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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1474. NEwxguy
Its always a plus when the Dr. joins us,much appreciated
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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.
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....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22561
Quoting kmanislander:


I second that.

Indeed.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Bill has grown bigger too!

go here and hit "Rock" on the frame bar at the bottom..


http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/flash-rgb.html
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/flash-rgb.html
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
Bill's size seems to be increasing in the last few satellite loops.
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Quoting kmanislander:


I second that.

Absolutely agree. Thank you for joining Dr Masters.
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Quoting Floodman:


Nada, bro...like everyone lese in our industry, I'm here, looking for funny stuff...LOL

Hey, our buddy JFV is back, did you see?


Yes he is under a new name same person lol
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last night i told you guys stop poking him with a stick now he's pissed cuz the nhc is gonna drop things into to him
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Quoting Walshy:



I had a pic on here, but I removed it and so it left it blank. hahaha I think it looks cool now. I will probably add a pic of Bill there when it gets cat4 or 5.


I dig it! Leave it, heh heh.
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1465. wally12
this blog has been quite responsible and informative
so far today ..
a nice change from lately..
(back to lurk mode) ((-:
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Quoting Patrap:
I would hope everyone appreciates Dr. Masters joining the discussion here this afternoon,and give his Blog the appropriate respect as well.


I second that.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15846
Quoting rareaire:
Whats up Flood?


Nada, bro...like everyone lese in our industry, I'm here, looking for funny stuff...LOL

Hey, our buddy JFV is back, did you see?
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Thanks Jeff for joining the blog. Wish you'd do it more aften. You're the man.
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1461. Walshy
Quoting StormSurgeon:


Walshy, just curious, is your avatar intentional or are you pulling a pic from the Navy site?



I had a pic on here, but I removed it and so it left it blank. hahaha I think it looks cool now. I will probably add a pic of Bill there when it gets cat4 or 5.
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u can sorta see the pinhole eye:



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I like how there is no "dislike" (-) button for Dr.M's posts..

LOL
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/catl/loop-wv.html


someone explain to me what happened to weakness at 50W???
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1457. unf97
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
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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 for this update, Dr. Masters.
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Quoting CaneWarning:
Pinhole eye alert!


Oh no! not one of those....LOL
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Quoting Dakster:


Agreed. It is possible.. However, I would not be evacuating the East Coast just yet.


oh, of course not, neither would i, but as i stated previously, it is something to watcha wfully closely.
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Bill's track toward the N and W is largely governed by uncertainly in the position and strength of the approaching east coast trof. Here's a 5 day ensemble from CMC on the heights of the 582 HPa surface, with 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.
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1452. Patrap
I would hope everyone appreciates Dr. Masters joining the discussion here this afternoon,and give his Blog the appropriate respect as well.
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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


Thankfully this one might not even effect land.
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Looks like Bill is even north of where the prediction point would put him, so why are the models starting to push him further west?
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Quoting StadiumEffect:


Some areas had 13 feet! Look at Pedro Castle...the fact that the parking lot was ripped up and huge coral heads were up there is amazing. We didn't get any in Boltin's Ave, in West Bay. I was hearing people say they are happy to live in that area because we don't get surge there even though we're close to the sea, but I guarantee that if Ivan had come from a different direction it would have been a different story.
Well, Ivan came from the SE which is where I am in East End and yes water came up but didn't stay. I lived right across from the EE Cemetery which I am sure you know is right across the street from the sea and NO water in the house. Some in the back yard but that is lower than the front so that didn't surprise me.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8420
1448. Walshy
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



Interesting!
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Quoting Walshy:
thanks doc


Walshy, just curious, is your avatar intentional or are you pulling a pic from the Navy site?
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Whats up Flood?
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Quoting DaytonaBeachWatcher:

I see it, he is a big red X.... lmao


Yeah, I thought it was a just a clever avatar; Walshy, is your avatar x-rated or something? LOL
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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
Hello, Jeff do you think there is any chance of Bill being a threat here in Florida in the long run?
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Quoting foggymyst:
I have a possible dumb question.. in the WU image for Ana, 2pm model...in the info box it states the hours and mph.. now..IF I AM reading this correct (which most likely I am not) says that Ana in 48 hours will have possible 58mph winds?? plz help.. thanks..

You might be looking the SHIPS intensity forecast. All of the other ones are here:


Same plot: http://euler.atmos.colostate.edu/~vigh/guidance/northatlantic/intensity_early1.png
(You might have to manually copy the link into a new tab)

Our intensity models are not-so skillful...especially with a system hanging on for dear life. Ana, or Ana's leftovers will surely be watched closely. Could dissipate and be nothing at all...could potentially spin up into a cat 1. Anyone tells you they definitively know which, they need to be applying for a NHC job.
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Pinhole eh, you say Dr.M?....
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Here comes the eye!

my GOD !!! it has a pinhole thank good i wont get into the gulf
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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 even a TD classification looked in doubt.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15846
1439. Dakster
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...


Agreed. It is possible.. However, I would not be evacuating the East Coast just yet.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10567

Bill has formed a symmetrical core and outflow is PERFECT in all quadrants just as he enters 28+ degree SST’s. This is without a doubt a case for rapid intensification. He could see a pressure drop of 50+mb’s over night. I expect him by 9am to be CAT 3 with 120mph sustained and a pressure of 927mb’s….The track is GOOD and should be maintained. Only Bermuda, extreme N West Atlantic should have to worry. Tonight is the night for storm watching Bill is about to go BALISTIC!
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Wow, Dr. Masters stole Taz's pinhole eye quote.
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Ana concerns me though. I will feel better when she hasn't put on any convective bursts for a full 24 hours. See too many storms close to death, get into favorable conditions and spring back to life.
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Here comes the eye!
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Pinhole eye alert!
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Quoting foggymyst:
I have a possible dumb question.. in the WU image for Ana, 2pm model...in the info box it states the hours and mph.. now..IF I AM reading this correct (which most likely I am not) says that Ana in 48 hours will have possible 58mph winds?? plz help.. thanks..


That is based on SHIPS model intensity. It is just a model and therefore one possible solution.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Huh ??. Almost half of Grand Cayman was underwater during Ivan, including my living room that had 5 feet of salt water in it.
Quoting TampaSpin:
Wonder why the Navy sites graphics are down...been that way for 2-3 days now.
They are back up. They apparently had computer problems.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8420
1430. GBguy88
Quoting 69Viking:


Good point to remind everyone of DestinJeff! Enjoy the rain this morning? Claudette didn't whip up much for winds in the FWB area.


That's odd, we were parked a few miles east, maybe 8 or 10 miles east of Destin, and we got whipped around pretty good. Felt like someone on either side of the car rocking it back and forth. Had a friend with a handheld anemometer and we were getting sustained winds between 50-55 and even had a gust to 71.
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1429. Walshy
thanks doc
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seem like ana will never die so what are the chances she goes west of fld by the looks of the tracking maps the swings out to the alantic and then uses the gulf stream for fuel
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Quoting Patrap:



Thnax for the clarification on that KMan..

I wasnt going near it..LOL
I was about to say this why I appreciate the graphics archive that NHC has for each storm. It allows me to see whether each of the new centre points are actually within the cone or not.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22561
1426. JeffMasters (Admin)
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
Quoting midgulfmom:
I've heard over the years "mets" say a storm will slow before it changes direction/turns, should we expect that from Bill and be anticipating a decrease in forward motion soon? Just asking. Thanks


You would be correct in assuming a change in forward motion; that much storm has a pretty long wheelbase and needs some room to turn and can't turn very drastically at higher speed...
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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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