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Interview with the Northwest Florida Daily News

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 10:11 PM GMT on November 21, 2006

Sorry for putting this out so late in the day. The fourth in the series of Dr. Masters' vacation blogs.

This is last part of an interview I did with the Northwest Florida Daily News of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, that was published on Sunday, May 28. The questions were posed to me by Del Stone Jr., Deputy Managing Editor and self-admitted weather nut. This portion of the interview was meant to run during my last vacation back in June, but Tropical Storm Alberto put an early end to that trip! I'll be back to live blogging Thanksgiving weekend.

Q. What about NHC's storm-naming convention? NHC uses anglicized and Latino names for storms, but clearly exhausted its list for 2005 and used letters of the Greek alphabet for storm names. But the Greek alphabet is limited. For instance, had NHC named the unnamed tropical storm that formed late in the 2005 season, then Hurricane Wilma would have been named Hurricane Alpha. Seeing as how Wilma has been retired, and the Greek alphabet cannot be expanded, the name Alpha came very close to being retired, which would mean busy seasons in the future would skip Alpha and go directly to Beta, possibly confusing the public. How would you fix this problem?

A. James Franklin, one of the NHC hurricane specialists, told me that he came up with an alternate list of names to replace Greek names and avoid this problem. He presented his list this year to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) committee that decides such matters, but they unanimously rejected his proposal. He thought that when and if we ever do retire a Greek name, the WMO will then have no choice but to accept his alternate list.

Q. The Weather Underground has a space reserved for blogs. This is a lively venue, with amateur weather fans reporting and speculating about weather phenomena, including hurricanes. At times the blog entries seem to cross the line between amusing pastime and actual public service reporting, particularly during last year's Hurricane Wilma as the storm bore down on the Yucatan Peninsula and official reports were skimpy at best. How would you characterize the accuracy and utility of such blog dispatches? Does blogging have a role in weather reporting?

A. I think we're just starting to explore that. I tried to feature blogs from wunderbloggers who were in the path of last year's storms, but it was difficult to find the time to coordinate this, in addition to all of my other duties. We'll continue to explore how best to take advantage of this great new communication opportunity in the coming hurricane seasons. I think blogging offers a great alternative to the sensational journalism ones sees in the news media; you're more likely to get an honest picture of what's really happening.

Q: NHC seems to produce very accurate predictions of storm paths. Now, they will attempt to forecast storm intensity at landfall. What's your take on this? Does NHC have access to new technology that allows them to make such forecasts? And if they are wrong, do you foresee negative ramifications?

A. The NHC's best performing computer model the past three years, the GFDL, got an upgrade of the equations it uses for the coming hurricane season. The new model was retrospectively run on Ivan and Katrina, and made track forecasts that were 10-12% better, and 5-day intensity forecasts that were 30% better. However, the retrospective intensity forecasts for Rita and Emily were slightly worse, so our ability to make better intensity forecasts still has a long ways to go. There is also a new model being made available to the public next year, the Hurricane Weather Research Forecast (HWRF) model, which will replace the GFDL. So, the models are getting better, mostly thanks to the tremendous amount that has been learned through research over the past 20 years. However, intensity forecasting is still in the primitive stages, and we should continue to expect large errors in landfall intensity forecasts. I think that NHC has to put out intensity forecasts, because they do have some skill over chance.

Q: NHC debated eliminating the middle line in the cone of probability of landfalling hurricane predictions. Ultimately they decided to keep the middle line. What's your opinion about the middle line?

A. I like the middle line. As a scientist, I am used to seeing data presented as a line with error bounds.

Q. Lastly, here's a fun question. The Weather Underground is beginning to appear in news stories about hurricanes, and with the increase in tropical cyclone activity The Weather Underground has become one of the go-to places for storm information. How does it feel to be a "star"? Do you face any of the privations normally reserved for people like Brad Pitt or Madonna?

A. Well, living here in Michigan, I don't encounter too many people who've heard of me. When I travel, though, I've learned to be armed with Weather Underground pens to give away! I haven't signed any autographs yet, but have had to endure getting my picture taken with blog fans a few times. All in all, it's been a very modest amount of fame that hasn't been unpleasant at all, and I have been very much enjoying sharing my knowledge and stories with people.

Q. Many thanks, Dr. Masters!

A. You're welcome!

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

See everyone later! Going on vacation for Thanksgiving to my family's lakehouse on Lake Travis, which is just NW of Austin, TX. I don't expect the internet to work there (it didn't over labor day), and even if it does, the dial-up connection is EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY SLOW!!! Sometimes, it takes up to 5 minutes to load this page! Ugh...
Physics Answer:

The answer is (a): the thread loop will expand to its maximum possible area.
The drop of soap solution inside the loop spreads out and reduces the surface tension of the water inside the loop, so the greater surface tension on the outside immediately pulls out the string loop. The system is circularly symmetric, so the loop stretches into a circle, the figure with the maximum area for its perimeter.
Anyone here now ??????????
is it some sort of important thing going on, that I am not privvy to ? , that has everyone absent ???????
Hi stormchaser, are you still in Fla. ??
Huh, stormchaser dissapeared as well........the plot thickens.........
HI pottery i was on the phone. Yeah im still in FLa and b-day is on sunday:) yeah:)
......oh well, I dissapeared for a week, because the bandits stole 100 yds of telephone cable from around here. Copper prices are way up, so its easy money........
How u doing?
......oh welcome back, stormchaser. Happy birthday for Sunday. Have a GREAT one............
U should leave theres knowone here:)
Thanks im stayin at westpalmbeach:)
yeah, Im gone for a while..........
Bye C u tommorow:)
30 minutes till time?
How is everybody tonight?
Good evening Sandcrap! Your just in time for the party.
I have the whole rest of the week off. I will try to come up with a blog topic worthy of this prestigious site!

looks like circulation to me
24. Inyo
why is there a .1% chance of a hurricane forming due west of southern California? Another thingamacane?
The water is cold and shear is high.
T minus 8
T minus 5
Wind-shear is low in that region, more like a Tropical disturbance rather than a polar one
T minus 1
Well how is everyone
You whishing again?
You seem excited about something Crab, care to share?
Just fine Sandcrab, thank you.
No problem gonna have some fun
Hi Dodabear
Ha ha ha!!!! actually the wish joke has gotten kind of old. But what the heck i'll laugh at almost anything!
Time to eliminate 7 year olds
A one in a thousand chance of something developing along the front?

Nor easter in the making
That sounds almost oppressive.
Opressive? well that applies to those that understand the true meaning of the word.
The current shear is actually 60 kts in that area.

Oh believe me it has somthing to do with behaviour.
Posted By: Inyo at 7:41 PM CST on November 21, 2006.

why is there a .1% chance of a hurricane forming due west of southern California? Another thingamacane?

The genesis program does not take SSTs into account and the cutoff point for shear is a staggering 65 knots!

Maximum climatological SST < 21 degree C
Latitude < 5 degrees north
Areas that are 100% over land
Areas that already contain a tropical cyclone
850 hPa Circulation < -5 kt
Vertical Shear > 65 kt
Vertical Instability < -8 degrees C
GOES cold pixel count = 0%
GOES brightness temperature > -23 degrees C

That is ridiculous; it should be reduced to > 20 kts or something (also, notice that it only takes the climatological PEAK SSTs into account, not the actual SSTs.
Assumption of terms are by the sole that precives it.
A wise use of speech on your part.
The slight chance (means no chance) of something developing west of California is mainly due to:

Maximum climatological SST >= 21 degree C
Latitude > 5 degrees north
Not over land at all
No other tropical cyclones
Circulations present (frontal boundary)
Vertical Shear < 65 kt
Vertical Instability > -8 degrees C
Cold cloud tops (again from the front)
GOES brightness temperature < -23 degrees C (means the air is not desert-dry)

(taken from the screening list)
My problem? I have lots of problems just like everyone else.
A thought that you better hold true. Like cold winds of winter and warm winds of summer many will remember the only thing that was done ever wrong. (understand?)
If you want to hear about my actual problems, visit Nash's Thanksgiving blog entry.
I've never done tried my hardest and regretted it.
Actually I dont want to know anything about you at all till you learn respect. You are a creature of self involvement that has not learned that respect and the ability to truely say "I am sorry" are the key to getting along with others with respect and good will.
I'm a human being open to mistakes. I'll admit i've done horrible things in my life, but I have always been able to redeem myself. The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes.
What would make you think I don't know respect?
I hope you have, but you must remember that age has history and in history thier is knowledge and its best at times to be silent and observe. You seem to be a knowledgeable person so sit back and ask questions and quit coming across as a spoiled rotten brat.
If your wondering Gator and me came to a mutual understanding.
I think that's my harsh side your seeing.
Its not about agreements, Folks in this blog will be glad to share but do not try to come across as an adult when you are not so keep your attitude in check!
Whishcaster, If you were older I could show you attidude from H--- but I am asking that you change your approach.
That was another word for forgiving eachother. I may be a child, but I shall not debase myself to acting like one.
Older or younger I feel that I see things in a alternative way.
If you don't like me, feel free to raise hades.
I don't want my phyical age to suppress your believes and opinions.
LOL you have not even seen yet so pay attention you are not as wise as you propose yourself to be. LOL it shows so much so chill or get out of this blog. Smart remarks and anylitical sayings are not a good response to those that have already been there. I have said if you do not try to over sell yourself the folks here will be happy to share their knowledge but quit trying to be a superstar. We all have had to grow up as well.
Thank you again Dr. Masters for your blogs in the 2006 season. If I had to restrict myself here in SWFL during the hurrivane season to one single source of information, it would be your blog, without any hesitation!

I've been recommending your blog as a primary info source in the hurricane season to every local friend and neighbor. It is the best blend of judgement based on science and educated intuition, coupled with well thought through delivery, clearly conveying the realistic certainty/uncertainty levels. It helped us not only in making our decisions for various levels of preparedness, and actions, (as for example as our timely evacuation for Wilma) but also allowed us to relax (while remaining alert) a lot more often than we could before discovering your blog.

Bob K (Naples FL)
What do you mean settle down? I'm a pretty laid back guy. I'm also NOT, by all means a genius or attention hore.
All I do is go about things in a different manner, nothing radical about that.
Ok well I am out of here. My opiion of you is clear you are a spoiled child with an adult dream and you have not learned respect, you answer with answers as if you are always correct. Until you get the picture you are at a loss. This will be my last advice to you.
good evening all

anything new going on ??
Strange? You just perfectly described Randrewl's personality.
Yes, theres a pocket of low shear in the South Central Caribbean.
1030 PM EST TUE NOV 21 2006


if you mean this I think it is too late in the season to make a dufference
difference that is lol
Kman do I seem egoistic to you?
Or spoiled?
egotistic ?

no, not based upon the conversations we have had so far
The blog can create " friction" at times. When it does I just lurk for a day or two until it blows over.
The trick is for all of us not to take ourselves too seriously. After all, this is a hobby.I never try to prove anything here, just sharing my opinions and when they prove to be wrong ( which happens from time to time )I try to learn from others who know more than I do.

Sometimes they learn from me and vice versa
Kman I think that's a better approach than mine. Crab though that was entirely uncalled for and extremely disrespectful on your part, I will not turn you in.
well I can tell you all that if anyone had any doubt the season was over they should be in the Caymans now
Cold winds out of the NNW and 6 foot seas breaking in the harbour
Real sweater weather here if you can believe it
Had the windows open at home today and the A/C off.
Boy is it nice !!!
I really don't know what your problem is Crab. My teachers love me.
anyway its getting late and time to go
will be back tomorrow
Incidentally did anyone have trouble getting to the WU site ?
I kept getting a server error report for about 24 hrs until this afternoon
Yeah Kman, I looked at the stats on your general vicinity. The weather your having kind of reminds me of the weather we have on the west coast in spring.
are you out in CA or what ??
This site can be a little wiggy with me too. You just have to work around it.

Have a great evening Kman!
Vancouver WA.

1030 PM EST TUE NOV 21 2006



man that is WAAAYYY out there !!

Must be pretty cool up there now LOL
Ha ha!! We all wish that to be true, who knows, it could be partially possible.

Too funny !!
Strange thing though is that every time we have a "winter" with strong cold fronts it tends to be followed by a bad hurricane season the following year.
If the current " Norwester "( as we call them )is any indication then the 07 season may be bad news
The summers here are the best in the world!
well I am out of here
catch you all tomorrow
I've never noticed that before Kman. Would you happend to have some information on that?
Peace out Kman!
There are indications that El Nino could get stronger and last longer than forecast; some forecasters even forecast El Nino to last all through next year (the CPC only goes out to next summer):

Most models agree on El Nino persisting, although not as strong as it was at its peak, but stronger than it was during this year's hurricane season.
I was just about to respond, but then I remembered that i've said everything I can say about El Nino. Sorry Michael i'm a dry well.
That is to say I know nothing more than what i've already said.
Snow Flurries Reported in Central Florida.
38F here with light drizzle & the wind picked up.
Working & lurking 48. People will be trying to burn stuff;=job security. Be safe & Enjoy the holiday all.
Two years in a row now...lol, the snow birds are gonna need a new hang out!

1025 PM EST TUE NOV 21 2006




A tropical cyclone has developed in the South Pacific!
114. 0741
do any one know were i can find all low and high that broke record today on web site?
Sorry I have no clue. You should try Google.
116. 0741
i did no luck
wishcsterboy, it would be great if you posted your thoughts on:
- Dr. Masters comments;
- tropical weather;
- other weather-related topics.

The site is focussed on weather, and is not a chat room for self-absorbed youngsters. Do some reading/research and CONTRIBUTE please!
Snowboy, say something interesting about the weather right now.
Self-absorbed youngsters? Oh please guy! No way I'm going there!
Cmon wishcasterboy, look at a weather map and consider what's happening! Then do some analysis and internet searches.

Ferocious Arctic cold has for weeks been bottled up in Alaska and and the Yukon (temps in Whitehorse have not been above 0 F for weeks), but is finally advancing south across the Canadian prairies.

The cold up north has forced the Pacific storms south and has caused unprecedented flooding and wind storms (and that's saying alot) along Canada's Pacific coast near Vancouver. The city (of 2 million) has been under a boil water advisory for a week, because heavy rains in the watershed of the city's reservoir caused massive landslides into the reservoir. A few years back, the watershed was heavily logged - people who warned at the time that this would eventually lead to landslides into the reservoir were brushed off as flaky environmentalists..

The Canadian cold should brush the upper US plains states in a day or two, before being pushed back north by the next storm system. The cold will return with a vengeance next week. If you have money to invest, natural gas futures next week as the cold sinks southwards into the US midwest.

The tropics are finished (no late tropical systems to sorry about), but there's a heck of a storm winding up along the eastern seaboard. It is looking to stall out along the Carolina coast and will cause flooding and severe beach erosion..
It's a mess out there!

The temperatures forecasted later this week just keep tropping. If they go any lower we could have our first snow of the season!

If you look at the top left corner of the image, you'll see an area of spotty swirling coulds. That is indicative of cold unstable air.
The average for this month in Vancouver is 5.61 inches. To date, we've had 10.59 inches with more rain on the way!
You see that dark blue fragment farthest south along the California coast? I just went outside to see it but, alas, I could not.

Hope you don't get pasted to badly by that cold unstable air. Maybe snow would be good -- timed release into the watersheds.
For one thing this is an El Nino year! Doe's that mean anything to Mother Nature? We should be basking in late season sun shine right now. But I love gloomy weather for some reason. I can surely tell you it's been an adventure!
Glad you're loving it Mike.

This may actually be a typical late onset El Nino pattern. I never got an answer on the Western Weather blog and I'm too lazy to do the research myself ... uh, I mean I don't have enough time, LOL.

The pattern may change by January, I'm looking forward to some gloomy weather myself.
We had a weird thunderstorm earlier today. First to come was darkness, then came the hail stones! They were huge! |They would fall for a few seconds then stop for a few seconds then start again! Nobody could take their eyes off the window. The teacher asked use "Haven't you ever seen hail before?" A dumb remark on his part considering the hail was pounding the windows so bad they were vibrating!
If we can just get some snow storm too blow through here, my lifes desire will be fulfilled!
LOL, sometimes that's a good thing.

Do you see yourself in the snow advisories?
I'm just outside it! I live in Clark County. BTW what is your name?
You could drive up to it ... a day trip. You can call me Steve Mike.
I do that a lot Steve. We have a place up here called Sunset Falls, there's snow up there from November to April. It's a dangerous place though, I myself have gotten stuck up there two times as of yet!
Stuck how? Too much snow to get out?
First time I got lost, and the second time I accidentally locked two pairs of keys in the car! Both times were during a blizzard!
Hmm, maybe that day trip isn't such a good idea, LOL.
How did you get yourself out of those situations Mike?
If that's not good enough there's wild animal tracks everywhere and he's barking up a storm! I was thinking oh great, he's going to find some bear, bark at it and lead it back too us! We all had the lovely privilage of hiking 4500 feet down a mountain in sub-zero temperatures, with a dog that didn't know the meaning of fear!
Amazing, you made it and that makes it a funny story, LOL.

What happened when you got lost?
Once we got to the valley, still snowing, we met up with a bunch of hunters. Every hunter we mt up with told us the same strange like, "Windows aren't as expnsive as you might think". Until finally wesom kind campers offered us a ride too the nearest house. A phone call with dad and tow truck later, he had the kindness of giving be the keys to drive the car home. On the way home I almost had an accident!
You're lucky to have parents so understanding.
Tomorrow will be a short day but I still need to get some sleep. I'd like to hear your other winter survival story (lost). Maybe on your blog sometime.

Good night Mike.
Once again in winter the happy campers (referring to me, Ma, and Barky doo doo breath) when on a lovely trip to see a blizard in action. We got out of our car on top of a plateau, and took to the roads on nothing but our feet! Soon after falling into an ice puddle, we decided to head back to the car. Note: this area is a maze of different roads that branch of for miles. The funny thing was we were taking the right road but I said "No this cannot be the right way" So we turned around and headed another direction until we hit a dead end. By that point I was pypothermic and scared. My mother was great and always knew what to say. "WERE GOING TO DIE!!", she screamed. As I searched for the road we came from, mom was planning on how we would survive the night. We took the road I said was wrong, and by this time it was pitch black. It was like the forest came to life! All these pretty yellow eyes staring through the trees, and friendly coyotes howling and growling was really quite comforting! When we found the car it was so dark I stumbled into it and almost took a nose dive!
Guess I was late with that one.
I think i'll be heading out now.

Good night to Steve and others,

KMAN< you awake yet ??????
As many of you know, the first forecast for the 2007 Hurricane Season will be released by Colorado State U on December 8th. But I thought this may start an interesting discussion: Any preliminary thoughts from all of you for amount of activity for the 2007 Hurricane Season? Will it be like the 1982/83 hurricane seasons, where both seasons were "quiet", or will it be like the 1997/98 hurricane seasons, where 1997 was "quiet" and 1998 was much more active. Any thoughts??
"I have been very much enjoying sharing my knowledge and stories with people." - Dr. Masters'

and we have enjoyed this as well! :)

Thanks Dr. Masters'!
..Ticking away..the moments that make up a dull day.You fritter and waste the hours in a off-hand Way..Kicking around on a piece of ground in ya home town..Waiting for someone or something to show you the way!...9
Where in Michigan is Dr. Masters from?
Not sure if hes from Michigan ,but the office he works at for the WU is in Ann Arbor,Michigan
Heres his address at the WU in Michigan...Link
Go Blue!
The WU does not offer tours of their facilities due to security constraints...
Windy!!!! Winds running over 30 mph with gusts to 44. An hour ago was 33 and 56! And I'm 8- miles from the coast here in Greenville NC.

I'm waiting for a turkey to blow by...

if I mailed Dr. Masters my baby, do you think he'd sign him?
Same here in Shallotte, NC wet, wet, wet. Water ankle deep and the MUD much deeper.
First and formost have a happy thanksgiving everyone.

Ok for the local mountain people in So Cal there isnt a lot to be thankfull for this year. Record heat this November. No storms at all. The nights have been cooler but who knows when the next Sanna Anna wind will kick up. No rain chance of rain expected in the next 6-10 days.

Looks like the El Nino isnt even strong enough to defeat dry air and high pressure.
I live on the VA coast and it's a wild one. We have been having the strongest winds because we are on the northern fringes of the low pressure system and are caught in a squeeze play between that and the high pressure. We have had wind gusts over 60 with sustained around 40. High tide is happening now and it's pretty high. I tried to get to work and couldn't. I live close to the James River and as I was trying to get back home it was washing out the road. Boats were tied to piers but you can't see piers anymore. Well, Happy Thanksgiving to everybody!
Virginia Attorney's Suit Blames City for Hurricane Floyd Floods
November 22, 2006

A Virginia attorney has refiled a $20 million lawsuit that blames the city of Newport News for flooding during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

The suit is on behalf of residents of the Denbigh area of the city, and follows a recent ruling that dismissed some of the residents' claims in a 2001 lawsuit. That suit had accused the city of failing to provide adequate stormwater drainage during the 1999 hurricane, which dumped as much as 17 inches of rain in the Denbigh area.

The storm caused the city more than $35 million worth of damage.

The new suit, filed by Norfolk lawyer Andrew Sacks in Newport News Circuit Court and U.S. District Court in Newport News, alleges Newport News acted with reckless disregard when it took "private real and personal property for public use.''

Three area housing complexes were so badly flooded that they "serve as the .... retention or storage pond for the foreseeable overflow of water from Jones Run and Jones Pond,'' according to the lawsuit.

The city has argued it is not liable for damage arising from natural causes.

Weather officials: Snowflakes spotted in Central Florida

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. - Snowbirds come to the Sunshine State to escape them, but weather officials said a few snowflakes were spotted in Central Florida.

The flakes, mixed with rain, fell about 9 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Snow shovels were not needed, but some of the white stuff did hit the ground before melting, weather-service meteorologist John Pendergrast said.

"It's just cold enough in the lower levels of the atmosphere" to keep the flakes from melting, Pendergrast said.

The last time the region saw snow was in 2003, when flakes fell over Brevard and Volusia counties.

Temperatures in the area Tuesday night dipped to the low 40s, and were expected to fall to the 30s, Pendergrast said.

Wind chills may drop into the 20s in parts of north Florida and high temperatures may only reach the 60s as far south as the Keys on Wednesday, state meteorologist Ben Nelson said.

Miami wasn't expected to even hit 70 on Wednesday, and low temperatures were expected to dive into the mid-40s.

A developing storm out at sea off of Florida's east coast is driving cold air southward into the state, which resulted in freeze watches for several locations in the Panhandle earlier this week. Residents were being reminded to protect themselves, their plants, their pets and their pipes.

The cold weather is expected to last through Thanksgiving, but by the end of the week warmer temperatures were forecast to return. By Sunday, the high in Miami is expected to be 81.

167. Inyo
Man, Sandcrab, calm down here.

Respect should be earned and there are more criteria than just age at work.

A 15 year old may act 15 but what of the 'Adult' arguing with him in here?

You are the one looking childish!
168. Inyo
also Lightning10, check the GFS, there are indeed several chances of rain and possibly a pattern change around Dec 1-5.

It has been a boring fall but usually we dont worry until the end of December. There have been many wet years with bone-dry Novembers.
169. N3EG
Since we're having a winter like 1995/1996 here, I'll say we're going to have a 1996 hurricane season.
Possible Low Developing in the Central Carrib at the tail end of the trough!
Shear map depicts this also
interesting there progressive...does indeed look like a developing stationary low. I wonder if it'll continue to develop into a little something.
172. V26R
N3EG check your site for mail de Mike
I'm freezin' my butt off just South of Daytona!

GFS and NoGaps try to develop a short lived weak system.

CMC as always is more aggressive with the area.
Kyrant Carl is deepening off the coast of the South Carolina's and is almost at the Category Two Kyrant level. Check my blog for more info :)
Hello everyone,

What a great hurricane season! As bad as last year was, this year is that great. And no one predicted this. NO ONE!!!!!! Just goes to show that mankind has alot to learn. Wheres all the jibberous about global warming? I dont know about you guys but here in florida we are setting records all over the place. A place in south florida reached 33 flippin degrees this morning.....Global warming!!!!!!! Whatever.....

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! This is my favorite Holiday. It is about the only thing that really matters and thats about being with your family as a family. Later.....
177. Inyo
Wheres all the jibberous about global warming?

Apparently, it is in southern California where we have high temperatures at or over 90 degrees for much of November.

again, you can't prove or disprove greenhouse warming based on one cold spell or heat wave. Current models mostly predict that extremes will increase including cold spells. Also, the net number of hurricanes across the earth this year was probably at or above average (though i dont have those stats)
Sunshine in southeastern NC! Blindingly bright.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!!!!
Quickscat of the Carolina Gale
again, you can't prove or disprove greenhouse warming based on one cold spell or heat wave. Current models mostly predict that extremes will increase including cold spells. Also, the net number of hurricanes across the earth this year was probably at or above average (though i dont have those stats)

That is exactly right. More extremes; single events cannot be tied to climate change (also, global warming only suggests that the earth will get warmer... IMO incorrect term to use). However, I think that if the incidence of extreme events increases, and it happens across a broad specturm of events, then something is up (more hurricanes worldwide, stronger hurricanes worldwide, more and worse heatwaves worldwide, more storms worldwide, etc). Notice that I said worldwide in each of these cases; while the Atlantic was nuts last year, other areas were actually bellow normal, so the entire world has to be taken into account (this will remove biases caused by things like El Nino).
Hey all, hope you are doing fine.
I havent been here for 5 days cause I wasnt home.

Latest SST map shows weakening of the El Nino situation...
184. Inyo
... unless changes in El Nino are associated with warming. Some have noted that the proportion of El Nino years to La Nina years has increased in the last few decades. If this is indeed associated with global warming, it might mitigate an increase in Atlantic hurricanes.

Not to step on any toes here.. but from my experience it seems like most people who don't believe the climate is getting warmer haven't really spent a lot of time out in the natural world. I work in the mountains and just about all the 'old timers' who spend a lot of time in the mountains agree it is getting warmer (although not all agree as to why.) Anyone who doesnt believe we are in a time of accelerated climate change is probably not payign attention.
You shouldn't really use that map to see what El Nino is doing; this graph shows the strength better because it only shows the El Nino areas:

Also, a vast area a very warm water is building up below the surface, up to 5-6*C above normal!

Also, notice that El Nino does not steadily build; instead, there are "pulsations", due to the way warm water spreads eastwards.
It is true that the earth is warming up, we have facts. The Polar ice caps are getting smaller, mountain glaciers are shrinking and oceans waters are increasing. What we do not know is if its a natural trend or if its caused by humans. It could be a mix of both.
Michael - Ok, dont forget that im still learning about this and I do not, by far, have enough links/the best links. ;) Thanks for telling me not to use it though.
Its natural. But humans have sped up the process. Remember, the Earth's current atmosphere has been qround for billions of years. Humans burning fossil fuels have only been around for a few hundred. Could vulcanism under the oceans's surface have an affect on the polar ice cap melting over millions of years? maybe. Could all the cars from 1950 - 1980 have a big contribution. Unlikely. But every little bit adds to the problem. What grows faster...the human race or ice?

We probably are having some impact; while some people think that "puny" humans (forgetting that there are billions of "puny" humans on this earth) can't have any effects on something as big as the earth, we certainly have done a lot of damage (pollution, extinctions, habitat destruction, etc), so why not the atmosphere as well (remember that every bit of CO2 or methane added to the atmosphere by human activities is a net gain; natural processes are more or less in balance. The main effect of greenhouse gasses is this: more greenhouse gasses = increased warming = more evaporation (water vapor is also a greenhouse gas) = more warming, etc...
It is a ruthless cycle just like drought:
Dry Ground -- Less Evaporation -- More Heat -- Less rain -- Dry ground...
Once it starts its hard to break it.
191. RL3AO
Assuming something crazy doesnt happen before January 1st, it will be a below average season.

Honestly. How many of you would have bet money on a below active season back in June?
Warning, warning - major cold front to sweep south from Canadian prairies mid-week next week, could bring some nasty weather with it..

In the meantime, I hope all of you in the USA enjoy a great Thanksgiving with family and friends!
The cycle I mentioned in my last comment is one of the reasons why even a small change in the levels of CO2/methane/etc can have much bigger impacts that you might think. Also, many people do not realize that even a small temperature change can have a significant impact on the environment; 1*C may not seem like that much (a rise or drop of less than 2*F), but it is more significant than most people realize. Think of El Nino - it is just a degree or two of warming along the equatorial Pacific, yet affects weather around the world.
snowboy - Yes, temperatures have been running 8-10 degrees below normal since the beggining of november in the Yukon and i think it was time for it to come down! Those temperatures are in celcius!
196. Inyo
I agree... we are puny individually but 5 billion of anything will have a huge impact. we do indeed have a large impact on the short term conditions on the Earth, we are basically the biological equivelant of a large meteor strike as far as extinctions go, and also we have wiped out or altered entire ecosystems. So the 'we can't possibly be affecting the earth' arguments make little sense to me.

Also, El Nino seemed to be weakening last week but in the most recent advisory, it took a pretty notable upturn. It will probably continue to strengthen for a while now. As someone mentioned earlier, it tends to strengthen in 'pulses'.

some long range models predict that the jet stream is getting ready to split and shift south... an El Nino pattern.
I would say everything is a "could" right now, at least for the next 2 million years.
The reason why El Nino fluctuates is mainly due to Kelvin waves, which are areas of wind anomalies that produce upwelling and downwelling; downwelling increases heat content in the ocean and upwelling decreases heat content (but brings warm water to the surface; the strength of El Nino is based on SSTs, not heat content). Here are images from the CPC's ENSO weekly update (PDF):

Currently, downwelling is occurring, resulting in temperatures anomalies as high as 6*C above normal below the surface; this heat will be upwelled later on. Also, heat content anomalies are the greatest before the peak of El Nino, not during.
I will pretend I didnt read this:
As SSTs rise these storms will evolve into hurricanes in the future!

Nor'easters are formed from the extremes of land and sea, cold land and warm water. Hurricanes ONLY need warm water so I dont think that nor'easters will become hurricanes one day...
MichaelSTL that was just the information I was needed. Thanks for posting.
Happy Thanksgiving Dr. Masters and all bloggers!
Anyone here have Stormpredator
If ya missed the last NOVA science Now on the mass extinction 250million years ago, the Permian extinction. It's online to watch or read ~ here.
What's Stormpredator?

Time to start getting use to storms spinning the other way:)
I have storm predator but have found it less useful from other programs I run. Storm preditor actually is an enhanced view of NOAA radar
Omg, I just posted a long comment and it never showed up so to make it short it was: I think that when theres high wind shear its an Upper Level Ridge and when its Low theres an Upper Level Low. Correct me If im Wrong.
It is actually the opposite; mature tropical cyclones have an upper-level high (anticyclone) over them because of the outflow; note that this actually causes very high shear around the center of a storm because the lower levels rotate cyclonically and the upper levels are anticyclonic. Upper-level lows on the other hand, can increase shear, especially to the south because winds blow from the west to east (in the Northern Hemisphere), the opposite of easterly trade winds. However, ULLs can also provide "sinks" for outflow; this was one of the reasons why several of last year's storms blew up into monsters, so they can work both ways:

Both Katrina and Rita intensified into strong Category 5 hurricanes
while nearing and passing over the Loop Current, a region of high oceanic
heat content with SSTs of 30-31 C. In the case of Rita, the upper-level
outflow pattern was just about perfect with a poleward outflow channel
converging into an upper-level LOW northeast of the Lesser Antilles,
and equatorward outflow channel converging into an upper-level LOW over
the Bay of Campeche, and a third weak outflow channel developing to
the northwest.
213. Inyo
Hey, California people, check out the 18Z GFS long range predictions.

Anything that far out is, of course, not much better than fiction, but that is one heckuva pattern change there.... you will also note it weakened the storm for this Monday a bit, but other models may be trending stronger...
But looking at this wind shear map, where there is an Upper-Level low (Carolinas) and an Upper Level High (Canadian Maritimes) the wind shear is at 5kts and 120kts repectively.
Yes it is at 120kts (I didnt know it could go that high (that is around 250 km/h), look for yourself:

The highs/lows you see here are at the surface (sea level pressure):

A surface high, by its nature, has descending air. This means that it actualy "sucks" air towards it in the upper levels, creating low pressure above it. This is the opposite of a low, which creates an upper-level high from rising air.
7 days remain of 06 hurricanes i say it safe to say goodbye to the season and laugh at all those experts with egg on there faces for this is the year that convince me that nobody nos what there talking about yet always has lots of excuses to explain why there right at being wrong.
A surface high, by its nature, has descending air. This means that it actualy "sucks" air towards it in the upper levels, creating low pressure above it. This is the opposite of a low, which creates an upper-level high from rising air.

I knew that low pressure moves air outwards while high pressure is like a vacuum. However I didnt know that low pressure at the surface created high pressure over head and vice-versa. How come is it that they (meteorologists) say that the surface low is being supported by an upper level low aloft when you say that a low creates High pressure in the Upper-levels.
It is true that a surface low can be associated with an upper-level low; however, such systems are usually not vertically stacked (that is, the upper low is not over the surface low; it is tilted). Here is a diagram that illustrates this:

We would need an upper-level pressure map to see exactly what is going on right now; the surface map is only part of the story.
Posted By: Skyepony at 7:20 PM EST on November 22, 2006.

What's Stormpredator?

Stormpredator is a great tool for tracking severe weather ive owned for almost a year now.

I also recommed GRlevel3
Ok, I think I understand better the concept of Upper Level features. Something I am always confused about is the pressure maps. I do not know what to select (500mb, 850mb, 1000mb...)
Are each of them from from different areas in the atmosphere?
Larger numbers indicate levels closer to the surface; sea level prssure is around 1013 mb and as you go up, pressure decreases. Generally, for surface features, you want to look at maps that use a level close to 1013 mb, such as the one I posted above (SLP and winds at 1000 mb).
I see, thanks a lot for the info. I cant seem to find upper-level pressure maps but I am still trying.
These two maps show the amount of vorticity in different levels of the atmosphere; top is 200 mb and bottom is 850 mb:

Notice how different thay are, since many surface features do not extend all the way to the 200 mb level and vice-versa (200 mb is around 28,000 feet above sea level and 850 mb is around 4800 feet above sea level; the actual pressure at these levels will depend on the presence of highs and lows, as well as the temperature). Notice that somebody living at 5,000 feet would experience an average pressure below 850 mb, yet a barometer would still record 1013 mb on average. This is because barometers are calibrated to mean sea level pressure, to allow easy comparison; the actual air pressure right now where I live is around 1000 mb while the MSLP is 1023.5 mb.
I am at about 60 feet above sea level so I can say that the pressure is the same as what it reads. It is at around 1032mb. Hmmm... The atmosphere is more complicated than I thought :S
Tropical cyclone YANI has gotten alot better organized over the past couple of hours and is now developing an eye like feature which is trying to clear out.Winds are at 55kts. Infrared view

55 kts? LOL... An eye typically does not start developing until you have a moderate to strong Cat 1 hurricane... The same goofup occurred with Chebi (it was also at 55 kts when it had a very clear eye; it did not really go from 55 to 115 kts in 6 hours).
It is moving extremely slowly. At 1 mph wont get too far anytime soon just like the graphic says:

Wesy wind ??

West that is
What's wrong with the west wind? Oh, the buoy is north of the spiral down there so there might be a low developing?
Another view of YANI at bottom right hand corner.click here for loop

Not quite but close
The West wind does indicate a low forming but the low would have to be N of the buoy in order to produce a W wind at the buoy
If the buoy is at 15N then the low center would be near 16 or 17 N
kmanislander check your mail....
If the buoy was to the N of the low then the wind would be out of the East

no mail in the box
Try again.
237. RL3AO
It looks like it's trying to build an eyewall.

got it
man there's enough there for an hour of browsing !

Will check it out tomorrow. Getting late now
If the buoy was to the N of the low then the wind would be out of the East

Yea, I got mixed up because for an instant i thought that we measured wind by where it is going but its from where it is coming from. I knew it, just messed up. ;)
kmanislander try going threw my navigation....see my katrina page and my 2005.

Easy mistake to make
I am starting to see a seperation of that convection from the frontal trough that stretches to the N

If that continues then there is a chance for something to get going ( if only for a short time ). The GFS has the system pushing back to the W so it bears watching
I loaded IE7 yesterday and now the GHCC site no longer gives me the lat and long numbers when I move the cursor around

Anyone else have this problem ??
The GFDL is developing another hurricane in the E pacific... a Category 2 by early next week. It did the same thing with sergio, I think it likes the eastern pacific (GFDL). Although Sergio did develop it wasnt nearly as strong as what it said it would become. Another area that bears watching, if its still buying the idea in 2 days then we got something.

I was looking at the run from yesterday, 18z. My bad. For some reason this site didnt update
wow already after 11
gotta grab some shut eye
c u all tomorrow
steveda1 check your mail....

I don't think cmc ever totally, consistantly dropped the Caribbean system.

The observations from around that bouy in the last 6 hrs.

The models when hadn't dropped this have been kinda flipping around on move west, hit land~ or most the energy track over Cuba or Hispanolia & either go STS or meet up with the gale & stay cold core. Then there was the rare, like maybe yesterday's cmc 00Z that had the Caribbean TS & the Atlantic STS.
I didnt get mail Hurricane23.
The GFDL only updates where there is an active system; the GFDL run for Sergio is the one that shows a Category 2 hurricane developing; Sergio has dissipated so new runs are not coming out.
steveda1 try again.
Thanks 23 for the links...I checked them out Storm predator seemed gungho on the new lightning indicater which WU has had for a while. & for the membership here, get up to 40 frames, plus the advanced radar stuff on the left. Remove clutter is sweet being so close to the radar.
Guess I'm trying to ask..what's the big advantage?
Replied to the email adrian.
Skyepony no problem...check mail
Im out, I gotta wake up early tomorrow... I will see you all tomorrow.

Anyone have a 5 forcast map for those 2 cyclones out there?

Patrick here's a forecast track map for TC Yani. Forgive me I'm not sure what the second cyclone is that you're refering too.

Goodnight everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving!
259. RL3AO
Yani Visible


Look at the SW Caribbean this a. m.!

Could this be the BINGO the models kept saying was coming "next week" and "next week"?

I'm sorry I won't be able to check in all day . . . . [sigh]
Colon and Panama City in Panama have NW and W winds respectively.
There could be a circulation in that blob just N of Panama.
The last QS pass does not show anything but it may be several hrs old
Bahahurican i dont think much will come of this blob as over all conditions are not favorable for any significant development.Windshear is not to bad in the SW caribbean but it increases to 40kts to the north.

Here is a look at this area on Ramsdis.

Closer view here
kmanislander i do see maybe hints at a circulation trying to develope with this blob in the sw caribbean but iam not sure if its at the surface.

Here is a look at an infrared loop...


I agree. We will have to wait for either a recent QS pass or a local obs from a ship in the area. However, the W wind at Panama City may be related to the blob.
I am not so sure about the NW wind at Colon because N to NW winds dominate the western half of the entire Caribbean due to the front that can now be seen to be lifting out.
Panama City now with N winds and Colon with NW
Better Batten down the turkeys!..
Hi Pat

All turkeys are safe and sound in ovens LOL
Happy Thanksgiving fellow Bloggers!
better check on the pies though !
Hi Progressive

Happy Thanksgiving to you too. My wife is American so we will definitely be stuffing our faces in my household tonight
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone...