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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Lucario, Are you serious?LOL---- Hey Gulf Coast residents you better start packing now!! Good grief! LMAO
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Quoting P451:
Bill, 12Z



That has became a LOT better organized since last night.
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Quoting LUCARIO:
Ana will come back to life(REMEMBER Katrina) Ana is going to feed danny and Danny will be the next Katrina. Be very worried.

Bill will miss that weakness, his misson is to be a gulf of mexico storm. He will blow up in the gulf making Ike, Wilma and Rita look like tiny little waves.


you must be slow.

show me something that gives your "wishcast" any clout...
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All good here in NOLA for the next 3-5 weeks per our local Mets(WWWL). Ana gone for good(per NHC) and Bill of course will only effect the North East if that.
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4119. MahFL
Bill is NOT going West, the eye wobbles, motion is WNW or maybe a slight bit more North than that even.
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4118. WxLogic
Quoting DestinJeff:
Help me out ... please ... is the weakness indicated here currently off the coast of NC?




Here's what's happening:

The weakness is actually to the NNE of Bill. Yes, near the E US coast there's a weakness too, but you'll notice that the DLM High to the NW of Bill is actually blocking its due W progress... you'll notice it extends SW in front of Bill. As you can see Bill can't actually go underneath it, so what is doing is basically "pushing" or in a way "squashing" the DLM high towards the E US coast as it tries to go up the weakness to its NNE or basically around the E periphery of the DLM High which typically doesn't work quite that way... so you'll basically see the DLM High getting weakened some and sliding on top of Bill before the trough in the C CONUS picks Bill up and away.

Hope that helps...
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
4117. jpsb
Quoting DestinJeff:
Help me out ... please ... is the weakness indicated here currently off the coast of NC?


No the weakness is behind Bill and above Bill. It is forecast to grow and erode the high just above bill. And it looks like it is doing exactly that. I am not longer worried about Bill.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Help me out ... please ... is the weakness indicated here currently off the coast of NC?




I think the weakness is that dip between the two highs. And it looks like Bill's already past it?
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Quoting P451:


And, the others I quoted that came from Atlantic Hurricanes that became major extratropical systems that hit England?

Just admit you're wrong to dismiss the potential for Bill to affect Bermuda, the Canadian Maritimes, and even England as a major extra-tropical system.

History shows it happens. It will happen again. Bill is a candidate.

If you can't except historical fact I can't help you.


I live in Scotland and I'm 57 years old. I know about weather here. I watch these systems come over and if it's a slow day for news, the press will latch on to them and exaggerate them. They very rarely cause any damage.
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4113. LUCARIO
Quoting BayouBorn1965:
Our local weather scientists tell us that tropical waves will continue to move on until they hit land. Keeping a close eye on Ana as she approaches the Gulf of Mexico.


I will agree, I think Ana will be a monster, Bill is just keeping us all blind to her power.

Ana gives me chills
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Bill moving Westward in the last several hours, should continue WNW movement soon. Hey, and when does Recon go to Bill today?
Quoting LUCARIO:
Ana will come back to life(REMEMBER Katrina) Ana is going to feed danny and Danny will be the next Katrina. Be very worried.

Bill will miss that weakness, his misson is to be a gulf of mexico storm. He will blow up in the gulf making Ike, Wilma and Rita look like tiny little waves.
Wow...lol
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Quoting fmbill:


Good morning all.

Hey Tampa...I noticed the 12z models for the BAM set show a sharp turn to the right at the end of the forecast. Are there any indications that Bill will do some sort of loop as part of that turn?

TIA





Honestly i looked at the Water Vapor of the trough that is suppose to pick up Bill and its very far North in Canada and better start diving South soon. The problem i see is the darn High that is in the GOM has moved North some which i don't think was expected....SO wow i just don't know yet if Bill makes that turn to the complete North.
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4109. VARob
Quoting LUCARIO:
Ana will come back to life(REMEMBER Katrina) Ana is going to feed danny and Danny will be the next Katrina. Be very worried.

Bill will miss that weakness, his misson is to be a gulf of mexico storm. He will blow up in the gulf making Ike, Wilma and Rita look like tiny little waves.


LOL...Unbelievable!
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Help me out ... please ... is the weakness indicated here currently off the coast of NC?



yes.

and also along 50W. you can see the break clearly. that is the one that that turned it wnw and will help turn it more nw.
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Our local weather scientists tell us that tropical waves will continue to move on until they hit land. Keeping a close eye on Ana as she approaches the Gulf of Mexico.
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Quoting Chucktown:


already beginning - big turn to the north not until Thursday or Friday


Thanks. I hope it all pans out as planned.
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The ECMWF and the GFS as well was the CMC where all forcasting another system to form out by the Cape Verdes.
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4102. IKE
Quoting sporteguy03:
Ike ECMWF?? Did you see it? Another system headed for Antilles in a week.


I saw it...looks like another trough heads into the SE USA....turning it...Link
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THIS IS THE 11AM EDT ADVISORY ON HURRICANE BILL BROUGHT TO YOU BY TROPICALATLANTIC.COM

Storm information valid as of: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 12:00 Z
Coordinates: 15.6N 50.3W (View Map or View Storm Centered Satellite Image)
Location: 647 miles (1041 km) to the ENE (74°) from Bridgetown, Barbados
Distance Calculator: How far away is this storm from me?
Pressure (MSLP): 963 mb (28.44 inHg | 963 hPa)
Sustained wind speed (1 min. avg.): 90 knots (104 mph | 46 m/s)
Quoting alaina1085:
Morning everyone!

Bill sure is lookin purty. LOL..

So when is this "turn" supposed to take place?


already beginning - big turn to the north not until Thursday or Friday
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Quoting P451:
Seems to be moving WNW to me. The eye is a little ragged at the moment on IR but the storm is not wobbling the eye is wobbling within the storm. The storm itself is on a steady WNW motion it would seem.



Your eyes do not deceive you. NHC has a good handle on Bill.
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4096. WxLogic
Quoting AllStar17:
I see the NOAA Jet flew this morning, and the models basically stayed the same.



Those readings won't be in until 12Z or 18Z runs...
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5038
When will Recon fly out to Bill again?
4094. fmbill
Quoting caneluver:
After Bill it looks as smooth sailing for a few days as the models dont deveolpe anything in the next 7 days. Slow period after a brief flare up in the tropics. Hope the remainder of season is real slow.


Really? Link
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Quoting jpsb:
Thank you thank you thank you. Now I completely understand the forecast!


Lol. Bless his heart it took me hours. He was very patient tho. :)
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Morning everyone!

Bill sure is lookin purty. LOL..

So when is this "turn" supposed to take place?
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Good morning!

One question. Has any hurricane skipped that famous trough or high pressure before?

I don't like this storm and with Andrew's anniversary around the corner it's not helping..I know plenty of times the NHC and the models have been wrong before.

Thank you.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Has the yellow circle been noted:




yes about 1,000 times or so
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Remember, when talking about High Pressure systems, visualize a mountain, because in essence that's what they would look like if you could see them. They bubble up and ridge, lower (weakness) in some places, and higher up (strength) in others.

If there is a lower part of this mountain facing Bill's track, he'll follow along it.

Excellent explanation and very understandable to me. Thanks.
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Ike ECMWF?? Did you see it? Another system headed for Antilles in a week.
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I see the NOAA Jet flew this morning, and the models basically stayed the same.

Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315


Bill is forming a nice eye althought it is not completely symetrical or cleared out yet it is rather large which might allow him to skip any ewrc. The main bursts of convection have not completely wrapped around the north east quadrant yet which is the only thing preventing an annular CAT 4 or 5. I expect for the eye to clear out and enlarge as well as for the main bursts of convection to completely wrap around this new eye. It is entirely possible for Bill to reach CAT 5 tonight during the DURMAX.
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There have been more. October 1987 for instance.


The October 1987 storm originated off France. Very occasionally, a tropical system will merge with an existing area of low pressure and bring damaging winds to the U.K. but it's a rare event. Most remnant hurricanes coming across the Atlantic veer north of the British Isles.
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4082. fmbill
Quoting TampaSpin:



StormW a classic buzzsaw.......WOW! What a creature of Mother Nature.


Good morning all.

Hey Tampa...I noticed the 12z models for the BAM set show a sharp turn to the right at the end of the forecast. Are there any indications that Bill will do some sort of loop as part of that turn?

TIA



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4081. slavp
Quoting TampaSpin:


The NAM models has picked up on it also...it appears...
And also on the low pressure in Northern GOM left over from Claudette...Hmmmmmmm
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Quoting keywestbrat:
Here we go again, another swirl trucking up the straits, its about mid north cuba right now.
O my


The NAM models has picked up on it also...it appears...
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4078. jpsb
Quoting HurricaneFCast:
Okay. I used my crappy computer "handwriting" and ms paint to show those of you who wish to see it, what exactly is currently forecast to happen with Bill's future track.


Here you see the two areas of high pressure. You also see the mysterious "weakness".







Here you see that the weakness will erode the eastern portion of the western area of high pressure, allowing Bill to turn towards the north-west and eventually the north.

That is only what is currently forecast, things can change, but it actually looks as if the weakness has begun to have an effect on the subtropical ridge, as in the last 3-hour update of the Layer Mean Wind analysis, the subtropical ridge was moved slightly westward. We'll have to see if this continues.
Thank you thank you thank you. Now I completely understand the forecast!
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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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