94L a threat to the Lesser Antilles; Gordon a hurricane; Helene hits Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:24 PM GMT on August 18, 2012

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A large tropical wave that emerged from the coast of Africa Thursday night (Invest 94L) is located a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa, and is headed west at 15 - 20 mph. This storm is a threat to develop into a tropical storm that will affect the Lesser Antilles Islands as early as Wednesday. The storm is under moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots, and is over waters of 27.5°C. A large area of dry air lies just to the north of 94L, as seen on the latest Saharan Air Layer (SAL) analysis. This morning's 8:15 am EDT ASCAT pass caught the east side of 94L, and showed a partial surface circulation. Satellite images show just a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity, and I expect the earliest that 94L could develop into a tropical depression would be Sunday.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Invest 94L.

Forecast for 94L
The latest 8 am EDT run of the SHIPS model predicts that wind shear will be low, 5 - 10 knots, and ocean temperatures will gradually warm from 27.5°C to 28.5°C over the next four days, as 94L tracks westwards towards the Lesser Antilles. As is typical with storms making the crossing from Africa to the Antilles, dry air to the north will likely interfere with development. However, with shear expected to be low, dry air may be less of an issue for 94L than it was for Ernesto or TD 7. The storm should maintain a nearly due west track through Monday night, to a point near 50°W, about 700 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. At that point, a trough of low pressure passing to the north of 94L may be able to pull the storm more to the northwest, as suggested by the latest 06Z (2 am EDT) run of the NOGAPS model, and by three members of the GFS model ensemble forecast (Figure 2.) However, the models have been trending more towards a solution where this trough is not strong enough to influence 94L's path. This scenario will be more likely if 94L takes its time to develop, since a weaker storm will be smaller and shallower, and less likely to respond to the trough passing to the north. Our two best performing models, the GFS and ECMFW, both take 94L through the Lesser Antilles. The ECMWF, which predicts that 94L will stay weak and not develop, is faster, bringing the storm through the Lesser Antilles on Wednesday. The GFS model is slower, bringing 94L to the Lesser Antilles on Thursday as a hurricane. The models have shown poor run-to-run consistency in both the timing and the track of 94L, so it is difficult to assess which land areas might be most at risk, and when. A database of historical probabilities of storms in the same location as 94L maintained by Dr. Bob Hart of Florida State University reveals that historically, 45% of storms in this location have eventually hit land, with Canada (13% chance) and North Carolina (15% chance) the most likely targets. In their 8 am EDT Tropical Weather Outlook, NHC gave 94L a 40% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday morning.


Figure 2. The 00Z (8 pm EDT) run of the GFS model from August 17, 2012, was done 20 different times at low resolution using slightly different initial conditions to generate an ensemble of forecasts (pink lines.) The high-resolution operational GFS forecast is shown in white.

Gordon becomes a hurricane
Hurricane warnings are flying for the central and eastern Azores Islands as Hurricane Gordon heads eastwards at 18 mph. Gordon became the third hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season at 5 am Saturday morning, and is sporting an impressive-looking eye on visible satellite loops. Gordon should be able to maintain hurricane status until Sunday, when wind shear will rise steeply to 30 - 40 knots, and ocean temperatures will drop to 25°C. The combined effects of high wind shear, dry air, and cooler waters will likely act to weaken Gordon to a strong tropical storm by the time it arrives in the Azores Islands Sunday night, but the storm will be strong enough to bring damaging winds and heavy rain to the Azores Islands. Gordon is not a threat to any other land areas, and the extratropical remnants of Gordon will not bring any strong winds or significant rain to Europe. The last time the Azores were affected by a tropical storm was in 2009, when Tropical Storm Grace brought 65 mph winds on October 4. No significant damage was reported. Ironically, the last hurricane to affect the Azores was the 2006 version of Hurricane Gordon, which caused minor damage in the Azores, consisting of mostly fallen trees and power outages. However, after Gordon became an extratropical low, four injuries due to falling debris from high wind were reported in Spain, and Gordon brought high winds and rain that affected practice rounds at the Ryder Cup golf tournament in Ireland. About 126,000 homes were without power after the storm in Northern Ireland and one injury was reported.


Figure 3. Morning satellite image of Hurricane Gordon.

Helene makes landfall in Mexico
Tropical Storm Helene made landfall near 10 am EDT as a tropical storm near Tampico, Mexico, with 40 mph winds. Helene's formation on August 17 ties 2012 with 1933 for the 2nd earliest appearance of the Atlantic's eighth tropical storm. Helene's rains should remain south of Texas, but moisture from Helene may feed into a stalled frontal system over the northern Gulf of Mexico and bring heavy rains to the northern Gulf Coast early next week.

I'll have a new post this afternoon, giving a quick global weather summary for July, the 4th hottest July in Earth's history.

Jeff Masters

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677. sunlinepr
12:29 AM GMT on August 19, 2012
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9874
676. hydrus
9:39 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting RTSplayer:


In addition to the consensus, there's two or three member models on their that just make the pit of my stomach ache looking at them.

If the consensus track is close to true, it's hard to imagine this thing not making category 4 or 5 at some point, because once it passes Cuba and Hispaniola, regardless of the exact track, it's going to be over water with a 150kts intensity predictor...

Obviously max intensity is only reached with good conditions and low shear, but just look at any SST anomaly map and it's nuts. Not to mention, the last SHIPS output I read had almost no shear at 120 hours.

I just don't know what to think at this moment, because the consensus is actually west of the member(s) that bring the storm all the way to western Cuba or even NOLA.

I think that would be a devastating scenario for a lot of people, and is like 3/4s of David plus half of Camille storm track...just scary stuff.

There are a couple of other possibilities right now that I will not mention until a few days from now. Only because of how terrible it could be.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21782
675. presslord
8:21 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting pottery:

I have never known you to be objectionable to anyone here.
I think the person misread your words.
Hopefully they will be back and post more.


It's pretty embarassing to have to say this in public....but....I agree with Pottery...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
674. presslord
8:18 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting ncstorm:
94L funktop imagery


Funky
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
673. TexasHoosier
8:14 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting pottery:

I have never known you to be objectionable to anyone here.
I think the person misread your words.
Hopefully they will be back and post more.


I concur with Pottery; I have been on this blog for over 12 years and have never known this person to be objectionable; in fact, she has always been a person to provide good information on what goes on in the islands to us mainlanders.
Member Since: December 3, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 114
672. Tazmanian
8:04 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting Stormchaser121:
Where do yall think Helene is headed next??




its dead
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
671. pottery
7:39 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting BahaHurican:
I have to say that in no way did I attempt to imply that Barbadians are unprepared; in fact the converse is true. As a Bahamian, I look on Barbadians as brothers and sisters in the storm, and more so than anybody else you all know what it is to have the storm "come out of nowhere" and hit your land. As a Bahamian who has weathered the storm, and who has exerienced the helping hand of Barbadian electrical and telecommunications workers helping get things back together, I have to express thanks and appreciation from one storm-threatened land to another.


As for the bit about "hanging out", I was actually attempting to offer the hand of friendship to a fellow Caribbean dweller. This blog is great place for information and community, but sometimes it can be challenging to figure that out because of the general "noise of conversation". I hoped I had invited you to participate freely, at your own pace. I offer sincere apologies if it seemed I meant otherwise.

Additionally, many bloggers here use this blog as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. Some can only look in for a short period. Others can stay for long periods. Either one is good. I myself have had a couple weeks of vacation, which allows me to stay in here as long as I like. My point was that the experience can be quite exhilarating and enjoyable, to the point that it may become hard to leave.

If you feel my post was intended to offend, I'm sorry. But, as many bloggers here can attest, I'm no princess, nor do I pretend to be. I'm just a pretty ordinary person with an avid interest in tropical weather.


I have never known you to be objectionable to anyone here.
I think the person misread your words.
Hopefully they will be back and post more.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24653
670. HurricaneHunterJoe
7:39 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting pottery:

Can I use the Hookah, then?


The Mexican Browns sold in the store in Amsterdam were quite nice thank you.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5237
669. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:34 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
668. gustavcane
7:31 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
957.4mb    WOW!!!
Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF
Weakening Flag was on on the last update on Gordon.
Member Since: February 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
667. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:31 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
666. Stormchaser121
7:30 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Where do yall think Helene is headed next??
Member Since: September 2, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1148
665. RTSplayer
7:30 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting LargoFl:


In addition to the consensus, there's two or three member models on their that just make the pit of my stomach ache looking at them.

If the consensus track is close to true, it's hard to imagine this thing not making category 4 or 5 at some point, because once it passes Cuba and Hispaniola, regardless of the exact track, it's going to be over water with a 150kts intensity predictor...

Obviously max intensity is only reached with good conditions and low shear, but just look at any SST anomaly map and it's nuts. Not to mention, the last SHIPS output I read had almost no shear at 120 hours.

I just don't know what to think at this moment, because the consensus is actually west of the member(s) that bring the storm all the way to western Cuba or even NOLA.

I think that would be a devastating scenario for a lot of people, and is like 3/4s of David plus half of Camille storm track...just scary stuff.

Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
664. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:30 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 175 Comments: 54858
663. tatoprweather
7:26 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting Tazmanian:



still too far out for a floter likey get one by time it gets too 50W
are you drunk? they had one for ernesto at 40w. this could be threatening as early as wednesday.
Member Since: April 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 136
662. Hurricanes4life
7:24 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Gordon, RAW up to 5.7!!!!


UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 18 AUG 2012 Time : 184500 UTC
Lat : 33:55:45 N Lon : 37:01:07 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
5.4 / 957.4mb/ 99.6kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
5.4 5.7 5.7

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 26 km

Center Temp : +14.4C Cloud Region Temp : -59.2C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 95km
- Environmental MSLP : 1015mb

Satellite Viewing Angle : 55.6 degrees

************************************************* ***
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
661. gustavcane
7:22 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
All I know is The Azores better evacuate soon because Hurricane Gordon will be moving much faster when it moves farther north and closer to the Azores.
Member Since: February 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
660. tatoprweather
7:21 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting VR46L:
216 hrs euro I give up searching for Isaac



But here is Isaac Singer

Hes looking northern islands....
Member Since: April 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 136
659. ncstorm
7:20 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
94L funktop imagery
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16042
658. sar2401
7:20 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


They contain upper air observations from the release of ballons at various sites around the world, although that does not help much in the middle of the Atlantic since no model cycles have upper air data from there (other than obs from airplanes).


Don't forget ship reports. They still play an important role in information gathering, especially in the north and central Atlantic.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16335
657. AtHomeInTX
7:20 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 253
656. WeatherNerdPR
7:20 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting Articuno:

Worse then Jose...


Try posting a smaller version of that image. The big one you posted is making my computer lag.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
655. PanhandleChuck
7:19 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
I'm sure Cantore already has his flight booked for NYC late next week.... It could happen tomorrow? Just like the episode describing Katrina? Only differnece is that this episode was not a lost epiode and did a good job of showing what would happen to NYC with a Major making landfall. I don't think the people of NYC would take it seriously and that would be devistating.
Member Since: May 13, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1414
654. Gearsts
7:19 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1965
653. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
7:19 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
652. AtHomeInTX
7:18 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 253
651. tatoprweather
7:18 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
University of Wisconsin WRF

If this thing pass thru the butterfly island....Puerto Rico better watch this out. OUCH.
Member Since: April 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 136
650. TropicalAnalystwx13
7:18 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting JLPR2:


Should take a while for the LLC to tighten up due to its size, but it sure looks better today. With all that moisture it might clean the entire CATL of dust.

ASCAT from earlier showed a few weak west winds to the south of the center of circulation. Given its improved structure since that time, it wouldn't surprise me if the low was closed.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32532
649. nrtiwlnvragn
7:17 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting JLPR2:


As soon as they are visible in the CATL they get floaters.
Maybe they are busy...



94L Floater
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11274
648. trHUrrIXC5MMX
7:16 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
THE GFS IS THE ODD AND CRUEL ONE HERE
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
647. AtHomeInTX
7:16 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 253
646. Articuno
7:16 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

OK Taz, for you.
(but I still think Cody should hush).

Helene shouldn't be classified anymore.

It's pathetic.

Worse then Jose...

Member Since: October 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2546
645. washingtonian115
7:16 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting JLPR2:


Should take a while for the LLC to tighten up due to its size, but it sure looks better today. With all that moisture it might clean the entire CATL of dust.
The wave behind it won't have a problem with dry air like the past few waves this year.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17487
644. BahaHurican
7:15 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting bajanmet:
TO BahaHurrican let me tell,I AM always prepared for hurricane season so how dare you try to say that I not. As a matter of fact also ALL BARBADIANS know about hurricane preparations. I have not come here to hang out unlike some people I have other things to do your highness.
I have to say that in no way did I attempt to imply that Barbadians are unprepared; in fact the converse is true. As a Bahamian, I look on Barbadians as brothers and sisters in the storm, and more so than anybody else you all know what it is to have the storm "come out of nowhere" and hit your land. As a Bahamian who has weathered the storm, and who has exerienced the helping hand of Barbadian electrical and telecommunications workers helping get things back together, I have to express thanks and appreciation from one storm-threatened land to another.


As for the bit about "hanging out", I was actually attempting to offer the hand of friendship to a fellow Caribbean dweller. This blog is great place for information and community, but sometimes it can be challenging to figure that out because of the general "noise of conversation". I hoped I had invited you to participate freely, at your own pace. I offer sincere apologies if it seemed I meant otherwise.

Additionally, many bloggers here use this blog as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. Some can only look in for a short period. Others can stay for long periods. Either one is good. I myself have had a couple weeks of vacation, which allows me to stay in here as long as I like. My point was that the experience can be quite exhilarating and enjoyable, to the point that it may become hard to leave.

If you feel my post was intended to offend, I'm sorry. But, as many bloggers here can attest, I'm no princess, nor do I pretend to be. I'm just a pretty ordinary person with an avid interest in tropical weather.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22585
643. GetReal
7:15 PM GMT on August 18, 2012


94L structure looks pretty good for a TW.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8898
642. jascott1967
7:15 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting CybrTeddy:
This is one of those times where you sit down and actually look at the patterns yourself and determine your own opinions instead of looking 100% at the models. They're there for guidance and forecasting aid, but the human brain will always be the best model. It's mid-August with favorable conditions even though some dry air is to the north. The SHIPS, ICVN, and LGEM intensity models are all showing this becoming a potent system by 120 hours. Every year usually has a major Cape Verde hurricane, even in 1997 and 2009 there was some. It's already at 50% as well with rotation becoming increasingly evident on the satellite loop. There is very little reason when all things considered that 94L shouldn't develop.


And who or what created the models?

The models are only agreed to by the individuals brain when it suits them. At least that seems to be generally true on this blog.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 614
641. JLPR2
7:14 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting washingtonian115:
94L is huuuuge.Definitely can tell it has a lot of moisture to work with.


Should take a while for the LLC to tighten up due to its size, but it sure looks better today. With all that moisture it might clean the entire CATL of dust.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
640. RTSplayer
7:14 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Gordon intensified faster than I thought, so it's in a different intensity predictor than I thought it would be.

Based on it's current position, the maximum theoretical intensity is somewhere between 950mb and 960mb.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
639. HrDelta
7:13 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting RTSplayer:


It's a cat 2.

All the intensity models even initialized it as a cat 2, and some keep intensifying it for 12 hours.

I got no clue why the official is 20mb and 20 to 25mph weaker than the raw data...


If those models about intensification are correct, it would probably make Category 3.
Member Since: October 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 451
638. JLPR2
7:13 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting Tazmanian:



still too far out for a floter likey get one by time it gets too 50W


As soon as they are visible in the CATL they get floaters.
Maybe they are busy...
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747
637. washingtonian115
7:13 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting JLPR2:
So... is anyone wondering why we don't have a floater yet for 94L? I am. XD

94L is huuuuge.Definitely can tell it has a lot of moisture to work with.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17487
636. sar2401
7:12 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting RTSplayer:


It's a cat 2.

All the intensity models even initialized it as a cat 2, and some keep intensifying it for 12 hours.

I got no clue why the official is 20mb and 20 to 25mph weaker than the raw data...


Maybe because it's raw data and hasn't been verified yet? It's happened before.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 16335
635. stormpetrol
7:12 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
94L is a Tropical Storm if I ever seen one.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8043
634. allancalderini
7:12 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

OK Taz, for you.
(but I still think Cody should hush).

Helene shouldn't be classified anymore.

It's pathetic.
Helene is sad it has surpass Jose in the wall of pathetic systems.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4459
633. WeatherNerdPR
7:12 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting RTSplayer:


It's a cat 2.

All the intensity models even initialized it as a cat 2, and some keep intensifying it for 12 hours.

I got no clue why the official is 20mb and 20 to 25mph weaker than the raw data...

The ATCF updated a while ago. 105mph, 969mb at 5pm or earlier if they feel the need to.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
632. LargoFl
7:11 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 41002
631. Hurricanes101
7:11 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting RTSplayer:


It's a cat 2.

All the intensity models even initialized it as a cat 2, and some keep intensifying it for 12 hours.

I got no clue why the official is 20mb and 20 to 25mph weaker than the raw data...


because the raw data came out after the last official update

at 5pm, this will be upgraded
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
630. Tazmanian
7:11 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting JLPR2:
So... is anyone wondering why we don't have a floater yet for 94L? I am. XD




still too far out for a floter likey get one by time it gets too 50W
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
629. RTSplayer
7:10 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting Doppler22:
Everyone is saying Gordon is a Cat 2... but on the NHC website it still says Cat 1???


It's a cat 2.

All the intensity models even initialized it as a cat 2, and some keep intensifying it for 12 hours.

I got no clue why the official is 20mb and 20 to 25mph weaker than the raw data...
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
628. WeatherNerdPR
7:09 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
Quoting Tazmanian:



and you could be right


AL, 07, 2012081818, , BEST, 0, 225N, 987W, 25, 1009, TD

30mph TD...
Should degenerate to a remnant low by tonight. I already think it has, but the NHC disagrees with me.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
627. JLPR2
7:09 PM GMT on August 18, 2012
So... is anyone wondering why we don't have a floater yet for 94L? I am. XD

Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747

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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.