Claudette hits Florida; Ana approaches Puerto RIco; Bill becomes our first hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:10 PM GMT on August 17, 2009

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Tropical Storm Claudette made landfall at about 1:15 am EDT near the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island, just southeast of Fort Walton Beach in Florida. Claudette's top winds were around 50 mph. A Personal Weather Station in Eastpoint, FL recorded sustained winds of 49 mph, gusting to 66 mph last night. So far, the rain from Claudette has had a tough time penetrating inland (Figure 2). Heavy rains of 3 - 4 inches have been confined to a narrow strip of coast, and Claudette is unlikely to cause any major flooding. Apalachicola received just over 4 inches of rain so far from Claudette. Radar animations out of the Florida Panhandle show that heavy rains continue along the coast in association with a main spiral band of Claudette, and these rains will gradually subside today.


Figure 1. Radar reflectivity image of Tropical Storm Claudette as it approached landfall just southeast of Fort Walton Beach shortly after midnight on 8/17/09.

The tropics featured a rare triple threat the past two days--simultaneous named storms beginning with the letters A, B, and C. The last time this occurred was in the slow-starting 1984 hurricane season, when Tropical Storms Arthur, Bertha, and Cesar were all active on September 1. This year's A, B, and C storms all got their names in just a 33 hour span. This is not a record, since in 1995, three tropical storms--Humberto, Iris, and Jerry--got their names in a 27-hour span (thanks to NOAA's Ryan Sharp for looking up this stat).


Figure 2. Total precipitation estimated by radar for Claudette, as of 3:28pm EDT 8/17/09.

Ana not dead yet
Tropical Depression Ana continues to cling to life, and is now approaching landfall in Puerto Rico. Radar animations from the San Juan, Puerto Rico radar show a surface circulation just southeast of the island, with some low-level spiral banding trying to develop to the south. Recent satellite images also show a rejuvenation of the heavy thunderstorm activity near Ana's center, as the storm regroups from being nearly torn apart yesterday. Ana has already dumped up to 4 inches of rain along the north coast of Puerto Rico, according to radar-estimates.

It is unlikely that Ana will survive past today, however, since the storm will move over both Puerto Rico and the rugged terrain of Hispaniola. The high mountains of these islands should act to disrupt the relatively small and fragile circulation of Ana. None of the computer models foresee that Ana will survive passage over Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic can expect 3 - 6 inches of rain from Ana, and Haiti can expect 1 - 3 inches.


Figure 3. Total precipitation estimated by radar from Ana for Puerto Rico.

Bill becomes the first Atlantic hurricane of 2009
Hurricane Bill continues to gather strength, and is now the first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season. An eye has appeared on visible and infrared satellite imagery, and Bill is displaying an impressive symmetry, with plenty of low-level spiral banding.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to be in the low range through Wednesday. With Sea Surface Temperatures only 27°C today, substantial intensification may not occur until Tuesday and Wednesday, when SSTs warm to 28 - 29°C and ocean heat content sharply increases. By Thursday, Bill is expected to leave the favorable upper-level wind environment it currently finds itself in, and moderate shear of 15 - 20 knots may limit further intensification.

Water vapor satellite imagery shows that there is a modest trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere near 50°W longitude, that Bill is currently approaching. All of the computer models except the UKMET predict that this trough will be strong enough to turn Bill more to the northwest so that the hurricane misses the Lesser Antilles Islands. The UKMET predicts the trough will not affect Bill much, and that the hurricane will pass through or just north of the islands on Thursday. For now, the UKMET solution is being discounted, since the trough at 50W appears substantial enough on satellite imagery to be able to turn Bill more to the northwest.

A much larger trough of low pressure is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week, turning Bill even more to the northwest. Most of the models predict Bill will pass very close to Bermuda on Saturday as a result. The HWRF model predicts Bermuda will receive a direct hit at Category 4 strength. Until Bill interacts with the small trough at 50°W, it is too early to be confident of the potential threat to Bermuda. By Tuesday, we should have a much better idea of the threat. Likewise, I would like to see the UKMET model come around in line with the other models before dismissing the possible threat to the U.S. East Coast. It currently appears that Bill will miss the U.S. East Coast, but that a strike on the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia is possible.

I'll have an update Tuesday morning, or possibly this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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3824. Walshy
Cape Cod will be in the cone shortly at this rate. Bermuda is almost out. Still, Bermuda should watch in case Bill stays on the right side of the cone.


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Quoting homelesswanderer:
O OK. Fcast to the rescue again. Lol. It's high pressure. Thanks.

Lol, you're welcome! I'm sure anyone would be happy to answer that, though, not just me. Alrighty, Night everyone!
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Sorry lopaka. :)
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Yes did you read my Tropical Update i poste Yesterday....I have ANA jumping its energy to the Bahamas into a new forming LOW. There is a nice Divergence but, no Convergence YET. NOthng at the 850mb Vorticity yet either. We need to watch that as the Low from ANA could reform in that area.

Oh, no, not yesterday I didn't know you posted one. I'll take a look at it. Yeah it will definitely be interesting to see whether hispaniola disrupted Ana's circulation enough so as to destroy it sufficiently where it wouldn't have enough time to gather itself prior to being swept towards SE FL and the GOM. I have a feeling shear is going to be an inhibiting factor in any potential re-formation of Ana, though. We'll see later today.
Well thanks for all the comments and thanks for the great discussion Tampa. I'm getting tired as it's 4:40 here and I've yet to go to sleep. Night everyone.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
O OK. Fcast to the rescue again. Lol. It's high pressure. Thanks.

Lol it helps to know where you were talking about, I was looking further south..
;=)


What a difference of 30 mins makes..
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...BILL MOVING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD ACROSS THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC WITH
LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH...

INTERESTS IN THE LEEWARD ISLANDS SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF
BILL.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting serialteg:


looks like that 1st front might be a dud... ?


Looks that way to me. At least it doesn't seem to get far south before washing out. Of course I'm seeing things spinning the wrong way so who knows. Lol.
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That HIgh pressure in the GOM worries me.....it seems to be building NOrth......if Bill does not hurry soon.....The HIgh from the GOM could pinch off the trough to fast and allow High pressure to build back in faster than the models have it....
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
3816. Walshy
There are no obvious reasons to prevent Bill from intensifying
further during the several days...as the intensity guidance agrees
on an environment characterized by low shear and warm sea surface
temperatures. Perhaps the only limiting factor will be
fluctuations within the inner core for which there is virtually no
forecast skill. The guidance is in general agreement that Bill
should reach a peak in intensity in about 72 hours. Toward the end
of the period...global models have been predicting a gradual
increase in southwesterly shear as Bill begins to become more
displaced to the north of an upper-level anticyclone.
Consequently...the official forecast shows a weakening trend after
72 hours.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
On this thing it shows 2 different fronts coming through this week. The first on looks farther north. That may be what was on Tampa's link. Link


looks like that 1st front might be a dud... ?
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On this thing it shows 2 different fronts coming through this week. The first on looks farther north. That may be what was on Tampa's link. Link
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3813. Walshy
Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Don't get it confused! Lol, there is no ULL at the moment, the gulf is dominate by high pressure. That's all it is. Nothing to be concerned about.



GOM looking good.

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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Yeah, you're right. Hmmm.. Interesting.. That thing needs a kick in the rear to get down there in time. Well I guess the models must be projecting that the weakness will erode it enough in order for Bill to start turning and give that trough enough time to erode the rest of it a couple days later...

Also one thing I noticed on that loop.. Check out that remnants of Ana.. That can't be her trying to reform a circulation, can it? I believe it's just a circular-looking ball of convection, but I guess we'd have to see a new QuikSCAT pass to be sure there is no circulation of any kind trying to form. The more organized those remnants stay, however, the higher the chance of rain in South Florida on Wednesday.. When I'm going back down to Miami to get ready for this semester.
Hmph...


Yes did you read my Tropical Update i poste Yesterday....I have ANA jumping its energy to the Bahamas into a new forming LOW. There is a nice Divergence but, no Convergence YET. NOthng at the 850mb Vorticity yet either. We need to watch that as the Low from ANA could reform in that area.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443


Exactly serialteg, you got it. High pressure= clockwise, Low pressure= counter-clockwise. (In the Northern Hemisphere, that is)
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Quoting homelesswanderer:


Lol. Me either. I never can tell whether they are upper or lower spins. Look at me I'm learning the technical jargon. Lol.


yeah well, clockwise=high pressure?, counterclockwise=low (tropical system alert)
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Yeah, you're right. Hmmm.. Interesting.. That thing needs a kick in the rear to get down there in time. Well I guess the models must be projecting that the weakness will erode it enough in order for Bill to start turning and give that trough enough time to erode the rest of it a couple days later...

Also one thing I noticed on that loop.. Check out that remnants of Ana.. That can't be her trying to reform a circulation, can it? I believe it's just a circular-looking ball of convection, but I guess we'd have to see a new QuikSCAT pass to be sure there is no circulation of any kind trying to form. The more organized those remnants stay, however, the higher the chance of rain in South Florida on Wednesday.. When I'm going back down to Miami to get ready for this semester.
Hmph...


We got hit with some high winds and rain already today!!
Is that high going to weaken how strong is this high?
I need to find the chart and see..
I too was looking at Ana and thinking of the same thing..
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O OK. Fcast to the rescue again. Lol. It's high pressure. Thanks.
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Quoting lopaka001:


Are you talking about the ULL?


Apparently so. Lol. Thanks.:)
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
Hey y'all, does anyone know what's spinning in the gulf right below N.O.?
Link

Notice the clockwise rotation, that indicates high pressure.. :)
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Quoting serialteg:


id check the vorticity maps but i dont know how to use that. *hint* *hint*


Lol. Me either. I never can tell whether they are upper or lower spins. Look at me I'm learning the technical jargon. Lol.
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Quoting homelesswanderer:
Hey y'all, does anyone know what's spinning in the gulf right below N.O.?
Link


Are you talking about the ULL?
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I was looking at this Loop and that trough is very far North.....Hum....i'm not sure the WEstern Edge will get eroded enough. This will be interesting to watch what happens tomorrow.....You can see the trough is very high up in Canada.....

Water Vapor link

Yeah, you're right. Hmmm.. Interesting.. That thing needs a kick in the rear to get down there in time. Well I guess the models must be projecting that the weakness will erode it enough in order for Bill to start turning and give that trough enough time to erode the rest of it a couple days later...

Also one thing I noticed on that loop.. Check out that remnants of Ana.. That can't be her trying to reform a circulation, can it? I believe it's just a circular-looking ball of convection, but I guess we'd have to see a new QuikSCAT pass to be sure there is no circulation of any kind trying to form. The more organized those remnants stay, however, the higher the chance of rain in South Florida on Wednesday.. When I'm going back down to Miami to get ready for this semester.
Hmph...
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When you look at that loop i just posted click to show Trop Pts.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting homelesswanderer:
Hey y'all, does anyone know what's spinning in the gulf right below N.O.?
Link


id check the vorticity maps but i dont know how to use that. *hint* *hint*
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Quoting TampaSpin:
I was looking at this Loop and that trough is very far North.....Hum....i'm not sure the WEstern Edge will get eroded enough. This will be interesting to watch what happens tomorrow.....You can see the trough is very high up in Canada.....

Water Vapor link


still has a-ways to go. the farther out, the more unpredictable things get.
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Hey y'all, does anyone know what's spinning in the gulf right below N.O.?
Link
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3798. Walshy
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fcaster at least you got to work on your paint skills bro.

i know penmanship on a PC greatly depends on the quality of the mouse, thou
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I was looking at this Loop and that trough is very far North.....Hum....i'm not sure the WEstern Edge will get eroded enough. This will be interesting to watch what happens tomorrow.....You can see the trough is very high up in Canada.....

Water Vapor link
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting TampaSpin:
HurricaneCast good map drawings there you posted also....i have done that before but, its a pain to do it and then you have to send to photobucket Tinypic is what i use when i have the patience to do that stuff.....good job.

Thanks Tampa! Yeah it is kind of a pain, Lol! That's why I was kicking myself when I saw that TWC had a very simple graphic explaining the same thing on their website.. >.<
I'm glad you found a part of the model run that showed Bill rounding that ridge, though, because that was a question many had and I think that illustration clearly shows how Bill will be forced NW and N.
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I value much you guys' insights tonight as I have learned :) I feel more intelligent, and not because I stayed at a Comfort Inn
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You both are basically saying the same thing when it comes to the end result IMHO..
Thank you both for clarifying your points it answered some questions I had about the highs..
Either way you look at it Bermuda is in for a bad time I'm afraid..

*Edit*
Lol I see you both said the same thing what I posted sorry I am a little slow the board eat my post had to redo it..
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HurricaneCast good map drawings there you posted also....i have done that before but, its a pain to do it and then you have to send to photobucket Tinypic is what i use when i have the patience to do that stuff.....good job.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
3791. Walshy
Watch out Bermuda.

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Quoting TampaSpin:


I think we was both saying the same thing with different wording...LOL....its all good.

I do too, LOL.
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Night all, I will be more expert like next time, I was too tired.... hope the link came in good handy!
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Right!!! That's it. You notice where there are two separate highs, though? This model run doesn't clearly show it like the current Layer Mean Wind Analyses do, but there are in fact two separate highs. Some other models show it better, but this is why models are just that- models. They tend to blur some of the atmospheric components and focus more directly on the track of the system. Anyways, you can see the western high being eroded and carried away by that longwave trough, which then essentially "opens up" the western portion of the northeast atlantic for Bill to be pulled poleward through. We both were seeing the same thing, it's just that this model blurs the fact that there are actually two highs:



That is from 2AM ^ ^ ^ ^

Anyways, that's just a forecasting misunderstanding you get with using to separate sources for your initial data!!! :)
Thanks for your insight TampaSpin, It's always valued no matter what you may think!!!


I think we was both saying the same thing with different wording...LOL....its all good.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
I meant a forecasting misunderstanding WE had for me using one source and you using another, that is. Sorry for the way it was worded up there ^ ^ ^

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WOW! Thats a tiny eye! He looks like he's strengthing and bit by bit gaining latitude. The higher the better. Let's hope he remains a beautiful masterpiece signed by Mother Nature and is not remembered for anything else.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Ok LOOK at this loop.....you can see for yourself what i stated...If you look you can see the weakness to the North that is currently in place that Bill feels then the Western edge of the Bermuda High erodes allowing Bill to go up the Western side of the Bermuda High...Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Right!!! That's it. You notice where there are two separate highs, though? This model run doesn't clearly show it like the current Layer Mean Wind Analyses do, but there are in fact two separate highs. Some other models show it better, but this is why models are just that- models. They tend to blur some of the atmospheric components and focus more directly on the track of the system. Anyways, you can see the western high being eroded and carried away by that longwave trough, which then essentially "opens up" the western portion of the northeast atlantic for Bill to be pulled poleward through. We both were seeing the same thing, it's just that this model blurs the fact that there are actually two highs:



That is from 2AM ^ ^ ^ ^

Anyways, that's just a forecasting misunderstanding you get with using to separate sources for your initial data!!! :)
Thanks for your insight TampaSpin, It's always valued no matter what you may think!!!
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Quoting btwntx08:
speaking of bill looks like the eye poped out


hehe

this has to be the most used phrase in the last few days! :)
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:
OMG I'm so MAD! Lol I didn't have to waste time with MS paint and my crappy computer handwriting. Look what was on TWC's website, a very simple graphic explaining the same thing:

GRRRR! Oh well, at least the Layer Mean Wind Analyses show the strength of the High pressure areas and the weakness, unlike TWC's graphic. Anyways, there it is...^ ^ ^
>.<


RELEASE YOUR HATE AND YOUR ANGER!!!!

Nice map though, you and theu are really experienced to do exactly the same thing good job!
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Quoting RadarRich:
On a normal note/post, the remaining parts of Anna may bring some rainy conditions to the Florida keys and SE Florida by Thursday/Friday, and hopefully just hat. Any regeneration or cyclonic rotation hopefully does not occur heading into the GOM. All good with Bill at this point, I believe for any threat to the Easter US coast. Barring any substantial weakness in the projected trough to come into play, we should be ok in the Conus, Bermuda, just needs to be on alert, and keep that ever watchfull eye on his progress


Bill could potentially be more powerful than Fabian was if it hits Bermuda.
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3781. GetReal
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3780. Walshy
Bill and his eye.

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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Am I shouting? I don't think I am. Please explain further what you mean.


I agree we may disagree here but, no harm of anger intended from here...:)
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Bill is rounding the western side of the eastern ridge that builds in after the western ridge has eroded. This is what the models forecast, this is what the NHC forecasts, this is what Tim Ballisty (The meteorologist who made that WC graphic) forecasts. I don't see where we are misunderstanding each other here. I think we both know what is happening but are explaining it in different terms. When that western ridge "erodes" it essentially will disappear on those model runs you are posting, either just in a *poof* sort of way, or it will appear to be carried off by a trough. Which in this case is that longwave trough that will be exiting the U.S. coast in 2-3 days. Thus, Bill rounds the western edge of the eastern high, as the weakness initiates the erosion or the western ridge, and the longwave trough completes it.


Ok LOOK at this loop.....you can see for yourself what i stated...If you look you can see the weakness to the North that is currently in place that Bill feels then the Western edge of the Bermuda High erodes allowing Bill to go up the Western side of the Bermuda High...Sorry for the misunderstanding.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20443
On a normal note/post, the remaining parts of Anna may bring some rainy conditions to the Florida keys and SE Florida by Thursday/Friday, and hopefully just hat. Any regeneration or cyclonic rotation hopefully does not occur heading into the GOM. All good with Bill at this point, I believe for any threat to the Easter US coast. Barring any substantial weakness in the projected trough to come into play, we should be ok in the Conus, Bermuda, just needs to be on alert, and keep that ever watchfull eye on his progress
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Quoting RadarRich:



OK, enough jargon and coffe, slow it down a tad on the expertise being submitted with your posts. We all get the fact Bill will curve, just tone it down on a few decibals

Am I shouting? I don't think I am. Please explain further what you mean.
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Quoting RadarRich:



OK, enough jargon and coffe, slow it down a tad on the expertise being submitted with your posts. We all get the fact Bill will curve, just tone it down on a few decibals


Lol. Don't come down on him for it. He was trying to help those of us who didn't "get" it. Myself being particulary unscientific of mind. :) And I for one appreciate and applaud his patience.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.