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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Well I was right, and the models are beginning to see my point of view form yesterday. This can still be a Northeast threat.
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Quoting JeffMasters:
The Hurricane Hunter aircraft in Ana could not find any west winds, so it is likely NHC will drop Ana as a tropical cyclone in the 5pm advisory.

Bill is looking interesting, it might be forming a tiny pinhole eye like Wilma had. Of course, the SSTs are far cooler under Bill, so it won't get as intense as Wilma did.

Jeff Masters


Thank-you!
As a New Englander, I am watching closely
and am very grateful for good information.
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Wiki of the hurricane season 2009
Hurricane BILL
Late on August 12, a strong tropical wave associated with an area of low pressure moved off of the African coast with deep layers of moisture observed.[12] Later that day, the wave became better organized with a low level circulation forming, but without any significant convection. That night, the area of convection became more concentrated, but wind shear increased since the previous advisory. On August 14, the disturbance strengthened more and its convective bands became stronger with better circulation, indicating that the disturbance would soon become a tropical depression. It eventually did, thus the NHC upgraded it into a tropical depression. Later, on August 15, even though some of its deep convection dissipated, it was officially named Bill, the second named storm of the 2009 season. Early on August 17, an eye appeared on visible and infrared loops. Therefore the NHC upgraded Bill to a Category 1 hurricane.

Current storm information

As of 11 a.m. AST (1500 UTC) August 17, Hurricane Bill is located within 30 nautical miles of 14.1N 45.2W, about 1080 mi (1735 km) east of the Lesser Antilles. Maximum sustained winds are 80 knots (90 mph, 150 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 977 mbar (hPa; 28.85 InHg), and the system is moving west-northwest at 14 kt (16 mph, 26 km/h). Hurricane force winds extend up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center of Bill, and tropical storm force winds up to 145 miles (230 km) from the center.

Wikipedia hurricane Season 2009
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


A trough, or atmospheric weakness, will recurve a storm regardless of it intensity.

But a deeper (stronger) storm will usually be turned a little earlier due to the stronger winds at higher levels and the fact that troughs are infrequently perfectly stacked at all vertical levels. Usually the trough at higher levels is ahead of the same at mid levels.
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Quoting pottery:
Kman, Question.
The 700-850 mb winds are showing WSW in front of Bill. Why the WNW to NW forecast?


weakness that was supposed to pull bill towards the nw at 50W is not as evident anymore it seems ridge is stronger than though and has built back in. Expect a westward trend with models over the next 12-24 hours
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Quoting canesrule1:
u can sorta see the pinhole eye:





This is a que for Patrap to post his hot towers video.
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Quoting rareaire:
Yep flood Presslord called his avatar "Goober Beefcake" Im still hurting from that one!!

It seems Bill is confusing folks on here. I have sent the cold front down to you guys as fast as I could but its just now leaving and its not flying!!



Any drop in temp here is greatly appreciated; I'll let Mrs. Floodman know you were thinking of us!

Goober Beefcake? LOL...I like Press...
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While it is obvious former Ana is now just an open wave, I still believe it could regenerate into a tropical cyclone once it reaches the gulf. If Claudette could form from a cluster of thunderstorms when no one except the CMC thought it would, then Ana could surely regenerate. I for one will keep an eye on her.
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1516. yamil20
i think the models are trending west because they are seeing a stronger Bermuda ridge. this is the steering layer for Layer : 400-850 hPa
TC MSLP : 970-989 hPa, just click the 3 /3- and see the difference. What do everyone think about this.
Link
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Quoting atmoaggie:
I was just about to say that it has been nice how the blog today has pretty well focused on the tropics, rather than any individuals present or not present, as a primary topic of conversation.

If you don't feed a feral cat anything, it moves.


Greetings, everyone,

After lurking for a year or more, thought it was time to introduce myself. I'm a grandma in Silver Spring, MD, and work as a disaster reservist and I'm a member of our County CERT team (though not as active as late, which I need to change). I really like this blog as it greatly informs my disaster assistance activities... plus if his path changes...well, hello, Big Bad Bill...

I may be a bit slower than some of you youngsters, but I'm not stupid. I haven't learned how to properly use the "quote" device yet...but I want you to know that I have definitely studied up on the IGNORE button and as my second act on this blog (the first being posting), I may use it...though I am afraid I would miss ROTFLMAO.

Take care and stay safe!
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


Oh no! not one of those....LOL


I wish Taz were here to enjoy the pinhole eye comment!
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This is what's steering bill right now:


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1512. Engine2
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:
I would hate to say that I enjoy seeing a hurricane come up here. Why because of the damage it would cause and harm for so many people. However the only excitement I would get is the scientific rarity of having a New England hurricane making landfall. Historically speaking storms of this magnitude are unimaginable. Hurricane Bill reminds me of a larger Edouard of 1996. He was a strong category four storm to the north of the Leeward Islands. He was coming up the coast and then took a hard right hand turn out to sea passing just 90 miles to the SE of Nantucket, MA. Bill is undergoing that intensification period forecasted by the SHIPS model. Now if he became strong enough, I wonder if he could create his own dynamics and environment, or he would succumb to the northerly track the Coriollis effect would cause?


Jeeze thanks
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lurker from Pensacola here, was wondering if anyone had a clue what the remnants of Caudette were doing, looking at the radar it seems like the storm is backtracking and the moisture doesn't want to get onto land....any ideas? or are my eyes playing tricks on me. TIA
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Quoting Chicklit:
Regarding track and intensity: Is a stronger storm less likely to turn north? Is Bill turning north as scheduled?


Stronger storms usually track on a more northerly course, and are steered by diffent steering layers. They are more susseptible to weakneses in the ridge also. Weaker storms track on a more westerly course. Bill appears to be north of the forecast points, which may suggest that a more northerly component has been induced earlier than anticipated, or this may just be a wobble. Expect to see Bill wobble many times as it strengthens, particularly when/ if it reaches major hurricane status.
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I would hate to say that I enjoy seeing a hurricane come up here. Why because of the damage it would cause and harm for so many people. However the only excitement I would get is the scientific rarity of having a New England hurricane making landfall. Historically speaking storms of this magnitude are unimaginable. Hurricane Bill reminds me of a larger Edouard of 1996. He was a strong category four storm to the north of the Leeward Islands. He was coming up the coast and then took a hard right hand turn out to sea passing just 90 miles to the SE of Nantucket, MA. Bill is undergoing that intensification period forecasted by the SHIPS model. Now if he became strong enough, I wonder if he could create his own dynamics and environment, or he would succumb to the northerly track the Coriollis effect would cause?
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1508. Walshy
Dr.Masters even fixed the grammar mistakes he had in the title just for us.

Those Monday mornings!

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What are the odds the Blob left in the GOM by Claudette form another surface low? They seem to be persistent considering being separated from the low. Any thoughts?
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FAY 2008: 8/15/08 FAY formed as a TS at 18.5N 65.4N.
ANA's remains are in those same waters right now.
Rain started here in East Central Florida on 8/19 and by the 8/21 or 8/22 we'd had 21 inches.
Just reminiscing about this week last year.
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Quoting kmanislander:


I second that.


Agreed
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1502. pottery
Kman, Question.
The 700-850 mb winds are showing WSW in front of Bill. Why the WNW to NW forecast?
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1501. Patrap
GOES-12 Low Cloud Product,Hurricane Bill
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Bill is increasing it's size trying to filter the dry air, it is not moving NW

It is starting to slow down which is a key indicator that something is toying with it like the trough for example...it i sslowly starting to feel the affects and should start turning in the next few hours
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Quoting Chicklit:
Regarding track and intensity: Is a stronger storm less likely to turn north? Is Bill turning north as scheduled?


A trough, or atmospheric weakness, will recurve a storm regardless of it intensity.
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Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill...
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1497. jpsb
Quoting WeatherStudent:
a Major Hurricane that strong would tend to me more likely to develop a massive high aloft and continue in the same direction rather than be affected by a weak area and think we should wait to see how strong Bill becomes as... until he does, his own steering dynamics can't be totally figured in to the picture...
Yes, that is very true, also models being feed only satelite data will cause errors too. BTW weren't you calling for a fish these last few days?
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Like I said earlier, the NHC seemed to have decided to err on the side of caution for the time being with Ana. Guess they didn't want to leave the islands vulnerable just in case something blew up again. I'm not sure this is the "end" of Ana, though, and I have a feeling NHC doesn't think so either. Next discussion will be interesting..... for the many hedged bets that will be put forward....


I can certainly understand why they would not declassify Ana just East of the Islands in the absence of definitive data and risk lulling people into a false sense of security only to have it possibly blow up overnight. I wasn't being critical, just commenting that overall Ana appeared to lack the essential characteristics of a tropical cyclone long before this afternoon.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
Quoting Patrap:
I would hope everyone appreciates Dr. Masters joining the discussion here this afternoon,and give his Blog the appropriate respect as well.
Highly appreciated and thankful for his informative insight.
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1494. NEwxguy
Quoting WPBHurricane05:
Boy...lookin at the models for Bill, Bastardi might get his New England storm.


lol,why what does he say
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1493. Grothar
Quoting Patrap:
I would hope everyone appreciates Dr. Masters joining the discussion here this afternoon,and give his Blog the appropriate respect as well.


One must respect oneself before they can respect others! We all know of whom we speak. Very nice of you to thank Dr. Masters Patrap. We all enjoy this blog.
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Quoting Progster:
Bill's track toward the N and W is largely governed by uncertainly in the position and stength of the appraching east coast trof. Here's a 5 day ensemble from CMC on the heights of the 582 HPa surface, whith Bill encircled by a 582 HPa contour offshore.

Link

Each ensemble member has its own color-coded height contour.

You can see, in general, that the slower and weaker the upper trof, the more Bill tends to the west and south. Faster and sharper trofs take Bill further N and East.

All in all, the forecast of Bills position and track depends significantly on the eventual characteristics and behavior of the east coast trof..and as you can see there is a fair degree of uncertainty remaining, 5 days away.

Thanks Progster. It's not going to happen that quickly, is it...Anyway, great to see Doc Masters sitting in this afternoon and putting the Ana worries to rest.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11348
Kman quick question what do you think of bills much anticipated turn away from the U.S. east coast? Thank you in advance for your input
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Bill is increasing it's size trying to filter the dry air, it is not moving NW.
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1489. Patrap

GOES-12 Atmospheric Imagery

These images are primarily for use in tropical storm monitoring. There are several areas to choose from providing a large-scale view of the Atlantic, down to the Gulf of Mexico. During hurricane season, the hurricanes page provides a variety of GOES atmospheric products to help monitor the active storms.
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Can't wait for tomorrow when the HH fly into Bill at or around 2pm EDT.
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Boy...lookin at the models for Bill, Bastardi might get his New England storm.
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Quoting Chicklit:
Regarding track and intensity: Is a stronger storm less likely to turn north? Is Bill turning north as scheduled?

A stronger storm is more likely to turn north due to the Coriolis Effect.
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1484. hahaguy
Quoting kmanislander:
There you have from Dr. M

I was just going to post that the HH was only finding E winds where you would expect to find N or NW winds. Truth is Ana probably ceased to be a cyclone quite some time ago and from yesterday there were times when a even a TD classification looked in doubt.


Ya I agree with ya, I was surprised yesterday that they kept it as a TD since it looked pretty bad.
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Quoting weathersp:
I like how there is no "dislike" (-) button for Dr.M's posts..

LOL


There is !!!
It's at the very, very top of the page, to the right of your name.
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Yep flood Presslord called his avatar "Goober Beefcake" Im still hurting from that one!!

It seems Bill is confusing folks on here. I have sent the cold front down to you guys as fast as I could but its just now leaving and its not flying!!

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1481. Dakster
Dr. Masters - Like Patrap said, I am greatful that you are joining in the discusiion on YOUR blog and keeping us informed with what is going on. Your thoughful insight and at times inside information is nice to read about.

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The only thing saving us from Wilma levels is the lack of depth of warm waters. Water temps are below the threshold that brought Wilma to record levels of intensity. I would agree with Dr. Masters after watching the latest satellite imagery. Will be interesting to see if the 12z HWRF is right after all. Dr. Masters do you think that if the HWRF is right in the track that we could see a category five storm from Bill?
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Regarding track and intensity: Is a stronger storm less likely to turn north? Is Bill turning north as scheduled?
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11348
1478. unf97
Thank You Dr. Masters for the update regarding the Hurricane Hunters invest on the remnants of Ana. I appreciate you being on here today.
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Quoting wally12:
this blog has been quite responsible and informative
so far today ..
a nice change from lately..
(back to lurk mode) ((-:


I simply make good use of the like/dislike buttons and the reporting button... the blog always stays focused on the storms for me. Although, there are a lot of hidden posts :)
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HH finding some lower pressure readings for Ana a bit farther south.

17.317N 68.200W
992.8 mb(~ 29.32 inHg)
163 meters(~ 535 feet)
1011.4 mb(~ 29.87 inHg)

Still no west winds yet.

They're heading back to the east again.

For those who wanna follow the fun.

Link
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It looks like Bill is starting to slow i think it is very close are starting to make the Northern turn...it is clearly starting to feel the affects of the trough
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1474. NEwxguy
Its always a plus when the Dr. joins us,much appreciated
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.