Transcript of the NHC press conference; QuikSCAT science

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:27 PM GMT on July 06, 2007

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The National Hurricane Center political controversy continues today. In an Associated Press story released this morning, Senior Hurricane Specialist James Franklin of the National Hurricane Center commented on Bill Proenza's QuikSCAT claims, saying:

"He has been very loudly saying if it failed our forecasts for landfalling storms would be degraded, that warning areas would need to be expanded. None of that is the case, and he knows that we feel that way. The science is not there to back up the claims that he's making."

This was the same case I made in my blog yesterday. However, in comments published in the Miami Herald today, Dr. Bob Atlas, a QuikSCAT scientist who runs NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory on Virginia Key, rose to defend Proenza. To quote from the Herald:

He said the report challenged by Masters, even if not yet published, appears to be a "rigorous study" that provides the "most comprehensive study of QuikSCAT data related to hurricane predictions."

Atlas said nothing he has heard Proenza say about QuikSCAT has made him wince, though Atlas added that NOAA is developing ways to mitigate the loss of QuikSCAT data.

In addition, he said, Proenza's estimates of 16 percent and 10 percent have been misunderstood: They apply to the accuracy of one of many computerized forecast models rather than actual, end-result predictions by hurricane forecasters.

"Bill's worked very hard and very well to position the hurricane center to interact well with researchers," Atlas said.


Dr. Atlas was mis-quoted by Time Magazine, who printed this:

Bob Atlas, director of NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, insist that Proenza's concerns "are very well founded. QuickScat is the most valuable forecasting tool." Atlas says he applauds Proenza's outspokenness, predicting it will "accelerate the effort to replace QuickScat with an even better scatterometer satellite."

I talked with Dr. Atlas this morning, and what he actually said is that "NCEP's Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) have referred to QuikSCAT as the most valuable tool they have." OPC issues the high seas marine forecasts and warnings for the North Atlantic and North Pacific. Dr. Atlas did not say QuickSCAT is the most valuable forecasting tool for hurricane forecasting which it is not. Dr. Atlas and I both agree on what the science says about QuikSCAT. I respect his support for Proenza, and hope that Proenza's superiors in Washington take into account all the facts in the case. I did my best to present what I know of the science in my blog yesterday. No one knows the full story of what's going on at NHC, but this morning's press conference, done by staff members at NHC who oppose Proenza, will help clarify things. A transcript was sent to me by WTVJ, the NBC Station in Miami.

Transcript of this morning's press conference

Senior Hurricane Specialist James Franklin
We have been a family here, we are a small group of about 50 people. When things are really happening, we've got a Katrina out there or a Rita type of storms, everybody needs to stop what they're doing and pull together and make sure our message gets out and that we're doing the best job that we can to make the best forecast. We've got a lot of people pulling together to do that. That takes a certain amount of teamwork and appreciation of sense of family and he's destroying that, he's destroying that.

He's divided the staff, and it's hard to know how we're going to be able to come together with him here. One thing that happened yesterday when the staff met, and talked about these issues and a lot of people learned for the first time about some of the issues going on yesterday, and that brought a lot of the staff together. You saw a number of people speaking out both in terms of 3 to 23 yesterday. We found out what was really going on here. and I think you're going to see more later on.

I was very very gratified, we had a wonderful meeting with staff, including those who have been prior supporters of Bill. And we're learning a lot of things for the very first time. There we're a number of people who agreed with us, didn't like the idea of going to the press, but felt he needed to go, there are a fair number of people who didn't sign the letter for that reason. They wanted to keep it in house, and I certainly understand that. About 70-percent of the people who were in the discussion yesterday, put their names on the paper.

I think we've learned an awful lot about Bill here, during the last six months that maybe we didn't know.

We would have liked to have seen Bill realize that he didn't have the support of the staff and step down. That's not going to happen apparently. The process, the Dept. of Commerce process, I imagine needs to go forward. I think it would be nice if they could take him out of the office while that process goes on, those are not decisions we can make.

Lixion Avila-Senior Hurricane Forecaster
-Been here longer than any other forecaster
-Worked for 5-hurricane directors

I was Bill's stronger supporter, I went with him to the Caribbean with the hurricane hunter plane. To develop the hurricane hunter plan, like I did with all the directors. And I'm very upset (loud truck drives by) that he's been misrepresenting the views of the National Hurricane Center, and the hurricane plan. That plan was developed by the previous five hurricane directors, it's a jewel, it's the best in the world and it's been something that Neil Frank, Bob Sheets and Jerry Jarrel and developed for 20-years in six months he wants to destroy that plan.

For example he, I'm a scientist not a manager, and I don't know anything about management, but I can tell you that he came to my office telling me that he wants my advice, that he can not work here if he doesn't hear my advice.. very helpful with the previous directors, and he asked me, and I said the first thing you need to do is quit talking about that QuikSCAT and tell him that is out of line, will help all the problems. And he says he will do that, instead he goes back to the media, and you don't publish that you only publish the good things he said.

He said that we don't want to work with him, because he brings many good ideas, and we don't want to do that. I want you to know that he has not made a hurricane forecast since 1964.

That satellite, I gave that example to many people here. There are many things more important than that satellite. Of course I want that someone to have that satellite. The example I gave everybody is like having a BMW with leather seats. If you don't have leather seats that BMW is going to ruin, and we are going to make a very damn good forecast this year, with Bill or without Bill, and I think. I'm being very emotional, because I was his strongest supporter and I feel betrayed.

I was the last forecaster to join the group. They were smarter than me, I was giving him one more chance. Two day's ago when he came to my office and said please, what should I do to solve this problem? And I was very naive and I told him you need to stop fighting, pretending you're David against Goliath, and all those things with NOAA. The public thinks you're a hero, but you're not. You just need to develop your time and saving the hurricane program that your predecessor developed so nicely, this castle that has been done here. and he went back and said he was going to do that, he went to the media and said the opposite, and that's the end, thank you.

James Franklin
I want to say something about the QuikSCAT issue because, because that's important. The QuikSCAT satellite, is important to us, it does a lot of good things for us. We want a next generation advanced instrument, however there are a lot of things that current instrument cannot do, and by misrepresenting the case for that satellite, he has made it seem so urgent and so important. That what we're afraid of, that we'll get a quick fix, a copy of the kind of thing with existing technology. And within a couple of years we'll be in exactly the same position same situation. QuikSCAT is not a tool to help us improve track forecasts, that's how it's been misrepresented. Bill waves this NOAA report that some of my colleagues worked on and said look this is it. That report did not address track forecast accuracy, that is another one of the misrepresentations.

QuikSCAT is important to help us understand the size of the wind field, the strength, the current instrument has a lot of trouble with rain, a lot of rain in tropical cyclones. We need to move forward if we take the time develop the technology further and in a few more years get at the technology that really helps us get at the intensity problem, that's where our forecast problem really is. We've made great strides with track, as you know we're having a lot more problems with intensity, and doing the QuikSCAT problem correctly, taking our time, developing new technology is one of the tools that we need to help solve the intensity problem. But because of the way it's been portrayed we're afraid that there's going to be a quick fix that's not going to address the track problem, and it doesn't address the track problem and it isn't going to end up helping us with what the forecasters really know will help us.

We've see members of the Congress talking about how the information from the recognizance aircraft are inferior to QuikSCAT, we're afraid that somebody might get it in their heads to fund a stopgap QuikSCAT to take funds from recon aircraft. There is no comparison, there is not a forecaster here who believes QuikSCAT is more important than recon aircraft or other tools we have. But because this issue has been misreported we're afraid we might lose what we have.

We've got forecasters still back at there desks doing their jobs and they'll continue doing that. But there's a lot of people losing sleep over this, and as we get into august September, October, I don't think you want a bunch of tired sick, forecasters working the forecast desk. I think it takes a full effort. It's not just about doing our jobs, we need to go over and beyond when those storms are coming, and that's becoming harder to do.

I think when things get busy, it's going to be harder for us to work effectively with the situation we have here.

Vivian Jorge, Administrative Officer
As far as myself in the administration, since Bill got here, is the turmoil in the administration, because in my sense, bill(sat breakup) likes controversy. And I myself have been asked to do things that I know are not procedure but have been asked to do because that's the way he wants things done, and I've worked at hurricane center since 1985.

Unfortunately I think a director needs to unite his staff and he needs to be a calming person. It doesn't need to be a no new ideas. All the directors have different ideas.. from Neil on down to Max, they were different, they were not the same, their management styles were not the same, but they united the staff, the listened to the staff, especially the folks who have been here for so many years. .. and I think in the case of bill he doesn't feel that's necessary, he always feels he knows best. And that again in our case, there's never been so many closed doors, so much intrigue at the hurricane center as now and that's really unfortunate. I can't tell you how proud I am to work here.

--End of Press Conference

QuikSCAT science
Enough of politics, let's talk science! I've communicated several times over the past few weeks with Dr. Paul Chang, a NOAA QuikSCAT scientist whose QuikSCAT web page I've linked to hundreds of times in my blogs over the past two years. He did not want to comment on the politics of the QuikSCAT issue (smart man!), but did ask me print these comments:

The need for an operational ocean surface vector wind satellite system like QuikSCAT (or actually better) goes much further than the hurricane issue, and the push for it started long before Bill Proenza became the NHC director. NHC actually wants/needs something better so that it can provide them with reliable and accurate information (intensity and structure) within all hurricanes. A few other users of QuikSCAT data include: The Department of Defense's Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, which has a much larger area to forecast for. They have no Hurricane Hunter data and much less surface and upper air data to work with, and thus use QuikSCAT winds quite a bit. This is a similar situation for NOAA's Central Pacific Hurricane Center located in Hawaii. QuikSCAT has also had significant positive impacts at the Ocean Prediction Center, which issues the high seas marine forecasts and warnings for the North Atlantic and North Pacific. This has led to the introduction of a warning category for hurricane force winds for the most dangerous extratropical cyclones. I know of at least a few private marine weather companies that routinely use QuikSCAT. The Australians, French and many others use QuikSCAT routinely for tropical storm forecast/analysis, and for marine weather in general.

The track degradation impact numbers that Bill Proenza has been stating publicly come from a limited data study for the 2003 season in the Atlantic with the GFS model only. I believe Bob Atlas did some earlier work studying the impact of QuikSCAT on Hurricane Cindy using an earlier version of the NCEP global model. Both of these studies did show promising positive impacts. They are of course limited studies, and a more in-depth study is warranted.

The GFS model hurricane track forecasts are just one piece of guidance that the NHC human forecasters use to generate the official track forecast, so the impact in a particular model guidance package does not directly translate to the same impact in the actual NHC officially issued track forecast. Additionally, QuikSCAT data are also used directly by forecasters at NHC and elsewhere, but this impact tends to be more difficult to quantify.

The aircraft are a very important hurricane operational and research tool, and no one involved in the QuikSCAT follow-on effort has ever said QuikSCAT (or its successor) should or could replace the role of the hurricane aircraft flights, just as no one has said that aircraft could replace the role of satellites. They are very complementary platforms, but they fulfill different roles.


It would be a shame if in the hubbub over Bill Proenza's push to get a replacement for the QuikSCAT satellite we lose sight of what all the scientists agree on--QuikSCAT is a vital tool in weather prediction that needs to be replaced with a better satellite. Both Dr. Atlas and Dr. Chang are working on research specifically designed to study just how much impact QuikSCAT has on landfalling hurricanes in the Atlantic, which no studies have yet quantified.

Read Margie' Kieper's View From the Surface Blog for more on the QuikSCAT/Bill Proenza matter.

Jeff Masters

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1535. wunderwomen
6:35 PM EDT on July 08, 2007
Just wanted to stop in and say hello, but i have to go, but i will be back later tonight so HELLO!!! and have a nice evening.
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1534. Drakoen
10:35 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
If you want something to watch its the only thing jsut for interest. I don't see any development with this wave unless the upper level winds decrease in the area.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30727
1533. Drakoen
10:33 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
If you are in South Florida and have local 10 new with Don Noe, Max Mayfield, etc. You should watch it as Max will be giving his thoughts on the controversy at the National Hurricane Center
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30727
1532. stormybil
10:32 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
why is the car so favabale all the blobs i see coming off south amer. are dying when they get in the carb . and the catl wave has been hoding on all day so far . looks better every hour . why wouldt you give it chance . or keep a eye on it ?
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1531. IKE
5:29 PM CDT on July 08, 2007
Posted By: EdMahmoud at 5:29 PM CDT on July 08, 2007.
It isn't going to become a cyclone in the next 24 hours, and thus, per the old John Hope rule, if it hasn't developed by the time it reaches the islands, it won't develop until it reaches the Western Caribbean (if then), nothing to get excited about.

My feeling, it flares up East of Nicaragua, everyone gets excited, it crosses Central America, and becomes a tropical storm in the Pacific.


Odds of it doing anything before reaching the islands...slim to very slim.

It probably does have a better chance if it can survive until the western Caribbean. They'll be a trough coming toward the SE USA then..it might head for the gulf.

Odds of all of this happening...very slim..to slim.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1529. bobw999
6:30 PM EDT on July 08, 2007
Don't see any organization out of the CATL wave.
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1528. EdMahmoud
10:27 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
It isn't going to become a cyclone in the next 24 hours, and thus, per the old John Hope rule, if it hasn't developed by the time it reaches the islands, it won't develop until it reaches the Western Caribbean (if then), nothing to get excited about.

My feeling, it flares up East of Nicaragua, everyone gets excited, it crosses Central America, and becomes a tropical storm in the Pacific.
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1527. bobw999
6:27 PM EDT on July 08, 2007
Long range Guam loop

Rain from Tropical Storm Man-yi.
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1526. Tazmanian
3:25 PM PDT on July 08, 2007
what is that its looking good???? where is it going and dos it have a ch if you are going to show me wind shear maps ues the color wind shear map i wont look at any wind shear maps but for that one only
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1525. IKE
5:25 PM CDT on July 08, 2007
I'll keep both eyes on it. It's almost the middle of July. See if it can maintain convection overnight.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1524. stormybil
10:22 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
Then again the NHC isn't even discussing it in their TWO.
more reason for us to keep a eye on it lol

but you got to admit it does look good on the maps and the ir its moving nw just above 10 now i would keep a eye on it
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1523. moonlightcowboy
10:22 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
[GOES-12 4 km Vis]
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
1522. IKE
5:11 PM CDT on July 08, 2007
I see a slight turn around 11N,52W...that shear tendency map shows shear decreasing in the area...slightly. How old is that shear tendency map?

Then again the NHC isn't even discussing it in their TWO.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1521. Patrap
5:06 PM CDT on July 08, 2007
Radar links too..on the e-mail site.

Link
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1520. Drakoen
10:05 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
Posted By: stormybil at 10:05 PM GMT on July 08, 2007.

so drak it could do something now right possible ?


its showing no signs of organization so no... Its only in a little pocket of decreasing shear.
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1519. stormybil
10:04 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
so drak it could do something now right possible ?
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1518. ryang
6:03 PM AST on July 08, 2007
It must have some low level convergence...
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12453
1516. Patrap
5:04 PM CDT on July 08, 2007
Emergency Email Weather Situation powered by

Link
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1515. Drakoen
10:03 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
Posted By: ryang at 10:03 PM GMT on July 08, 2007.

Hey Drak... This is interesting huh?


just a little...
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1514. ryang
6:00 PM AST on July 08, 2007
Hey Drak... This is interesting huh?
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12453
1513. Drakoen
10:01 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
the reason its able to build convection is that it is located in an area of decreasing shear (at least according to the shear tendency. map
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30727
1512. Drakoen
9:59 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
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1511. bobw999
5:58 PM EDT on July 08, 2007
Yes Ed. Tropical Storm Man-yi will be fun to watch.
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1510. MrNiceville
9:57 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
I just can't tell - I don't have my reading glasses (lol)...

You would think those satellite folks would monitor our blogs and zoom in on each blob that we call!

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1509. EdMahmoud
9:52 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
My uneducated gut feeling: July is dull, is as dull as all get out, and then a week into August it'll be like a switch was flipped.


Meanwhile, JTWC forecast coming closer to Canadian Global- Man-Yi is a monster for Japan.
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1507. IKE
4:55 PM CDT on July 08, 2007
That system east of the islands appears to be moving west-northwest.
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1506. Drakoen
9:54 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
000
AXNT20 KNHC 081805
TWDAT

TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
205 PM EDT SUN JUL 08 2007

TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION FOR NORTH AMERICA...CENTRAL
AMERICA...THE GULF OF MEXICO...THE CARIBBEAN SEA...NORTHERN
SECTIONS OF SOUTH AMERICA...AND THE ATLANTIC OCEAN TO THE
AFRICAN COAST FROM THE EQUATOR TO 32N. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION
IS BASED ON SATELLITE IMAGERY...METEOROLOGICAL ANALYSIS...
WEATHER OBSERVATIONS...AND RADAR.

BASED ON 1200 UTC SURFACE ANALYSIS AND SATELLITE IMAGERY THROUGH
1730 UTC.

...TROPICAL WAVES...
A TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 40W/41W FROM 2N-14N MOVING W NEAR 15
KT. THIS WAVE WAS POSITIONED SLIGHTLY W OF WHERE CONTINUITY
WOULD HAVE TAKEN IT...BASED ON THE LOW TO MID LEVEL CYCLONIC
TURNING NOTED FROM 9N-14N BETWEEN 37W-43W...AND THE SURGE OF
SCATTERED SHOWERS/TSTMS FROM 2N-9N BETWEEN 39W-45W. DEEP
CONVECTION REMAINS MINIMAL THOUGH. CONVECTION HAS FLARED UP
FURTHER W ALONG THE ITCZ BETWEEN 49W-57W AS DISCUSSED BELOW.
BASED ON SATELLITE HOVMOLLER DIAGRAMS...THERE MAY BE ANOTHER
WEAK TROPICAL WAVE IN THE VICINITY OF 51W WHICH WILL BE
REEVALUATED FOR THE 1800 UTC MAP.

A TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 65W SOUTH OF 15N MOVING W 10-15 KT.
THIS WAVE HAS LOST MUCH OF ITS IDENTITY OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF
DAYS...AND NOW IS MAINLY JUST A SURGE OF MOISTURE AS DEPICTED
WELL BY SSMI DERIVED PRECIPITABLE WATER. DEEP CONVECTION REMAINS
MINIMAL ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AXIS.

A TROPICAL WAVE IN THE CARIBBEAN IS ALONG 81W MOVING W NEAR 15
KT. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND TSTMS...ALSO ENHANCED BY THE
ITCZ...ARE OVER THE SW CARIBBEAN AND CENTRAL AMERICA S OF 13N.
LOW CLOUD MOTIONS SHOW SOME CYCLONIC TURNING S OF CUBA...N OF
17N BETWEEN 78W-84W...BUT AM NOT ENTIRELY CONVINCED THIS IS DUE
TO THE WAVE. REGARDLESS...LIGHTNING DATA SUPPORTS ISOLATED TSTMS
IN THIS REGION.
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1505. MrNiceville
9:53 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
SLU;

I see what you've noted, but can't decide if it's weak cyclonic turning or mid-level shear blowing the tops off the storms. Time will tell...
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1504. ryang
5:50 PM AST on July 08, 2007
The cluster of showers east of the Islands looks impressive given that it's located in a dry environment and it has been able to develop deep convection so easily today while 96L which passed there just 2 days ago could not. I don't think that the conditions are favourable enough for anything much to come out of it though. Having said that, i can see a weak spin near 10n 52w.

LOL... Who said the environment was dry? Well there's some SAL, anyway shear is 30 knots, i'm surprised it's getting so much convection...
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 329 Comments: 12453
1503. Drakoen
9:51 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
Posted By: A4Guy at 9:50 PM GMT on July 08, 2007.

So...what do the more "seasoned" folks on the blog think of the area of convection at about 55W? Any of the models do anything with this area?


none of the models do anything with it. There are no sign of organization and remains embedded in the ITCZ with some cyclonic turning according to the NHC. Upper level winds are unfavorable for development as they run about 20kts.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30727
1502. A4Guy
9:39 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
So...what do the more "seasoned" folks on the blog think of the area of convection at about 55W? Any of the models do anything with this area?
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1500. stormybil
9:46 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
HEY SLU im with you the blog forcasters say its not likely we have to wait and see . im seeing what you are i thought i was krazy but now i know im not hhheheheh thanks
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1499. IKE
4:46 PM CDT on July 08, 2007
Who is it eye? You and aquak9 seem to know?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1498. SLU
5:32 PM AST on July 08, 2007
The cluster of showers east of the Islands looks impressive given that it's located in a dry environment and it has been able to develop deep convection so easily today while 96L which passed there just 2 days ago could not. I don't think that the conditions are favourable enough for anything much to come out of it though. Having said that, i can see a weak spin near 10n 52w.
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1497. IKE
4:44 PM CDT on July 08, 2007
Posted By: stormybil at 4:42 PM CDT on July 08, 2007.
they say nothing is set in STONE THIS IS EVERYTIME THERE ISNT A SYSTEM TO TALK ABOUT ARGUMENETS HAPPEN HERE AND THAT IS SET IN STONE STAY TUNED


What I try to do is stay out of them. Some don't...I just don't care about arguing over tropical weather. There are ways to discuss differing views without personal attacks and bickering.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
1495. eye
9:43 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
now we are going to have alias(for those that dont know, it is when one regular user creates another sn). Pretty sure "random" is one of those....
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1493. stormybil
9:40 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
they say nothing is set in STONE THIS IS EVERYTIME THERE ISNT A SYSTEM TO TALK ABOUT ARGUMENETS HAPPEN HERE AND THAT IS SET IN STONE STAY TUNED
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1491. groundman
9:33 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
Posted By: randommichael at 9:29 PM GMT on July 08, 2007.
I came here to learn, not to be made fun of. I guess I will go back to being a lurker, not a poster.


Have you learned something today??

Will someone make fun of you again??? YES!! Will they make fun of just about anyone including Dr. Masters??? YES!!!! You have to take the poking fun with the knowledge but it's the easiest most entertaining way to learn if you persist.

And if you stay around long enough you can graduate to a fun poker also. LOL

< .
( --)
< .

Supposed to be a devil, not a kitty.
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1490. nash28
9:36 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
Alias?

Care to explain?

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1489. Raysfan70
5:36 PM EDT on July 08, 2007
Nash can tell you the same thing.
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1488. Raysfan70
5:34 PM EDT on July 08, 2007
Randommichael- Lived in Tampa for 23 years. When Charlie was coming up it flooded Davis Island. Friend was taking a boat to TGH to work. You will have to evacuate as soon as they tell you. And you better buy a truck as your Car will be under water if there is only a small Storm Surge.
Bayshore Floods fast
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1487. eye
9:35 PM GMT on July 08, 2007
nash, nice alias...
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1486. bobw999
5:34 PM EDT on July 08, 2007
Every time a hurricane hits my area (Lake Worth, Florida) the local news tells me not to use duct tape to cover up the windows.
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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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