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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all so has any one noted that the nhc said bill could get even biger then what he is now
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Quoting KBH:

Storm, I know there is alot of talk about where it is moving, but the thing is so big that there is going to be some kinda impact as far as wind and rain in the C'bean, pretty sure I can feel easterly breeze from it already in the islands, anything about the rain bands and flash flooding in the islands if it keeps to its resent course?


I was thinking the same thing... even recurving at 55W is uncomfortably close with Bill's size.
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3221. srada
Quoting AllStar17:
Hurricane Bill 11 pm Storm Track:


Bill 11 pm NHC track (you can see the entire US East coast)




Im sorry but with every advisory the track just keeps getting closer and closer to NC...
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do you have to refesh this chat yur self to see new posting if not can some tell me how to change that
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Im here in the NYC metro ... looks like if Bill doesnt start jogging a bit more north before 60W we could be in the middle of the bullseye....Is that really a possibilty....ive seen all those NYC HUrricane disaster shows....this looks to be what they always say is gonna happen....YIKES!
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3218. jipmg
Guess its not on 15N after all..

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/ft-l.jpg
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If the new NHC track were to keep going, New England would have some problems, not exactly landfall, but it would be close enough to cause some problems. It's crucial that New England and even Long Island, NY watches what Bill does in the next few days.
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3216. BKM77
if you look at the pics in 3191... It does not seem likely that Bill is climbing that quickly... What do you think Storm...
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3215. KBH
Quoting StormW:
3130. nishinigami 10:32 PM EDT on August 17, 2009
Quoting StormW:
Oh hell, I don't know which way it's moving!


I don't know about anyone else, but that doesn't make me feel very good. :)


I was kidding...I stated a gazillion posts back what was happening! LOL!!

Storm, I know there is alot of talk about where it is moving, but the thing is so big that there is going to be some kinda impact as far as wind and rain in the C'bean, pretty sure I can feel easterly breeze from it already in the islands, anything about the rain bands and flash flooding in the islands if it keeps to its resent course?
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3213. tillou
Like someone said earlier, I'm not totally convinced that the trough on Wed pm - Thurs am will be strong enough to make Bill a fish storm.

That strong of a trough just don't usually happen this time of the year. Sept...maybe but rarely in Aug. I hope it happens though, cause that means cooler temps for me :)
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Quoting pottery:
This is a most Serious Situation.
Does anyone have Al Gore's cell phone # ??


Wouldn't Bill Gates and the fleet be better, especially since it's namesake?
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3210. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
he will make the turn at or just before 55 west 15 55 the triple nickel
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Post 3191

Also:

Very wide swath indicates NHC is not extremely certain on track.

Also, anymore shifts west may put NC in the cone of uncertainty

I have yet to make my own projected path graphics. Does anyone like the other ones I have made (i.e. Ana HH, Bill Storm Track)? I will make more soon. Just beginning.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
LOL @ StormW...oh, the sarcasm is thick! ha!
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
I knew they would say WNW


good job louisianaboy.
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Curious if anyone has any thougts about the NW side of the storm becoming flat
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Quoting StormW:
Oh hell, I don't know which way it's moving!


I think thats so funny LOL...

Taco :0)
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3204. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting StormW:


I know keeper...was just being funny!
i know just messin with em too
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Quoting Relix:
I am going to bed. Let's see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully she won't be at 15.2 and 50! Goodnight WU!


dont gender-bend him. that'll just cross him and make it beeline for us.
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Quoting StormW:
3130. nishinigami 10:32 PM EDT on August 17, 2009
Quoting StormW:
Oh hell, I don't know which way it's moving!


I don't know about anyone else, but that doesn't make me feel very good. :)


I was kidding...I stated a gazillion posts back what was happening! LOL!!


I was kidding too :) Always enjoy your posts :)
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3201. 996tt
Quoting JAC737:
Bill is now just about at the same spot Ana was in on the 15th. Why wouldn't he follow Ana's path west?


stronger for 1
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Quoting pottery:
This is a most Serious Situation.
Does anyone have Al Gore's cell phone # ??


hehehe
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Quoting pottery:
This is a most Serious Situation.
Does anyone have Al Gore's cell phone # ??


now there you go, stirring the pot! LOL
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RECENT CENTER FIXES YIELD AN INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE OF 285/15. THE
FORECAST RATIONALE REMAINS UNCHANGED. A WEAKNESS ALONG 50-55W IS
FORECAST TO ERODE A LARGE PORTION OF THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE OVER THE
CENTRAL ATLANTIC BEGINNING AS SOON AS 24 HOURS FROM NOW. AS A
RESULT...THE GENERAL WEST-NORTHWESTWARD TRACK THAT BILL HAS
MAINTAINED FOR SEVERAL DAYS SHOULD BEGIN TO BEND MORE TOWARD THE
NORTHWEST BY 48-72 HOURS. BEYOND 72 HOURS...BILL SHOULD BE STEERED
ON A NORTH-NORTHWESTERLY TO NORTHERLY TRACK WHERE IT SHOULD BEGIN
ENCOUNTERING THE EFFECTS OF A DIGGING LONGWAVE TROUGH OVER THE
EASTERN UNITED STATES. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS NOT ALL THAT
DIFFERENT FROM THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY PACKAGE...WITH ONLY COSMETIC
CHANGES MADE TO THE FORECAST TRACK.



Can anyone explain what is a cosmetic change in track in meteorology?

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Quoting Chicklit:
It's pretty likely that Bill will still be out there in the morning.


if this wasn't so, something weird would be going on.

really weird.
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3195. Relix
I am going to bed. Let's see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully she won't be at 15.2 and 50! Goodnight WU!
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well now looks like NC needs too watch this storm
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Intresting bending.
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Hurricane Bill 11 pm Storm Track:


Bill 11 pm NHC track (you can see the entire US East coast)


Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
3190. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting louisianaboy444:
273 DEGREES WNW

273 is due west...290 is west northwest
270 is due west 273 is 3 degrees north of due west NHC also states it is near 15n which more than likly 14.8 to 14.9 n
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3189. jpsb
Quoting WeatherMSK:


GOM is slim to none chance
The last time I heard a local TV met guy said that the storm made it into the GoM. I hate it when they say that! Just like Dr Lion's saying there was No Chance of the wave in the keys developing.
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3188. JAC737
Bill is now just about at the same spot Ana was in on the 15th. Why wouldn't he follow Ana's path west?
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Quoting earthlydragonfly:


That would be south east
now thats classic
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Quoting WeatherMSK:


Wow, Delaware is now in the 5 day cone.


Sure looks like it to me on the southern end of the track. If you were to continue the turn it would move very close to Delaware. So yes its in track with the 5 day cone, margin of error.
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3185. pottery
This is a most Serious Situation.
Does anyone have Al Gore's cell phone # ??
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
If Bill comes close to 20N 60W US hit real possibility.
I believe the 20n 60w point is very important also. If the storm goes south of this point the east coast could be at risk.
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Same package essentially from the NHC. 15 N

I'm out for tonight.

Good night all
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15826
Quoting AllStar17:
Bill as of 5 pm still some 1000 miles E of the Antilles.

Comments on my graphics that I have begun posting today would be welcome.

I think your grphics are great on the google earth i kept looking for that then saw your post earlier today job well done
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3181. jipmg
Quoting Stoopid1:
Looked to be moving WNW the whole time... not much of a surprise there.


Eh idk..
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AT 1100 PM AST...0300 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE BILL WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 15.0 NORTH...LONGITUDE 48.3 WEST OR ABOUT 865 MILES...1395 KM...EAST OF THE LESSER ANTILLES.

BILL IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 17 MPH...28 KM/HR...AND THIS MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT DAY OR TWO WITH GRADUAL TURN TO THE NORTHWEST ON WEDNESDAY.

Goodnight. It's pretty likely that Bill will still be out there in the morning.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11328
Looked to be moving WNW the whole time... not much of a surprise there.
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Quoting WeatherMSK:


Wow, Delaware is now in the 5 day cone.

it clearly shows it isn't.
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Quoting juniormeteorologist:


I see otherwise. Not much changed from 5PM Advisory


it wasnt when i posted, and yeah its slightly more west.
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I know they are the experts, but i feel there is no ways its moving 285 degrees.

Yeah i agree but they not going to mention a slight direction change and make people feel uneasy they are going to keep saying West northwest for now
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AT THIS MOMENT,THE IMAGES TELLS THERES NO STEERING FACTOR AFFECTING BILL.IS MOVING MOSTLY DUE WEST.
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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.