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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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.
I barely watch TV, much less Fox...

How can Sinterklaas be war on Christmas when it was around long before Santa Claus was even imagined? More like Santa Claus coming around at Christmas is an UnSinterklaas thing to do.... :o)

Agree with you on Xaver renaming... I was just thinking that Sinterklaas got a storm to ride out on.... lol...
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting 399. bappit:

GT said they were just being responsible. Making money and being responsible are not the same thing.
What!? I never said anything about it being responsible. You just like to put words in people mouth you know. Whatever, do what you have to do in this world to survive. Don't act fresh or you will get left behind. You think they care what we have to say about them? I really don't think so.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8774
Quoting 399. bappit:

GT said they were just being responsible. Making money and being responsible are not the same thing.
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"].
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WTIO31 PGTW 060300
MSGID/GENADMIN/JOINT TYPHOON WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI//
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE 06B (SIX) WARNING NR 001//
REF/A/JOINT TYPHOON WARNING WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI/051451ZDEC13//
AMPN/TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT//
RMKS/
1. TROPICAL CYCLONE 06B (SIX) WARNING NR 001
01 ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONE IN NORTHIO
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS BASED ON ONE-MINUTE AVERAGE
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
WARNING POSITION:
060000Z --- NEAR 9.8N 83.8E
MOVEMENT PAST SIX HOURS - 335 DEGREES AT 02 KTS
POSITION ACCURATE TO WITHIN 030 NM
POSITION BASED ON CENTER LOCATED BY SATELLITE
PRESENT WIND DISTRIBUTION:
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 035 KT, GUSTS 045 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
REPEAT POSIT: 9.8N 83.8E
---
FORECASTS:
12 HRS, VALID AT:
061200Z --- 9.9N 83.6E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 045 KT, GUSTS 055 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 060 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
060 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
055 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
055 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 24 HR POSIT: 225 DEG/ 01 KTS
---
24 HRS, VALID AT:
070000Z --- 9.8N 83.5E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 050 KT, GUSTS 065 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 075 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
075 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
070 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
070 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 36 HR POSIT: 010 DEG/ 03 KTS
---
36 HRS, VALID AT:
071200Z --- 10.3N 83.6E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 055 KT, GUSTS 070 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 030 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
025 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
025 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 085 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
080 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
075 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
080 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 48 HR POSIT: 350 DEG/ 03 KTS
---
EXTENDED OUTLOOK:
48 HRS, VALID AT:
080000Z --- 10.9N 83.5E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 055 KT, GUSTS 070 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 030 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
025 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
025 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 085 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
080 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
075 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
080 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 72 HR POSIT: 360 DEG/ 02 KTS
---
72 HRS, VALID AT:
090000Z --- 11.8N 83.5E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 060 KT, GUSTS 075 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 035 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
035 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
030 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
030 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 095 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
090 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
085 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
090 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 96 HR POSIT: 020 DEG/ 03 KTS
---
LONG RANGE OUTLOOK:
---
96 HRS, VALID AT:
100000Z --- 13.1N 84.0E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 060 KT, GUSTS 075 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
VECTOR TO 120 HR POSIT: 045 DEG/ 05 KTS
---
120 HRS, VALID AT:
110000Z --- 14.6N 85.6E
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 050 KT, GUSTS 065 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
REMARKS:
060300Z POSITION NEAR 9.8N 83.7E.
TROPICAL CYCLONE 06B (SIX), LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 286 NM SOUTH-
EAST OF CHENNAI, INDIA, HAS TRACKED NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD AT 02 KNOTS
OVER THE PAST SIX HOURS. A CONSENSUS OF SUBJECTIVE DVORAK AND
AUTOMATED INTENSITY ESTIMATES, AND STRUCTURE EVIDENT IN RECENT
MICROWAVE IMAGERY, INDICATE THAT TC 06B HAS REACHED THE WARNING
THRESHOLD INTENSITY OF 35 KNOTS. THE CURRENT POSITION IS BASED, WITH
MODERATE CONFIDENCE, ON A 052330Z PGTW SATELLITE FIX AND A 052331Z
SSMIS IMAGE. THE SSMIS IMAGE INDICATES MUCH IMPROVED LOW LEVEL
ORGANIZATION OVER THE PAST SIX TO TWELVE HOURS, DESPITE THE
FRAGMENTED NATURE OF CONVECTION DEVELOPING ALONG THE EASTERN AND
NORTHERN PERIPHERIES. TC 02B IS EXPECTED TO MEANDER VERY SLOWLY
WESTWARD OVER THE NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS UNDER THE STEERING INFLUENCE
OF A WEAK SUBTROPICAL RIDGE EXTENSION TO THE NORTH OF THE SYSTEM.
AROUND TAU 24, A MID-LATITUDE TROUGH TO THE NORTH WILL WEAKEN THE
STEERING RIDGE, LEAVING TC 02B IN A COMPETING STEERING ENVIRONMENT
BETWEEN SUBTROPICAL RIDGING TO THE EAST AND WEST OF THE SYSTEM.
AFTER THE MID-LATITUDE TROUGH PASSES, THE EASTERN SUBTROPICAL RIDGE
IS EXPECTED TO BECOME THE DOMINANT STEERING MECHANISM AND SLOWLY
CARRY THE SYSTEM POLEWARD TO NORTHEASTWARD. PASSAGE OVER A
SUFFICIENTLY WARM SEA SURFACE, LOW TO MODERATE VERTICAL WIND SHEAR,
AND FAVORABLE POLEWARD DIFFLUENCE WILL ENABLE TC 02B TO STEADILY
INTENSIFY OVER THE NEXT 36 HOURS. THEREAFTER, COOLER WATER UPWELLED
BY THE NEARLY STATIONARY SYSTEM AND SLIGHTLY INCREASED VERTICAL WIND
SHEAR SHOULD SLOW THE INTENSIFICATION TREND. THE SPREAD AMONG
NUMERICAL MODEL TRACK GUIDANCE IS SIGNIFICANT THROUGHOUT THE
FORECAST, ALTHOUGH MOST OF THE MODELS PREDICT QUASI-STATIONARY
MOTION FOLLOWED BY SLOW POLEWARD MOVEMENT TO THE NORTHEAST, IN LINE
WITH THE CURRENT FORECAST. THE FORECAST TRACK IS CONSISTENT WITH THE
MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS, WHICH HAS BEEN FAIRLY STEADY OF THE PAST
SEVERAL RUNS. HOWEVER, DUE TO LARGE SPREAD AMONG THE INDIVIDUAL
MODELS AND THE COMPLEX STEERING ENVIRONMENT, CONFIDENCE IN THE
CURRENT TRACK FORECAST IS LOW. MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT
060000Z IS 10 FEET. NEXT WARNINGS AT 060900Z, 061500Z, 062100Z AND
070300Z. THIS WARNING SUPERSEDES AND CANCELS REF A, JOINT TYPHOON
WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI 051451Z DEC 13 TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION
ALERT (WTIO21 PGTW 051500).//
NNNN

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 382. BahaHurican:
The REAL Santa Claus goes on Dec 6th.... you mean everybody didn't know that???

He is celebrated annually on Saint Nicholas' eve (5 December) in the Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December in the other countries.


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
73.4F NOLA

42.6F Houston
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Quoting 383. BahaHurican:
You say that like it's a bad thing.

GT said they were just being responsible. Making money and being responsible are not the same thing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GFS has some flash flood rainfall totals if it pans out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 394. nwobilderburg:


theres no way it can be stronger than Haiyan

While highly improbable, high heat content water and a deep troposphere doesn't make it impossible.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 394. nwobilderburg:


theres no way it can be stronger than Haiyan
You never know, lately we have been seeing a lot of sub 900 mb. storms.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8774
Quoting 392. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
So do you know where "Dion" is right now ? Radar?
Member Since: September 24, 2013 Posts: 7 Comments: 4766
Quoting 388. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


well maybe we have not yet
seen the strongest
2013 has to offer


theres no way it can be stronger than Haiyan
Member Since: October 6, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 832
Quoting 341. PensacolaDoug:



Good question. I have no clue.
You must have hit a rollover total without realizing it... and now u r on 100000 + however much it shows.... :o)

Quoting 347. PensacolaDoug:
When my blog got wiped I think it got my quote total too.
At least it kept the right join date.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
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?
No, I am with you on that, the weather has been ridiculously boring here, I feel like we are in a bubble shield like the one in Halo. While the rest of the world is enjoying weather extremes or not. Depends on if you are a weather enthusiast like me and you.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8774
Quoting 387. GTstormChaserCaleb:
Lord, and India was just hit by a Tropical Cyclone not too long ago.


well maybe we have not yet
seen the strongest
2013 has to offer
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting 380. MAweatherboy1:
We now have 06B in the Bay of Bengal:



It could be an interesting one. The 18z GFS takes it to 958mb in 75 hours as it just meanders out there:



Lord, and India was just hit by a Tropical Cyclone not too long ago.
Member Since: June 30, 2013 Posts: 12 Comments: 8774
Quoting 331. PalmBeachWeather:
I walk two miles every morning at 5:30 am...I meet all of the lowlifes south Florida has...But I do smile and say hello
How is all the free time feeling???

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm going to bed. Got swimming state championship tomorrow through Sunday and a final tomorrow , Monday and the rest of next week.

SPC put a 5% TORN risk on the cluster of tstorms to my sw headimg in my direction.

Cloud tops are increasing but I'm not concerned since imo they're just weak general thunderstorms.

Stay safe eveybody... Enjoy your warmth, winter wx, or snow chances if you have any fun wx like that
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760
Quoting 380. MAweatherboy1:
We now have 06B in the Bay of Bengal:



It could be an interesting one. The 18z GFS takes it to 958mb in 75 hours as it just meanders out there:





958 mb is incredibly low for a model prediction
Member Since: October 6, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 832
Quoting 320. bappit:

Their main goal is to make money.
You say that like it's a bad thing.
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Quoting 309. bappit:
Fox has a nice marketing idea with the War on Christmas thing. TWC really has a hard time competing.

Speaking of the War on Christmas, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that Santa Claus has already visited the Netherlands.
The REAL Santa Claus goes on Dec 6th.... you mean everybody didn't know that???

He is celebrated annually on Saint Nicholas' eve (5 December) in the Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December in the other countries.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We now have 06B in the Bay of Bengal:



It could be an interesting one. The 18z GFS takes it to 958mb in 75 hours as it just meanders out there:



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Quoting 358. GeorgiaStormz:


why do the Europeans name cyclones.?



If my wife gets iced out from her late sunday night DCA arrival, I'll have some names not previously used!

But they might not get past any reasonable moderator.
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Quoting 358. GeorgiaStormz:


why do the Europeans name cyclones.?


It was actually inspired by the naming of hurricanes.
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ICE is DOOM.....
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Quoting 374. Patrap:
Man that's a Bad ice situation setting up.



Yes, ICEE. Or is that, I see...

Snow is one thing, but ICE is a whole 'nother ballgame.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10804
Quoting 374. Patrap:
Man that's a Bad ice situation setting up.

Good evening Pat. I am hoping not to get the heavy stuff. So far, the Metz say we get some, but not as bad as the west side.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Man that's a Bad ice situation setting up.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
RAP 21Z RUN SIM RAD/SFC TEMP
HR 18 FINAL


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
RAP 21Z RUN SIM RAD/SFC TEMP
HR 15


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
RAP 21Z RUN SIM RAD/SFC TEMP
HR 12


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
RAP 21Z RUN SIM RAD/SFC TEMP
HR 9


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
RAP 21Z RUN SIM RAD/SFC TEMP
HR 6


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
RAP 21Z RUN SIM RAD/SFC TEMP
HR 3


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting 364. WxGeekVA:


LOL like this is ever gonna happen


You'd make Washi a happy woman if it did.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10804


LOL like this is ever gonna happen
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Here's (part of) the 00Z FWD sounding. Looks like a prototypical freezing rain sounding.

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I would like a winter storm named the Hulk.
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361. beell
Quoting 358. GeorgiaStormz:


why do the Europeans name cyclones.?


To make money. For the Institute of Meteorology at Berlin's Free University.

Adopt-a-Vortex
www.telegraph.co.uk

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I like named winter storms.
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Ahh, the seasonal, "I hate TWC naming Winter Storms" post.



Merry Wunderground !


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129902
Quoting 354. Tygor:
I don't understand why TWC names Winter Storms at all. Why not name summer thunderstorm fronts as well?

It is that stupid.


why do the Europeans name cyclones.?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9760

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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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