TD 8 forms; 97L a potential threat to the Caribbean and U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:30 PM GMT on August 19, 2011

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Tropical Depression Eight formed last night near the coast of Honduras, and is headed westwards towards a landfall in Belize on Saturday. TD 8 is a small storm, so will impact a relatively small area of northern Honduras, northern Guatemala, all of Belize, and southern portions of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. TD 8 has just enough room between its center and the coast of Honduras to intensify into a moderate strength tropical storm with 50 - 60 mph winds before landfall. It is very unlikely TD8 has the time or room to intensify into a hurricane; NHC gave the storm just a 7% chance of making it to hurricane strength in their 11am EDT wind probability forecast. Should TD8 make it to tropical storm strength, it would be called Harvey.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of TD 8.

Invest 97L likely to become a tropical storm next week, could threaten the U.S.
A tropical wave near 14°N 48°W, about 800 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, is moving westward near 20 mph. This wave, designated Invest 97L by NHC yesterday, has seen a marked increase in its heavy thunderstorm activity this morning, but dry air to the north and west is slowing development. An impressive amount of large-scale spin is obvious in visible satellite loops, but the storm is at least a day away from forming a well-defined surface circulation. Ocean temperatures are about 28.5°C, about 2°C above the threshold needed to support a tropical storm, and wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of the tropical wave 97L.

The computer models have shown an unusual amount of agreement in developing 97L over the past few days, and all the ingredients seem to be in place for a tropical storm to form by Monday or Tuesday as 97L crosses the Northeast Caribbean. The atmosphere is expected to be moister over the Caribbean, wind shear will remain a low 5 - 10 knots, and sea surface temperatures will increase to near 29°C. The main impediment for development will likely be two-fold: too much dry, stable air, and proximity to land.

As seen in Figure 3, there has been an unusual amount of dry, stable air in the Atlantic this year, due to a combination of dry air from Africa, and upper-atmosphere dynamics creating large areas of sinking air that dry as they warm and approach the surface. This stable air has been largely responsible for the fact that none of our seven tropical storms so far this year has made it to hurricane strength, despite the presence of sea surface temperatures that are the 3rd warmest on record across the tropical Atlantic. Tropical Storm Emily in early August encountered problems with dry air when it crossed the Northeast Caribbean, and 97L may have similar difficulties.


Figure 3. Vertical instability of the atmosphere during 2011 in the Caribbean (left) and tropical Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles Islands and coast of Africa (right.) The instability is plotted in °C, as a difference in temperature from near the surface to the upper atmosphere. Thunderstorms grow much more readily when vertical instability is high. Observed vertical instability (blue line) has been much lower than the climatological average from previous years (black line), due to an unusual amount of dry air in the atmosphere, inhibiting tropical storm development this year. Image credit: NOAA/CIRA.

Encounters with land will be another potential major problem for 97L. Most of the computer models take 97L near or over Puerto Rico Sunday night, then very close to or over mountainous Hispaniola Monday night through Tuesday. It is unlikely that 97L will be stronger than a 55 mph tropical storm when it encounters these islands, and passage over the islands could severely disrupt the storm. However, if 97L takes a path just south or north of Hispaniola, the potential exists for the storm to intensify into a hurricane.

There will be moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots to the north of the islands early next week, so a path just to the south of the Dominican Republic and Haiti would be more likely to let 97L intensify into a hurricane. A west-northwest motion is likely for 97L through Wednesday, which would bring the storm to the vicinity of Jamaica-Central Cuba-the Central Bahamas on Wednesday. On Wednesday and Thursday, the models agree that a trough of low pressure will dip down over the Eastern U.S., which is likely to turn 97L to the north. The exact timing and strength of this trough varies considerably from model to model, and will be critical in determining where and when 97L will turn to the north. The best model for predicting the timing and strength of such troughs over the past two years has been the ECMWF (European Center model), and this model currently brings 97L into the Florida Keys on Thursday night next week. You can view ECMWF forecasts on our wundermap with the model layer turned on. The European Center does not permit public display of tropical storm positions from their hurricane tracking module of their model, so we are unable to put ECMWF forecasts on our computer model forecast page that plots positions from the other major models.

Remember that a 7-day forecast by even our best model will be off by an average of over 700 miles, so it is too early to tell what part of the U.S. might be most at risk from a strike by 97L. This weekend would be a good time to go over your hurricane preparedness.


Figure 4. Morning satellite image of Invest 98L off the coast of Africa.

Invest 98L near the coast of Africa
A tropical wave near the coast of Africa, a few hundred miles southeast of the Cape Verde Islands, is moving west to west-northwestward at 10 - 15 mph. This wave, designated Invest 98L by NHC yesterday, is large and well-organized, with a modest amount of spin and heavy thunderstorm activity. 98L will bring strong, gusty winds and heavy rains to the Cape Verde Islands today and Saturday as the storm skirts to the south. So far this morning, top sustained winds measured in the islands were 24 mph at Mindelo. Water temperatures are warm, near 27 - 28°C, and wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, so 98L should continue to organize today. NHC gave the storm a 50% chance of developing into a tropical depression in their 8am advisory. Once 98L passes to the west of the Cape Verde Islands, it has a long stretch of ocean to cross before it could affect any other land areas. Approximately 70 - 80% of all tropical cyclones that pass this close to the Cape Verde Islands end up curving out to sea and not affecting any other land areas, according to Dr. Bob Hart's excellent historical probability of landfall charts. The latest set of long-range model runs go along with this idea, but it is too early to be confident of this.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Gearsts:
Shift north needs to be done


I think this will not be repeat of the Emily track that passed over 100 miles to our south.
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Quoting ncstorm:


I guess you will sleep when Texas gets some rain, LOL..


Lol. Good Morning NC. Yeah, that's always nice. Depending on the source of the rain. Had a neighbor at my last house. Guy could sleep through anything! We had a really rough storm blow through one night. Knocked out the lights, put a tree down on his little trailer he was sleeping in. We all went over there with flashlights to check on him. He said he'd get the tree off in the morning. And don't wake him up again! Lol. That man is hard to impress.
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Quoting Chucktown:


Yea, still too early. I don't see a direct hit along the coast of NC/SC, but I can believe the 0Z and 6Z tracks of the GFS that take it up the spine of Florida. I'm just not believing the intensity. The main drivers of this system are going to be how much land interaction there is and how strong is that trough at the end of the week. I'm almost positive that the storm makes it to at least 80 W which immediately takes out the direct hit threat here along the coast of SC. This is probably why Wilmington NWS is saying that. NWS here in Charleston are along the same lines.


How can you say it immediately take CHS out of the picture??
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3689. ncstorm
Quoting Chucktown:


Yea, still too early. I don't see a direct hit along the coast of NC/SC, but I can believe the 0Z and 6Z tracks of the GFS that take it up the spine of Florida. I'm just not believing the intensity. The main drivers of this system are going to be how much land interaction there is and how strong is that trough at the end of the week. I'm almost positive that the storm makes it to at least 80 W which immediately takes out the direct hit threat here along the coast of SC. This is probably why Wilmington NWS is saying that. NWS here in Charleston are along the same lines.


Yeah, I was a little surprise that they are so gung ho in seeing this as a GOM storm when the models keep flip flopping..thanks though!
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People here in PR have experienced hurricanes like Hugo and Georges (recently) and TS like Jean. So, what is the matter with a disorganized system of thunderstorms (Invest 97)? People should take it into account when the menacing system is a very strong storm ... Common people know more than that.
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3687. Gearsts
Quoting ncstorm:


Shift north needs to be done
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
No problem!

And yeah, you can bet on it. As soon as WSVN gets hold of a system that's heading our way, they send out there entire news team to every Wal-Mart in south Florida and have Phil Ferro working 24/7 lol. Pretty funny to me that I have this blog to receive up-to-date and usually very helpful information, but sometimes a little 'over-the-top' to the usual layman.


haha so true, even though Rick Sanchez is no longer around!
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Quoting ncstorm:


Hey Chuck,

since you right down the road from me, I wanted to ask you since you live on the east coast as well but the NWS in wilmington is putting in their updates that this cant be an east coast storm because of the location of it right now..its calling an eastern GOM landfall..do you agree with that so early out?


Yea, still too early. I don't see a direct hit along the coast of NC/SC, but I can believe the 0Z and 6Z tracks of the GFS that take it up the spine of Florida. I'm just not believing the intensity. The main drivers of this system are going to be how much land interaction there is and how strong is that trough at the end of the week. I'm almost positive that the storm makes it to at least 80 W before it begins its turn to the north, which immediately takes out the direct hit threat here along the coast of SC. This is probably why Wilmington NWS is saying that. NWS here in Charleston are along the same lines.
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3684. smuldy
Quoting BahaHurican:
You know, hope for the best, prepare for the worst...
200 ish miles to your west in Miami Beach ya I know all too well lol
Quoting Chucktown:


No worries, the industry has at least shifted back to making sure qualified mets are on most local stations, compared to those days with David Letterman. There are still a few that opt for the pretty, morning, non-met weathergirl, but I guarantee there is also a qualified met at that station with several years of experience. Hey it beats working and puts food on the table. LOL !!!
Lol I actually was assuming Dave was a good met cause he seems so smart now lol (I'm 29 so know only CBS 1990s+ Dave); and I hear on the working thing thats why I'm in grad school at almost 30 and write for a living and tend bar for bills; 9-5 no es bueno lol
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3683. ncstorm


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3682. ncstorm
Quoting BahaHurican:
Hope everybody's got a good cup of coffee or whatever refreshing beverage of their choice this morning... My sideboard contribution is merely a guava duff with the smoothest cream sauce you have ever tasted.... great stuff! Plus coconut tartlets...

Just a little something to keep u going on a Saturday morning.... until aqua gets in... lol


Morning Baha,

another day, another blog..its going to be real busy up in here today
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I wish to drink so mch coffee to celebrate the insignificance of Invest 97
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97L early visible

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Quoting BahaHurican:
Hope everybody's got a good cup of coffee or whatever refreshing beverage of their choice this morning... My sideboard contribution is merely a guava duff with the smoothest cream sauce you have ever tasted.... great stuff! Plus coconut tartlets...

Just a little something to keep u going on a Saturday morning.... until aqua gets in... lol


Me thinks I would like to fly over and hang wid ya....
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Quoting Gearsts:
Look at the center.
Looking at the loop, something definitely looks to be cooking near 14˚N 54.4˚W telling by the lower-level clouds south of the system flowing in the poleward direction towards the aforementioned coordinates.
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3677. ncstorm
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Yeah. I get an hour or two here and there. Usually when ya don't see me here I'm snoozin'. Maybe why don't remember a lot any more. Lol!


I guess you will sleep when Texas gets some rain, LOL..
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3676. smuldy
Quoting barotropic:
\Of course intensity is a factor that is even harder to figure.
Agreed completely, a cat3 global does not mean a cat3 especially given the land interaction ahead were it to take that track, however the warm waters and EXTREME low shear do have me worried sitting in the bullseye, went through Katrina here and honestly barely noticed, but went through Wilma too and no power for 4 days was less than fun. Not to mention the dock being washed away and the pool going buh bye for a month at my place since it came in west to east and I'm bayside on the island. Anyways it is a long time out still since it hasn't formed so this is a very low confidence outcome, but what I said earlier I stand by, the merging of the Euro and the GFS on time frame is more worrysome than anything else since they are showing the same global setup (more positively tilted trough aside) and a similar outcome
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Quoting InTheCone:


Do you ever sleep? You're always here - LOL! I usually just lurk when it's really busy on here, no need to repeat all the stuff that gets posted.


Yeah. I get an hour or two here and there. Usually when ya don't see me here I'm snoozin'. Maybe why don't remember a lot any more. Lol!
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Quoting Chucktown:


No worries, the industry has at least shifted back to making sure qualified mets are on most local stations, compared to those days with David Letterman. There are still a few that opt for the pretty, morning, non-met weathergirl, but I guarantee there is also a qualified met at that station with several years of experience. Hey it beats working and puts food on the table. LOL !!!


LOL!! I do not envy you guys when one of these babies gets close. Kind of a darned if you do and a darned if you don't type of scenario.
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3672. hotrods
Good morning everyone, i see the models took a shift east again, not a good thing since i live here ECFL,close to the coast. When the models start to cluster this far out well all just need to take a deep breath and continue to watch. But after listening to Levi and others on here this situation could unfold, just be prepared.
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Quoting wxguesser:

Sigh...ya gotta love the local TV wx guys. If a storm develops and the models take it away from here they all immediately write it off saying the models are all in agreement and its not coming here.

However, if the models spit out runs that bring it close to home or even a direct hit, they all say weellll the models aren't always correct, they have huge errors this far out and there's lots of time to watch it. Geez, stop positive casting and just tell it like it is guys.



Hey since I started all this, no offense to the local tv wx folks, the service you provide is invaluable, just makin an amusing non-professional observation. :-)



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Hope everybody's got a good cup of coffee or whatever refreshing beverage of their choice this morning... My sideboard contribution is merely a guava duff with the smoothest cream sauce you have ever tasted.... great stuff! Plus coconut tartlets...

Just a little something to keep u going on a Saturday morning.... until aqua gets in... lol
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Belize City is at 1009.1mb (29.80in).
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I think Ike needs to get in here and start some significant downcasting on 97L. Where is he when he's needed??
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Quoting whepton3:


That's great... I bookmarked it. Thanks a lot!

You know, I'm not really one to get into when they name a storm, or when they designate it this or that... but living down here... I have a sense that when the local guys stop talking about "this tropical wave we're watching with interest" (97L) to a named storm... which I suppose could happen today... the panic will start.
No problem!

And yeah, you can bet on it. As soon as WSVN gets hold of a system that's heading our way, they send out there entire news team to every Wal-Mart in south Florida and have Phil Ferro working 24/7 lol. Pretty funny to me that I have this blog to receive up-to-date and usually very helpful information, but sometimes a little 'over-the-top' to the usual layman.
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3654. WeatherNerdPR : I note nothing impressive in that picture!
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Quoting smuldy:
fair enough; try to do the same temperance with my posts as well given the whole boy who cried wolf story, was more just taking a shot at great looking people, so if you're a tv met take it as a compliment, industry has come a long way since Dave Letterman was breaking through in (i think) Indiana. Not knocking Dave though guy is genius.


No worries, the industry has at least shifted back to making sure qualified mets are on most local stations, compared to those days with David Letterman. There are still a few that opt for the pretty, morning, non-met weathergirl, but I guarantee there is also a qualified met at that station with several years of experience. Hey it beats working and puts food on the table. LOL !!!
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Quoting LargoFl:
Early yet but this isnt looking very good for florida at all, buying my supplies etc this weekend just in case these models prove true this coming week


That's what I do too, just use these early runs to get me motivated to make sure I'm ready.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Belize Radar
Hm... looks like outer bands are coming in to the coast now... wonder if we'll hear from belizeit early today... lol

Quoting smuldy:
lol i was but its not she its he, Sean, so if my analogous hurricane happens to hit the Bahamas this year i swear i had nothing to do with it lol
Ah, so YOU were the one "throwing lowness" as we say around here.... lol

Nah, if I held it against everybody who keeps showing a hurricane hitting the whole Bahamas, I'd have to do away with just about all the forecast models and the hundreds, nay thousands of bloggers who've been posting them daily.... lol

On a serious note, I've been noting since June that the AB high situation was setting up to be one where tracks that favored Bahamas and East Coast landfalls would be more probable. So I was kinda expecting it. You know, hope for the best, prepare for the worst...
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3662. Gearsts
Look at the center.
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3661. WxLogic
Consistency has been keeping up lately and hovering around the extreme E GOM into FL.

We'll be having a HH investigate the system today:

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT AREA (APPROACHING LESSER ANTILLES)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 71
A. 20/1800Z
B. AFXXX 01GGA INVEST
C. 20/1615Z
D. 15.3N 57.5W
E. 20/1730Z TO 20/2130Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
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3660. LargoFl
Quoting InTheCone:
Two most reliable models, very good consensus, have to watch this one closely here in FL.!!


Euro 168.....



GFS 144...

Early yet but this isnt looking very good for florida at all, buying my supplies etc this weekend just in case these models prove true this coming week
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
To convert inches of mercury to millibars, multiply the inches value by 33.8637526
To convert millibars to inches of mercury, multiply the millibar value by 0.0295301.

Or just bookmark this.

LOL, not really restarted, just slept 45 minutes, but just enough to keep me going until at least 8a.m lol.


That's great... I bookmarked it. Thanks a lot!

You know, I'm not really one to get into when they name a storm, or when they designate it this or that... but living down here... I have a sense that when the local guys stop talking about "this tropical wave we're watching with interest" (97L) to a named storm... which I suppose could happen today... the panic will start.
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Puerto Rico NWS Discussion

THEREAFTER...LOCAL WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL BE DICTATED BY THE
APPROACHING TROPICAL WAVE (DISTURBANCE). THIS SYSTEM CONTINUES TO
SLOWLY BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED AND NHC HAS GIVEN IT A HIGH CHANCE
OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. IT IS
EXPECTED TO MOVE WEST TO WEST NORTHWEST AND PASS ACROSS THE
NORTHEAST CARIBBEAN LATER SUNDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY.
HOWEVER...ITS EXACT TRACK...HOW SOON IT DEVELOPS OR NOT...AND
EXACTLY WHAT THIS SYSTEM IS CLASSIFIED AS WHEN IT PASSES BY...
REMAIN UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE
HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE THIS SYSTEM LATER
THIS AFTERNOON.

IRRESPECTIVE OF DEVELOPMENT...IT APPEARS THAT THE LOCAL ISLANDS
WILL RECEIVE AN INCREASE IN WINDS...SEAS...SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS...WITH THE "POTENTIAL" FOR SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS FROM
THESE...POSSIBLY INCLUDING FLASH AND RIVER FLOODING...LOCALIZED
COASTAL FLOODING AND DOWNED TREES.

THEREFORE...ALL LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS...RESIDENTS
AND VISITORS SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.
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3656. ncstorm
Quoting Chucktown:


Hurricanes and tropical forecasting when it comes to TV is not fun. While of course you want to get the word out about the potential impacts of an impending system, you also don't want to create a sense of panic. A hurricane can make or break a TV station, so a lot of TV mets like myself have to take the high road on these scenarios until we are fairly certain of some kind of impact. It doesn't mean that we don't want to get information to the public about what could happen next week, we've been preparing our viewers for this since mid-May.


Hey Chuck,

since you right down the road from me, I wanted to ask you since you live on the east coast as well but the NWS in wilmington is putting in their updates that this cant be an east coast storm because of the location of it right now..its calling an eastern GOM landfall..do you agree with that so early out?
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Dont you think its about time the gov. of belize issues a hurricane warning or at least a watch. They have apparently resisted the NHC at this point.
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Quoting Chucktown:


Hurricanes and tropical forecasting when it comes to TV is not fun. While of course you want to get the word out about the potential impacts of an impending system, you also don't want to create a sense of panic. A hurricane can make or break a TV station, so a lot of TV mets like myself have to take the high road on these scenarios until we are fairly certain of some kind of impact. It doesn't mean that we don't want to get information to the public about what could happen next week, we've been preparing our viewers for this since mid-May.


Yeah, you guys are pretty good about it. 5 is my station of choice.
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People from the leeward islands: enjoy some sun/rain, not bad...
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I think Smuddy is right on the area for the most potential threat. At this point it seems the corridor between the SE and central Bahamas west to the extreme eastern gulf is the area that seems to be potentially under the gun. Of course its still to early to say with any confidence but most of the reliable models seem to be persistent with this for over five days now. Thats pretty significant. Of course intensity is a factor that is even harder to figure.
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Oh wow. Glad we have a fresh, well rested brain here this morning. I been up all night and forgot the 6z Run. Of course I seem to forget a lot of things lately. Hmmm?
Lol. Thanks MH9! :)


Do you ever sleep? You're always here - LOL! I usually just lurk when it's really busy on here, no need to repeat all the stuff that gets posted.
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3649. WxLogic
Good Morning...

Got to sleep early yesterday so missed the 00Z and 06Z runs but got caught up just now. All I can say is wow...
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3648. smuldy
Quoting Chucktown:


Hurricanes and tropical forecasting when it comes to TV is not fun. While of course you want to get the word out about the potential impacts of an impending system, you also don't want to create a sense of panic. A hurricane can make or break a TV station, so a lot of TV mets like myself have to take the high road on these scenarios until we are fairly certain of some kind of impact. It doesn't mean that we don't want to get information to the public about what could happen next week, we've been preparing our viewers for this since mid-May.
fair enough; try to do the same temperance with my posts as well given the whole boy who cried wolf story, was more just taking a shot at great looking people, so if you're a tv met take it as a compliment, industry has come a long way since Dave Letterman was breaking through in (i think) Indiana. Not knocking Dave though guy is genius.
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Quoting whepton3:


I've done a cursory look for this in a couple of places... but is there a quick reference for translating mb to inches... or maybe a formula?
To convert inches of mercury to millibars, multiply the inches value by 33.8637526
To convert millibars to inches of mercury, multiply the millibar value by 0.0295301.

Or just bookmark this.

Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Oh wow. Glad we have a fresh, well rested brain here this morning. I been up all night and forgot the 6z Run. Of course I seem to forget a lot of things lately. Hmmm?
Lol. Thanks MH9! :)
LOL, not really restarted, just slept 45 minutes, but just enough to keep me going until at least 8a.m lol.
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I dont believe to the model consensus right now (Invest 97). It is and would be a very weak system.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Woweee... look at Harvey.... dunno if it'll get all the way to hurricane, but it's looking darn good.

Yeah. Waiting on visible.
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Quoting Chucktown:


Easy there, we're not all as dumb as we look...
Hey, Chuck, the "many" obviously doesn't include u.... lol
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Alright, my nap is complete. LOL. 06z GFS has another south Florida landfall with 97L.



Oh wow. Glad we have a fresh, well rested brain here this morning. I been up all night and forgot the 6z Run. Of course I seem to forget a lot of things lately. Hmmm?
Lol. Thanks MH9! :)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
988mb, but continues to intensify slightly as it moves northward. Probably a category 2 cyclone being depicted. Nevertheless, like you said, intensity forecasts are almost useless with the system that has yet to develop.


I've done a cursory look for this in a couple of places... but is there a quick reference for translating mb to inches... or maybe a formula?
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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.