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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For those wondering, that opening in Hurricane Bill is not an eye, but rather a dry slot opening inside the storm's core. This indicates that dry air is disrupting the storm and could also show some slight weakening as well. It will need to lose the dry air to return to strengthening.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
looks like this push of dry air might make it all the way to the center....fairly decent disruption...
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2472. jpsb
Quoting Drakoen:



Preventing a good inner core from forming
Yes is will also make upper level steering currents less effective. I think that is Bill problem, he is staying to weak for the upper level steering to "grab" him.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1190
2471. lakeEFX
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I think it is 18 at 0800z which is 3 am EST or 4 am EDT

Oh, okay. Thanks, I wasn't sure if the 08 part was the month or the time. I didn't think they were headed out at night, but you never know.
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Quoting Vortex95:
456 you mean for your areas sake?


yh
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2469. JRRP
see you later
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5480
2468. 789
Quoting weathercrazy40:
just wondering once the h h get into bill and start sending info back should we see changes in the models cause then they will have a lot more and better info
yes
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Quoting Funkadelic:
Is bill as big as this monster??





Wilma?
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http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/loop_640_anis.asp?product=tropical_ge_4km_visir2_float er_2 This really shows Bill getting his act together.
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2465. Grothar
Funny, I saw the same thing, but it is a 5 not an S
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That was a huge wobble for eye replacement. Looks like its getting its first real serious eye further south then what the more northern trend models are showing.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
Quoting leelee75k:
funny but not true, I've lived here for over ten years and never experienced that fishy smell over such a wide area. Pretty much from Pines Blvd to Oakland Park Blvd was fishy on Saturday night.
I was about to say that Broward is not really all that fishy.... but the WEather on sat evening was just weird....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21548
2460. WxLogic
Quoting Weather456:
Bill cannot afford to delay intensity right now, since intensity is one of the factors in play here.


Definitely...
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just wondering once the h h get into bill and start sending info back should we see changes in the models cause then they will have a lot more and better info
Member Since: September 2, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 156
2458. VARob
Quoting Weather456:
Bill cannot afford to delay intensity right now, since intensity is one of the factors in play here.


I concur will not be pretty.
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2457. Grothar
Thank you HurricaneFCast. Looks very useful.
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2449...I swear ...your handle looks like an obscenity...
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there is an eye trying to show it self...but the dry air is still getting in the way...lol
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Bill 26 hr loop 5:15PM Sunday to 7:15 PM Monday

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
00z is 8pm.
6z is 2am.
12z is 8am.
18z is 2pm.

if you're in the eastern time zone. these are when models run and when the NHC has there TWO.
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2452. WxLogic
Quoting Drakoen:



Preventing a good inner core from forming


Last but not least... preventing intensification which would therefore make it behave differently than expected.
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Quoting Drakoen:



Preventing a good inner core from forming


Drak, i know that in normal circumstances, a stronger storm would feel poleward forces more, and therefore be more susceptible to troughs, but is Bill an exception in any way?
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http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/real-time/atlantic/movies/g8wv/g8wvjava.html
Quoting chevycanes:

it's a him.

LOL. Nice one.

Got to go everyone. Hope everyone has a nice evening!
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Quoting muddertracker:
It looks as though Bill is pulling in some dry air. Will this slow her down?


It will slow his intensification rate down.
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Quoting AllStar17:
Bill's jog to the west caused Bill to be on the southernmost edge of the Projected Path

i expect the 11PM cone to have a westward shift of several hundred miles due to the high strengthening and western movement.
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Quoting muddertracker:
It looks as though Bill is pulling in some dry air. Will this slow her down?

it's a him.
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Oops I meant longitude.
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2443. JRRP
Quoting chevycanes:
23:45 frame shows the eye visible.

looks like he's been heading west the last couple hours.

Link

yeah...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5480
Bill cannot afford to delay intensity right now, since intensity is one of the factors in play here.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting lakeEFX:

This might be a dumb question but, isn't that 18/08 referring to the date, and the 00Z - the time? That would make it 8p.m. EDT tonight. Correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.
I think it is 18 at 0800z which is 3 am EST or 4 am EDT
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It looks as though Bill is pulling in some dry air. Will this slow her down?
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Bill is not moving West. Bill is moving as forecast.

Well... the forecast track has trended West since this morning. If it shifts West again tomorrow morning, the Bahamas are in trouble.
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Quoting Grothar:
TO: HurricaneFcast

Nice image. Care to share the link? Some interesting features you noticed.

Link
Click "ADT" on the left hand side, scroll down to the bottom to see the ADT estimated center position and also a nicely zoomed in satellite image of Bill.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Dry air intrusion in Bill:
but it seems to have a non-symmetrical eye, like a triangular shape, or is it just another dry spot penetrating the COC.
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2435. Drakoen
Quoting Vortex95:


man dry air loves tc's this year.



Preventing a good inner core from forming
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Bill's jog to the west caused Bill to be on the southernmost edge of the Projected Path

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Quoting Weather456:

About 800-850 miles away , too close for comfort for a hurricane 400-500 miles across, keep safe.





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Quoting lovesdanger:
thanks reedzone i respect your opinion and if you are right about this i will be the first one to eat crow..i do like the way you think though..


Thanks, and no problem. It'll be interesting to see what Bill does the next few days :)
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Link

There is very little movement in six hours according to this loop. This tells me it is losing it's steering currents.
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Quoting reedzone:


Ahh yes, Bermuda, looking like a 20-30% chance of a direct hit from Bill.. the island is small.


I give Bermuda the highest level of probability at 50-60% chance. Out to sea gets 40-50%. East Coast gets 50/50 chance.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
there is some dry air but he still has an eye that just popped out.
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Quoting reedzone:
Bill might have an eye now.. Unless it's a dry spot..



South of 15N.
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Quoting samiam1234:
NHC doesnt have him hitting 15N till about 51W.. if anything this thing is moving more northward


nhc has him crossing 15 at 48w...what map you looking at?
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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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