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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StormW, are you out there? I thought this last night and wanted to ask for better understanding. To me it looks like Bill is not getting enough of the initial lift N and may only get some of the lift expected by the next ridge. I think FL is OK but I just can't see the entire coast being OK yet. Your thoughts please.
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23:45 frame shows the eye visible.

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

Link
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2420. Drakoen
Dry air intrusion in Bill:
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30813
2419. junie1
seems like some ppl on this site would put there heads on the chopping blocks for what the models say but common sense would let most ppl know other wise than to trust a computer forcast model
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Bill might have an eye now.. Unless it's a dry spot..

Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
2416. breald
Quoting PORTCHARLOTTE72:
bbbb bird bird bird bird is the word


I watched that episode last night and could not get the darn song out of my mind. And the little dance he does.....Way to funny...LOl
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 38 Comments: 5303
2415. Grothar
TO: HurricaneFcast

Nice image. Care to share the link? Some interesting features you noticed.
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reedzone those of us up here in new england know its not safe til its at a point of north or very east of us like it would have to go in reverse
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Quoting WeatherMSK:


Don't forget about Bermuda.


Ahh yes, Bermuda, looking like a 20-30% chance of a direct hit from Bill.. the island is small.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
Quoting alaina1085:


Thank you


That is kind of late. By then Bill will be very close to the Northern Antilles latitude.

If he happens to lay low, virtually upon them.

By Wednesday midday latest, the outer bands will
be affecting that area.
Hmmmm....
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Quoting reedzone:


30-50% chance of it effecting the Northeast, 60% of it effecting nobody and heading out to sea.. Basically a 50/50 for me. Models have been trending west, the NOGAPS is by far the most westward component so far by hitting the East Coast. This is why people in the Northeastern Coastline need to closely monitor Bill.


Don't forget about Bermuda.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
2409. lakeEFX
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
That will be around 3 AM, correct ?

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.
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Quoting dcoaster:
I know it's hard to believe, but Bill is still on a W-WNW track. It's the convection thats fooling everyone. Even I thought it was trending west until I took a look at the IR Rainbow loop.
Quoting dcoaster:
I know it's hard to believe, but Bill is still on a W-WNW track. It's the convection thats fooling everyone. Even I thought it was trending west until I took a look at the IR Rainbow loop.
RGB Loop helps also
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are people really gonna argue over .1 degrees? it's like 7 miles.

at 2am coming up, their forecast point is 15.2 and 48.7. it will be very close to that.
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bbbb bird bird bird bird is the word
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Quoting JupiterFL:


I am pretty sure that all of Broward county smells like fish.


Just did a Danny Thomas spit take.
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Quoting lovesdanger:
reedzone look its a possibility bill will hit where 456 is to anything is possible so what percentage are you sure of for a n eng hit..i gave my percentage at 95% not hitting the us..


30-50% chance of it effecting the Northeast, 60% of it effecting nobody and heading out to sea.. Basically a 50/50 for me. Models have been trending west, the NOGAPS is by far the most westward component so far by hitting the East Coast. This is why people in the Northeastern Coastline need to closely monitor Bill.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
Quoting leftovers:
al rocker got 24 hr timeout for his "smells like chinese food" he's back tomorrow


What's that all about? With Al Roker, if something smells like food he'd probably eat it.
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Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2400. Grothar
Quoting JupiterFL:


I am pretty sure that all of Broward county smells like fish.

Hey, I live in Broward County, on the water. But Jupiter is nice, too!!!
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To me it looks like it is stalling
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2398. breald
Quoting lovesdanger:
reedzone look its a possibility bill will hit where 456 is to anything is possible so what percentage are you sure of for a n eng hit..i gave my percentage at 95% not hitting the us..


Where is the image to what you are saying?
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 38 Comments: 5303

Look at this quikscat of Bill at 7:55 this morning, COC well below 14N.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
Quoting canesrule1:
it is at 14.8N/47.6W

14.9N, ~47.3-.4W (Or if you want to use the center of the tight circulation seen visibly, it's at 47.5W, but even closer to 15N....)
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2352. WeatherMSK

Just above your comments box is are 4 possibilities, one of which is "Image."

Click on image and paste in the image address.
You get that by right clicking (Command and click on Macs) on the picture you're interested in and copying the address, first. Then you can come over to the Comments box and paste it in. It may ask you for dimensions, but you can just click and skip those if you're not sure.
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I know it's hard to believe, but Bill is still on a W-WNW track. It's the convection thats fooling everyone. Even I thought it was trending west until I took a look at the IR Rainbow loop.
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Quoting reedzone:


That's a very small Isobar lol.. the HWRF is west as well, about the same position at 12Z. Look closely.. Bermuda is getting TD/TS winds.
yup
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2391. WAHA
Link to my site.
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for the 00z models i expect a westward shift of several hundred miles.
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2389. sigh
Bill is not moving more due west than forecast.
Bill is not taking a jog to the south.

People keep saying these kinds of things, and I can only imagine that they must be looking obsessively at satellite loops and "seeing"/wishing/fearing some change in direction that IS NOT OCCURRING.

There are frequently optical illusions with satellite loops, where a burst of convection or the turning of the center makes it APPEAR that the storm is lurching/moving in a certain direction. That's just your eyes/brain playing tricks on you, seeing a pattern that's not there.

Bill is moving as forecast.

Thank you. That will be all.

-
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Quoting JupiterFL:


I am pretty sure that all of Broward county smells like fish.
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Quoting canesrule1:
LOL, look at bermuda in the eye:



That's a very small Isobar lol.. the HWRF is west as well, about the same position at 12Z. Look closely.. Bermuda is getting TD/TS winds.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
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.
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Quoting WeatherMSK:


hmmmm....doesnt work for me

Make sure you're copying the image location. Most of the time if you right click on an image, you can select "Copy Image Location", and then you simply click on Image, paste the location, and skip the width and height to post the image in its original size. Another way you can do it is to right click on an image, click properties, and copy the location from the properties text box.
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Quoting Relix:
Bill is most definitely trending west.


i need someone to truly, show me where is the ridge weakness so i can squelch the doomcaster in me
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Quoting reedzone:
North America image



That's funny.
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Quoting Relix:
Bill is most definitely trending west.
exactly
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When the hurricane track depends upon a front moving off the east coast, I like to read the local NWS area statements in the US to see what the thinking is about the timing of the front. From the statements I have read, the consensus seems to be that the ECMWF model is too slow (the western outlier of the hurricane models) and the GFS too fast in moving the front through their areas. When trying to determine if the front is too slow, not strong enough etc.. those statements are useful info.
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Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Most every 6 hours...some of them update every 12 hours.
Thanks very much.
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Quoting HurricaneFCast:

Well then they're a bit off.. It's already at 14.9, borderline 15N as we speak.. Only 47.3-47.4W at the moment.
it is at 14.8N/47.6W
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Quoting WeatherMSK:


hmmmm....doesnt work for me

You need to upload the image fist to the internet.
I use Imageshack for hosting the image and for browser image editing i use Sumo (like photoshop just free). You have to manual set the image size (width/height).
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting WPBHurricane05:
3. REMARKS: NOAA WILL BEGIN FLYING 5 RESEARCH MISSIONS IN A ROW ON HURRICANE BILL AT 18/0800Z WITH THE P-3 AND G-IV. TAKEOFFS WILL BE EVERY 12 HOURS.


That will be around 3 AM, correct ?
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2374. Relix
Bill is most definitely trending west.
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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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