Tropical Storm Lowell

Tropical Storm Lowell Track 1100 Hours Sepember 23 2020
Tropical Storm Lowell Track 1100 Hours Sepember 23 2020

Tropical Storm Lowell Wind Speed FieldTropical Storm LowellNWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 1100 AM HST Wed Sep 23, 2020 (see Wed video below)

Unlike earlier today, deep convection has decreased since the previous advisory with thunderstorms containing cloud tops to near -70C confined to the southeastern quadrant of the circulation owing to modest west-northwesterly vertical wind shear and Lowell moving over a small cold pool/eddy. As a result, the low-level center has become exposed. Dvorak current-intensity estimates from TAFB and SAB are T3.0/45 kt, therefore the initial intensity will remain at 45 kt until new ASCAT surface wind data become available.

The initial motion estimate is 285/10 kt. Lowell lies along the southern periphery of a large, deep-layer subtropical ridge which has increased Lowell’s forward speed slightly, likely due to the recent decreased in the vertical depth of the convection and circulation. The strong subtropical ridge to north of Lowell is expected turn the cyclone westward soon, with that general motion continuing through the remainder of the forecast period. The latest NHC track guidance envelope remains tightly packed around the previous forecast track, so the only change that was required was to increase the along-track forward speed of Lowell.

The current moderate northwesterly shear is forecast by the GFS and ECMWF to weaken sightly overnight when Lowell is forecast to move over a warm eddy. Thus, the intensity forecast was not lowered very much for the next 36 hours or so. By 48 hours and beyond, however, the combination of increasing deep-layer vertical wind shear of more than 20 kt and sea-surface temperatures decreasing to near 24 deg C is expected to induce gradual weakening, with Lowell is forecast to degenerate into a remnant low by 96 hours. The new NHC intensity forecast is similar to the previous advisory, and follows a blend of the NOAA-HCCA, FSSE and IVCN intensity consensus models.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  23/2100Z 20.7N 122.1W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 12H  24/0600Z 21.1N 123.5W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 24H  24/1800Z 21.4N 125.4W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 36H  25/0600Z 21.6N 127.4W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 48H  25/1800Z 21.7N 129.6W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  26/0600Z 21.6N 131.9W   35 KT  40 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  26/1800Z 21.5N 134.2W   35 KT  40 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  27/1800Z 21.2N 139.0W   30 KT  35 MPH - Low (WSW Hilo, Hawaii)
120H  28/1800Z 21.7N 144.0W   25 KT  30 MPH - Low (WSW Hilo, Hawaii)

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 500 AM HST Wed Sep 23, 2020 

Convective banding has improved a little bit since the previous advisory, but not enough to increase the various satellite intensity estimates. Lowell’s low-level center remains near or just inside the northern edge of the deepest convection, with the strongest and most organized thunderstorm activity confined to the eastern and southern portions of Lowell’s circulation. The initial intensity of 45 kt is based on consensus Dvorak classifications of T3.0/45 kt from TAFB and SAB, and a UW-CIMSS SATCON estimate of 43 kt. These data are consistent with an overnight ASCAT-A pass of about 45 kt.

The initial motion estimate is now 285/08 kt. Lowell lies along the southern periphery of a large, deep-layer subtropical ridge, and this is the dominant synoptic-scale steering feature for the next 5 days. As a result, the cyclone is expected to move west-northwestward today, followed by a turn toward the west on Thursday, with that motion continuing through the weekend and into early next week. The latest NHC model guidance is tightly packed around the previous forecast track, thus requiring no significant changes to the previous advisory track.

Low-to-moderate northwesterly to northerly vertical wind shear is forecast to affect Lowell for the next 60 hours or so while the cyclone hugs the 25- to 26-deg-C sea-surface temperature (SST) gradient. As a result, little change in intensity is forecast during that time. Thereafter, the combination of cooler SSTs and increasing wind shear from the west is expected to induce slow but steady weakening, with Lowell degenerating into a remnant low by 96 hours. The latest NHC intensity forecast is essentially just an update of the previous advisory, and closely follows a blend of the NOAA-HCCA, FSSE and IVCN intensity consensus models.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  23/1500Z 20.0N 120.6W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 12H  24/0000Z 20.4N 122.0W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 24H  24/1200Z 20.8N 123.9W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 36H  25/0000Z 21.0N 125.8W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 48H  25/1200Z 21.1N 127.9W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  26/0000Z 21.2N 130.2W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  26/1200Z 21.1N 132.4W   35 KT  40 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  27/1200Z 21.0N 137.0W   30 KT  35 MPH - Low (WSW Hilo, Hawaii)
120H  28/1200Z 21.2N 141.6W   25 KT  30 MPH - Low (ENE Hilo, Hawaii)

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 800 PM PDT Tue Sep 22, 2020 

Recent microwave satellite imagery has been extremely helpful in diagnosing the structure of Lowell, as well as locating the center of the tropical storm. The imagery indicates the the center is located to the north of the bursting area of convection, and that the overall structure has not changed much since this afternoon. A blend of the latest subjective Dvorak T- and CI-numbers and the earlier ASCAT data support an initial wind speed of 40 kt. Although the shear associated with the upper-tropospheric flow is low, there appears to be some stronger shear in a layer beneath that level which is causing the displacement of the convection to the south of the low-level center.

Given the current structure, only slight strengthening is predicted over the next 24 hours, and shortly after that time Lowell will be moving near an SST gradient and into an area of less favorable thermodynamic conditions. As a result, little change in strength is shown between 24-60 h, but gradual weakening should begin after that time when Lowell moves over cooler waters and into an area of increasing southwesterly shear. With Lowell moving along the SST gradient for the next several days, a track north of the official forecast could result in both a faster rate of weakening, and the system becoming post-tropical much sooner than indicated below, but a track farther south could result in slightly more intensification. The NHC intensity forecast is a little above the SHIPS guidance and is in best agreement with the HFIP corrected consensus model.

Lowell is moving west-northwestward at 10 kt. A west-northwestward motion is expected, to the southwest of a subtropical ridge near Baja California. The ridge is forecast to build to the north of Lowell over the next couple of days which should impart a westward turn by late Wednesday, with a general westward heading continuing through the remainder of the forecast period. Although there is little cross-track spread in the guidance models, there are significant speed differences (along-track spread) with the ECMWF model much faster than the GFS. The NHC track is slightly faster than the previous forecast to be closer to the various consensus aids and the GFS and UKMET ensemble means.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  23/0300Z 19.4N 119.1W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 12H  23/1200Z 20.0N 120.5W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 24H  24/0000Z 20.4N 122.3W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 36H  24/1200Z 20.7N 124.1W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 48H  25/0000Z 20.9N 126.0W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  25/1200Z 21.0N 128.0W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  26/0000Z 21.0N 130.0W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  27/0000Z 21.0N 134.0W   35 KT  40 MPH - Tropical Storm (ENE Hilo, Hawaii)
120H  28/0000Z 21.0N 138.0W   30 KT  35 MPH - Low (ENE Hilo, Hawaii)

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 800 AM PDT Tue Sep 22, 2020

Lowell’s satellite appearance has improved slightly over the past several hours, with the mass of deep convection becoming a little more symmetrical. However, the center still appears to be near the northeastern edge of this convection. A blend of the latest satellite intensity estimates from both TAFB and SAB suggest that the cyclone has strengthened, and the initial intensity has been increased to 45 kt.

The north-northeasterly shear is expected to persist for the next few days, and the cyclone is only expected to remain over waters warmer than 26 degrees C for the 24-36 h. Therefore, only some slow strengthening is expected during the next day or so. At around 72 h, Lowell is expected to begin moving over waters of around 25 degrees C while entering a drier and more stable airmass. These conditions should cause the cyclone to weaken. Late in the forecast period, model guidance suggests that Lowell will encounter strong westerly wind shear. There is a possibility that the cyclone could lose its deep convection once that shear sets in, and although the latest advisory does not indicate it, Lowell could degenerate into a remnant low by the end of the 5-day forecast period. The latest NHC intensity forecast is near the corrected consensus HCCA.

The storm is estimated to be moving 290/11 kt, on the southern side of a subtropical ridge. This motion should continue through Wednesday, followed by a turn to the west as the ridge changes its orientation slightly. The latest NHC track forecast is near the previous one through 24 h and is only a little north of it thereafter due to a shift in the track guidance.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  22/1500Z 18.4N 116.6W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 12H  23/0000Z 19.0N 118.2W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 24H  23/1200Z 19.6N 120.0W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 36H  24/0000Z 20.1N 121.8W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 48H  24/1200Z 20.4N 123.4W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  25/0000Z 20.5N 125.2W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  25/1200Z 20.6N 127.0W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  26/1200Z 20.6N 131.0W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (ENE Hilo, Hawaii)
120H  27/1200Z 20.6N 135.5W   35 KT  40 MPH - Tropical Storm (ENE Hilo, Hawaii)

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 900 PM MDT Mon Sep 21, 2020

Lowell’s satellite presentation has changed little during the past several hours. Lowell remains a sheared tropical cyclone with a few new bursts of deep convection evident to the west of the rather poorly defined and exposed surface circulation center. The initial intensity is held at 40 kt for this advisory and is in best agreement with the various subjective and objective satellite intensity estimates.

Modest northeasterly shear is still impinging over the eastern half of the cyclone and this inhibiting factor should relax within the next 12 hours or so. As a result, Lowell should strengthen with time through the 48 to 60 hour period as the cyclone traverses warm water and continues moving within a moist surrounding environment. Through the remaining portion of the forecast, Lowell is expected to enter a more stable and drier marine layer which should cause the cyclone to gradual weaken. The NHC intensity forecast is close to the NOAA HCCA consensus and the Decay SHIPS, and above the LGEM which indicates very little change in strength during the next 5 days.

The initial motion is estimated to be westward, or 280/11 kt. Low- to mid tropospheric easterly flow produced by a subtropical ridge anchored to the north of Lowell should steer it in a generally west-northwestward motion through Wednesday night. Around the 60 hour period, a turn back toward the west is expected as the aforementioned ridge builds farther west. The official forecast is basically an update of the previous advisory and is close to the HFIP Corrected Consensus Approach model.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  22/0300Z 17.7N 114.5W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 12H  22/1200Z 18.4N 116.2W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 24H  23/0000Z 19.0N 118.3W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 36H  23/1200Z 19.5N 120.1W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 48H  24/0000Z 19.9N 121.8W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  24/1200Z 20.0N 123.4W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  25/0000Z 20.0N 125.0W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  26/0000Z 20.0N 128.4W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
120H  27/0000Z 20.1N 131.8W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Hilo, Hawaii)

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 300 PM MDT Mon Sep 21, 2020 

Tropical Depression Seventeen-E has continued to have a ragged appearance in satellite imagery during the day. The circulation is elongated, with the main center just northeast of a poorly organized convective mass and a secondary vorticity maximum well to the north-northeast near Socorro Island. However, recent scatterometer data showed an area of 35-40 kt winds to the south and southeast of the main center. Based on this, the depression is upgraded to Tropical Storm Lowell with an initial intensity of 40 kt.

The initial motion is now 290/14 kt. There are no significant changes in the track forecast philosophy, the track forecast guidance, or the track forecast since the last advisory. Lowell is being steered by a large low- to mid-level ridge to the north and northwest, and this ridge is forecast to persist through the forecast period. The track guidance shows that the system should continue west-northwestward for about 36 h, followed by a westward motion through 120 h. The track guidance is still very tightly clustered, and the new forecast track is near the various consensus models.

Lowell is still experiencing some easterly shear, which the models suggest should abate some in the next 12 h or so. However, the poor organization of the storm suggests it may take a while to respond to the more favorable environment. Thus, the new intensity forecast continues the trend of the old forecast in showing slow strengthening for the first 36-48 h. After that time, the intensity will be strongly dependent on where the center is in relation to the strong sea-surface temperature gradient. Since the forecast track is basically unchanged, the new intensity forecast has only minor tweaks from the previous forecast based on the forecast track keeping the system over 25-26C water temperatures through 120 h. However, any motion north of the forecast track would bring the center over colder water and lead to a system weaker than forecast, while any motion south of the track would keep it over warmer water and possibly allow the cyclone to become a hurricane. The intensity forecast remains low confidence.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  21/2100Z 17.4N 113.6W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 12H  22/0600Z 18.3N 115.2W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 24H  22/1800Z 19.2N 117.5W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 36H  23/0600Z 19.8N 119.4W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 48H  23/1800Z 20.2N 121.1W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  24/0600Z 20.5N 122.8W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  24/1800Z 20.5N 124.4W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  25/1800Z 20.5N 128.0W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
120H  26/1800Z 20.5N 131.5W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Hilo, Hawaii)

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 900 AM MDT Mon Sep 21, 2020 

Although the circulation still appears to be elongated, the depression has become a little better organized during the past several hours, with the low-level center closer to the large mass of convection in the southwestern semicircle. Satellite intensity estimates from TAFB and SAB are 30 kt, so the initial intensity is nudged upward to 30 kt.

The initial motion is now 290/12. The depression is being steered by a large low- to mid-level ridge to the north and northwest, and this ridge is forecast to persist through the forecast period. The track guidance shows that the system should continue west- northwestward for about 36 h, followed by a westward motion through 120 h. The track guidance is very tightly clustered, and the new forecast track is near the various consensus models.

Current indications are that the current easterly shear should subside a little during the next 24-36 h, and this should allow the system to become a tropical storm. As noted in the previous advisory, the intensity after 36 h will be strongly dependent on where the center is in relation to the strong sea surface temperature gradient. The new intensity forecast is similar to the previous forecast based on the forecast track keeping the system over 25-26C water temperatures through 120 h. However, any motion north of the forecast track would bring the center over colder water and lead to a system weaker than forecast, while any motion south of the track would keep it over warmer water and possibly allow the cyclone to become a hurricane. As might have guessed, this is a low confidence intensity forecast.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  21/1500Z 17.0N 112.0W   30 KT  35 MPH - Depression (WSW Zihuatanejo, Mexico)
 12H  22/0000Z 17.8N 113.7W   35 KT  40 MPH - Tropical Storm (ENE Isla Clarion, Mexico)
 24H  22/1200Z 18.8N 115.9W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 36H  23/0000Z 19.5N 118.0W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 48H  23/1200Z 20.0N 119.9W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  24/0000Z 20.3N 121.7W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  24/1200Z 20.5N 123.4W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  25/1200Z 20.5N 126.5W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
120H  26/1200Z 20.5N 130.5W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 900 PM MDT Sun Sep 20, 2020

Last few visible images showed that the depression’s surface circulation remains poorly organized with a small swirl of clouds displaced just to the north of the deep convective mass. The initial intensity is held at 25 kt based on the unchanged subjective intensity estimates from TAFB and SAB.

The statistical-dynamical intensity guidance and the skilled consensus models all point to steady intensification through day 3. Toward the end of the period, the tropical cyclone should encounter an inhibiting dry stable air mass and cooler oceanic surface temperatures, which should lead to a gradual weakening trend. The NHC intensity forecast shows a peak intensity just under hurricane strength on Wednesday and is just below the HCCA intensity consensus and close to the Decay SHIPS.

The initial motion is estimated to be west-northwestward at 6 kt, and this motion is predicted to continue through Wednesday. The subtropical ridge currently steering the cyclone is forecast to build farther westward over the tropical eastern Pacific which should induce a westward turn toward the end of the week. The NHC forecast is basically an update of the previous one and based on the various consensus aids.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  21/0300Z 16.1N 109.3W   25 KT  30 MPH - Depression (WSW Manzanillo, Mexico)
 12H  21/1200Z 16.7N 110.8W   30 KT  35 MPH - Depression (WSW Zihuatanejo, Mexico)
 24H  22/0000Z 17.9N 112.8W   35 KT  40 MPH - Tropical Storm (ENE Isla Clarion, Mexico)
 36H  22/1200Z 18.9N 115.2W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 48H  23/0000Z 19.6N 117.4W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  23/1200Z 20.0N 119.2W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  24/0000Z 20.3N 120.8W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  25/0000Z 20.4N 123.7W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
120H  26/0000Z 20.7N 126.5W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL 300 PM MDT Sun Sep 20, 2020

The area of disturbed weather several hundred miles south of the southern tip of Baja California has developed enough organized deep convection and a well-enough defined center to declare it a tropical cyclone. This is supported by subjective Dvorak classifications from both SAB and TAFB with an initial intensity of 25 kt. The initial motion is an uncertain 275 degrees at 9 kt.

As the system should be moving over warm 29C SSTs, encountering moist mid-level humidities, and experiencing low to moderate amounts of tropospheric vertical shear, steady intensification is expected through the next three days. Around days four and five, the tropical cyclone should encounter both drier air and cooler SSTs, likely curtailing any further development and leading toward slow weakening. The intensity forecast is between the bullish dynamical models calling for a peak at a Category 1 hurricane in about three days, and the bearish statistical guidance suggesting a moderate to high-end tropical storm at the system’s peak.

The track models are in much better agreement with all suggesting a turn toward the west-northwest at a slightly faster forward speed for the next three days, under the steering influence of a narrow deep-layer ridge north of the system. By day four, an amplifying ridge north of the tropical cyclone should turn it back toward the west again. The track forecast is based upon the HCCA corrected consensus technique.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
 
INIT  20/2100Z 15.8N 109.1W   25 KT  30 MPH - Depression (WSW Manzanillo, Mexico)
 12H  21/0600Z 16.2N 110.5W   30 KT  35 MPH - Depression (WSW Zihuatanejo, Mexico)
 24H  21/1800Z 17.3N 112.3W   35 KT  40 MPH - Tropical Storm (WNW Zihuatanejo. Mexico)
 36H  22/0600Z 18.5N 114.5W   40 KT  45 MPH - Tropical Storm (ENE Isla Clarion, Mexico)
 48H  22/1800Z 19.3N 117.0W   45 KT  50 MPH - Tropical Storm (WSW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 60H  23/0600Z 19.7N 119.0W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WNW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 72H  23/1800Z 20.1N 120.7W   60 KT  70 MPH - Tropical Storm (WNW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
 96H  24/1800Z 20.5N 124.0W   55 KT  65 MPH - Tropical Storm (WNW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
120H  25/1800Z 20.5N 127.0W   50 KT  60 MPH - Tropical Storm (WNW Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)

If this system is named, it will become Tropical Storm Lowell.

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