AMSR-E image of Frances
Our weather: nice.

Bahamas weather: not so nice.

Hurricane Frances is about to rearrange valuable beachfront property. Frances has sustained winds of 140 mph, keeping her as a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. As a reminder, this is what storms of this magnitude are capable of:

More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).

Hurricane Charley that hit Florida a couple of weeks ago was also a Category 4 storm. All indications are that Frances will hit Florida, near West Palm Beach (does she not like touch screen voting systems?), after passing over the Bahamas. Most extratropical weather, like the low pressure systems and fronts we get here in New York, are products of their surrounding environment. Hurricanes, especially the size of Frances or Charley, make their own environment. Where does the Category 4 gorilla go? Anywhere it wants.

You can follow Frances via an interactive hurricane tracker (link courtesy

Today's color image includes data from NASA's Advanced Microwave Sounding Radiometer (AMSR-E) instrument on board the Aqua satellite layered on top of the standard GOES infrared image (grayscale).