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Cat 4 Irma path now squarely through Florida

UPDATE #4: Now Cat 2, crossed the coast, winds 105 mph (165 km/h) and 942 mb.  Slowing down,  but hurricane force winds are still covering an area 80 miles from the eye.  Hurricane Jose is Cat 3, 120 mph,  956 hPa. Moving at 14 mph.

UPDATE #3: Late Sunday night Australia time (Sunday morning US 11AM) Official advisory updates are here. #46 says 130mph, with lowest pressure 933 hPA . Watch news come in on twitter #IRMA. Blackouts across Miami –  over 1 million without power. Storm surges. Streets turning into rivers. Waterspouts off the east coast of Florida.

For comparison:

A few hurricanes that have hit Florida
Hurricane Year hPa Speed mph Fatalities
Labor Day 1935 892 160 160
Camille 1969 900 175 259
Andrew 1992 922 145 65
Katrina 2005 902 175 1,245–1,836

Katrina is listed as 920 and 902 hPa on different wiki pages. (PS: Judging by the map on this post, Camille and Andrew did not hit Florida. Hmm. Wikipedia?)

UPDATE#2: Sunday morning Australia time. Irma now aCat 3, up to a Cat 4 again, savaging Cuba and weakening as it loses moisture being half over land. It is already affecting Florida, with gusts of 50-60 miles per hour, and set to go north right along the western edge of the peninsula (which has caught people off guard, as the eastern edge have boarded up windows in anticipation, but many on the western side did not). In the 12 full hours over the ocean north of Cuba it may well recover a lot of wind speed quickly. Will hit the Keys in 12 hours. Watch the windy.com radar here, or the Ventuski radar and the TropicalTidbits updates here. Weatherbell forecaster Joe Bastardi has a public update with the eye track running along the west edge of Florida. He is expecting it to speed up and hit near Port Charlotte as close to a Cat 5 with 150 mile per hour winds. He predicts it to deepen from 935hPa to 896hPa. Hurricane Jose is following in the wake of Irma and could be a big problem. Watch his public video (top right at his site). He points  out the high pressures in the North Atlantic are also helping to drive a bad hurricane season.

UPDATE #1: At least 4 dead in British Virgin Islands. BBC footage shows devastation.This video is by Levi Cohen (TropicalTidbits).  h/t to RAH, Tomomason, RobertW and others (great comments, thank you).

Best wishes to the people of Florida, Cuba, the Caribbean.

The tracker here is automatically updating.

Hurrican Irma Forecast

Hurrican Irma Forecast

Ryan Maue :No longer any spread or uncertainty about landfall of Hurricane #Irma … this is happening for sure, unfortunately.

Thoughts also to those in Mexico with the Magnitude 8.1 Earthquake hitting the southern coast, and at least 61 dead.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (42 votes cast)
Cat 4 Irma path now squarely through Florida, 9.6 out of 10 based on 42 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/ybfuxex9

45 comments to Cat 4 Irma path now squarely through Florida

  • #

    And it devastated the Carribean Island of Barbuda as a Cat 5. So sorry for the people there, who have lost everything.

    190

    • #
      Rod Stuart

      My cousin Hazel lives in Tampa. She is 96, and still owns and drives a car.
      I talked to her the other day before she was evacuated.
      She was not ruffled. She said she had been through it many times before.
      She knew that mandatory evacuation was likely.
      She had made a motel reservation a week ago that is considered to be constructed to withstand the winds.
      Even quite pleased to find a motel that would take her cat as well!
      So, stocked up with canned food and water she just drove to this motel.
      As she suggested it would, winds slowed somewhat going along the mountains on the North side of Cuba.
      Folks that have lived there for a century or so take it as just part of the price to live in Paradise.

      180

    • #
      Rod Stuart

      She sent this unusual hurricane chart.

      160

  • #
    Mark D.

    It is humbling for sure.

    I ponder how these events were dealt with just 100 years ago without radar, aircraft, satellites and other technology to give us days of warning.

    Good luck to all and be safe.

    150

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      I ponder how these events were dealt with just 100 years ago without radar, aircraft, satellites and other technology to give us days of warning.

      I can wish all I want to that everyone will be come through this safe and sound. But I know I have no control over the outcome.

      There’s no way we can know for sure about 100 years ago. But I cannot see it possible that either pair of my grandparents would get to the point where they expected the federal government to come in and fix everything back up to original pre storm condition. There was a time when self sufficiency was something to be prized, to be learned and made part of your life and for many that now seems to be lost.

      Americans are supposedly the most generous people in the world. I don’t have any way to verify that assertion. But after any disaster, helpers come in from all over the country. Maybe it’s good to have FEMA standing by with a lot of money to pour into the rebuilding. But having that takes a terrible toll on our self sufficiency both as individuals and as a nation. How did we manage before FEMA? These storms are not a new phenomenon. They’ve been around for as long as there’s been weather. It’s good that we can predict them, follow them, even categorize their strength so we can decide to stay or run from them. But each time this happens we show that something that was strong and good about us is starting to disappear.

      20

  • #
    cedarhill

    Update below ref “generous” at 135mph. It’s likely more like an intense cat 3 and seems likely to waiver around the 135 or lower mark. Still powerful but not “catastrophic unprecedented doomsday we’re-all-gonna-die”. The real issue now seems to be the Tampa Bay area especially if there’s a huge storm surge. That’s the proverbial “Western Hurricane” Tampa Bay residents live in fear of every year. Sort of like the hurricane that hit New Orleans.

    Hurricane Irma Discussion Number 41
    NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL112017
    500 AM EDT Sat Sep 09 2017
    … The eye of Irma has been moving over the islands along the north
    coast of Cuba, and satellite imagery along with preliminary
    data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicates
    that the hurricane has weakened. The initial intensity is reduced
    to 135 kt, and this may be generous.”

    81

    • #
      RAH

      It has 83 degree water in front of it and no appreciable sheer to effect it. It’s almost certainly going to strengthen before it hits Florida. Until it scraped the coast of Cuba there was a pretty fair chance that Irma would be the most intense hurricane to ever make landfall in the US. Now that scenario is less likely but it is still a monster. The most intense hurricane to have hit US shores was the 1935 Labor day hurricane that struck the Florida Keys on Sept, 8th. 1935. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/09/irma-most-intense-hurricane-florida-keys-1935-history/
      Irma has already set a record for the longest period of CAT V strength for an Atlantic hurricane. I wonder if it will be the longest running major (CAT III or higher) also?

      The evacuation effort in Florida in anticipation of Irma is turning out to be the most extensive in US History. The problem with so many people moving at once, other than the terrible traffic jams along the evacuation routes is fuel. They suspended the hours of service regulations for tanker truck drivers taking fuel in and president Trump ordered police escorts be provided for them. However most gas stations have closed because their employees are also heading for the hills to get away from the storm.

      101

      • #
        cedarhill

        At least visit the official prediction site:

        http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

        click on “Irma” then click on “Discussion”. Another quote from the official US Government forecasters:

        “There is an opportunity for Irma to re-intensity as it crosses the
        warm waters of the Florida Straits. However, the large-scale
        models forecast significant westerly shear developing at about
        24 h, and it is unclear how much strengthening could occur before
        then. The first part of the intensity forecast thus calls for
        little change in strength through 36 h, and Irma is still expected
        to be a dangerous hurricane as it approaches the Florida Keys and
        the west coast of Florida. After that time, movement over land and
        strong shear should cause steady weakening, with Irma eventually
        decaying to a remnant low by the end of the forecast period.”

        Obtw, go visit WattsUpWithThat about were Irma’s place in the “most” categories as to wind speed, etc.

        70

        • #
          RAH

          Right now the headline over the Irma section at the National Hurricane Center reads:
          “…HURRICANE IRMA HITTING HARD THE NORTH COAST OF CUBA… …TERRAIN OF CUBA WEAKEN THE HURRICANE BUT RESTRENGTHENING IS ANTICIPATED…”
          P

          I have checked out the NHC site 3 times and been to WUWT twice already this morning and have been checking them out frequently for days. FACT, Joe Bastardi in his daily updates at Weaterbell.com has been well out ahead of the official forecast for the entire existence of this storm. He was calling the shift to the west at 09:00 yesterday morning, hours before NOAA NHC adjusted their track west. I am also watching Levi Cowan at Tropicaltidbits.com as he puts out new update videos. I have also been posting and reading at WUWT for years and have read everything they have posted on this hurricane and others so far this year.

          It’s hard to keep up sometimes because forecasts change and one has different input from different sources at times. Every statement I have made about this storm here stands.

          31

      • #
        Mark D.

        Yes I am a little worried that if the track moves much farther west, Irma will gain strength and make landfall at the Panhandle or Alabama.

        40

        • #
          cedarhill

          The lastest NOAA discussion seems to indicate that Irma’s eye will indeed hit the Panhandle since they seem to be saying it will paralleling the coast and make landfall there in 25+ hours as a Cat 1 storm. I.E., the death of hurricanes is wind shear and that’s what seems Irma will be facing on it’s trip North.

          Obtw, Pennsacola is about 30.3N and 87W; Tallahassee is about 30.3N 84W so it looks to hit somewhert from Pennsacola to West of Tallahassee. Meaning Tampa will be lashed with, maybe, Cat 3 winds while Miami’s area and the East Coast gets mostly rain. See the forecast co-ordinates below.

          snipped from NOAA:

          Hurricane Irma Discussion Number 45
          NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL112017
          500 AM EDT Sun Sep 10 2017

          The eye should move across the Lower
          Florida Keys in the next few hours. After that, the hurricane’s
          track almost parallel to the west coast of Florida makes it very
          difficult to pinpoint exactly where Irma will cross the Florida Gulf
          coast.

          Given current trends, some additional strengthening could occur
          during the next several hours. However, vertical wind shear is
          increasing over Irma, and the shear is expected to become strong
          within 24 h. This, combined with land interaction, should cause at
          least a steady weakening from 12-36 h. The new intensity forecast
          is slightly lower than that of the previous advisory at those
          times, but it still calls for Irma to be a major hurricane at its
          closest approach to the Tampa Bay area.

          FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

          INIT 10/0900Z 24.1N 81.5W 115 KT 130 MPH
          12H 10/1800Z 25.4N 82.0W 115 KT 130 MPH
          24H 11/0600Z 27.8N 82.8W 100 KT 115 MPH
          36H 11/1800Z 30.5N 84.1W 75 KT 85 MPH…INLAND

          NEXT ADVISORY
          ————-
          Next intermediate advisory at 800 AM EDT.
          Next complete advisory at 1100 AM EDT.

          00

  • #
    RAH

    Track keeps moving west. Now right up the west coast.
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/095407.shtml?cone#contents

    The sea floor rises very gradually along almost all of the west coast of Florida. One may have to go out 20 miles to get to water 25′ deep. Our family has a vacation home in Port Charlotte, FL about 30 miles north of Ft. Meyer. It is a single level home built on a slab. The house is on a channel leading out to the bay and I’m thinking the seawall will be more than adequate. However the winds will be another matter even though it has hurricane shutters installed. Just this year a swimming pool with bug guard enclosure was installed off the existing Lanai. If that is all we lose then we can count ourselves lucky. Have preliminary plans to take an extended weeks vacation down there in February and am now wondering if that is going to happen.

    My neighbor has a brother that lives in an unanchored mobile home right on the shore of lake Okeechobee. He refuses to leave because he is caring for a woman that is in very poor health and feels she can’t be moved. Despite being warned by everybody and his brother to get out he is staying. The further west this monster tracks the more likely it will be they will both survive.

    Such are the situations one finds in what is affectionately known as “Gods waiting room” because so many people from the temperate zone and the great white north go down the Florida to retire.

    91

  • #
    RAH

    More on the potential storm surge along the west coast. Irma could be hitting our place at Port Charlotte during high tide!
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/09/09/500am-hurricane-irma-alert-for-west-coast-tidal-storm-surge/

    30

  • #
    • #
      RAH

      Got to the scale on the right of that map and raise the image to show winds at about 9,000 m and one will get a better idea of some of the steering currents that effect the track of the storm. The “trough” or low pressure with powerful winds flowing in an arc down SE over Arkansas then turning E over Mississippi then NE over Alabama is what is supposed to turn Irma to the north into Florida. Back to the west of Irma one will see the high pressure area or “ridge” that followed along going west north of the storm as it came across the western Atlantic and kept it south instead of turning north sooner. It is also the feature that is helping to keep hurricane Jose south.

      I’m no meteorologist but I have been watching what they’ve been saying about why Irma is behaving the way it is since before it was even a hurricane and that is part of what I have gathered.

      51

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    I think watch for any abrupt changes in direction or significant strengthening or convergence of multiple storms. Such a thing will look iffy IMHO. Id be interested to see if any sharp or unusual pressure drops in front of these storms occurs also.

    Hope everyone survives ok….

    20

    • #

      Discussing the events of hurricane and earthquake in the Americas my wife asked, ‘could the two be related?
      Note I have no expertise in this.
      My thoughts turned to a mechanism for the El Nino.
      Magma welling up into the crust below the ‘Pacific rim of fire’ above Australia leads to local heating of the ocean and local fall in gravity because magma is less dense than the rock it displaces.
      Consequently the atmosphere above these events is lighter because the gravitational pull is less, while at the same time is heated more than just by the ‘sunlight fuelled’ process of El Nino, so it expands and rises, pulling water vapour up from the heated ocean as the prevailing winds blow westerly.
      Could such a magma injection precipitate or enhance cyclonic events in the waters of Central America?

      20

  • #
    RAH

    Levi Cowan now has his latest update video on Irma up. S. Florida is already seeing TS force winds of 50-60 mph from the outer bands despite the core of the storm still hugging the coast of Cuba.
    https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/

    20

  • #
    Geoffrey Williams

    We must never forget the power of nature. Earthquakes and three hurricanes, it is truly awesome. Our thoughts are with all those people in the Americas’ as they go through these dreadfull events. GeoffW

    20

  • #
    TedM

    My thoughts are definitely with those who have to endure these horrific events.
    I often wonder how the Avian fauna gets on in the extreme conditions.

    For rational analysis it’s worthwhile visiting weatherbell.com and look at Joe Bastardi’s daily updates and Saturday summary. The Saturday summary which is a weekly roundup and forecast hasn’t been posted yet. is usually posted early am Sunday, West Australian time.

    30

  • #
    Manfred

    I often wonder how the Avian fauna gets on in the extreme conditions.

    In short, flee before it (wind assisted), then return to a veritable feast.
    Nature it seems, provides an ease of departure and then on return, a welcome home banquet.
    Now why would one want to meddle with the to and fro pulse of Gaia? /rhet

    20

  • #
    David Maddison

    The Left are blaming Donald Trump for the hurricane, no joke.

    https://youtu.be/JC2oh5BfPhQ

    51

  • #
    tom0mason

    It does not look good for Florida, and after the ECMWF model has hurricane Jose hitting the east coast of USA.

    https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/?model=ecmwf&region=atl&pkg=mslpaNorm

    Looks like we’re back to the 1970′s.
    Hopefully it will not be as bad as 1970 or 1976

    10

  • #
    RAH

    Well Joe Bastardi has come out with his Saturday Update video and the forecast is very bad! For my money Joe and the team at Weatherbell.com are as good as any and far better than most at forecast the track and intensity of these storms. Joe called the shift of track to the west hours before the National Hurricane Center changed their track to the west. He has been correct far more than he has been wrong.
    To watch the vide click this link: https://www.weatherbell.com/premium/#joe-bastardi
    Then look to the right for the video titled: “Saturday Summary” and click it.

    To sum it up he forecasts that Irma will turn north and then strengthen (pressure is already dropping) back into a Cat V storm before it comes ashore in the vicinity of Port Charlotte, FL and then track up the west coast and hit Tampa. Winds at landfall will be gusting to 150 mph.
    Though are vacation house in Port Charlotte is empty and the hurricane shutters up the neighbors on each side which are permanent residents stayed put. I’m afraid they are in for a very rough ride.

    30

    • #
      Peter C

      The track of Hurricane Irma made me think about 2 things;
      1. the female of the species is more dangerous than the male (ie H. Harvey),
      2. are hurricane attracted to land? This thought was prompted by the hurricane track, which came in over the West Indies islands and Cuba, then is expected to make a sharp right hand turn and track up the length of Florida.

      01

  • #
    David Maddison

    O/T but this article is a tragic must read.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/adam-creighton/solar-farm-burns-money/news-story/a68e6a83b2fc63583b0d14430f60cf6d

    If you find it paywalled you might be able to find it by Googling the first paragraph:

    Imagine putting $100 in the bank and getting back a guaranteed $83 a year for four years, and then $59 a year for the next decade — all taxed at a maximum rate of 30 per cent. Your 2.9 per cent high interest saver account, taxed at 39 per cent, isn’t looking so good.

    11

  • #
    angech

    Total precipitable water moving graph shows it now moving westwards following a thick band of water moving in that direction and much more likely to hit Mexico instead like Katia. Only deaths will be in car accidents fleeing the storm and looters shooting or being shot by police.

    10

  • #

    Updated the post thanks to RAH tomomason and others for the links. Two interesting videos.

    I’m feeling for the people of Cuba, and very much for those in Florida who will face the eyewall.

    21

    • #
      RAH

      Very welcome lady. I am sure we both appreciate very much all you do. Joe Bastard and Levi Cowan are two very good sources. Both will be posting videos whenever things start popping in the Atlantic. I watch ever video they produce on the free side of Weatherbell Analytics to get long range weather forecasts and his occasional take on the climate. In case you weren’t aware Joe just recently spanked Michael Mann and rubbed his nose in it when he claimed that climate change made Harvey worse.

      00

  • #
    John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia

    Hurricane scene from the great John Huston (with Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall) Key Largo film (1948), where Lionel Barrymore mentions the destruction of the cat 5, 1935 Labor Day Hurricane which hit Florida with devastating effects.
    See RAH post above for more details of that hurricane at Comment #3.1.

    00

  • #
    Greg Cavanagh

    Once upon a time these used to be terrible storms to be feared and wish those in the path the best hope.

    Now it’s propaganda and news bulletins. I find today’s take on the hurricane offensive.

    The western society has devolved to the point where I want to get out of it.

    31

  • #
    tom0mason

    Just a reminder —
    Even worse than the disaster that was hurricane Harvey is the number of scammers trying to make money from the awful events. As Krebs on security has it in Beware of Hurricane Harvey Relief Scams (at https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/08/beware-of-hurricane-harvey-relief-scams/ ) if you wish to donate —

    The FTC also warns consumers not to assume that a charity message posted on social media is a legitimate, and urges folks to research the organization before donating by visiting charity evaluation sites such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, GuideStar, or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. The agency also reminds people who wish to donate via text message to confirm the number with the source before you donate.

    krebsonsecurity site includes links to these charity evaluation sites.
    No doubt the scammers are readying themselves for the generous but misinformed to donate to them with the latest disasters.
    Is there no depths to which soulless scammers will sink?

    10

  • #
    Don A

    For those news readers that are using words like, unprecedented, worst ever etc they should read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1935_Labor_Day_hurricane for a much worse storm that followed a similar track. What qualifies as false news?

    11

  • #
    RAH

    I think that Joe and Dr. Maue may have missed on the intensity but are pretty much right on the track. Irma is being called an Cat 4 by the NHC with 130 mph ESTIMATED winds. Not a single land station has reported even a gust close to 130 mph. In fact the highest I’ve found down is 106 mph. Not a single buoy of the dozen or so down around the southern keys is reporting. They were taken off line well before the storm arrived. Why?

    No doubt this a monster storm and will have serious impacts but I am questioning that it is even close to as intense as it is being reported by the authorities and of course the legacy media and the Weather Channel for the most part just hype what the authorities say.

    The eye of the storm is obviously deteriorating. The trough to the NW that steered Irma north away from Cuba in the first place seems to be far more intense than was anticipated. It has already eaten up the most western outer band of Irma with it’s cool and dry air sheer. For this reason I believe that Irma has already seen it’s height and will continue to weaken as it approaches landfall on the Florida landfall. Also because of that trough being stronger than anticipated the storm is starting to track further east. Where as landfall was forecast for the Port Charlotte area yesterday it is now forecast for Naples to the south and I anticipate that actual landfall along the Florida coast will be even further south than that. What this means is that Irma will have less time over water between the landfall on the Keys and landfall on mainland. For all these reasons I would not be surprised if Irma is not actually a CAT 3 by the time it reaches the Florida mainland.

    All in all still a nasty monster but it doesn’t look like it nearly as bad as it could have been. And so now you have a dumb old truck drivers hurricane forecast.

    20

  • #
    RAH

    Irma is a bust Thank God. Joe and Dr. Maue didn’t get this one right on intensity. The NWS announced it had been downgraded to a CAT 3 before it reached the mainland and from what I’m seeing from wind observations it is lucky now, 1 hour later, to even be a CAT 2. It is still a huge nasty storm that will effect a lot of lives. 1/2 the state of Florida will probably lose power and there have been and will be more tornadoes and flooding. But Irma is not the house leveling beast that it was feared by about everyone, including me, that it would be.

    Now if the outrageous hype still going on from every politician and weatherman would stop, things would be much better.

    31

  • #
  • #
    ATheoK

    USA Irma’s first Landfall on Key West, a barrier island.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/ck3obrdxk7imvj9/KeyWestIrmaLandFallone.JPG

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/gldj6w5u88uhhtz/KeyWestIrmaLandFalltwo.JPG

    One hour before Key West Landfall: Pressure was at 956
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DJXHXTEUEAIDxO1.jpg

    Peak wind gust, not sustained wind speed during Key West land fall:
    https://twitter.com/MPetersonWx/status/906867815495471105
    https://twitter.com/NHC_Atlantic/status/906870706264297472

    Sadly, nowadays satellites estimate pressure deep in a hurricane they can not directly measure.
    Then algorithms convert that pressure to wind speeds.

    While people watching measurements on the ground just don’t see the same effects.

    USA Irma’s second landfall:
    NWS hurricane update issued just after landfall in Naples, Florida.
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/storm_graphics/AT11/refresh/AL112017_5day_cone_no_line_and_wind+png/152748_5day_cone_no_line_and_wind.png

    Estimated Sustained winds are a strong category 2.
    Finding the trail of actual on the ground measurements during landfall in Naples is a little trickier.

    Alarmism at the NWS and NHC is alive and thriving.

    10

  • #
    OriginalSteve

    I’d be interested to know how many bird shredders ( if any are in the cyclones path ) survive and in what shape afterward?

    I bet once the cyclone starts, they will drop out due to over voltage and mess the grid up….
    /sarc

    00

  • #
    David Bates

    Jo,

    In your article you state:
    “The Australian climate data set is possibly beyond recovery — damaged beyond repair. We’re at the point where if Frydenberg and Turnbull won’t do something to serve Australian citizens and the Australian environment we need to set up our own independent stations. Someone needs to collect data that the Australian people can trust. We need thermometers outside the control of the BOM.”

    You are the obvious choice to start a website for independent weather stations to supply their data to. I am certain many people would get involved and set up independent weather stations to feed actual data into a website database. People living near the BOM weather stations, or able to get near them could supply independent measurements into a website where they can be collated and presented for everyone to see. I assume accurate weather stations are relatively cheap now. Regardless if 10 or 20 or a thousand or more report data around a BOM station we have to have some level of accuracy and minimise erroneous data suppliers, or at the very least, we’ll keep BOM honest – maybe!

    It just takes people power to expose the BOM and then maybe we can start a petition to take back contorl of the BOM. I am sure you could mobilise us all.

    Just a thought ;-)

    Regards,
    David Bates

    [Thanks David. Offers coming in. I'm keen to hear from more techies who are good with this sort of equipment. Relevant post here. - Jo]

    20

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