2016 Hurricane Season

Weather reports, questions and comment.
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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Sep 25, 2016 12:53 am

MATTHEW?

It is still early days but the risks of severe weather for the southern half of the Windwards are increasing for Wednesday.

The current area of higher risk includes Trinidad & Tobago and (according to some models) even the north coast of Venezuela.

So this is potential 'Matthew' and should be treated with respect.

A fast moving Tropical Wave approaching the midway point across the Tropical Atlantic is forming a depression but is struggling to spin due to it's close proximity to the Equator.

In this system's path lies a combination of exceptionally warm seas and good atmospheric conditions and with little Saharan Dust influence to limit the formation of rain clouds. If this system nudges north by 2 or 3 degrees there is little to prevent it becoming a Tropical Storm or Hurricane before it reaches the Caribbean ... in this scenario, the system would likely impact areas to the north of Barbados.

Another scenario is the system staying on a more westerly track which would delay development but it would still bring localised Stormy conditions and could still become a Tropical Storm or Hurricane shortly before it arrives in the Caribbean.

The NHC uses data from all the weather models to make it's own predictions is giving this disturbance a 70% chance of development within 5 days.

There are 72 hours to prepare for this. A Tropical Storm or Hurricane might not happen but currently there is a good chance it could happen. Either way, Wednesday will bring unsettled weather and I will post updates between now and then.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Sep 25, 2016 12:39 pm

INCREASING RISK OF SEVERE WEATHER FOR TOBAGO BY THIS WEDNESDAY

My confidence in a severe weather event affecting Tobago this Wednesday is increasing by the hour so if you thought I was under the influence of funky juices last night then you are absolutely correct but that does not mean that the sensible or logical departments in my skull cavity malfunctioned in any way ...

I recommend that Tobago gets ready for this ... there are 60 hours to prepare as the NHC has increased the chance of a Tropical Storm or Hurricane developing within 5 days to 80%.

It is still relatively early to predict the exact path of this system and the speed at which it could develop and, of course, it may miss Tobago ... the current risk area for a direct hit is as far south as Venezuela and just north of Barbados.

Another point to note ... it is acknowledged that Tobago is rarely affected by Tropical Storms and Hurricanes ... it is also very rare for disturbances of this type to take the track this system is taking ...

... so we are talking 'rare' in every meaning for this developing system ... this is a rare situation.

Please monitor my updates and any other relevant information you can find.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:56 pm

HERE COMES MATTHEW

The next name is Matthew and there is now little doubt that Matthew will be assigned to the Tropical Disturbance I have been tracking in recent days.

The NHC are giving a 70% chance of becoming a Storm or Hurricane in the next 48 hours. 90% within 5 days.

So where is it going to go and what will it do?

As with most newly developing Storms they can start wobbling as they wrap protective thunderclouds around their centres and this one has had quite a significant wobble about 2 degrees to the North. This is something I feared in earlier posts because this wobble is allowing potential Matthew to start spinning and this increases the potential strength of the Storm and accelerates development.

The NHC has not yet made an adjustment following this ... perhaps they expect the Storm to wobble back a little to the south. The NHC is still warning coastal areas of South America to watch this Storm and I am pleased to see that they are going to send an aircraft to the Storm to assess it's strength tomorrow morning.

This will help the NHC provide more reliable data and predictions, however, if the outcome of this assessment looks bad for Tobago there could be as little as 12 to 18 hours to get ready for severe weather.

The worst of the rain appears to be to the north of the Storm and the worst of the Wind could be to the south of the Storm which is getting bigger and we don't yet know as to what extent the strongest winds will be from the Storm Centre.

Therefore, with Tobago being right in the middle of the predicted danger zone it is still too early to be certain which poison is going to be applied ... or both?

On the other hand, the closer the Storm goes to the South American coastline then the weaker it could become.

So ... I know Tobago will get rain which it needs, I know there will be strong winds (which it doesn't need) and I know there will be heavy seas. I think the centre of this Storm will be to the north of Tobago but there is still a risk of a direct hit.

There are about 36 hours to go so hopefully Trinidad & Tobago will be getting ready and hopefully I can bring more positive news tomorrow.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Carol G » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:11 pm

Hi Paul,
You do have to wonder about the mind set of the govt concerning the storm
See below
http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2016-09- ... ad-weather

I do certainly hope it leaps over Tobago as the article seems to suggest.
Cheers, Carol

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:03 pm

MATTHEW AND CAROL G

Thank you for your feedback Carol.

The problem with these Storms is that they are so unpredictable until a Centre is identified and this one is wobbling all over the place but the wobbles are definitely leaning towards the North.

The Storm is instinctively trying to find the best place within it's ragged circulation to form it's centre and the most intense rainbands are to the North, although in the last hour there was a big burst of thunderstorm activity to the south which tells me that Tropical Storm development is now underway.

If the burst of thunderstorms can successfully wrap around and engage with the rainbands to the North then I would say the centre of this developing storm is on the same latitude as Barbados and the most damaging core of this Storm should track just north of Barbados.

It will still bring problems over a wide area and it could still wobble back to the South ... it is difficult to predict.

The outer rainbands of this Storm are already affecting Barbados. These outer rainbands will start to affect Tobago from about midnight (local time) onwards. The winds will obviously increase by Wednesday morning and the sea will get a little heavy ... perhaps 10 foot swells but this will not last very long if the Storm tracks north of Barbados.

I will do another check on the Storm's progress later tonight to see if there has been a wobble to the south and to see if the Hurricane Hunter mission has collected any data that could affect Tobago.

I will post another update in a few hours.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:00 pm

NOT YET MATTHEW

Or, in other words ... 'it has not yet formed a closed circulation'.

This very silly criteria once again deprives areas at risk from receiving official warnings.

Soon to be 'Matthew' is struggling to build a wall of thunderstorms around it's south west quadrant, so while the other 75% of the Storm is clearly developing vicious thunderstorms and Tropical Storm conditions, this 25% is preventing the NHC from designating this system Tropical Storm Status.

The Storm is generating very impressive outflow in most directions and is clearly winding itself up and presenting a life threatening weather event for the southern Windward Islands.

Following another wobble to the north, I am now sensing that the centre of this Storm could well pass to the north of Barbados but the outflow from this Storm is large and it is not a very compact Storm.

A small cluster of thunderstorms outflowing from this Storm are just east of Tobago right now so this evening will see the deterioration in the weather conditions for Tobago.

The next 24 hours will, at the very least, bring periods of rain, possible thunderstorms and localised squally conditions to Tobago, so my earlier advice on Wednesday's activities still apply.

It looks like conditions could be far worse around Barbados and within a radius of about 60 miles from Barbados.

I am not going to stay up all night to see if this Storm wobbles back south so please be vigilant and don't assume the threat is over.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Chris Runciman » Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:58 am

Castara calling:
Well Paul.
Here in Castara the sensible ones, i.e. wiser fishermen like Rusty, have brought their boats out of the water this afternoon. Others have taken their boats south to moor them in the lagoon.
We have settled into hurricane/tropical storm mode just in case.
There is no official storm warning as yet. But we have been through tis before so nothing left lying about on the deck, outdoor furniture brought indoors etc. Made sure that the torches have fresh batteries, water tanks are full and there is plenty of beer in the fridge etc.
Yesterday we were listening to a local radio station telling people that there was nothing to worry about and not to listen to 'armchair weather experts'. Local chaps ( hmm the guys pulling their boats out now?) were telling me not to worry as I showed them the NOAA forecast.
I never was a boy scout but all roadcrew know to be prepared!
The American Navy Reserve guys ( crazy or what!) are flying back into the eye of the storm tomorrow morning to see if the storm has become more organised so we will get an update then!
P.S. The sea has been absolutely amazing the last few days. So clear and warm with incredible visibility and as you know it takes on a green ' Fuji ' look and feels as though somebody has gone mad with the fabric conditioner it feels so soft .

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Chris Runciman » Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:24 pm

Now officially Tropical Storm Matthew but it is centred over Bermuda ( 11.20 local time ).
Good for us but not for Bermuda and those islands now in it's path.
So in Castara: We have not 'stood down' as we will probably still get wind and rain from the sea later on today as opposed to coming from the east over the central ridge. Mops are still on standby!
I am sure the dogs were aware of this impending storm as they were noticeably quiet last night!

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:04 pm

TROPICAL STORM MATTHEW

Thank you Chris ... it's good to see that everyone is prepared.

Matthew is nowhere near Bermuda (it might be next week) so I guess you are thinking of Barbados.

Matthew has tracked just to the north of Barbados and is moving through the strait between St Lucia and St Vincent.

There are reports of 60 mph winds here and there but I sense that the rainfall could be the main problem for the Islands underneath the rain clouds.

Tobago has been quite lucky so far, being under the south west quadrant of the Storm. Matthew is impressive with a fantastic outflow to the north and east ... the west and south quadrants are not as busy although there is some extremely heavy rainfall extending out to this area from the core of the Storm.

So chaps ... it's not over yet ... there could still be stormy conditions and I would expect that the sea has picked up a bit.

I am a little worried about that core of very heavy rain. Look to the North East and you may see lightening.

I am off to my local pub quiz now so I will update later ... stay vigilant men.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Chris Runciman » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:15 pm

Oops....sorry I meant Barbados! From lunchtime today the seas got up a bit, white horses all the way out. Wind and rain showers from the sea which have now cleared , 1700hrs local time, to be replaced by a bright but clouded Sky. The wind has dropped alas as the gentle breeze up here at the house was most welcome.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:59 pm

MATTHEW

Thanks Chris

From what I can see it should be raining in Tobago by now and very heavy.

Matthew is filling in the gaps and a very vigorous burst of thunderstorms has plumed outwards towards the South and both Trinidad and the west half of Tobago seem to be getting a good soaking.

I was a bit worried about this earlier ... if you now look to the north and west from Castara you should see lightening or it could be over you ... the radar fixes are not that accurate, I noticed this while in Castara during a thunderstorm to the west on Christmas Day 2014 and I think the radar placed it 20 miles to the east (over Tobago) when it was in fact elsewhere.

So ... if you go stand outside and get wet very quickly then I think the radar could be accurate ... if it is accurate I wouldn't stand out there too long otherwise you could get struck by lightening :mrgreen:

Oh dear ... you have to have a laugh at these situations sometimes.

Anyway ... on a more serious note, it's still not over ... there is a threat of very heavy rain overnight. The Islands further north are getting drenched and battered by high winds and heavy seas so I hope they pull through.

Questions are being raised about why this Storm was not designated a Storm much earlier and the old excuse that there was not a 'closed circulation' was mentioned, however this Storm had Tropical Storm winds around most of it's core and especially to the north and east ... oh no, you can't call it a Storm until it has a little tiny eye about 5 miles wide while 150 miles away some Island is getting a proper slapping.

Of course, this is the reason why Matthew is so rare in being given a 60 mph Tropical Storm status in such a short space of time ... suggesting that the intensification was rapid ... No! it was a 90% Tropical Storm and should have been designated as such long ago.

In addition, before Matthew has finished his life threatening business in the eastern Caribbean, the weather models are frantically trying to work out if Matthew is a threat to the US ... here we go again!

The main thing is that Tobago has suffered lightly although I would watch out for some torrential rain over the next 12 hours or so.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Chris Runciman » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:17 am

We have been watching the Lightning over towards Trinidad and further NW towards Grenada and seemingly 30 plus miles away or more.Frequent showers, some heavier than others interspersed with periods a calm. All rain coming from the sea so we have been swabbing the decks ! The worst threat we find is mango leaves which do not rot down so will block your drains and downpipes really quickly !
The chap above us has built a house of somewhat generous proportions , I.e HUGE but not put any downpipes on his guttering so we have been getting all his damned water !
Had a few words ......!

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Andy D » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:52 am

Well I'm back in glorious Tobago....last night (weds) in the Black Rock area we had some pretty torrential rain as well as thunder and lightening...sat with a few stag beers it was good to watch. This morning we've had some more torrential rain showers that remind me of turning on a tap fully and then turning off....masses of water that then suddenly stops ...hoping for some dryer weather soon ..

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:19 pm

HURRICANE MATTHEW

Interesting.

There is still some heavy rain around, particularly over Trinidad as a plume of outflow from the Hurricane covers Trinidad & Tobago.

There could be more rain yet.

The Hurricane does appear to be struggling with wind shear on it's west side and I don't believe the centre is within the rain clouds.

I have just got home from work so will have a better look and post an update later.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:12 pm

BIG HURRICANE MATTHEW

I am remembering the 2 wobbles that Matthew took to the north before the centre of the Storm passed close to the north of Barbados.

Had those 2 wobbles not occurred, Matthew would have been a much weaker Storm and be sheared to pieces by now, although Tobago would have endured a substantial rain event in the process.

Matthew is now being attacked by high wind shear which has laid bare the west and south western parts of the Storm, however other factors such as cooking sea temperatures and high levels of moisture in the atmosphere are helping Matthew to maintain an inner core of rain bands and the Storm is likely to strengthen and recover the shape of a Hurricane as it turns to the north around Sunday, threatening Jamaica and Cuba with major Hurricane conditions. I hope Haiti doesn't get it too bad.

Matthew is a big Storm. There are still rain bands affecting Tobago while the centre of the Storm is well out in the Caribbean Sea. If Matthew gets his shape back together and strengthens as expected, this will be a very large Storm covering most of the Caribbean.

Conditions should start to improve in Tobago although it looks like more rainfall is to come this evening and overnight.

But what happens next? I am sure Andy won't want to read this, because Matthew has introduced very high moisture levels in the Caribbean and more rain is on the way as 2 more Tropical Waves are hot on the heels of Matthew.

If you are lucky you could get some sunshine tomorrow and maybe a little on Saturday before more persistent rain sets in.

What I would like to know is if anyone notices a drop in the sea temperature over the next few days.

Hurricanes are the great air-conditioning units of the World and their power churns deep into the Oceans, pulling deeper cold sea water to the surface in order to balance the temperature controls in the Tropics.

So if anyone does feel that the sea water is cooler please post here with your feedback.

Updates ... I doubt if I will do any more updates before Sunday as I have places to go and people to upset this weekend ... but I will try to keep an eye on it.

Thank you to Chris and Andy for your feedbacks.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:00 am

POTENTIALLY CASTASTROPHIC HURRICANE MATTHEW

Well, after a splendid evening in London, I have returned to my Hotel and noticed that there is free wifi ... hmmm, I better have a quick update and see what that pesky Hurricane is doing ...

When I got back up off the floor on seeing the outrageously impressive Hurricane giving the north coast of Columbia a good once-in-a-lifetime lashing experience, I had to look closer.

I am certain Matthew will be a retired name at the end of season review. This is a Category 4 Storm. Getting stronger. Deadly.

Matthew sort of reminds me of Hurricane Ivan back in 2004. Ivan got closer to Tobago with more wind damage but, as I have said in previous posts, Matthew skipped up a few degrees of latitude tracking just north of Barbados and this allowed Matthew to strengthen and grow larger, with Tobago under the canopy of the rain clouds.

Hurricane watchers are totally perplexed as Matthew started a more southerly track just north of the Dutch Antilles and scraping the north coast of South America without weakening ... no, the comparison with Ivan stops there but it starts again if Hurricane Matthew slows and swings to a northerly direction, hitting Jamaica from the south. Ivan battered Jamaica as a Cat 5 Storm but it was not a direct hit.

So ... a few degrees to the west and Jamaica is facing disaster ... a few degrees to the east and the poor country of Haiti faces another disaster. Cuba is also in the target zone but normally copes better than it's neighbours.

Then what? It really depends how much Matthew interacts with these larger Islands and I see that the US is again just worrying about itself.

Having confounded all the Weather experts, Matthew remains an extremely dangerous and unpredictable Storm so I think we should just worry about Jamaica and Haiti for now.

Matthew has the credentials to be the most catastrophic Hurricane of the 2016 Season and the conditions look perfect for Matthew to become one of the most powerful Storms in history.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sat Oct 01, 2016 7:55 pm

HURRICANE MATTHEW UPDATE

Since my last post, Hurricane Matthew reached category 5 status but has since weakened to a Category 4 or (possibly) strong Cat 3 ... either way, a potentially catastrophic Storm.

One reason for the weakening, as reported by the hurricane Hunter aircraft is an eyewall replacement in progress ... this basically means that the Storm is trying to get bigger and the original eye collapses and a larger eye forms and the consequence of this is a larger Storm with larger bands of Hurricane Force winds. This is a very common process with Hurricanes with the largest and most destructive Storms going through more than 1 eyewall replacement.

In addition, Matthew is slowing down and, as many weather models have predicted, is beginning to take a turn to the north ... this is what we should be worried about because Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti are in the bad zone.

In addition (again!) the seas between these countries and Matthew are cooking and the atmospheric conditions are perfect for strengthening ... therefore Matthew should complete the eyewall replacement with ease and re-strengthen, possibly rapidly before affecting these Islands.

The other problem is Matthew's track ... coming from the south ... this is very rare because most Hurricanes travel on a north westerly track through the Caribbean (I think Wilma from 2005 is an exception), and generally, if the Storm maintains this track then the wind direction change is minimal, so an approach from the south is potentially more dangerous with easterly winds at first, then calm and then a switch to westerlies after the eye has passed.

No one yet know precisely where this track will be but wherever a strong centre goes, expect complete destruction and significant coastal impacts.

The next problem is to work out how big Matthew could get. Take, for example, the famous Katrina which was not that strong but Katrina was huge and carried a massive sea surge. Matthew is looking to achieve those proportions and therefore, debate about where the centre of Matthew goes could become academic as Hurricane conditions will affect a wide area that could include all of Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti.

Finally, what could go wrong for Matthew? ... Land. Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti are quite mountainous so a direct hit on any of these Islands will weaken Matthew and other potential victims, such as the Bahamas, will be hoping the the eye of Matthew does not go through the seas around these larger Islands, whilst of course not wishing harm on their neighbours.

The next week will be full of both fear and anticipation in the Caribbean because Matthew could be the most destructive Storm to affect the Caribbean in decades.


Tobago

Conditions have calmed down considerably and the rain I was predicting for today did not materialise because the Tropical Wave I was referring to has also started showing signs of Storm development and is starting to wind itself up at a higher latitude, avoiding the Caribbean altogether.

There is another Tropical Wave behind this so there is rain on the way ... see tomorrow's Liquid Sunshine post for more details.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:24 am

HURRICANE MATTHEW UPDATE

Matthew is slowly turning around to the north and the weather models have made some worrying adjustments overnight, indicating that Matthew will take a slightly more easterly track bringing the eye over the western tip of Haiti.

This does not improve matters very much for Jamaica as the wind field extends outwards around 200 miles from the centre of Matthew. Jamaica may just avoid a direct hit.

This shift to the east reduces the engagement with land for the Hurricane and potentially presents a very grave situation outlook for the eastern side of Cuba and the Bahamas.

In addition, the impressive outflow from the east of the Hurricane is sending heavy showers and rainfall over the eastern Caribbean as far as Tobago.

So it's not looking positive as Matthew appears to be finding the most damaging track through the centre of the Caribbean.

Already, the outer rain bands are affecting Jamaica and Haiti and conditions will not improve with the worst of the Storm affecting these areas from tomorrow and Tuesday. Hurricane conditions will reach Cuba on Monday night and then it is the Bahamas.

The eastern side of the Storm is carrying the most rain with +20 inches for Haiti ... it's not looking good for Haiti.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:08 pm

HURRICANE MATTHEW MOVING NORTH

The first significant rain band is now over Haiti and Jamaica should start experiencing persistent rainfall in the next few hours.

The only good news for Haiti is that the mysterious blob of extremely heavy rain on the eastern side of Matthew is diminishing, but there is no other good news ... it is looking very bad for Haiti.

Matthew is still having an impact on virtually the whole Caribbean with rain bands still affecting northern Columbia and Venezuela ... in addition, the eastern outflow of Matthew is still reaching Tobago, all the of Windward Islands and beyond.

Matthew is huge, although the most violent weather is generally within 200 miles of the eye of Matthew.

I am expecting Matthew to get bigger as it goes through an Eye Replacement, probably well before the eye reaches the south west of Haiti.

Speculation among the Weather Models predict a Category 3 Hurricane as it moves between Jamaica and Haiti and then hits Cuba but I would speculate that Matthew will be a stronger storm if there is minimal interaction with land.

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Re: 2016 Hurricane Season

Post by Paul Tallet » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:36 pm

HURRICANE MATTHEW UPDATE

Slight weakening, probably due to the eye wall replacement which I think is nearing completion.

Although most models are not predicting any strengthening I beg to differ.

The mysterious area of extreme rainfall on the east side of Matthew seems to have reborn and I have seen posts suggesting that just under 8 inches of rain has fallen over eastern Haiti and the west of the Dominican overnight ... and this is before the real business gets going.

By comparison, less significant rainfall has been affecting Jamaica and Cuba is starting to get wet.

Forward thinking now involves the Bahamas and, being low lying Islands, face the most risk of damage from the Storm Surge.

But I reserve my thoughts for Haiti tonight where I sense the conditions will be at their worst on a poor nation that has had enough bad luck in recent years.

The eastern outflow seems to have lifted northwards to mainly affect the norther Windward Islands.

It's OK around Tobago but there is plenty of moisture and humidity around and showers will readily form.

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