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 tropicfreak:


Should have one pretty soon.


still too much dry air...maybe by this evening...
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71. IKE
Quoting Patrap:


Doubt dat,..LOL

How was the Fray last Night IKE..?,I went to bed


No problems...I slept through it.

It's raining now....we're stuck in a feeder band...
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Quoting ConchHondros:
Hey Flood...I was wondering...as a novice...how will Claudette effect the cold front forcasted and the trough of low pressure that is expected to develop later that is expected to turn Bill??


Looks as though it slows it alittle, but all that looks to have been accounted for in the forecast/modeling...

So how are things today, oh enlightened one?
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Any chance on Bill becoming an Annular Hurricane?

He seems to high a high ring of thunderstorms around the eye. That could change the ball game if he strenghtens enough to be annular... He is starting to pull himself together to look symetrical - obviously not there yet.

Thanks for the update Dr. Masters. Hope you are right about Ana...
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Ana's 'center' may skirt the south coast of Puerto Rico but I think that it's apparent that the system is degenerating into an open wave.
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Quoting Floodman:


She was a CAT 3 at landfall; she had been a CAT 5 less than 24 hours before landfall and iot takes a while for all that water to to ease up...



The SSS dosent relate well to Surge and well,Size.

Thats whay you Have to listen to the warnings. Not many Cat 3's push a 30 ft Storm Surge. A CAt number is MOOT when relating ImPACT.
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Center right under the deep convection to the SE of Puerto Rico.

Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
Quoting tropicfreak:


Well it made a turn to the NW so I expect it to become an east coast storm. Should be a TS pretty soon. When it does make landfall, it might just be a CAT 1 or 2.


tf...cmon bro...give an opinion and stat it as such... theres no way of telling where ana will go...if she hits the mountains tonight, she might not even exist tomorrow...1 day at a time...
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Quoting mikatnight:
Thanks Doc! Informative as always, but I'm still going over the models...


That models curvature makes sense.
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Quoting chevycanes:
lololol.

Bill does not have an eye yet.


Should have one pretty soon.
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From Dr. Master's blog: "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."

Enough said(hope all the Fl, wish, left, doom, and down casters all saw that/this part in Dr. M's blog and read it carefully).
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Latest on bill found here: Link

Storm information valid as of: Monday, August 17, 2009 12:00 Z
Coordinates: 13.9N 44.6W (View Map or View Storm Centered Satellite Image)
Location: 1011 miles (1627 km) to the E (87°) from Bridgetown, Barbados
Distance Calculator: How far away is this storm from me?
Pressure (MSLP): 977 mb (28.85 inHg | 977 hPa)
Sustained wind speed (1 min. avg.): 80 knots (92 mph | 41 m/s)
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According to the 12Z maps, Ana is much more vertically stacked than three earlier. Mid level vorticity has increased substantially over the COC.
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Quoting Drakoen:
I think the NHC initialized the 12z models on Ana a full degree south of it's current position.


That means models should now be taken with a grain of salt, as I am pretty certain a new COC has formed and is about to move over PR.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
Quoting IKE:
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.
......

Maybe what Dr. Masters said will put some sanity back in this blog....


Doubt dat,..LOL

How was the Fray last Night IKE..?,I went to bed
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Quoting Tropicaddict:
hi all.... I wanted to share a rather "humorous" article with you. FoxNews.com has an interactive Saffir Simpson example of what can happen during a Hurricane of the various categories. Please go there and take a look, it's the main article so you can't miss it.

The humorous part is that NHC still says Katrina was a Cat 3 at landfall but the destruction statistics and being in MS through it, states otherwise. Just thought I would share this tid bit. Have a good day!


She was a CAT 3 at landfall; she had been a CAT 5 less than 24 hours before landfall and iot takes a while for all that water to to ease up...
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lololol.

Bill does not have an eye yet.
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Hey Flood...I was wondering...as a novice...how will Claudette effect the cold front forcasted and the trough of low pressure that is expected to develop later that is expected to turn Bill??
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Quoting Category5hitsNewYork:
Where will Ana go and how long will it have to strengthen and if it does how much could it?


Well it made a turn to the NW so I expect it to become an east coast storm. Should be a TS pretty soon. When it does make landfall, it might just be a CAT 1 or 2.
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Doing great out here Flood - haven't seen you forever and a day! HOw's by you?

Weather here is AWESOME but still have the house in Savannah so always watching...
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Quite grateful for the update, Doctor Masters!
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.
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I think the NHC initialized the 12z models on Ana a full degree south of it's current position.
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47. IKE
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.
......

Maybe what Dr. Masters said will put some sanity back in this blog....
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Quoting watchingnva:


no eye yet bro, just some dry air surrounding the core...give him time...hes still fighting the dry air...
than why would Jeff mention it in his update.
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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.

I think he means Northeast. He also said it is too early to discount the possibility of a US East Coast strike. Remain vigilant of Ana and Bill
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
Thanks Dr. Masters,so it comes down to the troughs and how they will effect Bill,which is usually the case with any storm that approaches the conus.Its why we feel safer in the Northeast,there is usually a trough in the vicinity to protect us.
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Quoting melwerle:
Morning Everyone - How long till Ana hits PR?


She's on it right now, I think...how you doing, Mel?
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Quoting canesrule1:
Bill has a very very large eye:


no eye yet bro, just some dry air surrounding the core...give him time...hes still fighting the dry air...
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Quoting Floodman:


Yep; they call them hurricanes with large eyes...


LOL. Yeah but there is an actual name. Like Isabel 2003 I think.
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Tried to post this in the last blog, but I'll post here as well.

According to NHC conference call at 10:00 Eastern,

Looks like Bill will be increased to 80kts (could be wrong on this the phone call cut out but I'm pretty sure that's what was stated) and this advisory and track has been shifted east again following the GFS ensemble's shift east. UKMET is still the southern outlier.
Ana looks like it may be possible to spin up once off of Hispaniola and could encounter a lower shear environment there since it appears that convection is starting to fire farther north. Keeping tropical depression status out to 96 hours, but some models hint at strengthening and some at remnant low status. It is something we are watching at the Tampa Bay NWS, should it strengthen once it gets north of Hispanola. TD Ana may be affecting West Central Florida around Thursday.
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Quoting PcolaDan:
She still alive and kicking.




Definitely. I would be very surprised to see advisories terminated on Ana at 11 am. In fact, it is looking much better than it did just last night.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
I am concerned about the SST in the GOM--it hovers around 90 between Cuba and the Gulf Coast. If Ana were a cat, she still has some lives left.
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hi all.... I wanted to share a rather "humorous" article with you. FoxNews.com has an interactive Saffir Simpson example of what can happen during a Hurricane of the various categories. Please go there and take a look, it's the main article so you can't miss it.

The humorous part is that NHC still says Katrina was a Cat 3 at landfall but the destruction statistics and being in MS through it, states otherwise. Just thought I would share this tid bit. Have a good day!
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thanks Dr.
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Morning, everybody.

Wow. We went from nothing last week Monday to one landfall,one hurricane, an three named storms. (I was tuned out since about 6 p.m. on Saturday, so I missed Claudette altogether!) At this rate it will be a busy August and September. I am also really hoping for a serious Nward turn by Bill, since current trend would bring it much closer to the Bahamas.........
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Morning Everyone - How long till Ana hits PR?
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maybe canesrule will read this from Dr. Master's and stop talking about the jet stream as the factor for turning Bill to the north?

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.
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:


Thank you Doctor.

Makes for easier tracking. Don't they have a name for storms with large eyes?


Yep; they call them hurricanes with large eyes...
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It's not often I find myself in disagreement with the Doc but I think the trough @50°W will have little effect on Bill.

I'm basing this on the presence of confluent flow between the upper trough to the north of Bill and the hurricane itself.


The trough that will have the most effect on lifting Bill to the north before the sweeping trough to come off the coast this weekend is the small, but intensifying, upper trough currently moving off the East Coast. In 48-60 hours this trough is forecast to move to 60-65°W and should dip sufficiently far to the south to shear Bill and draw him northwestward into that weakness.
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ana far from dead-not wishcasting but all of Florida needs to watch Ana closely!
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Quoting Drakoen:


Possibly. I want to see how far north it can get


If this system can avoid Hispaniola, it is possible it could strengthen.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
She still alive and kicking.


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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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