Flood waters recede in Cedar Rapids

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:58 PM GMT on June 16, 2008

The rampaging Cedar River is falling today, after cresting at an amazing 31.1 feet Friday in the town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The National Weather Service said the flow on the Cedar River through Cedar Rapids peaked at 149,500 cubic feet per second Friday, more than double the previous record of 73,000 in 1961. During the historic 1993 flood, the river hit only 19.27 feet, and the record flood of 1929 hit only 20.5 feet. The 2008 flood has hit levels expected only once every 500 years. The river was at 23 feet this morning, which is down 8 feet, but still 11 feet above flood stage, and 2.5 feet above the record high observed in 1929.

Figure 1. Total rainfall for the period May 16 - June 16, 2008. About 2/3 of the state has seen rainfall amounts in excess of 10 inches in the past month. Image credit: NOAA.

Eighth warmest May on record
May 2008 was the 8th warmest May for the the globe on record, according to statistics released by the National Climatic Data Center. The spring season--March, April, and May--ranked as the seventh warmest spring for the globe. La Niña continued to weaken in May, and near neutral conditions now prevail in the tropical Eastern Pacific.

For the contiguous U.S., May was the 34th coolest May since 1895, and spring season was the 36th coolest spring on record. For the spring, Missouri had its fourth wettest, Arkansas its sixth wettest, Indiana and Iowa their eighth wettest and Illinois its 10th wettest. California had its driest spring on record, while Nevada and Utah had their 10th and 11th driest on record.

Sea ice extent
May 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent was the tenth lowest on record for the month of May, 6% below its extent in 1979 when satellite measurements began, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. May was the sixth straight month that a new monthly minimum arctic sea ice record was not set, following a string of five months in a row where monthly records were set.

It's quiet in the tropics. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

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632. Patrap
8:40 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
RliefWEB Link..for All your Disasters Worldwide.

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631. Patrap
8:39 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
The obligatory Link for the uninformed.Link
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630. presslord
9:38 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
send me a WU mail...not sure this is the approriate place for an exchange about this...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10538
629. Patrap
8:38 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
Contact the Local Red Cross in WIsc or Iowa.
Thats easy and toll free PressLord.
They will have contact info for you.
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627. TampaSpin
9:30 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
Good Morning everyone. After a good visible loop it does appear the lowest spin is at 10N 37.5W as i suggested last nite. With the circulation at 10N the circulation could enter the Carribean but, the steering flow this morning as was last nite show it should move into South America.
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625. 69Viking
8:32 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
621. DestinJeff

Nope, I thought that's what the link tab was for! I'm glad I'm a fast reader! BTW, don't quiz me on all the information contained in Patrap's novel!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3473
624. presslord
9:30 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
to any of our Midwestern friends: I have access to several fairly substantial portable water filtration systems...they were designed by a friend of mine...we have placed several dozen of them in small towns and villages throughout the Carribean and Africa...I'm not certain of the specs, but know they can provide enough daily water for about 1500 people...we can delver and set these up at no charge through a nonprofit which does this worldwide...I have no clue what the needs are out there...but if this is useful please contact me thru WU mail...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10538
622. 69Viking
8:27 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
I'll add that waterspouts are a beutiful site when seen up close enough. I saw one of the fair weather variety in the GOM one time while out fishing a few miles off shore and it was amazing to watch. Clear blue skies and a single black cloud with a waterspout lifting water up out of the GOM like it had giant hands. I only wish I would have had my camera!
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3473
619. Patrap
8:28 AM CDT on June 17, 2008

If you have flooding damage, you're asked to first register with FEMA, so you can report it. The number is 1-800-621-FEMA.

Wisconsin RED CROSS Shelters Link

IOWA Shelters Link

Recovering From and Coping With Flood Damaged Property

Returning Home After a Disaster Link

For our friends in Iowa and other Flood stricken Areas..
I modified my Hurricane Aftermath page for the Flood calamity.

Tips and helpful Suggestions:

* State and local health departments may issue health advisories or recommendations particular to local conditions. If in doubt, contact your local or state health department.
* Make sure to include all essential medications -- both prescription and over the counter -- in your family's emergency disaster kit.

flooding, can contaminate the public water supply. Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. You cannot assume that the water in the hurricane-affected area is safe to drink.
* In the area hit by a flood, water treatment plants may not be operating; even if they are, storm damage and flooding can contaminate water lines. Listen for public announcements about the safety of the municipal water supply.
* If your well has been flooded, it needs to be tested and disinfected after the storm passes and the floodwaters recede. Questions about testing should be directed to your local or state health department.

Water Safety

* Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
* If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
* If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
* If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.

Food Safety

* Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
* Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
* Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling; leakage; punctures; holes; fractures; extensive deep rusting; or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
* Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:
o Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
o Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
o Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
o Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
o Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
place in a freshly-made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
* Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
* If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
* Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
* Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
* Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).
* Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air dry.

Frozen and Refrigerated Foods

* If you will be without power for a long period:
o ask friends to store your frozen foods in their freezers if they have electricity;
o see if freezer space is available in a store, church, school, or commercial freezer that has electrical service; or
o use dry ice, if available. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care when handling dry ice, and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
* Your refrigerator will keep foods cool for about four hours without power if it is unopened. Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than four hours.
* Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still "refrigerator cold," or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals.
* To be safe, remember, "When in doubt, throw it out." Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

Sanitation and Hygiene

It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected:

* before preparing or eating
* after toilet use
* after participating in cleanup activities; and
* after handling articles contaminated with floodwater or sewage.
The waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.

If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas. Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.


Outbreaks of communicable diseases after hurricanes are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a hurricane may increase because of a lack of sanitation or overcrowding in shelters. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present before the hurricane are not a problem, so mass vaccination programs are unnecessary.

If you have wounds, you should be evaluated for a tetanus immunization, just as you would at any other time of injury. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.

Specific recommendations for vaccinations should be made on a case-by-case basis, or as determined by local and state health departments.


Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset. In most cases, the mosquitoes will be pests but will not carry communicable diseases. It is unlikely that diseases which were not present in the area prior to the Flood would be of concern. Local, state, and federal public health authorities will be actively working to control the spread of any mosquito-borne diseases.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants. Insect repellents that contain DEET are very effective. Be sure to read all instructions before using DEET. Care must be taken when using DEET on small children. Products containing DEET are available from stores and through local and state health departments.

To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers outside your home.

Mental Health

The days and weeks after the flood are going to be rough. In addition to your physical health, you need to take some time to consider your mental health as well. Remember that some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal, and may go away with time. If you feel any of these symptoms acutely, seek counseling. Remember that children need extra care and attention before, during, and after the storm. Be sure to locate a favorite toy or game for your child before the storm arrives to help maintain his/her sense of security. Your state and local health departments will help you find the local resources, including hospitals or health care providers, that you may need.

Seeking Assistance after a Flood

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a %uFFFDMajor Disaster%uFFFD for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping after a Flood Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster %uFFFDsecond hand%uFFFD through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major flood.


* Difficulty communicating thoughts.
* Difficulty sleeping.
* Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
* Low threshold of frustration.
* Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
* Limited attention span.
* Poor work performance.
* Headaches/stomach problems.
* Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
* Colds or flu-like symptoms.
* Disorientation or confusion.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Reluctance to leave home.
* Depression, sadness.
* Feelings of hopelessness.
* Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
* Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
* Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.


* Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
* Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
* Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
* Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
* Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
* Spend time with family and friends.
* Participate in memorials.
* Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
* Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plan
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617. mightywhitemike
1:22 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
even a funnel cloud is just a funnel cloud until it touches the ground...then it's a tornado
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616. presslord
9:18 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
excellent nrt....
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615. HurakanPR
8:35 AM AST on June 17, 2008
456, Thanks, I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and you always provide the correct data to support your views; congratulations, because this old man is learning a lot with you.
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614. nrtiwlnvragn
9:16 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
606. presslord

About Waterspouts
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613. presslord
9:14 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
Thanks gang!!! That's why I come here...I can promise you that under full sail (with limited manueverability) it's no fun seeing one out there...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10538
612. mightywhitemike
1:10 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
they are the same but not classified as a tornado unless it touches ground. In fact a single tornado is named more than once if it touches ground several times. If a tornado hits ground, goes back up in the air, hits ground again...then that's 2 tornados.
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611. presslord
9:11 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
I kinda feel like an idiot for asking...I suspect it's a pretty elemental question....but , then, I'm a pretty elemental kinda guy...
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609. Skyepony (Mod)
1:08 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Yes presslord~ tornados over water. The coastal areas are prone since the storm interaction as it slides from land to water & to a lesser extent from water to land can kick off the outta hand vorticies. The majority are an EF-0 or EF-1.
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608. smmcdavid
8:05 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
Good morning press...

I would think they are the same, other than being over water of course... but I'm not sure I fit into the category of intelligence you are looking for. LOL
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607. weathermanwannabe
9:02 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
Good Morning Folks.....
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606. presslord
9:00 AM EDT on June 17, 2008
...went sailing offshore the other day...saw a water spout...have seen 'em before...and lemmee tell ya: it'll make ya draw up....so...I have a question for some of you experts: Am I correct that they are just plain ol' garden variety tornados which happen to be over water? My wife asked me if they are different in any way...I assume not...but would like someone smarter than me to confirm or deny....
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604. pottery
8:56 AM AST on June 17, 2008
603. Good.
Now, I'm out. Have a great one.
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603. Weather456
8:53 AM AST on June 17, 2008
601. pottery 8:53 AM AST on June 17, 2008

Yea...but it should reach you guys.
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602. guygee
12:49 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
595. 69Viking 12:39 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Good morning everyone! Great Job 456! Sure didn't give us much Tropical to talk about though, it could get ugly in here again today.

Should be fine Viking, we had a good morning so far. Keep a close eye on who starts trolling. That will tell you a lot.

Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3368
601. pottery
8:50 AM AST on June 17, 2008
456, I was refering to Destin's post at 589. I think he was refering to the rains over Guyana there.
I may still need more coffee.
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600. Weather456
8:48 AM AST on June 17, 2008
The wave is just enveloped within a large area of dry air. LINK Fun to watch.
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599. Weather456
8:42 AM AST on June 17, 2008
594. pottery 8:38 AM AST on June 17, 2008
589, Destin.
I am hoping it moves WNW, as I am just ENE of that. Waiting on some rains here.

Three reasons to make me believe that it has a good chance of reaching the Antilles.

It has trended wnw over the past 72 hrs from 5N to 9N.

Second, the wave axis extends much further north (13N) than just the convection area (9N), which is actually ITCZ enhanced.

And The GFS
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598. pottery
8:43 AM AST on June 17, 2008
BBL> Busy day ahead.
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597. pottery
8:40 AM AST on June 17, 2008
OOOOPS> Sorry. Need more coffee. I am certainly not ENE of that, out in the ocean. I am WNW of it . In Trinidad.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 26061
596. cchsweatherman
12:23 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Good morning all! Must admit that I was "off my rocker" last night when I made the bold statement I made. I know it was irresponsible and should have made sure I was in a better mindset.

Right now, this tropical wave still exhibiting good structure and a well-defined circulation, but I must agree; the dust and dry air has been limiting convective development, and thus limiting development. It will be interesting to see this move into the moist Caribbean where wind shear continues to decrease.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
595. 69Viking
7:35 AM CDT on June 17, 2008
Good morning everyone! Great Job 456! Sure didn't give us much Tropical to talk about though, it could get ugly in here again today.
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 3473
594. pottery
8:34 AM AST on June 17, 2008
589, Destin.
I am hoping it moves WNW, as I am just ENE of that. Waiting on some rains here.
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593. Weather456
8:35 AM AST on June 17, 2008
Thanks all
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592. guygee
12:31 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Re: 581. Skyepony 12:06 PM GMT on June 17, 2008

Thank you Skye for reminding us that the flooding disaster does not end with the waters receding in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City. The waters recede slowly, and the crest continues downstream.
My heart goes out to the people who are suffering. It will be a long road to recovery.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3368
590. pottery
8:23 AM AST on June 17, 2008
Ah. Morning all. Thanks 456, without you, I would have had to do a lot of searching and checking of the situation myself.!!
Now I know whats going on first thing. Good timing there man. See you all later.
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588. guygee
12:25 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Thanks for doing the real analysis this morning, 456!
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586. guygee
12:17 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
Re: 583
Do not know jp, I cannot speak for others, but it is going to be more of a dry transition than a front with any deep moisture associated with it, so I am doubtful. South of an omega block tends to be dry and suppressed.
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585. Weather456
7:39 AM AST on June 17, 2008
Good Morning,


The tropics remain relatively unchanged since the last update. A tropical wave is now located near 36W based on QuikSCAT, GOES-12 visible imagery, TPW and number of other products at the CIMSS. This position is further west than the TPC position. QuikSCAT showed no closed surface circulation associated with this feature and this is supported by visible animation which showed no westward moving low level cloud element. Much of the cyclonic turning observed on visible imagery remains in the lower atmosphere. Satellite imagery also revealed dry air interacting the disturbed area causing convection to wane during the DMAX, which indicates no development for at least 24 hrs. In addition, what scattered cloud remains, is disorganize in nature. The overall Atlantic visible imagery showed the pronounce cyclonic rotation in the low-level cloud field extends well to the north of the wave, indicating impressive amplification. Despite this, no development is expected over the next 24 hrs due to the lack of a LLCC, organize convection and the dry/stable environment. The area will be monitored as it enters the Eastern Caribbean by Friday/Saturday due to favorable upper winds and SSTs along its trajectory. Even by then, wind shear is expected to be only marginally favorable, so its future is rather uncertain so the best one can do is watch and observe. Regardless of development, this feature will bring some clouds and moisture to the Antilles overnight Friday.

None of the computer models are forecasting development over the next week.

Can also be found on my blog.
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584. sporteguy03
12:15 PM GMT on June 17, 2008
The wave appears to be getting some support from the ITCZ if you look at the visible, lets give it a few days.
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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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