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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2323. WxLogic
Quoting Drakoen:
Wxlogic you can see teh ridge on water vapor imagery


Hehe... thanks for reminding me. I was checking out the other Sat images... you can even see some of the moisture being pulled towards the weakness to the NNE.
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18Z HWRF

Gets real close to the Northern Antilles.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting alaina1085:


When are they going in? Sorry if this has been asked 50 times.
2PM tomorrow.
I have a VHF radio base in my bedroom (yes...I'm a sick, disturbed man)...and the offshore shipping traffic is talking a good bit about Bill...nothing nice to say, though....
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Quoting indianrivguy:


I have for all my life maintained I could "smell" a tropical system. Friends have called me crazy, and they may be right, but not about sniffing a storm. Saturday morning I stepped outside, sniffed the air and came in and opened up the radar to see what was around.. Claudette was in her beginings on top of the Keys... the nose knows

Hey 456.. do you have a link to cimms please sir.. I have it saved somewhere and cannot find it.. arrggg... thanks!


LINK
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
I'm pretty sure Bill is located at 47.5W and 14.8N, based on 22:45UTC imagery.
Quoting Drakoen:
Wxlogic you can see teh ridge on water vapor imagery


where is the weakness

that loop is scary. makes me rething the fish theory
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Quoting btwntx08:

90w???


Well it is east of 90W. That's true . ...
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Quoting Weather456:
Probably the hurricane hunters will supply crucial info regarding bill.


When are they going in? Sorry if this has been asked 50 times.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240
Definetly east of 90W.
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EUMETSAT SOURCE
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting StormSurgeon:
Bil is a nice cane but he will move north. If I'm wrong, tell me.


how early north?
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
Quoting Weather456:
Probably the hurricane hunters will supply crucial info regarding bill.
i agree, i think it will be a CAT 3 when the HH gets in there.
2307. GatorWX
Bill will do a few more wobbles and jogs. Cyclones at this stage of intensification always do, especially when trying to form an eye, which Bill is in the process of doing. It's the general motion that matters, not a wobble. Don't pay attention to them and think it's going to affect the scenario of the forecast track, aside from a minute deviation. If it misses the first trof in the Atlantic, then become aware things aren't going as planned. This trof is forecast to begin the turn. It should only feel a tug, but it should be rather noticeable. It still shouldn't affect the outcome of the overall forecast, but would tend to bring it further west. JMO
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3797
Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Ha! You'll have to ask him that.


I wouldn't get close enough to ask if it were me Hes pretty sweaty!
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Quoting islandblow:


The indigenous Carib Indians of the islands used to warn the first European settlers about coming hurricanes by knowing such natural signals. But at first the Europeans did not believe them because the skies were blue and the waves looked like regular swells....then all hell let loose....and after the devastation the settlers accused the natives of witchcraft. Sometimes you just can't win.

But no joking now...there are things happening in the northern Lesser Antilles tonight that hint something is out there...and big.


I have for all my life maintained I could "smell" a tropical system. Friends have called me crazy, and they may be right, but not about sniffing a storm. Saturday morning I stepped outside, sniffed the air and came in and opened up the radar to see what was around.. Claudette was in her beginings on top of the Keys... the nose knows

Hey 456.. do you have a link to cimms please sir.. I have it saved somewhere and cannot find it.. arrggg... thanks!
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Quoting Drakoen:
Wxlogic you can see teh ridge on water vapor imagery
that is some weatherstudent vocabulary there (teh) lol
Quoting FLdewey:


OOOh no you di-ent!

A White Castle would be sweet.


Yep, I'm Slidercasting
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2301. jpsb
Quoting islandblow:
BR
But no joking now...there are things happening in the northern Lesser Antilles tonight that hint something is out there...and big.
Yes, the northern Antilles are still very much in danger! Everyone seems to think Bill will go north of them but right now he is headed right for them.

I've been watching hurricanes for 30 years. I've learned not to make my calls on models. Yea they have gotten a lot better in the last 3 to 5 years but I don't believe a predicted turn until I see it. Particularly with a big storm and Bill is nothing if not big.
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Probably the hurricane hunters will supply crucial info regarding bill.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


14.4n/47.8w

Right along the lines I'm thinking Keeper.
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the 00z models are going to be interesting because the high has really strengthened and Bill is still not really moving WNW, it more like a slight hint of north to it's westward track.
ehh this aint jersey, man...
Member Since: June 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1136
2295. Drakoen
Wxlogic you can see teh ridge on water vapor imagery
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30717
Bil is a nice cane but he will move north. If I'm wrong, tell me.
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1793


Other then the EBR2 and the LBAR, not a single reputable model Shows Bill going anywhere other then where the NHC and other experts is saying its going.
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2292. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


14.4n/47.8w
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Listen. Bill is a good thousand miles from any potential landfall in the Bahamas (can u say 21N, 71W? that is where it would have to get to impact us). Yet LOTS of people here are watching this with a wary eye.

And I'm telling u: if Bill DOES get far enough west to impact the NE Lesser Antilles, all bets are off in my mind re. Nward track vs. Wward track. Once a storm has crossed the Antigua/Barbuda/Virgin Islands area, ANYTHING is possible with regard to a later T&C/Bahamas landfall.

So I'm with the 'parry' pple in ur neck of the woods.... Mind u, right now I think the NHC have a good handle on the track. But that doesn't mean I think they are perfect or anything......


cannot argue with that, well said.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2290. WxLogic
Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Was just about to post that. Wonder if the G-IV will give the models better data when they go in.


It will... and we should now how really strong the Bermuda High periphery is.
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Wow thats a heck of a jog!
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2288. Drakoen
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Oh hey Drakoen--we're back after getting a new modem. BTW that virus attack last week downloaded more than 97,000 cookies and various programs into our temporary internet files. If your puter has been sluggish, clean that stuff out.


The virus is still on the site. I got one of those things that tried to download the virus on my computer. As soon as I saw that I plugged out my Ethernet cable
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30717
Quoting bballerf50:


How the heck did you get that? It seems way off to me...
ok, every degree of longitude is 70 miles, and bill is 3 degrees of longitude to 50W, if u multiply 16 which is bill's current speed by the miles it is away from 50W (16/210=13.12) u will get 13 hours and 12 minutes.
Quoting adjusterx:


I am hoping he is talking about a White Castles here in St.Lucie county.


Oooh or a Pollo Tropical! I want that here..
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What happened to the Negative NAO that was suppose to happen?The trough in the east conus moves north and shifts hurricanes or storms further west.Seems we are still in same condition as a month ago when Negative NAO was predicted.Any one can answer??
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Quoting FLdewey:


I'm assuming "it" is something cool? Maybe a new condo development, or OOOooo OOOooo maybe a new shopping center?


I am hoping he is talking about a White Castles here in St.Lucie county.
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Quoting Weather456:
I guess no matter what the NHC says everyone here (not the blog) seems terrified of Bill.
Listen. Bill is a good thousand miles from any potential landfall in the Bahamas (can u say 21N, 71W? that is where it would have to get to impact us). Yet LOTS of people here are watching this with a wary eye.

And I'm telling u: if Bill DOES get far enough west to impact the NE Lesser Antilles, all bets are off in my mind re. Nward track vs. Wward track. Once a storm has crossed the Antigua/Barbuda/Virgin Islands area, ANYTHING is possible with regard to a later T&C/Bahamas landfall.

So I'm with the 'parry' pple in ur neck of the woods.... Mind u, right now I think the NHC have a good handle on the track. But that doesn't mean I think they are perfect or anything......
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2282. Drakoen
Bottom of the barrel wishcaster
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30717
Quoting Vortex95:


Did he get tired?


Ha! You'll have to ask him that.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Fulano de Tal was a great Latin/rock band from the mid 90's...
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2278. amd
Quoting WxLogic:
Good evening...

Well is hard to believe how Bill is going to get passed this... but where's there's a Coriolis there's a way!!!



that is one strong high. This weakness better be as good as advertised
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1024
Quoting WxLogic:
Good evening...

Well is hard to believe how Bill is going to get passed this... but where's there's a Coriolis there's a way!!!



Was just about to post that. Wonder if the G-IV will give the models better data when they go in.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
2275. WxLogic
Good evening...

Well is hard to believe how Bill is going to get passed this... but where's there's a Coriolis there's a way!!!

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Models will trend west.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479

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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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