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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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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1923. tc1120
I really hope that trough affects Bill as much as everyone is saying. If Bill stays off the coast it looks like we will have great waves for quite a few days. I'd rather not evacuate, but I still have a lot of doubt that a long island strike is out of question, it almost looks like the curve is only going to help it miss the southeast, but not much curve exists after passing by the OBX. Anyone else notice this?

He's looking real nasty right now, can't wait to see what Bill is going to look like in 2 days.
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Quoting JLPR:
I dont like how you can see the islands in the left =P ... makes me nervous



Yep. And the long tails you see on the satellite pic are beginning to roll over us in the mid Lesser Antilles like gentle windy waves and bands of cloud. And yet Bill is over 900 miles away!.....Lets remember a hurricane is not a dot on a map.
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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

That was one of the scenarios Storm W mentioned in His Synopsis
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 263
Bill has a large vortex (I.K.E.), so it might not take him much effort to upper cut someone.
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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

That would be GFDL. GFS would give us a cat 2 with exactly the same data, somehow...it would find a way.
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1917. JLPR
Quoting Relix:


It's freaky, but don't worry I am quite certain it won't make it over to the islands. I see a 10% chance of that happening. Right now its moving WNW and even if he kept that direction forever he would still be pretty fall from us. Rest easy man, there's nothing coming for us at least a week minimum. =P


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
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12Z NOGAPS .. New England storm

Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
1915. Patrap
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Not to worry kmainislander - It's just us respecting the gentleman's fine weather forecasting skills.
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Think of when there was nothing to watch.
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GFDL takes bill to cat Five
I don't care where you are if there's a cat 5 everyone's watching it
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Quoting lovesdanger:
ok reedzone i respect your opinion might not agree but i will continue to watch ana the only game in town that will be the gulfcoasts nightmare..from texas to tampa needs to keep track of this girl..

Whom is this, really? And how many handles do you have now?
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1908. Relix
Quoting JLPR:
I dont like how you can see the islands in the left =P ... makes me nervous



It's freaky, but don't worry I am quite certain it won't make it over to the islands. I see a 10% chance of that happening. Right now its moving WNW and even if he kept that direction forever he would still be pretty fall from us. Rest easy man, there's nothing coming for us at least a week minimum. =P
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2661
1907. JLPR
Quoting Vortex95:
Ain't as big as this bad boy.



that is just an anomaly =P
although Bill could grow more as he gets stronger =\
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Quoting IMA:
Ladies, for our viewing pleasure, and not off-topic since he's a CNN weather hotty, uhm, I mean hunk, uhm, I mean forecaster...
Reynolds Wolf




There's my only worthwhile contribution for today :) (at least it's not any kind of "casting")

Sorry IMA - I believe you are forecasting.
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I am really tired of the "foxy" photos, guys.
Inappropriate and this is hurricane season.
Please?

Watching Bill closely and grateful for the updates and info.
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I am getting off for now, gotta go into town to get some items..

I updated the site..visit it when you get a chance..

And can't wait for the next model run and advisory on Bill.!
watch ana;s northern part. it isnt over till its over
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Quoting kmanislander:


Time to airbrush my avatar LOL


LOL.
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1901. szqrn1
Quoting louisianaboy444:
NOOOOOOOOOO...are you nuts man...

lol


I thought that to be a bad idea too!
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NOOOOOOOOOO...are you nuts man...

lol
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Quoting IMA:
Ladies, for our viewing pleasure, and not off-topic since he's a CNN weather hotty, uhm, I mean hunk, uhm, I mean forecaster...
Reynolds Wolf




There's my only worthwhile contribution for today :) (at least it's not any kind of "casting")


Time to airbrush my avatar LOL
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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

Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Quoting southbeachdude:


One of the best posts today....

I totally agree.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 7710
Quoting Weather456:
Bill is very large system and will generate a swell that will likely reach the Atlantic coast of the islands. Great surfing weather if he stays far enough.
your right there 456, forecast for melbourne, fl sat and sun is 6-7ft with 5-10 mph offshore to onshore winds.
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1892. JLPR
I dont like how you can see the islands in the left =P ... makes me nervous

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Quoting RitaEvac:
Someone super impose Bill and lay him in the Central Gulf so we can get an idea of what it would look like....
NOOOOOOOOOO...are you nuts man...
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Bill is quite an interesting specimen.
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IMA - thank you, thank you.......,
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Quoting szqrn1:


girl didnt you get enough lightening earlier? LOL! I did felt like it was coming through the office window!
it was pretty rocky out there.. I got back in just in time though before it all hit the fan..too bad there was a newby out on a route for one of her first times by herself...she will probably being running in the other direction after having to deliver in that mess...lol
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Models are starting to come into reality that the "monster trough" may not be as strong and while it will recurve Bill, it won't do a sharp recurve. Just going by what I'm looking at in the latest models and pattern trends. That's why the Northeastern USA needs to closely watch Hurricane Bill. A track like Edouard in 1996 is looking more likely, a swipe to New England, yet no landfall

It is looking like you might get your storm there in New York
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1886. Patrap


Fall 2009 GOES Eclipse Schedules
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Quoting lovesdanger:
reedzone i think you need to look at the surface maps again a monster trough is digging down towards bill and i can tell you bill will be swimming with the fish..this is the strongest trough i seen in quite a while come down here this early..bill is done it may threaten bermuda later in the period but bill is most definitely going out to sea..you need to put all your energy on ana who will be your worst nightmare this weekend.


Models are starting to come into reality that the "monster trough" may not be as strong and while it will recurve Bill, it won't do a sharp recurve. Just going by what I'm looking at in the latest models and pattern trends. That's why the Northeastern USA needs to closely watch Hurricane Bill. A track like Edouard in 1996 is looking more likely, a swipe to New England, yet no landfall.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340


Quoting IMA:
Ladies, for our viewing pleasure, and not off-topic since he's a CNN weather hotty, uhm, I mean hunk, uhm, I mean forecaster...
Reynolds Wolf




There's my only worthwhile contribution for today :) (at least it's not any kind of "casting")

Quoting szqrn1:


:) lol..priceless!


For everything else there's Mastercard

:0)
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Big Bad Bill Ready to Kill
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1882. JLPR
wow Bill is huge!
it covers a whole 10 degrees of latitude =O
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Hey, atmo, quote does not mean modify.
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Quoting AllStar17:
Goes to prove storms usually do not end up in their 5-day position. So, the sharp recurvature is not a sure thing, thus the models have now begun to shift west. If this becomes a trend, then we should start watching even more closely.

Bertha did the curve last year, much as expected. In fact most storms that make hurricane at this stage end up recurving by 55W. I know. I did the research last year because I didn't believe the weakness would be enough.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21595
Quoting louisianaboy444:
What kind of forecaster you are should depend on your knowledge not your looks its ashame that big corporations like that only hire people that look "good" on camera...


Unfortunately thats what the worlds coming too. It is sad.
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The Big Dig - at least for August

Link
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Quoting TropicTraveler:

I was just wishing for equal time for the gals to have something to look at...


+1
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Quoting Category5hitsNewYork:
GUYS COME JOIN US AT WEATHER CHAT!

Too loud in there for me! Let me know if you guys pad the walls with foam, or something.
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Quoting Category5hitsNewYork:
GUYS COME JOIN US AT WEATHER CHAT!


be there in a minute......
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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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