CSU predicts highly active hurricane season; Cyclone Phet approaching Oman

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:00 PM GMT on June 03, 2010

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A very active Atlantic hurricane season is on tap for 2010, according to the seasonal hurricane forecast issued June 2 by Dr. Phil Klotzbach and Dr. Bill Gray of Colorado State University (CSU). The CSU team is calling for 18 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes, and an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) 185% of average. Between 1950 - 2000, the average season had 10 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. But since 1995, the beginning of an active hurricane period in the Atlantic, we've averaged 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes per year. The new forecast is a step up from their April forecast, which called for 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 intense hurricanes. The new forecast calls for a much above-average chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S., both along the East Coast (51% chance, 31% chance is average) and the Gulf Coast (50% chance, 30% chance is average). The risk of a major hurricane in the Caribbean is also high, at 65% (42% is average.) This is the most aggressive early June forecast ever issued by the CSU group; the previous most aggressive such forecasts were for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, when the CSU team predicted 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes. Both of these forecasts did poorly, particularly the 2006 forecast, as only 10 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes were observed.

The forecasters cited four main reasons for an active season:

1) Weak La Niña conditions should develop by the most active portion of this year's hurricane season (August-October). The expected trend towards weak La Niña conditions should lead to reduced levels of vertical wind shear compared with what was witnessed in 2009.

2) Current SST anomalies are running at near-record warm levels. These very warm waters are associated with dynamic and thermodynamic factors that are very conducive for an active Atlantic hurricane season.

3) A weaker-than-normal Azores High prevailed during April-May. Weaker high pressure typically results in weaker trade winds that are commonly associated with more active hurricane seasons.

4) We are in the midst of a multi-decadal era of major hurricane activity, which began in 1995. Major hurricanes cause 80-85 percent of normalized hurricane damage.

Analogue years
The CSU team picked four previous years when atmospheric and oceanic conditions were similar to what we are seeing this year: weak El Niño to neutral conditions, well above-average tropical Atlantic SSTs, and above-average far North Atlantic SSTs during April - May. Those four years were 2005, the worst hurricane season of all time; 1969, the 3rd worst hurricane season of all time, featuring Category 5 Hurricane Camille which hit Mississippi; 1966, a relatively average year that featured Category 4 Inez that killed 1,000 people in Haiti; and 1958, a severe season with 5 major hurricanes. The mean activity for these five years was 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 5 intense hurricanes, almost the same as the 2009 CSU forecast.

How accurate are the June forecasts?
The June forecasts by the CSU team over the past 12 years have had a skill 19% - 30% higher than a "no-skill" climatology forecast for number of named storms, number of hurricanes, and the ACE index (Figure 1). This is a decent amount of skill for a seasonal forecast, and these June forecasts can be useful to businesses such as the insurance industry and oil and gas industry that need to make bets on how active the coming hurricane season will be. Unfortunately, the CSU June 1 forecasts do poorly at forecasting the number of major hurricanes (only 3% skill), and major hurricanes are what do 80 - 85% of all hurricane damage (normalized to current population and wealth levels.) This year's June forecast uses the same formula as the past two years, which did quite well predicting the 2008 hurricane season (prediction: 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes; observed: 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 5 intense hurricanes) and 2009 hurricane season (prediction: 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes; observed: 9 named storms, 3 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes.) An Excel spreadsheet of their forecast skill (expressed as a mathematical correlation coefficient) show values from 0.44 to 0.58 for their June forecasts, which is respectable.


Figure 1. Comparison of the percent improvement over climatology for May and August seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic from NOAA, CSU and TSR from 1999-2009 (May) and 1998-2009 (August), using the Mean Squared Error. The British firm Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) will issue their outlook for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season on June 4. Image credit: Verification of 12 years of NOAA seasonal hurricane forecasts, National Hurricane Center.

NOAA's 2010 hurricane season forecast
NOAA issued their forecast for the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season last week. As I discussed in my post on their forecast, NOAA is calling for very active and possibly hyperactive season. They give an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season, and just a 5% chance of a below-normal season. NOAA predicts a 70% chance that there will be 14 - 23 named storms, 8 - 14 hurricanes, and 3 - 7 major hurricanes, with an Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in the 155% - 270% of normal range. If we take the midpoint of these numbers, NOAA is calling for 18.5 named storms, 11 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes, and an ACE index 210% of normal. A season with an ACE index over 175% is considered "hyperactive."


Figure 2. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Thursday, June 3, 2010.

Tropical Cyclone Phet the 2nd strongest Arabian Sea storm on record
Record heat over southern Asia in May has helped heat up the Arabian Sea to 2°C above normal, and the exceptionally warm SSTs helped fuel Tropical Cyclone Phet into the second strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Arabian Sea. Phet peaked at Category 4 strength with 145 mph winds yesterday, and has weakened slightly to 135 mph winds this morning. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was a stronger Arabian Sea cyclone.

Phet is over very warm waters of 30 - 31°C, and is under moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots. However, the storm is wrapping in dry air from the Arabian Peninsula, which has caused weakening. Visible satellite imagery from this morning (Figure 2) shows that the heavy thunderstorms on the north side of Phet have been eroded away by dry air. Phet is a small storm, and could fall apart fairly quickly if dry air can penetrate into its core. This should happen later today, since wind shear is on the increase, and the shearing winds should be able to disrupt the circulation enough that dry air can force its way into Phet's eyewall. Phet is fairly small, will miss the most heavily populated areas of Oman, and will likely undergo significant weakening before landfall, so the storm is unlikely to cause the kind of catastrophic flooding that Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007 brought to Oman. Gonu killed 50 people and did $4.2 billion in damage. Phet's heaviest rains will be confined to a relatively sparsely populated region of Oman's coast. Rainfall amounts in excess of 6 inches in 18 hours (Figure 3) can be expected along Oman's coast today, which will likely cause extreme flooding.

After Phet's encounter with Oman, the storm will probably be at tropical storm strength when it makes its second landfall in Pakistan. Heavy rains from Phet will be the major danger for Pakistan, and serious flooding can be expected over southern Pakistan.


Figure 3. Forecast rain amounts for the 18-hour period ending at 2am EDT June 3, 2010. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS.

Oil spill update
Onshore winds out of the south, southwest, or west are expected to blow over the northern Gulf of Mexico over most of the next week, resulting increased threats of oil to Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from the State of Louisiana. The latest ocean current forecasts from the NOAA HYCOM model show that these winds will generate a 0.5 - 1 mph current flowing from west to east along the Florida Panhandle coast Sunday and Monday. If this current develops as predicted, it will be capable of bringing light amounts of oil as far east as Fort Walton Beach, Florida, by Monday. If you spot oil, send in your report to http://www.gulfcoastspill.com/, whose mission is to help the Gulf Coast recovery by creating a daily record of the oil spill.

Oil spill resources
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post Wednesday with answers to some of the common questions I get about the spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

I'll be back Friday with an analysis of the new TSR hurricane forecast and a new forecast by a promising Florida State University model.

Jeff Masters

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2380. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:42 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:


I am so mad that TampaSpin got banned it's not even funny. I just love how some on here are so untouchable while others do hardly nothing at all and get banned. I really hope admin reads this. Some idiot on here posted a video a few months back and caused my computer to crash and did they get banned of course not. It's sad to say that JFV has more pull on this blog than most of us.
he should have posted his link collection on his wunderblog and i think it would have been fine but instead he put them up on his private web site to direct traffic there and divert it from wunderground without wundergrounds permission its all in the terms of use read the terms of use
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53536
2379. wunderkidcayman
3:24 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
it might but unlikely maybe give it a few days let us see what happens
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11742
2378. Floodman
3:23 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
szqrn1, you have WUMail!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
2377. sarahjola
3:23 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
well sarahjola there is no need to worry it is moving west out to sea

thanks! thats the last thing we need
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
2376. catastropheadjuster
3:22 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
NEW BLOG
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3671
2375. Floodman
3:22 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting HurricaneObserver:

Sounds like they need more admins. Are the admins paid, or volunteer?


My understanding is that they're volunteers...as for getting banned, typically you draw a ban because someone complained about you enough. I drew a ban two years ago for posting this:

**poof!**

I was telling someone that due to their trollish behviour I was ignoring them. They took exception to it and complained to the admins bitterly and I drew a ban. The funny thing is, they were new to the site and they no longer come here...go figure
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
2374. sarahjola
3:18 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
is there any chance of, or sign of anything getting into the boc or gom any time soon? thanks in advance!
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
2372. wunderkidcayman
3:17 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
well sarahjola there is no need to worry it is moving west out to sea
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 11742
2370. weathermanwannabe
3:14 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
2324. hurricane23 10:50 AM EDT on June 04, 2010

No one has a crystal ball but I think that is a very fair representation of how the season could turn out........With the slightly "higher" trajectories that a La Nina season can bring during the heart of the CV season, I think that a large threat for the Greater Antilles with that "dreaded" approach towards Florida through the Turks & Caicos on a storm that just misses the Antilles to the North of Puerto Rico is a very good possibility this year....Chances are pretty good (50/50 per Gray) that either Florida or the Central Northern Gulf will get hit by at least one major hurricane this season (as well as a few storms drifting to the west, or, on the east coast north of Florida)..........It's not going to be pretty any way you look at it this year.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9036
2369. sarahjola
3:12 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
very interesting blob SW of Grand Cayman

is that blob in the epac going to cross over into the boc
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1293
2368. catastropheadjuster
3:11 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting hurricanejunky:


I've been banned for no reason before. I was then informed that admins were overwhelmed and it was a mistake. I am a paid member and I sometimes go off-topic as many here do.

I have TampaSpin on my iggy list so I have no idea what he posted to get him banned.

I will make sure all future coffee posts are relegated to WUMail so as to make everyone happy. Sorry for the off topic posts...

Junky I promise i wasn't complaining about the coffee ordeal i love coffee, just didn't want to see the same thing to happen to anyone of you good folks that give good info that's all. I apologize if your upset with me. I was just trying to let folks no to be careful that's all.
Sheri
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3671
2367. divdog
3:10 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting PanhandleChuck:


Jeff, unfortunately, they will only be able to capture 5-10% of the oil. They are up the old preverbial creek and not only do they not have a paddle, they are also sinking
Why are you making such a claim. Where are your faacts to back that up. They have not even closed the vents yet to see if this will work or not. More patience is necessary.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 755
2366. aspectre
3:08 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
In 2005, TropicalStorm Arlene reached near-hurricane strength in the Gulf of Mexico on June10th. And passed near what is now the DeepHorizon spill area before making landfall at the extreme western end of the Florida panhandle on June11th.
Comparisons with the day before TropicalStorm Arlene began spinning on 8June2005

3Jun2010

7Jun2005

3June2010

7Jun2005

3June2010


Other major US-affecting offshore blowouts averaged 8,000to10,000barrels per day over 10days at Santa Barbara, and 11,000to12,000barrels per day over 295days at Ixtoc I.
Initial spill rate from Ixtoc I into the Gulf of Mexico was ~30,000barrels per day.
The ExxonValdez wreck spilled ~11million gallons or ~262,000barrels in total.

Three different methodologies used by UnitedStatesGeologicalSurvey assessment teams have independently arrived at a minimum spill rate of 12,000barrels per day:
the surface survey team came up with 15,500plus-or-minus3500 barrels per day;
the plume velocity team came up with 18,500plus-or-minus6500 barrels per day;
and the third team's study remains incomplete and its methodology unannounced.

Using the agreed-upon 12,000barrels per day minimum, the DeepwaterHorizon will have spilled two times as much as the ExxonValdez a bit after noon on 3June2010
Using the 17,000barrels per day average of two studies, the DeepwaterHorizon will have spilled three times as much as the ExxonValdez before dawn on 6June2010
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
2365. HurricaneObserver
3:07 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting hurricanejunky:


I've been banned for no reason before. I was then informed that admins were overwhelmed and it was a mistake. I am a paid member and I sometimes go off-topic as many here do.


Sounds like they need more admins. Are the admins paid, or volunteer?
Member Since: May 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 58
2364. ShenValleyFlyFish
3:07 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting Tazmanian:
olny one time i got bannd and that was the time when the new Admins took overe


LOL i remember that
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
2363. aspectre
3:07 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
catastropheadjuster "I'm not trying to start no conflict but Tampaspin sent me a email and told me he was banned for putting up the links to the oil videos so becareful on what u put up. Just thought i would let you all know if ya didn't already."

Probably for running live thru the WeatherUnderground server rather than providing a still with an embed link. Running live thru screws with the service that WU can provide to the rest of us.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
2362. CycloneOz
3:06 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting PanhandleChuck:


Jeff, unfortunately, they will only be able to capture 5-10% of the oil. They are up the old preverbial creek and not only do they not have a paddle, they are also sinking


Spoken as if you're right there! Where are you at this time?
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3622
2360. CycloneOz
3:06 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
hurricane23, in #2324, what's that "better chance of strong hurricanes" arrow I see pointed at the Georgia coast?

Is our exemption over? ;)

And what did TampaSpin do?


As he tells it, it was because he posted links to the "gusher cam."

But I think it was because of his "multiple posts" about the links.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3622
2359. PanhandleChuck
3:05 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting DestinJeff:
From CNN:

BP says oil flowing from ruptured well to ship on Gulf surface.


Jeff, unfortunately, they will only be able to capture 5-10% of the oil. They are up the old preverbial creek and not only do they not have a paddle, they are also sinking
Member Since: May 13, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1411
2358. szqrn1
3:05 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting CaneWarning:


You are right, we are going to have to keep drilling, but we must make sure there are several fail-safe methods to prevent another disaster like this in the future. These need to be tested methods. Future drilling will need to be highly regulated and inspections will need to be done daily.

I absolutely agree with you! It's unfortunate that it always takes a major disaster to make things safer in the long run. My fear is that if we just stop all offshore drilling like we did with nuclear power after Three Mile Island (I was little then by the way).. then we set ourselves up for even more dependence on foreign oil than now. Who knows? Truthfully, I don't have the knowledge to even be talking about this.. I'm a nurse..not a weather person or anything like that.... but we've got to be independent in this world... the dang middle-easterners have us by the external male genitalia!
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 392
2357. ShenValleyFlyFish
3:05 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
I wonder if tampaspin might have caught it because the link was to a personal page and he was posting it multipal times. On top of that didn't work all that well and was beginning to become a topic in and of itself.

Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
2354. CycloneOz
3:04 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Close the vents and turn a vacuum pump on for goodness sake!
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3622
2353. Tazmanian
3:04 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
olny one time i got bannd and that was the time when the new Admins took overe
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114924
2352. FLWeatherFreak91
3:04 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
very interesting blob SW of Grand Cayman

the trough in the gulf will help to pull that area north into the gulf. It'll be in an area of very high shear so nothing tropical will come out of it, but it will enhance rainfall in fl.
Member Since: December 1, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3619
2351. hurricanejunky
3:03 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
new blog!
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2895
2350. Patrap
3:03 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
CNN Live feed
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127807
2349. will45
3:02 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting Tazmanian:
no one can banned the Taz man am too cool

I think it has happened before lol
Member Since: July 18, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 994
2348. CaneWarning
3:01 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting DestinJeff:
From CNN:

BP says oil flowing from ruptured well to ship on Gulf surface.


If true, then that is good.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
2347. hurricane23
3:01 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting stormhank:
Has TSR released their new outlook yet?? It suppose to come out today???


Not yet. Comes out later today.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13707
2346. CaneWarning
3:01 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting Tazmanian:
no one can banned the Taz man am too cool


I certainly agree with you Taz!
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
2344. Tazmanian
2:59 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
no one can banned the Taz man am too cool
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114924
2342. szqrn1
2:59 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting catastropheadjuster:

Have a good day susan.
Sheri


:)) Thanks!
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 392
2341. hurricanejunky
2:58 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
That's a nice view of the cap fins among that gorgeous flow of oil...the road runner wins again!
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2895
2340. will45
2:58 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
I think what got Tim was advertising his site too much.I my be wrong but i think that is what got him. Mebbe when he comes back he will say what admin told him.
Member Since: July 18, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 994
2339. Tazmanian
2:58 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
cant tell but the one in the E pac not sure wish way its moveing but we may see 92E soon the blod is right off the mx coast line you could even see baneding futer on it
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114924
2338. HurricaneObserver
2:58 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting JamesSA:
It is abundantly clear that "Top Hat" as it was executed is a failure.

You can see it bobbing up and down on the top of the well, since there is nothing but gravity to hold it in place. It doesn't matter how smooth the sealing surface is if it isn't held down. They could have easily added some heavy clamps to lock securely to the underside of the flange and could have been bolted in place by the ROV's once it was in position.

And... they obviously do not have a large enough pipe to handle the volume of oil coming out. It should have been at least 12". Perhaps their engineers believed the 5,000bpd BS they were putting out when they calculated the size of pipe required.

This COULD have worked had it been executed properly, but unfortunately it appears to be another in a long string of FAILS. ;-(

In addition to a clamp I think they need a nice fat compressible gasket to sit between the BOP and the top cap. If they did that it wouldn't really matter if the sealing surface was uneaven. And I hope they have a pump up on the surface that can suck a lot of oil up that pipe. If they get this working I would like to see a camera showing the pipe filling up a tanker on the surface, that's going to be a really strong stream of oil.
Member Since: May 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 58
2337. catastropheadjuster
2:57 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting szqrn1:
Y'all have a great day here... going outside before it gets to 106 here with about 12% humidity! The desert is awful and dusty and rocky and ugly! I hate Las Vegas! Stuck here till end of summer :(

Have a good day susan.
Sheri
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3671
2336. szqrn1
2:56 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Y'all have a great day here... going outside before it gets to 106 here with about 12% humidity! The desert is awful and dusty and rocky and ugly! I hate Las Vegas! Stuck here till end of summer :(
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 392
2335. Tazmanian
2:56 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
LOL???

Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114924
2334. skep
2:54 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
On one BP Cam you can see that they spray something into the oil for hours now, right above the cap. Is that the dispersant?
Member Since: July 11, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5
2333. Tazmanian
2:54 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
very interesting blob SW of Grand Cayman



i like that other one in the E PAC but it looks like its out of time
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114924
2332. hurricanejunky
2:54 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Quoting szqrn1:


I was not complaining about off topic stuff... just complaining about admin banning Tampaspin for posting oilcam link, which is not off topic! I love coffee! :)


No, no...technically you're right and I've been guilty of giving others flack for off topic posting so I should abide by my own standards. Although over time people like NRAmy and others have rubbed off on me so I've lightened up on off topic posting. As was said earlier, I think the only time a ban should be deserved is if someone is a complete disruption to the blog, like those who shall remain unnamed...
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2895
2331. JamesSA
2:54 PM GMT on June 04, 2010
Question in my mind... Now that they have the riser cut off and all the oil is gushing out anyway, why not just unbolt the flange and attach a VALVE?
Member Since: August 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 579

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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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