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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Quoting gaweatherboi:
Anyone think bill has a chance to defy the models and slam into the east coast anywhere between FL and NC?


<10%

Thats being really bullish.
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3473. jipmg
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Top ten analog tracks.
FULL image


link doesnt work
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3472. sctonya
stormchaser: I was forbidden to see that site
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nite baha
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3470. 7544
Quoting jsit:
Whats that little thing (little storm) to the west of Cuba? Its nothing yes? I mean I hope it isnt anything.


thought it was exana firing some convction again i could be wrong tho
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6862
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


only one more hour, then were in the dark. :/


For how long?
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Ridge

trough

15 N

Models

I know I know. Im not a met. Nothing but a blogger that likes the tropics and loves this time of year but

I just dont buy into it.
"That Feeling" doesnt count in the met world but I just cant shake that west feeling in my gut.
Crows in the oven, no need to worry
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3467. sctonya
Quoting ConchHondros:
Thanks to all who answered my question...17mph ...isnt that 1mph faster than last update?


yes it is.

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Anyone think bill has a chance to defy the models and slam into the east coast anywhere between FL and NC?
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Last comment bfore I head out:

With the earlier comment by a blogger that water temps off the NJ coast were 79 degrees, I wouldn't be so quick to assume that Bill could not arrive on the doorstep of New England or NE Canada as a hurricane. Especially since these high-latitude storms tend to be fast movers, like the 1938 storm of renown, Hurricane Bill at 40N is certainly not out of the realm of the possible. Go look it up - it's happened in the past.

Good night all.


Thanks for clearing that up Baha. The maritimes know all too well that a hurricane can still effect them. Case in point: Jean.
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3464. jsit
Whats that little thing (little storm) to the west of Cuba? Its nothing yes? I mean I hope it isnt anything.
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Quoting ConchHondros:
How fsat is bill moving now?


Does that stand for Finally Saw A Tunnel? J/K ya'll have. It is also about that time of night for the WS show, enjoy-ster.
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17 mph Conch!
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.
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3460. snotly
Just got a great deal on a condo at Point Lance Newfoundland. They said my "Bill" would be "very low" indeed.

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Thanks to all who answered my question...17mph ...isnt that 1mph faster than last update?
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3458. Ighuc
Does anyone remember a good example of a hurricane that flat out defied a consensus model predication? Hopefully Bill stays a fish storm and becomes a fantastic extratropical storm, but he needs to stop resisting...
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3457. 7544
bill getting a coma shape now hmmm

is that exana at 20n n of hispanola now
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6862
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


only one more hour, then were in the dark. :/


go to post 3448 and look at the low clouds to the NW of bill, thats the steering its about to enter....
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Quoting EcoastMASS:
So what you guys thing of this thing hitting New England


Earlier today Dr. Masters came onto the log himself(!) and predicted that Maine and Cape Cod might be affected by winds.
Try not to be too nervous (I better take my own advice). Prepare. Be able to take care of yourself for 3 days so that first responders can take care of the elderly, very young, ill, or hurt. Gas up the car, and lots of water. A weather radio and candles. You'll be fine.
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Based on microwave imagery Bill FINALLY looks to be developing an inner core. Its also filtering the dry air W of the center into the SW quadrant which is extremely moist so it should be fine in about 3-6 hours. As for movement it looks to be moving WNW and should fully cross the 15N line in an hour or two.
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Quoting RadarRich:


As a past dweller in Mass., now in Florida, 19 years, Hurricanes are intriguing to say. More of threat where I live now, Boynton Beach, Fl. rather than Belligham Mass. Hurricane Gloria was my first and only experience up north, in 1985 with a tropical system affecting the North East, and it was very interesting to say the least. Had no idea what was coming at us and even why/where it came from. As fars as Bill is concerned for New England, I would say there is a slight chance it could come close. I am not an expert by no means, but, keep an eye on him, and I believe he will stay to the east of you, if the current models and scenarios play out to their truition. GO RED SOX AND PATRIOTS


Hey RR...I'm just up the road from you in Lantana (over by the Old Keylime House).
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It looks like it's moving NW to me, although the cone of death appears to have shifted closer to the SE coast.

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I read the blog most nights during the season, i'm an insurance agent not a weather person but these storms seems to end up left of where you folks think it's going. No science involved just a BAMA man look'in and listen'n. RTR (rolltideroll)
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
melwerle, yes still out to sea, with a Bermuda threat. The forecast track was shifted slightly west at the 5 pm advisory, and the 11 p.m. advisory left the track alone.


Thanks St. Simons - our house in Savannah is still there and not sold...keeping a tight eye on stuff. Waiting for our first earthquake since our return to the west though. Stay safe.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837


only one more hour, then were in the dark. :/
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3447. sctonya
Thanks to all that answered my question
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Quoting BahaHurican:
There's a simple way to check; look at the graphics archives for Bill.


hey Baha how are you long time no chat. I actually did check and it is off as Bill continued to move west and then missed the first trough. My statement was simply these things move east, west, nw, or just n of west (thats for Drak) Several on here keep saying if anyone points out its not going where its suppose to they become a something caster. In the end The NHC is usually on target. However the variation of information vs what happens is there and many chose to point it out doesnt make us bad or smelly !
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Quoting rareaire:
quite Often actually. A lot of things have to be in line and on time for a storm to be pulled off . In bills case it was not big enough for the first trough but as many more experienced bloggers have stated it will be for the second one!
A stronger storm rides the weakness easier than a weak storm. A weaker storm coud possibly be a worse scenario for the islands because it might not catch the trough. Huge swell coming from this storm. Secret spots on the islands are lighting up any day.
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Quoting jipmg:


You cant really tell, the eye keeps popping up and fizzles, its constantly fluctating from 15N and 14.9N atleast it has been in the past couple of hours.. at the same time moving slowly westward


Quoting watchingnva:


not quite...still struggling with dry air...i dont think we will see a really good defined eye for a few more hours...still seems to be sucking in dry air...


10-4...any thoughts on what's inhibiting it's development? Dry air?
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Quoting sctonya:
Could someone answer this question....After the HH get their information, how long does it take for the information to be input in the models? I hope that made sense :)


from what i thought/remember...its usually the 2nd to 3rd run after the first couple flights that really start using the info for more precise guidance....so tomorrow nights models should have the data and show us whats going on in there...
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Quoting truecajun:


i really want to visit nova scotia one day.


Well, bien sur, cher, if you're a True Cajun like you say. I may be an anglo, but I live in the heart of Acadie.
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How fsat is bill moving now?
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3439. sctonya
Thanks Stormchaser
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Quoting sctonya:
Could someone answer this question....After the HH get their information, how long does it take for the information to be input in the models? I hope that made sense :)


if they get it tomorrow, it should be on the 8EDT models
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Quoting EcoastMASS:
So what you guys thing of this thing hitting New England


As a past dweller in Mass., now in Florida, 19 years, Hurricanes are intriguing to say. More of threat where I live now, Boynton Beach, Fl. rather than Belligham Mass. Hurricane Gloria was my first and only experience up north, in 1985 with a tropical system affecting the North East, and it was very interesting to say the least. Had no idea what was coming at us and even why/where it came from. As fars as Bill is concerned for New England, I would say there is a slight chance it could come close. I am not an expert by no means, but, keep an eye on him, and I believe he will stay to the east of you, if the current models and scenarios play out to their truition. GO RED SOX AND PATRIOTS
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
A Gulf Stream jet will be flying around in the ridge hundreds of miles north and west of Bill for several hours tomorrow afternoon, taking readings to see how strong the ridge really is, and how much of a weakness there is. When they get the data, it will be incorporated into the models, and the model runs tomorrow night should have that data--and we'll see if there are any changes.

I also think it is good to look at the positions tomorrow, and see how it compares to the position given for the 12 and 24 hour forecast in the discussion now.

For instance, last night at 11 p.m. Bill was predicted to be at 14.9 N and 46.5 W right now. And have winds of 80 kts.

So Bill is a little stronger and considerably further west that it was forecast to be 24 hours ago.


I think the beginning of a Hurricane in the Atlantic is always down played and I really can't understand why because of the fact that it is so far out and will take time to determine landfall. I feel that it gives people on the East Coast a false sense of security. Isn't it better to be prepared and it not happen then to be not prepare and have it take you by surprise. People put to much faith in our "Media", that's why I always am on this site.
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Quoting sctonya:
Could someone answer this question....After the HH get their information, how long does it take for the information to be input in the models? I hope that made sense :)


If they went in at 12Z then the data would be put into the 18Z models. Sometimes though they wait until 00Z.
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Quoting mikatnight:
There's your pinhole eye...



not quite...still struggling with dry air...i dont think we will see a really good defined eye for a few more hours...still seems to be sucking in dry air...
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3433. jipmg
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Its crossing 15N now.


You cant really tell, the eye keeps popping up and fizzles, its constantly fluctating from 15N and 14.9N atleast it has been in the past couple of hours.. at the same time moving slowly westward
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Quoting watchingnva:


and how is that a problem?


Did I say it was?
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3431. sctonya
Could someone answer this question....After the HH get their information, how long does it take for the information to be input in the models? I hope that made sense :)
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haven't been on since this morning and going back and checking posts and models - anyone want to give me a brief update (that's not someone who is saying Miami etc)? Still forecast to go out to sea?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
Based on Bill's size and forecast intensity, if the storm follows the West side of the projected path, the East Coast will still have problems.

Within about 150 miles from the coast, Bill will still create conditions to rival a good ol' NorEaster and very heavy coastal waves. Even a near miss will shut down all the harbors and cause coastal erosion and flooding problems. The collision of warm, humid air mass with cold, drier Canadian air could cause a massive tornado outbreak in the North-East.

Close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and hurricanes.
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Sitting right on the line, yes?

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Bill south, and west of all these model plots.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Only good thing that Bill will do is provide the season with some nice ACE.



and how is that a problem?
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


almost to 50 W, STILL not to 15N


Its crossing 15N now.
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Something is telling me that Bill has his own way of thinking!
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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.

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