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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1974. GatorWX
Looks like there is virtually no shear over Bill judging by its circular structure. He looks terrific for his current intensity.
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Quoting jasoniscoolman10:

Buzz Saw!
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Quoting Weather456:
12Z



00Z



Quite a large shift left GFS is now the eastern outlier
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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.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7437
If Claudette could do it, then Ana might be a problem.
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Bill could be a retired name.
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Quoting mobilegirl81:

Still steady drizzle here in Mobile.
same here in Bay Minette
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1966. Patrap
Power of the Flower..
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1965. JRRP
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Quoting lovesdanger:
aggie im me someone who loves the weather and knows hurricanes..if you dont agree with me on my posts i can respect that but im just saying the NHC made a big mistake discontinuing advisories on ana..ANA will come back again in style and we will have to deal with her so i would not worry to much about bill hun i would be very concerned about ANA..

No problems with that, you just sound very much like a couple of other posters we've had here.
And I happen to agree with you about Ana. Maybe not the advisories (although she is moving awfully fast for the Caribbean/Gom), but I for one will be watching until her leftovers exit stage left.
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Quoting Vortex95:
Ain't as big as this bad boy.



Gilbert?
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Need a big storm like Bill out in the open ocean like this, help vent all that heat outta the tropics
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1960. szqrn1
Quoting CosmicEvents:

I think that's the right answer, or so I've been told.


hmm maybe that's what you needed to hear...ok sorry
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Quoting szqrn1:
we are gonna get in trouble... "I promise I won't let it happen again"

Weather getting a little better for now in MS..

Still steady drizzle here in Mobile.
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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.
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1957. Lizpr
Quoting kmanislander:


It's not the size of the wand, its the magic of the magician but if you have a big wand you can make a lot of magic.


wow lol
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1956. szqrn1
we are gonna get in trouble... "I promise I won't let it happen again"

Weather getting a little better for now in MS..
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Quoting alaina1085:


Its not the size of the cyclone, but the power it possesses :)

I think that's the right answer, or so I've been told.
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Quoting szqrn1:


we all know who really posseses the power..

HAHA!!
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1953. Patrap
Hurricane Bill Floater - AVN Color Infrared Loop
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Please don't say Floyd, which has some not so good memories for me here in the Bahamas. Hopefully it takes more of an Isobel- like track while in the Bahamas' vicinity.....


Not really. Katrina had a very different track and cyclogenesis history. One key difference is that the pre-Katrina wave had never been named anything at all.

Me mentioning Floyd is like you mentioning Isabel. I Don't think This will hit the East Coast But It won't be a fish storm Bermuda or Canada will get this one.
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12Z



00Z

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting all4hurricanes:
GFDL takes bill to cat Five
I don't care where you are if there's a cat 5 everyone's watching it


It would be the first CATL Category 5 since Isabel, everyone of them since Isabel have been Caribbean and Gulf trackers. HWRF as usual, but rarely ever with the GFDL, makes it also a Category 5.
Member Since: August 10, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 672
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!
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Quoting kmanislander:


It's not the size of the wand, its the magic of the magician but if you have a big wand you can make a lot of magic.


Man i must be a wizard lol sorry i just had to...now back to weather
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The unexpected senario (Claudette), the highs bridge together and bill is steered......
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Quoting coffeecrusader:
Bill will be a fish storm. Ana will rise again and affect Florida in three days.


I was going to ask, Ana's following a similar path as Claudette. So why wouldn't it have a good chance of developing once it gets free of the Islands?
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Quoting kmanislander:


It's not the size of the wand, its the magic of the magician but if you have a big wand you can make a lot of magic.


Yes but its the quality of the magic, not quantity. Hahaha.
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What models are trending Bill further left? Every model I see shows it as a fish storm. You people are wishcasting. Ana's the only thing the mainland has to worry about now.
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Anyway, back to ex Ana. I was thinking that now that it is an open wave some of that moisture may propagate this way. We could sure use the rain.
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1941. Relix
Quoting JLPR:


If Bill does head west- northwest we could be in trouble since it is a large storm so better for him to head NW =P


If it passes the 50W barrier and its 160N it's safe to say we are safe! If it gets to 55 W at 17N then worry a lot, but it's extremely unlikely we will get more than some rain and surf along some nice gusts. Hopefully. Worst case scenario he suddenly starts moving W for about 12 hours and that would change the entirety of the forecast, but with the throughs coming down that's pretty hard to happen as of now. Rest easy and be positive always having a watchful eye =D
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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.
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The Captain on the White Squall (a gorgeous sailboat on Tortola) told me his favorite "duh" question was from the guy who wanted to know where they towed the islands when a hurricane was coming. Well, If Bill heads that way - they'd best start towing right fast.
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Wow, I had written off Bill based on the north trend and called it a fish storm to my fellow workers. Now the models are trending westward?
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Quoting atmoaggie:

That would be GFDL. GFS would give us a cat 2 with exactly the same data, somehow...it would find a way.

Fixed that
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1935. Patrap
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Quoting alaina1085:


Its not the size of the cyclone, but the power it possesses :)


lmao u go girl
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Quoting szqrn1:


Don't ask a question if you can't handle the truth! :)


haha yeah that was very inappropriate don't worry about that...
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Bill will be a fish storm. Ana will rise again and affect Florida in three days.
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This wont be a fish storm year.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Since we have so many women on now...tell us, what's your opinion of Bill. A large cyclone. Question is, "Does size count when it comes, to tropical cyclones?


Its not the size of the cyclone, but the power it possesses :)
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Quoting TropicTraveler:
Not to worry kmainislander - It's just us respecting the gentleman's fine weather forecasting skills.


Nice !
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1927. szqrn1
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Since we have so many women on now...tell us, what's your opinion of Bill. A large cyclone. Question is, "Does size count when it comes, to tropical cyclones?


Don't ask a question if you can't handle the truth! :)
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Quoting gwhite713:
Red,it reminds me of Floyd in the fall of 1999. I lived in syracuse,ny than and it just poured for days but this storm looks better put together than floyed and i think it could have a very similar path..
Please don't say Floyd, which has some not so good memories for me here in the Bahamas. Hopefully it takes more of an Isobel- like track while in the Bahamas' vicinity.....


Quoting lovesdanger:
very dumb move by the nhc to stop advisories on ana...she will be our worse nightmare this weekend..when are these people going to learn as long as she still exists she is dangerous..katrina all over again..
Not really. Katrina had a very different track and cyclogenesis history. One key difference is that the pre-Katrina wave had never been named anything at all.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
1925. IKE
Quoting all4hurricanes:
GFS takes bill to cat Five
I don't care where you are if there's a cat 5 everyone's watching it


The 18Z GFS also takes it well east of the islands....cat 5 or no cat 5.......

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1924. Ldog74
Quoting reedzone:
The 12Z HWRF has the trough tugging Bill north but not recurving him. Then stops at 126 hours.. Interesting

Link


126 hours.. Bill still moving NW even as so called "monster trough" is on the coastline



Bottoming out at 904 MBs? That would be a disaster waiting to happen. Especially with that NWward component at the end of the run.
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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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