Super Typhoon Francisco Becomes Earth's 3rd Category 5 Storm of 2013

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:02 PM GMT on October 19, 2013

Mighty Super Typhoon Francisco has intensified to become Earth's third Category 5 storm of 2013. The other two Cat 5s were Cyclone Phailin, which hit India earlier this month at Category 3 or 4 strength, killing 44 and causing at least $1 billion in damage, and Super Typhoon Usagi, which hit China just east of Hong Kong as a Category 2 storm on September 22, killing 50 and causing at least $3.8 billion in damage. Satellite loops show a spectacular, well-organized storm with an impressive area of heavy thunderstorms and a prominent eye. With warm waters that extend to great depth and low wind shear, Francisco is likely to stay at Category 5 strength until an eyewall replacement cycle begins. Francisco is headed northwest towards Japan, and will likely stay at Category 4 or stronger intensity until Tuesday, when the storm will encounter higher wind shear and cooler waters. By the time Franciso makes its closest approach to Japan on Thursday, weakening to Category 2 or lesser strength is likely. In their Saturday morning runs, both the European model and GFS model predicted that Francisco would turn northeastwards on Wednesday, and hit Japan on Thursday. There is very high uncertainty in the storm's track that far into the future, though, since the timing of Francisco's turn the northeast is difficult to predict.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Typhoon Francisco, taken at approximately 03 UTC on October 19, 2013. At the time, Francisco was a Category 5 storm with top winds of 160 mph. Image credit: NASA.

The Atlantic is quiet
None of the reliable computer models for forecasting tropical cyclone genesis is predicting development over the next five days.

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Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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Quoting 45. whitewabit:
good inflow to the center of 96E .. the next named storm ??





its likey all ready a TD right now sould be a TD at any time now
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Quoting 45. whitewabit:
good inflow to the center of 96E .. the next named storm ??


Well on its way.

Quoting 44. Patrap:


Typhoon 26W FRANSISCO

UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.5
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm

Current Intensity Analysis



UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.5
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 19 OCT 2013 Time : 173000 UTC
Lat : 17:28:56 N Lon : 138:16:21 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.8 / 920.7mb/134.8kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.7 6.6 6.6

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 16 km

Center Temp : +10.7C Cloud Region Temp : -77.2C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : WEST PACIFIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

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

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 137km
- Environmental MSLP : 1004mb

Satellite Name : MTSAT2
Satellite Viewing Angle : 21.9 degrees




And that is a beautiful storm, unfortunately with beauty comes a price.
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Quoting 35. sar2401:

I pulled out my tide table reference book from 1974...yes, they were all on paper then. :-) I was actively sailing the area from the Bahamas to the Northern Antilles then. The Keys were particularly tricky because there are so many reefs that a few inches of water makes the difference between grounding and safe passage. The tide tables had corrections for the phase of the moon (the moon was full yesterday) and prevailing wind, both of which affect the tides. I just looked up the tides at lower Sugarloaf Key and they matched the predicted tides in my tide book within one inch, which was pretty much within the normal range of error. So, from 38 years ago, it appears to me that the tides have undergone almost no change, and the moon, tides, and prevailing winds are still the biggest issues.
Personal anecdotes and suppositions notwithstanding, a search of Google Scholar will return many peer-reviewed papers documenting sea level rise in and around Florida over the past decades. And as the Sun Sentinel article pointed out, that rise has indeed been roughly nine inches in and around Florida in the past 90 or so years.
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Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
good inflow to the center of 96E .. the next named storm ??


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Typhoon 26W FRANSISCO

UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.5
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm

Current Intensity Analysis



UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.5
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 19 OCT 2013 Time : 173000 UTC
Lat : 17:28:56 N Lon : 138:16:21 E


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.8 / 920.7mb/134.8kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.7 6.6 6.6

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 16 km

Center Temp : +10.7C Cloud Region Temp : -77.2C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : WEST PACIFIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : PACIFIC

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

C/K/Z MSLP Estimate Inputs :
- Average 34 knot radii : 137km
- Environmental MSLP : 1004mb

Satellite Name : MTSAT2
Satellite Viewing Angle : 21.9 degrees


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
18z Best Track for 96E.

EP, 96, 2013101918, , BEST, 0, 131N, 999W, 25, 1008, LO, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1010, 200, 60, 0, 0, E, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, M,
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:




Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Convectively-coupled kelvin wave on the way:

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Quoting 33. PlazaRed:

Thanks for this interesting update on the Pacific's problem storm.
If the trajectory you posted continues to play out, the whole centre of the storm could pass up the middle of Japan causing virtually untold damage as well as a lot more problems for the nuclear mess there.


That's a possibility .. though Francisco is expected to weaken some before hitting .. the further north the cooler the SST's .. though it will still be a storm to reckon with ..
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This current MJO Propagation started in the Indian Ocean with Phailin, propagated eastward to yield Nari, Wipha, Francisco, and TD 27, and continues to propagate eastward to now include the EPAC with what looks likely to become Raymond from 96 E and Sonia by the end of the month. With that said, it would appear that as the wave propagates eastward it also weakens, so it's entirely possible that the Atlantic Basin will be the odd ball out yet again. But we will see because if there is one thing that is noticeable is how all of a sudden activity is picking up later in the season after the peak months, so let's see if that will also apply to the Atlantic Basin.
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Quoting 806. Ameister12:
8 years ago today: Many people would wake up to find that Hurricane Wilma had become the most intense tropical cyclone ever in the Atlantic basin (882 mbar.)


Can you imagine if Wilma had made landfall at that intensity into Tampa Bay or Miami? I can't even imagine the destruction. I think it would look like nuclear war.
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Quoting 13. washingtonian115:
Meanwhile in the Atlantic..
Some of the mid- Atlantic has picked up more than half a foot of rain this month so I wonder wha-......... 

My apologies. I should really look more closely at what is typed. When I saw the word "Atlantic" I was thinking "Mid-Atlantic". 

Anyway yeap. I couldn't agree more about the weather over the Atlantic right now. Good pic to use btw.
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Quoting EstherD:
From the previous blog...



Analogies between the human body and climate change are on shaky ground at best. The human body has multiple systems in place that work proactively to compensate for deleterious changes, e.g., the immune system to compensate for poor oral hygiene. There are also many active feedback systems that regulate physiological processes. The umbrella term for this process is homeostasis. Problems become apparent only when these systems are compromised, or overwhelmed, by disease processes or the wear and tear due to aging.

Last time I checked, there are no such systems working in the atmosphere to, e.g., to stabilize the Greenland ice sheet, sensing when it is beginning to deteriorate, and actively working to compensate for said deterioration.

The analogy becomes even shakier when we consider the body does have early warning signs. Chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in general, all of these warn us, if we're willing to listen, that something is going wrong. The climate has no such early warning systems, and what is does have occurs over long periods of time and generally needs a considerable amount of scientific study to recognize. If you're having chest pain, you can get a hospital and reduce the effects of a heart attack. No one is going to be on an island that's three feet above water, absent a storm, and find their bed floating around their house.
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Quoting daddyjames:


Yes, I know.

The impact of the higher tides are influenced by the sea level rise. But, the occurence in and of itself is not unusual.

:P

I pulled out my tide table reference book from 1974...yes, they were all on paper then. :-) I was actively sailing the area from the Bahamas to the Northern Antilles then. The Keys were particularly tricky because there are so many reefs that a few inches of water makes the difference between grounding and safe passage. The tide tables had corrections for the phase of the moon (the moon was full yesterday) and prevailing wind, both of which affect the tides. I just looked up the tides at lower Sugarloaf Key and they matched the predicted tides in my tide book within one inch, which was pretty much within the normal range of error. So, from 38 years ago, it appears to me that the tides have undergone almost no change, and the moon, tides, and prevailing winds are still the biggest issues.
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From the previous blog...

Quoting 933. bappit:
Analogies to the effects of CO2: On a personal level, when do you notice the irreversible effects of poor dental hygiene of smoking? of excess cholesterol? etc.

The point of irreversible damage passes quietly, unnoticed. I wouldn't be looking for tipping points in these story lines. (TWC wants to sell stories. We may call it news, but they are news stories. News without a story does not sell as well, and they know it.)

Quoting 943. Neapolitan:
Perhaps when your dentist he has to pull all your remaining teeth immediately to keep you from dying of periodontal disease? When you wake up after a stroke with half your brain non-functional? When you have a massive heart attack while sitting at McDonalds?

No, not all "irreversible damage passes quietly" and "unnoticed". Sometimes it really is just that sudden...

Analogies between the human body and climate change are on shaky ground at best. The human body has multiple systems in place that work proactively to compensate for deleterious changes, e.g., the immune system to compensate for poor oral hygiene. There are also many active feedback systems that regulate physiological processes. The umbrella term for this process is homeostasis. Problems become apparent only when these systems are compromised, or overwhelmed, by disease processes or the wear and tear due to aging.

Last time I checked, there are no such systems working in the atmosphere to, e.g., to stabilize the Greenland ice sheet, sensing when it is beginning to deteriorate, and actively working to compensate for said deterioration.
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Quoting 3. whitewabit:
It appears Fransisco will make a direct hit on Japan .. frightening looking storm ..




Thanks for this interesting update on the Pacific's problem storm.
If the trajectory you posted continues to play out, the whole centre of the storm could pass up the middle of Japan causing virtually untold damage as well as a lot more problems for the nuclear mess there.
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Quoting 899. daddyjames:


What does George Washington have to do with this?


Because his flatulence meter was waaay over the roof!!!
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Thanks for the update,
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Quoting 29. Tropicsweatherpr:


Looks like a TD already. Raymond may be a strong one. (Maybe the first major in EPAC?)

The name's only been used two times, in 1983 and in 1989. Coincidentally, both storms became 145 mph Category 4 hurricanes. Hopefully 2013 doesn't disappoint.
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Quoting 28. TropicalAnalystwx13:
SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED IN
ASSOCIATION WITH AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED A FEW HUNDRED
MILES SOUTH OF ACAPULCO MEXICO. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED TO REMAIN CONDUCIVE FOR ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT...AND A
TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM LATER TODAY OR ON SUNDAY WHILE THIS
LOW MOVES NORTHWESTWARD AT 5 TO 10 MPH.
THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH
CHANCE...80 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A HIGH CHANCE...90 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS. INTERESTS ALONG THE
SOUTH-CENTRAL COAST OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS
DISTURBANCE. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL...
WHICH COULD CAUSE FLASH FLOODING AND MUD SLIDES...IS POSSIBLE OVER
SOUTH-CENTRAL MEXICO DURING THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS.




Looks like a TD already. Raymond may be a strong one. (Maybe the first major in EPAC?)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY HAS BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED IN
ASSOCIATION WITH AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED A FEW HUNDRED
MILES SOUTH OF ACAPULCO MEXICO. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED TO REMAIN CONDUCIVE FOR ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT...AND A
TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD FORM LATER TODAY OR ON SUNDAY WHILE THIS
LOW MOVES NORTHWESTWARD AT 5 TO 10 MPH.
THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH
CHANCE...80 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A HIGH CHANCE...90 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A
TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 5 DAYS. INTERESTS ALONG THE
SOUTH-CENTRAL COAST OF MEXICO SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS
DISTURBANCE. REGARDLESS OF DEVELOPMENT...LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL...
WHICH COULD CAUSE FLASH FLOODING AND MUD SLIDES...IS POSSIBLE OVER
SOUTH-CENTRAL MEXICO DURING THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS.


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Quoting whitewabit:
It appears Fransisco will make a direct hit on Japan .. frightening looking storm ..




Thankfully, most typhoons weaken before striking the central and northern islands of Japan. A combination of continental dry air getting entrained in the storm, the mountainous terrain of most of islands, and the relatively shallow Inland Sea combine to weaken storms. Hopefully, the same will happen with Francisco.
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Thanks Doc!
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Quoting 21. Neapolitan:
Well:

Coastal flooding getting worse with sea-level rise

A conspiracy of the moon, high tides and the steady rise of the oceans left up to a foot of sea water in some sections of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach Thursday.

These atmospheric factors join forces three to five times every year to heap ocean water at the shoreline, leaving streets and low-lying coastal areas throughout South Florida flooded.

Because the Atlantic Ocean has risen about 9 inches in the past 80 to 100 years, the problem continues to deepen, said Jennifer Jurado, director of Broward County's Natural Resources Planning and Management Division.

"For many community members, who live in low-lying areas, the flooding has significantly increased in the last several years, compared to what they were experiencing two decades ago," she said.


Yes, I know.

The impact of the higher tides are influenced by the sea level rise. But, the occurence in and of itself is not unusual.

:P
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One word?.Win!!!!
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The winds may have contributed, but very little.

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Quoting 11. daddyjames:


Yes, it is

Blame The Moon For South Florida%u2019s Tidal Flooding
Well:

Coastal flooding getting worse with sea-level rise

A conspiracy of the moon, high tides and the steady rise of the oceans left up to a foot of sea water in some sections of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach Thursday.

These atmospheric factors join forces three to five times every year to heap ocean water at the shoreline, leaving streets and low-lying coastal areas throughout South Florida flooded.

Because the Atlantic Ocean has risen about 9 inches in the past 80 to 100 years, the problem continues to deepen, said Jennifer Jurado, director of Broward County's Natural Resources Planning and Management Division.

"For many community members, who live in low-lying areas, the flooding has significantly increased in the last several years, compared to what they were experiencing two decades ago," she said.


(Also see this.)
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Quoting 3. whitewabit:
It appears Fransisco will make a direct hit on Japan .. frightening looking storm ..



Reminds me of Ivan.
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Quoting 15. FunnelVortex:


She said the waters are high during low tide, so I think it is a combo of the two.


That effect would be more prominent due to the effects of the moon. Winds off of Florida are not necessarily unusual for this time of year (there are no watches or warnings for any wind events). This is not uncommon for this time of year in Florida.
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Quoting 10. FunnelVortex:


She did. She said the water is higher than normal during low tide as well.

I think it could be multiple days of onshore winds pushing water into the intercoastal if that is possible.


Think that is what I would check next .. possible ..

Lake Michigan is a prime example of that ..
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And of course sea level rise and subsidence due to excessive groundwater pumping would not be factors! :-)
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Does high water wear a mask when it is anonymous?


--------------------------
a·nom·a·lous  (-nm-ls)
adj.
1. Deviating from the normal or common order, form, or rule.
2. Equivocal, as in classification or nature.

[From Late Latin anmalos, from Greek, uneven : probably from an-, not; see a-1 + homalos, even (from homos, same; see sem-1 in Indo-European roots).]
a·noma·lous·ly adv.
a·noma·lous·ness n.
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Quoting 14. daddyjames:


That may be contributing, but it has to do with the moon and timing. See my response to whitewabit.


She said the waters are high during low tide, so I think it is a combo of the two.
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Quoting 10. FunnelVortex:


She did. She said the water is higher than normal during low tide as well.

I think it could be multiple days of onshore winds pushing water into the intercoastal if that is possible.


That may be contributing, but it has to do with the moon and timing. See my response to whitewabit.
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Meanwhile in the Atlantic..
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Thanks, Dr. Masters.

Typhoon Francisco continues to strengthen. Cloudtops cooler than -80C now wrap completely around the warm eye. 175 mph with a pressure somewhere between 875-895 millibars for a T# of T7.5 (not official).



(Edited to thank)
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Quoting 7. whitewabit:


has she checked tide records to see if in fact it is higher ??


Yes, it is

Blame The Moon For South Florida’s Tidal Flooding
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Quoting 7. whitewabit:


has she checked tide records to see if in fact it is higher ??


She did. She said the water is higher than normal during low tide as well.

I think it could be multiple days of onshore winds pushing water into the intercoastal if that is possible.
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Thanks Dr. M.

@bappit (in response to your prevoius post).

Talking about tipping points, can be a pretty "dry" subject for those not scientifically inclined. Hence Dr. M's comment about "boring" people. Educating people that - if steps are not taken soon - there will come a time that nothing can be done to mitigate the impacts is not a bad thing.

This is evident in a number of ways we, as a society, choose to address things. And is reflective in a number of "problems" that currently needs to be addressed in the US.

There are a number of examples that one can pull from.

Will be happy to continue this discussion at a later time.

Have a fantastic day everyone. I'm out for the day.
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Quoting 6. lobdelse81:
Just my gut feeling that next year it will be the EPac that returns to having its major hurricanes(due to a possible El Nino). And then in 2015, it will be the Atlantic Basin's turn once again to wake up from its slumber. So we may have to wait a while if you want high levels of activity. Any thoughts?


I think next season will be more impressive than this one, but 2015 is when we will see the bad boys return.
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Quoting 4. FunnelVortex:
(Post from last blog)

My grandmother lives on an island in the intercoastal in Port Orange (in the Daytona area). She's been calling me and telling me that the waters have been anonymously high lately.

What causes the phenomenon of the high waters? I'm curious.


has she checked tide records to see if in fact it is higher ?? then I would check to see what the prevailing ground winds were and what direction ..
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Just my gut feeling that next year it will be the EPac that returns to having its major hurricanes(due to a possible El Nino). And then in 2015, it will be the Atlantic Basin's turn once again to wake up from its slumber. So we may have to wait a while if you want high levels of activity. Any thoughts?
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The japanese have got to be wondering why they've become the worlds number one target for natural dissasters.....on a birghter note...one of our own..."spetrm" is a weather forecaster for a japanese news station...he's got to be at least a little excited
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(Post from last blog)

My grandmother lives on an island in the intercoastal in Port Orange (in the Daytona area). She's been calling me and telling me that the waters have been anonymously high lately.

What causes the phenomenon of the high waters? I'm curious.
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It appears Fransisco will make a direct hit on Japan .. frightening looking storm ..



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Thanks Dr. Masters!
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Thanks Dr. Masters!
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather