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 Stormchaser2007:
You be the judge.

Which way is it moving.

I know the funny people are going to say WSW-SW.




It's moving WNW, already on or even over 15N, still does not change my forecast.
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Quoting JupiterFL:


I think you ate some of the wrong brownies this time.
maybe due to the disruption by the dry air that the center is relocating. the feeder bands are being messed up big time.
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3060.
HTH could someone say WSW-SW? LOL...it's CLEARLY W-WNW! :)
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3071. jdjnola
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
You be the judge.

Which way is it moving.

I know the funny people are going to say WSW-SW.




Due west.
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3070. amd
i'm with the bloggers who think that the "eye" feature from earlier and currently at 15 N is not an eye at all, and instead is a dry slot caused by dry air intrusion into the center of Bill.

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
You be the judge.

Which way is it moving.

I know the funny people are going to say WSW-SW.




I see it moving NW.
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3068. jipmg
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
You be the judge.

Which way is it moving.

I know the funny people are going to say WSW-SW.




until an eye comes out we cant tell.. but based on how the ENTIRE system is moving, its almost due west..
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Hi everyone,

Hope all in Florida are doing well.

So now we are down to 1 storm - Bill. How is he looking? I saw on here someone saying about him going south or something...has there been a change or expecting a change? Last I saw he was going WNW.....


Bill missed the first low and is actually being pushed more west then expected, right under the second high that is splitting.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


I can actually agree with that.


The center on the most recent satellite image appears to be around 14.8N and 48.0W
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He won't weaken at the 11pm EDT. He will either stay the same or strengthen a little more by like 5mph and a few millibars. The dry air intrusion will give a minimum impact on him. In the next 12 to 24 hours Bill will start to develop an eye. His structure is not established enough to develop one right now.
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Quoting HurricaneKyle:
The eye's reappearing, just needed to filter out some of that dry air.



not the eye...thats how far the dry air is getting into the core of the system...he isnt going to strengthen while this is occuring...needs to clear it all out...
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KMAN... I think its still at 14.9N go loop at the rainbow loop.
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
3062. Dakster
Quoting JupiterFL:


I think you ate some of the wrong brownies this time.


And washed them down with the kool aid...
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10567
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


stop being such a smart ass


Drak is just dispelling some of the inane and ridiculous posts that have been made. He may be caustic, but his observations usually come to fruition.
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You be the judge.

Which way is it moving.

I know the funny people are going to say WSW-SW.


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3059. JLPR
Quoting Relix:
Well the recent situation is making it seem bad for PR...


not that bad xD a little closer to the NE but still to the NE
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Quoting BahaHurican:
I love this..... LOL


i try haha, what you think about our situation baha?
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Quoting yashminkr:



i wont agree with that. I don't like how Bill's heading SW.


I think you ate some of the wrong brownies this time.
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3056. gator23
Quoting Dakster:


Alright. Dr. Lyons, why do you say he is rapidly intensifying when it looks to all of us here at the Wunderground that he is injesting dry air and not intensifying?

Cuz doc lyons works at the weather channel and they suck.
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Hi everyone,

Hope all in Florida are doing well.

So now we are down to 1 storm - Bill. How is he looking? I saw on here someone saying about him going south or something...has there been a change or expecting a change? Last I saw he was going WNW.....
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


thats not the eye, if you watch the loop you see that dry spot being rotated around the middle, its still south of 15 N


I can actually agree with that.
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3053. jipmg
Quoting HurricaneKyle:
The eye's reappearing, just needed to filter out some of that dry air.



that is dangerously south of 15N...
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hey storm W what percentage do you give the trough at scooping up bill and away from US.
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Quoting Weather456:


somewhat
It's better to be a little afraid than nonchalant becuase as it is moving right now it will be close. Yes, it can shift but better to be safe than sorry.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8418
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


thats not the eye, if you watch the loop you see that dry spot being rotated around the middle, its still south of 15 N


It was barely S of 15 an hour ago so no reason why it is not the eye. A dry spot is usually what the eye is.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15845
In watching satellite imagery, it seems like Hurricane Bill may be weakening slightly as dry air continues to disrupt the core and the northern banding has been weakening and thinning out.
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That trough is going to be pushed back from Claudette and the high building in the Gulf. Bill is not going as far east as what the models are saying.
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Back in the days of paper charts we would do our own XTRAP using a ruler to pencil in a dotted line of travel. Generally speaking once the XTRAP is North of your position you are in the clear. If XTRAP is on you just prior to landfall well, there you are.


Quoting BahaHurican:
For all those out there acting like the XTRAP is the tool of Satan, it's a really handy reference point. Take a look at it now. It's basically pointing WNW, right? So next time u look at it, if it's still pointing in the same direction, u've had no real change in direction of movement. This I expect to continue w/ Bill, for example, for another 12 - 24 hrs. If on the next run, however, u notice that the Xtrap is now pointing at, say, Cape Hattaras (sp), u can be pretty sure that the storm has moved to the NW instead of NNW. It is a primative tool, but useful.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 174
Quoting kmanislander:
When I came on an hour ago the eye was South of 15 N and now it is right on the line so Bill is still making progress to the N.

I have the same impression.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


stop being such a smart ass
I love this..... LOL
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22561
i was trying to quote StormW and then ask a question in post 3012. but for some reason, my question is in his quote box.

sorry. i suppose everyone knows you are not asking me a question. LOL
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Quoting kmanislander:
When I came on an hour ago the eye was South of 15 N and now it is right on the line so Bill is still making progress to the N.

Will check in later to see if the track is nudged to the W by the NHC.



thats not the eye, if you watch the loop you see that dry spot being rotated around the middle, its still south of 15 N
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3042. Relix
Well the recent situation is making it seem bad for PR...
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Quoting surfsidesindy:


I can't imagine having been there for IKE. We've been through Frances and Jeanne, but nothing like what you guys went through with IKE.


well, since we're a 'red state', we didn't get as much press or help as others might have......'I feel your pain, Mississippi.' :)
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Going to bed, see yall in the morning (whoever may be on)
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3039. Dakster
kamnislander - Makes sense to me. Even I can see that.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10567
Quoting StLucieHurricane:
Bill is forcast to split between the two highs and thats why you are seeing the Bermuda high building to the west as forcast!!


if its gonna split the highs, it better start turning north in a hurry... its moving more under the influence of the nigh every second.
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Quoting Dakster:
Apparently, someone has hacked Drakeon's account, again.. Either that he is smoking some wierd stuff.


Most likely the latter.

Lucky man...
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3036. eye
yall westcasters need to pray that Bill stays at 90mph, because if he is rapidly getting stronger, so much for missing the weakness between the two ridges.
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The eye's reappearing, just needed to filter out some of that dry air.

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Bill is remaining status-quo at the moment as it moves maybe a tad north of due west.

future, this western movement is not a 2 or 3 frame deal, there has been probably 4 or 5 frames of a W movement now. It appears the high is building back in some, forcing Bill more west.
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3032. jipmg
This is interesting..

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

Bill may be slowing down alot.. and I think it has to do with the weakening in the ridge, but it may be cought between two highs, a bulding high much stronger than models suggested, and the high it was being steered by.. Now only that but a really impressive HIGH pressure area is forming in the gulf.. and the trough is not moving south based on the frame loop
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Quoting Drakoen:
WARNINGS NEED TO BE PUT UP FOR SOUTH AMERICA!~~~~
Where's Stormno when you need a good laugh? I got such a good kick out of his "HURRICANE" Claudette predictions.
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Bill's southern 1/2 is blowing up on the latest water vapor image..
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Bill is not heading southwest...I give up...JFV has a more voice of reason, and that is pretty bad!
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When I came on an hour ago the eye was South of 15 N and now it is right on the line so Bill is still making progress to the N.

Will check in later to see if the track is nudged to the W by the NHC.

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15845
Quoting yashminkr:



i wont agree with that. I don't like how Bill's heading SW.


Im trying not to laugh.

What the heck are you looking at.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


456 are you worried at all?


somewhat
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I can't tell which way Bill is going.. the eyewall keeps collapsing and I can't make its direction... Although my best guess would be 275°
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
Quoting extreme236:


The eye had shown itself on the previous image. Obscured again now.


Yeah I saw that. Ive been lurking for a few hours.

Its seems that the inner core hasnt become well defined enough to support an eye.
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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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