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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456, do you think Bill is going off track a bit? JMO, but I think it is moving a bit south of WNW
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Yup may have some dry air to contend with. That could weaken him some, into a strong TS which could spell bad news for the US.


if he were to weaken considerably and stay that way would be the only real shot of him to stay more westerly...but now that the circulation is so large, i think heed be tugged on anyway...maybe not as much, but still pulled...
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Ana may be pretty much an open wave now... but only a fool would discount this. Think about it, this much tropical energy with convergence and divergence and warm SSTs, TCHP ahead anything can happen... I am expecting Ana to make a comeback within the next 60 hours
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The UKMET track does not look all that far off for the time being. And, the UKMET takes Bill though the Northern Leeward Islands
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Stored up energy released

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Quoting 7544:
ok on anna another 1mb drop thats 4 in the last 2 hours

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.8 /1002.0mb/ 41.0kt
flags are off


where you get that data....NHC doesnt have that... post a link!
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Quoting 7544:
isnt 41k a ts is anna brifly a ts at this hour

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.8 /1002.0mb/ 41.0kt
It's a 45MPH TS.
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Quoting AllStar17:
Dvorak Classifications like Ana for some reason


the first time she got a huge blow up over the central atlantic...all the numbers skyrocketed...and werent accurate...i think bursts of convection and cold cloudtops throw it off...i dont know...has seemed inaccurate to me alot, especially this season so far...
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:
Well Just came back from the GOMEX TS Claudette looked impressive this morning from the sea, but wave action was minimal.


it made landfall at 1210am central time... 12 hours ago
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Hypercane Doomcast Model HWRF 12Z has dropped the hammer down on Bill -- powerful Category 5 naturally with central pressures around 910 mb.



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Quoting KEHCharleston:

Interesting info at Hurricane City Halifax history with tropical systems

I did not realize how often Nova Scotia is under the gun.
- Brushed or hit every 3.94 years
- 1873 Aug 25th 1,000 killed in Nova Scotia 1,200 ships grounded from a hurricane that moved up the eastern seaboard. This system is listed as a brush above because it passed nearly 200 miles to the south.


Yes, thats why i keep posting how people are saying its a "fish" storm, even though its turning right for nova scotia, some seem to forget there is more than us east coast, although i still love reading peoples thoughs :P
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Quoting Vortex95:
456 Bill SHOOTS up as soon as it gets to 50 w on that run.
yeah, it's outer bands are already by 50W, if it does not begin a NW path after it passes 50W the track will change completely.
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Quoting SQUAWK:


Yup may have some dry air to contend with. That could weaken him some, into a strong TS which could spell bad news for the US.
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12Z NOGAPS shifted to the left a bit more.
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Looks like buoy 41041 is in for a fun ride today:

Link

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I am certainly not seeing a NW movement with Bill, it is more WNW or just south of WNW
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707. 7544
isnt 41k a ts is anna brifly a ts at this hour

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.8 /1002.0mb/ 41.0kt
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Quoting 7544:
ok on anna another 1mb drop thats 4 in the last 2 hours

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.8 /1002.0mb/ 41.0kt
flags are off


Something's up seems like. That's a hefty drop for an open wave.
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Can someone give there opinion on what coordinates Bill has currently, thanks.
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Quoting futuremet:
I may be wrong but, Ana's COC seems exposed and is between DR and Puerto Rico according to Vis satellite


if it is, shes def. a goner...and surface observations are so unimpressive...looks like some late afternoon t-storms to me...lol
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Lol thanx Patrap :)
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Dvorak Classifications like Ana for some reason
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Quoting foggymyst:
So..if Ana regenerates, is the thinking she will be a TS?


No....
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Quoting watchingnva:


she hasnt been dead since africa...shes been very much alive in spurts...and even when the nhc dropped her the other day she kept a fairly well defines low level circulation easily visible...but even that now is becoming a problem for her...thats not to say that an open wave wont hit hot water and regenerate in a few days...but at this point in time, show me a visible shot of her low level circulation...please?...or bouys, reports or something showing something at the surface...bc im not seeing...


See now was that so hard? It is suffering and it has off and on since it came off the coast. We are so quick to condemn another persons views on here. If a person feels it might be picking up convection then why is that bothersome to you. If your right then hey "youre right" Feel free to clarify your position and view point before stating the other person is absolutely wrong.... Just like you did to me!
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697. 7544
ok on anna another 1mb drop thats 4 in the last 2 hours

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.8 /1002.0mb/ 41.0kt
flags are off
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:


Hello.
IN the last 2 or so frames I see a sharp movement W. You too?
i see it too
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Quoting Weather456:
Bill needs to hurry up turn NW

yup, approaching the weak trough, might not turn NW today.
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Quoting Weather456:



thanks SW

My update is here

This article is about the 2008 tropical storm. For other stormsTropical Storm Fay was a tropical storm and the sixth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. Fay formed from a vigorous tropical wave on August 15 over the Dominican Republic. It passed over the island of Hispaniola, into the Gulf of Gonâve, across the island of Cuba, and made landfall on the Florida Keys late in the afternoon of August 18 before veering into the Gulf of Mexico. It again made landfall near Naples, Florida, in the early hours of August 19 and progressed northeast through the Florida peninsula, emerging into the Atlantic Ocean near Melbourne on August 20. Extensive flooding took place in parts of Florida as a result of its slow movement. On August 21, it made landfall again near New Smyrna Beach, Florida, moving due west across the Panhandle, crossing Gainesville and Panama City, Florida. As it zigzagged from water to land, it became the first storm in recorded history to make landfall in Florida four times.[1] Thirty-six deaths were blamed on Fay.[2] Eleven tornadoes were spawned within the United States due to Fay. Damage from Fay was heavy, estimated at $560 million.[3]
Hi 456, I would be interested in your opinion of a Fay-like scenario with Ana. If I read correctly, Fay strenghthened over the DR. So is it not out of the question Ana has a possibilty to at least maintain strength as she goes north of Hispaniola?
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I may be wrong but, Ana's COC seems exposed and is between DR and Puerto Rico according to Vis satellite
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Just an FYI - Today is the 40th Anniversary of Camille's landfall in Mississippi...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Camille

Bad storm... We're in the part of the season that breeds these monsters...
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12Z GFS

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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Anna, like OJ, is taking another stab at it.


LOL yes. I think it will reform over the gulf straights/bahamas
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Quoting Sting13:
Hey guys, I posted this earlier but nobody replied, ill ask again.

Some of the models are putting bill really close to nova scotia canada, im on the most eastern tip of NS, http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/12/model_s.shtml
has bill getting ridiculously close to where i live, giving current temps, lets just say its coming right at me, what kind of weakening is possible from the cool waters? Will it drop below hurricane strength that quickly?

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/DATA/RT/sst-atl-loop.html

Interesting info at Hurricane City Halifax history with tropical systems

I did not realize how often Nova Scotia is under the gun.
- Brushed or hit every 3.94 years
- 1873 Aug 25th 1,000 killed in Nova Scotia 1,200 ships grounded from a hurricane that moved up the eastern seaboard. This system is listed as a brush above because it passed nearly 200 miles to the south.
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Well Just came back from the GOMEX TS Claudette looked impressive this morning from the sea, but wave action was minimal.
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Quoting largeeyes:
Can someone who knows what they're talking about answer this question?

Is that V shapped thing pointing down on Bill on the Water Vapor the weakness in the ridge??


Yes, that kind of feature on a WV image is indicative of a trough/weakness.
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Are the models picking up anything new moving off the coast of Africa this week?
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:


Hello.
IN the last 2 or so frames I see a sharp movement W. You too?

I agree, though I have been wrong many times when staring at these things frame by frame. Not a real good way to track movement.
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683. jpsb
Quoting Buhdog:
FOr those who dont have it....a great link to watch all 3 systems at once with tracking points (long loop)

Link

1. you can see cludettes energy not going anywhere

2. Watch ana get it toghether compared to 24hrs ago

3. Bill more westerly than thought
Hey, that is my secret resource! Damn now everyone is going to be as smart as me. lol, /kidding
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Quoting rareaire:


really so the Ana thats been dead since it left africa is really dead and not visible anymore? Its not going to be a concern anymore . You promise?


she hasnt been dead since africa...shes been very much alive in spurts...and even when the nhc dropped her the other day she kept a fairly well defined low level circulation easily visible...but even that now is becoming a problem for her...thats not to say that an open wave wont hit hot water and regenerate in a few days...but at this point in time, show me a visible shot of her low level circulation...please?...or bouys, reports or something showing something at the surface...bc im not seeing it...

and when did i ever say she would no longer be a concern for anyone, or down the road in a few days?....never i believe is the answer to that one ;)
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Quoting Chucktown:


XTRAP is not a model. It is the extrapolated track if Bill continues on its current heading.
No duh. That was my point. If u just follow the XTRP line, u end up in the GOM via the Bahamas and S FLorida. We haven't a storm like that in many years. But it IS possible.

I was just saying I think the scenario w/ the front is more plausible at this point in time.....
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Can someone who knows what they're talking about answer this question?

Is that V shapped thing pointing down on Bill on the Water Vapor the weakness in the ridge??
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Quoting canesrule1:
yup.

MJO prolly peaked in amplitude...and moved out of our domain of interest.


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FOr those who dont have it....a great link to watch all 3 systems at once with tracking points (long loop)

Link

1. you can see cludettes energy not going anywhere

2. Watch ana get it toghether compared to 24hrs ago

3. Bill more westerly than thought
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XTRAP....gets 'em every time.
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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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