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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3324. GBguy88
Quoting jdjnola:


Rap this puppy up? Do I have to get my rhymes out? Bill, Bill, he ain't got the will... to hit the east coast cuz the east coast is ill. Ana was bananas and Claudette was just wet. 2009, represent.


...Wow. You know what? Brownie points for creativity.
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3323. jipmg
Quoting bballerf50:
I think it is fair to say that by 11:00 PM EST tomorrow, we will have a very good idea of what is happening. By then, the recon data should be in and the trough should already be affecting Bill.

What say the WU blog?


I say we watch what happens in half an hour to an hour to this image:

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/real-time/dlmmain.php?&basin=atlantic&sat=wg8&prod=dlm6&zoom=&ti me=

If the high looks stronger to BILL's west, then ...
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Eye coming up south of 15n.
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Quoting bluenosedave:
Checking in from Nova Scotia...

On the whole, I like where the models are going with Bill today, because the trend is towards a recurve... I see the UKMET has pretty much lined up with the consensus. This is good because I don't want anybody to get hit by this puppy, so Go, Trough, Go! Take him out to sea!

Having said that, I'm looking for for a MAJOR recurve, because I'm concerned for the folks in Bermuda, and I'm also concerned for Gawds Country up here. The CMC long-range is particularly gut-wrenching, showing a near direct-hit here in Yarmouth. Granted, it's a long way out, and it would be extra-tropical when and if it gets here, but we can do without the grief of a major rain and wind event. I was in the Annapolis Valley today (32 degrees C, very humid). There's a very fine corn crop growing, which could get steamrollered by ex-Bill.

So, basically, any movement NW or NNW, and preferably NNE, works for me. I'm sure you all agree. Meanwhile, we watch and wait...


i really want to visit nova scotia one day.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


its at 14.8N, and its almost to 48 W

i'd say it's past 48 considering the NHC put the center at 48.3
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I think it is fair to say that by 11:00 PM EST tomorrow, we will have a very good idea of what is happening. By then, the recon data should be in and the trough should already be affecting Bill.

What say the WU blog?
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Quoting Acemmett90:

im a new yorker and i hate new yorkers like you


Don't be hatin bro! :)
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I would expect to see Cape Hatteras in the 5 day cone at the 5AM update. Doesn't mean it will make impact just that it is possible, otherwise why have the cone of error.
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3315. szqrn1
wow y'all are crazy in here... I've been dancing in another world but this looks just as fun!
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I couldn't help it =)

Mr.Bill's Hurricane.

Doesn't get any more appropriate than now, I assume.
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Good night.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Quoting Acemmett90:

bill would still have his storm surge


No, not unless it came in from the SE, and made landfall. If Bill even came near it would be moving NE or NNE, which would push all the water up towards the Nova Scotia area due to the counter-clockwise rotation of the storm.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Pretty much anybody from Massachusetts..
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Quoting lovesdanger:
victorian when we talk about a fish storm we mean the storm will not hit the us...bermuda always has a 50/50 channce of getting hit with a fish storm..just wanted to clear that up for you..


Well that's kind of unfair, because a fish storm from what I hear doesn't affect land and Bermuda still has people there and also Canada has people in the Maritimes. If it truly was a fish storm no land would be affected correct? So the whole fish term isn't used properly then.
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Checking in from Nova Scotia...

On the whole, I like where the models are going with Bill today, because the trend is towards a recurve... I see the UKMET has pretty much lined up with the consensus. This is good because I don't want anybody to get hit by this puppy, so Go, Trough, Go! Take him out to sea!

Having said that, I'm looking for for a MAJOR recurve, because I'm concerned for the folks in Bermuda, and I'm also concerned for Gawds Country up here. The CMC long-range is particularly gut-wrenching, showing a near direct-hit here in Yarmouth. Granted, it's a long way out, and it would be extra-tropical when and if it gets here, but we can do without the grief of a major rain and wind event. I was in the Annapolis Valley today (32 degrees C, very humid). There's a very fine corn crop growing, which could get steamrollered by ex-Bill.

So, basically, any movement NW or NNW, and preferably NNE, works for me. I'm sure you all agree. Meanwhile, we watch and wait...
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3306. jdjnola
Quoting hunkerdown:
ok then, lets rap this puppy up...


Rap this puppy up? Do I have to get my rhymes out? Bill, Bill, he ain't got the will... to hit the east coast cuz the east coast is ill. Ana was bananas and Claudette was just wet. 2009, represent.
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THE WIND RADII WERE ADJUSTED SLIGHTLY BASED ON THE MOST RECENT
QUIKSCAT OVERPASS. BILL IS FORECAST TO GROW A LITTLE MORE IN
SIZE DURING THE FORECAST PERIOD...ALTHOUGH SOME GUIDANCE SUCH AS THE
GFS SUGGESTS THAT IT MAY BECOME EVEN LARGER THAN INDICATED IN THE
NHC FORECAST.

This is why the Leewards might need that warning/watch. A larger Bill with a turn along the western edge of that envelope could mean at least TS conditions sustained in Antigua and Barbuda, if nowhere else.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22575
Quoting jipmg:



I have to disagree, the models were showing BILL moving north of 15N by the time it just finished crossing 45W, right now it seems its either right on 15N or just to the south, and its over 46W


its at 14.8N, and its almost to 48 W
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night Jadeinantigua
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3301. szqrn1
Oh no mr bill!! That was too funny!
thank you
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
30 minutes later and still not at 15N, this is not good.... im starting to get a bad feeling


Will see what Bill is doing in the morning. Tomorrow is key. If it continues more WNW, expect some large changes in track, anyways.....

See everyone in the morning.

Good night.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
night stormW. thanks for your input.
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3297. jipmg
Quoting CaneHunter031472:


I wouldn"t be quoting TWC here. Anyway I kinda think this will not affect the East coast much. Hey just keep your eyes open it is the smart thing to do, but I would feel a bit more relaxed now. It is following NHC's prediction pretty well and there is consensus between the models. I would be more concern if I was in Nova Scotia.



I have to disagree, the models were showing BILL moving north of 15N by the time it just finished crossing 45W, right now it seems its either right on 15N or just to the south, and its over 46W
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Quoting WeatherMSK:
Well guys, Bill out to sea. TWC just said no east coast landfall at all.


Its TWC, they say what they wanna say, when and how they please, they think they are the NHC and NWS, but they aren't. But I just watch a vid that was posted at 10:30PM and the Hurricane Expert (didn't know we had one) said that it is still five days out and the US is not out of the pic yet..

and another poster made a point out, and it is true, in every new advisory, more and more of the US East Coast is being shown, and its gettin closer to NC.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
30 minutes later and still not at 15N, this is not good.... im starting to get a bad feeling


Same.
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Quoting watchingnva:


lol...yea, that was fun...:|


where in VA are you?
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Quoting Acemmett90:

now that would be a friggen disaster


No it would not. Bill would drastically weaken as it headed towards the area. It would be a sheared system, and not be a hurricane. At best a Tropical Storm. Cool SST's would also aid in weakening the storm. Lets not put the cart before the horse, because this has yet to pass the Antilles, and the NOAA jet will clear up many of the track uncertainties. All of the East Coast should be monitoring.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
30 minutes later and still not at 15N, this is not good.... im starting to get a bad feeling
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Alright, I am still expecting a trend to the west for models over night. I am leaving for the night. Nite all.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


please dont say that...


lol...yea, that was fun...:|
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OOHHHH NOOOOO!!!!
MR.BILLLLL!!!!

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I have a feeling this may pass much closer to the Antilles than expected. They may have to post advisories to be safe, rather than sorry.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
Thank You StormW.
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Quoting watchingnva:


out of curiousity...i was wondering if you realized that they reset the forecast point overlays every advisory...which they just did less than 30 min ago...so it will be right on...look at it in about 2 hours and see where it is in reference to the next point...

bill has stayed south of the last few points and theyve had to reset and re-adj them at the last 2 advisories...
yes i know the points are reset but even before the reset points Bill was on track models do shift and the points reset to the correction
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Bill is going to plow into Cape Cod...
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Quoting TopWave:
Quoting srada:


Im sorry but with every advisory the track just keeps getting closer and closer to NC...


Agreed, Bill's track keeps inching its way to the east coast with each new model run. More and more looking like an Isabel path.


please dont say that...
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Quoting Acemmett90:

cuz its the weather chanel they do want to cause panic


I wouldn"t be quoting TWC here. Anyway I kinda think this will not affect the East coast much. Hey just keep your eyes open it is the smart thing to do, but I would feel a bit more relaxed now. It is following NHC's prediction pretty well and there is consensus between the models. I would be more concern if I was in Nova Scotia.
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Quoting StormW:


It may be possible to catch the extreme outside rainband, but that's gonna depend on if there is any erosin on his west side, and if the ridging holds...any slight weakness in the ridging will allow a more northerly component. Tomorrow should be able to tell the tale.


so tomorrow will be to fish or not fish?
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Quoting jipmg:
Anyone have the rainbow satellite loop of the central atlantic? Would be nice if oyu could give me a link


Link

-or-

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Quoting StormW:


It may be possible to catch the extreme outside rainband, but that's gonna depend on if there is any erosin on his west side, and if the ridging holds...any slight weakness in the ridging will allow a more northerly component. Tomorrow should be able to tell the tale.


Thanks for the input StormW... will check back in tomorrow and sort out how worried we should be after that. Nite all.
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3274. srada
Quoting TopWave:


Agreed, Bill's track keeps inching its way to the east coast with each new model run. More and more looking like an Isabel path.


I dont think its going to be a landfall but i am seeing a more than casual brush from Bill.
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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.