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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Watching the remnants of Ana as they move through the Florida straights and into the bath waters of the GOM. Claudette take #2?

Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5300
Welcome 1965! There's so much stuff in the GOM that it seems to me everything needs watching!
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4420. XL
Quoting Grothar:


Went back and read them. Poor fellow, Michael Fish. I have been to your town. Beautiful place. If I remember correctly there were the ruins of an old castle which we visited. Narrow streets, but quite interesting architecture. Lucky you were so far north of the storms. As I remember, they did quite a bit of damage.


Hi

I think you are talking of the famed October storm. I was actually down south during it - in Bishop Stortford (think that's how it is spelt). I distinctly remember seeing a window get blown out of a building and the Company I was visiting reporting that a member of staff had died of a heart attack whilst trying to walk against the wind. It was a rough old day!
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Quoting Acemmett90:

who the hell is bob lol

Bob is the name I call Bill if I mess up Bill's name.
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Quoting tbrett:


Omar caused flooding on Montserrat with the feeder bands. The valley I need to cross was flooded for 2 days..was stuck at home for that time.


Yeah I remember hearing Montserrat got flooded as well. Everyone wrote Omar off because he was headed away from us so I'm just hoping everyone stays vigilant of Bill. We are just so vulnerable on these little land masses.
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4415. 1965
Morning all.

First post on this blog. I am a long time weather enthusiast, and have been fascinated by hurricanes since riding out Betsy in New Orleans as a kid. Used to even chase hurricanes before work and family dictated otherwise.

I enjoy reading this blog. Quite a few knowledgeable people here. More than a few that are clueless LOL, but entertaining nonetheless.

Though I have long since moved from the Gulf Coast, I still follow storms closely. I need to keep up with particularly GOM storms, since whenever there is a threat, friends and family from back home ring my phone off the hook for storm info LOL.

For what it's worth, GOM residents should keep a close eye on Ana's remnants. In particular, the area currently moving wnw between Haiti and eastern Cuba. This is where what is left of Ana's low level circulation is. Looks to me, it will be moving just south of eastern Cuba today, and by DMAX will be over open water around 21N and 75W. This feature will be slowing down considerably beyond 75W, and I fear could begin to develop rather quickly tomorrow.

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Quoting gordydunnot:
Might just be a wobble but Bill made a hard left last few frames. Nhc update should be interesting.


No it didn't. Right on NHC track. Plot the tropical points. If anything, its a hair north of where is should be. The new advisory will just be an update of the one at 5 PM. Just cosmetic changes as they call it.
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Hurricane Bob, the Tomato.
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4412. Prgal
Quoting lovesdanger:
prgal right now bill is being steered by this huge high covering the atlantic all the way back across the se us...as this 750mb trough begins to come down this trough will cause the high steering bill right now to split into two sections leaving a huge gap up the middle...this will cause bill to take that strong weakness turn nw then north and finally ne out into the atlantic and have a fish party..i hope i cleared some of this up for you and you understand it better..

Yes, I believe you have TY! Do you know the translation of trough...is it "vaguada"? TYVM!
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Quoting ScaredOfCanes:


Thank you tropic freak it's a very interesting site for sure. What is the difference between the verification models and the other models if you don't mind me asking. Thanks!


There is no "verification model". The page is titled "model verification". In other words, it means it is comparing model predictions to what actually happened.
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4410. gator23
I was paraphrasing Julie Durda. Great to look at but her meterology skills are pretty weak. So you may be correct.
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Morning all,

I see the models have been holding true to their forecast of re-curving Bill to some extent. It looks like the northern maritime region may have to pay close attention however. No amount of west-casting will change this no matter how much people want to have some “excitement” with a storm approaching the US east coast. The models still seem to be in fairly good agreement with the general north-west track and then a gradual turn to the northeast. The islands should still monitor the system as any deviation south of the forecast track will bring it closer, sending in heavier surf along the coastlines, but as of right now the Antilles need not worry as the system is forecast to stay well clear the islands.
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P451 - so with that wave model there would be an extra 15 feet of tide up the Bay of Fundy, and into all the southeast facing bays on the New England Coast - sounds to me like that creates some flooding possibilities. 15 extra feet of water isn't anything to sneeze at. Am I misreading this?
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4406. bcn
Quoting kinsingmonster:
What is a "fish" storm?


An storm with track all over water.
(in other words, a nice storm that provides nice snapshots and no problems).
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Quoting Ameister12:
New England should watch Bob closely for a possible landfall.


who's Bob, do you mean Bill?
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4403. Murko
Quoting Grothar:


Lucky you were so far north of the storms. As I remember, they did quite a bit of damage.


I slept through the first one and wrote of my car (big heavy BMW 733i) in the second, as a tree crashed down right in front of me!
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Quoting Ameister12:
New England should watch Bob closely for a possible landfall.
Who is Bob, or did you mean Bill? LOL
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Quoting Ameister12:
New England should watch Bob closely for a possible landfall.

Bill! Bill! I mean Bill!!!
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4400. oakland
Quoting kinsingmonster:
What is a "fish" storm?

That question I can answer.

One that stays out in the open water and doesn't hit any land. Basically it is only a problem for ships at sea.
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Quoting ScaredOfCanes:


Thank you tropic freak it's a very interesting site for sure. Your comment cut off??


Yeah, I accidentally clicked on the post comment button and it cut off so I modified it be clicking on the modify comment button.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6872
FAY 2008

8/18/08 on this date last year FAY was sitting at 23.6N 81.5W as a tropical storm with 50K winds, not far from the remnants of ANNA. Over the next couple days we got 21 inches of rain here in E. Central FL. Just reminiscing...
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If Bill threatens the USA, it would be New England. This scenario is still possible.
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Quoting XL:


Hi

It's raining (not hard) up at Northwest point. No thunder and lightning though and it is very still.
Hi. Boy, it is very dark up here and Lots of thunder and lightning.
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4394. gator23
Quoting Grothar:
TO: Gator23

I am in Coral Ridge. Seem the wind is picking up a bit. Very breezy by me.

thats because of the pressure differential. it will be breezy, however the remnants should not arrive till tommorow morning(late tonight) into Thursday. I am in Miami
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New England should watch Bob closely for a possible landfall.
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Might just be a wobble but Bill made a hard left last few frames. Nhc update should be interesting.
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Quoting MahFL:
yonzabam,
seems your correct, funny how one's perception was it was an ex cane. Then again 1987 was a long time ago :).


It happens to me, too.
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Quoting Prgal:


Just in case the post was not read :-)


Read back 100 posts or so before you asked the question. It was fairly thoroughly addressed.
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4388. XL
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Seems like it. East End is very loud and dark. Raining off and on all morning.


Hi

It's raining (not hard) up at Northwest point. No thunder and lightning though and it is very still.
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Quoting kinsingmonster:
What is a "fish" storm?

A wish that the storm goes out to sea?

But actualy every storm seem to be somekind of fish storm, because it alters the oxygen level in the water - a threat to marine life.
The effects of Hurricane Andrew on Florida wetlands were considerable. In the Florida Everglades, 25%, 70,000 acres (280 km2) of trees were knocked down by the storm. It took 20 days for new trees and vegetation to grow following the storms passing. Damage to marine life was moderate as the storm increased the turbidity and lowered the oxygen level in the water, threatening many fish and other marine wildlife. In addition, the storm killed 182 million fish in the basin, causing $160 million (1992 USD) in lost value.
Wiki
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4386. Melagoo


This track is much more LAND BOUND!
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4385. tbrett
Quoting JadeInAntigua:


It's not just the winds... it's the rain. Omar passed well north of us last year and still caused widespread flooding here with his feeder bands. There was no direct hit on St. Kitts & Nevis either but I'm sure Weather456 can tell you how Omar still caused serious issues there, including destroying the Four Seasons resort on Nevis which has still not recovered.


Omar caused flooding on Montserrat with the feeder bands. The valley I need to cross was flooded for 2 days..was stuck at home for that time.
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4384. Grothar
TO: Gator23

I am in Coral Ridge. Seem the wind is picking up a bit. Very breezy by me.
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Remnants are supposed to arrive tommorow into Thursday

hhhmmm, I could of sworn our local meteorologist said weather turning this afternoon and tomorrow. Should be better Thursday...but then again, 1st cup o' coffee had not been inhaled then!!
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Quoting tropicfreak:


First of all, welcome to wunderground, I hope you learn alot from being on this site. Second of all, let me assure you that the NHC (National Hurricane center)


Thank you tropic freak it's a very interesting site for sure. What is the difference between the verification models and the other models if you don't mind me asking. Thanks!
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Quoting Newport62:
stormpetrol......where are you? I'm in Ft Lauderdale (Oakland Park) and it a beautiful sunny day, just a little windy.


Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands , BBL gotta run into town.
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notre dame
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Quoting Prgal:
Link
Good morning everyone! Can someone please help me understand why they think there will be a NW movement on Bill? To my untrained eye Bill has been moving W WNW. But, what is supposed to pick Bill more to a NW movement? That thing so far from him near Bermuda? What about the high right on top of Bill. Help please.


You're right, he has been moving wwnw, but just lately, the northwards component has become greater. That might be due to a weakness in the high pressure to the north, just east of 50W.

It's normal for hurricanes to move north. There was a good technical explanation for this around page 26 or thereabouts. However, the Bermuda High, when it expands, is an impassable barrier which steers them to the east.

The forecast is for a low pressure area to come down the east coast. If it does and the timing is right, it'll suck Bill up north towards Bermuda and Nova Scotia.
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4377. gator23
Quoting Newport62:
stormpetrol......where are you? I'm in Ft Lauderdale (Oakland Park) and it a beautiful sunny day, just a little windy.


Remnants are supposed to arrive tommorow into Thursday
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Jasoniscoolman10 - You post some really great graphics. Thanks!
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Quoting Newport62:
stormpetrol......where are you? I'm in Ft Lauderdale (Oakland Park) and it a beautiful sunny day, just a little windy.

Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman to be exact.
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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.