Remembering a Crazy Flight Through Cat 5 Hurricane Gilbert, 25 Years Later

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:57 PM GMT on December 27, 2013

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The year 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of 1988's Hurricane Gilbert--the most intense Atlantic hurricane ever measured up until that point, with a central pressure of 888 mb--a record has since been surpassed only by 2005's Hurricane Wilma. I was on the historic flight that caught Gilbert at its peak intensity, and below is my story of that flight, published here for the first time.

Jeff Masters



I awake early on September 13, 1988, not suspecting that I will be an eyewitness to meteorological history. I look out the window at the telltale bands of high cirrus clouds that curve across the Miami sky--far-flung outflow clouds streaming away from massive Hurricane Gilbert, centered over 500 miles to the southwest. Wow. This storm is huge. I turn on the news. The reports coming out of the Caribbean are shocking, heart-wrenching. Gilbert has ripped through Jamaica as a destructive Category 3 hurricane, delivering a crippling blow. At least 45 people are dead, and the island's infrastructure is devastated. Damage will be later estimated at $6.5 billion, making it Jamaica's costliest disaster of all-time. And the hurricane isn't done--Gilbert is now in the Western Caribbean, home of the Atlantic's deepest and warmest waters--rocket fuel for a Cape Verdes hurricane.


Figure 1. Hurricane Gilbert at peak intensity on September 13, 1988. Gilbert peaked at 175 mph winds and a central pressure of 888 mb.

Pre-Flight Briefing
I am the flight director for today's 11:30 am hurricane hunter mission on NOAA's N43RF hurricane research aircraft, affectionately named "Miss Piggy". On my way to Miami International Airport, I stop at the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables to get a pre-flight weather briefing. Fittingly, the briefing comes from Gilbert Clark, the senior hurricane specialist on duty. Gil is the longest-serving and most knowledgeable hurricane forecaster working at NHC, and it is only fitting that his namesake storm will get its name retired the same year that he is retiring. Amidst the media zoo at NHC, Gil briefs me that the 8 am center fix from the Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in Gilbert shows Category 4 winds of 145 mph, and a central pressure of 934 mb. "The bottom's dropping out of this thing," he tells me, "and you just might be looking at a Cat 5 by the time you get there." I gulp down a bit of nervousness as I look at the imposing spiral of Gilbert's clouds, sprawled out over the entire Western Caribbean. The strongest hurricane I had flown through in two prior years with the Hurricane Hunters was a Category 3--1987's Hurricane Emily. After repeated penetrations into the eyewall of Emily, where the G-forces steadily rose until they hit three times the force of gravity, we finally had to abort the mission when a dangerous aerodynamic flutter developed in the wings. Hurricane Gilbert is far larger and more powerful than Emily was. Am I in for an even more dangerous ride?


Figure 2. An island of calm in a sea of chaos: NHC director Bob Sheets tries to get work done during the media zoo at NHC on September 14, 1988. Image credit: Jeff Masters.

Pre-Flight Preparations
I arrive at NOAA's Office of Aircraft Operations at Miami International Airport for pre-flight preparations. The energy at the office is electric. A film crew from the PBS show, "NOVA" is here. CNN is here, as are camera crews and reporters from half-a-dozen other media outlets. Three graduate students performing hurricane research for Dr. Bill Gray have just flown in this morning from Colorado to go on the flight. There isn't room for all of them. In the end, the grad students, the PBS NOVA crew, and the CNN crew get to go, but some of the media get left behind. "We've got plenty of media on board, and we'll do more good for the future of hurricane science by have these grad students go on the flight," my boss, Jim McFadden argues. Twenty-one people wind up on the flight, three more than the maximum we usually allow. The flight engineers are concerned about the aircraft's weight and balance, with such a large passenger list, but in the end they give the thumbs up to go, and we are on our way south towards the great storm.


Figure 3. Track of Hurricane Gilbert.

Takeoff
As we fly south over the Miami Beach, I look down on angry, white-capped waters. Here, 500 miles away from the eye, gale-force winds blow--an astoundingly large radius of strong winds for a hurricane. We chop through our first outer spiral band over the Florida Keys, and place a call to Cuba's Air Traffic Control center to get clearance to fly over the island. In those days, the Cuban government sometimes did not allow us to fly over the island, but for this storm, they give us immediate clearance. By the time we cross over Cuba 45 minutes later, we are plunging in and out of big cumulonimbus clouds with light turbulence and heavy rain showers. As we reach the south side of Cuba, Gilbert's eye comes clearly into view on the lower fuselage radar. The eye is very tight, ten miles in diameter, surrounded by an imposing swirl of reds and yellows on the radar screen. Lead scientist Hugh Willoughby and I have a critical decision to make--do we play it safe and penetrate the eye at 10,000 feet, where turbulence should be lighter? Or should we go in at 5,000 feet, where we will collect better data, but possibly risk hitting extreme turbulence? With the experience of last year's risky flight into Hurricane Emily fresh in my mind, I lobby for 10,000 feet, and Hugh goes along with this plan.

Penetration
"Set Condition One!" crackles the voice of aircraft commander Dave Turner, as we begin our descent from our ferry altitude of 15,000 feet to our penetration altitude of 10,000 feet. I check the security of my heavy duty seat belt and shoulder harness, stow away my flight bag and clipboard, and prepare to meet the worst Gilbert has to offer. My heart beats faster, and an inner voice questions the wisdom of challenging one of nature's most fearsome storms in a mere mechanical creation. The formidable wall of dark clouds of Gilbert's eyewall lies just ahead. Darkness falls. The big plane lurches as turbulent winds grip us. Rain hammers down on the fuselage and streaks the windows. Flight-level winds jump from 90 mph to 115 mph. I watch the winds and radar carefully, and issue a request to Dave Turner for a slight course correction to keep us headed towards the eye. One minute in, two minutes to go. No significant turbulence yet. The eye, a remarkably small oasis of blue in a sea of angry reds and oranges on the radar, beckons. Two minutes in. The clouds grow thicker. The tip of the bouncing wing is hard to see through torrential rain, and the winds increase to 160 mph. A rough jolt hits us, as a 10 mph updraft gives way to a 3 mph downdraft in four short seconds. The plane skids forwards into a far more powerful updraft, which steadily increases to 10 mph, then 20 mph, and finally 35 mph. For a full minute this amazingly smooth updraft carries us higher into Gilbert's eyewall, even as the flight level winds crank up to a furious 185 mph. Category Five! The sky suddenly brightens as the updraft ejects us into the fearsome eye of monstrous Hurricane Gilbert.


Figure 4. Eye of Hurricane Gilbert taken from 10,000 feet from NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft N43RF at 5pm EDT September 13, 1988, when it was at peak strength as a Category 5 hurricane with a central pressure of 888 mb and 185 mph winds. Photo by Jeff Masters.

The Eye
The eye is awesome, supernatural, intense. We are at the edge of a stadium of majestic, towering cumulonimbus clouds that rise up high above us to a small circle of blue sky. The sun lights up a brilliant ring of whiteness along the top of the clouds. Beneath us is a white-capped ocean filled with chaotic, colliding waves up to 50 feet tall. Beneath the ragged bottom edge of the eyewall clouds, Gilbert's 175 mph surface winds whip the ocean surface into a greenish-white blur. I have little time to take in the spectacle, though, as I track the winds to make sure we penetrate to the exact center of the eye. I order one minor course correction, and then we have it--the winds drop to 4 mph, and we see a calm spot on the ocean below. "Let's mark it there!" I say. "Central pressure, 903 millibars." I pull out my VORTEX message form, and begin coding in the readings for transmission to the National Hurricane Center over our HF radio link. Within a minute, I have to stop, as we have arrived at the opposite west end of the eye, and a new eyewall penetration begins.


Figure 5. PBS's NOVA series videographer captures an image of Hurricane Gilbert from NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft N43RF on September 13, 1988. Image credit: Jeff Masters.

Rough Penetration
This time, the ride is rougher. Though the horizontal winds are weaker--165 mph--we hit a powerful 30 mph downdraft that leaves us nearly weightless at zero Gs. Commander Turner fights off the downdraft, keeping us at 10,000 feet. We pop out of the eyewall on Gilbert's west side, and begin a long trek to the south of the storm to do another penetration of the eye from south to north. I finish filling out my VORTEX report, unbuckle myself, and head back to the radio station to hand the report to our radio operator for transmission to NHC. The NOVA and CNN film crews are happy, busily taking footage of the crew at work. The scientists from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division are excitedly poring over the data we've collected. There's only been one storm stronger than this that they've flown into, Hurricane Allen of 1980. In another hour, that will no longer be true. The excitement we feel at being a part of meteorological history, though, is tempered by the somber realization that this storm is headed right for the Mexican resort areas of Cozumel and Cancun, which will undoubtedly suffer a catastrophic blow.


Figure 6. The VORTEX message I filed after penetrating through Hurricane Gilbert on September 13, 1988 and finding the lowest pressure ever measured in an Atlantic hurricane. A surface pressure reading was actually not filed at the time, since NHC told the crew that the pressures they were measuring were too low to be believable. The value shown here was added later after a research effort led by Hugh Willoughby determined 888 mb to be the actual pressure (myself and Chris Landsea, who was also on the flight, were co-authors on the paper documenting the new record.)

A New Record Low Pressure
We line up for our south-to-north penetration, and the crew takes their seats as the eyewall comes into sight. This time the winds are stronger--185 mph at flight level, gusting to 199 mph. We hit another huge updraft, 30 mph, but the ride is surprisingly smooth. As we pop into the eye, it is clear that Gilbert has intensified in the hour and half we've been way. The eye has shrunk to nine miles in diameter, and the central pressure has fallen to an astonishing 894 millibars--a spectacular nine millibar drop in just 90 minutes. Now, only the great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 (892 mb central pressure) stands in the way of Hurricane Gilbert's run at all-time greatness. But there is controversy. Through an unfortunate oversight, we are not carrying any dropsondes, which we usually launch into the eye. Dropsondes fall to the surface on parachutes, and radio back the surface pressure. Instead, we have to estimate the surface pressure based on flight level measurements, which must be carefully calibrated. After sending in my VORTEX report with the 894 mb surface pressure from our second penetration, NHC radios back that they don't believe our surface pressures, and we are stop transmitting them for the VORTEX messages from our three final penetrations. The scientists and I protest this. Our instruments and our eyes show what NHC cannot see--we are witnessing meteorological history. Gilbert is clearly on its way to becoming the most intense hurricane of all-time.

After another long trek around the periphery of Gilbert, we punch through the eyewall an hour and a half later. This time, the eye is even more impressive, and the surface pressure has fallen another fifteen millibars, to an unbelievable 879 mb. (It turns out that NHC was right to question our pressure readings, as a later research effort led by Hugh Willoughby determined that 888 mb was the actual lowest pressure in Gilbert.) Our fourth penetration also measures 879 mb--Gilbert has finally finished intensifying. During our fifth and final penetration, we measure 883 mb, then head home. We arrive back in Miami nine hours after we took off. But, there is no rest for the weary: at 10 pm I am back at the frenzied media circus at NHC for a live remote interview with CNN's Larry King Live--my first-ever TV interview.

For more photos and eyewitness accounts of this amazing flight, check out the Gilbert Photo Gallery put together by Neal Dorst of NOAA's Hurricane Research Division. See also this remarkable video from Playa del Carmen, Mexico, as Gilbert made landfall on September 14, 1988, as a Category 5 hurricane.

My flight though Gilbert was one of two flights I did through a Category 5 hurricane. The story of my other Cat 5 flight, through Hurricane Hugo in 1989, is here. The story of that flight has been made into a 1-hour show that is scheduled to air on "Air Crash Investigation" (AKA "Mayday" outside the U.S.) on the National Geographic Channel in 2014, the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo. Myself and six other veterans of the flight were interviewed for the show, which features a recreation of the near-fatal penetration into Hugo's eyewall, complete with actors playing the roles of the crew, and CGI sequences of stuff flying around the inside of the aircraft as we hit 5.7 Gs of acceleration.


Video 1. Nine-minute clip of the September 14, 1988 hurricane hunter mission into Hurricane Gilbert, as aired on the 1988 PBS NOVA show, "Hurricane."

I'll be back on January 6, 2014, with a new post. Have a Happy New Year, Everyone!

Jeff Masters

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5638. GeorgiaStormz
4:42 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5628. hurricanehunter27:
Have you seen the band of snow that has formed off Lake Allatoona? What a weird feature. Resembles lake effect. Temps just east of the lake are also a good bit warmer, reporting at 41F, then a mile more east at 26F. Both of those temps where measured at the same time 20-30 min ago.


Yes, joanne feldman and marshall shepherd both had theories on twitter when i asked them about it.

It happened once last winter if i remember as well, and gave some people a dusting.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9452
5637. Kumo
4:39 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5617. Astrometeor:


I have a Russian friend who I think doesn't own long pants or sweaters in his wardrobe.


Wouldn't surprise me.

I usually don't need them either down here in Houston, then again my body is conditioned to deal with cold temperatures. (40F is shorts and t-shirt weather)

The heat is what kills me. Anything above 85F and I am suffering.
Member Since: August 3, 2012 Posts: 15 Comments: 145
5636. dabirds
4:34 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Got into work about an hour late this a.m., an hour getting the driveway passable, then waiting for the city to clear the streets. -11 low, up to a balmy -8 w/ a -33 wind chill. My area of S C IL had probably 9", hard to say for sure as it started blowing as the heaviest came down yesterday. StL tv had areas in the Metro East getting 12-14". Worst temps in 30 yrs as it turns out, originally said 20. Still, only lasts 2-3 days, so late 70s still has this beat.

Surprised that shoveling this a.m., didn't feel that bad. Very glad I'd went out twice yesterday before it got really cold and started paths in the fresh snow so this a.m. was only moving what blew in. Stay warm!
Member Since: August 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 681
5635. hydrus
4:33 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19521
5634. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
4:26 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
5633. oldnewmex
4:26 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5626. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


I see that High doing its dance off the West coast; it must be some kind of witchcraft to keep the snow away from me.
Member Since: January 28, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 154
5632. LargoFl
4:25 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
just hope no power outages in florida these next 2 nights...lots out in the midwest already.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5631. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:25 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
HR13
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
5630. eddye
4:25 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
keeper of the gate does that show 42 degrees so around 5 pm today the front should be through
Member Since: August 12, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1204
5629. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:22 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5627. eddye:
keeper of the gate wat time is the cold front suppose 2 reach south fl largo fl

HR 18
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
5628. hurricanehunter27
4:18 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5614. GeorgiaStormz:
Heavy flurries outside.... High Winds....Very Cold....

Awesome
Have you seen the band of snow that has formed off Lake Allatoona? What a weird feature. Resembles lake effect. Temps just east of the lake are also a good bit warmer, reporting at 41F, then a mile more east at 26F. Both of those temps where measured at the same time 20-30 min ago.
Member Since: July 22, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3813
5627. eddye
4:18 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
keeper of the gate wat time is the cold front suppose 2 reach south fl largo fl
Member Since: August 12, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1204
5626. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:17 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
5625. LargoFl
4:15 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
5-day for my town per fast weather service...
Quoting 5623. LargoFl:
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5624. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:14 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
5623. LargoFl
4:14 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5622. LargoFl
4:10 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
record breaking cold tonight........
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5621. weathermanwannabe
4:09 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5614. GeorgiaStormz:
Heavy flurries outside.... High Winds....Very Cold....

Awesome


Looking at a SE US winter mosaic doppler.......Are you located near the I-75 corridor in GA?
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
5620. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
4:09 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Wind chill warning in effect.

Today, 6 JanuaryBecoming cloudy near noon with a few flurries.

Local blowing snow. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 50 increasing to 40 gusting to 70 this afternoon.

Temperature falling to minus 11 this afternoon.

Tonight, 6 JanuaryA few flurries ending near midnight then partly cloudy.

Local blowing snow this evening. Wind west 40 km/h gusting to 70.

Low minus 25. Wind chill minus 38.

Tuesday, 7 JanuaryA mix of sun and cloud.

Wind southwest 40 km/h gusting to 60.

High minus 16. Wind chill minus 41.

Wednesday, 8 JanuaryA mix of sun and cloud.
Low minus 22. High minus 10.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
5619. Astrometeor
4:08 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Oh, I guess I should mention:

Woke up this morning to find the outdoor temperature to be 3F. I live just north of Nashville.

Currently it's 6.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 8252
5618. LargoFl
4:07 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
I wonder if we'll get that real heavy frost in this freeze?
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5617. Astrometeor
4:05 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5610. indianrivguy:


there's some folks that have known me ten years and never seen me in long pants in person..


I have a Russian friend who I think doesn't own long pants or sweaters in his wardrobe.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 79 Comments: 8252
5616. ricderr
4:04 PM GMT on January 06, 2014

there's some folks that have known me ten years and never seen me in long pants in person





well...on the weekend no matter the weather i wear shorts.....i was the same way when i lived in florida
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 668 Comments: 20130
5615. eddye
4:00 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
surprise miami and broward not under a wind chill watch
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5614. GeorgiaStormz
4:00 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Heavy flurries outside.... High Winds....Very Cold....

Awesome
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9452
5613. LargoFl
3:58 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5612. LargoFl
3:57 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5608. ricderr:
Here it comes Orlando!!




scott....afraid you might have to wear long pants and a sweater?
lol I have mine on already
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5611. GeoffreyWPB
3:56 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10578
5610. indianrivguy
3:56 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5608. ricderr:
Here it comes Orlando!!




scott....afriad you might have to wear long pants and a sweater?


there's some folks that have known me ten years and never seen me in long pants in person..
Member Since: September 23, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 2429
5609. Hurricane614
3:55 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5602. StormTrackerScott:
NYC up to Boston look whats heading your way.





Looking ugly. Going back to school tomorrow, maybe it will get canceled. We have a wind chill advisory for -15 through -25 through the day on Tuesday.
Member Since: September 6, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 494
5608. ricderr
3:53 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Here it comes Orlando!!




scott....afraid you might have to wear long pants and a sweater?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 668 Comments: 20130
5607. LargoFl
3:52 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
just hold on florida..wens its all over for us....
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5606. eddye
3:52 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
storm tracker scott were waiting 2
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5605. GeoffreyWPB
3:51 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
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5604. LargoFl
3:50 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5591. Jedkins01:


That 41 is for St. Petersburg not Largo. St. Petersburg is always the "heat island" during cold events because its reporting station is nearly over the gulf.

The NWS has mid 30's for Largo.
ok thanks, thats what i was figuring on..overcast and getting windier here now and getting steadily cooler.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5603. StormWx
3:49 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Hi Warmth.

Can't wait to meet you!

Member Since: July 10, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 436
5602. StormTrackerScott
3:48 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
NYC up to Boston look whats heading your way.


Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 1 Comments: 934
5601. StormTrackerScott
3:46 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Here it comes Orlando!!

Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 1 Comments: 934
5600. Grothar
3:46 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 63 Comments: 23710
5599. aburttschell
3:45 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Wow just saw that the average temp in the USA is 12.2F!
Member Since: December 8, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 84
5598. Torito
3:29 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
705 AM EST MON JAN 06 2014




"""""...SPECIAL FEATURES...
AS OF 06/0900 UTC...A STRONG COLD FRONT IS ANALYZED OVER THE
GULF OF MEXICO FROM APALACHICOLA FLORIDA NEAR 29N85W SW TO
24N91W TO SE MEXICO NEAR 20N96W. NW TO N WINDS OF GALE FORCE ARE
S OF 26N WEST OF THE FRONT WHICH ARE FORECAST TO SUBSIDE BY
EARLY TUESDAY. AS THE FRONT ENTERS THE SW NORTH ATLC REGION THIS
AFTERNOON...W TO NW WINDS OF GALE FORCE ARE FORECAST NORTH OF
30N WEST OF THE FRONT. FINALLY...AS THE COLD FRONT ENTERS THE NW
CARIBBEAN SEA TONIGHT W TO NW WINDS OF GALE FORCE ARE EXPECTED
TO DEVELOP WEST OF FRONT. SEE LATEST NWS HIGH SEAS FORECAST
UNDER AWIPS/WMO HEADERS MIAHSFAT2/FZNT02 KNHC FOR MORE DETAILS."""""

Member Since: April 30, 2013 Posts: 5 Comments: 4203
5597. calkevin77
3:27 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Brrr morning all. Chilly here NE of Austin with a low this morning of 19 degrees. To the folks up North who are experiencing real cold, please remember the 4-P's: People, pets, pipes and polar bears. Thank you :)

Member Since: June 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 792
5596. TroutMadness
3:26 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting LargoFl:
yes same for area's in alaska wow.....


LOL
Grayling, Alaska 21
Grayling, Michigan 7 (our place up north)
Detroit 7 It was 14 when i got to work at 5:00
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 55
5595. MahFL
3:25 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5584. Torito:
Supposed to be WARMER in Antarctica than it is in some parts of the northern USA and Canada this week. Insane.

Link


It's summer at the South Pole.
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 2906
5594. barbamz
3:25 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Look at these creepy waves at the shore of France (Twitter-Pic)!
(I'm still in office, but now going home to see what craftsmen have left of my flat, lol).
BTW, birds this morning were already singing their spring songs (very mild temps in Western Europe indeed).
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5020
5593. Neapolitan
3:20 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Cold as it is across parts of the US right now--and cold as it will be tomorrow in others--the opposite continues in Europe. By way of example: while there are currently some single-digit temperatures are far south as Alabama, many locations as far north as Norway are enjoying temps in the 40s, while other towns and cities in the Netherlands, France, and Romania (among others) are seeing highs creep into the 50s and even low 60s.

At any rate, it appears the eastern US may turn cold again come February as the result of the still-developing SSW (Sudden Stratospheric Warming) event. How cold remains to be seen, but if history is any indication, we can probably expect an extended period (possibly weeks) of below-normal temperatures for the region, with a few multi-day forays into the land of the well below normal. But, as always, we'll see...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13268
5592. eddye
3:18 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
isnt it suppose 2 be 41 degrees in south fla tom
Member Since: August 12, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1204
5591. Jedkins01
3:17 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5580. LargoFl:
Huge difference in temps tonight between local met and NWS..local met says 30's..nws says 41..hmmm...


That 41 is for St. Petersburg not Largo. St. Petersburg is always the "heat island" during cold events because its reporting station is nearly over the gulf.

The NWS has mid 30's for Largo.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6867
5590. barbamz
3:15 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Quoting 5555. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
he is back today should get a new blog by lunch lots has happen while he has been away


Hope he isn't stuck somewhere in the cold over there while heading home?
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 43 Comments: 5020
5589. LargoFl
3:14 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
NYC vicinity................
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 33346
5588. wxchaser97
3:14 PM GMT on January 06, 2014
Flint, MI had their 3rd largest snowstorm on record with this storm, coming in at 17.1". Detroit cracked into the top 25 at 24th with its 10.6". Detroit has had 21" of snow this January. 21" of snow and it is only the 6th! We are about 5" away from our seasonal average of 42.7" already. All this snow is also coming with record cold temps. Detroit will likely shatter its old record low tomorrow.

Flint: 3 | January 4-5, 2014 | 17.1

Detroit: 24 | January 4-5, 2014 | 10.6
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 123 Comments: 7886

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.