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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2923. jpsb
Quoting HurricaneJoe:


For the record, if it were to continue on the current track, it would go right into the GOM.
Oh now your done it. DO NOT EVEN THINK THAT!
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Quoting surfsidesindy:

that wouldn't be Surfside, Texas, would it? :)

No, East Central Florida


well, i'd DEFINITELY rather be in ECFL than in Surfside, Texas :)
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bill is haveing fun with us


and hes likey it
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COC does not look to be as well as defined before.

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No, because the way the trough is not digging in as much. I think Claudette is affecting the trough's ability to push further south, which is what the models do not see right now.
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Quoting zoomiami:


Its been happening for quite a while, just hit refresh again.


cool...well, at least it had nothing to do with my computer or with Firefox! thanx!
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Evacuate the whole eastern US I say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Still sucking in dry air from the N and NW..
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
2915. Relix
No WSW, it's just convection. Still moving West at a slower pace. I think tonight determines a phase of where it will hit.
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that wouldn't be Surfside, Texas, would it? :)

No, East Central Florida
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I see no southerly component in Bill...and do not base a system's movement on one frame of a satellite loop.
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Quoting zoomiami:


Its been happening for quite a while, just hit refresh again.
not tonight, but it has other nights. when there is a very high volume of posts, that usually happens.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Theres no way for it to make it into the Caribbean.


nono not bill, pirates!
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Quoting ackee:
agree


a tick south of due west, i second that.
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Quoting futuremet:
Looks lkie another couple AEWs, one just exiting the coast, the other sill over the Ghana / Nigeria area.... next in line???
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2895. exactly....it's like taking two points and drawing a line through them to predict future location. i think they do it just for reference...
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Quoting WeatherMSK:
I think this thing has become an east coast threat. There I said it.


Why? Because it has been going west for a couple hours?
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2905. jscs
Quoting stoormfury:
Bill LOOKS LIKE IT IS MOVING WSW


LOL!!!
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oh well so much for trinidad seeing sun for a few days :( more rain and flash flooding to come. sigh.
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What the heck happened to Ana? At the 2:00 PM update, they had her coming so close to me I could reach out and touch her. At 5:00 PM...Poof!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


I know that.

It should be done filtering it out in about 3-6 hours.
most of the heavy convection is south of the center now.
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2901. GatorWX
Quoting StormW:


Not sure to tell you the truth. I downloaded Google Earth, then went back to the TCHP site, and clicked on the TCHP in Google Earth.


Oh well, I'll figure it out. Thanks Storm!!
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Quoting palmbaywhoo:
watch out carribean!!


Theres no way for it to make it into the Caribbean.
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Quoting tornadofan:
It's moving Southeast!!!



Just kidding.
ROFLMAO!!!
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Quoting pearlandaggie:
is anyone else having problems with the blog kicking you out when you try to refresh?


Its been happening for quite a while, just hit refresh again.
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Quoting surfsidesindy:
Is there such a thing as a separate model or forecast for the Azore-Bermuda high?


that wouldn't be Surfside, Texas, would it? :)
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Quoting zoomiami:
Hi Kman, everyone,

Can you explain why if the high is building in so thick, that this storm will actually make the turn up and away from the coast?

I just don't see the weakness for it to slide around.


Hi there.

It is forecasted to make the turn because a trough is supposed to slide off the East coast of the US and erode the Western edge of the high. This is in the future so we will have to see if it evolves the way the models predict.

As is usual each year, these things tend not to play out exactly as forecasted.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15826
Quoting pearlandaggie:
FYI, XTRP is not a computer model but an extrapolation of a few points, kind of like plotting a course or a bearing. it does not take into account statistical or dynamical elements.


It shows the track the storm would take if it were to stay on the current course, correct?
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is anyone else having problems with the blog kicking you out when you try to refresh?
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you can see from the water vapor image that the weakness in the ridge starts to pull up on Bill, but it only pulls the outer edge while the eye keeps rolling northwestward. is this the beginning of the sharp turn or is he past (west of)the weakness? i'm very much a novice, so i may be misreading everything.
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It's moving Southeast!!!



Just kidding.
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Is there such a thing as a separate model or forecast for the Azore-Bermuda high?
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
Remember this:

Weak Goes West ... Strong Goes North
With the high coming in over top and dry air being pushed in, this is very possible
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watch out carribean!!
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I think this thing has become an east coast threat. There I said it.
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FYI, XTRP is not a computer model but an extrapolation of a few points, kind of like plotting a course or a bearing. it does not take into account statistical or dynamical elements.
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Quoting HurricaneJoe:


It shrugged off the dry air last time.


I know that.

It should be done filtering it out in about 3-6 hours.
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Hi Kman, everyone,

Can you explain why if the high is building in so thick, that this storm will actually make the turn up and away from the coast?

I just don't see the weakness for it to slide around.
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2882. jdjnola
Quoting BrockBerlin:


No way but I was waiting for someone to start saying its going south, first its WNW then due west and now WSW lol.


Somebody said east earlier. Guess they jumped the gun...
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Quoting stoormfury:
Bill LOOKS LIKE IT IS MOVING WSW


If WSW means WNW then, yes your right.
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Quoting Acemmett90:
you mean the plywood state


It's also the "I want free water and Ice state."
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Quoting JadeInAntigua:


Yeah... this tends to happen when something's moving.. west.


Same thing happened around midnight last night.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Bill is "squinting" now, determining his next move !
that dry air can weaken bill.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Needs to re filter the dry air out before it can really form an eye.



It shrugged off the dry air last time.
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
oops, k i removed it. Just installed it and i was impressed with the view, didnt bothered to check the date there. Do you know is there a way to update this?

Thanks.


Its seems that they're having some trouble updating the images. I think they should have it fixed by tomorrow morning.
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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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