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The Atlantic is quiet; a remarkable flu map

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:28 PM GMT on October 24, 2009

An area of disturbed weather over the Bahama Islands associated with a surface trough of low pressure has become disorganized, thanks to the presence of a large amount of dry air. This disturbance will get absorbed by a cold front Sunday and is not a threat to develop. The Hurricane Hunter mission scheduled to fly into the disturbance this afternoon has been canceled. There are no other threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss, and none of the computer models is calling for tropical storm formation over the next seven days.

Flu season comes early
As you've probably heard, there's an H1N1 flu pandemic going on. Here in Michigan, flu hit big time this week, with absentee rates hitting 30% in many school districts. Wunderground has a flu map that we update each week (Figure 1), and it's a remarkable-looking one today. All but four states have gone red (widespread flu, the highest outbreak level). I doubt the flu map has looked like this since 1968, the last time a flu pandemic swept the globe. For those of you who've never visited our flu map page, a typical peak flu outbreak occurs in February or March, and at most twenty states are colored red.

Figure 1. It's safe to say that the U.S. is in the midst of a flu pandemic--just four states are not experiencing widespread outbreaks of flu.

Next post
I'll have a new post on Monday.

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.