Midwest flood price tag $8 billion; Extreme Weather magazine review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:54 PM GMT on June 27, 2008

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The American Farm Bureau, a lobbying group that represents American farmers, estimated yesterday that crop damage from the Midwest's Flood of 2008 has amounted to $7 billion. More than half of this total--$4 billion--was in Iowa. Other states taking a hit from excessive wetness and flooding were: Illinois, $1.3 billion; Missouri, $900 million; Indiana, $500 million; Nebraska $500 million; and an additional $1 billion in remaining wet states. When added to the at least $1 billion in property damage the floods wrought (including $762 million in Cedar Rapids, Iowa), the $8 billion price tag of the Midwest Flood of 2008 ranks as the second most expensive U.S. non-hurricane flooding disaster on record. America's worst flood, the Midwest Flood of 1993, caused $26.7 billion in damage (adjusted to 2007 dollars).

The damage will continue to rise in coming days, as major flooding continues along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. A levee broke along the Mississippi just north of St. Louis this morning, sending flood waters towards the small town of Winfield. Heavy rains in excess of five inches have hit much of northern Missouri this week (Figure 1), and NOAA's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center is forecasting a high probability of heavy rain in the region today through Saturday morning. The culprit is a slow-moving low pressure system over Minnesota, which will drag a cold front through Missouri tonight. An additional 2-4 inches of rain will fall in some areas along the front. The additional rain should keep the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in Missouri above flood stage for an extra day or two. Currently, these rivers are expected to reach their highest crests sometime between Monday June 30 and Wednesday July 2. The forecast looks somewhat drier for the Midwest next week, thankfully. The jet stream has regularly been taking a major dip southward into the Central U.S. the past two months, putting the favored track for rainy low pressure systems over the Midwest. The jet often gets "stuck" in a high-amplitude trough-ridge pattern which causes drought in one part of the country (California in this case) and floods in another. This "stuckness" often lasts for 3 months. The current 2-week forecast from the GFS and ECMWF models predicts a continuation of the "stuck" jet stream pattern, but decreasing in amplitude and sliding more to the east. This should result in the favored storm track moving more towards the East Coast, relieving flooding in the Midwest.


Figure 1. Precipitation for the 7 days ending on Friday, June 27, at 8am EDT. Image credit:NOAA.

Review of the new magazine, Extreme Weather
A beautiful new weather magazine called Extreme Weather has hit the bookstores this month. Published by Astronomy magazine, the new magazine features some truly spectacular weather photos, including a 12-page "Weathergallery" with awesome shots of tornadoes, lightning, floods, supercells, hail, hurricane winds, and waterspouts. The first article of the magazine features the equally fantastic photos of storm chaser Warren Faidley, who also happens to be the best writer among professional storm chasers, in my opinion. Additional articles in Extreme Weather include a balanced and interesting look at the hurricanes/global warming connection, plus some quality articles on dust storms, super cell thunderstorms, lightning, and the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

Extreme Weather is not yet a regular publication; the editors are gauging interest to see if they wish to make it so. I whole-heartedly encourage them to do so--this magazine rocks! You can order a copy at their website, it's $7.95.

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

Jeff Masters

500 Year Flood 2008 (UlaratheBard)
Iowa Flooding - Palo Iowa - The entire town of Palo Iowa was evacuated and was told to abandon due to flooding during the recent flooding of the the Cedar River and local water ways. During it's abandonment it was under military control. A week later the towns folk were allowed to re-enter their town to assess damage and begin clean-up. The town was devasted as you can see. Due to the fact the entire town was under water, their have been no coordinated efforts for donations, volunteer work, etc... plus, they've just been allowed back into their town and only during daytime hours. I'm sure they could use all the help they could get.
500 Year Flood 2008
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162. surfmom
8:15 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
just want that blob to be a rainmaker and a buoy mover so I can ride some waves - gulf so flat even the skim boarders were frustrated back in a bit
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161. OSUWXGUY
8:16 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Boris is also looking more and more impressive...

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160. stoormfury
8:03 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Drak
i have notice that not much attention is being paid to the CATL tropical wave since the posting of Dr Masters a few hours ago. to me this system is not dead. it still has something going for it. shear is good and will continue to do so as lonf as it moves west south of 15n athough the shear tendency has relaxed a bit and the only area of shear will be north of 20n . although there is a small pocket of dry air to the west of the system it is producing enough convection to moisten the environment. looking at the latest W/V sat loops it is quite evident apart from the area being moistened the dry air ahead is moving west in tandem with the system .should the wave survive to 45 west where there is a small area high pressure aloft which will enhance it's chances for further development what are your thoughts on this observation
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159. KoritheMan
8:11 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Good afternoon, all. It seems as if the tropics are heating up, with two tropical cyclones to talk about (Boris and TD 3-E). I expect we'll see our next invest in the Atlantic within the next week or so as the positive MJO makes its way into the Atlantic. Honestly, I'm looking for our next storm in the Atlantic within the next 2 weeks.
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158. OSUWXGUY
8:02 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Convection appears to be on the increase with the central Atlantic wave... Even an almost banded appearance with it. It will be interesting to see what Dmax brings there overnight.

Drak-

Interesting the trend is a further south start through time.

The wave train in Africa is AMAZING... Check out what appears to be a southward extension of a wave down to near the equator at around 5W. And more waves coming all the way to the Indian Ocean.

Link
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157. TerraNova
3:01 PM EST on June 27, 2008
146. IKE 2:23 PM EST on June 27, 2008
The ECMWF has been showing a lot of moisture heading up into the GOM starting in about a week.


The GFS also shows a large advection of moisture into the Gulf starting on July 4.

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156. Drakoen
8:00 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Last 4 runs on the GFS with the red line being the most current.
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155. CybrTeddy
7:58 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Navy Site has 03E.NONAME
Tropical Depression 3E has formed.
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154. HurricaneTracker01
7:47 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
95E in the pacific has become a tropical depression, according to the navy site
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153. 7544
7:44 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
imo the central atl wave may be the one that suprises all of us we cant rule it out yet . like some of you already are
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152. OSUWXGUY
7:36 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Thanks IKE

The GFS apparently is run out to 180 hours at T382 - or about 38 miles resolution...so they should be pretty comparable.


146. IKE 7:23 PM GMT on June 27, 2008

Atmosphere global forecasts

* Forecast to ten days from 00 UTC at 40 km resolution (high-resolution model)
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149. cchsweatherman
3:06 PM EDT on June 27, 2008
Tropical Weather Discussion for Friday, June 27, 2008.
Posted on CCHS Weather Center site and written at 3:30pm.
Tropical Atlantic Discussion

Good Friday afternoon all! Sorry for not updating for quite some time, but I have been quite busy over the last couple weeks.

Right now, the Tropical Atlantic remains fairly quiet with no active systems, but there is some widespread shower and thunderstorm activity occuring in the Central Gulf of Mexico and an impressive tropical wave traversing the Central Atlantic. In addition, a few reliable computer models have been predicting tropical development off the African coast within a week.

Going closer to home, the Gulf of Mexico has come alive with widespread showers and strong storms developing. Despite this, no tropical development is expected with this disturbed weather as this is just a tropical wave clashing with an upper-level low producing some impressive convection and wind shear produced by this upper-level feature remain too high to support tropical development. But, this will bring some much needed rainfall into Florida and the Southeast as this all will move off towards the northwest over the next few days.

Over the past few days, a tropical wave that emerged off Africa has been traversing the Atlantic while maintaining an impressive circulation. Unlike many past waves, this wave has produced a surface circulation necessary for tropical development. Right now, I'm at odds determining whether or not this will develop into anything further as there are several factors going for and against development at this time. I will have to continue watching this tropical wave for possible tropical development and will have to see more consistent convection before deciding upon possible tropical development.

As I have mentioned in my updates in the past, I watch computer models as they can offer us meteorologists and enthusiasts insight into potential tropical cyclogenesis (fancy wording for possible tropical activity). Over the last couple days, three computer models - which include two highly reliable models in the GFS (Global Forecasting System) and the ECMWF (European model) - have been consistently hinting at possible tropical cyclone development off the African coast within this week. Being within a short time range and maintaining consistency, this possible scenario has me quite intrigued. I will continue to monitor these computer models for further consistency and additional support from other models, but conditions would suggest that tropical development could occur at any time. It would be an early start to the "Cape Verde" season if a system formed there, but I find it quite reasonable considering the constant influx of impressive and well-structured tropical waves we have seen over the past month.

Eastern Pacific Discussion

Unlike the Atlantic, the Eastern Pacific has become quite active as we have two active systems. We now have Tropical Storm Boris moving westward further out into the Eastern Pacific and Invest 95E just a few hundred miles west of Boris.

Both systems will continue moving towards the west and will pose no threat to land as they will be moving further and further out to sea. Boris continues to strengthen as it continues getting better organized and very deep convection has been building and maintaining itself for quite some time now. It would not be surprising to see Boris strengthen into a hurricane over the weekend as the structure has become quite impressive with banding features continuing to become better defined.

Invest 95E will likely not develop into a tropical cyclone as it has begun entering the marine layer over the Central Pacific. In this region, sea surface temperatures drop significantly and the air becomes very stable. It has a very impressive structure and could become a tropical depression or weak tropical storm before quickly dissipating over the weekend.
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148. IKE
2:25 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
You would think Dr. Masters would update his blog with the computer models forecasting a possibility near the coast of Africa.....

12Z CMC..Link
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147. Drakoen
7:23 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
145. Weather456 7:22 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Tropics
It's quiet in the tropical Atlantic. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

I dont know how anyone could ignore this. I check the models and about 3 of them are clearly on the map for 27 june-1 july. Seriously, I dont where that information came from.


lol calm down. We were saying the same thing 2 hours ago.
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146. IKE
2:21 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
The ECMWF has been showing a lot of moisture heading up into the GOM starting in about a week.

ECMWF...



Atmosphere global forecasts

* Forecast to ten days from 00 UTC at 40 km resolution (high-resolution model)
* An ensemble of51forecasts to ten days from 00 UTC at 80 km resolution - the Ensemble Prediction System (EPS)
* Forecast to 21 days from 12 UTC at 80 km resolution
* Forecasts to three days from 00, 06, 12, 18 UTC at 40 km resolution to provide boundary conditions for Local Area Modelling in the Member States.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
145. Weather456
3:17 PM AST on June 27, 2008
Tropics
It's quiet in the tropical Atlantic. There are no threat areas to discuss, and none of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.


I dont know how anyone could ignore this. I checked the models and about 3 of them are clearly on the map for 27 june-1 july. Seriously, I dont kno where that information came from.
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144. OSUWXGUY
7:09 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
In the Met community the ECMWF is seen as the best overall model...

I'm interested in why it shows none of the small african wave perturbations that the GFS shows over the coming week or so?

I even think the ECMWF is run at about the same or better resolution than the GFS...does anyone know this off the top of their head?

139. IKE 6:58 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
12Z ECMWF...

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143. Drakoen
7:08 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
141. leftovers 7:03 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
I aint no weather guy but Noel was an end of season oddity completely different environment than what is out there now. Seems as if we are all clear this wkend.

It's not about the upper air environment. We are talking about the Sea-Surface temperatures. I also do recall an upper level trough that sheared the systems western side. There was nothing odd about Noel and it formed into a hurricane early November when conditions typically start to decline and become less favorable for development.

Here are the 300mb winds on November 2 2007:
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142. 786
7:07 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
ok thx back to work 4 now then
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140. Drakoen
6:55 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
137. 786 6:55 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
So Drak you think the wave GFS is predicting has a good chance? how about the ones at 36w and 21w, what do you think about those (SST's aside cause those are favourable)


We'll have to see about the wave the GFS is consistently predicting. The wave at 36W won't develop as it is moving into an increasingly susident environment and upper level winds will not be favorable beyond 13N. There is an upper level anticyclone of the Northeastern coast of South America but the TUTT has more dominance over the high in the Caribbean and past 12N and will not allow the system to develop.
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139. IKE
1:57 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
12Z ECMWF...

Link
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138. txalwaysprepared
6:54 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
133. I am hoping the blob comes here.. I need rain. I don't need another $220 water bill. Not wishcasting for any destruction... just a good ol' fashion soaker!
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137. 786
6:53 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
So Drak you think the wave GFS is predicting has a good chance? how about the ones at 36w and 21w, what do you think about those (SST's aside cause those are favourable)
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136. Skyepony (Mod)
6:50 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Yellow~ May flood
Orange~ currently flooding
Red~ severe flooding

click pic to make big

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135. Drakoen
6:52 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
The SST's are just a piece of the puzzle. They don't dictate to everything. As long as the waters are 26C, and the upper level conditions are favorable, and the environment is moist a TS, CAT 1, or CAT 2 storm can develop. Take for example Noel from last year when it intensified into a category one hurricane with borderline SSTs and non-existant TCHP. You also have to remember that the system was weak after it went over Haiti and has to relocate its coc and organize its convection back and become a hurricane. Below is the SST's with the superimposed blue arrow of when Noel became a hurricane. Don't underestimate the potential of 26C waters.
Photobucket
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134. 786
6:50 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
..and post 129 was about the wave @ 36w
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133. 786
6:49 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
txal ...beware of what you say on the blog about blobs, the minute u show some exitement you may be 'wishcasting' or hoping for destruction unto others
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132. 786
6:45 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
the wave will make it here (passed 40W) in July so the skeptics can rest assured it will occur in a more favourable period
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131. txalwaysprepared
6:45 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
I've never been so excited to watch a blob or wish for it to come here. I may eat my words later.
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130. ATS3
6:43 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
cchs has not posted any comments on e atl
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129. 786
6:33 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
If it stays weak all the better, it can go further West, if it already shows some cyclonic turning and decent convestion it may have enough strength to keep it together and pass 40W, and if it does well we have great potential here
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128. seflagamma
2:35 PM EDT on June 27, 2008
LOL thanks everyone!
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127. stormlvr
6:15 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
110. Levi32 6:09 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
106. Drakoen 6:04 PM GMT on June 27, 2008 Hide this comment.
Looking at current SST's from ship's and buoys and don't think SST's are too cool to support tropical cyclone development of Africa where temperatures are 27C.
Link

Right near the coast.....but further out its 25c average in the NW path that the GFS takes it on, which might hamper a developing system. One thing to keep in mind is that the weaker this system is in the eastern Atlantic, the more chance it will have of getting further west. If we get a strong TS/weak hurricane then it is far more likely to recurve

Your making some excellent points Levi especially about the relative strength and track as depicted by the GFS of the "potential system". Also the number of waves tracking west increasing the potential for development closer to home which is much more climatologically favored. Excellent observations!
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126. SpaceThrilla1207
6:25 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
What the heck is up with the iceberg of water between 35W and about 47W?

And what is with the 10,000 cool pools in the Caribbean/CATL in the middle of the high SST's?
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124. Drakoen
6:21 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
122. Levi32 6:21 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Drak --

Yeah I know....any system will still have to cut over a chunk of waters below 26c before making it into the western Atlantic. At this point I don't think the area between 35w and 50w can support a hurricane, but probably a TS. Notice how the GFS starts the system off as quite a beast just off the African coast, but then weakens it as it moves NW over those colder waters.


Yes I do notice that and that's because the waters are 27C-28C of the African coast.
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123. txalwaysprepared
6:19 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
A big Hello to Gamma!!

I don't want (or think) the GOM blob will develop. I just want the blobs nice rains to come here :)
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122. Levi32
6:18 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Drak --

Yeah I know....any system will still have to cut over a chunk of waters below 26c before making it into the western Atlantic. At this point I don't think the area between 35w and 50w can support a hurricane, but probably a TS. Notice how the GFS starts the system off as quite a beast just off the African coast, but then weakens it as it moves NW over those colder waters.
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121. Drakoen
6:16 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
117. atmoaggie 6:15 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Looking at current SST's from ship's and buoys and don't think SST's are too cool to support tropical cyclone development of Africa where temperatures are 27C

Somewhat...the TCHP plots show that it might be a shallow warm layer. Could support a TS or quick-moving cane, though. Not a Dean...


The TCHP dictates to how fast a storm can intensify not necessarily how strong it can get. 26.5C degree celsius water is enough to support a tropical storm or minimal hurricane.
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120. LeeInNaplesFl
6:16 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Sorry Intuned I had it backwards:

"A lightning bolt happens in a series of stages. First, a faint step leader emerges from the base of the cloud. It moves toward the ground in steps of 50 meters or so, pausing very briefly between steps. Often it branches as it goes down, which is why so many lightning bolts "fork". When the step leader nears the ground, it attracts "streamers" of positive charge from the ground. When it finally connects with one of these streamers, a brilliant return stroke occurs as the charge drains out of the ionized channel left by the step leader. The charge nearest the ground goes first, causing the return stroke to propagate upward. Often this is followed by another relatively faint cloud-to-ground dart leader, which is rapidly followed by another return stroke. This process can take place up to 40 times, which is why many lightning bolts are seen to flicker. "

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119. Buhdog
6:02 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
102. Levi32 6:01 PM GMT on June 27, 2008

Great observations
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118. Levi32
6:12 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
113. seflagamma 6:11 PM GMT on June 27, 2008

Lol my friend also has a wedding on July 27th, but far from hurricane-country lol. I certainly hope nothing comes near the US anytime soon, although I think it's unavoidable at some point this season.

Alaska is COLD!!!! Well duh....but...that silly La Nina really threw off the nice pattern we had going and so this summer is really cold. We haven't even broken 60 degrees yet and we should have had a few days in the 70s already. Oh well, otherwise life's crazy lol. Great to see you Gams!
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117. atmoaggie
6:10 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Looking at current SST's from ship's and buoys and don't think SST's are too cool to support tropical cyclone development of Africa where temperatures are 27C

Somewhat...the TCHP plots show that it might be a shallow warm layer. Could support a TS or quick-moving cane, though. Not a Dean...

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116. SpaceThrilla1207
6:12 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Drak is right.

Oh, and I predict our first major hurricane to be a Cat 3 that forms in the CATL on July 20th and directly hits Southeast Florida on the evening of July 26th. And then it will hit New Orleans as a Cat 6 on August 1.


lololololololololololololololol
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115. Drakoen
6:10 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
110. Levi32 6:09 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
106. Drakoen 6:04 PM GMT on June 27, 2008 Hide this comment.
Looking at current SST's from ship's and buoys and don't think SST's are too cool to support tropical cyclone development of Africa where temperatures are 27C.
Link

Right near the coast.....but further out its 25c average in the NW path that the GFS takes it on, which might hamper a developing system. One thing to keep in mind is that the weaker this system is in the eastern Atlantic, the more chance it will have of getting further west. If we get a strong TS/weak hurricane then it is far more likely to recurve.


Look at the SST map closer. There is a 26.8C reading just south of the CV islands. I think the storm track will keep it within the threshold as east before going a couple degrees in longitude west of the CV islands.
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114. SpaceThrilla1207
6:10 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
But we're not going to get a strong TS/weak hurricane that far east even in July...not even the 2005 SST's were that hot that far east...so recurvature is unlikely.
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113. seflagamma
2:08 PM EDT on June 27, 2008
I'm expecting 2 named storms during the month of July. We'll see how things go. (by Levi)


Levi, NOOOOOOO named storms in July!!! or ok if there are storms in July just make sure they come no where near SE Florida!!!!!! We have a big wedding July 26th and must get people in and out that week before the wedding on airplanes, etc. And really need nice weather! LOL
By the way, good to see you again; how's things in Alaska?

Hi everyone, a quick fly by during lunch break.

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112. atmoaggie
6:04 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Okay here is what my understanding is thus far, I hope it helps those who are kinda confused like me:

Most weather term definitions can be found in the AMS weather glossary. It isn't perfect and most acronyms still need to be included, but is useful.

Link
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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.