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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2224. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
behave ws don't go upsetting press now
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54272
456....I read your blog that you wrote earlier today (I read it everyday, very informative BTW), Has Bill done what you thought he might do today or do you think he is going a little more left than most think?
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Quoting GatorWX:
456, drak, or anyone else: does anyone have a link to "up to date" graphics of TCHP?


(Oh, short FYI: It's now sometimes referred to as OHC(Ocean Heat Content) rather than Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential......But it's just semantics, really. :D)
CIMSS
CIMSS has storm-specific OHC. Just click on Hurricane Bill on the front page and then Beside "Ocean" click on "OHC (RSMAS)".
You can zoom out using the "Image Resolution" tab on the left side of the page.
Member Since: April 20, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 1482
post 2201
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
whats wrong press


Think he was referring to WS lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
wow time really flies, doesnt it
Member Since: June 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1136
I guess no matter what the NHC says everyone here (not the blog) seems terrified of Bill.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2216. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting presslord:
...oh no...
whats wrong press
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54272
whats the matter press, its not coming to the carolinas.........lol
Member Since: June 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1136
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
the north by northwest turn begins at the triple nickel 15n55w
yes, but it begins to move more to the north of WNW at about 50W
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Good evening! Anything beyond Bill?
No.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8391
Quoting WPBHurricane05:
Im pretty sure Bill is moving WNW...its just that his convection is causing a W illusion.
someone said earlier that he is moving west and his expansion makes it seem nw
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2211. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Good evening! Anything beyond Bill?
how was the 24 hr break
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54272
Quoting presslord:
...oh no...

LOL.
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:


True. But it would have to be a trend-not a jog.
yes, exactly
...oh no...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
2206. Relix
Personal Analysis: I want some of you to comment in this if you can as I spent a fair bit of time thinking this over and over.

Now before I go on I do not believe Bill will make a direct impact on the islands. Right now its sightly over 15N and onwards of passing 50W tomorrow at probably 16N. Right now it's feeling the pull of the through and also the coriolis effect. There's very little chance of this hitting the northern islands except with feeder bands and the "tail" and even then... it will quite be far away. I am not downcasting or wishcasting anything, but I am very sure that through won't be that strong and the East Coast could face a skirt. I had been saying two days ago Bill was going into the caribbean and obviously I was wrong... but, I've come to the conclusion that it can go even below the southestern track of the NHC if it, at any points during the next 48 hours, tracks purely to the W for about 6-8 hours. I find that extremely unlikely UNLESS the highs bridge or strengthen and the through weakens even more allow Bill to move... and even then it would be a WNW movement that would put it closer to the islands, no direct impact.

What do the WU masters say about this?
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Quoting canesrule1:
i meant if it does not begin to move NW it will change the track considerably.


True. But it would have to be a trend-not a jog.
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Quoting 7544:
ex ann and the blob that was to the north of her just became one lets see what happens now a little bit of convection trying to form in the middle
wow talk about insanity ana is gone life goes on
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ANA

Bill

Claudette
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2202. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting canesrule1:
Bill beginning to approach 50W, with just a slight hint of north in it's westward path.

the north by northwest turn begins at the triple nickel 15n55w
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 54272
Some moisture in the SE Bahamas...looks like it might be from that ULL and the remnants of Ana. Considering how fast Claudette formed, it wouldn't be unreasonable to keep an eye on it.
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
Quoting HurricaneGeek:


Well Bill is still around 47W. It has 3° still to go.
true.
I know the computers and the expert say wnw to nw but on the satellite I notice all the clouds on satellite seem to be heading southerly that are north and west of the storm.
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2197. 7544
ex anna and the blob that was to the north of her just became one lets see what happens now a little bit of convection trying to form in the middle
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:


It is still within the NHC cone even if Bill doesn't cross 15N until 50W.
The Southern edge, but still in the cone.
i meant if it does not begin to move NW it will change the track considerably.
Quoting canesrule1:
Bill beginning to approach 50W, with just a slight hint of north in it's westward path.


Well Bill is still around 47W. It has 3° still to go.
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I also think there is a lot wind flow from the north shifting down the next 12 hours or so to help influence Bill in a more west approach before making the turn.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
Quoting GatorWX:


Anyone??? TIA


LINK
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076


EUMETSAT SOURCE

Looks like Bill heading a similar way Ana took.
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Quoting sctonya:


I have to leave on that one, gotta clean up the tea out of my keyboard...bbl


They oughta stick a buoy down there to see if they get some low pressure readings
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What would happen to the track of Bill if the Tropical Depression Claudette got off the SC and NC coast
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2189. GatorWX
Quoting GatorWX:
456, drak, or anyone else: does anyone have a link to "up to date" graphics of TCHP?


Anyone??? TIA
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3368
Quoting StormSurgeon:


Easy does it. Watch the atmosphere.
It is not moving NW not even close
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Bill beginning to approach 50W, with just a slight hint of north in it's westward path.

2186. jabjb2
Does anyone think that the High has built back in and is forcing Bill west with a little hint of west-south-west?
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Hey guys/gals
Has anybody looked at what is happening with the remenants of Claudette? Is it just me or is something else trying to spin up?
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canes, go sit in the corner with reed, u 2 are on time out for the next 6 hours lol
Member Since: June 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1136
Quoting canesrule1:
I hear that if Bill does not begin to turn at around 50W it will change the track considerably.


It is still within the NHC cone even if Bill doesn't cross 15N until 50W.
The Southern edge, but still in the cone.
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


Easy does it. Watch the atmosphere.
did you see caps or exclamation points...I just pointed out the truth. don't be so sensative.
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Look at that upper level low headed just southeast of Florida. Do you think this could potentially influence the strength of these "monster" troughs that are supposed to flush Bill away?

Link
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
2180. sctonya
Quoting Drakoen:
Bill got too's big for Ana small little low and scared her away.


I have to leave on that one, gotta clean up the tea out of my keyboard...bbl
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I hear that if Bill does not begin to turn at around 50W it will change the track considerably.
Quoting hunkerdown:
wrong, not even close...a tick north of due west.


Easy does it. Watch the atmosphere.
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1793
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
It looks like it and like he is moving south of the forecast points but I will leave the final word to the experts.
it does appear to be moving slightly south of the points, for now, but I have also seen them readjust the points even between the updates.
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2176. amd
Quoting WPBHurricane05:
Im pretty sure Bill is moving WNW...its just that his convection is causing a W illusion.


winds are still to the south on buoy 41041. If it is gaining latitude, it is taking its time.

Link

there should be winds with some sort of western heading (ssw,sw, wsw) if Bill was gaining significant latitude.
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1024
Quoting DaytonaBeachWatcher:
Nope,not yet. If he doesnt make it by 50 west, i am not gonna be a happy camper...


He'll be there by 50W. I think he'll be at 50W, 15.2N.... just a guess.
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2174. GatorWX
Seems some dry air is trying to infiltrate again. Looks like it may have helped erode a bit of the west side. Should keep intensification in check.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3368

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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.