Great earthquake rocks Chile; NYC gets 4th greatest snow ever; Xynthia batters Europe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 27. helmikuuta 2010 klo 17:26 (GMT)

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A great earthquake with magnitude 8.8 rocked the coast of Chile at 6:34 GMT this morning, generating a potentially dangerous tsunami that is racing across the Pacific Ocean. The great quake is the 7th most powerful tremor in world history (Figure 1). Preliminary tsunami wave heights for the California coast near Santa Barbara are 2 - 2.5 feet. The wave is expected to arrive between 12:15 - 12:35 pm PST. The tsunami is expected to arrive in Hawaii between 11:05 - 11:42am HST, with a wave 8.2 feet high expected in Hilo, on the Big Island. A tsunami from the 9.5 Magnitude 1960 earthquake in Chile killed 61 people in Hilo. Today's quake was so strong, that it triggered a seiche in Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, over 4,500 miles (7,000 km) away. The lake sloshed back and forth, creating a wave 0.4 - 0.51 feet on either side of the lake.


Figure 1. Wikipedia's list of strongest earthquakes of all-time.

Preliminary tsunami amplitude forecasts:

La Jolla, CA 2.3 ft
Los Angeles, CA 2.0 ft
Malibu, CA 2.6 ft
Pt. San Luis, CA 2.3 ft
Half Moon Bay, CA 2.6 ft
Crescent City, CA 1.7 ft
Morro Bay, CA 2.2 ft
Santa Monica, CA 3.3 ft
San Francisco, CA 0.7 ft
Pismo Beach, CA 4.6 ft

Hilo, HI 8.2 feet 11:5am HST
Honolulu, HI 1.6 ft 11:37am HST
Kahului, HI 7.2 ft 11:26am HST
Nawiliwili, HI 3.0 ft 11:42am HST
Haleiwa 1.6 ft
Kawaihae 2.0 ft

Port Orford, OR 0.7 ft

Moclip, WA 1.3 ft

Seward, AK 1.3 ft
Stika, AK 1.3 ft
Kodiak, AK 2.3 ft

Tofino, British Columbia 1.7 ft

Today's great quake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American plates about 325 km southwest of the capital Santiago (population 5.3 million). The depth was estimated at 35 km. At least four aftershocks of magnitude 6 or higher have occurred, the largest being a 6.9 aftershock. Fortunately, the area close to the epicenter is relatively sparsely populated, but there may be heavy damage in Concepción (est. pop. 300,000) and Chillan (est. pop. 170,000), which lie 115 km and 100 km to the south of the epicenter, respectively.


Figure 2. NOAA's preliminary forecast of tsunami wave energy for today's earthquake. Image credit: NOAA Tsunami Warning Center.

New York City slammed with its 4th largest snowstorm on record
The snow from the fourth extreme snowstorm to wallop the Northeast U.S. this winter dumped a remarkable 20.9" of snow on New York City's Central Park yesterday and Thursday. This is the 4th largest snowstorm for the city in recorded history. According to the National Weather Service, the top ten snowstorms on record for New York City's Central Park are:

26.9" Feb 11-12, 2006
26.4" Dec 26-27, 1947
21.0" Mar 12-14, 1888
20.9" Feb 25-26, 2010
20.2" Jan 7-8, 1996
19.8" Feb 16-17, 2003
18.1" Mar 7-8, 1941
17.7" Feb 5-7, 1978
17.6" Feb 11-12, 1983
17.5" Feb 4-7, 1920

The storm also helped New York City set a new all-time snowfall record for the most snow ever recorded in a month--36.9". The old record was 30.5", set in March 1896. However, the old Lower Manhattan WB Station recorded 37.9" in February 1894. Yesterday's snowstorm puts New York City's snow for the 2009 - 2010 season at 51.4", making it the 11th snowiest winter since 1869. Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, lists the city's all-time seasonal snowfall record at 81.5", set in the winter of 1867 - 1868. This measurement came before official records began in Central Park, and were done be the NY Park Commissioners (see "Annual Report NY Park Commissioners", 1868, by John B. Marie). The second snowiest winter in NYC occurred during the winter of 1995 - 1996, when 75.6" fell.

Destructive Winter Storm Xynthia battering Portugal and Spain
A powerful 969 mb low pressure system named "Xynthia" is rapidly intensifying of the coast of Spain, and stands poised to deliver a devastating blow to Portugal, Spain, and France today and tomorrow as it powers through Europe. Sustained winds of 60 mph (96 km/hr) were reported today at a Personal Weather Station in Costa del Morte, Spain. The pressure fell to 969 mb as Xynthia passed overhead. For comparison, Winter Storm Klaus had a minimum pressure of 967 mb. Klaus, which hit northern Spain and southwest France January 23 - 25, was Earth's most costly natural disaster of 2009, causing $5.1 billion in damage and killing 26. Models predict that Xynthia will continue to intensify today, reaching 962 mb as it moves into the west coast of France Sunday morning. Sustained winds of 50 - 65 mph (80 - 105 km/hr) with hurricane-force gusts up to 100 mph (160 km/hr) are possible along the north coast of Spain tonight and the west coast of France on Sunday as Xynthia barrels through. The storm is also bringing an exceptionally moist plume of tropical moisture ashore, as seen in precipitable water imagery from NOAA (Figure 4). This moisture is likely to cause moderate to severe flooding in portions of Europe over the weekend.


Figure 3. Visible satellite image at 12 GMT of Xynthia.


Figure 4. Satellite measurements show a region of extremely high atmospheric moisture is associated with Winter Storm Xynthia. This moisture will surge over Portugal and Spain today, potentially creating serious flooding. Image credit: Sheldon Kusselson, NOAA/NESDIS.

Links to follow:
Wundermap for Northwest Spain
Spanish radar
Meteo-France
Portugese radar

Jeff Masters

Central Park 26Feb10 (MickyDee)
the BIG one Taken in Manhattan
Central Park 26Feb10
Tree 1, House 0 (Backbaybob)
This cottage was no match for 65 mph wind and an old pine tree.
Tree 1, House 0

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1066. TampaSpin
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:56 (GMT)
Home Run Leaders
Athlete GP AB HR
Brooks Beisner 21.0 77.0 4.0


Brooks Beisner stats

My Nyphew. Will be going to Aubrun next year but, will like be drafted in MLB.
Member Since: 2.09.2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
1065. nrtiwlnvragn
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:25 (GMT)
New Blog
Member Since: 23.09.2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 10462
1064. Ossqss
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:24 (GMT)
Psst, new blog
Member Since: 12.06.2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8183
1063. Levi32
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:23 (GMT)
Good morning all.

The Canary Current (the current that brings cold water southward along the west African coast) looks to be struggling lately due to the weak subtropical high this year. This is another thing aiding warm SSTs in the eastern Atlantic.

Member Since: 24.11.2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
1062. hydrus
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:21 (GMT)
Quoting all4hurricanes:

In Lituya bay Alaska a small quake called a landslide that created a huge tsunami 1,700ft high! 2 fisherman were dead, one boat rode on top of the wave and the two people on board lived
Was that the 1964 earthquake? If it was, that was a big tremor.
Member Since: 27.09.2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19521
1061. atmoaggie
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:20 (GMT)
Quoting TampaSpin:
Gettin pretty cold again....Gettin pretty cold!



Warm up coming after this one.....then it looks like a Cold break coming one last time.....UNREAL

Wife keeps asking when she can plant some bulbs...I keep saying we could still see a night in the mid-20s in the next 3 weeks.
Member Since: 16.08.2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1060. xcool
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:18 (GMT)
cold nooo
Member Since: 26.09.2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
1059. TampaSpin
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:15 (GMT)
Gettin pretty cold again....Gettin pretty cold!



Warm up coming after this one.....then it looks like a Cold break coming one last time.....UNREAL
Member Since: 2.09.2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
1058. atmoaggie
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 16:02 (GMT)
Big 45+ dBz area (NW LA):


No lightning anywhere near:
Member Since: 16.08.2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1057. atmoaggie
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 15:28 (GMT)
That frontal lift will have to be vigorous for this system to produce any lightning for us in SE LA...and is expected to be enough for that. But don't be surprised if this is a relatively quiet "thunder"storm.
Member Since: 16.08.2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1056. all4hurricanes
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 15:24 (GMT)
Quoting FatPenguin:


Yep, these can be the most dangerous because they're not immediately recognized. A small tremor could topple the undersea cliff. There's a big concern that one could happen just off the cost of some large cities that have small islands off the coast, like Los Angeles.

In Lituya bay Alaska a small quake called a landslide that created a huge tsunami 1,700ft high! 2 fisherman were dead, one boat rode on top of the wave and the two people on board lived
Member Since: 29.03.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2338
1055. atmoaggie
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 15:24 (GMT)
Looks like most of the energy will stay off shore...until Florida gets in the way.

CAPE from RUC for 5 pm CST:



And the sounding for NOLA; just not enough warm at the surface for any buoyancy-induced instability.
(also for 5 pm CST...from RUC)
Member Since: 16.08.2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
1054. TampaSpin
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 15:22 (GMT)
The lack of Earthquake activity near West Coast from the US to Canada looks scary to me. Lets hope the big one is not sticking really bad and ready to Snap.

Member Since: 2.09.2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
1053. FLWeatherFreak91
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 15:11 (GMT)
Looks like Florida is in for some active weather tomorrow. There is a strong jet over the central peninsula and it will act to enhance the squall line as it moves out of the gulf onto the peninsula early tomorrow morning. I see the most dangerous area from hernando county east to brevard county.
Member Since: 1.12.2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 3616
1052. TampaSpin
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 15:05 (GMT)
DATE LAT LON MAG DEPTH REGION
01-MAR-2010 10:37:37 18.44 -72.75 4.6 10.0 HAITI REGION


DATE LAT LON MAG DEPTH REGION
01-MAR-2010 08:43:37 5.36 -82.55 4.8 35.0 SOUTH OF PANAMA

01-MAR-2010 12:48:22 -38.38 -73.87 4.8 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 12:27:15 -34.22 -71.82 5.3 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 12:20:18 -34.51 -73.64 5.2 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 10:17:29 -36.39 -71.86 4.8 35.0 CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 09:23:00 -35.62 -71.76 4.8 35.0 CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 08:58:33 -37.70 -74.39 5.3 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 08:46:59 -35.40 -71.03 4.9 35.0 CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 07:49:07 -35.00 -72.86 5.3 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 07:39:17 -35.97 -72.70 4.9 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 07:29:15 -33.83 -72.25 4.7 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 06:53:20 -24.72 -65.15 4.9 35.0 SALTA PROVINCE, ARGENTINA
01-MAR-2010 06:24:52 -33.93 -73.09 4.8 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 06:16:11 -37.58 -74.53 5.1 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 05:36:57 -36.80 -73.52 4.9 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 05:30:36 -34.45 -73.48 5.2 35.0 OFF COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 03:53:16 -38.64 -73.12 5.0 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 03:07:50 -36.12 -72.80 5.1 40.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 02:44:42 -35.09 -72.61 5.8 26.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 01:10:58 -35.16 -71.70 5.4 42.6 CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 00:49:15 -34.66 -72.56 4.8 35.3 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE
01-MAR-2010 00:01:27 -38.31 -73.75 5.0 35.0 NEAR COAST OF CENTRAL CHILE



Member Since: 2.09.2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
1051. FatPenguin
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:58 (GMT)
Quoting AussieStorm:

there can also be unstable undersea cliff/land area that can fall due to even a relatively small quake.


Yep, these can be the most dangerous because they're not immediately recognized. A small tremor could topple the undersea cliff. There's a big concern that one could happen just off the cost of some large cities that have small islands off the coast, like Los Angeles.
Member Since: 13.08.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 315
1049. StormChaser81
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:57 (GMT)
Raw Security Cameras show impressive 8.8 Chile Earthquake:

Chile Security Camera's
Member Since: 11.08.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
1048. Bordonaro
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:57 (GMT)
Quoting xcool:
gomx loooking to me heat upp mmm?

The Gulf Stream current feeds into the SE GOM, noting that is the warmest area of the GOM.

The GOM is fairly shallow, although temps right now appear to be cooler than normal, I don't see that lasting much longer, as Spring is right around the corner.

The Atlantic Ocean from the coast of Africa westward, into the Caribbean Sea has temps above normal, that is the biggest concern, as the El Nino will continue to weaken, setting the stage for an active Atlantic Hurricane season.
Member Since: 25.08.2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
1047. StormChaser81
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:54 (GMT)
Quoting AussieStorm:

there can also be unstable undersea cliff/land area that can fall due to even a relatively small quake.


Very True
Member Since: 11.08.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
1046. NEwxguy
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:48 (GMT)
These huge East coast storms continue to ignite off the coast,luckily for today's its far enough off to only give us a slushy mess.
Member Since: 6.09.2007 Posts: 862 Comments: 15079
1045. AussieStorm
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:47 (GMT)
Quoting StormChaser81:


They usually need to be a great earth quake to get the land moving enough to cause them. 8.0 and above. The 1960 quake in Chile which was 9.5 caused a 35 ft Tsunami in the Hawaiian Islands.

there can also be unstable undersea cliff/land area that can fall due to even a relatively small quake.
Member Since: 30.09.2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15749
1044. xcool
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:35 (GMT)
gomx loooking to me heat upp mmm?
Member Since: 26.09.2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
1043. StormChaser81
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:29 (GMT)
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
is there still the potential for another tsunami with any of these aftershocks?


They usually need to be a great earth quake to get the land moving enough to cause them. 8.0 and above. The 1960 quake in Chile which was 9.5 caused a 35 ft Tsunami in the Hawaiian Islands.
Member Since: 11.08.2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2315
1042. weathermanwannabe
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:20 (GMT)
Quoting P451:
March 2-8 Tropical Hazards Map


Good Year for folks in the SE US to lay down sod/plant grass and plants this Spring if you need to with a healthy rain forecast....
Member Since: 8.08.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
1040. AussieStorm
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:13 (GMT)
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
well today is march 1st there is 20 days of winter left till first day of spring

Today is the 1st day of Autumn here.
Member Since: 30.09.2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15749
1039. Thundercloud01221991
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 14:07 (GMT)
is there still the potential for another tsunami with any of these aftershocks?
Member Since: 1.08.2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
1037. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:57 (GMT)
we had two storms the whole winter i think we are around 40 cm for entire winter so we are well below for snowfall but hey with 20 days left anything is possible but as you stated in 14 days looks like a good warm up coming so yay winter is on its last legs not this weekend but next weekend time goes ahead to EDT
Member Since: 15.07.2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
1036. weathermanwannabe
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:55 (GMT)
Good Morning.....That low over Texas headed towards the Northern Gulf is looking very healthy this morning.
Member Since: 8.08.2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
1033. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:37 (GMT)
well today is march 1st there is 20 days of winter left till first day of spring
Member Since: 15.07.2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52257
1032. doabarrelroll
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:37 (GMT)
Quoting BahaHurican:
Two reasons, IMO:

1. An earlier post gives several reasons why Chile is less likely to need huge outpourings of international aid, mainly due to geography (location and type of quake) and history (Chile's previous experience w/ quakes, Haiti's poor building standards quake-wise)

2. Setting: a weekend quake in the southern hemisphere isn't going to get into the news cycle in our neck of the woods as quickly.

I have a feeling we'll be hearing more about aid as the week progresses.

I wonder if this was the "big one" the western hemisphere has been building up to since January, or if there's more major earthquake activity to come.....

3. Chile is an economic powerhouse int hat reason with a stong military and government. It would be comparable to Canada needing an outpouring of assistance after a quake.
Member Since: 8.11.2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 486
1031. WxLogic
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:37 (GMT)
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Today starts the 64th Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference. Lots of interesting information listed for presentation in the agenda. A pdf contains many of the abstracts.

Looking forward to when the actual presentations are published on the web.


Nrt... I must agree with you. Definitely makes up for a quite informative reading.
Member Since: 14.08.2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4881
1030. WxLogic
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:36 (GMT)
Good morning...

Tomorrow shaping up to be quite a windy day across the FL Peninsula specially CFL and points north the low pressure intensifies rather quickly across the NE GOM.

If DWPT are able to recover later today enough to get into the mid 60's then we'll definitely be in quite a bit of SFC based TSTM development and rotation with them.
Member Since: 14.08.2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4881
1029. Chicklit
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:29 (GMT)
Spruce Creek Fly-In, Daytona Beach, Florida (PWS)Updated: 1 sec ago
47.5 F
Clear
Windchill: 47 F
Humidity: 97%
Dew Point: 47 F
Wind: 0.0 mphfrom the NW
Wind Gust: 1.0 mph
Wish we could bottle the cool air and release it when we need it.


Member Since: 11.07.2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11047
1028. nrtiwlnvragn
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:21 (GMT)
Today starts the 64th Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference. Lots of interesting information listed for presentation in the agenda. A pdf contains many of the abstracts.

Looking forward to when the actual presentations are published on the web.
Member Since: 23.09.2005 Posts: 13 Comments: 10462
1027. severstorm
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:18 (GMT)
jeff9641 how are you holding up?
Member Since: 25.11.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
1026. presslord
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:17 (GMT)
IKE...the devastation pales in comparison...also, Chile is not a Third World country...they have great resources for this sort of thing...and their government hasn't asked for a lot of assistance...
Member Since: 13.08.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
1024. severstorm
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:13 (GMT)
jeff9641, hows your moms mother-in-law?
Member Since: 25.11.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
1023. severstorm
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 13:12 (GMT)
Good Morning jeff9641, I've been watching for that bad weather really looks like it could be bad around w c fl Tuesday.
Member Since: 25.11.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
1021. aquak9
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 11:52 (GMT)
Good Morning WU-Bloggers worldwide, and welcome to March.
Member Since: 13.08.2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25506
1020. severstorm
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 11:48 (GMT)

Morning all, It sure is amazing how long this cold weather has lasted.God be with Chile!!
Member Since: 25.11.2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 956
1019. BahaHurican
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 11:43 (GMT)
Quoting IKE:


I hope their okay. Maybe it's just the communication lines that are down?

Surprising that I haven't seen the outpouring for donations for Chile like I saw for Haiti.

Kind of swept under the rug compared to Haiti.

Two reasons, IMO:

1. An earlier post gives several reasons why Chile is less likely to need huge outpourings of international aid, mainly due to geography (location and type of quake) and history (Chile's previous experience w/ quakes, Haiti's poor building standards quake-wise)

2. Setting: a weekend quake in the southern hemisphere isn't going to get into the news cycle in our neck of the woods as quickly.

I have a feeling we'll be hearing more about aid as the week progresses.

I wonder if this was the "big one" the western hemisphere has been building up to since January, or if there's more major earthquake activity to come.....
Member Since: 25.10.2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20702
1017. Levi32
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 08:06 (GMT)
Quoting weatherbro:
If we do go into a La Nina. Do you guys think it'll be western based(La Nina Modiki, Central Pacific cooling)?

If so, how will that effect our weather patterns?


No, this kind of El Nino starts cooling from the east to west, so we will see a cool tongue develop near South America and work its way west across the equatorial Pacific.
Member Since: 24.11.2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
1016. Levi32
1. maaliskuuta 2010 klo 08:04 (GMT)
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


The low pressure expected in the Caribbean also means that there will be less rain over the Amazon, which is bad for the Brazilian forest fire season.



Volcanic activity? You mean Mount Redoubt? Most of the eruption consisted of water vapor, which should have enhanced a positive feedback near the pole but not in the tropics, which is the area studied in which a negative feedback resulted in nearly flat temperatures after 2000. Mount Redoubt erupted previously in 1989-1990, and I see no similar spike in global temperatures from 1990-1991. Whatever caused the rapid warming, it appears to have broken the decadal lull in global warming.


More volcanoes erupted than just Redoubt. There were a few in Russia as well. The SO2 released from these eruptions is an effective absorber of sunlight, and heated the upper atmosphere, which aided in the amazing blocking we have seen this winter. Joe Bastardi has commented on this as well.
Member Since: 24.11.2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455

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About JeffMasters

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

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