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 Goaskalice:


Thank you, I live in Bermuda and am very concerned.

you should be. I would keep very alert on this one in Bermuda.
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Quoting yonzabam:


How are the NHC "proved" to be right? The UK Met Office track is headed for the east coast. Has that been proved to be wrong, yet? Bill is about 2,000 miles away. This trough has to build, get its timing right and be strong enough to suck Bill up. It may well happen and recurve Bill out to sea, but it seems to me that that's quite a lot of things that have to happen just right. Yet you say it's "proved"?


Apparently Jared lives a few days in our future
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1171. RyanFSU
Thanks all for the nice comments on my website. While GFS isn't the king of models for global forecasting -- ECMWF is -- I think it is useful to look at how consecutive forecasts evolve.

I created some post-season 2008 HWRF animations of the HWRF forecast evolution of Hurricane Ike.

These are pretty cool -- and scary -- for how wrong forecasts can be just 2-3 days after initialization.

Awesome Ike 2008 HWRF "worm" forecast series

And for fun: GFDL Ike "worm"
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1170. Relix
Quoting btwntx08:

w to slightly north of due west


Bah, thank you. Until I don't find an eye keeping track of this is going to be extremely hard. I'll just watch... and since I am bored I'll come with an analysis soon =P.
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Quoting Drakoen:
The should discontinue Ana


All SE and ESE winds where you would expect W winds if Ana was still a cylcone.I gave up calling for declassifiaction from yesterday and have been lurking mostly.

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Quoting BrockBerlin:


Yeah and Hugo was a Cat.4 what's your point?

I thought someone in that said it hit as a cat 5. What's *your* point?
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1166. Patrap
Quoting yonzabam:
I read somewhere that, after New Orleans, Tampa is the second most vulnerable city to catastrophic flooding frome a hurricane.


Every Port in the Atlantic Basin is Prone to a Hurricane,..last I checked all ports were at Sea Level,..and for all those elevation mongers,..elevation dont mean squat when the Surge is 20ft Plus.

So every Port City has a surge damaging potential.
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Quoting 7544:


i know but thats wahat the hh are not seeing so if the adt is wrong for anna then bill is wrong too lol lol i dont get it

what is the HH seeing
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I'm a HUGE worrier....so would it be safe to say that south florida is out of Bill's range? I don't want to wish it on anyone else, but I really don't want it to come here....thanks!
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Quoting yonzabam:
I read somewhere that, after New Orleans, Tampa is the second most vulnerable city to catastrophic flooding frome a hurricane.


TWC Hurricane week had an episode covering this a few days ago. As a Tampa Bay area native, we were always warned of the potential impact of a Cat 3 or above coming on-shore in St. Petersburg with a NE track. The storm surge and flow would essentially flood the bay and turn Pinellas County into a permanent Island. Not to mention the rest of the flooding throughout downtown and north Tampa.
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Quoting Grothar:


I live in Ft. Lauderdale. From what I understand of the Tampa Bay area, you are much more prone to major flooding if a large storm were to spproach. The surge would be catastrophic because of the topography. Am I correct? I hope Ana does not come your way. Not a funny situation at all as some may think!


Pinellas county would be devastated, I'm well inland in Hillsborough county and live in a 2nd floor apartment, so I don't really worry about flooding. This part of FL is relatively flat, and if a hurricane came in just right into the bay it could stack up an impressive storm surge. However the Tampa Bay area tends to steer hurricanes to one side or the other. There's something about a steady "high pressure" area that hangs out and stops large systems from crushing us.

We had a hurricane come up the coast as I'm predicting with ana, and the rain bands never made it to my place... you could watch them stop and dissipate as if they were hitting a invisible brick wall about 12 miles west of where I am. I was mad... I missed a day of work on account of that storm... I think it was fay.
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1160. LBAR
Quoting lawntonlookers:
Not sure if anyone has been following this link on Bill. It is a buoy that is close to the center of Bill.

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=41041

Hah...I was just getting ready to post this! 21.4 ft waves! YIKES!
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Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
1158. chrisrw
Quoting BahaHurican:
U go dude! I don't suppose people are, like battening up and stuff, are they?


Not even thinking about it yet! Maybe Wednesday. Oh, and it's Bermudian, not Bermudan. ;-)
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Quoting yonzabam:
I read somewhere that, after New Orleans, Tampa is the second most vulnerable city to catastrophic flooding frome a hurricane.


for some reason I was thinking new york
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1156. 7544
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 17 AUG 2009 Time : 174500 UTC
Lat : 17:40:52 N Lon : 67:08:45 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.0 /1000.0mb/ 45.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
3.0 3.2 4.0


Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +0.0mb

Center Temp : -62.3C Cloud Region Temp : -61.8C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.7T/6hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF



i know but thats wahat the hh are not seeing so if the adt is wrong for anna then bill is wrong too lol lol i dont get it
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6690
1155. divdog
Quoting floridasusieq:
Can anyone explain why Claudette is hanging off-shore? I'm in the Pensacola area and we've had breezy conditions all morning but little rain. Claudette seems to be retreating south.

just west of you was kind of wondering the same thing. no mention of it in this blog so i'm wondering if it will slowly fizz out ??
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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:

Katrina was a cat 3 at landfall.


Yes I remember
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1153. Relix
Bill is definitely moving WNW or even NW in the visible frames. Or... you know what? I'll shut up, I dont even know where it's moving XD!!!
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I can't understand why Ana would not begin to reorganize once it comes off Hispaniola, especially if it takes the forecasted N/ward track. It's a small enough circulation (sic) so far to pull a Rita and blow up as it heads along the Great Bahamaa Bank up the Old Bahamas Channel. Is there something preventing it from reorganizing itself until it gets to the GOM????
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21484
Quoting GBguy88:
I can't help but notice...Bermuda is directly in the line of fire...does anyone worry about them, or are we all just focused on the East Coast?


Thank you, I live in Bermuda and am very concerned.
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bill is starting to look like a monster!
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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:

Katrina was a cat 3 at landfall.

I'm well aware of that...I only mentioned it went to Cat5
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1106. drg0dOwnCountry 6:42 PM GMT on August 17, 2009
Looks like bill is closing the northerly hole.



Dirtiest sounding post I've seen today.
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Quoting Vortex95:


Actually it is a bit diffrent. The damage in dollars was inflated to todays amount to give a reperentation to us on how much damage was done.


This is the methodology as explained to me at the past Governor's Hurricane Conference this past May in Ft. Lauderdale...

http://forecast.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/shadow/docs/Pielkeetal2006a.pdf
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 17 AUG 2009 Time : 174500 UTC
Lat : 17:40:52 N Lon : 67:08:45 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.0 /1000.0mb/ 45.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
3.0 3.2 4.0


Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +0.0mb

Center Temp : -62.3C Cloud Region Temp : -61.8C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.7T/6hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

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I read somewhere that, after New Orleans, Tampa is the second most vulnerable city to catastrophic flooding frome a hurricane.
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1143. Patrap
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Quoting padirescu:


Ok, purely for entertainment purposes and not a "wishcaster" or "doomcaster", doesn't that animation look like Bill is a long bat / sword rearing back and getting ready to take a swing at S. Fla. :-0

lol or at the entire east coast of the USA actually!
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Quoting yonzabam:


How are the NHC "proved" to be right? The UK Met Office track is headed for the east coast. Has that been proved to be wrong, yet? Bill is about 2,000 miles away. This trough has to build, get its timing right and be strong enough to suck Bill up. It may well happen and recurve Bill out to sea, but it seems to me that that's quite a lot of things that have to happen just right. Yet you say it's "proved"?


Disregard him I think.. i clicked "hide" the second I saw him saying people had prayed for an island hit.
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Quoting btwntx08:

nope still moving a bit north of due west no turn i see yet
I meant the gap or ridge or waht you call it. I can see this here Link i.e. compare earlyer images with the current.
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Quoting saintsfan06:


Well said!!

Katrina was a cat 3 at landfall.
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1137. Grothar
Quoting TampaHelpDesk:


I live in the Tampa Bay area, but I try to call them like I see them. I'm going off what the NHC is currently forecasting for ana. I don't know what the 5-day shear forecast is, but if ana holds together as a remnant low and gets into the gulf, there is plenty of energy in the water to spin her back up a bit before making a US landfall.


I live in Ft. Lauderdale. From what I understand of the Tampa Bay area, you are much more prone to major flooding if a large storm were to spproach. The surge would be catastrophic because of the topography. Am I correct? I hope Ana does not come your way. Not a funny situation at all as some may think!
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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:


oh, that's cool! so it did correct itself left a bit so far... Thanks for that!


Ok, purely for entertainment purposes and not a "wishcaster" or "doomcaster", doesn't that animation look like Bill is a long bat / sword rearing back and getting ready to take a swing at S. Fla. :-0
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Can anyone explain why Claudette is hanging off-shore? I'm in the Pensacola area and we've had breezy conditions all morning but little rain. Claudette seems to be retreating south.
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1134. ssmate
Quoting FLdewey:


LMAO! Awesome.


It's all that freakin schoolin and studyin that those pro's have done which really makes it an unfair playing field.
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1133. Relix
I want someone to tell me... and I 100% understand its pretty far a way and very hard to predict... what's the percentage of a hit in the northern islands, and with this I mean the VI and especially PR?
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Starting to see indications of a small eye forming. The ADT will ramp up once it shows.
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Quoting lawntonlookers:
Not sure if anyone has been following this link on Bill. It is a buoy that is close to the center of Bill.

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=41041

This is the Quikscat from aforementioned buoy.
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1130. Drakoen
The should discontinue Ana
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Quoting Relix:
Where the heck is Bill going? I see it W, but when I compare to the forecast points its almost close to them, maybe a bit south.
Forcast points keep changing and updating
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Quoting jaredturner:
Well,

It appears that the littany of arm-chair wishcasters who predicted (prayed for?) Bill to hit the islands then continue on to Florida have proven again to be...well...stupid. While those "idiots" at the NHC were proven to be...well...right.

Hmmm...clueless bloggers or professionals at the NHC...who to believe...who to believe...


How are the NHC "proved" to be right? The UK Met Office track is headed for the east coast. Has that been proved to be wrong, yet? Bill is about 2,000 miles away. This trough has to build, get its timing right and be strong enough to suck Bill up. It may well happen and recurve Bill out to sea, but it seems to me that that's quite a lot of things that have to happen just right. Yet you say it's "proved"?
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Quoting Patrap:
RGB Image



Finnaly got rid of some of that dry air etrapment... get ready for a real power boost now.
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1125. GatorWX
uuuurrrrrrggggggggggggggg, look at mmic, to those who care. Link doesn't go where I want it to either. Gosh!
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Quoting GBguy88:
I can't help but notice...Bermuda is directly in the line of fire...does anyone worry about them, or are we all just focused on the East Coast?

I'd be extremely worried in Bermuda! Hope it misses them!
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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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