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 stormsurge39:
Oz, I got a feeling we will see you in the N Gulf Coast this weekend. I hope not, but with my experience with lingering tropical systems like this, it isnt good!


You'll see me if I cancel Bermuda. Can't be in two places at the same time...

If I am in Bermuda, and Ana spins up into the Panhandle, there will be team members there.

We're already making arrangements for them to operate the webcam if this scenario plays out.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3420
Quoting yonzabam:


It's definitely gotten more of a northwards movement, lately, possibly due to a weakness in the Bermuda/Azores high at 50W.

However, it'll soon come under the influence of the strong Bermuda High, which kept Ana south and moving west. If the trough hasn't built by the time this happens, all bets are off.


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.

Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3420
Quoting yonzabam:


It's definitely gotten more of a northwards movement, lately, possibly due to a weakness in the Bermuda/Azores high at 50W.

However, it'll soon come under the influence of the strong Bermuda High, which kept Ana south and moving west. If the trough hasn't built by the time this happens, all bets are off.


All I can hope for is that you are wrong. I guess keeping an eye on it is not out of the question.
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Quoting P451:


Bermuda is right there in the crosshairs at the moment. The Canadian Maritimes stand to receive a substantial storm. Remnants that reach England are massive extra-tropical storms that do a lot of damage.

But, I guess those people don't matter or exist to some people on here.

If it's not hitting South Florida or New Orleans I guess it doesn't exist.


Don't forget Texas! LOL Sorry, couldn't resist -- point made (everyone matters!)
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4067. amd
this storm, IMO, will become a classic Atlantic major hurricane that does not directly affect anyone. The models are handling the storm quite well, and quite frankly, have had a good handle on this storm, for two days now.

Does look like however that the storm will transition into a large and strong extratropical system which could bring some good winds to Europe however.

Models tend to do much better with larger systems than smaller systems for the most part.
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Oz, I got a feeling we will see you in the N Gulf Coast this weekend. I hope not, but with my experience with lingering tropical systems like this, it isnt good!
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Morning everyone... nailbiting resumes today I see. Billy is just too close for comfort.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
What are the most recent estimates coming in from the SAB and the TAFB?


TAFB JA V 1 5050 /////
SAB MS VI 1 5050 /////
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True. The big storms are more prone to northwards movement. But it'll still be influenced by the high pressure. (Response to 4052)
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5 am Advisory Storm Track:
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
wobble to the west
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:


Based on what are you making that comment? I am curious as to where you get that data. If you are right this could be bad news don't you think? I believe a wobble which makes it look like moving westward is more of a possibility, but overall NHC's track is right on the money. They are getting really good at this believe me.


It's definitely gotten more of a northwards movement, lately, possibly due to a weakness in the Bermuda/Azores high at 50W.

However, it'll soon come under the influence of the strong Bermuda High, which kept Ana south and moving west. If the trough hasn't built by the time this happens, all bets are off.
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Wow Bill is massive. It appears he could become annular. Large high and the lack of banding will determine whether or not he could become annular. I will be back later today to see where he's at then. I am not saying I expect him to become annular, but have some characteristics.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 243 Comments: 3564
What are the most recent estimates coming in from the SAB and the TAFB?
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LOL Thanks P451 -
I was about to pull up all that info!

SE FL we are keeping our eyes on ex-ana -
Little chance of reorganizations - But should bring some nasty storms.
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Bill is going through a rapid intensification period now. I will miss some of it because of work.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 243 Comments: 3564
Quoting canesrule1:
One question- Where is Recon right now?


Last dropsonde from the Gulfstream IV was ~20.4N 43.2W. There was one transmission from the P3 at 4 AM EDT at Barbados and nothing since. They may have data transmission problems.
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Thanks again Tampa
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Quoting yonzabam:


It will also hinge on how far south Bill tracks. Last time I looked the bottom of his eye was on the 15 degrees north line. He's not coming very far north at all and I don't see how he can with the Bermuda High pressing down on him. Ana went west as a result of that pressure influence and I don't see why Bill should do otherwise. So, even if a strong trough does build and influences his direction, he could be too far south and west to recurve. Bill's a big boy, with lots of momentum.


Bill Is a much stronger system than Ana and is steered by a higher level of the atmosphere
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Quoting StormW:



StormW a classic buzzsaw.......WOW! What a creature of Mother Nature.
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4050. IKE
It's going right along the NHC forecast points listed as of 5 am EDST.

Easy to see with the eye in plain-view.
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UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 18 AUG 2009 Time : 114500 UTC
Lat : 15:50:52 N Lon : 50:16:30 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.0 / 950.5mb/115.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
6.0 6.1 6.2

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +2.5mb

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 32 km

Center Temp : +7.7C Cloud Region Temp : -65.5C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 2.2T/6hr
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

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Quoting stormsurge39:
Cyclone Oz, Whats your take on possible developement, from former Ana in GOM later this week?


It's a player. It's only a hunch, but I think Miss Ana ain't done with life just yet.

I've chased down alot of storms over the years, and almost all of them were hunches I had about what they would do, where they would go...with no official guidance at all.

Ivan was one of my classic hunches. Yeah, it was already a monster at Jamaica, but the day it hit that island, I left for Pensacola. That was many days in advance of its US landfall...its current track at the time was pointing at Tampa, which was on the way...but I knew Pensacola would feel it.

How'd I know, I can't explain it. Luck, intuition, who knows.

But with Ana, I think we have an opportunity to see something special tomorrow in the skies above Key West. Am I sure about that. No...I just have a hunch is all.

Being in S. FL tomorrow also has me in place to move over to Bermuda, but only if a track is in place. I will not go if Bill looks like it's going to skirt by.

If I do wind up in Bermuda, our team will disband on the 20th and they'll probably go on up to the Panhandle...if Ana winds up and goes in that direction.

There is alot to discover in the coming days. Very interesting times.

We'll be shooting as much webcam / HD video as possible.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 3420
Quoting stormsurge39:
Tampa spin will you please give me a link to the NAM model? Thanks


Here you go my friend NAM Model LINK
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4045. divdog
Quoting CaneHunter031472:


Based on what are you making that comment? I am curious as to where you get that data. If you are right this could be bad news don't you think? I believe a wobble which makes it look like moving westward is more of a possibility, but overall NHC's track is right on the money. They are getting really good at this believe me.

thank you, he has been west casting for days.!!
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Looks like a new low has formed SE of the Alabama / Florida line in the GOM.....

Thanks TS!...what a way to start my day!..lol
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Quoting Joshfsu123:


that is an old image from last night.


Sorry about that....need another cup of coffee!
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4041. NEwxguy
I'll have to get over to the coast this weekend,should be some pretty good wave action as Bill slides by.
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Uh oh! ADT just went to 6.0 as the eye appeared.

CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.0 / 950.5mb/115.0kt
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Quoting canesrule1:
Bill's eye has been moving WNW since yesterday, but in the last several hours he has resumed westward movement.



Based on what are you making that comment? I am curious as to where you get that data. If you are right this could be bad news don't you think? I believe a wobble which makes it look like moving westward is more of a possibility, but overall NHC's track is right on the money. They are getting really good at this believe me.
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4036. eye
Please, lets not get carried away....a storm is a fish even if its leftovers hit England (which normally happens) Bermuda is not going to get hit.
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One question- Where is Recon right now?
Looks like the EWRC done,
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Quoting connie1976:
...so the hurricane hunters have been in the storm and now the track is pretty accurate...correct?


I thought they were going there today for the first time.
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4031. srada
Good Morning everyone..

well I still dont think the NHC is in agreement with the track of Bill just yet

All track guidance indicates that Bill should turn
northward in response to the troughs...but there is some notable
spread in where and when. The ECMWF...GFS...GFS ensemble mean...
and the BAM models turn Bill northward between 62w-65w in response
to the first two troughs. The remainder of the track guidance
calls for the northward turn between 65w-70w...due to less response
to the first two troughs and the eventual effect of the third
trough.
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Thanks Tampa!!
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NWS - Morehead City/Newport NC

.SYNOPSIS...
-- Changed Discussion --HIGH PRESSURE WILL CONTINUE OFFSHORE THROUGH FRIDAY. A COLD FRONT
WILL APPROACH FROM THE NW SATURDAY AND SLOWLY CROSS THE REGION
SUNDAY THROUGH EARLY MONDAY. TROPICAL CYCLONE BILL WILL MEANWHILE
PASS WELL EAST OF THE REGION OVER THE WEEKEND.-- End Changed Discussion --

HURRICANE BILL IS FORECAST TO REMAIN WELL E OF THE U.S. EAST COAST
SAT INTO SUN. IT NOW APPEARS LIKELY THAT A SIGNIFICANT LONG PERIOD
SWELL WILL IMPACT THE REGION FROM BILL LATE THIS WEEK INTO THE
WEEKEND. A MUCH SMALLER SE SWELL FROM ANA IS ALSO DUE TOMORROW NITE
THROUGH THU. THE RIP CURRENT THREAT WILL LIKELY BE ELEVATED MUCH OF
THE LATE WEEK THROUGH WEEKEND TIMEFRAME AS A RESULT...AND WE HAVE
COORDINATED WITH NHC TO HIGHLIGHT THIS IN THE PUBLIC ADVISORY FOR
BILL IN THE COMING DAYS. WE ALSO WILL HIGHLIGHT THIS THREAT IN THE
HWO. OTHERWISE...NO DIRECT IMPACTS ARE CURRENTLY EXPECTED FROM
BILL.-- End Changed Discussion --

MARINE...
-- Changed Discussion --AS OF 225 AM TUESDAY...SOME GRADUAL CHANGES IN THE MARINE FCST
FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS. AFTER SEVERAL DAYS OF VARIABLE LIGHT
WINDS...SW WINDS WILL INCREASE TO THE 10 TO 15 KNOT RANGE OVER THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS DUE TO GRADIENT BETWEEN SHARPENING TROUGH
INLAND AND BERMUDA HIGH PRESSURE. WAVES THIS MORNING ARE GENERALLY
AROUND 2 FEET WITH 8 SECOND PERIODS...WHICH AGAIN TODAY IS WELL
INITIALIZED BY LOCAL SWAN MODEL AND FOLLOWED FOR THE SHORT TERM.

BY LATE TOMORROW...WE START TO SEE THE FIRST SIGNS OF LONG PERIOD
SWELLS FROM THE REMAINS OF TROPICAL STORM ANA IN SOME 10 TO 12
SECOND SWELLS. BY THURSDAY NIGHT AND EARLY FRIDAY...SWELL ENERGY
FROM STRENGTHENING HURRICANE BILL MAKES ITS PRESENCE FELT WITH
PERIODS OF 16 TO 18 SECONDS. COMBINED SEAS WILL LIKELY BUILD TO
SCA CRITERIA BY EARLY SATURDAY. WILL BE CONSERVATIVE WITH SEAS FOR
NOW...CAPPING SEAS AT 7 FEET WHICH IS FAIRLY CLOSE TO LATEST
WAVEWATCH NUMERICAL GUIDANCE.

GIVEN MINIMAL SWELL AND LIGHT WINDS...ANOTHER LOW RIP CURRENT
THREAT DAY FOR TODAY...BUT WILL LIKELY SEE SEVERAL DAYS OF
ELEVATED RIP CURRENT THREAT GIVEN THE AFOREMENTIONED SWELL ENERGY
AND HIGHER ASTRONOMICAL TIDES.-- End Changed Discussion --

Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1449
Quoting southbeachdude:
Ex-Ana is still a fighter.

A nice flair up of storms north of DR. Florida will get some good rain out of the mess.


that is an old image from last night.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 578
Quoting P451:


Bermuda, Eastern Canada, and England do not share your enthusiasm at this point in time.


England? By the time thet make it across to the U.K. they're never anything more than a warm breeze.
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Quoting connie1976:
...so the hurricane hunters have been in the storm and now the track is pretty accurate...correct?


Actually the info the HH receive takes about 2 runs in the computer to get the correct tracking!
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Tampa spin will you please give me a link to the NAM model? Thanks
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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.