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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573. slavp
Quoting atmoaggie:

Even if it is only a wave, it is a wave in the Gulf in mid August. I will wait until it exits the Gulf before I quit watchin.
I agree 100%
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While I was gone, what has happend?
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Quoting rwdobson:
from the NHC "the center or wave axis of Ana passed over buoy 42060 around 0830z...and if a center existed at that time it was south of the
buoy."

also "The intensity forecast is complicated by the uncertain existence of an actual tropical cyclone"


I love that last line...the models dont even know if they are tracking an actual cyclone or not...
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Geeez. All of these intensity models didn't get the message about Ana, either. They all have an eventual cat 1 Ana. This is for 12 UTC.

(Common for plots from this source not to appear in the blog, so I am going to link and simple URL, here, too. Same plot.

http://euler.atmos.colostate.edu/~vigh/guidance/northatlantic/intensity_early1.png
http://euler.atmos.colostate.edu/~vigh/guidance/northatlantic/intensity_early1.png


And in other model news:

CMC 12Z valid 00Z Aug 22
Link

Takes Bill much further W and S than the previous 00Z integration valid at the same time.
Link

It isn't over until the butterfly stops flapping its wings...
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doomcaster fuel
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Quoting sctonya:
Good afternoon Chuck. Just watched the 12 o'clock news, seems like you guys are still keeping all options open on Bill...Good Job!!


Hey Tonya. Thanks for watching. Yea, we still need to monitor until Bill gets past our latitude. Still have to watch the waves behind Bill. I'm sure there will be a few more storms down the road that will pique our interest.
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7544 they plan og going out to Ana but no sure bet they will go and as was said they could go out so they can finally put the nail in Ana's coffin. More than two different people can't find a closed circulation thats more than a coincident. It shows that Ana has opened back up at least for now.
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Ana will be upgraded when the HH fly oveer there in a few hours. CoC 17.3 66.5 Just south of Ponce PR. Ana is going to pass thought the Mona passge today without not much land interactions. Conditions are marginaly favorable for Ana streaghted into a stronger TS by tomorow afternoon. Florida folks stay tune you may have what you want. Irronicaly.
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565. jpsb
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Not a stupid question; I was asking myself the same thing but I don't beleive there is a historical precedent (I've never seen it happen before once the COC comes onshore). Just interestng that the convection on this one has always remained off-shore and it seems to be just sitting there right now, but, forecast to die out and dissipate later today.
I've tried posting this twice, one more time.

Cluadette's (IMHO) center formed to far north, she was tring to relocate her center further south just did not have time to finish. So again IMHO, that persistant stuff in the gulf is where Cluadette wanted her center to be. It is to close to land now to amount to much but a little shove into the gulf might rekindle it.
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Oh i found Ana's Circluation easy on PR Radar.. Its about 10 miles WSW of Ponce,PR on the southwest side of the island.
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Quoting Vortex95:


Guess were gonna have to wait until the NHC says finito.

Even if it is only a wave, it is a wave in the Gulf in mid August. I will wait until it exits the Gulf before I quit watchin.
Audrey was a wave in the Gulf...in late June 1957(?).
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Well i was right about Bill not going into the gulf. I am still on track about it being a close call for the Carolinas. Yes the models are predicting a sudden turn to the north west and eventual north, but until i see a strong indication of that, I would still put the east coast at threat. I am wondering if that low is going to stall that eventually pushes Bill away from the coast. Thats my reasoning behind the chance of landfall along the eastern seaboard.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Yeah...At a Blues Festival in May; my two passions are weather and music. :)

Cool.. i play a little too. Not good enough by myself but would love to be in a band if I had the time... ok off topic sorry!
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cold front Link
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from the NHC "the center or wave axis of Ana passed over buoy 42060 around 0830z...and if a center existed at that time it was south of the
buoy."

also "The intensity forecast is complicated by the uncertain existence of an actual tropical cyclone"
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Well It looks like I am not here either. But thats ok. I lurk and learn. Thanks to everyone for their insite and knowledge. Have learned alot.
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Quoting FlyinFish:


Where would that be?


oklahoma. that cold front is coming by and its very very nice here!!
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Even if Ana degenerates, there is always the chance it could regenerate as it moves over the Bahamas
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Quoting szqrn1:


Thanks I did not really think that was gonna happen but I have been watching the radar over there.. I am in biloxi area.
BTW... is that you playing the strat in the pic?


Yeah...At a Blues Festival in May; my two passions are weather and music. :)
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Quoting AllStar17:


Well, it is not an open wave, NHC still has it as a Tropical Depression


Read the 11 am discussion. NHC is not certain if it is an open wave or not. They are just calling it a TD to be conservative.
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Quoting Drakoen:


I ran a 15 frame GOES loop on Ana and cannot see a well defined center.


The Hurricane Center has pretty much been saying this for the past 24 hours and they don't expect to find much later when the Hurricane Hunters go out there.

The only reason it is still a storm is because a ship report, south of Puerto Rico, reported a light west wind....

I think advisories will be discontinued at 5pm unless radar shows something better and soon.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 580
552. 7544
if anna was just a open wave the hh would not be going to check her out but the way shes now gaining conv they will be
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Quoting Drakoen:


I ran a 15 frame GOES loop on Ana and cannot see a well defined center.


i think shes falling apart over good ol' PR...
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Quoting MeterologistDewon9:
This is coming from Accuweather, tehey seem to have a diferent approach..

Link
they have it following the UKMET.
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What is the site that shows the t numbers/data? Can't find in my favorites.
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Bill setting up to give the entire east coast waves for a week-starting with long period swell, local wind conditions, start looking for it on Friday afternoon. Could/Should be classic, as long as it makes the turn.
Ana-lots of energy here, including forward speed, ULL to the west, watch out here, a center could develop anywhere, so could have a quick spin-up. But overall environmnet not conducive for a major deal.
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Geeez. All of these intensity models didn't get the message about Ana, either. They all have an eventual cat 1 Ana. This is for 12 UTC.

(Common for plots from this source not to appear in the blog, so I am going to link and simple URL, here, too. Same plot.

http://euler.atmos.colostate.edu/~vigh/guidance/northatlantic/intensity_early1.png
http://euler.atmos.colostate.edu/~vigh/guidance/northatlantic/intensity_early1.png
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Quoting rareaire:
just got really cool here and windy windy windy


Where would that be?
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Quoting HurricaneKyle:
Image as of 15:15 UTC on the Infrared satellite.
A Dry Slot (not dry air intrusion) is to the NW of the eye that is attempting to form. Deep convection around the system, very circular. Looks actually slightly annular besides that Dry slot IMO.




The dry slot has increased in size since this morning and close to penetrating the eye wall.
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Allstar17 I understand the NHC has Ana as a TD but if you look at radar and everything else in real time (meaning right now at this time) currently Ana has opened back up into a (strong) tropical wave and is no longer a TD.
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Quoting AllStar17:


Well, it is not an open wave, NHC still has it as a Tropical Depression


until the hunters go out there...it wouldn't at all surprise me if they canceled the flight at the last min if the current sat/radar presentation doesn't improve some...or they just might go out there to put the proverbial nail in the coffin...who knows...
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Good afternoon Chuck. Just watched the 12 o'clock news, seems like you guys are still keeping all options open on Bill...Good Job!!
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Quoting Drakoen:
I am having a hard time discerning a surface circulation with Ana


If there is one ,it is ill-defined. HH should help when they fly in. If they do find one, it would probably be the one that was SE of PR, that one is likely moving over the island as we speak
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Quoting AllStar17:


Well, it is not an open wave, NHC still has it as a Tropical Depression


Next full advisory at 5 PM from NHC will downgrade further. Just too much land interaction going on.
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BILL looks like finally moving WNW... almost looked like he bounced at the deepest part of his west track. Wonder how long he'll hold this WNW.

I still think he's gonna stay more Westerly then the models are saying right now. (Opinion)
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535. JLPR
Quoting Drakoen:
I am having a hard time discerning a surface circulation with Ana


yep and currently here in PR I got no winds so im not sure Ana is still a TD
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Quoting Vortex95:


possible there is none anymore?


I ran a 15 frame GOES loop on Ana and cannot see a well defined center.
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just got really cool here and windy windy windy
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Quoting DestinJeff:


can you link that please? thanks.


Link
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 4972
This is coming from Accuweather, tehey seem to have a diferent approach..

Link
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Can anyone tell me where the center of circulation for Ana is? From looking at radar it looks to be southwest of San Juan moving slightly north of due west
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Not a stupid question; I was asking myself the same thing but I don't beleive there is a historical precedent (I've never seen it happen before once the COC comes onshore). Just interestng that the convection on this one has always remained off-shore and it seems to be just sitting there right now, but, forecast to die out and dissipate later today.


Thanks I did not really think that was gonna happen but I have been watching the radar over there.. I am in biloxi area.
BTW... is that you playing the strat in the pic?
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Quoting Chucktown:


Looks like an open wave to me - diurnal thunderstorms perculating due to some friction caused by the land interaction - not much left to Ana


Well, it is not an open wave, NHC still has it as a Tropical Depression
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Image as of 15:15 UTC on the Infrared satellite.
A Dry Slot (not dry air intrusion) is to the NW of the eye that is attempting to form. Deep convection around the system, very circular. Looks actually slightly annular besides that Dry slot IMO.

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I am having a hard time discerning a surface circulation with Ana
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im sorry...but if its becoming hard to find a circulation center by radar...thats pretty much telling you that you have a decaying low...ana is on her deathbed...by looking at the current radar loop...either the "circulation center" is over the radar causing a difficult view or shes opening up into just a wave again...ill give here time to get back fully over water again, but im thinking the hunter isnt going to find much...
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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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