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 louisianaboy444:
For what its worth i will give this my best shot:

I feel as though Bill has by passed the first weakness forecasted to turn him more Northwesterly because he was not as deep as some of the models forecasted him to be at this point of time...he was only in the 400 mb level and the trough is in the 200 mb upper levels and thus did not have an affect on him or very little affect...

I also see the Bermuda high is holding strong which is causing the slow down and the western movement....Now the next trough looks more potent and will weaken the western side of the bermuda high causing a weakness...at this point Bill should be deep and strong enough to take this weakness and ride it up the coast and out to sea....

I do believe the Northern Antilles could get a close call...but i do believe it will eventually go out to sea...Now how close will it get to the east coast is the question...with the current trend all i can say is keep two eyes on it now instead of one if you on the east coast


Great Analysis thats exactly whats hapening right now, getting woried here in PR still bellow 15 and almost at 50w. GFS shows the this extact scenario for 96hrs of models runs before the storm even formed!, then jump into the more northerly track in agrement with the other models by the way was the last one to do it. August 20 2009 could be a Major hit here in PR the first in the last 70 years.
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Quoting lovesdanger:
victorian when we talk about a fish storm we mean the storm will not hit the us...bermuda always has a 50/50 channce of getting hit with a fish storm..just wanted to clear that up for you..


Not true for everyone at all. Many are responsible enough to realize the dangers involved to ALL in any possible path. When these say fish storm they mean just that, bypassing all inhabited areas. The difficulty is weeding through these people and the irresponsible people who discount others not from THEIR neighborhood. If Bill were to hit the Antilles I guarantee no one there would call it a fish storm.
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we keep saying that Bill is hitting the NHC marks but everytime they move them west! So if they keep moving them to be accurate is it truly hitting the forcasted marks? Not wishcasting squat but Im a little tired of the its doing exactly what they say its doing and we all know its not. It will probably be booted at some point but not as it has been forcasted too.
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All will be in agreement with me in a few days when it becomes apparent that Bill is chugging toward the coast...no way this cane makes the hook!
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Quoting rareaire:
nope its to light your a habitual claim filer. Front is gone now and headed off to make the eastcasters happy!


No you are wrong...my new fence and roof will be toast by the am...70mph gust, lightning...your typical run of the mill storms at Conchs house :-/
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I can't wait for the surf this weekend on the east coast of fl!
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Quoting lovesdanger:
well victoria i agree somewhat if you put it that wat its going to hit the azores islands if it goes ne in the atlantic so it will always hit something lol...we are in the us thats all i care about and bermuda of course..i cant worry about whats going on all over the world there is enough problems here at home to deal with hun..
v Only problem with this is that there ARE pple on the blog who are not from the US. Their info from their location sometimes helps pple in the US avoid the worst of some storms. Is it right to ignore them like they arent even there? Course not.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22138
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Tomorrow night this storm will be a monster. Throughout the day it has been growing in size and tomorrow night I expect an explosion. However, that explosion might no be a good thing if you want to see an M/A or Northeast Hurricane. It might cause the storm to recurve sooner than people like. Another person said that this would not be hurricane if it made it up to New England or Nova Scotia. It might not technically be a hurricane by then, but it could still have hurricane force winds as well as a big wind radii as it converts to a subtropical storm.
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3362. TopWave
Its going to be interesting to see where "Big Bill" ends up. Bill knows steroid use is illegal. Lets hope mother nature can stop him from using.
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I live in Eastern Massachusetts and i am petrified of this storm even though i usually would be excited for it... Can someone reassure me please lol.
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Quoting chevycanes:

i'd say it's past 48 considering the NHC put the center at 48.3

And it's at 15N, as the NHC stated also... Lol
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3358. TXEER
One thing I've learned here in the past two days is that the NHC called it right with Ana and they are calling it right on Bill despite the expert advice offered by many who post here.

Maybe the NHC is really where the experts hang!
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nope its to light your a habitual claim filer. Front is gone now and headed off to make the eastcasters happy!
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
For what its worth i will give this my best shot:

I feel as though Bill has by passed the first weakness forecasted to turn him more Northwesterly because he was not as deep as some of the models forecasted him to be at this point of time...he was only in the 400 mb level and the trough is in the 200 mb upper levels and thus did not have an affect on him or very little affect...

I also see the Bermuda high is holding strong which is causing the slow down and the western movement....Now the next trough looks more potent and will weaken the western side of the bermuda high causing a weakness...at this point Bill should be deep and strong enough to take this weakness and ride it up the coast and out to sea....

I do believe the Northern Antilles could get a close call...but i do believe it will eventually go out to sea...Now how close will it get to the east coast is the question...with the current trend all i can say is keep two eyes on it now instead of one if you on the east coast


Nice analogy...but this storm is not going to hook!
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How often do troughs not "arrive" like expected?
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Quoting hurricanetracker:
To All, Bill definitely intensifying (NO dry air intrusion). Cold tops clearly visible on color images expanding and enveloping around the center. We'll all pretty soon be witnessing the transformation of the eye of the hurricane.


As I stated prior. All go to your favorite satellite image, and witness the beginning of the eye of a powerful hurricane!
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Quoting victoriahurricane:


Well that's kind of unfair, because a fish storm from what I hear doesn't affect land and Bermuda still has people there and also Canada has people in the Maritimes. If it truly was a fish storm no land would be affected correct? So the whole fish term isn't used properly then.
Actually, Victoria, when we say "fish storm", we do mean hits no land, not even Bermuda or the Azores. Lovesdanger hasn't been posting here long enough to realize that.

So Bill will not be a fish if it hits Nova Scotia.......
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22138
Quoting truecajun:
ok call me crazy, but looking at the water vapor loop, i see a slight northeast movement of what i think is the eye.

I was going to log-off....but I'll call you crazy....lol....j/k
.
.
time for this bandito to have a glass of milk and go to sleep.
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Goodnight true cajun
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There is no chance Bill will be anywhere near Florida...for once lets worry about the folks that will need to be prepared for this storm. It is a MONSTER!!!
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Quoting jdjnola:


Rap this puppy up? Do I have to get my rhymes out? Bill, Bill, he ain't got the will... to hit the east coast cuz the east coast is ill. Ana was bananas and Claudette was just wet. 2009, represent.

What do you want, another Katrina "BANG"?,,,Let the season take its way. who knows! It may have something for your state.....;
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gotta get some sleep. as usual, tomorrow is another day.
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We're basically in the same situation we were at last night at this time. It's clear what's going to happen here. At this point, we can only watch, wait, and pray.
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3344. jipmg
Quoting truecajun:
ok call me crazy, but looking at the water vapor loop, i see a slight northeast movement of what i think is the eye.


yea thats eye wall reconstruction
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3343. 7544
bill looks to be right in the spot as of now when for 3 days the gfs showed it going to fla for sevearal runs .if anyone can remeber
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ok call me crazy, but looking at the water vapor loop, i see a slight northeast movement of what i think is the eye

Its an illusion caused by the pull of the weakness off to his northeast

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I suppose it is fair to say that ex-ANA will just be a rain maker for Florida?? Any mention by the regulars of regeneration in the straights or the gulf?
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ok call me crazy, but looking at the water vapor loop, i see a slight northeast movement of what i think is the eye.
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Not directly tropic related...Rare...I think I may be filing another claim in the am :-0
Link
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3338. jipmg
Quoting jbryant:
Been lurking for past 2 hours or so, because I dont have the knowledge to make a positive contribution in the discussions. So I watch just for information. However, awhile back someone made an observation wondering if Claudette would have any effect on the trough coming down which I believe it was the general thought that this event combined with the opening in the Bermuda high was what would steer Bill out to sea. Then in post 3115 & 3116 additional info was submitted which if I read it correctly seems to indicate the trough will push back to the north as a warm front. I am disappointed that some of the more knowledgable bloggers on here have failed to acknowledge any of these observations and in doing so may have missed a critical piece of information. I am disappointed in that while you all seem to be having great fun with the direction etc, you do not seem to have the courtesy to answer another blogger with less knowledge.


Its because the NHC doesn't take that piece of information into its forecast it seems
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3336. szqrn1
it is SZQRN1 and Second Life... had to take break from looking at this blog all day....
Is Anna still dead?
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3335. jipmg
Quoting KBH:
Suppose the ridge to the north of Bill slows him down,is it likely that the path will be more westerly, rather than north westerly and given the heavy TS to the south the islands may need to be on storm watch soon, any ideas?


this will be your answer:

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/real-time/dlmmain.php?&basin=atlantic&sat=wg8&prod=dlm6&zoom=&ti me=

lets wait until it updates
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People we need to quit contradicting the NHC and their official forecast. That is called wishcasting and it is sad. Bill is following the predicted path. it is true that some adjustment to the left might be needed, but the true is that is is basically following the predicted path and it will be a fish storm. Nevertheless Puerto Rico need to keep an eye on it until it passes several miles to the north of the island, and of course the East Coast need to be watching it as they should with any system with such trajectory. Have your kit ready, but do not panic or cause panic by speculating or bringing unnoficial information to this site. Just be prepared you never know and if it is not this one it could be the next ok.
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3333. jbryant
Been lurking for past 2 hours or so, because I dont have the knowledge to make a positive contribution in the discussions. So I watch just for information. However, awhile back someone made an observation wondering if Claudette would have any effect on the trough coming down which I believe it was the general thought that this event combined with the opening in the Bermuda high was what would steer Bill out to sea. Then in post 3115 & 3116 additional info was submitted which if I read it correctly seems to indicate the trough will push back to the north as a warm front. I am disappointed that some of the more knowledgable bloggers on here have failed to acknowledge any of these observations and in doing so may have missed a critical piece of information. I am disappointed in that while you all seem to be having great fun with the direction etc, you do not seem to have the courtesy to answer another blogger with less knowledge.
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3332. KBH
Suppose the ridge to the north of Bill slows him down,is it likely that the path will be more westerly, rather than north westerly and given the heavy TS to the south the islands may need to be on storm watch soon, any ideas?
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Slightly off topic, but out of curiosity; can anyone positively confirm the existence of this system from the South Atlantic this year?

Link

This is the only info I have found, and it appears that there is conflicting info on the February 2006 system, which is why I am skeptical. Just curious is all, as I have an interest in the S. Atlantic for tropical systems.
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For what its worth i will give this my best shot:

I feel as though Bill has by passed the first weakness forecasted to turn him more Northwesterly because he was not as deep as some of the models forecasted him to be at this point of time...he was only in the 400 mb level and the trough is in the 200 mb upper levels and thus did not have an affect on him or very little affect...

I also see the Bermuda high is holding strong which is causing the slow down and the western movement....Now the next trough looks more potent and will weaken the western side of the bermuda high causing a weakness...at this point Bill should be deep and strong enough to take this weakness and ride it up the coast and out to sea....

I do believe the Northern Antilles could get a close call...but i do believe it will eventually go out to sea...Now how close will it get to the east coast is the question...with the current trend all i can say is keep two eyes on it now instead of one if you on the east coast
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possible eye trying to clear out...will have to wait and see if its dry air still or if hes able to get a full eyewall developed...
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3327. jipmg
Quoting chevycanes:

i'd say it's past 48 considering the NHC put the center at 48.3


pshh thats even worse, south of 15 N and nearing 49W
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3324. GBguy88
Quoting jdjnola:


Rap this puppy up? Do I have to get my rhymes out? Bill, Bill, he ain't got the will... to hit the east coast cuz the east coast is ill. Ana was bananas and Claudette was just wet. 2009, represent.


...Wow. You know what? Brownie points for creativity.
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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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