Caribbean disturbance slow to develop; 5 EF-5 tornadoes this year confirmed

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:33 PM GMT on June 03, 2011

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The tropical disturbance (Invest 93L) that crossed over Florida on Wednesday, bringing welcome rains of 1 - 3 inches, is now a naked swirl of low clouds over the central Gulf of Mexico. The disturbance is embedded in a large area of dry air associated with an upper level low pressure system, and this dry air is discouraging development. 93L is also moving into a region of moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, and NHC is giving 93L a 0% chance of developing into a tropical depression before the storm makes landfall in Mexico south of Brownsville on Saturday. There are a few heavy thunderstorms trying to fire up near the center of 93L's fairly well-formed circulation, but I don't think this storm is going to bring more than 1 - 2 inches of rain to the coast on Saturday.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of the Central Caribbean disturbance.

Central Caribbean disturbance 94L
Disorganized heavy thunderstorm activity continues in the region between Central America and Jamaica. Wind shear has fallen to the moderate range, 10 - 20 knots, and is predicted to continue to fall over the next two days. This should allow the disturbance, dubbed Invest 94L by NHC on Friday afternoon, to increase in organization, though it will take many days for it to approach tropical depression status, since it is so large and poorly organized. The last two runs of the NOGAPS model have developed the disturbance into a tropical depression or storm by early next week, with the system moving northwards into Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and eastern Cuba. The other major models do not show the disturbance developing during the coming week. NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday. A surge of moisture accompanying a tropical wave may aid development when the wave arrives in the Western Caribbean on Sunday. Water temperatures in the Central Caribbean are about 1°C above average, 29°C, which is plenty warm enough to support development of a tropical storm. Residents of Jamaica, eastern Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic should anticipate the possibility that heavy rains of 2 - 4 inches may affect them today through Sunday.

Five EF-5 tornadoes confirmed in 2011
The National Weather Service in Oklahoma City announced Wednesday that the violent tornado that hit Binger, El Reno, Peidmont, and Guthrie, Oklahoma on May 24, killing nine people, was an EF-5 with winds greater than 210 mph. The rating was given based on measurements made by a University of Oklahoma portable "Doppler on wheels" radar. The long track, large wedge tornado caused extensive damage, with well built houses cleanly swept from their foundation and trees debarked. This tornado brings the total number of EF-5 tornadoes this year to five, tying 2011 with 1953 for 2nd place for greatest number of these top-end tornadoes in one year. Only 1974 (six) had more. The EF-5 tornadoes of 2011:

1) The April 27, 2011 Neshoba/Kemper/Winston/Noxubee Counties, Mississippi tornado (3 killed, 29 mile path length.)

2) The April 27, 2011 Smithville, Mississippi tornado (22 killed, 15 mile path length.)

3) The April 27, 2011 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado (71 killed, 25 mile path length.)

4) The May 22, 2011 Joplin Missouri tornado (138 killed, 14 mile path length.)

5) The May 24, 2011 Binger-El Reno-Peidmont-Guthrie, Oklahoma tornado. (9 killed, 75 mile path length.)


Figure 2. Aerial view of damage from the May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Image credit: Wikipedia.

A few other remarkable statistics on the tornado season of 2011, compiled from NOAA's official press release and Wikipedia's excellent tornado pages:

- The April 25 - 28 tornado outbreak, with 330 tornadoes, was the largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record. The previous record was 148 tornadoes, set during the April 3 - 4, 1974 Super Outbreak.

- For April 27, 186 tornadoes have been confirmed. This is the largest 1-day tornado total on record, beating the 148 recorded in 24 hours on April 3 - 4, 1974.

- The April 14 - 16 tornado outbreak, with 162 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the fourth largest tornado outbreak of three days or less duration on record.

- The May 21 - 26 tornado outbreak, with 158 confirmed tornadoes, ranks as the 5th largest 6-day or shorter tornado outbreak on record. A May 2003 6-day outbreak had 289 tornadoes, and a May 2004 6-day outbreak had 229 tornadoes. The year 2011 now has three of the top five tornado outbreaks on record.

- April confirmed tornado total was 683, making it the busiest tornado month on record. The previous record was 542 tornadoes, set in May 2003. The previous April record was 267 tornadoes, which occurred in April 1974. The 30-year average for April tornadoes is 135.

- If the three deaths in Massachusetts from Wednesday's tornadoes are confirmed, this year's tornado death toll will be 522, beating 1953 as the deadliest tornado year since modern tornado records began. That year, 519 people died, and three heavily populated cities received direct hits by violent tornadoes. Waco, Texas (114 killed), Flint, Michigan (115 killed), and Worcester, Massachusetts (90 killed) all were hit by violent F-4 or F-5 tornadoes. A similar bad tornado year occurred in 1936, when violent tornadoes hit Tupelo Mississippi (216 killed), and Gainesville, Georgia (203 killed.) During that time period, the tornado death rate per million people was 60 - 70 times as great as in the year 2000 (Figure 4), implying that this year's tornadoes would have killed many thousands of people had we not had our modern tornado modern warning system.

- The May 22, 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado killed 138 people and injured 1150, making it the deadliest U.S. tornado since 1947, and 8th deadliest in history. The $1 - $3 billion estimate of insured damage makes it the most expensive tornado in history.

- Damage from the April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak was estimated at $3.5 - $6 billion, making it the most expensive tornado outbreak of all-time.

- The tornado that hit Springfield, Massachusetts on June 1 was at least an EF-3 with 136 - 165 mph winds. It was only the 9th EF-3 or stronger tornado to hit Massachusetts since 1950, and the third deadliest, with three deaths.

- The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965 for highest number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4, and EF-5 tornadoes (Figure 3.)


Figure 3. Number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes from 1950 to 2011. The year 2011 now ranks in 3rd place behind 1974 and 1965. There is not a decades-long increasing trend in the numbers of these most dangerous of tornadoes. Image credit: NOAA/National Climatic Data Center (updated using stats for 2008 - 2011 from Wikipedia.)


Figure 4. Death rate per million people per year in U.S., 1875-2000. Thin line with dots is raw rate, curved thick line is death rate, filtered by 3-point median and 5-point running mean filter, and straight solid lines are least squares fit to filtered death rate for 1875-1925 and 1925-2000. Dashed lines are estimates of 10th and 90th percentile death rates from 1925-2000. The death rate fell from 8 per million to .12 per million between 1940 and 2000. Image credit: A Brief History of Deaths from Tornadoes in the United States, Harold Brooks and Charles Doswell III.

Joplin tornado the 7th U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster of 2011
The Joplin tornado is the 7th U.S. weather disaster of 2011 costing more than a billion dollars. With a major flooding disaster coming on the Missouri River, and hurricane season still to come, 2011 has an excellent chance of beating 2008's record of nine billion-dollar weather disasters. The billion dollar weather disasters of 2011 so far:

1) 2011 Groundhog Day's blizzard ($1- $4 billion)
2) April 3 -5 Southeast U.S. severe weather outbreak ($2 billion)
3) April 8 - 11 severe weather outbreak ($2.25 billion)
4) April 25 - 28 super tornado outbreak ($3.5 - $6 billion)
5) Mississippi River flood of 2011 ($9 billion)
6) Texas drought ($1.2 billion)
7) Joplin tornado ($1 - $3 billion)


Figure 5. River flood outlook for the U.S. Image credit: NOAA.

The next U.S. billion-dollar weather disaster: a Missouri River flood?
A great 100-year flood has arrived along the Missouri River and its tributaries from Montana to Nebraska. Record spring rains, combined with snow melt from record or near-record winter and spring snows, brought the Missouri River at Williston, North Dakota to 27.9' yesterday, just an inch short of the highest crest on record (28.0' on 4/01/1912.) Tributaries to the Missouri, such as the Souris River in North Dakota and the North Platte River in Nebraska, are already flooding at all-time record heights. With warm summer temperatures and additional rainfall expected over much of the area during the coming week, snow melt and rain runoff will swell area rivers even further, creating a damaging 100-year flood. Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt has the details in his latest post, and I will be writing more on this latest epic flood next week.

I'll have a new post on Monday, or earlier if the Caribbean disturbance shows significant development.

Jeff Masters

Joplin Tornado Damage (thebige)
Joplin Tornado Damage
And Bigger.... (weatherfanatic2010)
Here it is turning into a monster.
And Bigger....

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As a matter of fact, convection is already filling in.
Link
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Quoting NRAamy:
You guys are pathetic. We need rain here in Texas a lot more than you.



"Wah! My drought's worse than your drought! Mom, she's asking for water!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


Sorry but that is funny!!
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918
Quoting Patrap:
How is Pre-95L faring today ?


Now that thar is funny!
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Here's the short version for people suggesting we use aqueducts or pipelines to move water from flooded areas to drought-stricken areas:

Such a project is far, far beyond our capabilities. Check out the numbers. We're not even close to being able to afford such a project. And even if we could afford it, NIMBY issues would mire it in the courts for decades, at least.
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now Jerry, they changed my meds.... I'm much more laid back now.....

;)
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IMHO, there is a nice swirl near 16.5N77W...and convection building around. Shear dropping.
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Quoting Grothar:


Never been to Vietnam or India, have you?


Ouch! Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard.
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This is the latest drought monitor data for Florida. Getting worse and worse in SE Florida and for Lake Okeechobee.



With that being said, even with our pressing drought issues here, it pales in comparison to the dire drought situation continuing across Texas.




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How is Pre-95L faring today ?
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thanks, Gamma!!!!!!

:)
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Quoting HimacaneBrees:




Keep us straight, I feel like I was just scolded, LOL


Watch it whippersnapper...I'll sick Amy on you and you DON'T want that to happen...LOL
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Quoting Grothar:


Yo! Thanks for those jeffs.
my pleasure. (slowly building up my list of somewhat useful links on my laptop here)
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thanks, Gramps, that helps me ever so much....

is West Palm Beach considered South Florida?

Ft. Lauderdale?

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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
AL, 94, 2011060318, 160N, 780W, 20,



About time!!!

We have been tracking this area for over a week now, probably will be another week before we see TD 1 and Arlene, but nonetheless conditions are improving for development, shear is lowering, don't see a whole lot of dry air being entrained into this thing. Convection is still firing too, as well as a well defined COC. Convection is scattered though, needs to fill in a bit. But with the improving conditions, it shouldn't be too much of a problem for 94L. (So glad I don't have to say pre 94L! YES!!!)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I did not say Texas did not need rain.. they do too and they are much larger than we are...

but really even North & Central Florida and West coast of Florida has received rain since SE Florida...
we did get about an 1" at the airport 3 weeks ago, first rain in months..
some spotty showers inland areas..my neighborhood has received probably the most rainfall in Broward County.

but we are in serious shape here in the land of the summer time "rainforrest/jungles"

At this time we should be coming out of desert conditions into rainy season ..


Amy, Lake Okeechobee and points South are South Florida.. Lake O to just north of Orlando are Central Fla.. all of the Panhandle and Lake City to to east are North Florida..

(If someone wants to tweek that, please go ahead. I don't have my map with me right now that properly sections off Florida)


And our Fire Index/Drought Maps are updating once again.





For some reason, North Florida seems to dry out much quicker than we do down here..at least when they get rain north of us, it flows into Lake O and eventually out into the Everglades..
and we have started getting a few showers in the Everglades that moved to SW Coast.


Those few orange counties in Central Florida are courtesy of 93L..
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Quoting jeffs713:
CIMSS wind, North Atlantic
CIMSS steering layer, North Atlantic


Yo! Thanks for those jeffs.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25517
You guys are pathetic. We need rain here in Texas a lot more than you.



"Wah! My drought's worse than your drought! Mom, she's asking for water!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
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207. MTWX
I know everyone for the most part dislikes fox news, but I do like their Scitech page. Info on the CME and multiple comets plumetting to their death in the sun.
Link
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Quoting NRAamy:
How far North can you go in Florida and still be considered South Florida?



One block North of our home.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25517
Quoting NRAamy:
How far North can you go in Florida and still be considered South Florida?


Well, the University of South Florida is in Tampa.
Why? I have no idea.
It's a good 6 hour ride from Miami. Nine from Key West.
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


You guys are pathetic. We need rain here in Texas a lot more than you.
Uh... parts of SE FL are in the same drought index we are... D4. if Gamma was in Tampa, which is only in D1/D2, you might have a point... but she's in SE FL, so we're in the same boat.
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Uh oh, not a we need the rain more argument.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6149
Quoting Floodman:


I have 7 in my Ignore list going back 5 years

Cause mostly you youngsters are loud, brash and borderline troll...takes some schooling by the old hands to get you kicked up straight...LOL





Keep us straight, I feel like I was just scolded, LOL
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Quoting watchingnva:
hmm, outta curiosity...how long have i been a member/lurker before that...lol...posts and looks down...lol



lurker since 2004, but couldnt remember when i ponyed up the bucks...lol


Hey watch, long time no see!!!
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How far North can you go in Florida and still be considered South Florida?

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Quoting Grothar:


Can't find my link to the upper level steering currents. Mind posting it if you have it?
CIMSS wind, North Atlantic
CIMSS steering layer, North Atlantic
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Quoting seflagamma:


You must live in my area in SE Florida...
we are burning up...

now the entire state is burning up..

we need rain...


You guys are pathetic. We need rain here in Texas a lot more than you.
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Quoting Patrap:
www.solarham.com


K-indices of 5 or greater indicate storm-level geomagnetic activity around earth.


Thank's
I'm guessing 4 isnt so bad that it fries the power grids, but i bet it lights up the sky in the north
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918
Quoting RipplinH2O:
Scared me there for a minute...didn't remember posting anything but saw myself


hahahahaha.......cheers!
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Man this heat is rough. It's over 100 here in the gulf where I'm at. Day's like this remind me how glad I am that I'm not a roustabout or floorhand.
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Quoting weatherskink:
I'm so sick of high pressure it isn't funny . Please let it rain in South Florida ..


You must live in my area in SE Florida...
we are burning up...

now the entire state is burning up..

we need rain...
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Quoting jeffs713:
Well, cost savings would likely be marginal. You would still have to dredge the river channels (maybe even more so, since the flow will be slower, allowing sediment to drop more easily), and you have to bear in mind maintenance of the new aqueduct. While having the water available could prevent some crop losses from drought, what happens when you have a regional drought that hits on the headwater side of the pipeline? Or in both areas? You would still have drought losses. Or what about if you have flooding issues on both ends of the pipeline?

It isn't a good solution, IMO, since it is highly situational, and not only is the construction cost excessively high, its maintenance cost would be prohibitively high, too.

Much cheaper to learn to live with whatever Ma Nature gives us, rather than trying to bend her to our will.


The cost of a pipeline or aqueduct network that could handle all the potential geographic arrangements of droughts and floods would easily run into the hundreds of billions of dollars... probably more.

Besides the cost, there is the logistical nightmare of trying to draw a series of continuous lines across miles and miles of private land. All it would take is one stubborn land-owner and a favorable court decision to stifle the entire project. Even with eminent domain claims, a project of that scale would be stifled in the courts for decades.

One infamous pipeline proposal along the Wyoming-Colorado border would only transport about 250,000 acre-feet of water per year, while costing at least $3 billion to construct and millions more per year to maintain. If this project goes forward it would be one of the biggest pipeline projects in U.S. history.

So, in the best of conditions one of the biggest pipeline projects in U.S. history would take an entire year to move about the same amount of water that the Mississippi moves in just 6 hours.

The flooding in the Midwest this year has led to surpluses on the order of tens (maybe hundreds) of millions of acre-feet. Moving this amount of water is simply beyond our capabilities.
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Quoting pressureman:
The tropics are very quiet on the 3rd day of june im happy to report...I dont see anything that could give anyone problems for at least the next 10 days..So everyone can breathe a sigh of relief for the moment...I for one know BOB BRECK is very happy with this...BOB you are doing a find job keep up the good work you and your staff...


Get out, if the tropics were quiet, the blog would be moving slower, please leave.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
I just noticed we have a 30% chance of rain for the afternoon and it is already above 100 degrees.. Has anyone ever seen it rain at or above 100 degrees?


Never been to Vietnam or India, have you?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25517
190. MTWX
Quoting Grothar:


It is just a measurement used to measure movement in the earth's magnetic field at particular periods. 4 would be about mid-level. Haven't looked them up in a while. Where do you see a 4?

Considering the sun just had a massive CME on the 21st of May, I'm sure it has something to do with that.
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Jeepers!... just looking at the dry air over Florida in that satellite pic from IKE (158). I got home with groceries last night to the smell of burning forests nearby. Sure hope all this moisture is going to start surging out of the Caribbean and "alter" this weather pattern!

BTW, I gotta agree with the general idea of routing floodwaters via aqueduct from one part of the US to another. With greater amounts of rain falling during flood events, WORSE flooding events than what we've seen in the past should become more normal (and indeed, seem to be). Taking away some of that water, and sending it to states that need it, has seemed logical to me for the last two decades, actually.

Fresh water is indeed too precious to waste. This year Russia's wheat crops are on fire again, Australia's wheat has been flooded out -- and now China is in its worst drought in 200 years, I read yesterday. We have allowed our captains of industry to export away all of our good-paying jobs, but the rich of the world will at least always buy our FOOD if they need it!

If flood events continue to break records for the amount of rain that falls, we should be able to pour freshwater into the Gulf while siphoning off some for states that need it. States in the worst drought conditions should have first dibs -- and should pay the source states for the water. That money would help with cleanup in the flooded states, relieve some burden on the Fed/FEMA; and farmers, lake managers, etc., in drought-stricken states would be glad for the water.

Just my two cents' worth. I learned this lesson in my teens, trying to reforest a hurricane-devastated property in what turned out to be a horrific, 2-year drought. (Oh, and No, I'm NOT talking "tunnels" here!)
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Quoting weatherskink:
I'm so sick of high pressure it isn't funny . Please let it rain in South Florida ..



Ahh man, you know it. I used to appreciate grilling out in the evening after a cooling rain. I've been getting blasted by sun and sweating my arse off for months.
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I'm so sick of high pressure it isn't funny . Please let it rain in South Florida ..
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Thanks, Doc.

What I find interesting about this plot (below) is that the trend remains and/or doesn't decrease with the advent of the WSR-88D (largely implemented in '88 and '89). This gave NWS offices a much better representation of tornadic cells and armed them with the ability to give better lead times with warnings. But no decrease in the already existing trend of reduced deaths, no step-change in the trend, nothing remarkable about the advent of the WSR-88D shows here...



That data needs to be normalized both for population growth and for relative population density in tornado heavy areas to have any meaning. Death rate per million US citizens is a hilariously bad way to look for a trend when talking about tornadoes, which tend to strike in a relatively sparsely populated region of the country. More terrible science from this sector of the community. I mean, obviously the population of LA, Seattle, Chicago, and NYC should be equally weighted with Podunk, OK and Redneck, MO. Right?

Hey look, a hockey stick! lol useless
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Africa ramping up a bit mid-continent; this early in the year though most everything coming off is too far south for Coriolis to kick in appreciably:

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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:



Could be but, I think the risk is extremely low of anything happening within 48hrs. 10% IMO


I think that is the fastest I've ever been wrong before, lol.
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Thank goodness, seeing pre-93/94L for the past week finally got the disturbances attention.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6149
181. xcool
about dammn time
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Quoting IKE:
I'll say 20% on the next TWO in the Caribbean.
................................................. ..................................

SYNOPSIS FOR CARIBBEAN SEA AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N TO 22N
BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
1130 AM EDT FRI JUN 03 2011

.SYNOPSIS...A 1009 MB LOW NEAR 15N80W IS ASSOCIATED WITH BROAD
LOW PRES IN THE SW CARIBBEAN. THIS SYSTEM WILL PERSIST THROUGH
SUN BEFORE IT BEGINS TO DRIFT N. A TROPICAL WAVE EXTENDING FROM
NEAR 15N55W TO GUYANA WILL MOVE INTO THE E CARIBBEAN SAT INTO
EARLY SUN BEFORE LIFTING N AS A TROUGH AXIS SUN NIGHT AND MON.



Could be but, I think the risk is extremely low of anything happening within 48hrs. 10% IMO
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Yeah,,dat "Pre-94L" garbage can stop finally,,LOL
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Quoting aquak9:
The Original StormTop was here before me. I was here, before most of ya'll.

I was here the moment he returned after Katrina.

I think I know him better than most anyone here right now. Still not sure yet.


Me too, I was here with Storm Top and I have re-read the old Katrina blogs here several times...

Storm Top is around...just got to figure out who he is and did he change hhis tone?

Not sure pressure is StormTop, not enought "set in stone" tone with his comments.. LOL

cannot be lefty, not enough typos! ROFL

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Quoting blsealevel:
Does anyone know what a K-Index of 4 means?
just caurious.

Space Weather Message Code: WARK04
Serial Number: 1744
Issue Time: 2011 Jun 02 0731 UTC

WARNING: Geomagnetic K-index of 4 expected
Valid From: 2011 Jun 02 0745 UTC
Valid To: 2011 Jun 02 1200 UTC
Warning Condition: Onset



It is just a measurement used to measure movement in the earth's magnetic field at particular periods. 4 would be about mid-level. Haven't looked them up in a while. Where do you see a 4?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25517
I just noticed we have a 30% chance of rain for the afternoon and it is already above 100 degrees.. Has anyone ever seen it rain at or above 100 degrees?
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Quoting Neapolitan:
BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_al942011.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201106031758
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 94, 2011, DB, O, 2011060318, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , AL942011
AL, 94, 2011060318, , BEST, 0, 160N, 780W, 20, 0, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,


Finally we get Invest 94L.
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Never mind, I looked it up
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.