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

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

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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

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1274. 7544
is the the ull trying to fizzle out and moving n. bills moving at 22 mph and getting larger in size the gap in the two highs look close together than they did in early runs could he fit thru there or approch it and stop and wait for the trof to get him could taz be right
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1273. IKE
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Compass graphic I have says 310 deg is between NWbW (NW by W) and W



That's right. I'm thinking 305 is due NW. It's 315.
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Quoting carolinamomma:
Mostly a lurker, ya'll caught me with talk of Conroy. What book? Love them all.


South of Broad...just came out...there is no such place as "Carolina"
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Quoting reedzone:


Thanks :)
It's important that I keep on reminding people that they should not let there guard down. I'm not a wishcaster, Bill is moving northwest and should continue to move northwest for the next 24-36 hours at the most. The faster Bill goes, the closer it gets to the East Coast. The trough will definitely recurve it, but timing is crucial as I've noted a few times this week.


I don't always agree with you Reed, but I will stand up and say your NOT a "wishcaster." There is a big difference between how you present your opinions and views versus someone like, say, apocalypse (or however they spell it.)
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Quoting P451:


I was following recon earlier today. I didn't really time it but I'd say around every 10 minutes? It could have been less?


thank you...then its just my PC then...I've seen the same image for the past hour!!!! (And yes i did click refresh lol)
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Quoting bluenosedave:


Yup. This Maritimer got stocked up today: non-perishables, water, candles, etc. And I have the leftovers from my prep for Kyle last year, which made landfall just about 30 km from my home, although we were lucky that he just fell to bits and damage was minimal.

Bill looks like another sort of animal altogether. Turn, baby, turn!


Hey BlueNoseDave, I am from Nova Scotia too, Porter's Lake on the skirts of Halifax. What's your thoughts on this. I wasn't here for Juan, but I own a home here now.
Member Since: August 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 145
Quoting IKE:


Looks like it's now moving north of NW....


Compass graphic I have says 310 deg is between NWbW (NW by W) and NW

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Mostly a lurker, ya'll caught me with talk of Conroy. What book? Love them all.
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im going to be watching the gulf next week i expect something to develop in the nw caribbean sea and move nnw into the central gom sometime next thursday...i will be watching this closely.

Hmmmmm, I saw something on a post earlier of this possibility. Maybe there is indeed some truth to it.
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Quoting presslord:
KEH..very well written...really captures Charleston...some elements of the story were a little lame...
I have Isaac's Storm on my hurricane shelf :)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
1264. VARob
Quoting cormit123:
Does anyone have the website that shows the hurricane recon reports that is black and green? I have lost my bookmark to it and really liked the site. I'd appreciate any help you can provide.


Is this what you are looking for?

http://tropicalatlantic.com/recon/
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Quoting AllStar17:
Graphics Complete Update:
Hurricane Bill 5 pm Advisory:

My Hurricane Bill Projected Path (as of 8 pm):

Tropical Depression Guillermo 5 pm Advisory:

Typhoon Vamca latest advisory:


Your track is unavailable, you might want to fix that.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Anyone know what conditions are in the northern islands right now ?
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Quoting headshaker:
reedzone,

You are one persistent SOG (son-of-a-gun)! You don't let the bashers stop you from doing what you've been doing (over and over again LOL!).

But I agree with everything you've said the last few days. Keep it up.


Thanks :)
It's important that I keep on reminding people that they should not let there guard down. I'm not a wishcaster, Bill is moving northwest and should continue to move northwest for the next 24-36 hours at the most. The faster Bill goes, the closer it gets to the East Coast. The trough will definitely recurve it, but timing is crucial as I've noted a few times this week.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Quoting chrisrw:


What took you so long?


It was fun to read over the past few years; wishcasting a direct hit on New Orleans for the past 2 years with no science to back it up is one thing; suggesting that Bermuda is out of the woods when the science is suggesting that Bermuda is clearly at risk is unconscionable.
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reedzone,

You are one persistent SOG (son-of-a-gun)! You don't let the bashers stop you from doing what you've been doing (over and over again LOL!).

But I agree with everything you've said the last few days. Keep it up.
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KEH..very well written...really captures Charleston...some elements of the story were a little lame...
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Graphics Complete Update:
Hurricane Bill 5 pm Advisory:

My Hurricane Bill Projected Path (as of 8 pm):

Tropical Depression Guillermo 5 pm Advisory:

Typhoon Vamca latest advisory:
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1255. chrisrw
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
1205. stormno 8:03 PM EDT on August 19, 2009

you just made my ignore list.


What took you so long?
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
1205. stormno 8:03 PM EDT on August 19, 2009

With Bill still tracking slighly east of his forcast points, and Bermuda still within the cone, incredibly stupid or ignorant of you to suggest that Bermuda is not in harms way.

End of story; you just made my ignore list.
And everyone else's!
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1253. java162
bill is really pounding us here in dominica with somre enormous waves. its a good thing the east coast of the island isn't as flat as the west coast. otherwise it would be a disaster. i wonder if the other islands to the north are getting any sort of damage
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Quoting presslord:


KEh Have ya read the Conroy book yet? I just finished it...
No... how was it?
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Does anyone have the website that shows the hurricane recon reports that is black and green? I have lost my bookmark to it and really liked the site. I'd appreciate any help you can provide.
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I don't think the 00Z BAMM runs will change much.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Good Night Everyone...going to ask a stupid question...how regularly does Google Earth update their images?
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1247. IKE
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
00Z Bill update

...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 20.2N LONCUR = 58.2W DIRCUR = 310DEG SPDCUR = 15KT
LATM12 = 18.3N LONM12 = 55.6W DIRM12 = 304DEG SPDM12 = 15KT
LATM24 = 16.9N LONM24 = 52.9W
WNDCUR = 115KT RMAXWD = 15NM WNDM12 = 115KT
CENPRS = 945MB OUTPRS = 1008MB OUTRAD = 240NM SDEPTH = D
RD34NE = 200NM RD34SE = 175NM RD34SW = 100NM RD34NW = 175NM


Looks like it's now moving north of NW....
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1205. stormno 8:03 PM EDT on August 19, 2009

With Bill still tracking slighly east of his forcast points, and Bermuda still within the cone, incredibly stupid or ignorant of you to suggest that Bermuda is not in harms way.

End of story; you just made my ignore list.
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Quoting KEHCharleston:
; )


KEh Have ya read the Conroy book yet? I just finished it...
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00Z Bill update

...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 20.2N LONCUR = 58.2W DIRCUR = 310DEG SPDCUR = 15KT
LATM12 = 18.3N LONM12 = 55.6W DIRM12 = 304DEG SPDM12 = 15KT
LATM24 = 16.9N LONM24 = 52.9W
WNDCUR = 115KT RMAXWD = 15NM WNDM12 = 115KT
CENPRS = 945MB OUTPRS = 1008MB OUTRAD = 240NM SDEPTH = D
RD34NE = 200NM RD34SE = 175NM RD34SW = 100NM RD34NW = 175NM
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Quoting lopaka001:


What happen to your old account??


He's been banned repeatedly since I've been here, starting in 2005.
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I made a new (better) forecast with some more stuff.

Photobucket
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7340
Quoting weatherdogg:
Check out buoy 41044 folks. SWH of 27 feet means max waves of at least 50 feet!

Thats aprox. 145 miles/220 km from the center i think.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting hurricane23:
ECMWF/GFS/CMC try to develope the wave just rolling of africa but unfortunatly i think the odds at anything impacting the U.S. i.e. long tracker seem low as there might be various weaknesses in the subtropical belt which will allow plenty of opportunities for recurve.Overall not to much out there besides bill as we continue to climb towards peak.

Adrian
Why "unfortunately" ??
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Quoting Goaskalice:


surprised to see no one commented, unless I missed it. i have always worried about new york. I know comments were made about which state would be the worst off if a hurricane hit them and I know any port, any ocean front properties would be devastated but my issue with new york would be the population of people and evacuations.
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Quoting stormno:
ok people all of you have to realize this is STORMTOP talking and this is the way i see it with all the experience i have with hurricanes..the bottom line is bill will continue to the nw ..when he hits 71 degree west he will start to hook a hard right and go straight north about 400 miles off the east coast and then continue to turn nne and not hit any land mass directly..there is a very slight possibility bill could bring some heavy rains and gale force winds to nova scotia i would put that right now as a 20% chance..everyone else can relax including bermuda ...this has been the latest from STORMTOPS WEATHER OFFICE...im going to be watching the gulf next week i expect something to develop in the nw caribbean sea and move nnw into the central gom sometime next thursday...i will be watching this closely..everyone have a great evening and if things happen to change i will let you know...Stormno


What happen to your old account??
Member Since: February 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
ECMWF/GFS/CMC try to develope the wave just rolling of africa but unfortunatly i think the odds at anything impacting the U.S. i.e. long tracker seem low as there might be various weaknesses in the subtropical belt which will allow plenty of opportunities for recurve.Overall not to much out there besides bill as we continue to climb towards peak.

Adrian
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Check out buoy 41044 folks. SWH of 27+ feet means max waves of at least 50 feet!
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Quoting winter123:
wow... looks like the islands really dodged a... BILLit. sorry had to :P

Lol
Member Since: June 3, 2004 Posts: 1 Comments: 134
Quoting winter123:
wow... looks like the islands really dodged a... BILLit. sorry had to :P

; )
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
1228. primez
crap i just found out that my aunt went on a several day cruise to canada today, namely nova scotia.

this isn't looking good. also, i live on long island. i hope we dont get hit here in the northeast.
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The eye is over 20 latitutde prior to reaching 60 longitude btw.
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wow... looks like the islands really dodged a... BILLit. sorry had to :P

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1225. 21N71W
Quoting lurkn4yrs:


Are you crazy! That sounds like Andrew.. How can you say that now especially since its 17 year anni is in 4 to 5 days... LOCO...


Taz, don't even think that....but who knows...hope not though, for my sake and others..
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Quoting Drakoen:
Looks like the Canadian Meritimes could be in for a significant system.


Yup. This Maritimer got stocked up today: non-perishables, water, candles, etc. And I have the leftovers from my prep for Kyle last year, which made landfall just about 30 km from my home, although we were lucky that he just fell to bits and damage was minimal.

Bill looks like another sort of animal altogether. Turn, baby, turn!
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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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