QuikSCAT replacement funded; NWS fires former NHC director Proenza

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:20 PM GMT on February 04, 2013

In November 2009, one of the greatest success stories in the history of satellite meteorology came to an end when the venerable QuikSCAT satellite failed. Launched in 1999, the QuikSCAT satellite became one of the most useful and controversial meteorological satellites ever to orbit the Earth. It carried a scatterometer--a radar instrument that can measure near-surface wind speed and direction over the ocean. Forecasters world-wide came to rely on QuikSCAT wind data to issue timely warnings and make accurate forecasts of tropical and extratropical storms, wave heights, sea ice, aviation weather, iceberg movement, coral bleaching events, and El Niño. Originally expected to last just 2 - 3 years, QuikSCAT made it past ten, a testament to the skill of the engineers that designed the satellite. Last week, though, NASA announced that a new QuikSCAT-like instrument called ISS-RapidScat will be launched in 2014 on a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, and installed on the International Space Station (ISS.) In a clever reuse of hardware originally built to test parts of NASA's QuikScat satellite, the cost of the new instrument will be much lower than any previous scatterometer launched into orbit.


Figure 1. Artist's rendering of NASA's ISS-RapidScat instrument (inset), which will launch to the International Space Station in 2014 to measure ocean surface wind speed and direction and help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring. It will be installed on the end of the station's Columbus laboratory. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JSC

Alternatives to QuikSCAT
Three valuable alternatives to QuikSCAT are available, but none are as good as QuikSCAT was. There's the European ASCAT satellite, launched in 2007. Like QuikSCAT, ASCAT can measure global wind speed and direction twice per day. However, ASCAT covers only 60% of the area covered by QuikSCAT, which saw a swath of ocean 1800 km wide. ASCAT sees two parallel swaths 550 km wide, separated by a 720 km gap. I find it frustrating to use ASCAT to monitor tropical storms, since the passes miss the center of circulation of a storm of interest more than half the time. On the plus side, ASCAT has the advantage that the data is not adversely affected by rain, unlike QuikSCAT. The other main alternative is the OSCAT instrument, which was sent into orbit on September 23, 2009, on the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) Oceansat-2 satellite. Like QuikSCAT, the OSCAT has a swath 1800 km wide that covers 90% of Earth's area every 24 hours. The winds at the edge of the swath are not as accurate as the ones in the middle. Moderate and heavy rain cause bogus winds that can be up to 45 mph too high. The resolution is not as high--25 km, versus the 12.5 km resolution of QuikSCAT and ASCAT. The third option is the Windsat instrument aboard the Coriolis satellite (launched in 2003), which measures wind speed and wind direction using a different technique. Evaluation of these data at NHC and NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) shown the winds to be unreliable in and around tropical storms.


Figure 2. Bill Proenza, directory of the National Hurricane Center from January 2007 - July 2007.

Former NHC director Bill Proenza fired
Former National Hurricane Center director Bill Proenza, 68, was fired from his position as director of the National Weather Service's Southern Region last week. The reason stated for his firing was his unauthorized transfer of $528,000 from a local forecasting account to pay for new radar equipment in 2012. The issue of moving money without authorization in 2012 also landed the director of NWS, Jack Hayes, in trouble, forcing him to resign.

Proenza laudably made a big push in 2007 for a new QuikSCAT satellite, but unfortunately made claims about the usefulness of QuikSCAT for improving hurricane track forecasts that were not supported by scientific research, an error that may have ultimately led to his downfall as NHC director. Proenza lasted only six months as director of NHC, from January - July 2007. While there is evidence that scatterometer data may improve hurricane track forecasts of some computer models, NHC uses many models to make hurricane track forecasts, and some of these models are not helped by scatterometer data. Scatterometer data is extremely valuable for many other aspects of hurricane forecasting, providing early detection of surface circulations in developing tropical depressions, and helping define gale (34 kts) and storm-force (50 kts) wind radii. The information on wind radii from scatterometers is especially important for tropical storms and hurricanes outside the range of aircraft reconnaissance flights conducted in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basins, and for the regions where there are no reconnaissance flights (Central Pacific, Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean). Accurate wind radii are critical to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC), and Guam Weather Forecast Office (WFO) watch and warning process, since they affect the size of tropical storm and hurricane watch and warning areas. Between 2003 and 2006, QuikSCAT data were used at NHC 17% of the time to determine the wind radii, 21% of the time for center fixing, and 62% of the time for storm intensity estimates.

References
2007 NOAA QuikSCAT user impact study:

I'll have a new post on Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting yonzabam:


Deaths caused directly by tornadoes in the US, since 2000.

2000 39
2001 20
2002 42
2003 58
2004 25
2005 31
2006 69
2007 73
2008 114
2009 20
2010 43
2011 549
2012 65

2012 was a 'quiet' year for tornadoes in the US, due to the drought. Even so, it ranks 5th in terms of fatalities, since 2000.
Remember 2012 had a quick start up until May

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233. VR46L
Some Nasty weather through out Western Europe ..



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232. VR46L
Good Morning Folks!!

SSEC Home Data & Imagery Geostationary Satellite Imagery
Real-Time U.S. Composite Satellite Animation

Loop Embedded

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Quoting yonzabam:


Deaths caused directly by tornadoes in the US, since 2000.

2000 39
2001 20
2002 42
2003 58
2004 25
2005 31
2006 69
2007 73
2008 114
2009 20
2010 43
2011 549
2012 65

2012 was a 'quiet' year for tornadoes in the US, due to the drought. Even so, it ranks 5th in terms of fatalities, since 2000.

Drought had little to do with it. 2010 and 2011 were also years of excessive drought across the central Plains. Both featured very busy tornado seasons.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 128 Comments: 35287
Quoting AussieStorm:
@thestormreport

Today is the 5th anniversary of the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak. 87 tornadoes occurred, with 57 people killed in 4 states.


Deaths caused directly by tornadoes in the US, since 2000.

2000 39
2001 20
2002 42
2003 58
2004 25
2005 31
2006 69
2007 73
2008 114
2009 20
2010 43
2011 549
2012 65

2012 was a 'quiet' year for tornadoes in the US, due to the drought. Even so, it ranks 5th in terms of fatalities, since 2000.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3560
Looks like I am the only one up and about this morning. Everyone have a great Tuesday. Aussie, have a great Wednesday!
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Today is also the anniversary of the blizzard of 78. I was student teaching and at college, which hadn't been officially opened yet, so only six of us were there. We went out to dig out our cars and one friend was from Puerto Rico and decided to help us even though she didn't have a car. We gave her a shovel and off she went. It never occured to us to tell her where to put the snow she shoveled. Yeah, she shoveled the snow and put it behind another car. When it was pointed out she quit shoveling. She swore she'd never live in anyplace with snow and she never did. She lives in Florida now.
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Morning, everyone. Evening, Aussie. A very foggy 56 degrees with a forecast of 72 today. If everything wasn't so wet I'd look forward to coming home from teaching and sitting in the garden today,

Sideboard has omelets, sausage, bacon and belgian waffles. Enjoy.
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@thestormreport

Today is the 5th anniversary of the Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak. 87 tornadoes occurred, with 57 people killed in 4 states.
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ECMWF at 144 hours:

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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 195 Comments: 62878
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 195 Comments: 62878
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 195 Comments: 62878
that be newfoundland grew up there always a wind storm
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 195 Comments: 62878
ENVIRONMENT CANADA

Green Bay - White Bay
12:04 AM NST Tuesday 05 February 2013
Wind warning for
Green Bay - White Bay continued

Strong winds gusting from 100 to 140 km/h are expected across much of Newfoundland. (That is 60 to 85 mph)

This is a warning that potentially damaging winds are occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..listen for updated statements.

A major winter storm over Southeastern Labrador will continue to move northward tonight and Tuesday.

As the low moves away overnight, a strong southwesterly flow will persist across much of the island with gusts generally reaching 100 to 120 km/h, except over the western coastal regions of the Northern Peninsula where gusts up to 140 km/h are expected. Winds are expected to gradually subside across the island on Tuesday.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
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Quoting percylives:
Quoting percylives:
During the past week the US has set 1028 new daily high temperature records and 14 new daily low temperature records for a 73:1 ratio.

It just keeps getting worse and worse.

Link

My brother-in-law says Americans will start to take notice and demand action when it gets to be 115 degrees in the shade in the Northeast. I hope he's right.
right after that a stratospheric flip massive large scale sudden freeze global event
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Quoting wxgeek723:
Since everyone can lay to rest their fixation with a NYC storm surge scenario, what about another nightmarish situation...What if a hurricane took an Isabel/1933 C-P storm track but instead only brushed the OBX and struck Virginia Beach as a 115 mph storm, putting the right-front quadrant at the mouth of the Chesapeake?



Maybe if they had to walk through water to get around DC or the White House had sandbags in front of the door to keep it from flooding the politicians would notice the problem.

Maybe, but don't bet on it.
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During the past week the US has set 1028 new daily high temperature records and 14 new daily low temperature records for a 73:1 ratio.

It just keeps getting worse and worse.

Link

My brother-in-law says Americans will start to take notice and demand action when it gets to be 115 degrees in the shade in the Northeast. I hope he's right.
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Finally got around to reading the article in Jeff's post about the QuikScat replacement. Sounds like a lot of the fine details of the instruments capabilities are not yet written in stone. But from the article a couple things can be determined...

Quoting Article:


ISS-RapidScat will have measurement accuracy similar to QuikScat's and will survey all regions of Earth accessible from the space station's orbit


A similar resolution to the QuikScat means we can probably expect a resolution around 12.5km, which the QuikScat had. Theoretically, technological advances tell us that we should be able to achieve a resolution around 3km. The fact that this instrument will also be in a lower orbit than the QuikScat (500 miles vs 180 mils up) also means the resolution should be even higher. The small budget will keep the resolution from reaching its full potential, however, so I'd expect only a slight improvement of resolution over the QuikScat.

Also, another thing to note is that the instrument will be attached to the International Space Station. This means the orbit angle will be 51.6 degrees, which will prevent the instrument from reaching the northern and southernmost latitudes. Currently, the ASCAT can measure winds up to 75 degrees poleward from the equator. The RapidScat (replacement QuikScat) probably won't get past 55 degrees of latitude. So this will pose some limitations on tracking extratropical lows.

One final thing to note is the swath or area over which the instrument observes. Based on this image provided, it looks very narrow. The additional fact that this satellite will be orbiting closer to Earth means that it will have an even narrower field of view. This has notoriously been a problem with the ASCAT vs the QuikScat. Whereas the QuikScat previously had a much wider field of view, the ASCAT's has a much narrower field of view, causing it to often miss storms. This creates many partial passes or near misses of a storms wind field, which can be very frustrating.





Anyway, I do expect this RapidScat will be an improvement over the QuikScat in terms of spatial resolution. The lower orbit has me concerned about the field of view, however. For one, we will be constricted to about 55N to 55S, and the individual wind vector swaths look like they will be significantly narrower than the QuikScat. Hopefully, NASA scientists find some way to balance the lower orbit and give us a wider field of view than the ASCAT, though it looks unlikely at the moment.
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Hey there Grothar! The two biggest flood control projects in the Netherlands are the Zuiderzee Works in the north and the Delta Works south of Rotterdam, which you visited. Both are very impressive in their own way, though as an Amsterdam resident I have to stand by the northern version, of course :))) In reality, both of them are among the most amazing structures to have been built by humans, and were chosen by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of 7 modern wonders of the world.

Wikipedia has good articles on flood control in the Netherlands, as well as the Zuiderzee Works and the Delta Works.

To illustrate what these prevent from happening, here is a very useful picture from one of the above Wikipedia entries. As you can see, if there was no system like this, both Amsterdam and Rotterdam would be underwater, as well as a significant part of The Hague. Utrecht, the country's 4th largest city, would suddenly turn into a coastal refuge. The lowest point in the Netherlands, as well as Western Europe and the whole of the European Union, is at Zuidplaspolder in the south-western part of the country, at -6.76m from the Amsterdam Ordnance Datum

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Happy new day to all... Feb 5 here
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting Grothar:


Better use the word amoureux.


yeah... i wasn't so sure... thanks anyway
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Quoting Grothar:


Better use the word amoureux.


Dean Martin?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5222
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:



LOL... I know what you mean. Unless you have a great vocabulary or the circumstance is at best then it works.. but not all times.

I love to say... "Je suis tombe tres amoruous de toi ma belle fleur"


Better use the word amoureux.
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Quoting skycycle:
The heavy rain has stopped here in Amsterdam as the temperature dropped to just above freezing. I can still see thunder in the distance, and according to the forecast we should get snow this morning, great setup :)

Here is the lightning map for Europe right now, you can clearly see the Dutch coastline and interior getting hammered in the last hour.



The UKMET radar actually shows part of the Netherlands as well, and you can see the red 'heavy' rainfall dots around Amsterdam and further south in the bottom corner here:



I recently read an article about the water tunnels they have built in Rotterdam to control the flooding in the city. I had the chance to see them. I did not see anything like that in Amsterdam. Do they have them there as well?
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Who do you think taught those that first learned the different languages? .... Did you think that they just started speaking it on their own? :)


Tvit! :)
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The heavy rain has stopped here in Amsterdam as the temperature dropped to just above freezing. I can still see thunder in the distance, and according to the forecast we should get snow this morning, great setup :)

Here is the lightning map for Europe right now, you can clearly see the Dutch coastline and interior getting hammered in the last hour.



here's a zoomed version:

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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Who do you think taught those that first learned the different languages? .... Did you think that they just started speaking it on their own? :)



Good point ;)
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Yes, that pretty much explains everything for me. ... I knew I should have learned French. My English simply did not charm the ladies. .... it's a good thing that I am so darn good looking!!!



LOL... I know what you mean. Unless you have a great vocabulary or the circumstance is at best then it works.. but not all times.

I love to say... "Je suis tombe tres amoruous de toi ma belle fleur"
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting Grothar:


?


Hmmm I just realized my grammar there was terrible, lol
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Quoting Jedkins01:


You seem to be quite knowledgeable of language history don't you?


Who do you think taught those that first learned the different languages? .... Did you think that they just started speaking it on their own? :)
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Quoting Grothar:


?


I think he means you know what you are talking about when teaching us about German..

Im pretty sure
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Postville - Makkovik
11:19 PM NST Monday 04 February 2013
Blizzard warning for
Postville - Makkovik continued

ENVIRONMENT CANADA..Information about the now 952 mb over Labrador



Blizzard conditions are forecast to persist tonight.

This is a warning that blizzard conditions with near-zero visibilities are occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..listen for updated statements.

A major winter storm south of Lake Melville will move across Lake Melville early Tuesday morning before moving to lie off the North Labrador Coast Tuesday evening.

Snow associated with this system has already spread across Labrador. For Central and Northern Labrador, the snow will be heavy at times tonight and is expected to persist into Tuesday. Near 30 centimetres ( 11 INCHES) of snow has already fallen over Southeastern Labrador. A further 10 to 25 centimetres are expected for Central and Northern Labrador tonight. (additional 4-10")

For areas along the strait, southwesterly winds gusting up to 120 km/h (75 mph, hurricane force winds) are expected to develop this evening and persist into Tuesday as the low tracks northward.


Look, it's a Sudowoodo!



If you're not into Pokemon, I also thought it looked like a grasshopper. Look at it from top to bottom; looks like arms on the far left side of the red.
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Quoting Jedkins01:


You seem to be quite knowledgeable of language history don't you?


?
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Quoting Grothar:


Complicated but very logical. English is a west-Germanic language. At one time mutually intelligible with most other west German dialects. We retain most of the Germanic words and grammatical stucture. Most common usage words are Germanic, but words of emotion, feeling and abstract thought are basically from the French influence, which greatly influenced the vocabulary. So in a way, it is a mixture of Germanic and Romance languages, but technically it is never considered a Romance language.


Yes, that pretty much explains everything for me. ... I knew I should have learned French. My English simply did not charm the ladies. .... it's a good thing that I am so darn good looking!!!
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Quoting KoritheMan:


DOOM



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Quoting KoritheMan:


DOOM


yeah, that would be extremely bad for the Chesapeake Bay area... and for the nation's Capital
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Postville - Makkovik
11:19 PM NST Monday 04 February 2013
Blizzard warning for
Postville - Makkovik continued

ENVIRONMENT CANADA..Information about the now 952 mb over Labrador



Blizzard conditions are forecast to persist tonight.

This is a warning that blizzard conditions with near-zero visibilities are occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..listen for updated statements.

A major winter storm south of Lake Melville will move across Lake Melville early Tuesday morning before moving to lie off the North Labrador Coast Tuesday evening.

Snow associated with this system has already spread across Labrador. For Central and Northern Labrador, the snow will be heavy at times tonight and is expected to persist into Tuesday. Near 30 centimetres ( 11 INCHES) of snow has already fallen over Southeastern Labrador. A further 10 to 25 centimetres are expected for Central and Northern Labrador tonight. (additional 4-10")

For areas along the strait, southwesterly winds gusting up to 120 km/h (75 mph, hurricane force winds) are expected to develop this evening and persist into Tuesday as the low tracks northward.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting Grothar:


Complicated but very logical. English is a west-Germanic language. At one time mutually intelligible with most other west German dialects. We retain most of the Germanic words and grammatical stucture. Most common usage words are Germanic, but words of emotion, feeling and abstract thought are basically from the French influence, which greatly influenced the vocabulary. So in a way, it is a mixture of Germanic and Romance languages, but technically it is never considered a Romance language.


You seem to be quite knowledgeable of language history don't you?
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193. beell
Windhose sounds romantic to me.


...The exact translation for the word tornado is "windhose(singular)", but this includes all forms of rotating air, moisture, and clouds with an visible vortex on the ground--and don't have to be damaging. This means that tornadoes, waterspouts, and dust devils are all "windhosen(plural)". You can differentiate between a small "kleine windhosen(plural)" and large "große windhosen". So the more accurate word for a tornado which is damaging is "tornado or tromben(ital.)".
There is the word "wirbelsturm" which includes hurricane, typhoons, cyclones and also tornadoes but not waterspouts (wasserhosen) and dustdevils. The German word "wirbel" alludes to all forms of rotating air or clouds. Sturm(singular), stürme(plural), or orkan(singular), orkane(plural) means a really severe thunderstorm with hail, heavy lightning and so on. A normal thunderstorm is called a "gewitter(singular and plural)".
So, in summary:
tornado=large "windhose/windhosen or trombe/tromben"
dust devil="sandteufel or sandwirbel"
waterspout="wasserhose/wasserhosen"
thunderstorm="gewitter"
severe thunderstorm="sturm/stürme (over 20m/sec) or orkan(over 32m/sec)"
hurricane, cyclone, or typhoon="wirbelsturm/wirbelstürme"...


www.tornadoproject.com/cellar
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Quoting wxgeek723:
Since everyone can lay to rest their fixation with a NYC storm surge scenario, what about another nightmarish situation...What if a hurricane took an Isabel/1933 C-P storm track but instead only brushed the OBX and struck Virginia Beach as a 115 mph storm, putting the right-front quadrant at the mouth of the Chesapeake?





DOOM
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
Do want.



That would be a whole new level of awesome... too bad its 9 days out, and the GFS is likely to change its mind half a dozen times between now and then.
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Quoting Grothar:


Complicated but very logical. English is a west-Germanic language. At one time mutually intelligible with most other west German dialects. We retain most of the Germanic words and grammatical stucture. Most common usage words are Germanic, but words of emotion, feeling and abstract thought are basically from the French influence, which greatly influenced the vocabulary. So in a way, it is a mixture of Germanic and Romance languages, but technically it is never considered a Romance language.


I see, it's harder than it seems... Yet it has been able to keep it own originality though being influenced by some of those around.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting Astrometeor:


Yeah, been a while since I was on chat, was sick because I ate too much on Thursday, rested it off Friday, Saturday was my video-games day, Sunday was Super Bowl partying (go ravens!)

English isn't a romance by the way. Just draws a lot of vocab from Latin.


Oh...you were? Good to hear you feel better.

Well, never said English was a romance language anyway...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Hi Gro.. I have a question about German...
I don't know about this language at all ( Unlike for the Languages I know...French, Italian, Latin English and Spanish). How is the sentence wording?





Complicated but very logical. English is a west-Germanic language. At one time mutually intelligible with most other west German dialects. We retain most of the Germanic words and grammatical stucture. Most common usage words are Germanic, but words of emotion, feeling and abstract thought are basically from the French influence, which greatly influenced the vocabulary. So in a way, it is a mixture of Germanic and Romance languages, but technically it is never considered a Romance language.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


Astro.. long time no see (well... hear) How was I going to draw that?

ALL romance languages are not in the case system Latin is, which where they came from...


Yeah, been a while since I was on chat, was sick because I ate too much on Thursday, rested it off Friday, Saturday was my video-games day, Sunday was Super Bowl partying (go ravens!)

English isn't a romance by the way. Just draws a lot of vocab from Latin.
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Did you all know this was launched in this day back in 2004?? 9 years ago...
Over 1.1 billion users...

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14876
Can anyone share current rainfall rates and lightning strikes for Europe, if they are out there? I am in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and it just started pouring 15 minutes ago, with a bit of a light show :)
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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