Ana, Bill, and Claudette--a rare early season triple threat

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:58 PM GMT on August 16, 2009

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After an unusually slow start to the Atlantic hurricane season, the tropics exploded into action this weekend. We have a rare triple threat this afternoon--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 afternoon, the Hurricane Hunters confirmed than Tropical Storm Claudette had formed in the Gulf of Mexico. Radar animations out of the Florida Panhandle show a small but well-organized tropical storm with plenty of heavy thunderstorm activity, and improving low-level spiral banding. Claudette has built an eyewall that is 1/3 complete on the east side of the center. Some moderate wind shear from upper-level southwesterly winds is keeping Claudette from forming much heavy thunderstorm activity on its west side. Most of the rain is on the right side of the storm, and regions to the left of where Claudette comes ashore will get only a maximum of 1 - 2 inches of rain. Satellite loops show an area of intense thunderstorms with cold cloud tops continuing to expand near the storm's center.


Figure 1. Current short-range radar out of the Florida Panhandle.

Claudette developed literally overnight, and has enough time over water to be a 60 - 65 mph tropical storm by the time it makes landfall tonight along the Florida Panhandle. Claudette reminds me of 2007's Hurricane Humberto, which became a hurricane just 24 hours after first appearing as a tropical depression. By the time Claudette makes landfall, it will have been in existence just 18 hours since the first advisory. This is not enough time to strengthen into a hurricane. If Claudette had had another twelve hours over the 30°C waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it would likely have been a hurricane. Given that the storm is so small, storm surge flooding should not exceed 3 - 5 feet, and will not be the major hazard from Claudette. Inland flooding from heavy rains of 3 - 6 inches is likely to be the main threat from the storm.

Ana near death
The Hurricane Hunters are in Tropical Storm Ana, and have found that the storm is very disorganized, and may not survive another day. Dry air continues to plague the storm, thanks to the large area of Saharan air the storm is embedded in. Ana's very rapid forward motion of 20 - 25 mph has stretched out the storm's circulation from circular to elliptical. This non-circular flow around the center has made the heavy thunderstorm activity less organized, and it may be difficult for the storm to hold together much longer. The outer rain showers from Ana are now on radar out of Martinique.

Nearly all of the computer models forecast Ana will dissipate over the next two days. If there is anything left of the storm by the time it encounters the rugged terrain of Hispaniola, that should finish Ana off. At this time, it does not appear that Ana will be moist enough to cause a major flooding disaster on Hispaniola.

Tropical Storm Bill continues strengthening
Tropical Storm Bill continues to gather strength in the middle Atlantic Ocean, and appears poised to become a major Cape Verdes-type hurricane later this week. Water vapor satellite loops show that Bill has developed a core region of heavy thunderstorms that should be fairly impervious to the dry Saharan air to its northwest, and the storm should be able to start building an eyewall tonight.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to be in the low range for the next three days. With Sea Surface Temperatures at 27.5°C, and ocean heat content sharply increasing 2 - 3 days from now, Bill should be able to intensify to a major Category 3 or 4 hurricane by Wednesday. At that time, some increasing shear may limit further intensification.

The big news is that our most reliable computer model from last year--the ECMWF model--appears to have made the right call yesterday, forecasting that a major trough of low pressure would develop along the U.S. East Coast, turning Bill more to the north. All of the other models have now jumped on the ECMWF bandwagon, forecasting that Bill will pass well north of the Lesser Antilles Islands. The UKMET model, which was resisting forecasting the northward turn, has now joined the other models in its latest 12Z run. The main drama with Bill this week will be to see how close it passes to Bermuda. Several models have Bill passing within 200 miles of Bermuda on Saturday. It is too early to be confident that Bill will miss the U.S. East Coast.

I'll have an update Monday.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting fldude99:


Landfall in Pcola? Where did you even hear anything about that? From the view out my backyard, its a nice cloudy evening with not even a leaf moving on a tree


Not even a leaf?? Well!! That's the calm before the storm, man.
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100% certainty of awesome waves this week.....
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Ok let me state something.. Eventually this storm will recurve. Though I'm not confident that it will recurve near Bermuda. A recurve on the East Coast is possible, the track and models are more then 3-5 days out, you can't be confident like that.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7334
537. Relix
It seems the Antilles are spared the worst from the storms so far. Ana became nothingness and Bill is missing us. Now honestly I find no way for Bill to hit us XD!

Oh well, was fun tracking. Should be fun tomorrow as well.
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Quoting MeterologistDewon9:
Hopefully Bill will come somewhere near South Carolina. I mean Florida n and the Gulf states are always gettin hitt by storms, SC, GA, and NC is long overdue for a Hurricane, and we all know it and that its not fair to the Gulf States. I have place and update on my site round 5:45 today will some stuff.

I am just hoping that Bill doesn't be a fish storm.


Um... dude? Do you realize what a hurricane can do?
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Folks...right now... Claudette and her spawning tornados and rip currents on the coast are the most important thing to Florida.. not Ana nor Bill.

Next... Ana is a possible threat if models pick up on her soon... currently they lose her near Hispaniola (even if not making landfall)..


Finally there is Bill... no threat to anyone but slight chance the NE Carribean islands..and 50-50 chance on Bermuda... Florida is under a 5% chance of getting hit by Bill right now... Carolinas are 15%... New England about 10-15%... which means.. you have plenty of time to watch but not worry about it till @ least Weds or Thurs to see what may be happening by next weekend!
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Thanks Pat...that's what my eye's seeing also.

I'm thinking somewhere around Laguna Beach...Santa Rosa Beach (just west of PCB) *shrugs*
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Well thats all folks! lol there's your 3 storms for the season. Ana poof, Bill out to sea, and are there 40mph winds going on in Florida? nope. NEXT
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Quoting MandyFSU:
Where. Is. My. Rain?

I'm SO BITTER. I was all geared up for a least a LITTLE action and all I got was .4" and 5 minutes worth of squall line :(



Me too... disappointed. Not about the wind and all but I wanted it to rain today! =0(
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Quoting stormno:
well dude i guess you will have to find out the hard way and witness the destruction and the major loss of life this thing brings...i hope my friend you never have to witness that day...Stormno


I agree with your last statement, but I don't want anyone to get a hurricane. I can't seem to send you that message.
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Quoting Broward:
knew something was going on yesterday...was down in Miami the clouds were coming in from the east then south then west and it was pouring all day..some kind of low crossed..also Ana isnt dead yet could she clear the islands?

ana flying


My major concern is Ana moving into the Bahamas as a remnant low and interacting with a mid or upper level low there as Katrina did. I'm not doomcasting but I'm not calling RIP yet. Ana has shown her persistence and after all, you can't spell "Katrina" without "Ana"...
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529. drj27
ok im out like i said before theres nothing going on here in okaloosa county and dont expect anything just some rain have a good one
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
I really dont get why people are calling this a fish when its seven days out. I understand that there are two troughs but its not totally impossible for it to bust the trough.

Too many variables still.


Absolutely true. Ana and Bill SHOULD NOT be written off. Bill could be like Ivan / Ike / Dean and not end up where they are forecast.

Ana could be like Andrew, in terms of struggling with dry air for the greater portion of the beginning of it's lifetime.
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guy where is the center of ANA at this very moment
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you can ???? dr. masters
you can ???? dr. lyons..
but I don't.
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Quoting MeterologistDewon9:
Hopefully Bill will come somewhere near South Carolina. I mean Florida n and the Gulf states are always gettin hitt by storms, SC, GA, and NC is long overdue for a Hurricane, and we all know it and that its not fair to the Gulf States. I have place and update on my site round 5:45 today will some stuff.

I am just hoping that Bill doesn't be a fish storm.
FINALLY an honest wishcaster. Posts like this are so much more refreshing than the sanctimonious, "I'm only needlessly hyping this non-threatfor your own good" variety.
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Id say a Nnw motion is trying to establish,..but theres a Lot going on ...


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Quoting scottsvb:



Scientifically ..thats imposible to bust a trough...


It means slipping under it. What Ike did.
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Quoting Broward:
knew something was going on yesterday...was down in Miami the clouds were coming in from the east then south then west and it was pouring all day..some kind of low crossed..also Ana isnt dead yet could she clear the islands?

ana flying


looks like im gonna wake to strong wind gusts and rain. 97L style.
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Where. Is. My. Rain?

I'm SO BITTER. I was all geared up for a least a LITTLE action and all I got was .4" and 5 minutes worth of squall line :(
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http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/loop-rb.html


bill is definitely going to outpace next forecast point it is 22;45 UTC and bill looks like it is already halfway there since 5 and 6 UTC which is next forecast point does not occur for about another 7 hours from last image
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
I really dont get why people are calling this a fish when its seven days out. I understand that there are two troughs but its not totally impossible for it to bust the trough.

Too many variables still.



Scientifically ..thats imposible to bust a trough...
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Still doesnt have the correct center.

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Quoting Patrap:


Best to follow the NHC guidance as they are the Guys in the Know.

Been following Claudette mostly.

I just wanted your personal opinion but it's cool thanks! I AGREE with reedzone, don't discredit what you can't fully understand or predict.
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515. JRRP
Quoting stormpetrol:
Bill trucking due west for last the few hours, will the track shift more south? Ana may spring back life especially if she enters the Caribbean and clears the bigger Islands? Wonder what scenarios will play out , I just don't see Bill recurving out to sea, jmo.

emmm....
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5073
Quoting nolajet:
Patrap, what are you thinking that Claudette is doing? I saw on your Dvorak embedded image a lot of action going on south of the CoC, but I'm stumped as to what I am missing (and not surprised lol).


Welcome to the club as I havent a clue neither


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If Ana makes another comeback, she should be called "The comeback gal"
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Quoting serialteg:
Hurricane - *cough* TS Bill is heading into the 15N zone in the early 40W longitude. 9 times out of 10 that means open atlantic trajectory, bahamas, eastern conus, or all the way up to greenland and off the edge of the Earth.



Sigh.
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Claudette's been moving due north for 3 hours now. Another jog west looks likely, but P'cola is not a likely destination for this storm.
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Quoting reedzone:
For all the lurkers and people who live up north. Don't panic, but watch what Tropical Storm Bill does, don't listen to the people who say it's not going to hit. You can't be confident this far out, the storm is 1 1/2 weeks away of impacting the USA IF it does. Yes it can turn out to sea, but it may have a late recurvature and could still swipe the Northeast or even the Carolinas. Please be on guard, be prepared, and stay tuned to your local forecasts and the NHC. We will be confident on the track in a few more days, it's still possible that it effects the USA


Even those in Florida... the cone of uncertainty still has a southward track towards Fl as a possiblity. This track has shifted north then south then north since Bill's inception. Storms are unpredictable.
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Quoting breald:




Yah I know. I was just being fictitious.
Ok. Sorry.
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8242
Hey Pat? Second set of eyes, please? Does the convection seem to be trying to wrap around the center again and does the motion appear to be NNW? TIA

(I'm watching using GRL3)
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Quoting stormno:
hurristat didnt you have enough with hurricane hugo are you a real sicko to want a major hurricane...you know how many people die and how many lives change ...you really need to recant that guy...Stormno


O_o wow. *poof*

Dude. I was born in 93.

I still can't figure out how you got that "I want a major hurricane" out of "you shouldn't wish a hurricane on anyone"

I don't want anyone to get a storm, whether it be Florida or Nova Scotia or Bermuda or the Yucatan.
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Bill id moving wnw, take a look at the long sat loop. Turn on lat/long if it helps. But it is certainly not going due west!
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Hurricane - *cough* TS Bill is heading into the 15N zone in the early 40W longitude. 9 times out of 10 that means open atlantic trajectory, bahamas, eastern conus, or all the way up to greenland and off the edge of the Earth.

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I really dont get why people are calling this a fish when its seven days out. I understand that there are two troughs but its not totally impossible for it to bust the trough.

Too many variables still.
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268 adjusterx "...could NYC actualy handle any CAT? ...what kind of shoreline or building structure they have. What is there sea level in Manhatten?

Groundlevel in nearly all of Manhattan is above 7metres/23feet, with most of it being above 14metres/46feet except EastHarlem and the LowerEastSide.
LongIsland would take nearly all of the storm surge for NYC.

BTW - The links above will lead you to a usefully interactive worldwide coastal elevation map.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
knew something was going on yesterday...was down in Miami the clouds were coming in from the east then south then west and it was pouring all day..some kind of low crossed..also Ana isnt dead yet could she clear the islands?

ana flying
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Quoting fldude99:


Landfall in Pcola? Where did you even hear anything about that? From the view out my backyard, its a nice cloudy evening with not even a leaf moving on a tree


I know right...WKRG channel 5 which is a Mobile station, specifically reported what I said. Also, WEAR would not commit either...I have clouds to south, and blue sky to the north.
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Patrap, what are you thinking that Claudette is doing? I saw on your Dvorak embedded image a lot of action going on south of the CoC, but I'm stumped as to what I am missing (and not surprised lol).
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Quoting theshepherd:

That may well be the most selfish, irresponsible post of the season.


I don't think so. I am a resident of SC and every time a storm develops in the Atlantic and it eithers hits the gulf states or recurve out to sea. Like local mets said the other day, SC and NC is long overdue for a storm to hit them, and when it hits us it will be worse than both Floyd and Hugo which was ten years apart, and some history here in south carolina says that every 10 years or so we tend to be hit by at least a Cat2 Hurricane. I mean its like everytime a storm is made in the Atlantic, some South Carolinians are like, thats nothing to worry about since it is forecasted to make a turn, but they don't understand that Hugo made it owns weather patterns and discard the steering patterns because of its strength, and Bill looks to be getting close to Hugo Strength in the upcoming days.

I AM DEEPLY SORRY IF I OFFEND YOU OR ANYONE ELSE.
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497. 100l
How do i find Storm W's blog?
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Quoting breald:


Sometimes I think people forget we have a big chunk of the country that can get hurricanes too. They tend to concentrate on Florida and GOM.



yes ive been thru 2 bob and gloria up here and good old new england and we all know we are over due we have been very lucky
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495. drj27
so twc says its going to hit pcb everyone think that
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Years ago,I remember with hurricane hugo,there was an expectation that it would make the northern curve and miss charleston. A state ment was made that because hugo was moving so quickly,that the normal steering forces were not affecting its motion. It was said,by a met, that hugo was,in effect, making its own weather due to its power and forward momentum.I am wandering if bill could perhaps be powerful enough so that the normal steering mechanisms are less significant. maybe the expected turn to the north will be less than expected.
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Quoting Acemmett90:

ana is a fighter and this is a possibilty

shear is not a problem
Link
and
Link
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Bill NHC Archive Track,with current,animated
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491. jipmg
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
guys I think ANA will get better looking during D-MAX prob back into a TS later


its certainly possible
Quoting MeterologistDewon9:
Hopefully Bill will come somewhere near South Carolina. I mean Florida n and the Gulf states are always gettin hitt by storms, SC, GA, and NC is long overdue for a Hurricane, and we all know it and that its not fair to the Gulf States.


*poof*

You shouldn't wish a hurricane on anyone. I always wish for fishes, but that doesn't work out all the time.
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About JeffMasters

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