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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Quoting MississippiWx:
Visible loops show a spin in the remnants of Claudette as well over the Northern Gulf. Interesting. Certainly not going to rule anything out after how Claudette formed.
I noticed the same thing. Will it reform????
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Quoting CycloneOz:
That trough of low pressure (ex-Ana) is about to enter a "sweet spot" for TC development.

The NHC has better things to do, I guess...than monitor a system that might still have enough energy in 36 hours to reform...

Oh well...


You tell them! Seriously though, you're right. After Claudette forming from what was a cluster of nothing for days previous and of course they kept their little yellow circle around it all that time and then VOILA! It happened...we got Claudette. I certainly don't doubt, for the most part, the NHC competency but it seems funny that after all this time many tend to underestimate the potential for tropical development. This time of year, this area of the Atlantic/Gulf, ANYTHING is possible. Charley, Katrina, Camille, Wilma, Rita, blah, blah, blah. Need I say more?
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Quoting AllStar17:
Ana has dissipated, but it could regenerate in the Bahamas, IMO. Should still be watched.

Bill's track has shifted slightly west, and if the models continue to shift west, the NHC will make larger west shifts in the track. The Leewards and ENTIRE East Coast should watch the progress of Bill. Still going only WNW, and going a little faster.

I am very glad the maps and graphics I made helped out those who did not want to go dig out all of the info.

agree with you 100%
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Quoting tallahasseecyclone:

I don't know why you guys are calling a florida hit doomcasting when the left side of the cone would be a very, very serious event for New England. A small shift west would indicate a potential disaster.


I said New England, Florida will not have any impact, trust me, I'm not a wishcaster. I've been saying this has a possibility of being a Northeast storm, or at least swiping New England like Edouard in 1996.
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Quoting btwntx08:

pr didn't ripped it it just didn't have a coc no more


ana is a she, never had a coc
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1717. hydrus
Quoting Patrap:
It is starting to get that saw blade appearance to it.
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As the storm progresses north, wouldn't the colder waters cause it to lose strength? Is the gulf stream under it enough to keep it at high intensity?
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Ana has dissipated, but it could regenerate in the Bahamas, IMO. Should still be watched.

Bill's track has shifted slightly west, and if the models continue to shift west, the NHC will make larger west shifts in the track. The Leewards and ENTIRE East Coast should watch the progress of Bill. Still going only WNW, and going a little faster.

I am very glad the maps and graphics I made helped out those who did not want to go dig out all of the info.
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made with sumo.fi browser paint.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
j/k on northcasting it but it still hasn't made a turn nw is still yet to be seen

Look at the steering map...The weakness is just to the North of it and it is having an affect on it...its not you having a difference of opinion that bothers me its that whenever someone says something that disagrees with you you call them a ___caster of some sort and call them names people are going to take offense to that


I'm going to start flagging posts that use the term _____caster. It's getting old.
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the track for bill has shifted a little to the west, do not be surprised if we have a totally different ballgame tomorrow morning as far as tracking is concerned
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BILL IS LOOKING TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT AND IS CURRENTLY MOVING JUST NORTH OF DUE WEST. IS THERE A WEAKNESS IN THE RIDGE?
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StormW, How many hours until the high across the Atlantic is supposed to weaken? Or is it starting now? Thank you
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1709. jscs
good night Ana, good night claudette... good night ladies. and may bill find his eye and look far away from touching land. would be nice to have a damage free summer.
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Quoting szqrn1:
Major lightening strikes north of biloxi!


Harrison/Jackson Counties are under a Flash Flood Warning... my house faces north and if I look out the front window it looks black! Out the back it's still fluffy white clouds. Lots of thunder booming though.
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1706. Patrap
Quoting StormW:


Don't think so right now.

Persistence, falling surface pressures just to mention 2.


Heya Chief,,they always say,..beware the Tail of the Hurricane the Next Day..eh?

better add beware the Trof left behing by da Tropical Storm/Gulf Screamer..

Seems a Lil Trof from Claudette has found the sweet spot.

A Kink in da forecast as they might say..LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127681
j/k on northcasting it but it still hasn't made a turn nw is still yet to be seen

Look at the steering map...The weakness is just to the North of it and it is having an affect on it...its not you having a difference of opinion that bothers me its that whenever someone says something that disagrees with you you call them a ___caster of some sort and call them names people are going to take offense to that
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Quoting reedzone:


New England however is not out of the question.. Reminds me of Hurricane Edouard in 1996.

I don't know why you guys are calling a florida hit doomcasting when the left side of the cone would be a very, very serious event for New England. A small shift west would indicate a potential disaster.
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1703. bcn
"A WESTERN ATLANTIC OCEAN MIDDLE LEVEL TO UPPER LEVEL CYCLONIC
CIRCULATION CENTER IS NEAR 25N76W...APPROACHING THE BAHAMA
ISLANDS."

I do not remember any previous NHC report who calls it "midlle level". Moreover, in satelite it appears a few more west, between Claudette, Ana and at the door of GOM.
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negligible effects on ana in the island, wonder where those fabled 45knot barbs in a 100+mi north swath were... 97L was 75 times more powerful.

first surfing fail. bill, please don't fail me
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Visible loops show a spin in the remnants of Claudette as well over the Northern Gulf. Interesting. Certainly not going to rule anything out after how Claudette formed.
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Quoting StormW:


??


Sorry StormW, I meant the western shift in Bill that a few are "predicting"? Nonsense.
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1699. Walshy
Quoting kw21692:

Hey I live in TN and would love a good snow. If El Nino hangs around could we get it?



Yes. I live in NC, more moisture just needs to catch the cold air. Should bring more moisture but air temp could be a problem at times.
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1698. jpsb
Poor Anna, PR riped her in two. RIP Anna, you got dealt a losy hand but you played it well.
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Quoting StormW:


Go figure! LOL!


I think you and I nailed the track.. Good job as always StormW!
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1695. slavp
Quoting TampaSpin:


Not sure what your LMAO about...Just call them as i see them.....
Wasn't being sarcastic or anything, just trying to lighten my mood if I had to think about TWO systems in the GOM...
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1693. SaoFeng


Looks like an eye is trying to form
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Quoting IKE:
REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT
INDICATE THAT ANA NO LONGER HAS A CLOSED WIND CIRCULATION AND HAS
DEGENERATED INTO A TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE.


It hasn't had a circulation for at least the last 24 hours....

I guess the 5 day map on Bill should put an end to ANY talk of it...going into the Caribbean or hitting Florida...


New England however is not out of the question.. Reminds me of Hurricane Edouard in 1996.
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1691. kw21692
Quoting WxLogic:
\

Indeed... and won't be surprised if that happens.

Now, thing could get interesting Winter weather wise if El Nino hangs on... in our southern states.

Hey I live in TN and would love a good snow. If El Nino hangs around could we get it?
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Looks like hot towers in the eyewall of Bill.. might be mistaken.

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Quoting louisianaboy444:
nope btw northcasting it already its still going west or slight north of due west imo

Admin! please this guy is killing me


LOL
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1686. jpsb
Quoting StormW:


Go figure! LOL!
Sure looks like a lot of stuff is going on in the Gulf of Mexico. Think something might spin up there? If so what would be a precurur? A persistent blob of convection? thanks.
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Quoting NEwxguy:
Don't see enough in the shift to the west to worry too much here in new england,just keep a watchful eye,especially down toward the Cape.


I will always continue to watch Bill. I know the uncertainty of hurricane forecasting, but it alarms me when someone of Dr. Masters stature when he says he is concerned for Cape Cod and Maine. Bill has strengthened in pressure, just not in the winds. His pressure dropped 8mb since the last advisory.
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Quoting Patrap:


Looks like an eye is finally trying to build
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1683. szqrn1
Major lightening strikes north of biloxi!
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1682. Patrap
Quoting Nolehead:
dang patrap...another shocker??

is Aug,Sept..

Some been saying for a spell,watch close in,this Aug and Sept,just ask the folks in Coral Gables about Claudettes Tornado yesterday
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127681
Quoting WxLogic:
At least I'm glad the track shifted a bit further west... as this would benefit Bermuda so it won't take the full direct force of Bill.


There may be problems with that track. May be too far west.

I expect a shift back to the east in the track in about 48-60 hours.
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I think we'll see an early end to the season.
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Quoting StormW:


Go figure! LOL!


I know you're not buying in to that.....lol
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Patrap.....does it look to you like it's tryin to "spin up" again?
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nope btw northcasting it already its still going west or slight north of due west imo

Admin! please this guy is killing me
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Quoting slavp:
Just full of cheerfulness today huh Tampa? LOL In your update you mention BOC, Now this? LMAO :)


Not sure what your LMAO about...Just call them as i see them.....
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1674. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127681

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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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