Bill intensifies to Category 4; globe has 5th warmest July on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:28 PM GMT on August 19, 2009

Share this Blog
2
+

Category 4 Hurricane Bill is now the the fourth strongest tropical cyclone to appear on the planet so far this year, and may grow even stronger. Visible and infrared satellite imagery continue to show an impressive, well-organized, hurricane, with plenty of low-level spiral banding and upper-level outflow well-established on all sides except the west. On Bill's west side, upper-level winds from the west are creating a modest 10 knots of wind shear, which is giving the hurricane a bit of a squashed appearance there.

Wind shear is forecast to remain low to moderate, 5-15 knots, for the next four days. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) will rise steadily from 28.5°C today to 29°C on Friday. Total ocean heat content is at a maximum today, and will gradually decline over the next four days. Bill should be able to take advantage of these favorable conditions a remain a major hurricane the next three days.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image from NASA's Aqua spacecraft at 12:40pm EDT Tuesday August 18, 2009. Image credit: NASA GSFC.

Water vapor satellite loops show a small "short-wave" trough of low pressure to the north-northwest of Bill, and this trough has turned Bill on a more northwesterly track over the past two days. Bill will miss the Lesser Antilles Islands, and the main impact of the hurricane on these islands will be high waves. The short wave trough (so called because it has a relatively small amplitude and wavelength) is not strong enough to turn Bill due north, and Bill is also expected to miss Bermuda. High waves and sustained winds of 20 - 30 mph are the worst that Bermuda is likely to get from Bill.


Figure 2. Visible satellite image of Bill's eye zoomed in, taken from NASA's Aqua spacecraft at 12:40pm EDT Tuesday August 18, 2009. Image credit: NASA GSFC.

An unusually strong "long wave" trough of low pressure (called long wave because of its large amplitude and wavelength) is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week. This trough will turn Bill to the north, and also bring high levels of wind shear in the 40 - 65 knot range on Sunday. Exactly where this turn occurs is still not clear. The models continue to be in two camps: an eastern camp (GFS, GFDL, HWRF, and ECMWF) that takes Bill 300 - 500 miles east of Cape Cod, and a more western camp (NOGAPS, UKMET) that bring Bill within 150 - 200 miles of Cape Cod. Both sets of models bring Bill ashore over the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia. Bill will be weakening rapidly as it makes landfall, and is likely to be a Category 1 hurricane if it hits Nova Scotia, or strong tropical storm if it hits Newfoundland.

Bill's big waves
Large swells from Bill will begin impacting the U.S. East coast from Florida to Maine beginning Friday night or Saturday morning. Seas will build to 5 - 10 feet in the offshore waters from central Florida northwards to South Carolina, and to 10 - 15 feet from North Carolina to Cape Cod. Near shore, waves will be about 40% less. This will cause a significant coastal erosion event along some portions of the coast. The latest run of the NOAA Wavewatch III model suggests that significant wave heights near Bill's center will reach 50 feet on Sunday. Since maximum wave height is typically about a factor of 1.9 greater than the significant wave height (which is the average trough-to-crest height of the top 1/3 largest waves), a few huge waves near Bill's center may reach 95 feet high.

Possible impacts to New England
The current set of computer model runs predicts that the center of Bill will pass Cape Cod, Massachusetts Sunday afternoon or evening. Tropical storm-force sustained winds of 39 mph or greater currently extend out 185 miles to the west of Bill's center, so that if Bill maintains its current wind distribution, Cape Cod could see sustained winds of about 40 mph Sunday night if the models predicting a more westerly path are correct. However, Bill will not keep this same radius of winds. The hurricane will weaken considerably beginning Sunday morning, once the storm gets caught up in the approaching long wave trough. High wind shear of 40 - 65 knots due to strong southwesterly winds aloft will act to compress the hurricane in the east-west direction, keeping the hurricane's strongest winds away from Cape Cod. The highest winds are likely to be no more than 30 mph on Cape Cod from Bill, if the storm follows the track of the western camp of models nearest to the Massachusetts. A few rain squalls may affect coastal Massachusetts, but the main impact of Bill on New England is likely to be coastal erosion from high waves.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The remains of Tropical Storm Ana are bringing scattered heavy rain showers to the Bahamas and Florida today. The remains are disorganized, and are not likely to re-develop. The only model calling for a new tropical cyclone to develop in the Atlantic over the next seven days is the GFS model, which predicts development off the coast of Africa about 7 days from now.

Fifth warmest July on record globally; a cold July in the U.S.
The globe recorded its fifth warmest July since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. NOAA rated the period January - July 2009 as the sixth warmest such period on record. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies rated July 2009 as the 2nd warmest July on record, behind July of 1998. For the second month in a row, global ocean Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in July were the warmest on record, 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average. This broke the previous July record set in 1998. The record July SSTs were due in part to an ongoing El Niño event in the Eastern Pacific, which has substantially warmed a large stretch of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean. As El Niño conditions mature during the coming months, near-record global ocean and land temperatures will probably continue. Now that El Niño conditions have been well-established for three months, the atmosphere has begun to heat up in response. It typically takes up to seven months for the atmosphere to heat up in response to ocean heating from an El Niño. This may explain why June of 2009, which independent assessments by NOAA, NASA, and the UK Hadley center agreed was the 2nd or 3rd warmest June on record at the surface, recorded only average satellite-measured temperatures in the lower atmosphere. In contrast, the July satellite-measured temperatures in the lower atmosphere were the 2nd or 3rd warmest on record, in agreement with the assessments that surface temperatures were the 2nd to 5th warmest on record.


Figure 3. Departure of temperature from average for July 2009. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

A cold July for the U.S.
For the contiguous U.S., the average July temperature of 23.1°C (73.5°F) was the coolest since 1994, and July temperatures were the 27th coolest in the 115-year record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and West Virginia experienced their coolest ever July. Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, and Wisconsin recorded their second coolest July in history. A strong trough of low pressure parked itself over the eastern portion of the U.S. in July, funneling down plenty of cold air from Canada. In the western U.S., a ridge of high pressure dominated, bringing unusually hot conditions. Arizona recorded its 3rd warmest July on record, and Seattle, Washington recorded its hottest day in history on July 28, notching a 103°F reading. This was 3°F above the previous record set in 1994.

U.S. precipitation was near average in July, with the month ranking 40th wettest in the 115-year record. U.S. tornado activity was above average in July, according to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center. However, no tornado deaths occurred in July.

At the end of July, 14% of the contiguous United States was in moderate-to-exceptional drought. This is a drop from the 19% figure observed at the beginning of the year. These extreme drought regions were exclusively in South and Central Texas.

I'll have an update Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1674 - 1624

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46Blog Index

Quoting PcolaDan:

I'll see your and raise you a


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1673. OBXNC
Hi everyone! Nice to meet you all. Not a frequent poster, but enjoy reading everyone's opinions, and appreciate Dr. Masters' Blog!

We're all keeping an eye on Bill as he allegedly squeezes between us here in Cape Hatteras and Bermuda ...

I'll look forward to reading more over the next couple of days - I'll try to post some pics from the coast :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllStar17:
Just about ready to go to bed. Check in on the tropics and Bill in the morning. If you missed it, today I posted my first blog:

My First Blog

Hope you get a chance to read! Comments would be appreciated. And, I should have a new blog post in the morning.

First blog? Interesting and informative. Good graphics. enjoyed the read
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Though the general trend is still NW... the periodic "jogs/wobbles" will add up in the end. To how much that ammounts to remains to be seen.
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
I am noticing the NGFDL now forecast a US LANDFALL in northernmost Maine. Interesting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
bill is very lopsided, if we see rapid weakening because they eye collapses it will move more westward in track.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jurakantaino:
Yes , sometimes you don't dare to ask a question and you think this sight is only for pros,because there are so many harsh answers and name calling.

I've been on here about 4 years(I actually pay the ten bucks a year that's how much i think of this site!). There are a lot of good people here. Don't get discouraged. Enjoy!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like the eyewall is open in the northeast quadrant now.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


I'll see your and raise you a
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Just about ready to go to bed. Check in on the tropics and Bill in the morning. If you missed it, today I posted my first blog:

My First Blog

Hope you get a chance to read! Comments would be appreciated. And, I should have a new blog post in the morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Recurve is too aggresive.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting medicroc:

Dark at night followed by partial light in the morning to fully light by afternoon. 100% confidence in that model
I JUST ASK
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxLogic:


Lol!!! it is as follows:

DLM - Deep Layer Mean

That's Mean
10Q
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 7544:


doing a great job with updates tia
Yes , sometimes you don't dare to ask a question and you think this sight is only for pros,because there are so many harsh answers and name calling.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Hazel was an extratropical storm by the time it hit Toronto, and there were no Cat 3 winds anywhere in Canada from Hazel. However, Hazel caused extremely destructive flooding.

It appears Juan was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Canada.


You're right.. but it's still classified at the Canadian Hurricane Centre as Hurricane Hazel hitting Toronto - because of the 81 people who died from the flooding from the rains.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1656. Ighuc
If Bill continues to undergo EWRC's and doesn't strengthen as much as projected, why wouldn't it be pushed south by the High Pressure to his West?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1655. IKE
Quoting P451:


Personally I've enjoyed watching, analyzing, and debating the wobbles along with the graphics that come with it during the day.

Not sure why it has a few so testy and upset.

All we're doing is discussing Hurricane Bill.

I figured that was the point of the blog.

I suppose I figured wrong. LOL.





You do a good job giving out info...thanks..
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Thanks again to all. My thought is: based on CIMSS sterring and upper level winds at the present location that Bill will take on a slightly more W direction than the models are currently showing. That along with the wave height predictions was my concern for the Cape Cod area. I will be taking more assertive action in the AM to contact family members. Their cell phones are currently off. Nite all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1652. 7544
Quoting P451:


Personally I've enjoyed watching, analyzing, and debating the wobbles along with the graphics that come with it during the day.

Not sure why it has a few so testy and upset.

All we're doing is discussing Hurricane Bill.

I figured that was the point of the blog.

I suppose I figured wrong. LOL.





doing a great job with updates tia
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Hazel was an extratropical storm by the time it hit Toronto, and there were no Cat 3 winds anywhere in Canada from Hazel. However, Hazel caused extremely destructive flooding.

It appears Juan was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Canada.


And it was BAD. I lived in NB during that time but came home to visit my parents and witnessed the aftermath. Like I said before, its lingering forestry damage will make this new one even more destructive.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
same thing as last night, due west motion in the last second of that loop. meaning hours of actual time.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1649. centex
Quoting texascoastres:
Try 3 weeks with no power. And I live 11 miles inland from Galveston West End.
Sorry didn't live through it. I think we need to realize lack of power for long periods and millions of people is under stated, let your major pop area try it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:



ROFLMAO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting medicroc:

Not that I'm defending anyone(if told to evacuate I certainly would)but there are other factors we should try to understand. Personally I can understand some people's reluctance to evac. Imagine you've lived in a home all your life(maybe your parents did also), the community is all you've ever known. Now imagine to be asked to quickly take whatever you can carry and leave behind your most valued possessions, your neighbors, the candy store you met your spouse in, highschool,etc. Again, personally I would leave but I could understand the trepidation of those that would hesitate


Been there done that, Katrina 2005, Gautier Mississippi. Was ordered to evacuate Did so with wife children and dog, Lost everything except for ewhat matter the most our lives. Rebuilt my home, got new clothing, Etc... I would do it again without hesitation... Oh and I was in a no flood zone.... But I agree with you there are some who choose to stay and well cientist call what happen next "Natural Selection".....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A Cat 2, even a strong Cat 1 will be bad for Nova Scotia. Juan has 80% of our trees weak from when it hit. Half them aren't cleaned up yet and likely to create additional havoc.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting centex:
Little major storm info while watching track of Bill. The main problem for millions of people for Ike was the lose of power for nearly a week. No AC and internet to pay bills really caused problems. While folks on barrier islands got devastated they built or bought homes in harms way. I know people buying up the flatten tracks because cheap and they are willing to take the risk. Sure they will rebuild stronger. Most of them left and all the stories are about the few who stayed and survived it.

Try 3 weeks with no power. And I live 11 miles inland from Galveston West End.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting lordhuracan01:
I WANT TO KNOW, WHAT SAY THE MODELS FOR THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS.

Dark at night followed by partial light in the morning to fully light by afternoon. 100% confidence in that model
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Latest advisories out:
HURRICANE BILL

TROPICAL DEPRESSION GUILLERMO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1637. tkeith
I got two friends in Manhatten that are on their way to Bermuda cause someone said the NHC was gonna call a NY hit from Bill...this poster had inside info from the NHC...

1619. Acemmett90 9:58 PM CDT on August 19, 2009

J/K...my friends dont buy snake oil...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1635. amd
Quoting WunderFul:
Press is testy tonight. Hope I don't say or do anything stupid -- I might be marked for a "gene pool purge". Back to Bill, what forces are likely to weaken him, and how strong might he be, before he hits Maine and/or the Atlantic Provinces (assuming the models hold)? Could he still be a Cat 3-4? Or more likely Cat 1-2? Or even just a tropical storm? Seems like with his projected path, his strength may have peaked. Could he still pop up even stronger?


IMHO, it wouldn't surprise me if bill weakens a tad tonight. Hurricanes typically weaken slightly in an EWRC. However, waters actually warm in Bill's path, and water temperatures have warmed substantially just off the east coast recently. Just checking the buoy's near and in Bill's possible path, and many of them have water temperatures around 85 degrees Farenheight. Water temperatures are currently near 83 degrees now.

Buoy information can be found here:

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Hurricane Juan made a direct hit on Halifax as a Cat 2 in 2003.
I am trying to find out if a major ever made landfall in Canada.


Check out the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

I haven't gone thru their archives yet to see what is the strongest recorded hurricane to hit Canada.. but ironically, the most remembered one and the most destructive is Hurricane Hazel, which maintained its strength after coming inland and did great loss of life and damage in the city of Toronto, of all places.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tkeith:
The SSt's are gonna cool down before Bills gets to Canada's estern most provinces. The strength of the storm would be a somewaht rare event even if it weakens. the more the word gets out of the potential dangers there the better...Nova Scotia aint NOLA...n'oreasters are not uncommon but a Cat 2 or 3 cane woud not be something the folks up there are NOT accustom to dealing with.

Chances are it maybe extratropical by then.

BTW, where is the ace tonight?


We are indeed not accustomed to these
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Allright, let's take a breath here. Sure, there's been some wobble-casting, but for the most part it's been a good read tonite. lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting lovesdanger:
people read the discussion very carefully there are 2 imprtant words used there one is when they say bill SHOULD beging to turn north ..why not bill WILL TURN NORTH sounds more psitive to me then should it sounds like there hedging there...another thing at the end bill will hit some land area...you can see the NHC is kind of baffled themselves...people listen to reedzone he knows what he is talking about.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:

GEEZ, Gonna choose my words more carefully from now on. I used bad wording and this took off in a whole different direction.

My point was:

Quoting Chicklit:

Exqueeze me. But it is a mariner's responsibility to himself and those on board to look at weather conditions before he/she leaves port. Very old rule. Recall the NFL guys that were capsized in the Gulf. 2/3 didn't make it.

(me)
"I agree whole heartedly. I never head to the Gulf with(out) knowing what's going on, but the person asking the question was NOT the person on the boat, but a concerned family member."



all is well Captain...steady as she goes....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaneHunter031472:


The problem is that people do not understand that a Cat 5 Which is downgraded to Cat 3 so close to the coast in an area like the GOMEX is not the same as a Cat 1 that grows to be a Cat 3. There is a lot of Kinetic energy stored in a downgraded Cat three such as in Katrina which came ashore with a surge of a Cat 5 even when its wind where in the Cat three area. People tend to underestimate Hurricanes unless they are Cat 4 or 5 and they do not take these other factors into consideration.

Not that I'm defending anyone(if told to evacuate I certainly would)but there are other factors we should try to understand. Personally I can understand some people's reluctance to evac. Imagine you've lived in a home all your life(maybe your parents did also), the community is all you've ever known. Now imagine to be asked to quickly take whatever you can carry and leave behind your most valued possessions, your neighbors, the candy store you met your spouse in, highschool,etc. Again, personally I would leave but I could understand the trepidation of those that would hesitate
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bluewaterblues:


It is wobble doofus why is that wishcacting ...GEEZ!


Do we all need to know about every little wobble? We obviously are all looking at the same satellite pictures!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting presslord:


just to wrap this up...I don't WISH death on anyone either...but..ya pays yo money...and ya takes yo chances...

GEEZ, Gonna choose my words more carefully from now on. I used bad wording and this took off in a whole different direction.

My point was:

Quoting Chicklit:

Exqueeze me. But it is a mariner's responsibility to himself and those on board to look at weather conditions before he/she leaves port. Very old rule. Recall the NFL guys that were capsized in the Gulf. 2/3 didn't make it.

(me)
"I agree whole heartedly. I never head to the Gulf with(out) knowing what's going on, but the person asking the question was NOT the person on the boat, but a concerned family member."

Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010

Viewing: 1674 - 1624

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.