Mighty North Sea Storm Xaver Battering Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:09 PM GMT on December 05, 2013

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For the first time since 2007, the massive flood gates that protect the Netherlands from the North Sea have been closed, as a mighty North Sea storm hurls a huge storm surge propelled by near-hurricane force winds against the coast of the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. Windstorm "Xaver", as it is called by the Free University of Berlin, has already killed one person in Scotland, where a truck driver was killed and four people were injured in an accident west of Edinburgh when high winds toppled a vehicle onto several cars. Winds gusted up to 142 mph overnight in the Scottish Highlands; many roads and bridges were closed, and all train services in Scotland were suspended; Network Rail spokesman Nick King said that "there's too much debris and too much damage to equipment to continue." At 2:55 pm local time Thursday, oil rig F3 in the North Sea about 200 km (125 miles) north of the Netherlands recorded sustained winds of 83 mph, gusting to 99 mph. These winds were recorded at an elevation of 49 meters (161 feet), so were stronger than the standard winds measured at 10 meters at most world airports. Oil rig Ula off the coast of southern Norway recorded sustained winds of 91 mph, gusting to 108 mph, at 2 pm local time. On the west coast of Denmark at St. Peter Ording Airfield, sustained winds of 58 mph were recorded at 2 pm local time. Winds at Sylt, Germany were 58 mph at 5 pm local time (see the Sylt, Germany beach webcam here.


Figure 1. Waves lash the North Sea coast at the ferry dock in Dagebuell, Germany, on December 5, 2013. (CARSTEN REHDER/AFP/Getty Images)


Figure 2. MODIS satellite image of Windstorm Xaver taken at approximately 11 UTC Thursday December 5, 2013. Image credit: NASA Worldview.

Heavy wind damage likely
A squall line with severe thunderstorms has developed along a cold front that is sweeping across Northern Europe this Thursday afternoon, and these thunderstorms are bringing intense lightning, heavy rains, and damaging winds. The European Storm Forecast Experiment is warning of the risk of tornadoes with this squall line, and damaging wind gusts of up to 90 mph (145 kph) in the severe thunderstorms. The Thursday morning 00Z run of the European model predicted that Xaver would bottom out with a central pressure near 960 mb Friday morning; the GFS model had it stronger, at 956 mb. This will make Xaver stronger the October's Windstorm "Christian" (AKA the St. Jude storm), which bottomed out at 968 mb. Christian killed 18, and did $1.4 billion in damage. It is possible that the wind damage from Xaver will approach that of Windstorm Anatol, which hit Denmark, Southwest Sweden, and Northern Germany on December 3, 1999. Anatol had sustained winds of up to 91 mph (146 kph), killed 20 people, and injured over 800. Damage was $2.6 billion (1999 dollars) in Denmark, making it the costliest disaster in Danish history.


Figure 3. Severe weather warnings for Xaver from the European Storm Forecast Experiment.

3.5-meter storm surge predicted for Germany
The maximum storm tide of Xaver will be in Germany and Denmark, and will be unusually high, since we are only two days past the new moon. Fortunately, the German coast is well protected by dikes, which are about 8 meters high, and these dikes should be able to withstand Xaver's storm surge. The German weather service storm surge forecast made Thursday morning called for a storm tide of 3.5 meters (11.5') above average high tide in Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven during the high tide cycle early Friday morning. This is about 4.8 meters above mean sea level in Bremerhaven, which will be very close to the all-time record of 5.18 m above mean sea level set there in January 1976.

German storm surge history
The deadliest flood of the last hundred years in Germany was the "North Sea flood" in 1962 (16/17 February), where many dikes broke and 340 people were killed. In the Bremerhaven area, the dikes from the 1840s were just able to withstand the storm surge but were heavily damaged. Bremerhaven had installed storm surge gates at the mouth of the river Geeste in summer 1961 as a reaction to the 1953 flood in the Netherlands. That small-scale Deltaworks saved the city. After this catastrophe, the dikes along the German coast were strengthened. Just in time, as the highest storm surge of at least the last hundred years occurred in January 1976. In Hamburg, the 1976 flood was 4.35 meters (14.3') above average high tide, which is 6.45 meters (21.2') above mean sea level. This is 75 cm higher than the storm surge of 1962, but the dikes were strong and high enough in 1976 to withstand the flood. Thanks go to Dr. Michael Theusner of the German climate museum Klimahaus for these stats.

Links
Weather graphics and storm impacts from Storm #Xaver from Tim Ballisty @IrishEagle
Sylt, Germany webcam
‪Dagebüll‬, Germany ferry terminal webcam
Thyboroen, Denmark webcam (thanks go to wunderground member barbamz for this link.)
24-hour storm surge forecasts and actual water levels for the North Sea coast
Tide chart for Bremerhaven, Germany. The highest storm tide will occur at high tide at 1:59 UTC (2:59 CET) on Friday morning.
German weather forum
Wikipedia's list of great European windstorms.
A list of the severest storm surges at the North Sea (in German) and a not so-detailed list in English here
The Future of Intense Winter Storms, my 2010 blog post on climate change and winter storms (updated in early 2013.)

Jeff Masters

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Change that, wunderground now saying possibility of freezing rain for my part of Louisiana. Guess we better get some gas in case we need the generator.
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Quoting 447. BahaHurican:
Morning largo... see u r up early too. I'm trying to get some coffee and such, since it seems I'm not going back to sleep...

It's not terribly cold out right now, but it's not supposed to get much warmer, either. Hopefully we won't get any more rain today... :o/ Just weird to have lots of rain in December.

Plus I notice these in the wake of the latest ice/sleet/snow storm. This must be rather a cold air mass...

Moses Lake, WA set a record low temperature of 5 for Dec 05
Driggs, ID set a record low temperature of -11 for Dec 05
Moriarty, NM set a record low temperature of -3 for Dec 05
Winner, SD set a record low temperature of -9 for Dec 05
Grand Junction, CO set a record low temperature of -4 for Dec 05
Cedar City, UT set a record low temperature of -11 for Dec 05
yes this artic blast is strong.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42265
Good morning, afternoon and evening, everyone. It's 42 degrees at the moment and that's our high for today as well. We'll slowly drop to 31 with occasional rain. We're not supposed to get any ice, but possibly ice pellets for tomorrow.

Breakfast's on the sideboard: Fruity Baked Oatmeal, Spicy Scrambled Egg Sandwiches, apple cinnamon waffles, Corned Beef Hash with Fried Eggs, Glazed Cinnamon Rolls with Pecan Swirls, Omelet Soufflé, Oversize Breakfast Biscuits with sausage patties and strawberry jelly on the side, sweet and spicy bacon, Apple-Pecan Baked Oatmeal, Cajun Breakfast Casserole, cheesy grits and shrimp, cheese Danishes, yogurt, fresh fruit and orange, apple or pineapple juice. Special treat of flavored cappuccinos, cinnamon, Irish cream, white chocolate caramel or French vanilla . Enjoy!

Everyone in the path of this storm, please be careful.
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Quoting Patrap:


Late Lament



Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day's useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?


ahh, "Nights in White Satin" for some reason have always liked the album
One of the few songs to make the charts twice in different years i think(gonna have to look it up i guess)
i was always a seger (i am from Detroit u know lol), yardbirds, buffalo springfield, mc5, mothers of invention, captain beefheart kind of guy back then
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90L is really looking SUB-tropical this morning. Convection is firing up near and northeast of the center! We will see what the NHC has to say this morning. Will "Nestor" get named today, before it heads off to the chilly North Atlantic?
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Tony Laubach live mobile video from roads in Southern Illinois. Heavy snow and ice. Live now.
Live Video Link
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452. VR46L
This tweet from the NWS Anchorage tickled me ....





.....I guess they are not too fond of the winter weather .....
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6998
451. VR46L
Pretty Nice day here In ROI



Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6998
450. VR46L
Good Morning folks !

And Happy birthday Large eyes
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6998
Short good morning hello from office and unfortunately absolutely no time for extensive weather coverage.

Here a link to an overview of BBC about what has happened and hadn't happened last night.

Deadly storm and tidal surge batter northern Europe
6 December 2013 Last updated at 09:26 GMT

Have a nice day. And happy birthday largeeyes!
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up.early...tgif
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Quoting 445. LargoFl:
Good Morning...................
Morning largo... see u r up early too. I'm trying to get some coffee and such, since it seems I'm not going back to sleep...

It's not terribly cold out right now, but it's not supposed to get much warmer, either. Hopefully we won't get any more rain today... :o/ Just weird to have lots of rain in December.

Plus I notice these in the wake of the latest ice/sleet/snow storm. This must be rather a cold air mass...

Moses Lake, WA set a record low temperature of 5 for Dec 05
Driggs, ID set a record low temperature of -11 for Dec 05
Moriarty, NM set a record low temperature of -3 for Dec 05
Winner, SD set a record low temperature of -9 for Dec 05
Grand Junction, CO set a record low temperature of -4 for Dec 05
Cedar City, UT set a record low temperature of -11 for Dec 05
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42265
Good Morning...................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42265
Quoting 401. bappit:

I know that. That's why I pointed out that it is an UnChristmas Day to have Santa Claus come around. They have declared war on Christmas! (Don't you watch Fox?)

They should have named Xaver the Sinterklaas Storm.


Yeah, having my birthday on December 6 has been a lot more fun since moving to Germany!
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1462
I had a look this morning on our waterfront right after high tide and made this photograph (long shuttertime-bad quality, sorry):
 photo BoulevardSchiedam06122013_zpsc24e6485.jpg
The level was just 10 cm under the critical rise triggering an automatic closure of the port of Rotterdam. (in the dark it is at the crown of the slope you see on the next photo)
For a sense of proportion; I made this one two weeks ago, about the same position, at normal high tide during the afternoon:
 photo Boulevard23112013_zpsf916d0d9.jpg
The surge beat the highest level since 1971 by some 13 cm. To my eyes, the protective levee about three hundred m from the boulevard gave 8 million people about 2 m slack from disaster (which is still safe I guess)
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.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
34.3 degrees Fahrenheit here in North Nashville, TN. Off to bed for me. Good luck to those with the ice storm.
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Quoting 421. Patrap:


Late Lament



Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day's useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?


Knights in White Satin 1972 Moody Blues I think. T
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Minute updates from NWS here on this TWC page.

The most recent one(s) is/are disturbing...
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A good part of Texas (and most of the areas seeing precip) is below freezing right now. The line will probably sag even further south tonight.

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Quoting 434. TropicalAnalystwx13:
@Jeff_Piotrowski
Ice storm Large trees falling with ice 1" south of Fort Smith HWY SB 71.#okwx #arwx pic.twitter.com/elSWfkZCNZ


Ouch. And they aren't even close to being done.
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@Jeff_Piotrowski
Ice storm Large trees falling with ice 1" south of Fort Smith HWY SB 71.#okwx #arwx pic.twitter.com/elSWfkZCNZ
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433. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #1
DEPRESSION BOB08-2013
8:30 AM IST December 6 2013
=======================================

At 3:00 AM UTC, latest satellite imagery and observations indicate that a depression has formed over southwest Bay of Bengal and lays center near 10.0N 84.0E, about 530 km southeast of Chennai and 350 km northeast of Tricomalee, Sri Lanka.

It would intensify further into a deep depression during next 24 hours and subsequently into a cyclonic storm. It would move nearly northwards slowly during next 48 hours and then recurve north northeastwards.
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Quoting 431. bappit:
The Little Rock discussion mentioned thunder. Not good if they get convection with this.

100 J/kg of elevated CAPE does extend a bit into their CWA, and the potential for some slantwise convection also exists.



Definitely possible to get a rumble of thunder or two from there and extending back into north Texas.

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The Little Rock discussion mentioned thunder. Not good if they get convection with this.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
Also, I must say that TWC's weather forecast for Nashville has gone horrendously wrong. The predicted low as of 5 pm (of course they are adjusting now) was 39...currently here it is 34. Rainfall was for 1/2", my CoCoRaHS gauge is quite a good deal past 1".

We were surprised to hear thunder for about an hour tonight, thought it was only going to be rain.
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Goodnight.
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Link
New blog for Winter Storms Cleon and Dion.
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List of school closings by county for Middle TN

Due to the ice threat, schools are closed for tomorrow around the state of TN. Some announced early (Cheatham County announced at 4, which is next door to Davidson/Nashville). To me, this is interesting, especially for Ashland City to close on the threat of what amounts to black ice (per their forecast).
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The really nasty part seems to be in Arkansas.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
Photo is from Dallas, Texas.

The window is supposedly down..

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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
From record high temperatures to an ice storm.

... Record high temperature set at Hot Springs Airport...

a record high temperature of 75 degrees was set at Hot Springs
Airport yesterday. This ties the old record of 75 set in 2001.


... Record high temperature set at Monticello...

a record high temperature of 79 degrees was set at Monticello
yesterday. This breaks the old record of 76 set in 2012.


... Record high temperature set at Stuttgart Airport...

a record high temperature of 79 degrees was set at Stuttgart
Airport yesterday. This breaks the old record of 73 set in 2012.
------------------------------------------------- --
... Ice Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 PM CST Friday...

An Ice Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 PM CST Friday.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock has issued an Ice
Storm Warning... which is in effect from 6 PM this evening to 6 PM
CST Friday.

* Event... significant ice accumulations are expected across
central Arkansas tonight and Friday.

* Timing... rain will continue to develop and overspread the area
tonight. Precipitation will gradually changeover to freezing
rain across area overnight as surface temperatures slowly fall
to near or just below the freezing mark. Some sleet could mix in
at times on Friday. The precipitation will taper off from the
west Friday afternoon.

* Ice accumulations... up to one half of an inch is expected... with
upwards of three quarters of an inch possible in some areas.

* Impact... very hazardous travel will develop. Numerous downed
tree branches... trees... and power lines... that may lead to the
potential for widespread and prolonged power outages. Falling
trees and tree branches may also become a danger to anyone
outdoors.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

An Ice Storm Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected or occurring. Significant amounts of ice accumulations
will make travel dangerous or impossible. Travel is strongly
discouraged. Commerce will likely be severely impacted. If you
must travel... keep an extra flashlight... food... and water in your
vehicle in case of an emergency. Ice accumulations and winds will
likely lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches that
add to the danger.

Individuals are encouraged to continue to monitor forecast from
the National Weather Service in Little Rock for the latest
regarding this winter storm.

Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8774
Quoting Bappit:

Problem is in Austin everybody's going to be running their faucets to keep the pipes from freezing... more drain on Lake Travis. For five days.

I expect mayhem like we had Feb 18 when an arctic blew in, burst pipes and knocked power out for a while due to a couple of Dallas generating plants whose cooling water intake froze and the plants went down, the interconnects flaked, it was pure misery for a week, busted frozen pipes everywhere, all landscaping vegetation killed.
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Late Lament



Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day's useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fun facts from Dallas-Fort Worth discussion:

00Z UPPER AIR SOUNDING SHOWS THIS COLD AIR IS VERY SHALLOW...WITH TEMPERATURES WARMING TO NEAR 8C AT 7000FT. THIS IS ENSURING THAT ALL PRECIPITATION GENERATED IS RAIN AT THIS LEVEL...BUT AS IT FALLS INTO THE COLDER AIR NEAR THE SURFACE IT IS COOLING BELOW FREEZING. IN THE REGION WHERE THIS COLD LAYER CONTAINS TEMPERATURES BELOW -8C WE ARE SEEING SPONTANEOUS ICE NUCLEATION WHICH IS RESULTING IN THIS RAIN BECOMING SLEET OR SIMPLE SNOW STRUCTURES LIKE SINGULAR COLUMNS OR NEEDLES. A LITTLE LESSON ON WHAT IS GOING ON IS THAT PURE RAIN DROPS REMAIN LIQUID AT TEMPS WELL BELOW FREEZING BECAUSE THEY DONT KNOW HOW TO SETUP THE ICE CRYSTAL STRUCTURE WITHOUT SOME HELP. THIS HELP IS USUALLY IN THE FORM OF WHAT WE CALL AN ICE NUCLEI...SUCH AS A POLLUTANT OR POLLEN PARTICLE...OR MOST OFTEN ANOTHER ICE CRYSTAL SHARD. RESEARCH SHOWS THAT AT ABOUT -8C A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE DROPS HAVE THE APPROPRIATE ICE NUCLEI AND BEGIN TO FREEZE...WHILE IT IS NOT UNTIL -10C THAT MORE THAN 50 PERCENT OF WATER DROPS CAN FREEZE. ONCE ONE WATER DROPLET FREEZES IT CAN SPLINTER INTO SEVERAL MORE AND THIS ENDS UP TEACHING MANY OTHER NEARBY SUPERCOOLED DROPS HOW TO FREEZE AS WELL. SO THE POINT IN ALL OF THIS IS WE ARE SEEING MANY REPORTS OF SLEET MIXING IN WITH THE FREEZING RAIN NOW BECAUSE THE -8C LINE HAS REACHED SHERMAN TO DFW TO COMANCHE LINE. NEAR THIS LINE WE ARE SEEING SLEET AND RAIN CHANGING BACK AND FORTH AS IT IS ESSENTIALLY RANDOM CHANCE AS TO WHETHER ICE NUCLEI ARE PRESENT IN A PARTICULAR AREA TO TEACH SUPERCOOLED DROPS HOW TO BE IN THE ICE PHASE. FARTHER NORTHWEST WHERE THE AIR IS A BIT COLDER...IT IS MOSTLY SLEET NOW AS THE CHANCE FOR ICE PHASE ACTIVATION IS MUCH HIGHER. MORE SLEET IS OBVIOUSLY GOOD NEWS FOR MITIGATING DAMAGES TO TREES AND POWER LINES. THE BAD NEWS IS THAT SLEET IS MORE EFFECTIVE AT COOLING ROAD TEMPERATURES TO WHERE ICE WILL BEGIN TO FORM.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
Quoting 364. WxGeekVA:


LOL like this is ever gonna happen
I have a better chance at winning the powerball then that actually occuring.
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night ped
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting 415. PedleyCA:


Yikes,


another spinner storm 6

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Time to Bail - Stay Safe - Stay Warm - Drive Carefully - Sleep Well
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6253
Quoting 408. sunlinepr:


Yikes,
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6253
Quoting 412. bappit:
Just think if we had never had Snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon? Not if the experts at TWC are making the list!


Can't remember who said it. But if that were happen they should name it Winter Storm 'Brass Monkey'.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10804
Quoting 381. HurrMichaelOrl:
I don't remember seeing such a cold week in early December for areas like Kansas City (I chose this city at random). Highs 19-22F and lows in the high single digits to low teens all week.

Meanwhile, in the doldrums of Florida, no interesting weather to report. No rain, no wind or chill, just bland, warm weather each day lately and into the foreseeable future. Just the kind of weather that the average person purportedly loves. Is it weird that I actually enjoy a climate like the Midwest of New England?


From a normal person's point of view, yes. From our point of view, not at all. I live in NJ and I love the chaotic "65 and 20 in the same week" weather. To people like us, monotony is boring. We crave excitement.
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Just think if we had never had Snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon? Not if the experts at TWC are making the list!
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
Quoting 403. BahaHurican:
I admit freely I don't do my job just because I make money at it. To me that would be a serious waste of time, effort and even [some days] creative inspiration. OTOH, I do want to make money at what I do. So I don't have a problem with making money. I do have a problem with believing that making money is more important than anything else.

I don't really care one way or the other about the winter storm names. If TWC makes money from it without endangering the public in some way, I guess I don't have a problem with it. OTOH, I fully understand the annoyance value [since it comes across to me as "cutesy"].

If they are going to name storms, they should use good ones instead of these stupid names. They take the fun out of it by producing a list ahead of time. They try to look like they are the experts by making a list. And they are not the experts.

It is how people make money that matters.

You know the mafia thinks making money is great, too.

They are making war on Christmas! Defend Christmas! Watch Fox News! Similar stupidity.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
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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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