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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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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111. IKE
1:08 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
108. DestinJeff 1:06 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
Not to be critical, but it would be interesting to get Dr Master's take on WHY "none of the reliable models preict tropical development in the next seven days."

On one hand the models can't be trusted, but then when they don't predict development, they are taken at face value. I don't understand the gloss-over of tropical anlalysis.


Amen....you think he would give a more involved analysis.
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110. Levi32
6:06 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.
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109. SpaceThrilla1207
6:05 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
IMO, storms off Africa have a better chance this year as opposed to last year because last year the SST's were cooler off the African coast in July and the shear was higher.
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107. SpaceThrilla1207
6:03 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
more like 2 hurricanes (not major hurricanes, just hurricanes) in the month of july...3 or 4 named storms...
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106. Drakoen
6:02 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.
Link
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105. OSUWXGUY
5:55 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Like your numbers in a relative sense.
Agreed the GOM Blob has very little (if any) chance.
The Central Atlantic wave is moving into a subsident environment (seen on water vapor) and has dry air entraining in the NW quadrant to contend with. So 20% is about right.

I would add the low over Africa near 14°N 11°W to your probs - with around 10-20%

I like the GFS consistency but 50% might be too high for something we don't even see yet...

92. SpaceThrilla1207
So what percentage do you guys give our current Atlantic disturbances of developing into a TD/TS? I'm going with:


GOM Blob: 2%
CATL Wave: 20%
African Wave (GFS): 50%
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104. Buhdog
5:59 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
99. intunewindchime 5:58 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Thanks Lee, I called the NWS and they referred me to a lightining expert. I emailed my question to him. Step leader... I will look into that . Looking at the post of the lightning strikes just today in my area, is enough to make us stay inside. I hate this, it is sunny on one side , cloudy on the other and no rain.

Those conditions make me think of tornadoes...the last one I saw in Cape Coral last year was just like that.......
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103. HurricaneKing
1:59 PM EDT on June 27, 2008
I think I found something. There is a low near the bay of campeche. It's on land to the south of it. It's where alberto died at. It also appers to be going the way of Alberto.
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102. Levi32
5:50 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Here's the wave the GFS forecasts to develop:



I think we should remain skeptical despite the amazing consistency of the GFS. SSTs in the eastern Atlantic are still for the most part under 26c, and development right off of the coast of Africa, climatologically or not, is rare at any time of the year. But regardless of whether the GFS ends up being correct or not, we are about to get a whole train of vigorous waves under this MJO pulse, and they don't necessarily have to develop until they get further west. Also once the upper-air pattern becomes more favorable in the Caribbean and surrounding areas, there will be a significant threat for development close to home. I'm expecting 2 named storms during the month of July. We'll see how things go.
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101. SpaceThrilla1207
5:59 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
As you can recall...the GFS and CMC were the first two models to call Dean ahead of time before his initial low made it offshore Africa...though it was August...
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100. SpaceThrilla1207
5:56 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Is there any possibily we can have Bertha's parchment twin sister, Bertha? LOL
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99. intunewindchime
5:51 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Thanks Lee, I called the NWS and they referred me to a lightining expert. I emailed my question to him. Step leader... I will look into that . Looking at the post of the lightning strikes just today in my area, is enough to make us stay inside. I hate this, it is sunny on one side , cloudy on the other and no rain.
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98. DocBen
5:55 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Drak - seems to me the Atlantic High will keep anything further south - closer to the ITCZ.
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96. Buhdog
5:53 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Drak.....

look out....here come the "no way it will develop" posts.....

Keep it up..it looks to me like a cyclone already takin shape.
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95. Drakoen
5:52 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
The 12z CMC is showing development of the African coast as well.

The red line is the GFS and the pink line is the CMC.
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94. txalwaysprepared
5:50 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
HurricaneKing I'm loving what you're saying about the blob bringing Texas rain... tell me more. ;)
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93. LeeInNaplesFl
5:45 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
30. intunewindchime

Intuned you may have been seeing a "Step Leader" (I think that's the term) which is the upward part of a lightning strike.
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92. SpaceThrilla1207
5:42 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
So what percentage do you guys give our current Atlantic disturbances of developing into a TD/TS? I'm going with:


GOM Blob: 2%
CATL Wave: 20%
African Wave (GFS): 50%
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91. IKE
12:48 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
90. WeatherfanPR 12:46 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
sorry guys for my multiple posts. I'm having problems with my internet connection or firefox3.


You got a good answer though! LOL.
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90. WeatherfanPR
5:43 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
sorry guys for my multiple posts. I'm having problems with my internet connection or firefox3.
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89. CybrTeddy
5:43 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
"..I have one thing to say to the Weatherunderground people, I did not see the GFS this morning, I never told anyone to lie.."

Bill Clinton
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88. 786
5:44 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:

Vorticity: the rotation of air in a horizontal plain. Positive vorticity means that the rotation is cyclonic (anti-clockwise). 850hPA represents the atmospheric pressure at the altitude of 1500m - the distance is measured from sea-level. The more positive the vorticity is, the stonger the cyclonic flow and at the 850hPa level higher positive vorticity = higher chance of unsettled weather.

MJO = Madden Julian Oscillation which is a 30-60 day cycle of flucuations in tropical rainfall. The wave starts in the Indian Ocean and travels East at 800km/day!! It is always in one of 8 phases. We are currently in phase 7 which shows that the Atlantic is within the "blue zone" of the MJO's = enhanced rainfall. When the "MJO is ascending" air is rising and therefore dry air is reduced, moisture can build up which is favourable for convection.

ENSO is the state of the Southern Oscillation. It ranges from El Nino, Neutral, La Nina. La Nina to Neutral produce the most favourable conditions for tropical development as wind shear is lower, temperatures in the Atlantic are higher etc.

NAO is the Northern Atlantic oscillation which is the difference of sea-level pressure between the Icelandic low and the Azores high (constants in the earth's atmosphere). It controls the direction and strength of Westerly winds and storm tracks. A positive phase NAO means that there are there is below normal height and pressure across high latitudes in the Northern Atlantic and above normal height and pressure in the Central Atlantic, Eastern U.S and Western Eurpope. In a positive phase temperatures in the Easter U.S. are above normal. Along with the following:

- subtropical ridge is stronger
- the Bermuda high is higher and more Westward
- there is reduced wind shear
- the Easterly jet is increased

During El Nino a negative phase NAO is more conducive for tropical development whereas during La Nina a positive phase is more conducive.

In conclusion from my limited understanding, my first ever attempted forecast:

seeing as we are in La Nina, MJO is producing enhanced rainfall in the Atlantic, we are in a positive phase of the NAO - over all climatology favours development at present.

For the wave at 36w there is limited positive vorticity, the wave at 21w is displaying better cyclonic turning (positive vorticity). Shear in front of both waves is favourable (5-10 knots) and the shear tendancy map (which shows how the shear pattern has been in the last 24 hours), shows that shear in front of both the 21w and 36w wave is decreasing or otherwise at 5-10 knots. SSTs are higher than 27 degrees celsius (anything above 26. celsius can develop a cyclone)b and thats it
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87. Fishizzle
5:42 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
50. 69Viking 5:22 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
32. Beachfoxx

Thanks, I already plan having him take that course before I'll let him go out alone in a boat once he reaches that age. I like the idea of his friends taking the course too
.


The florida Fish and Wildlife has a great resource for boating as well. I teach a course using the Boat Smart Guide put out by FWC.Link
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86. HurricaneKing
1:36 PM EDT on June 27, 2008
Ike, I counted 5.lol

The thing in the gulf wont develop. the ull is pulling it to shore. Might bring Texas rain.

The central Atlantic wave has some dry air trying to get in. I dont think it will develop.

The GFS wave looks interesting. I think we might see another Bertha type storm. It might not make it to land but I think the GFS is hinting at that kind of track.
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85. Patrap
12:38 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
Current Conditions

Uptown, New Orleans, Louisiana (PWS)
Updated: 7 sec ago
Mostly Cloudy
90.3 °F / 32 °C
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 34%
Dew Point: 58 °F / 14 °C
Wind: 5.8 mph / 9 km/h from the South
Wind Gust: 6.3 mph / 10 km/h
Pressure: 30.12 in / 1019.9 hPa (Falling)
Heat Index: 89 °F / 32 °C
Visibility: 10.0 miles / 16.1 kilometers
UV: 7 out of 16
Clouds:
Scattered Clouds 2500 ft / 762 m
Mostly Cloudy 12000 ft / 3657 m
Mostly Cloudy 25000 ft / 7620 m
(Above Ground Level)
Elevation: 20 ft / 6 m
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129909
84. IKE
12:37 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
78. TheWeatherMan504 12:36 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
63. IKE 5:30 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Stock market down another 120 points...boy the economy sure is doing good(wink-wink)...now back to the tropics.


Boy, things are going downhill.


Yes they are...

It's pouring at my house...76.3 degrees and rain w/thunder.
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83. Patrap
12:37 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
Is there an echo in here,here?,..here?.....here?,..........here?
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82. WeatherfanPR
5:36 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
thanks for the answer Drak.
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81. Drakoen
5:36 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
lol, Ike. We're breaking records.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
79. IKE
12:35 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
75. WeatherfanPR 12:34 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
hey guys, there is a vigorous tropical wave in the CATL and I'm noticing some circulation with it, so I think it's an area to watch. About the GFS model prediction, I don't understand why the GFS moves northwest this future system if we have such a strong High over the Atlantic that has been pushing all this waves in a westerly and southwesterly track. Anyone knows if the High it's in a weakening trend and because of that, we could see most of the systems coming off Africa this season moving north?


4 times. LMAO.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
78. TheWeatherMan504
5:35 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
63. IKE 5:30 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Stock market down another 120 points...boy the economy sure is doing good(wink-wink)...now back to the tropics.



Boy, things are going downhill.
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77. all4hurricanes
1:35 PM EDT on June 27, 2008
Boris formed whats the next name on the list
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76. Drakoen
5:34 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
70. Buhdog 5:31 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
GFS= GETTING FORGOTTEN SOMEWHAT


selective amnesia.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
75. WeatherfanPR
5:13 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
hey guys, there is a vigorous tropical wave in the CATL and I'm noticing some circulation with it, so I think it's an area to watch. About the GFS model prediction, I don't understand why the GFS moves northwest this future system if we have such a strong High over the Atlantic that has been pushing all this waves in a westerly and southwesterly track. Anyone knows if the High it's in a weakening trend and because of that, we could see most of the systems coming off Africa this season moving north?
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74. txalwaysprepared
5:32 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
viking - it appears you and I are in the same boat again.. no luck with rain
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73. Patrap
12:32 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI Link
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72. IKE
12:32 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
From the 2:05pm EDST Atlantic tropical weather discussion...

"A tropical wave has been added along 36w S of 12n. Dakar upper
air data suggests that the wave moved off the African coast Wed
but...due to lack of observations and significant convection...
went unnoticed until early this morning. Initial motion
estimates have the wave moving W 15-20 kt. A broad area of
cyclonic turning is evident on visible satellite
imagery...particularly S of 9n. Moderate to strong convection is
east of the axis to 31w from 5n-8n."
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71. lawntonlookers
1:28 PM EDT on June 27, 2008
If you look at the GOM vapor loop, it looks like the north west corner of the vapor is starting to get pulled into the circulation that is to the west. It is fairly close to the coast so maybe not much devleopment if any.

water vapor
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70. Buhdog
5:25 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
GFS= GETTING FORGOTTEN SOMEWHAT
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69. IKE
12:30 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
WeatherfanPR...it's posted 3 times......
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68. WeatherfanPR
5:13 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
hey guys, there is a vigorous tropical wave in the CATL and I'm noticing some circulation with it, so I think it's an area to watch. About the GFS model prediction, I don't understand why the GFS moves northwest this future system if we have such a strong High over the Atlantic that has been pushing all this waves in a westerly and southwesterly track. Anyone knows if the High it's in a weakening trend and because of that, we could see most of the systems coming off Africa this season moving north?
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67. OSUWXGUY
5:20 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
Strong Low Over Africa - 14°N 11°W - Forecast to move over water in 24-36 hours

+ Very well defined circulation
+ Strong vorticity
+ Favorable forecasted shear

- That far north (14°) - SSTs only 26° close to coast and 24-25°C all the way to 45°W


Worth watching as sometimes storms can form over marginal SST waters...especially with vigorous waves. If it moves farther south SSTs are warmer.
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66. 69Viking
12:27 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
Storms popping and moving North again, just can't catch any rain here lately.
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65. Drakoen
5:27 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
55. WeatherfanPR 5:26 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
hey guys, there is a vigorous tropical wave in the CATL and I'm noticing some circulation with it, so I think it's an area to watch. About the GFS model prediction, I don't understand why the GFS moves northwest this future system if we have such a strong High over the Atlantic that has been pushing all this waves in a westerly and southwesterly track. Anyone knows if the High it's in a weakening trend and because of that, we could see most of the systems coming off Africa this season moving north?


The system will be strong enough to feel the affects of the 500mb-850mb steering layer rather than the 700-850mb layer. A mid to upper level trough will be responsible for weakening subtropical ridge to the north allowing the storm to take on a more NW path.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30841
64. WeatherfanPR
5:13 PM GMT on June 27, 2008
hey guys, there is a vigorous tropical wave in the CATL and I'm noticing some circulation with it, so I think it's an area to watch. About the GFS model prediction, I don't understand why the GFS moves northwest this future system if we have such a strong High over the Atlantic that has been pushing all this waves in a westerly and southwesterly track. Anyone knows if the High it's in a weakening trend and because of that, we could see most of the systems coming off Africa this season moving north?
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63. IKE
12:28 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
Stock market down another 120 points...boy the economy sure is doing good(wink-wink)...now back to the tropics.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
62. Patrap
12:29 PM CDT on June 27, 2008
Atlantic Ocean View (Updated ~3 hours)Link

GOES-12 Atmospheric Imagery

These images are primarily for use in tropical storm monitoring. There are several areas to choose from providing a large-scale view of the Atlantic, down to the Gulf of Mexico. During hurricane season, the hurricanes page provides a variety of GOES atmospheric products to help monitor the active storms.

Follow the image links below for alternate channel views of the same area. 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.

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