Washington Landslide Death Toll Grows to 14

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:03 PM GMT on March 25, 2014

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The death toll has grown to fourteen from Saturday's massive landslide near Oso, Washington, located about 50 miles north-northeast of Seattle. At least seven were injured, and 176 are listed as missing, though this total is likely to decrease dramatically as missing people check in. The landslide was triggered by unusually heavy rains over the past 30 days in the region. A personal weather station located about ten miles west of the slide recorded 13.81" of precipitation in the 30 days prior to the slide, including 5.17" in the ten days just before. Precipitation imagery from NOAA's Advanced Hydrological Precipitation Service (Figure 2) shows that the 30-day precipitation amounts in the region were more than 8" above average--about double the usual amount of rain for this time of year.


Figure 1. The Oso, Washington area before the March 22, 2014 landslide as seen on Google Earth (top) and after the landslide, as photographed by the Washington Department of Transportation (bottom.) The landslide blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and Highway 530.


Figure 2. Precipitation for the 30-day period ending March 24, 2014, was 150% - 200% of average in Oso, Washington--about 8" above average. Image credit: NOAA/AHPS.


Figure 3. Predicted precipitation for the 7-day period ending on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. The landslide area to the northwest of Seattle is expected to receive 2 - 4" of precipitation, which will slow recovery efforts from the landslide. However, the rains over Northern California will be welcome, helping to fill drought-depleted reservoirs as that state's dry season approaches. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.

A re-activation of an old landslide
According to Dave Petley, Professor of Hazard and Risk in the Department of Geography at Durham University in the United Kingdom, it is clear that major landslides have occurred here on many previous occasions, so much so that the landslide is known as either the Hazel landslide or the Steelhead landslide. In his excellent Landslide Blog, my go-to source of information for any landslide, he writes: "The landslide has been widely reported as a mudslide. In terms of the lower portion, which did the damage, this is correct, although in places it might have been more of a mudflow than a mudslide. However, the upper portion is a rotational landslide–the rotated block with the fallen trees is very clear. A working hypothesis would be that this block failed catastrophically, transferring load onto the block below, which in turn generated very high pore water pressures, causing fluidisation and a very rapid mudflow that struck the settlements across the river." He writes that the last event on a similar scale he knows of was the 25th December 2003 debris flow in San Bernadino County, California, which killed sixteen people. Weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a post about the worst landslides in U.S. history, which puts this week's landslide in context.

The Yakima Herald has a very nice article that details the chronology of events on the Oso landslide. This includes:
• 1949: A large landslide (1000 feet long and 2600 feet wide) affected the river bank
• 1951: Another large failure of the slope; the river was partially blocked
• 1967: Seattle Times published an article that referred to this site as “Slide Hill”
• 1997 report, by Daniel Miller, for the Washington Department of Ecology and the Tualialip Tribes
• 1999: US Army Corps of Engineers report by Daniel and Lynne Rodgers Miller that warned of “the potential for a large catastrophic failure”
• 25 January 2006: large movement of the Steelhead landslide blocked the river



When Will Spring Come For REAL? Join Me at 5:30pm EDT Tuesday for a Google Hangout Discussion
Spring has officially begun for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, but it's still more like winter in the Midwest and Northeast U.S. In celebration of the new season, I'll host a 15-minute Google Hangout on Tuesday, March 25th at 5:30pm EDT to review where on Earth the most severe winter weather is occurring, and forecast when those of us still experiencing winter can expect to see Spring--for real! I'll focus on the forecast for four cities: Detroit, Boston, Seattle, and Moscow, and discuss some of the remarkable weather events those cities have seen this month. You can watch the hangout by visiting our Weather Underground Spring Forecast page.



Jeff Masters

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1135. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
12:50 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
1133. washingtonian115
12:42 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
Here was the forecast from the Farmers Almanac..

If you believe it, residents of the Plains to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast may want to start stocking up on warm weather gear, snow shovels, and salt right now! The Farmers%u2019 Almanac is calling for a %u201Cbitterly cold%u201D winter for much of the region.

It was cold..it was snowy..and salt and shovels around the area were very hard to find as stores ran short.I mean a broken clock is right twice a day..right?.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 18991
1132. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:40 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1131. washingtonian115:
I'm hoping for a moderate el nino..A strong one will pretty much kill any chance of a meaningful snowy winter.
next winter we will need an umbrella instead of a shovel
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 187 Comments: 58172
1131. washingtonian115
12:38 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
I'm hoping for a moderate el nino..A strong one will pretty much kill any chance of a meaningful snowy winter.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 18991
1130. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:38 PM GMT on March 27, 2014


This is a contour plot of helicity which is the amount of storm relative rotation/shear in the atmosphere. Helicity is used to indicate where rotation/shear is high enough to allow thunderstorms to organize into severe or supercell storms. In the lack of helicity, storms develop vertically and the precipitation will snuff out the updraft killing the thunderstorm. Severe storms need helicity to maintain an organized structure allowing the storm to develop to severe limits. A value of 400-500 is often needed to produce severe storms. Often this is used in conjunction with CAPE to determine severe storm location.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 187 Comments: 58172
1129. LargoFl
12:35 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
wet weekend for the east coast states..........
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1128. LargoFl
12:34 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46426
1127. LargoFl
12:33 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1119. StormWx:


Cant complain about the wet weather during our dry season. I'd rather have lush green grass than a bad fire season. No drought here in FL either which is a good thing brah.

YES Rain wise its been great during our dry season.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 46426
1126. washingtonian115
12:32 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
If the trees had a good 2 week warm spell they would be fully bloomed by now.Instead it looks like they're fighting a losing battle.I kinda feel sorry for these allergy causing leeches.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 18991
1125. beell
12:31 PM GMT on March 27, 2014

(click for larger image)

....There have been and is ongoing debate regarding clear cut harvest and water infiltration into deep-seated glacial sediments in part triggered by this slide but also another set of slides in deep steep canyons elsewhere nearby. In this case, I will offer an opinion that the river erosion at the toe is the big driver of slope instability...

...LiDAR is a great tool for assessing landslides. The bare earth images have made mapping large landslides and large landslide deposits an office exercise with focused field trips.

The smallish red marked area on the right is my estimate of the active slide area. I did not include the deposition area of the slide as I don't have a good image yet, but can say that the deposit extended clear across SR530 on the map.

The larger red outlined area in the central portion of the image is from a much larger slide. The deposit area from that slide was even bigger than what is indicated, but the southern end has been eroded and removed by the river. It would be very interesting to know how old this slide is. And also might be informative to look at the geometry of the headwall area...


Dan McShane is an engineering geologist with Stratum Group, a geology and environmental consulting company based in Bellingham, Washington.
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1124. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:26 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 187 Comments: 58172
1123. ncstorm
12:09 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
Dr. Greg Forbes Torcon Index

Thursday, March 27

Severe thunderstorms in southern Iowa, eastern Kansas, Missouri, west-central and southern Illinois, Arkansas, northern and western Louisiana, east Texas (east of I-35). TOR:CON - 5 MO; 4 AR, northeat TX, southeast OK, northwest LA; 2 to 3 rest of area mentioned

TOR:CON details:
AR - 4
IA south - 3 to 4
IL west-central, south - 3
KS east - 2 to 3
LA northwest - 4
LA southwest - 2 to 3
LA northeast - 3
MO - 5
OK northeast - 2 to 3
OK southeast - 4
TX northeast - 4
TX upper coastal - 2 to 3
Friday, March 28

Scatttered severe thunderstorms in southwest Tennessee, northwest and west-central Alabama, north, central and southwest Mississippi, north, central and southwest Louisiana, east Texas, Arkansas, and southeast Oklahoma. TOR:CON - 4 southwest AR, northeast TX, northwest LA; 3 for areas of MS, AL mentioned above

TOR:CON details:
AL northwest, west-central - 3
AR southwest - 4
AR southeast, central - 3
AR north - 2
LA northwest - 4
LA northeast, central, southwest - 3
MS north, central, southwest - 3
OK southeast - 2 to 3
TN southwest - 2 to 3
TX northeast - 4
TX southeast - 3
Saturday, March 29

Isolated severe thunderstorms in south and east-central North Carolina, South Carolina, northeast, central and south Georgia, Florida panhandle, and northeast Florida. TOR:CON - 3 SC, southeast NC; 2 rest of area mentioned
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1122. beell
12:07 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
From a link contained in a link posted in Doc's post.

‘Unforeseen’ risk of slide? Warnings go back decades/Yakima Herald 03/24/14
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1121. ncstorm
12:06 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
Day 2


Day 3


look to be an active day 3 days for severe weather..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16373
1120. ncstorm
12:05 PM GMT on March 27, 2014
today..






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1118. washingtonian115
11:35 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1073. PedleyCA:


You have Sprint?
I have comcast.
Quoting 1093. watchingnva:
can we get it within 190 hours before giving it any weight please??? tomorrows 12z will be completely different...
I'm not saying it'll happen.What I'm saying is that the pattern is supporting more cold even into April.It's not uncommon to get snow in April...
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1117. VR46L
11:03 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Good Morning Folks !!!

Storm moving into the Mid Atlantic now ,
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1116. trunkmonkey
11:02 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1035. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Thanks for your maps, I look forward to viewing them daily!!
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1115. Sfloridacat5
10:18 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
I think we are done with the 70s (I hope not) for highs for the rest of the year down here.
It felt so nice yesterday afternoon with those cool breezes and temps in the 70s with low humidity.

7 Day for Fort Myers
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1114. barbamz
8:56 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Short hello from sunny Germany. I hope all the Canadians in the East of their country are still alive, safe and well despite of the amazing blizzard!

Not sure whether this has been posted already: TRMM got a better rival:



--------------------

Sideglance to the Mediterranean (Greece), dealing with low "Jutta":

From the discussion of Estofex:

During the day, the Mediterranean trough will slowly approach from the west. A strong mid-level jet streak will spread into central Greece and later into the central Aegean Sea. DCVA and warm air advection will provide QG lift. At low levels, south-easterly winds will continue to advect moisture into Greece and the northern Aegean Sea region. Best moisture with mixing ratios near 9 g/kg according the GFS will be located in a narrow band just ahead of a cold front approaching from the west. Within this band, GFS indicates almost no capping due to strong lift and rich low-level moisture. Thunderstorms have already formed along the cold front over southern Italy.

Current thinking is that the storms ahead of the cold front will continue eastward today, affecting Greece in the noon hours and the central and northern Aegean Sea in the afternoon or evening. East of this convection, capping is expected to limit thunderstorm potential. Best chances will remain over the north Aegean region, where current storms may go on until the afternoon.

Strong vertical wind shear will result in well-organized convection. A line of storms is expected in the western portions, whereas multicells and supercells are forecast across the Aegean Sea that will merge to a cluster or MCS later on. Main threat will be severe winds with the convective line across western Greece, whereas large hail will be most likely in the southern portions due to the steeper lapse rates in the hail growth zone. Due to the strong low-level vertical wind shear, tornadoes are forecast as well, with the highest potential across the north Aegean region and north-western Turkey, and even a strong event is not ruled out. Convective activity will go on until the morning hours across western Turkey.






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1113. LargoFl
8:56 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
7-day Tampa bay area...........................
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1112. LargoFl
8:52 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Good Morning!...............................
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1111. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
6:43 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 187 Comments: 58172
1110. nwobilderburg
6:39 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1109. Gearsts:


well looks like super el-nino is here
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1109. Gearsts
5:44 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2445
1108. nwobilderburg
5:16 AM GMT on March 27, 2014


looks pretty good... seems like Washington had been taking all the rain that California would have got
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1107. Jedkins01
5:12 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1106. redwagon:


Yes, ants drone, too. When the carrying capacity ratio goes negative, potential queens and drones are forced out of the hives, flying off. They drop their wings as soon as they find a nice spot. Usually in your pool.



Of course, but its only temporary.

I used to collect and study social insects heavily when I was a kid, you don't want to debate me about insects, trust me :)
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8700
1106. redwagon
5:05 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1101. Jedkins01:


Not ants :)



Yes, ants drone, too. When the carrying capacity ratio goes negative, potential queens and drones are forced out of the hives, flying off. They drop their wings as soon as they find a nice spot. Usually in your pool.
Member Since: August 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3305
1105. nonblanche
5:01 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1103. nwobilderburg:


norcal gets some drought relief, i guess
:/


Oh heckyeah. Not just NorCal; I'm hoping the next two waves after this get enough snowpack that Northern Nevada's TCID* bumps up our irrigation from its current 40% of water rights.

*Truckee-Carson Irrigation District
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1104. nwobilderburg
5:01 AM GMT on March 27, 2014


long range

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1103. nwobilderburg
4:58 AM GMT on March 27, 2014


norcal gets some drought relief, i guess
:/
Member Since: October 6, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 943
1102. guygee
4:57 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 934. wxmod:


I believe that whole country was clearcut over a hundred years ago. It is very close to a mill town and it is unlikely that it was not cut over because nobody (almost) talked about the environment a hundred years ago. There is an old road base to the north directly next to the slide. The whole area is known for intense landslides. The whole area for miles around has been modified from it's pre-logging condition. That has changed all the water flow and holding characteristics of the soil, the silt content of the river, the water level in the river, etc. On top of the old clearcutting, more recent clearcuts are evident all over the place along with their access roads. From the pre-slide satellite photo, I believe there is an access road right at the bottom of the landslide. I'm sure the locals will be talking about this at length.
From the Seattle Times:
State allowed logging on plateau above slope

"In recent decades the state allowed logging — with restrictions — on the plateau above the Snohomish County hillside that collapsed in last weekend’s deadly mudslide."

Hypothesis: If a steep slope is clear-cut it will de-stabilize the mountainside and may set up a chain of events where repeated slides prevent sufficient reforestation to re-stabilize the area.

Another anecdotal story recently reprinted from a 1996 article co-authored by the late journalist Alexander Cockburn: "Logging and Landslides: When Clearcuts Kill"
Excerpt:
"When the first big winter rains hit Humboldt County in 1996, the Mattole River, which runs past Cockburn’s door, rose like a rocket. Within a couple of days, his house was cut off. To the west, the river was two feet over the road; 200 yards to the east, a landslide poured 30-feet of dirt over the road.

It’s the landslide that concerns us here. The steep slope above the road was logged in 1993. Many of us had protested that taking the trees would cause slides.

The California Department of Forestry said there was nothing it could do because the owner, a man from Oregon, had invoked emergency salvage regulations after the 1992 Petrolia earthquake. The only recourse would be to sue the owner after he had logged. The logging went ahead. The owner picked up his money, sold the property and returned to Oregon. The hillside has been sliding ever since. Last week, most of the hill-face came down. The bill for the county will probably add up to several hundred thousand dollars."
[...]
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1101. Jedkins01
4:39 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1099. redwagon:


'Social' insects had wings, didn't need a boarding pass.

Even queens and drones. But humanity itself was crimped to about 15,000 people not too many millenia go. It's really quite amazing we made it through.


Not ants :)

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1100. nonblanche
4:36 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Not our pasture (note the open gate) but about a smidge over a mile from ours. Our specific area is dry-slotted nearly all the time when storms swing through, but long as the precip makes it into the water table we're happy enough.



There was a real solid-looking storm cell a few miles north-northeast of the farm, but I didn't get a shot of that. It looked like a nice monsoon for whoever was getting it, and the winds around it were brushing by, really yanking all the pollen tufts off the cottonwoods.

Beautiful stars overhead, but looks like more rain clouds moving in from the west. Mr. Crazyhead the rooster is pretty quiet, I think he feels it coming too.
Member Since: October 21, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 344
1099. redwagon
4:29 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1096. Jedkins01:



The big, late night philosophical question is...

drum rolls...

How were social insects brought on the ark, like bees, wasps and ants?

2 colonies, or just two queens? Or one Queen and a Drone each?

:)


'Social' insects had wings, didn't need a boarding pass.

Even queens and drones. But humanity itself was crimped to about 15,000 people not too many millenia go. It's really quite amazing we made it through.
Member Since: August 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3305
1098. nonblanche
4:19 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1037. KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
any reports of hail the size of melons yet


Honorable Estranged Husband lives just off the US50 Bradshaw exit. I just pinged him to ask what he got out of the storm.
Member Since: October 21, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 344
1097. Andrebrooks
3:57 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 933. hurricanes2018:
I bet watch for the Super El Nino this summer
This year is going to get interesting.
Member Since: March 25, 2013 Posts: 36 Comments: 1793
1096. Jedkins01
3:55 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1071. Dakster:


I just hope someone smacks those two mosquitos this time around.



The big, late night philosophical question is...

drum rolls...

How were social insects brought on the ark, like bees, wasps and ants?

2 colonies, or just two queens? Or one Queen and a Drone each?

:)
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8700
1095. TimSoCal
3:21 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1050. Doppler22:
Roseville Fire Company is responding to possible damage from tornado


I lived in Roseville a few years back. Hope everybody's OK.
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1094. BaltimoreBrian
3:17 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Oh, c'mon. It's fun!
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1093. watchingnva
3:14 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
can we get it within 190 hours before giving it any weight please??? tomorrows 12z will be completely different...
Member Since: September 7, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 1526
1092. BaltimoreBrian
3:09 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Let's take a closer look. Right click on images to expand.















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1091. PedleyCA
3:06 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Time to Close UP Shop. Stay Safe - Stay Warm - Spring is Coming Soon as the order comes in.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6680
1090. BaltimoreBrian
3:04 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1072. washingtonian115:
Models latching on to possible snow event next week (This up coming Sunday to be exact).Spring may be here but Jack frost refuses to leave.
You didn't think it would end Sunday, did you? Washi, Washi, Washi.... ;)

Right click on image to expand.

Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 9907
1089. WaterWitch11
3:00 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 989. MAweatherboy1:

As a follow-up to this, sadly, two very brave Boston firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty battling that massive blaze this afternoon.


as always nothing but love & respect for them all
Member Since: August 11, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 1894
1088. Bluestorm5
2:56 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1083. Jedkins01:


Accuweather may be a little bold with their forecasts, but as a private company I don't see it as a problem.

The NWS as the weather authority has a responsibility or almost a burden to provide the most sound forecast to keep the public safe, and so they don't have the freedom a private company could because of this responsibility. They don't have any real forecast rules, as you notice, individual offices do disagree. However, working for the NWS, it would be hard to not to take on that perspective of forecasting, knowing what's at stake.

I sometimes laugh at Accuweather's bold predictions, but again they are a company, so there's nothing wrong with going outside of the consensus a little. Sometimes it is a good call with fringe forecasts when the models are in low confidence. Debby is such an example where bold, non-consensus forecasting tends to prevail, well at least one solution of many possible outcomes anyway, lol.
Also, they are private forecasters which could do a lot better for companies than looking up NWS forecast anyway. NWS got to focus on large amount of area while AccuWeather could use a forecaster to focus on one area at the time and gives the forecast to companies.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 8119
1087. Patrap
2:52 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
..and all this Peace has been deceiving,...

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 432 Comments: 131995
1086. TAMPASHIELD
2:47 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
Quoting 1051. Dragod66:


okay ill bite...

I think they are a decent C cup! :P



Nope!
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1085. Patrap
2:45 AM GMT on March 27, 2014
2014, the Year the Warmer Global Climate Strikes Back

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