The global tropical cyclone season of 2010: record inactivity

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 01:14 AM GMT am 03. April 2011

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The year 2010 was one of the strangest on record globally for tropical cyclones. Each year, the globe has about 92 tropical cyclones--called hurricanes in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, typhoons in the Western Pacific, and tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere. But in 2010, we had just 68 of these storms--the fewest since the dawn of the satellite era in 1970. The previous record slowest year was 1977, when 69 tropical cyclones occurred world-wide. Both the Western Pacific and Eastern Pacific had their quietest seasons on record in 2010, the Atlantic had its 3rd busiest season since record keeping began in 1851, and the Southern Hemisphere had a below average season. As a result, the Atlantic, which ordinarily accounts for just 13% of global cyclone activity, accounted for 28% in 2010--the greatest proportion since accurate tropical cyclone records began in the 1970s. Global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) for 2010 was the lowest since the late 1970s (ACE is a measure of the total destructive power of a hurricane season, based on the number of days strong winds are observed.)


Figure 1. Visible satellite image of 2010's strongest tropical cyclone: Super Typhoon Megi at 2:25 UTC October 18, 2010. A reconnaissance aircraft measured a central pressure of 885 mb and surface winds of 190 mph in the storm, making Megi the 8th strongest tropical cyclone in world history. Image credit: NASA.

A record quiet 2010 Northwest Pacific Typhoon Season
The Western Pacific set records for fewest number of named storms (fifteen, previous record seventeen in 1998) and typhoons (nine, tied with the previous record of nine in 1998. Note that Tropical Storm Mindulle was upgraded to a typhoon in post-analysis after the season was over.) Reliable records began in the mid-1960s. For just the second year in history, the Atlantic had more named storms and hurricane-strength storms than the Western Pacific. The only other year this occurred was in 2005. Ordinarily, the Western Pacific has double to triple the amount of tropical cyclones of the Atlantic. One other notable feature of the 2010 season was the lack of a land-falling typhoon on the Japanese mainland. This is only the second such occurrence since 1988.

In 2010, there was only one super typhoon--a storm with at least 150 mph winds--in the Western Pacific. However, this storm, Super Typhoon Megi, was a doozy. Megi's sustained winds cranked up to a fearsome 190 mph and its central pressure bottomed out at 885 mb on October 16, making it the 8th most intense tropical cyclone in world history. Fortunately, Megi weakened significantly before hitting the Philippines as a Category 3 typhoon. Megi killed 69 people on Taiwan and in the Philippines and did $700 million in damage, and was the second deadliest and damaging typhoon of 2010. Category 3 Typhoon Fanapi was the deadliest and most damaging typhoon of 2010, doing over $1 billion in damage to Taiwan and China and killing 105.

The record quiet typhoon season in 2010 was due, in part, to the La Niña phenomena. During such events, the formation region for Western Pacific typhoons moves northwestward, closer to China. Thus, storms that form in the Western Pacific spend less time over water before they encounter land, resulting in a lesser chance to become a named storm, and less time to intensify. They also accumulate a lower ACE due to their shorter duration. Since the Western Pacific is responsible for 35% of the world's major tropical cyclones, the global ACE value is strongly tied to year-to-year variations in the El Niño/La Niña cycle.


Figure 2.
Statistics for the global tropical cyclone season of 2010. The two numbers in each box represent the actual number observed in 2010, followed by the averages from the period 1983-2007 (in parentheses). Averages and records were computed using the December 23, 2008 release of NOAA's International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship.

A record quiet 2010 Eastern Pacific Typhoon Season
In the Eastern Pacific, it was also a record-quiet season. On average, the Eastern Pacific has 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes in a season. In 2010, there were 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The previous record quietest season since 1966 was the year 1977, when the Eastern Pacific had 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and zero intense hurricanes. La Niña was largely responsible for the quiet Eastern Pacific hurricane season, due in part to the cool sea surface temperatures it brought. It is quite remarkable that both the Eastern and Western Pacific ocean basins had record quiet seasons in the same year--there is no historical precedent for such an occurrence.

Climate change and the 2008 global tropical cyclone season
We only have about 30 years of reliable global tropical cyclone data, and tropical cyclones are subject to large natural variations in numbers and intensities. Thus, it will be very difficult at present to prove that climate change is affecting global tropical cyclone activity. (This is less so in the Atlantic, where we have a longer reliable data record to work with.) A common theme of many recent publications on the future of tropical cyclones globally in a warming climate is that the total number of these storms will decrease, but the strongest storms will get stronger. For example, a 2010 review paper published in Nature Geosciences concluded: "greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2 - 11% by 2100. Existing modeling studies also consistently project decreases in the globally averaged frequency of tropical cyclones, by 6 - 34%. Balanced against this, higher resolution modeling studies typically project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, and increases of the order of 20% in the precipitation rate within 100 km of the storm centre." Last year, I discussed a paper by Bender et al that concluded that the total number of Atlantic hurricanes is expected to decrease by the end of the century, but there could be an increase of 81% in the number of Category 4 and 5 storms. The net effect of a decrease in total number of hurricanes but an increase in the strongest hurricanes should cause an increase in U.S. hurricane damages of about 30% by the end of the century, the authors computed, assuming that hurricane damages behave as they did during the past century. A new paper just published by Murakami et. al predicts that Western Pacific tropical cyclones may decrease in number by 23% by the end of the century, primarily due to a shift in the formation location and tracks of these storms.

In light of these theoretical results, it is interesting that 2010 saw the lowest number of global tropical cyclones on record, but an average number of very strong Category 4 and 5 storms. Fully 21% of last year's tropical cyclones reached Category 4 or 5 strength, versus just 14% during the period 1983 - 2007. Most notably, in 2010 we had the second strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea (Category 4 Cyclone Phet in June) and the strongest tropical cyclone ever to hit Myanmar/Burma (October's Tropical Cyclone Giri, an upper end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds.) It is too early to read anything into this year's global tropical cyclone numbers, though--we need many more years of data before making any judgments on how global tropical cyclones might be responding to climate change.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Phet on Thursday, June 3, 2010. Record heat over southern Asia in May 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. Only Category 5 Cyclone Gonu of 2007, which devastated Oman, was a stronger Arabian Sea cyclone. Phet killed 44 people and did $700 million in damage to Oman.


Figure 4. Visible MODIS satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Giri taken at 2:55am EDT October 22, 2010, just prior to landfall in Myanmar/Burma. At the time, Giri was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Giri killed 157 people and did $359 million in damage. Image credit: NASA.

Jeff Masters

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Japan's tsunami debris headed for West Coast
A Seattle oceanographer says some debris from Japan's tsunami and earthquake may wash up on the West Coast in about one to three years. Curt Ebbesmeyer says how fast the flotsam arrives depends on the material. A derelict vessel could take 12 months, while a rubber ducky may take two to three years. He says the floating debris will likely flow in a big circle, carried by currents from Japan to Washington, Oregon and British Columbia before turning toward Hawaii and back toward Asia. (Seattle Times)

Debris from that area could be radioactive...
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1117. Skyepony (Mod)
It's just about here. The sky was filled with swallows or what ever those birds are that like to get right infront of bad weather.. Maybe it was birds on radar.
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1116. beell
.
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1115. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
930 AM EDT TUE APR 5 2011

...THE WIDESPREAD SEVERE WEATHER EVENT OF WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND
THURSDAY MORNING HAS COME TO AN ABRUPT END...

.DISCUSSION...A VERY LARGE AND POWERFUL SQUALL LINE WITH NUMEROUS
STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS RACED THROUGH THE TRI-STATE AREA
MONDAY NIGHT AND EARLY THIS MORNING...LEAVING A TREMENDOUS NUMBER OF
DOWNED TREES AND POWER LINES IN ITS WAKE. EVEN THOUGH WE RECEIVED
MUCH OF THE DAMAGE INFORMATION DURING THE OVERNIGHT HOURS...AT LEAST
HALF OF OUR 48 COUNTIES HAVE ALREADY REPORTED SIGNIFICANT STRAIGHT
LINE WIND DAMAGE...AND LIKELY SOME ADDITIONAL REPORTS WILL BE
ATTRIBUTED DUE TO THE FREQUENT CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING STRIKES.

NOW THAT PLENTY OF SUNSHINE IS BEGINNING SPREADING INTO THE CWA FROM
NW ACROSS THE REGION...WE EXPECT THAT MANY MORE REPORTS WILL
CONTINUE TO BE RELAYED IN THROUGHOUT THE DAY...SO THE CURRENT
MIALSRTAE PRODUCT (PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT) WILL BE UPDATED
AS THEY COME IN. ADDITIONALLY...SOME OF THE MORE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE
WILL BE SURVEYED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TALLAHASSEE
LATER THIS MORNING. ALL OF THE LATEST INFORMATION FROM THIS EVENT
WILL BE UPDATED THROUGHOUT THE DAY NEAR THE TOP OF OUR WEBSITE AT:

HTTP://WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/TLH

FOR THE REST OF TODAY...MUCH COOLER AND DRIER AIR WILL CONTINUE RUSH
IN FROM THE NORTHWEST ON GUSTY WINDS BEHIND THE COLD FRONT...BUT UPPER
LEVEL SOUTHWESTERLY FLOW MAY SLOW THE COMPLETE CLEARING FOR EASTERN
PORTIONS OF THE CWA...AS SOME MID AND UPPER LEVEL CLOUDS WILL
CONTINUE TO MOVE IN FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO.

OVER THE COASTAL WATERS...THE CURRENT FCST IS ON TRACK WITH STRONG
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY CONDITIONS EXPECTED FOR THE REST OF TODAY.
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1114. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Chicklit:


Could that have been a large flock of birds?
They were very active here earlier this morning.


Birds or bugs. Birds usually leave together but yeah if it was a large flock.


That waterspout looking bit over the Banana River on radar headed to KSC looks like it weakened when it hit land..yay.
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Japan says dumping radioactive water in ocean doesn't violate law - Tuesday 05th April, 06:40 PM JST

The Japanese government on Tuesday defended its dumping of massive low-level radioactive water from the crisis-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, saying the action does not violate international laws, and pledged to fully inform the international community of Tokyo%u2019s steps to tackle the ongoing emergency.
Experts have said that radiation dissipates quickly in the vast Pacific, but they have also said that it's unclear what the long-term effects of large amounts of contamination will be.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday that samples taken from seawater near one of the reactors contained 7.5 million times the legal limit for radioactive iodine on April 2. Two days later, that figure dropped to 5 million.


Any credibility left???
Comment: It would be a good practice for Every Food market in the US to provide radiation verification services to customers buying any fish and food from that area.



On Monday, officials detected more than 4,000 bequerels of iodine-131 per kilogram in a type of fish called a sand lance caught less than three miles offshore of the town of Kita-Ibaraki. The young fish also contained 447 bequerels of cesium-137, which is considered more problematic than iodine-131 because it has a much longer half-life.
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Nuclear sushi...
Link
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1111. RTLSNK
Quoting Skyepony:
Ike I wunder what came off the ground & spread in an arc in front of the squall line a little SE of Tamps.


I saw that myself this morning when I first checked in. Started from a small area and expanded out in a circle with the heaviest image to the NNE.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
I'm not complaining though, just a nice soaking of torrential rain, lots of lighting, and gusty winds, fun storms to watch without being dangerous! Unless your dumb enough to go out in the lightning haha


Even though its the dry season, our yearly total is 20.27 so far and counting with a steady rain right now.

We had good rain in January and February as well. We are doing great for the dry season, because we usually get anywhere from 30 to 45 inches in the wet season that will be added on top of this.

20.27"? really? Here in Naples, we're at 2.73" for the year and only 4.84" since October 1. Normal numbers are, respectively, 6.5" and 13.62", so we're hurting... On the plus side, we set a record for the date of 90 yesterday, so the Gulf is going to continue to warm up nicely...
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Quoting IKE:

Yeah...it's chilly. I was just teasing.

55.9 outside my window.


That is chilly! We are supposed to have a 12 hour cold air advection period behind the front with lows in the low 50's tonight but then near 80 tomorrow and upper 80's by wed into Thursday and may 90 by the weekend with some humidity!

This year everything has been ahead of schedule including wild life, and weather, its natures way of balancing things out after record breaking cold and extremely long lasting winter. Populations of everything were below normal last year. This year we are seeing an explosion in wildlife and plants of all kinds to counteract last year.
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Quoting Skyepony:
Ike I wunder what came off the ground & spread in an arc in front of the squall line a little SE of Tamps.


Could that have been a large flock of birds?
They were very active here earlier this morning.
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1107. IKE

Quoting Skyepony:
Ike I wunder what came off the ground & spread in an arc in front of the squall line a little SE of Tamps.
I don't know. I don't see any reports of any tornadoes in the peninsula of Florida....


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Complete Update





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1105. Skyepony (Mod)
Ike I wunder what came off the ground & spread in an arc in front of the squall line a little SE of Tamps.
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1104. Skyepony (Mod)
Kinda looks like a tornado may come fairly close to the shuttle launch pad..
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I'm not complaining though, just a nice soaking of torrential rain, lots of lighting, and gusty winds, fun storms to watch without being dangerous! Unless your dumb enough to go out in the lightning haha


Even though its the dry season, our yearly total is 20.27 so far and counting with a steady rain right now.

We had good rain in January and February as well. We are doing great for the dry season, because we usually get anywhere from 30 to 45 inches in the wet season that will be added on top of this.
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1102. IKE

Quoting Jedkins01:



isn't it getting a little chilly for the beach up there now behind the convective line? I mean here it went from 78 to 64 behind the squall line, now we just have a good steady rain coming down with the stratiform stuff.
Yeah...it's chilly. I was just teasing.

55.9 outside my window.
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1101. IKE

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Quoting IKE:

There's quite a bit of the area that I live in here in the panhandle, that is still without power.

Heck..I might as well head to the beach today.



isn't it getting a little chilly for the beach up there now behind the convective line? I mean here it went from 78 to 64 behind the squall line, now we just have a good steady rain coming down with the stratiform stuff.
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Quoting caneswatch:


I'm just west of WPB in Royal Palm Beach. Yesterday the thermometer got into the low 90's, so the heat will be helping considerably with this storm. Hell, i'm surprised the NWS hasn't issued anything on it yet.


Even though convective cells are still strong along the line, its losing a lot of its dynamic support for severe weather, that is probably why. As I said, the convection along the line that blew through here in Pinellas turned out just as strong as it was to the counties north of me, but we did not got severe thunderstorm level winds like they did. That being said, if the storm are still strong but aren't producing as much wind. Dynamics for severe weather must be starting to lift away. That doesn't mean isolated severe isn't possible. But already didn't get as much wind as the warning said we would, and neither did the rest of Tampa Bay.
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1098. IKE

Quoting Jedkins01:
However I can't say the same to counties north of me. Reports of power poles and trees down cross parts of Pasco county points north. I just think all those warnings in the Central counties may be overdoing it because unlike the counties north of me, Ive yet to here of damage in the Central counties or of any 60 mph + winds. Just most 40 to 50 mph around here which definitely is not a big deal for Central Florida. We need at least 60 mph or more usually to cause any damage.
There's quite a bit of the area that I live in here in the panhandle, that is still without power.

Heck..I might as well head to the beach today.
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However I can't say the same to counties north of me. Reports of power poles and trees down cross parts of Pasco county points north. I just think all those warnings in the Central counties may be overdoing it because unlike the counties north of me, Ive yet to here of damage in the Central counties or of any 60 mph + winds. Just most 40 to 50 mph around here which definitely is not a big deal for Central Florida. We need at least 60 mph or more usually to cause any damage.
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Despite all the warnings, this line must not be producing nearly much wind as it was in the northern half of Florida and the rest of the deep south.

I mean maybe its cause after having a direct hit from a monster super cell last Thursday that brought 75 to 85 mph wind gusts to my place and nearby tornado, it didn't seem like much.

We just had a lot of intense rainfall and lots of lighting here. Even though we were right in the severe thunderstorm warning box for damaging winds. We had just typical strong thunderstorm gusts maxing at 47 mph at my house. I'm not sure about the rest of Central Florida but the warning didn't verify here. I'm fine with that though, we had a shocking amount of damage around here Thursday so I'm glad to see just a good strong thunderstorm here and nothing severe even though there was a warning.




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Hydrus, I am glad you can read that map!
Please just let me know when it's about to get here, kay? This one caught me totally by surprise.
Has not lasted long and already feels like it's moving out. Hopefully, we'll see sun this afternoon as I am driving over to Sanford later no matter what!
Oops, just saw a good flash of lightning outside.
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Quoting RastaSteve:
S FL may get the worst of it with daytime heating causing more instability. So W Palm Beach area better get ready because by 12pm to 1pm there should be some pretty intense activity blowing up as the seabreeze developes. Noticing as the low clouds are building quickly as daytime heating has begun here but that's about to end as the line is only 30 minutes away now.


I'm just west of WPB in Royal Palm Beach. Yesterday the thermometer got into the low 90's, so the heat will be helping considerably with this storm. Hell, i'm surprised the NWS hasn't issued anything on it yet.
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1093. hydrus
Quoting Chicklit:
Nice healthy line of showers coming through ECFL now.
The roof does not leak.
Ah...life is good!
Agree, South Florida maybe best be careful today if they get daytime warming as this front is pretty strong.
mornin Chicklit...Our next severe weather event already picked up by the CMC...Link
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Nice healthy line of showers coming through ECFL now.
The roof does not leak.
Ah...life is good!
Agree, South Florida maybe best be careful today if they get daytime warming as this front is pretty strong.
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History is made, we broke 1,000 reports of severe weather in one day, yesterday.. I don't think I've ever seen that happen in my lifetime.


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1090. emcf30
Quoting jeffs713:

Looks like Sanford and Lake Mary are getting kicked like a bad habit right now.


Yea that is definitely the worst cell in the line
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1089. IKE
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY RUSKIN FL
841 AM EDT TUE APR 5 2011

...TORNADO WATCH 102 HAS BEEN CANCELLED FOR LEVY AND CITRUS
COUNTIES AND ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS...
...SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 105 CONTINUES FOR MUCH OF WEST
CENTRAL FLORIDA...

.DISCUSSION...
THE LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS HAS PUSHED THROUGH MUCH OF THE NATURE
COAST THIS MORNING AND IS BECOMING MORE E/W ORIENTED. THE SEVERE
THUNDERSTORM WATCH CONTINUES FOR HERNANDO AND SUMTER COUNTIES
SOUTH THROUGH SARASOTA...DESOTO AND HIGHLANDS AS WELL AS THE
ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS AND TAMPA BAY.
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Quoting emcf30:

Looks like Sanford and Lake Mary are getting kicked like a bad habit right now.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5880
1087. kwgirl
Good Morning everyone. Looks like another wild weather day in Florida. I hope some of the rain makes it to the keys this time. Not looking forward to wind but sometimes you have to take the bad with the good. Everyone stay safe!
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1086. emcf30
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1085. hydrus
Quoting IKE:
Ah come on...gotta have a sense of humor. Life is too short.


This is true..
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Even though it's in the 40s this morning, I received a reminder for this by email

B - become acclimated to the heat
E - establish break schedules
C - consider heat in job planning
O - observe for warning signs of stress
O - obtain enough fluids
L - limit time in certain PPE
Member Since: Juli 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9628
1083. Jax82
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 1261
1082. emcf30
Nice sat pic jax
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1081. Jax82
The vizzy
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1080. IKE
My county...storm report from last night.....

0445UNK DE FUNIAK SPRINGS WALTON FL3072 8612
TREES DOWN COUNTYWIDE.

Next county over to my east......

0510 60 5 N BONIFAY HOLMES FL3086 8568
60 MPH WINDS.NO POWER


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Quoting CatfishJones:


All you have to do is engage in minimal human sacrifice of any given fat old German tourist who ought not be wearing that Speedo.
Its GERMAN tourists?!? Dangit, I was using French ones.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5880
Quoting jeffs713:
Next time y'all in FL cut a deal with mother nature for rain, could you please let SE TX in on the deal?


All you have to do is engage in minimal human sacrifice of any given fat old German tourist who ought not be wearing that Speedo. Whether a ritual is required is debatable, but it couldn't hurt.
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1077. IKE
Quoting aquak9:
rough crowd this morning ike...don't even try.
Ah come on...gotta have a sense of humor. Life is too short.


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Next time y'all in FL cut a deal with mother nature for rain, could you please let SE TX in on the deal?
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5880
looks like the morning crew are on the comedy tour this am...
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1074. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1072. aquak9
rough crowd this morning ike...don't even try.
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1071. IKE
Looks like the line is weakening over peninsula Florida.

Don't take my word at it...I'm not a met....but I just saved a boatload of money by switching to GEICO,
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1069. aquak9
rushed back outside in boxers to get dog

!!
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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.