winds over a larger area of ocean, resulting a larger storm surge, but less wind damage. With Phailin's eye diameter already down to a tiny 9 miles, an eyewall replacement cycle is likely to occur by Friday morning.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phailin, taken at approximately 07:30 UTC on October 10, 2013. At the time, Phailin had top winds of 75 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Forecast for Phailin
The models are in tight agreement that Phailin will track northwest into the northeast coast of India, with landfall expected to occur between 06 - 12 UTC on Saturday. The 11 am EDT Thursday forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicts that Phailin will peak as a top-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds 12 hours before landfall. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is predicting that Phailin will be a borderline Category 2/Category 3 storm at landfall. The 06Z Thursday run of the HWRF model predicted that Phailin would be a strong Category 3 storm with 130 mph winds at landfall on Saturday.


Figure 2. Storm surge forecast for Tropical Cyclone Phailin, made on October 10, 2013. The peak surge was predicted to be 87 cm (2.9'). This forecast is likely to be a considerable underestimate of the surge, given Phailin's recent rapid intensification. Image credit: IMD.

The Bay of Bengal is notorious for deadly tropical cyclones
There is good reason to be concerned when a major tropical cyclone forms in the Bay of Bengal. Twenty-six of the thirty-five deadliest tropical cyclones in world history have been Bay of Bengal storms. During the past two centuries, 42% of Earth's tropical cyclone-associated deaths have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27% have occurred in India (Nicholls et al., 1995.) Phailin is likely to be the strongest tropical cyclone to affect India in fourteen years, since the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone. That terrible storm hit Northeast India in the Indian state of Odisha (formerly called Orissa) near the city of Bhubaneswar, as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds on October 29, 1999. The mighty cyclone, which peaked at Category 5 strength with 160 mph winds and a 912 mb central pressure shortly before landfall, drove a storm surge of 26 feet (8 meters) onto the coast. The storm stalled just inland, dumping torrential rains on portions of India already saturated from the landfall of Category 4 Tropical Cyclone 04B just twelve days before. The catastrophe killed 9,658 people and left $2.5 billion in damage (1999 dollars), India's most expensive and fourth deadliest tropical cyclone in the past 100 years. Although Phailin is expected to hit the same province of India that the great 1999 Odisha Cyclone hit, Phailin's landfall location is predicted to fall about 100 miles farther to the south, in a region where the coast is not as low-lying. This should keep the death toll due to storm surge much lower compared to the 1999 Odisha Cyclone, where more than 70% of the deaths occurred due to the storm surge. The latest storm surge forecast from IMD (Figure 2) predicts a peak surge under 3', but this is much too low, considering Phailin's recent round of rapid intensification. Phailin's heavy rains will be capable of causing great destruction, as did the rains from the 1999 Odisha cyclone. More than 2,000 of the deaths from that storm occurred due to fresh water flooding in the town of Padmapur, located more than 150 miles from the coast. Deforestation was cited as a contributing cause to these destructive floods that killed 36% of the town's population.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a detailed post on India's tropical cyclone history.

References
Nicholls, R.J.N., N. Mimura, J.C. Topping, 1995, "Climate change in south and south-east Asia: some implications for coastal areas," J Glob Environ Eng 1995;1:137–54.



98L in the Eastern Atlantic more organized
A tropical wave (Invest 98L) located about 400 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands is headed west to west-northwest at about 10 mph. Satellite loops show that 98L has a modest area of heavy thunderstorms with a substantial amount of spin. The disturbance is under a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear today, but the shear is expected to rise to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, Friday - Monday, making Thursday the most likely day for development. The UKMET model develops the disturbance into a tropical depression this week, but the European and GFS models do not. In their 8 am EDT Thursday Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave the disturbance 2-day development odds of 50%, and 5-day odds of 50%. 98L's projected west-northwest track is expected take it several hundred miles northeast of the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands by the middle of next week, according to the 00Z Thursday morning runs of the GFS and European models.

Typhoon Nari headed towards the Philippines
In the Western Pacific, Category 1 Typhoon Nari is expected to intensify into a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds and make landfall on Luzon Island in the Philippines near 12 UTC Friday. Nari will then make a second landfall in Vietnam around 00 UTC on Tuesday.

Jeff Masters

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Look at this Rainbow loop of Phailin:

Link

Total devastation when that eye wall comes ashore; lets hope the authorities over there have had the resources to evacuate folks from the coast; their homes will certainly be wiped out with nothing to come back to.
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Quoting 870. CaribBoy:


I'm not sure about that because El Nino normally tends to inhibit the hurricane season.


It does but the ones that form could be very intense.
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871. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 869. weathermanwannabe:


Good Morning. The eye diameter was 9 miles wide yesterday and 15 today. I did not follow this storm overnight but it looks like the eye wall replacement cycle that Dr. Masters mentions in his blog took place. Probably resulted in some expansion of the storm.


Yes the EWRC started last night around midnight Central time .. was surprised this morning when it looked like a new eye wall had formed so soon ..
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Quoting 866. StormTrackerScott:


Hey remnants are better than no remnants. Maybe with El-Nino next year you will finally see some action. There are indications that we may have a moderate El-Nino going into next years hurricane season.


I'm not sure about that because El Nino normally tends to inhibit the hurricane season.
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6455
Quoting 863. whitewabit:
Phailin appears to have almost doubled in size from last night ..


Good Morning. The eye diameter was 9 miles wide yesterday and 15km today. I did not follow this storm overnight but it looks like the eye wall replacement cycle that Dr. Masters mentions in his blog took place. Probably resulted in some expansion of the storm.


Dr. M:

This process typically weakens the top winds of a tropical cyclone by 5 - 15 mph, but spreads hurricane-force winds over a larger area of ocean, resulting a larger storm surge, but less wind damage. With Phailin's eye diameter already down to a tiny 9 miles, an eyewall replacement cycle is likely to occur by Friday morning.
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868. whitewabit (Mod)
Beautiful in structure but oh so deadly I'm afraid ..

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Bulletin No.: BOB 04/2013/24 (Orange Message)
Sub: Very Severe Cyclonic Storm, PHAILIN over Central Bay of Bengal:
Cyclone Warning for North Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Coast.


Excerpt:

(iii) Storm Surge Guidance: Storm surge with height of around 3.0 m above astronomical tide
would inundate low lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha and
Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh during landfall.

(iv) Damage expected over Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh: Extensive
damage to kutcha houses. Some damage to old buildings. Large scale disruption of power and
communication lines. Disruption of rail and road traffic due to extensive flooding. Potential threat from
flying debris. Flooding of escape routes. Extensive damage to agricultural crops.

(v) Action suggested: Fishermen out at sea along north Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West
Bengal coast are advised to return to coast. Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea. Total
suspension of fishing operations. Mobilise evacuation from coastal areas. Judicious regulation of rail and
road traffic. People in affected areas to remain indoors during cyclone landfall.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11343
Quoting 864. CaribBoy:
A TROPICAL WAVE...OR POSSIBLY EVEN
THE REMNANTS OF A TROPICAL STORM OR DEPRESSION MOVE ACROSS OR AT
LEAST GRAZE THE AREA EARLY THE FOLLOWING WEEK.

Pathetic


Hey remnants are better than no remnants. Maybe with El-Nino next year you will finally see some action. There are indications that we may have a moderate El-Nino going into next years hurricane season.

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Quoting 856. FunnelVortex:
Yikes!


The image you have posted give a cat 4 many miles inland.
From the point of view of a person on the ground this means not only all the normal cyclone problems but added complications of near tornado threats of airborne debris which in India will be a catastrophic threat due to the flimsy nature of a lot of the constructions.
The more we see of this over the last few hours the more it looks like something not many people will ever have experienced!
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A TROPICAL WAVE...OR POSSIBLY EVEN
THE REMNANTS OF A TROPICAL STORM OR DEPRESSION MOVE ACROSS OR AT
LEAST GRAZE THE AREA EARLY THE FOLLOWING WEEK.

Pathetic
Member Since: October 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6455
863. whitewabit (Mod)
Phailin appears to have almost doubled in size from last night ..
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862. NCstu
Quoting 858. FunnelVortex:
According to the forecasts it will bring it's major hurricane force winds well inland. This isn't good.


"Also, the government’s official storm surge forecast shows a maximum value at landfall of a little over 3 feet (1 meter)"

people are staying put to make sure that their fishing boats aren't destroyed... It's not impossible that they storm surge could be more like 20 ft and it will definitely be more than 3 feet.

"At last tally (2 a.m. Friday, India time), one satellite-based measure of Phailin’s strength estimated the storm’s central pressure at 910.7 millibars, with sustained winds of 175 mph (280 kph)."

I really hope that estimate is way off.
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TROPICAL CYCLONE ADVISORY
RSMC – TROPICAL CYCLONES, NEW DELHI
TROPICAL STORM ‘PHAILIN’ ADVISORY NO. FIFTEEN ISSUED AT 0900 UTC OF 11TH OCTOBER 2013
BASED ON 0600 UTC CHARTS of 11th OCTOBER.

Excerpt:


ACCORDING TO SATELLITE IMAGERIES, THE INTENSITY OF THE SYSTEM IS T 6.0. INTENSE TO
VERY INTENSE CONVECTION IS SEEN OVER EAST CENTRAL BAY AND ADJOINING NORTH
ANDAMAN SEA ISLANDS AND AREA BETWEEN LAT 14.00N TO 17.00N AND LONG 86.00E TO 89.00E.
THE LOWEST CLOUD TOP TEMPERATURE (CTT) IS ABOUT -760C. THE SYSTEM IS EYE PATTERN.
EYE IS CIRCULAR WITH DIAMETER OF ABOUT 15 KM. EYE TEMP MINUS 6 DEG C. CLOUD
FEATURES SUGGESTS NO FURTHER INTENSIFICATION OF THE SYSTEM(.)
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED SURFACE WIND SPEED IS ESTIMATED TO BE ABOUT 105 KNOTS GUSTING TO
120 KNOTS AROUND THE SYSTEM CENTRE. THE STATE OF THE SEA IS PHENOMENAL AROUND THE
SYSTEM CENTRE. THE ESTIMATED CENTRAL PRESSURE IS ABOUT 940 HPA.



Link
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11343
Oh by the way the NY Giants are 0-6 so far this season. Terrible!
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Man the W-Pac is "Cashing Out". Link
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According to the forecasts it will bring it's major hurricane force winds well inland. This isn't good.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Quoting 855. PlazaRed:

From the image you posted it looks like the coastal areas are already getting massive amounts of rainfall with house to go before he cyclone makes landfall.
The image also seems to indicate that the cyclone is heading due west with its visible eye.
A lot of speculation about the effects of landfall on the coastal villages, one thing for sure nothing about this is going to be light and damages to the coastal infrastructure will be ranging from heavy to total.
We could be looking at effects similar to Sandy over hundreds of miles, or in fact much worse.
The "quality," of a lot of the structures in this area will be a long way short of sub standard.


Inland flooding from this will be a huge concern.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Yikes!

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Quoting 844. FunnelVortex:
This cane is just massive! I hope IMD is not still undercasting it.


From the image you posted it looks like the coastal areas are already getting massive amounts of rainfall with house to go before he cyclone makes landfall.
The image also seems to indicate that the cyclone is heading due west with its visible eye.
A lot of speculation about the effects of landfall on the coastal villages, one thing for sure nothing about this is going to be light and damages to the coastal infrastructure will be ranging from heavy to total.
We could be looking at effects similar to Sandy over hundreds of miles, or in fact much worse.
The "quality," of a lot of the structures in this area will be a long way short of sub standard.
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Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Quoting 852. congaline:
While I love a big cane, and Phailin is lovely to look at. I am praying that the people of the area can get out of the way. Unfortunately it is always the poor who have no money or means of transport, and have the most fragile living conditions who are most at risk. I hope the Indian Govt is protecting the lives of its citizens.


I hope so too. I hope the poor people know what is coming thier way.

The indian ocean coastline is the worst place in the world for a storm to make landfall.
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
While I love a big cane, and Phailin is lovely to look at. I am praying that the people of the area can get out of the way. Unfortunately it is always the poor who have no money or means of transport, and have the most fragile living conditions who are most at risk. I hope the Indian Govt is protecting the lives of its citizens.
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Published May 22, 2013 - I really hope all those efforts won't be destroyed by Phailin now :(

When a massive cyclone struck Odisha in 1999, IDRF and its donors responded with far-sighted rehabilitation efforts. IDRF improved livelihoods of the affected people, who were barely getting by even before disaster struck. IDRF introduced deep-water-tolerant rice seeds to hundreds of farmers, and provided tailoring training for women; 30,000 coconut trees to coconut farmers; and 80,000 saplings for kitchen gardens.


Video from 2007 about the aftermath of the 1999 cyclone (and rising sea levels):
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It's incredible how fast and big Phailin has grown. I definitely feel for the people of India and pray for the best for them, I think they are going to need it.

I hope that this storm will stop those that have complained about how 'slow' this season is and what a 'bust' it is. As interesting as a Cat 4/5 can be to watch, when they come ashore thousands of people are placed in danger, lives are changed, lives are lost. I think I'd be happy with quiet season. Sure, it may not give us anything to watch, but it beats the alternatives.
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Quoting 838. g564841:
Hi again guys . This looks like a big one . Its raining furiously here and wind speed is increasing . Hasn't even made landing yet .


Where are you?
Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
98L has started on the downwards trend of it's chances for development being reduced.

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nice flareup with a piece or the leftovers of karen
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846. Uggi
Looks like eyewall replacement is complete, it might start intensifying again for a final time
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Quoting 838. g564841:
Hi again guys . This looks like a big one . Its raining furiously here and wind speed is increasing . Hasn't even made landing yet .


Be safe man. Keep posting on this blog to let us see you are ok. Available for anyone in that area.
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This cane is just massive! I hope IMD is not still undercasting it.

Member Since: October 20, 2012 Posts: 7 Comments: 2893
Cyclones transfer heat from one medium to another yes?
How much heat do you think is being transferred by the current set of cyclones, considering their strength and longevity?

I like looking at these things from a fairly big perspective. I know it's probably OT ATM but I think it's an interesting question.
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Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Tens of thousands flee vast cyclone bears down on India.

Good to see they are taking action to stay alive.
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Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 838. g564841:
Hi again guys . This looks like a big one . Its raining furiously here and wind speed is increasing . Hasn't even made landing yet .


Are you within the path of this thing? if so, stay safe man!
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Hi again guys . This looks like a big one . Its raining furiously here and wind speed is increasing . Hasn't even made landing yet .
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Nari's landfall is coming within the next few hours.

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Last image of Phailin before things go dark out there... This thing is a massive cyclone.

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wind shear slowly getting closer to 98L....

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Things would look active if you did not know that this year so far has been relatively inactive...

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Statement as of 01:23 am EDT on October 11, 2013



... Record daily maximum rainfall set at Washington Dulles DC...

a record rainfall of 2.22 inch(es) was set at Washington Dulles DC
yesterday. This breaks the old record of 1.95 set in 1971.


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Quoting 830. pie314271:


Bopha was a Cat 5 at landfall right...


Yes it was. Here is the radar if you wanted to see it make landfall....

TYPHOON BOPHA, 2012.
Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 829. barbamz:
Cyclone Phailin could be the strongest cyclone ever measured in the Indian Ocean, even more than the 1999 wrecker
India Today Online October 11, 2013 | UPDATED 16:58 IST

..."A recent satellite estimate put Phailin's current intensity on par with 2005's Hurricane Katrina in the United States and just barely stronger than the 1999 cyclone at its peak," said Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist for Quartz magazine. "That would mean Phailin could be the strongest cyclone ever measured in the Indian Ocean." ...


Heres the picture from the site, for those that don't like to click outside links....

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4316
Quoting 809. KoritheMan:


Super Typhoon Megi in 2010 was the most recent Category 5 landfall, I think. Made mincement out of Luzon:



Bopha was a Cat 5 at landfall right...
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Cyclone Phailin could be the strongest cyclone ever measured in the Indian Ocean, even more than the 1999 wrecker
India Today Online October 11, 2013 | UPDATED 16:58 IST

..."A recent satellite estimate put Phailin's current intensity on par with 2005's Hurricane Katrina in the United States and just barely stronger than the 1999 cyclone at its peak," said Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist for Quartz magazine. "That would mean Phailin could be the strongest cyclone ever measured in the Indian Ocean." ...
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Quoting 826. islander101010:
98 aint going to be easy either do you know its plan?


Navgem 60 hours out. 98L survives the 60kt shear according to this model.

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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT FRI OCT 11 2013

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE IS LOCATED SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES WEST-
SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS. THE ASSOCIATED SHOWER AND
THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY REMAINS DISORGANIZED...AND UPPER-LEVEL WINDS
ARE STEADILY BECOMING LESS CONDUCIVE FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE
FORMATION. HOWEVER...SOME DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS STILL
POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO...BEFORE UPPER-LEVEL WINDS
BECOME EVEN LESS CONDUCIVE OVER THE WEEKEND. THIS SYSTEM HAS A
MEDIUM CHANCE...40 PERCENT OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING
THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A MEDIUM CHANCE...40 PERCENT...OF BECOMING
A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS WHILE IT MOVES WESTWARD
TO WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT AROUND 10 MPH.
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98 aint going to be easy either do you know its plan?
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not sure if anyone's posted this before but the #2 on the Bay of Bengal list is probably wrong. That 1737 cyclone probably killed 30,000. There weren't even 300,000 people living in the area.

Only reason I know this is because for some reason lost to history the 1737 cyclone was labeled an earthquake and at some point in the 18th or 19th centuries, someone added an extra zero.
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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 AM PDT FRI OCT 11 2013

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

A BROAD AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES
SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF MANZANILLO IS PRODUCING DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS. ALTHOUGH THIS DISTURBANCE HAS NOT BECOME ANY BETTER
ORGANIZED SINCE YESTERDAY...ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS STILL APPEAR
CONDUCIVE FOR SOME DEVELOPMENT...AND A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD
FORM DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM
CHANCE...50 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A HIGH CHANCE...60 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS WHILE IT MOVES WEST-
NORTHWESTWARD OR NORTHWESTWARD AT AROUND 10 MPH.
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Saved image from live webcam Palermo in northern Sicily, where once again a massive MCS (Mesocyclone convecitve system) is developing (we saw it many times this year).

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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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