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 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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17/1745 UTC 17.6N 67.4W T1.0/2.0 ANA -- Atlantic
17/1745 UTC 14.5N 46.1W T4.5/4.5 BILL -- Atlantic
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Quoting TampaTom:


Remember, those are normalized dollars. If you take the 1926 path and run it over Florida today, that's how much damage that storm would do....

Uhm, well ok.
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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?
5 days out could be a direct hit for Bermuda or a storm that passes by 300 miles away. I think Bermudans are taking the same wait and see attitude as the rest of us.

Quoting BrockBerlin:


To be honest Bermuda, Nova Scotia, and the Lesser Antilles get very little attention, primarily because the majority of this blog is from the U.S. and also Bermuda is a rather small target only a slight deviation could spare it the brunt from Bill.
True. Bermudans also tend to be a bit more pragmantic about these events.

Quoting chrisrw:


Those of us in Bermuda worry about us!
U go dude! I don't suppose people are, like battening up and stuff, are they?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22735
Quoting RyanFSU:
I fixed a link on my webpage to plot all previous Bill forecasts for the HWRF and GFDL. Enjoy.

Link


Love your site.. I use it all of the time. I like the global wind fields gives me perspective.

Thanks for the great link. The one thing I notice right off the bat is how much bigger the wind field has gotten.
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1118. 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.
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I would never hope that a Cat 4 or Cat 5 hit anywhere along the US Coast. I stayed home for both Frances and Jeanne. It wasn't fun. Even at a Cat 2. But if it's gonna hit somewhere, I hope someone else outside of Florida has all the fun and enjoyment.
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1116. Patrap
RGB Image

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Quoting nyhurricaneboy:


Out of interest, is Humberto second for fastest intensification from TD to a hurricane?


I'm looking now. However, it doesn't seem to have broken records.... will advise.
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1114. GatorWX
Link

Ok, img doesn't want to work, here's link.
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1113. GatorWX
Certainly trying to develop an eye:

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1112. Patrap
Hurricane Bill,WV loop
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

In 1900 and 1926 we had no internet and live coverage on tv, also its legit to assume that the buildings had other standards back than. Which added up to the damage reported.


Remember, those are normalized dollars. If you take the 1926 path and run it over Florida today, that's how much damage that storm would do....
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I think we all worry about Bermuda as well. We are just more concerned with the East Coast right now because that is where most of us live. It doesn't mean we don't worry about other islands and countries. The latest trend in the models is now towards the East Coast, perhaps reasoning why we are talking about it more. Bermuda looks to be affected regardless right now.
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i feel we may have a slight west trend in bill's models, no floridians, not enough to give you hope, sorry!
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Quoting Patrap:
ANA

Latest Dvorak Image


So I'm confused as to where HH is flying into. Has Ana dropped down and gaining energy?
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Looks like bill is closing the northerly hole.
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Quoting Bigguy675:
Once Ana and Bill clear out....would the energy they take out of the ocean quiet things down for at least a couple of weeks in the ATL?

Nope. The heat energy is too spread out for a storm or two to reduce it significantly. Also, the GOM is still incredibly warm.
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Quoting hurricanehanna:
Not to mention the K storm, but I feel I need to....Hurricane Katrina was almost nothing while between Haiti and the Bahamas in the AM of Aug 23, 2005. By that afternoon it was TD and less than 48 hours later it became a Cat 1 hitting S. Fla. After hitting the GOM, she went from a Tropical Storm to a Category 3 hurricane in under 24 hours and then topped out as a Cat5...we all know the rest of the story. I don't close my eyes on any TD or wave until it is GONE. I am not a worry wort, a doomcaster, or a wishcaster. Just a person who respects Mother Nature and values life.



Well said!!
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Quoting Grothar:


Hmmm! Are you a West Coaster, may I ask?


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.
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hello wunderground!! how are my fresh smiling faces doing today?!?!
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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 have been reading thru the blogs, and I have seem a few people express concern about Bermuda.
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Quoting AllStar17:
http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af78/AllStar17_RedSox/AnaHH-3.jpg?t=1250534165


Very Nice Graphics. How do you implement them in Google Earth? I could use the info! would be great!
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1095. chrisrw
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?


Those of us in Bermuda worry about us!
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Quoting IKE:
D. 21.5N 75.0W

D. 23.0N 78.0W


Those are approaching SE FL.....
Yep. SW Bahamian waters, to be exact. If Ana was up to anything here, the bulk of the outh-central Bahamas would be getting the worst of it.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22735
Once Ana and Bill clear out....would the energy they take out of the ocean quiet things down for at least a couple of weeks in the ATL?
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Not to mention the K storm, but I feel I need to....Hurricane Katrina was almost nothing while between Haiti and the Bahamas in the AM of Aug 23, 2005. By that afternoon it was TD and less than 48 hours later it became a Cat 1 hitting S. Fla. After hitting the GOM, she went from a Tropical Storm to a Category 3 hurricane in under 24 hours and then topped out as a Cat5...we all know the rest of the story. I don't close my eyes on any TD or wave until it is GONE. I am not a worry wort, a doomcaster, or a wishcaster. Just a person who respects Mother Nature and values life.

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Quoting RyanFSU:
I fixed a link on my webpage to plot all previous Bill forecasts for the HWRF and GFDL. Enjoy.

Link
Quoting RyanFSU:
I fixed a link on my webpage to plot all previous Bill forecasts for the HWRF and GFDL. Enjoy.

Link



that is pretty cool, thanks for the link and thanks to everyone for the great thoughts and info.
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1090. Patrap
Hurricane Bill,Rainbow Loop
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1089. Grothar
Quoting TampaHelpDesk:


My .02 on Ana is that she will soon be downgraded to remmant low, with a chance of starting to spin back up into a depression around the FL Keys if she tracks as forecast. I think that the west coast of FL will get a bunch of rain and not much else. But the gulf is bathwater right now, so you never know.


Hmmm! Are you a West Coaster, may I ask?
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1086. Drakoen
Wunderound supports Viagra ads...

Where is BurnedAfterPosting?
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1085. TopWave
964. HurricaneKyle 6:07 PM GMT on August 17, 2009
HWRF 12z run reminds me in Strength and track of Hurricane Isabel.

_______________________________

I would have to agree. I have been watching the track of Bill for the past several days.
If models continue to trend west. NC to maine needs to pay close attention. Isabel was an annular storm that hit OBX. Isabel wasnt much of a rainmaker but the windfield radius was so vast it caused lot of wind damage from NC to DC. My sisters power was out for 3 weeks in Richmond due to all the pine trees that fell. I dont think VA has ever seen such a storm in recent history.

Lets hope Bill misses the east coast and heads out to sea. I am looking forward to catching some good surf in Kitty Hawk as Bill "hopefully" skirts out to sea.
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Hey guys, if you look at the latest image it does appears that the coc is forming on the north of hispanola, does anybody agree
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1082. 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?
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Quoting Walshy: 3. REMARKS: NOAA WILL BEGIN FLYING 5 RESEARCH MISSIONS
IN A ROW ON HURRICANE BILL AT 18/0800Z WITH THE P-3
AND G-IV. TAKEOFFS WILL BE EVERY 12 HOURS


2:00 AM Tonight...
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1079. IKE
D. 21.5N 75.0W

D. 23.0N 78.0W


Those are approaching SE FL.....
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With Ana rocketing west-northwest at nearly 30mph - to have ACTUAL westerly winds you would have to have storm relative winds what were pretty freaking strong - a much more well developed circulation than the weak, open wave type organization at present...

Not to say they probably won't make this a remnant low at 5PM. This wave and the vorticity with it will be something to watch down the road for sure. If it stays over Hispaniola and Cuba then it wouldn't have a great deal time to get organized. If it only hits Hispaniola and ventures north of Cuba, there is a greater chance for it to get going again!

Just have to watch and see...
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1077. fmbill
Quoting Patrap:
ANA

Latest Dvorak Image



Maybe 2 vortices???
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what is the new data from H.H. says
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1075. Grothar
Quoting TampaTom:
OK, here's what the NHC says for Hurricane Records in the Atlantic:

Highest recorded sustained wind speed:
190 Mph - Allen (1980), Camille (1969)

Lowest recorded barometric pressure:
Wilma (882mb), Gilbert (888mb), 'Labor Day' (892 mb)

Highest number of hurricanes - 15 (2005)

Highest number of retired names - 5 (2005)

Most major hurricanes (cat 3+) - 8 (1950)

Lowest pressure at landfall:
'Labor Day' (892mb), Camille (909 mb), Katrina (920 mb)

Costliest storms, based on 'normalized 2005 dollars' (cost of the storm if it followed its path today over the current population):
Miami (1926) $157 billion, Galveston (1900) $99.4 billion, Katrina $81 billion

Largest storms by gale force diameter:
Danielle (1989) 600 mi, Faith (1966) 528 mi, Gilbert (1988) and Isabel (2003) 500 mi.

Fastest Intensification from a Tropical Storm to a Category 5 Hurricane: 16 hours - 70mph to 155mph - Hurricane Wilma 2005

Maximum pressure drop in 12 hours: 90+mb - Wilma 2005

Maximum pressure drop in 24 hours: 98mb - Wilma 2005 - 1200 UTC October 18 to October 19

Fastest Intensification from a Tropical Depression to a Hurricane: 12 hours - Lorenzo 2007

Fastest Intensification from a Depression to a Category Five Hurricane: 51 Hours - Felix 2007


Seems you covered it all. I may print this for future reference.
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Quoting RyanFSU:
I fixed a link on my webpage to plot all previous Bill forecasts for the HWRF and GFDL. Enjoy.

Link


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