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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2624. breald
Have you guys seen the new trajectory posted under the Tropical/hurricane link? Pretty interesting. .




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again any 00z models out?
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2622. 21N71W
Quoting BahaHurican:
Quoting Lafreniere16:

Location, Lafreniere?

I'd agree with the bulk of the others on here; unless Bill gets somehow far enough west to affect places like Antigua and Barbuda, it's extremely unlikely to hit the Bahamas. Even if it did, the earliest time frame for that would be the weekend. Lots of lead time......

Evening Baha, no no no , no such thoughts please, by the way is it raining where you are? (remains of Ana) Nothing here in the Turks and Caicos yet...
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2621. jdjnola
I don't trust the-artist-formerly-known-as-Ana.
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2620. Hhunter
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2602.

But, at Bill's current speed, Thursday is irrelevant.

At this forward speed, by Thursday, Bill will be past the Antilles longitude and heading West....NorthWest, East, whatever, but past the Antilles already?
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 478
2618. Sting13
Quoting bajelayman2:
Remember, ANYTHING is possible.

ANYTHING.


So aliens can come down and hit bill with super massive laser and make it go into reverse and go to anartica? sorry just messing with ya, yeah i hope this turns its GFS forcasts it to go right over my island in eastern nova scotia :\
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Quoting BahaHurican

Location, Lafreniere?
I'd agree with the bulk of the others on here; unless Bill gets somehow far enough west to affect places like Antigua and Barbuda, it's extremely unlikely to hit the Bahamas. Even if it did, the earliest time frame for that would be the weekend. Lots of lead time......


NOLA, not that I'm expecting it to come here or anything like that; its just all the hype about it missing the first ridge and the models moving West. I never really trust the models that much and i like hearing the reasons that people give on why the storms will move in certain directions. And i know it is still very far away from U.S.
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2616. GatorWX
Quoting HurricaneKyle:




?? You see?
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2386
florida would need an act of God to have this come their way imo
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Quoting muddertracker:
My name is pinholio! I need high sst's for my ojo!


Classic
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 2146
2612. jdjnola
Quoting WPBHurricane05:
Is Bill moving east??11!11!!


Yes, so there is no threat to Florida, because Florida is west of Bill, and if Bill is moving east, obviously Bill cannot hit Florida (this sounds like an SAT question).
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2610. Grothar
Quoting Drakoen:


I see a mid-latitude trough with the vorticity lobe extending down to 30N near 45W. A subtropical ridge is to the northeast of Bill with the flow ending near 45W. High pressure is centered near 64W near 28N with the ridge axis extending outwards to 50W. Bill's poleward outflow is being carried upwards in the mid to upper levels as a result of the aforementioned subtropical ridge. Mid-latitude trough influence induces a poleward movement in the mid to upper levels.


I guess you told me. Very thorough analysis. Do not let anyone tell you differently, who are good. Wish my students were as observant.
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Should'nt Bill first slow down before it starts curving to the north? Or is a wnw to NW motion, as forecast, not abrupt enough for such a slowdown to have to occur?
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Remember, ANYTHING is possible.

ANYTHING.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 478
Quoting BahaHurican:
Quoting Lafreniere16:

Location, Lafreniere?

I'd agree with the bulk of the others on here; unless Bill gets somehow far enough west to affect places like Antigua and Barbuda, it's extremely unlikely to hit the Bahamas. Even if it did, the earliest time frame for that would be the weekend. Lots of lead time......
Where do you get the weekend from. It is about 900 miles west of the islands moving at 16 mph would mean around Wed night Thursday morning.
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2606. Relix
Quoting WPBHurricane05:
Is Bill moving east??11!11!!


No.. it's moving entirely to the west and that my friend is not a jog.
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2605. Engine2
Quoting reedzone:
hmm if it were to go up the east coast.. It would be similar to this historic storm


Not a good scenario for me
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how is everyone doing tonight
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Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Just like in previous years, there is so much impatience on this blog. You are not going to see much of a turn in the the next 24 hours. In fact Bill will continue to gain more west longitude than north latitude. This is the official track through Wednesday. From inital time at 5 PM this evening to tomorrow at 5 PM, Bill is only expected to gain 1.2 degrees of latitude. Give it time. It will turn once the trough draws closer to the east coast which isn't going to happen until Thursday. Bill slowing down is the first sign of some changes in the steering flow.
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1664


Definitely showing the Tstorm complex that is producing some thunder off to the western end of New Providence...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20742
Quoting Tazmanian:
the Lesser Antilles will be under a hurrican watch at 5am if bill keeps going the way it is
i agree
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hmm if it were to go up the east coast.. It would be similar to this historic storm

Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7334
My name is pinholio! I need high sst's for my ojo!
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Quoting WPBHurricane05:
Is Bill moving east??11!11!!
someone needs glasses, lol. deeper convection now reaching 50W
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2595. Dakster
Quoting WPBHurricane05:
Is Bill moving east??11!11!!


In a word... NO.
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the Lesser Antilles will be under a hurrican watch at 5am if bill keeps going the way it is
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2593. Relix
Why.. is it... moving... freaking... west. If in 12 hours it doesn't go WNW I'll go into panic mode.

But for now... I am enjoying the ride. As a side note... when I woke up and saw the beauty of whatever Ana was in my garage looking at the clouded beach and the sound of thunders it felt really awesome. Made me realize how small we all in the world. These things do whatever they want and they WILL NOT follow our plot. Ever. It was a realization moment for me, this morning. I love storms, I love tracking them, I love feeling them, but I must also understand the damage they can do to others. I enjoy the ride, but that's because I know how to be safe, where to be safe. Others dont have that choice. If this monster comes knocking PR's doors I assure you I will probably enjoy the ride, but the emptiness later on will kill me. I remember Georges, I was still a kid, and I clearly remember working with others to clean the streets and remember the suffering of many. THAT is the reason I don't want another monster of these, but if it were for me and I was in a lonely desert I would be happy to get these hurricanes every single month.
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Is Bill moving east??11!11!!
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2591. Hhunter
Quoting presslord:
Taz!! Is that..or is it not...a pinhole eye?!?!?!?!?!


pin hole of dry air......
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Quoting GatorWX:


That gap is from the intrusion of dry air, or it wouldn't be there.


Member Since: August 10, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 672
Quoting Lafreniere16:

Location, Lafreniere?

I'd agree with the bulk of the others on here; unless Bill gets somehow far enough west to affect places like Antigua and Barbuda, it's extremely unlikely to hit the Bahamas. Even if it did, the earliest time frame for that would be the weekend. Lots of lead time......
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20742
2588. Dakster
Quoting presslord:


What was his comment?


Dr. Master's had posted a pinhole eye alert earlier..
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2587. Drakoen
A shortwave trough is advecting off the eastern seaboard which will help weaken the Bermuda high then a deep-layered longwave trough should act to recurve Bill.
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Bill may make a similar path lyke Floyd..but still to early to tell.
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any 00z models out?
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Any chance of Bill following the steering current and coming back south of west???
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Man I'm really starting to get worried for our friends in the N Antilles.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7506
2582. Drakoen
Quoting presslord:
Taz!! Is that..or is it not...a pinhole eye?!?!?!?!?!


lol
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


begining to get a bit fustrated. eager for this turn to come
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2579. GatorWX
Quoting HurricaneKyle:
Not dry air, you would have seen it penetrate the outer layers of Bill. Its just a gap in convection. Will likely clear back up, if you watch the loops you can clearly see that no dry air is getting into the system, just a gap in convection.


That gap is from the intrusion of dry air, or it wouldn't be there.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2386
Quoting lovesdanger:
yes sunkissed slowing down does make it easier for bill to turn..


It also makes it easier to allow fronts to bypass to the north ala Mitch
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Quoting BrockBerlin:


Ah yes those wiley hurricane veterans of Maine and Mass. (JK i realize hurricanes and tropical systems have struck there in the past).
Please recall your assessment of the precurser to claudette and your amusing comments about the individuals that thought that something could develop.
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Quoting SunKissed:


That's what I was thinking, but everyone keeps stressing about the lat and longs going on right now it's gotten me all confused :) Have we decided whether that is dry air or if he's lookin' at us?

Bill's probably keeping an eye on all possible scenarios.
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2575. jdjnola
Quoting presslord:
Taz!! Is that..or is it not...a pinhole eye?!?!?!?!?!


Let the pinhole eye chorus begin!
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2574. java162
Quoting Tazmanian:
if bill dos not start turning soon it will most likey too make its 1st land fall on the Lesser Antilles some time late tuesday going in too wed



that is highly highly highly unlikely at this point. i would have to see a more drastic divergence from the supposed track to come up with sometheing like that...
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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.