Earth Day

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:34 PM GMT on April 21, 2006

This week marks the 1-year anniversary of my first blog, and what a year it's been! I had no idea when this blogging project started last year on Earth Day that it would grow to the levels it has. A big Thanks goes to everybody who reads the blog, and for those who post comments and wunderphotos and write your own blogs--thanks for your participation in this awesome experiment to explore the immense potential of this strange and wonderful new communication medium we've invented, the Internet. While at times the comments section of my blog may lapse into irrelevant anarchy, these comments helps me understand what subjects people find important to talk about . Many of the links and comments you've posted I've used to help formulate my blogs. This blog is a collaborative effort! I particulary want to thank the great people at the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, Storm Prediction Center, and Climate Prediction Center, whom I rely on very heavily for my blog material.

I tend to focus a lot on the violence and destruction our weather brings, as well as the dangers posed human-caused climate change and pollution. While these issues are critical to our survival, we also need to focus on just what an amazing and beautiful creation the atmosphere is. The air we breathe and the water it gives us, sustain all life. We all share the atmosphere, and are all touched by it, for we all breathe the same air. The best thing you can do tomorrow to honor Earth Day is to go outside, take a few deep breaths and feel how the air in your lungs sustains you, look at the beauty of the atmosphere surrounding you, and appreciate this great gift we have.

I'll post a few of the many awesome wunderphotos you've submitted over the past year, that I've used as my screensavers. Thank you all for sharing these!

Jeff Masters

Charlotte County, Florida tornado (Sunburnt)
Another image of the tornado, as it touched down in Punta Gorda, Florida
Charlotte County, Florida tornado
Double Rainbow (Contrails)
Dusk in the San Joaquin Valley after a rainy day.
Double Rainbow
Aurora Rising from the Trees (joebloe)
This is from the spectacular aurora last night. One of my favorite views is the sight of an aurora shining through the trees as it "rises up" to the sky. Bright waves like these are thrilling and uncommon. The reddish glow is from lighting to the south.
Aurora Rising from the Trees

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152. Skyepony (Mod)
5:33 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Here's a wave graphic for Monica, there's a Java loop option in the upper right hand side. Looks to be 40'+.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 42067
151. Skyepony (Mod)
4:54 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Guess i wasn't too far off with it looks like their Wilma lastnight, shortly before i lost internet due to rains, yeah! Lost power for 45 mins think lightnin hit a transformer on the road. NWS was right on, with a 35 min lead time on the warning, from the weather radio (storm hit at exact said time). 42 mins later, no power. It's hard to find a better investment than a weather radio.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 42067
150. Skyepony (Mod)
4:51 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Here's a news article released an hour ago on Monica. There is people in the path~ that pic speaks volumes in my opinion. Also interesting they bunker instead of hunker.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 42067
149. ForecasterColby
4:20 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
True enough.
148. HurricaneMyles
4:16 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Colby, direct pressure measurments may be available, but we'll only see the lowest pressure if it goes over a weather monitoring station AND that station survives the eye wall.
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147. ForecasterColby
4:15 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Free Image Hosting at

No explanation required.
146. ForecasterColby
3:41 PM GMT on April 23, 2006

On the pressure - notice the +10.6mb adjustment for latitude, I think the 877 is before that. It's still (rounded) 888, though.
145. CrazyC83
3:38 PM GMT on April 23, 2006 for the 877 mb estimate
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144. CrazyC83
3:35 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
I feel that an Alternative Earth Day should be celebrated, as we need to respect the Earth from a religious perspective (it was given to us from God), not from a hippie perspective of radical environmentalism.
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143. ForecasterColby
3:34 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
TCWC? Link?

Direct pressure measurements are gonna be available for this storm. JTWC now shows a track just south of Darwin, which will spare them the worst (remember, this is the southern hemisphere, so the front LEFT quadrant is the strongest). Still, being 30 miles from a 130kt storm is a bad thing.
142. Jedkins
3:25 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
I tell you what I don't celebrate it.
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141. HurricaneMyles
3:20 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Just highlights the reason we need international recon flights to land threatening storms. If we knew the real inensity, and weren't just throwing darts in the range of pressures that are normally assosiated with a storm that looks that good, then people could probably make better preeiction and we would know for sure how intense the storm is we are looking at.
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140. Jedkins
3:23 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Wow that is quite a tc,it looks very organized and compact,pray for them folks downunder.By the way who the heck celebrates earth day eccept for hippies and newagers?
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139. CrazyC83
3:15 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Pressure still disputed - the TCWC still shows 877, while Darwin is sticking to 905 and 892 is the JTWC number.

Honestly, my belief is with the 877.

As for the winds, the 1min sustained would be 154 knots - so this would have 155 knots (180 mph) winds.
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138. ForecasterColby
2:29 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Before final landfall, yes, but it'll be scraping the coasts for days.
137. ForecasterColby
2:28 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Craine, that's an excellent idea. I'll do a blog on technique every few days till hurricane season.
136. lightning10
2:10 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Is Monica expected to weaken before landfall?
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135. Craine
1:59 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Thanks Jeff,

For a whole year of a wunderful blog. Your discussion of weather events is often much more informative, in-depth, and easier to read for the amateurs amongst us.

As for being an amateur, i am probably not even that. Just an interested party living in a hurricane prone area. Perhaps a suggestion for future blogs could be some discussion of the methods you weather guru's use to derive your predictions? What details to look for when we look at those colorful satellite images?

Thank you, and don't stop the good work!
-- Craine --
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134. ForecasterColby
1:26 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
Almost to the top!

23/0733 UTC 11.3S 137.2E T7.5/7.5 MONICA
133. ForecasterColby
1:23 PM GMT on April 23, 2006
145kt 10-minute...this thing has 185mph winds and is still strengthening :O 892mb, she's passing Rita.

131. ProgressivePulse
6:35 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Radar is showing a 2nd eywall starting to form, might save costal areas if this happens
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130. franck
6:10 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Judging by the wind speed and barometric pressure, Ingrid was nothing in compared to this storm. If Monica holds together we are going to see what a Cat 5 does directly impacting a populated area. But there can't be that many people on that little spit of an island area.
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129. Hawkeyewx
12:36 AM CDT on April 23, 2006
Tropical Cyclone Ingrid in March 2005 was also very strong and Monica is taking a very similar path. The following link has a lot of Ingrid info including damage pictures from several locations along Monica's future path.

Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1928
128. ProgressivePulse
5:33 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Based on 2003 Population that would be about 200,000 people
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127. ProgressivePulse
5:28 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Cape Wessel Makes up 1% of the Austrailian Population.
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126. franck
5:07 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Woe! Are there ppeople on that little place called Cape Wessel. I googled it but can't get anything on population. It'll be a sand bar tomorrow.
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125. louastu
12:43 AM EDT on April 23, 2006
Here is a nice sattelite image of Monica.
124. ProgressivePulse
4:41 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Coastal Waters Wind Warning
For Daly River Mouth to the Queensland Border
Issued at 11:10 am CST on Sunday 23 April 2006

Synoptic situation
At 10 am CST Severe Tropical Cyclone Monica 925 hPa was located within 20 nautical miles of 11.8S 138.0E, about 85 nautical miles northeast of Nhulunbuy and 145 nautical miles east northeast of Elcho Island, and was moving west northwest at 5 knots. Severe Tropical Cyclone Monica is expected to maintain intensity as it moves towards the west during the next 24 hours. Centre forecast to be within 80 nautical miles of 11.4S 134.4E at 10 am CST Monday.

Storm Warning
within 50 nautical miles of cyclone centre...
Clockwise winds above 48 knots. Winds 125 knots near centre. Seas to 10 metres on a 5 metre swell.

Gale Warning
within 100 nautical miles of cyclone centre...
Clockwise winds above 34 knots. Seas and swell rising to 4 metres. Scattered squalls to 50 knots.

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9:38 PM PDT on April 22, 2006
kerneld what are they thinking

people on that Island get out of there
122. kerneld
4:37 AM GMT on April 23, 2006

Looks like people are staying on that Island that is about to get hit. Crazy!
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9:32 PM PDT on April 22, 2006
all i can say is wooooooooooooooow
120. CrazyC83
4:25 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
The 164 knots I think is flight-level, which at a 90% estimate would translate to a 148 knot storm. IMO, there is enough interference that 145 knots (165 mph) is the correct wind speed at this moment.

The 877 mb pressure makes me speechless. That is the lowest EVER outside the Western Pacific, and the ninth lowest in world history.
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119. ForecasterColby
4:25 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
It does? I see it strengthening still.
118. ForecasterColby
4:22 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Kind of appropriate.

Satellite estimates can be excellent (ala Katrina) or god-awful (ala Hugo).
117. ProgressivePulse
4:18 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Appears to be loosing some steam on the radar Hawk posted.
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116. TheSnowman
4:18 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
wikipedia has it comfirmed lol But WOW this is just........I'm speechless

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115. TheSnowman
4:17 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
really? wow there is sooo many differences in the way we do things and the way they do them
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114. snowski
4:14 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
That brings me to a point. How accurate are satellite estimates of pressure compared to a real barometric measurement?
113. ForecasterColby
4:15 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Not yet, snowman. The official pressure is 916mb, that's just an objective estimate.
112. TheSnowman
4:06 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Jeff CONGRATS On your 1 Year Anniversarry!!!!

And WHAT A way to Celebrate (kind of - God Bless Those People Down Under)

We Have A NEW Record Low Pressure in a Basin!!!!!!

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111. ForecasterColby
4:06 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
7.8, sorry. That estimate puts it as by far the strongest storm outside the Western Pacific, after Wilma, and only 6mb short of Tip O_O
110. ForecasterColby
3:55 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
T7.9...the scale only goes to 8! Unbelieveable!
109. Hawkeyewx
10:55 PM CDT on April 22, 2006
Here's the current Monica radar loop.

Gove, AU radar
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1928
108. ProgressivePulse
3:42 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Coulden't imagine feeling winds of 180+ miles an hour. One big giant tornado.
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107. Trouper415
3:39 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
I pray for the people on that island chain.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 714
106. Trouper415
3:36 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
876 lol
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 714
105. snowski
3:27 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
Monica is now T 7.8, 876 mb, Vmax 164 kt.

I wonder how accurate this Advanved Objective Dvorak Technique is compared to a real barometric measurement?
8:20 PM PDT on April 22, 2006
: atmosweather i am back in my blog now

we can pick this up in my blog if you all want to come on in and have fun tonight i be in my blog in tell 11:00pm or so
103. atmosweather
11:19 PM EDT on April 22, 2006
Lol snowski. The bottom map is extremely useful LOL!!!!
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
102. snowski
3:13 AM GMT on April 23, 2006
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology predicts the following track for Monica:

and in case you're interested, here's a highway map showing how to get out of the area:

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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