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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Something is telling me that Bill has his own way of thinking!
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3422. BKM77
Thanks man
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bills going too get hoping mad soon when the HH get in him he wont like that vary march
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Quoting jipmg:


there might be TWO HIGH's up in the upper levels, one is pulling it NNW, the other is pushing it WSW, in result is moving generally due west or just north of htat, its slowed down because of that.


how fast is bill moving now?
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There's your pinhole eye...

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


03L/H/B/C2
MARK
14.95N/48.63W


almost to 50 W, STILL not to 15N
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3415. jipmg
Quoting BKM77:
does the high push or pull on bill


there might be TWO HIGH's up in the upper levels, one is pulling it NNW, the other is pushing it WSW, in result is moving generally due west or just north of htat, its slowed down because of that.
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Only good thing that Bill will do is provide the season with some nice ACE.

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For some reason the SFWMD has turned off Bill's NHC forecast track...must be a glitch.

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Quoting victoriahurricane:
One thing we know is for certain. This will NOT I repeat NOT be a fish storm. It will hit Bermuda and/or one of the east coast states and/or the Maritime provinces. Also with Bill so big it will affect many areas with heavy rains that can be devastating. Stay safe everyone out there. Bill's a monster and should be monitored closely no matter what the models say.


Thank you. My thoughts exactly.
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3411. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


03L/H/B/C2
MARK
14.95N/48.63W
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3410. junie1
when i see bill turn then ill believe it for now its coming very close to the islands its going to have to turn to the northwest to avoid us here
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3409. BKM77
does the high push or pull on bill
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3408. 7544
bill seems to be taking in some dry air at this hour
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3407. jipmg
Quoting TexasHurricane:
By looking at this you would think Bill would stay on the westward track...



its expected to weaken in between, it looks like BILL may be wes tof the weakness , but official forecast suggest the weakness will continue, and Bill as it moves WNW would start moving NW due to a larger weakness, and then the trough will pick it up and turn it NNW to NNE afterwards.

Question is, how far south will BILL be tomorrow, and how far west.. its slowed down ebcause its almost stuck in between the two high's.
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3405. JRRP
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Quoting rareaire:
we keep saying that Bill is hitting the NHC marks but everytime they move them west! So if they keep moving them to be accurate is it truly hitting the forcasted marks? Not wishcasting squat but Im a little tired of the its doing exactly what they say its doing and we all know its not. It will probably be booted at some point but not as it has been forcasted too.
There's a simple way to check; look at the graphics archives for Bill.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21485
By looking at this you would think Bill would stay on the westward track...

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by the way in Puerto Rico we haven't been hit by a category 5, since 1928 ( the famous hurricane known to us locals as "Huracan de San Felipe II".
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Rare I may be the reason they start Oklahoma Citizens...but I pay my premiums and when my stuff gets wrecked I file a claim...not my fault if my house gets hammered 2-3 times a year...I think we may be on a graveyard or something like in poltergeist...
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
so is it a fish storm if it moves 1-2 miles from shore but never officially makes landfall?


If storm conditions are on land, then it's not a fish. It's also not an official landfall, and the NHC is recognizing & has begun addressing this "gray" area.
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3396. jpsb
thankyou hunkerdown!
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1174
3395. Ineluki
Have of the people who are insisting that Bill has missed its northwest turn actually read the NHC forecast? You know, the one that has said since yesterday that the storm will continue on its current heading for 24-48 more hours before beginning to turn to the northwest? That it hasn't missed anything, and it's still largely going where the NHC has forecast?

Try reading and understanding the forecast before you start thinking its wrong.
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Quoting chsstormgirl:

I thought Hugo gave PR a major hit... That was only 20 years ago.
yES, Hugo gave us big hit,but George in 1998, was even worst and it affected the whole island directly (crossing theisland from, SE to NW.
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be safe pottery!
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3392. JLPR
Quoting antonio28:


Great Analysis thats exactly whats hapening right now, getting woried here in PR still bellow 15 and almost at 50w. GFS shows the this extact scenario for 96hrs of models runs before the storm even formed!, then jump into the more northerly track in agrement with the other models by the way was the last one to do it. August 20 2009 could be a Major hit here in PR the first in the last 70 years.


lol you forgot
HUgo and Georges =P
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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.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21485
3390. pottery
Right, I am out. I have to get some sleep, before Bill gets here.
heheheh
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Quoting bluewaterblues:


HUH?
Directed at conch a big storm is coming thru OKC right now and he was going to have to file a claim. That front thats headed to save florida from bill is coming thru! Sorry didnt get the quote in there!
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Quoting antonio28:


Great Analysis thats exactly whats hapening right now, getting woried here in PR still bellow 15 and almost at 50w. GFS shows the this extact scenario for 96hrs of models runs before the storm even formed!, then jump into the more northerly track in agrement with the other models by the way was the last one to do it. August 20 2009 could be a Major hit here in PR the first in the last 70 years.

I thought Hugo gave PR a major hit... That was only 20 years ago.
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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!


But as you stated earlier...claudette and the stalled front may have put the turd in the punch...to the tune a a few hundred miles or so...others mentioned it last night as well, and timing may turn out to be the most important factor
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so is it a fish storm if it moves 1-2 miles from shore but never officially makes landfall?
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


I totally agree, But it is still fun to read in this blog. For waht its worth I pay to read what people write here. There is a couple of people here that can give you pretty accurate info though...
and it can actually be quite amusing
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Quoting TXEER:
One thing I've learned here in the past two days is that the NHC called it right with Ana and they are calling it right on Bill despite the expert advice offered by many who post here.

Maybe the NHC is really where the experts hang!


I totally agree, But it is still fun to read in this blog. For waht its worth I pay to read what people write here. There is a couple of people here that can give you pretty accurate info though...
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Quoting jpsb:
Could someone post a water vapor link, thanks, I seem to have miss placed mine.


http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.shtml
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So what you guys thing of this thing hitting New England
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Not true for everyone at all. Many are responsible enough to realize the dangers involved to ALL in any possible path. When these say fish storm they mean just that, bypassing all inhabited areas. The difficulty is weeding through these people and the irresponsible people who discount others not from THEIR neighborhood. If Bill were to hit the Antilles I guarantee no one there would call it a fish storm.


I disagree. A fish doesn't go on land. A fish storm is one that doesn't affect land, regardless of whether it's a populated area or not.
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3378. jpsb
Could someone post a water vapor link, thanks, I seem to have miss placed mine.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1174
Quoting rareaire:
nope its to light your a habitual claim filer. Front is gone now and headed off to make the eastcasters happy!


HUH?
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Quoting Alockwr21:
How often do troughs not "arrive" like expected?
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!
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3375. sctonya
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
There are always going to be jogs in random directions, NE, South, whatever. What I will look at tomorrow is where the center is compared to where it was forecast to be 12 and 24 hours earlier, and what the G-IV data does to the models.


When is the data they collect included in the models...what time?? (I hope that makes sense, it is getting late)
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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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