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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In this blog Florida is not the sunshine state, it is the Hurricane State
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Quoting HurricaneCavalier:


Don't forget the wonderful aroma of decaying plant matter and dead animals in the hot sun. Yes, I miss Hurricanes.
Oh and the wonderful humming of generators for days on end. LOL. I like fish storms here in Florida. Good waves and great fishing.
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When New england gets their hurricanes they take paths like this


Bob in 1992 took a simular path. With Bill trending west and slightly south will be watching from the coast
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Quoting Drakoen:
May be beginning to make that lift:



Notice the NW quad "flattening" in response to the building ridge
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Quoting leftovers:
monsoon in miami go dolphins


Yep,nice lightening show here!! Go Dolphins!
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Oh at ease eye.

:)
Member Since: August 10, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 672
Quoting BrockBerlin:
Hey cchs the XTRP model sure looks dangerous..... jk, but I'm sure it might be mentioned lol.


For the record, if it were to continue on the current track, it would go right into the GOM.
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And here we go....


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.8 / 992.7mb/ 61.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
3.7 4.1 5.8

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Models are always shifting west as the storm approaches. That's why the east coast is threatened.
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Water Vapor..
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2810. Dakster
Quoting cchsweatherman:


To answer your question, they are all the same steering layer for a storm at Hurricane Bill's strength.


Thanks...

I looked at the forecast tracks and this is not that much of a surprise at the moment. He has been on the south side of the cone, but that's it. In fact, Bill is forecast to be a Cat2 shortly so I won't be surprised if he has 100 - 105 MPH winds.

HOWEVER, not to Eastcast, Westcast, Wishcast, whatever... It is interesting to note that it looks like trof #1 won't pick up Bill so the tracks will move west. What this brings, who knows. Only that IF I were in the Lesser Antilles I would be a little anxious about now.
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2809. GatorWX
Quoting StormW:


The one I use comes up on google earth. If you download google earth, and go to the same TCHP website, it will come up on there by clicking on TCHP in Google earth.


I'm sorry, but I've never messed with the weather features much on there. Where would I find the box to click for tchp? I have a fairly new version of the program, only three months old.
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2808. eye
This blog will slow down once it is clear FL will not get hit...then people will start blogging about the next wave that might hit FL.
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re. #2764. Any body else looking at that line near the Mississipi River? Wonder how low THAT'S going to drop......
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Quoting PensacolaBuoy:
The Emerald Coast is still green. The white sands are still on the windward side of the roads. For at least one more day, Pensacola is safe. Peace be with all of you.


Thanks for the update - I got to visit P'cola for Blue Angels weekend last month and rapidly fell in love with the place. I keep hoping & praying the place will stay safe until I return!
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2805. Relix
I'll just ride this out and wait until tomorrow. I think I am overreacting. A few days from now i hope to be laughing at myself in the "OMG ITS GONNA BREAK PPRRRRRRRR!!!" mood.
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Evening all...in looking at some of the satelite images, Bill looks to be taking in some drier air on the west side. So, if he begins to slow down a bit, will he "feel" the northward pull?
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Quoting eye:
There is some SERIOUS westcasting going on tonight in this blog.


Yeah... this tends to happen when something's moving.. west.
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2800. eye
and then last night people wanting Claudette to strengthen....why? so there would be more damage?
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2799. Drakoen
May be beginning to make that lift:

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Quoting eye:
There is some SERIOUS westcasting going on tonight in this blog.


Sometimes West happens
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Quoting Weather456:
The second trof is more pronounced. the weakness disappeared on WV imagery near 55W.


what dos that mean and what did you mean by disappeared???



my laptop keys like jumping a round when i tpy
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2795. ackee
where is bill moveing now guys it looks west am I wrong ?
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Here are the latest 00Z model runs. They all continue shifting further westward.
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2793. WxLogic
Quoting PensacolaBuoy:
Bill has stopped dead in its tracks and is backing up!
Link


I wouldn't say is "backing up"... Bill is currently on a COL type region (weak steering). Once it frees it self from this region by resuming a W or WNW or even NW (if possible) then it'll starting moving again.

It just has to find that sweet spot where it can resume its motion.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
Is Bill really backing up?
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Quoting eyesontheweather:
People need to remember, Hurricane forcasting is always a challange. At times forcast models are close to accurate and other times not so good. Weather patterns that effect a hurricanes movement are always evolving, weakening/strengthening, and effecting the outcome of a hurricane. many minds far supperior than mine have difficulty knowing where they will end up. In the 2007 season there was Dean & Felix, both forcast to go poleward during the lifespan and both made a very strong westerly track across the Atlantic and Carribian. There are very, very many other hurricanes that have done very unusual tracks. What must be learned and executed from this is that all people living close to the coast must be prepared throughout the hurricane season to take evasive measures within a short period of time. Bill has had numerouos tracks already and will have numerous more before it is exhausted from the map.
I couldn't agree more. We all get excited watching the storms from a distance and some people on here wish for them to experience the thrill, the thrill of no A/C, mosquitos, no water, long gas lines, hot showers, cold dinners, short tempers and crowded delivery rooms 9-10 months later. LOL
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Looks like Bill is about to take in some dry air, maybe even to the center.
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Quoting BrockBerlin:


Most of the ensemble has shifted west, but still not far enough to predict major threat to CONUS, but obviously something to watch.


How much to the West? I dont see much of a difference, unless I'm looking at the wrong maps. Is it a slight shift, or something major?
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Quoting Dakster:
CCHS - Are those all the same layer? Wow. The BH is looking quite strong NOW. Luckily looks like there it is still off East CONUS enough for recurve.


To answer your question, they are all the same steering layer for a storm at Hurricane Bill's strength.
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Just checking in as I have been working property claims in Tennesee all day...I am a longtime lurker and greatly value the info gained on this site. I am a cat adjuster and systems like Bill always gain my attention. I have watched systems like these for years and while not wishcasting I have had a bad feeling about this one all along. I was not sold on the models yesterday when they were showing the turn well east of Burmuda. My gut says this storm is gonna be trouble too many hav put to much faith in the models when they are so unreliable this far out.
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Quoting GatorWX:


Is it just sst's? I can't find any graphics for ocean heat content/cyclone heat potential. Thankyou though, didn't have those maps.


no no

click on HHC

Hurricane Heat Content
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2778. GatorWX
Quoting GatorWX:


Is it just sst's? I can't find any graphics for ocean heat content/cyclone heat potential. Thankyou though, didn't have those maps.


Nevermind, sorry, didn't look very hard!
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2777. GatorWX
Quoting Weather456:
Gator

I think you missed this


Is it just sst's? I can't find any graphics for ocean heat content/cyclone heat potential. Thankyou though, didn't have those maps.
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2776. jdjnola
Quoting jdjnola:


I'm not a fan either b/c it gets Bill that much closer to the Gulf, but at the same time, the similarities between 1871 Hurricane Four and Bill are kind of creepy. Both formed into a hurricane close to 50W 15N, both on August 17th. They've followed nearly the same track and took the same jog north. The only comforting thing is that weather is unpredictable, and behaves sporadically. I do not want Bill to hit any populated area but I am not going to rule out the possibility based on models which are frequently, flat out wrong.


Another strange resemblance to the 1871 season is that the first hurricane did not form until August 13. Two tropical storms formed in June but then there was a lull until the middle of August.
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The second trof is more pronounced. the weakness disappeared on WV imagery near 55W.
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2774. eye
There is some SERIOUS westcasting going on tonight in this blog.
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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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