Impressive Bill churning huge waves; New England air pollution episode underway

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:38 PM GMT on August 18, 2009

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Hurricane Bill has popped out an impressive eye, and continues to gather strength over the middle Atlantic. Visible and infrared satellite imagery show a well-organized, symmetric hurricane, with plenty of low-level spiral banding and upper-level outflow channels to the north and south. The spectacular appearance of the storm is evidence of the light wind shear environment that Bill finds itself in.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to remain low to moderate, 5-15 knots, for the next five days. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) will rise steadily from 27.5°C today to 29°C on Friday. Total ocean heat content also rises today into Wednesday, and it is expected that Bill will take advantage of these favorable conditions to intensify into a major hurricane. The Hurricane Hunters make their first penetration into Bill this afternoon. The NOAA Hurricane Hunters will be continuously flying Bill for the next three days. They are flying research missions that will feed real-time radar data into an experimental version of the HWRF model to see if this data can improve the model forecasts.


Figure 1. Wave forecast for Hurricane Bill from NOAA's Wavewatch III model. Beginning Saturday (right panel) large waves from Bill are expected to affect most of the U.S. East Coast. By Sunday, the model predicts waves of 10 - 15 feet may impact the offshore waters of New England.

Water vapor satellite loops show that a trough of low pressure is diving down towards Bill, and this trough will be able to turn Bill more to the northwest over the next two days, and Bill will miss the Lesser Antilles Islands. The main impact of Bill on these islands will be high waves. Yesterday, Bill passed just north of Buoy 41041, which recorded significant wave heights of 28.8 feet. Maximum wave height is typically a factor of 1.9 greater than the significant wave height, so Bill was likely generating waves up to 55 feet high. High waves from Bill are propagating across the Atlantic towards the U.S. East Coast, and will arrive there on Saturday, according to NOAA's Wavewatch III model (Figure 1). The highest waves spawned by Bill will affect the New England coast, where waves of 10 - 15 feet in offshore waters can be expected. The waves will cause significant erosion of beaches, and possible damage to shoreline structures.

A much larger trough of low pressure is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week, turning Bill to the north. Exactly where this turn occurs is still not clear, and both Bermuda and Cape Cod, Massachusetts will be in Bill's 5-day forecast cone of uncertainty. At present, it appears that the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia are at greatest risk from a strike by Bill, but New England and Bermuda cannot relax just yet.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The remains of Tropical Storm Ana are bringing heavy rain to Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas today, and this activity will spread over South Florida tonight. The remains are disorganized, and are not likely to re-develop. No models are calling for any new tropical cyclones to develop in the Atlantic over the next seven days.


Figure 2. Image from NASA's Terra satellite of air pollution haze over the Northeast U.S. on Monday, August 17, 2009.

First major air pollution episode of the summer for the Northeast U.S.
New England is currently experiencing a far more deadly weather event than a direct hit by Hurricane Bill would likely bring--a large dome of high pressure. The reason? The high pressure system camped over the Northeast U.S. has brought hot temperatures, stagnant air, and the summer's first major air pollution episode.

The event started on Sunday, when a high pressure system with light winds moved over the eastern U.S., limited mixing and leading to stagnation and a buildup of pollutants. Mostly sunny skies and high temperatures also enhanced formation of ground-level ozone gas, a dangerous pollutant. Furthermore, southerly winds brought high humidity into the Northeast, which is conducive to particle pollution formation in the atmosphere. Particle pollution is the most deadly form of air pollution in the U.S. The poor air quality led to issuance of air quality advisories and action days on Monday in more than 30 cities, including New York City, NY; Newark, NJ; Providence, RI; and Portland, ME.

Today's air pollution forecast
Today, similar conditions are expected across much of the region, and Air Quality Index (AQI) levels are forecasted to remain in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Code Orange) range for many areas in the Northeast. For a complete list of action/advisory days and their locations, visit the EPA AIRNow website.

Health Tip: Cut back on strenuous outdoor exercise when air quality is expected to be poor.

How You Can Help: Choose a cleaner commute - share a ride to work or use public transportation. Bicycle or walk when possible. Combine errands and reduce trips.

Mortality from air pollution
As I discussed in a previous blog post, air pollution is a far more deadly weather hazard in the U.S. than hurricanes. Sure, hurricanes have killed an average of 150 people per year in the U.S., and the "premature deaths" caused by air pollution are only partly attributable to breathing bad air, while drowning in a hurricane's storm surge is entirely due to the hurricane. Nevertheless, a great many children die of pollution-induced asthma attacks who would not have died otherwise, and the mortality due to air pollution in the general population is in the thousands or ten of thousands each year. Outdoor air pollution in the U.S. due to particulate pollution alone was estimated by the EPA in 1997 to cause at least 20,000 premature deaths each year. A 2005 study by EPA scientists (Particulate Matter Health Risk Assessment for Selected Urban Areas) estimated that over 4,700 premature deaths occur each year in just nine cities (Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Boston, Phoenix, Seattle, and San Jose)--even if those cities all met the current federal standards for particulate matter pollution. Extrapolating these data to the entire nation puts the annual death toll in the tens of thousands--but the EPA has not calculated that total. Some studies have placed the annual pollution death toll in the U.S. at 50,000 to 100,000 (Dockery, D.W., and C.A Pope III. Acute Respiratory Effects of Particulate Air Pollution. Annual Review Public Health, 1994, vol. 15,107-32.) The death toll is much higher in other parts of the world, where air pollution standards are not as stringent. Globally, about 800,000 people per year die prematurely due to outdoor air pollution, according to a 2005 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. This represents about 1.2 percent of total annual global deaths.

In the debate over the costs of switching over the cleaner energy sources, the huge costs and deaths attributable to air pollution are often ignored. Sure, it will be costly to move away from fossil fuels, but let's not forget that the price per gallon we pay at the pump does not include the billions in medical costs we pay for the effects of air pollution.

I'll have an update Wednesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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3746. winter123
7:22 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting AllStar17:


Yes, it is up near 30 N, and still a Tropical Storm:


guierrmo has been sheared to death just today by a ULL near hawaii

Member Since: July 29, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 1802
3745. TampaSpin
4:42 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
3744. stormpetrol
4:06 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Bill going northwest fast now.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
3743. AussieStorm
3:41 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Good Evening/Morning all.
I see we could have 2 Cat 4's on earth at once.
Hurricane Bill and Typhoon Vamco.
Also, My blog auto updates. I will be adding to it over time, so if you want to know the latest weather in OZ, Have a look, leave a comment.
Cheers AussieStorm
Member Since: September 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15977
3742. BahaHurican
3:37 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting GwadaGeek:

The date on the picture is... april 2008. Quite a sunny day here in Guadeloupe...
One of the things that always amuses me is how absolutely beautiful the weather can be when a storm is travelling. It's as if the storm sucks up all the clouds for hundreds of miles around it.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22728
3741. ticka1
3:34 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
New Blog.
Member Since: June 10, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 92
3740. Floodman
3:33 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
In addition to that, Conch, (back to the weather) he's seems to be following the forecast points pretty well, yes, but as was noted in here yesterday, today tracking forecast may be incrememntally different from yesterday's...in fact it is, because if you look at the ensemble tracks, two of them today show ecoast US hits where yesterday I don't believe there were any...as values for the variables in the model runs change, the track too can change.

I was saying all of last week here that we would klnow more and be about certain of tracking by late yesterday early today and I have to sqy the NHC track looks to be pretty clean
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
3739. TexasHurricane
3:31 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Thank you everyone..
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
3738. rwdobson
3:31 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
So, Allen from 1980...anything in the 30 years since?
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1589
3737. pearlandaggie
3:30 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
3736. PcolaDan
3:30 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
NEW BLOG
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
3735. ConchHondros
3:29 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Coffee just flew out of my nose Flood...I am now incapacitated...
3734. 7544
3:28 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
notice in this loop how the north of bill is being pushed down this might be now that bill stsrting to build his own high over himself which at that time he goes where he wants too we didnt see that yesterday but now he is and thats why he just might go further west so expect to see more wobbles in that direction imo Link
Member Since: May 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6874
3733. jpsb
3:28 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting rwdobson:


Ok, can anyone provide examples of this? It's incredibly rare at best.
Oh yes it is rare the only one I can think of off hand is Hurricane Allen. I sited Allen in my answer. Has to be a really big powerful hurricane pumping enough air to build a slight temporary ridge and a weak trof that can't move all the air the hurricane is pumping out. Please do not ask me for details, you now know as much as I know. lol, I am not a MET, I just have a good memory.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
3732. ConchHondros
3:27 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Man rare...you can smell the ozone here...storms last night and more coming
3731. stoormfury
3:27 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
There is no concern in the g/mex at this tinme. a piece of enrgy is , but there is nothing imminent for now. even then the area should be watched as the upper levels have become a little more conducive. mslp is high for now but the sst is very hot.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2722
3730. Floodman
3:27 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting ConchHondros:


Now rare...you KNOW there arent any pj's involved...


Ow, ow oh my god...I'm poking out my mind's eye...Conchhondros, in flagrante delicto, surroundeed by cheetohs...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
3729. rwdobson
3:27 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Who was saying Bill was going to turn yesterday between 1-3 pm? That was never in anything I ever read. Bill's doing pretty much exactly what was predicted by NHC.
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3728. Crawls
3:26 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
I'm surprized that Dr. M hasn't posted an update yet?!
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3727. AllStar17
3:26 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting BahaHurican:
Wow, to the NORTH???? I thought that system would be a goner by now......

I looked at it on Monday, but not since then.


Yes, it is up near 30 N, and still a Tropical Storm:
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5315
3726. slavp
3:26 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting t1d:
Let's just say that Bill does hit a land mass, will the large 30 NM eye that he has been exhibiting generally lead to a greater storm surge? Ike last year had a very large eye and quite a powerful surge despite being only Category 2.
I am by no means an expert, but I would have to say yes...
3725. ConchHondros
3:25 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting rareaire:
I will its 72 degrees and raining. I will leave you with conch who sits in his pj's surrounded by cheetohs watching reruns of laugh in!! I on the other hand have 3 vacant land write ups for the bank.


Now rare...you KNOW there arent any pj's involved...
3724. Floodman
3:25 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting ConchHondros:
Flood whats your take on what some of the repected bloggers, especially last night, mentioned regarding ridge errosion and pinching troughs? We have some freaky weather...some of it is going as planned, but soe like Claudette was not factored...how is Claudette interacting with the fronts and troughs?...etc...I mean we had reputable folks say Bill should turn yesterday between 1-3pm CT...didnt...should have turned at 50...didnt...Bill is still chuggin wnw like he is reading the NHC discussions


He didn;'t turn yesterday because the feature that was upposed to turn him didn't strengthen/drop like they predicted; I don't thuink Claudette had much a of say in it.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
3723. t1d
3:23 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Let's just say that Bill does hit a land mass, will the large 30 NM eye that he has been exhibiting generally lead to a greater storm surge? Ike last year had a very large eye and quite a powerful surge despite being only Category 2.
3722. marknmelb
3:23 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting Floodman:

"Have a nice time shtorming da castle!"


never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!
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3721. stoormfury
3:23 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
it looks like the wave at 20w could be our next invest
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3720. Grothar
3:22 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting TexasHurricane:
Good morning all..

Is there any update on the possible GOM concern?

Thanks


There was nothing mentioned in the NHC advisories this morning. But as we know from the week-end, things can flare-up quickly. As of now there does not appear to be anything of immediate concern.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 27208
3719. rwdobson
3:22 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting jpsb:



I am pretty sure told you Yes but rarely. I was kinda shocked at all the flat out No answers you got.


Ok, can anyone provide examples of this? It's incredibly rare at best.
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1589
3718. rareaire
3:22 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting Floodman:

"Have a nice time shtorming da castle!"
I will its 72 degrees and raining. I will leave you with conch who sits in his pj's surrounded by cheetohs watching reruns of laugh in!! I on the other hand have 3 vacant land write ups for the bank.
Member Since: August 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1601
3717. GwadaGeek
3:22 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting AllStar17:
Blurry, but a good view of the cloud bands on the extreme outer fringes of the storm.

The date on the picture is... april 2008. Quite a sunny day here in Guadeloupe...
Member Since: August 12, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 8
3715. midgulfmom
3:21 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Good Morning. Been reading and catching up a bit. Thanks to all for great explainations and graphics they help me a great deal and I appreciate it. Continue....
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1164
3714. Sting13
3:21 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
This is starting to scare me, i checked most models and all but CMC has the storm passing rediculously close to my city, i live on pretty much furthest east point on nova scotia.
Hopefully this changes...
Member Since: August 14, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 44
3713. Floodman
3:19 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting ConchHondros:
Hey rare...workin...princess bride is on..WHAT!!..."HELLO! My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepair to die! ... My NAME is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepair to die!

"Have a nice time shtorming da castle!"
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
3712. BahaHurican
3:19 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting AllStar17:
Not that anyone cares, but Guillermo is still a Tropical Storm well to the north of Hawaii
Wow, to the NORTH???? I thought that system would be a goner by now......

I looked at it on Monday, but not since then.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22728
3711. jpsb
3:18 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting stoormfury:
i was correct a powerful hurricane could 'BUST THE TROUGH' thanku Stormw



I am pretty sure told you Yes but rarely. I was kinda shocked at all the flat out No answers you got.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
3710. aasmith26
3:18 PM GMT on August 19, 2009


hmm...seems like they're not too sure how far west it will go...keeps bouncing back and forth.
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 229
3709. AllStar17
3:17 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
.
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3708. Dakster
3:17 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
TexasCane - Read StormW blog he dicusses it.
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3707. HIEXPRESS
3:17 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting rwdobson:


It just seems that way because you notice and remember the storms that miss you like this, but it doesn't happen to Atl any more or less than to other areas. You just notice it when it misses you.



http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=918&tstamp=200803
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
3706. ConchHondros
3:16 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Hey rare...workin...princess bride is on..WHAT!!..."HELLO! My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepair to die! ... My NAME is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepair to die!
3705. TexasHurricane
3:14 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Good morning all..

Is there any update on the possible GOM concern?

Thanks
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
3703. rareaire
3:15 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
alright read stormw's update and others so im off to earn a living, Be nice
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3701. SiriusleeNH
3:13 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
DestinJeff's NOAA map showing Bill around Bermuda also shows 3 lows northwest (Great lakes,Hudson Bay & New England)and a high to the Northeast in the Atlantic. I'm thinking this sets up Long Island and Cape Cod for a real battering.
Member Since: December 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 0
3700. MobileMob
3:12 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting StormW:
Good late morning!

I have a new synopsis posted.

Thanks!

TROPICAL WEATHER SYNOPSIS / HURRICANE BILL AUG. 19, 2009 ISSUED 10:52 A.M.


Thank You StormW for update, having a very rainy morning here in Mobile. As a matter of fact that is all it has done since Sunday.
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3699. rareaire
3:12 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Morning All just thought id pop in and see where we were!
Member Since: August 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1601
3698. rwdobson
3:12 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
if anything, the heat island effect would help to sustain t'storms...they don't avoid updrafts, they seek them out.
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1589
3697. rwdobson
3:10 PM GMT on August 19, 2009
Quoting BGMom:
We have big weather headed RIGHT for us, then it breaks off and goes up and over, or down and under. Is this pollution related? Forgive the ignorance. It is almost as if there is a force field pushing the rain away. Maybe it is just bad luck!


It just seems that way because you notice and remember the storms that miss you like this, but it doesn't happen to Atl any more or less than to other areas. You just notice it when it misses you.

Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1589

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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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