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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2024. WAHA
Quoting btwntx08:

now that right there was wishcasting no joke

What is Wishcasting?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Ossqss:
Is it true the strongest storms play a direct role in their movements. They can create their own path to a degree and alter the atmosphere in front of them to suit?


sometimes

Barometer Bob asked StormW a question last night

"Could Bill's outflow enhaced the subtropical ridge, thereby strengthening it"

Cant remember the answer but I'm not leaning towards this scenario.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting Tazmanian:
bill wont be a fish storm watch out from FL too NC


I agree and disagree. I think Bill has about a 20% chance of hitting from FL to the Carolinas. If that trough don't pick it up, then watch out. However, that trough seems strong enough to pick it up and lift out.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


ReedZone... Is a Wish Caster...



I am not, I back my forecasting with evidence.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7360
I think it all depends on what happens to that Bermuda H; more so than what happens with the trough. And, dang those cloud tops got supercold superquick. Seems like there is rapid intensification going on. Does anyone have a lightning chart?
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In the direction it is traveling at this point in time, it can go anywhere from Mexico to Nova Scotia. I don't really like the models, so I personally think everyone should keep their eyes on Bill.
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guys in reality every1 needs to watch out some ppl just have to watch it alitle closer than others
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I know where you live, just north of me, and i dont think its coming here. You used to post alot as alan on flhurricane i know you.
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Quoting tallahasseecyclone:
We had snow in the Bighorns last weekend.....it's still there. I am in Wyoming for the next week and can't wait to get back to Tally. I have been freezing here for two months. It used to be hot here Mr. Gore.
Yeah, I thought it was weird to have daytime highs in the low 50s in the Wind River valley while I was there - Plus RAIN!!!!

I keep wondering how this shift in the overall flow pattern for CONUS and CAnada will influence steering patterns over the Tropical ATL.....

Quoting atmoaggie:
Hopefully it takes more of an Isobel- like track while in the Bahamas' vicinity.....
Everyone makes mistakes, but I am awfully surprised you misspelled that one.
What'd I misspell????

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21864
WOW, I step out for a while and I return to Wizards, Wands, and Weather. LOL.. Honestly I enjoy the humor just as much as the weather chat.
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Florida is pretty much out the equation if Bill threatens any land mass it will be Bermuda or North of Virginia in my opinion
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2010. WAHA
I think Bill will hit Bermuda. More about it at my website on this Link.
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Quoting DaytonaBeachWatcher:


but u always predict an east coast storm cuz thats where u are


I was dead on with the track of 98L, just not the tropical characteristics part of it.. I live in Florida btw, not New York, I used to live up there 8 years ago.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7360
2007. Ossqss
Is it true the strongest storms play a direct role in their movements. They can create their own path to a degree and alter the atmosphere in front of them to suit?
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Quoting Vortex95:
456 it is concerning to have something pass so close to you but as it seems to me, you may be affected by at worst moderate ts winds. At the moment of course things (hopefully not) ma change


I'm actually more concern for Bermuda and Nova Scotia at the moment. Bill is a very large system, and a displacement east or west is equal to a great deal of actual distance.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting sammywammybamy:



Dude Cut it out before i Put you on Ignore..


It could be anywhere along the East Coast.
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bill wont be a fish storm watch out from FL too NC
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Quoting Funkadelic:
Are models developing those waves coming off the african cost?

Your pic is disturbing.
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2001. GatorWX
Quoting reedzone:
It started to annoy me yesterday when I was telling people to just not let there guard down in the Northeast, that models do change, and bloggers were bashing me for just that. I wasn't even predicting a Historic East Coast Storm, I said it was still a possibility. They were telling me, that models were not going to change. They compared me to MET Joe Bastard, that I was hyping Bill. Well I said there's a good possibility that models might be overdoing the trough or making the high weaker then what it could be and todays models proved my point. They also proved StormWs point, kudos to him for that excellent prediction! Now I will say this again, if you live from North Carolina to Maine, you need to closely monitor Bills progress. I think models might shift a tad more to the left by 00z.


Don't be so offended about what others think. I don't think it'll come near the US, bt certainly nothing's set in stone. People will always disagree! I've seen you post many times that you felt betrayed so to speak. Just let it go. It's not worth it. You don't have to try so hard to get your point across. If people get caught off guard, that's due to their own negligence. Everyone should be aware if something threatening is on the horizon and if they don't, they should have paid more attention. All I'm saying is don't worry about what others think. State your opinion and that's it.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2825
Listenervt - Nova Scotia is way too beautiful to have a hard hit from this storm - But I'll bet you're more ready for it than a lot of low lying communities along the east coast of U.S. because you get such tough weather on a regular basis. Hope it stays way off shore and leaves you alone. Last year I wondered what would happen if a storm surge went straight up the Bay of Fundy, with that already immense tidal range. Hope you don't ever have to find out.
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Quoting reedzone:
It started to annoy me yesterday when I was telling people to just not let there guard down in the Northeast, that models do change, and bloggers were bashing me for just that. I wasn't even predicting a Historic East Coast Storm, I said it was still a possibility. They were telling me, that models were not going to change. They compared me to MET Joe Bastard, that I was hyping Bill. Well I said there's a good possibility that models might be overdoing the trough or making the high weaker then what it could be and todays models proved my point. They also proved StormWs point, kudos to him for that excellent prediction! Now I will say this again, if you live from North Carolina to Maine, you need to closely monitor Bills progress. I think models might shift a tad more to the left by 00z.


but u always predict an east coast storm cuz thats where u are
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Bill analog storms

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting reedzone:
It started to annoy me yesterday when I was telling people to just not let there guard down in the Northeast, that models do change, and bloggers were bashing me for just that. I wasn't even predicting a Historic East Coast Storm, I said it was still a possibility. They were telling me, that models were not going to change. They compared me to MET Joe Bastard, that I was hyping Bill. Well I said there's a good possibility that models might be overdoing the trough or making the high weaker then what it could be and todays models proved my point. They also proved StormWs point, kudos to him for that excellent prediction! Now I will say this again, if you live from North Carolina to Maine, you need to closely monitor Bills progress. I think models might shift a tad more to the left by 00z.


I totally agree with, exactly how alot of people discounted my notion that it would not go into the gulf too. I am not counting Bill out. There are alot of pieces that need to fit together to go either way. Out to sea (Bermuda) or east coast.
Member Since: February 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 479
Quoting noreaster78:
Fellow wunders. I'm a long time lurker and only pop up when a hurricane seems to be steering my way. I'm in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and while right now it's to early, when can I start trusting the models and get an idea if and how powerful Bill will be when he hits Halifax? I found the wunderground after hurricane Juan and I hope I am never caught flat footed again. Thanks!


It's not a bad idea to go get some extra batteries and other provisions before everyone in town has the same great idea. Think about where you'd want to be if a Cat 3 or 4 came upon Halifax. Make tentative plans. You'll sleep better. Take care! Hope the rhodys in the park come through fine.
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Cape Hatteras NC, Prime Target
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also reed

I think the ENTIRE East Coast needs to watch Bill, not just the northeast
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The fishcasters can get nasty at times don't let them get to you. So many storms have missed that right hook projection only to go on and make a landfall. Don't let your guard down, it's ok to wish for a fish but never take the models for than they are worth.

Quoting reedzone:
It started to annoy me yesterday when I was telling people to just not let there guard down in the Northeast, that models do change, and bloggers were bashing me for just that. I wasn't even predicting a Historic East Coast Storm, I said it was still a possibility. They were telling me, that models were not going to change. They compared me to MET Joe Bastard, that I was hyping Bill. Well I said there's a good possibility that models might be overdoing the trough or making the high weaker then what it could be and todays models proved my point. They also proved StormWs point, kudos to him for that excellent prediction! Now I will say this again, if you live from North Carolina to Maine, you need to closely monitor Bills progress. I think models might shift a tad more to the left by 00z.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Nobody took you serious because you live in New York right? They just thought you was wishcasting but i always did think you had a point


I used to live in New York 8 years ago, I live in Florida. I have lots of family in NY, I just didn't want people to let there guards down because models at the time were taking it way out to sea and that bloggers were confident of a no hit for USA, which can deff happen.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7360
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


456 they are getting too close for comfort here.... they need to stop shifting west and now. what do you think about a potential East coast hit?


a small chance of east coast hit, BUT, for some reason he does, the angle favor the northern coast of the east coast to be affected, like N Carolina go north.

Nova Scotia stands a greater chance of being affected by Bill

Some poeple need to stop calling Bill a fish, since the islands, Bermuda and Nova Scotia are all watching him.

Juan 2003 was basically fish till he hit Nova Scotia.

Florence 2006 was basically fish till she affected Bermuda and Nova Scotia

Fabian 2003 was basically fish until it affected Bermuda.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
reed

Who's not to say the models trend much farther left?
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Im out, see yall lata taters. No more cyclone size "talks" ;)
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1984. GatorWX
Quoting mobilegirl81:
Bill could be a retired name.


Not if doesn't affect anyone. They're not retired because of intensity, but because of damage inflicted and loss of life. Perhaps if it affects Bermuda or the Canadian maritime provinces, but otherwise I'd say we'll see "Bill" again when the current list is cycled through again.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2825
Quoting reedzone:
It started to annoy me yesterday when I was telling people to just not let there guard down in the Northeast, that models do change, and bloggers were bashing me for just that. I wasn't even predicting a Historic East Coast Storm, I said it was still a possibility. They were telling me, that models were not going to change. They compared me to MET Joe Bastard, that I was hyping Bill. Well I said there's a good possibility that models might be overdoing the trough or making the high weaker then what it could be and todays models proved my point. They also proved StormWs point, kudos to him for that excellent prediction! Now I will say this again, if you live from North Carolina to Maine, you need to closely monitor Bills progress. I think models might shift a tad more to the left by 00z.
There are a lot of new people on here who aren't real patient with anybody else's opinion. I'm looking at that monster and praying it stays way off the coast, but we all know the track will change from day to day. Same with the leftovers of Ana - they get into that hot gulf water and who knows? People should respect other's opinions and wait and see what happens. After all, it's the weather! None of us knows what will happen till it happens.
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Quoting Chucktown:
The only way that Bill effects New England or even Nova Scotia for that matter is if the trough goes negative which none of the models are showing. And again its not a monster trough. A monster trough spawns systems like the the Superstorm of 96 or some of the historic nor'easters. The trough is just "deep" by August standards and even if it is a bit weaker than forecast, still strong enough to push Bill well east of the coastline.


One can hope.

It's still capable of wreaking havoc along the coastline, from the erosion.
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Quoting reedzone:


An excellent example Weather456, clearly shows that folks in the Northeast need to watch Bill.


Nobody took you serious because you live in New York right? They just thought you was wishcasting but i always did think you had a point
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Quoting GatorWX:
Looks like there is virtually no shear over Bill judging by its circular structure. He looks terrific for his current intensity.

Yep, he's expanding his windfield. His girth is impressive.
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Caludette



Ana

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting GatorWX:
Looks like there is virtually no shear over Bill judging by its circular structure. He looks terrific for his current intensity.

Very self-protected.
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Quoting noreaster78:
Fellow wunders. I'm a long time lurker and only pop up when a hurricane seems to be steering my way. I'm in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and while right now it's to early, when can I start trusting the models and get an idea if and how powerful Bill will be when he hits Halifax? I found the wunderground after hurricane Juan and I hope I am never caught flat footed again. Thanks!

Yeah, I don't envy you guys in how tough it is to get a real good intensity forecast of a system that might round the bend at 35 N and come at me at 60 mph. I don't know the answer. Might be within 48 hours of landfall up there. How would we deal with that? Err on the side of caution, I suppose.
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Quoting Weather456:
12Z



00Z



An excellent example Weather456, clearly shows that folks in the Northeast need to watch Bill.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7360
Quoting Weather456:
12Z



00Z



456 they are getting too close for comfort here.... they need to stop shifting west and now. what do you think about a potential East coast hit?
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1974. GatorWX
Looks like there is virtually no shear over Bill judging by its circular structure. He looks terrific for his current intensity.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2825

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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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