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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2724. Dakster
Quoting jdjnola:
I looked at the WU historical w/in 300 miles and found this map; Bill has followed almost exactly the same path up to this point. This is the scenario if the models are wrong and Bill doesn't recurve when forecast.

1871 Hurricane Four


I'm not a big fan of that potential track...
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Quoting canesrule1:
BILL AT 11 WILL HAVE WINDS OF 100 MPH AND A PRESSURE OF 967 MILLIBARS.


we measured a central pressure of 960.5 mbar at the evac point last year when Ike passed over...300 miles inland....
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Good evening everyone! Just been lurking about, but I am keeping a keen eye on all features everywhere! The tide in Bayou Lafourche is higher than normal and if it keeps raining, it may start going over the banks. But we are used to it!
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Quoting kmanislander:


This WV loop shows the ridge of high pressure building down on top of Bill from the NW. Is it strong enough to hold him down ??
You know I value your opinion. Is it any more possible at this time that Bill might head our way ? I know it's not probable but wondering about possibilities.
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2720. Relix
Quoting kmanislander:


This WV loop shows the ridge of high pressure building down on top of Bill from the NW. Is it strong enough to hold him down ??


So far seems that yes. It just hasn't been able to get past 15N yet.
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Quoting Weather456:
Dont know whats Bill problem



Other than that gap in convection its a very impressive system, nice eye forming.
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Quoting kmanislander:


This WV loop shows the ridge of high pressure building down on top of Bill from the NW. Is it strong enough to hold him down ??


maybe that what slowed him
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
People need to remember, Hurricane forcasting is always a challange. At times forcast models are close to accurate and other times not so good. Weather patterns that effect a hurricanes movement are always evolving, weakening/strengthening, and effecting the outcome of a hurricane. many minds far supperior than mine have difficulty knowing where they will end up. In the 2007 season there was Dean & Felix, both forcast to go poleward during the lifespan and both made a very strong westerly track across the Atlantic and Carribian. There are very, very many other hurricanes that have done very unusual tracks. What must be learned and executed from this is that all people living close to the coast must be prepared throughout the hurricane season to take evasive measures within a short period of time. Bill has had numerouos tracks already and will have numerous more before it is exhausted from the map.
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2716. 996tt
Quoting PensacolaBuoy:
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers as Claudette made landfall in Fort Walton Beach. Although Pensacola was on the "good" side of the storm, that was no comfort for those of us in its path. As I closed up the umbrellas around my pool last night, the storm approaching, I shuddered to think what the morning might bring. Today, Claudette made her presence felt. When I awoke, the cowering umbrellas stood frozen by a pool whose water level was scarcely an inch from the overflow drain. Dozens of pieces of pine straw coated my windshield as I got in my Buick Lucern to drive to work. Along my commute, driver after driver clung to cell phones-- undoubtedly reporting conditions to loved ones that would follow in their paths. In the office, the lights flickered, and everyone gasped... but it was just the air conditioner kicking on. Memories of Ivan's aftermath are but five years old and still raw. The ghost of Hurricane Dennis seemed to pass through town as Claudette sashayed through our lives. I am glad to report no serious injuries from the City of Five Flags today. The Emerald Coast is still green. The white sands are still on the windward side of the roads. For at least one more day, Pensacola is safe. Peace be with all of you.


Hehe, I don't even recall any rain to speak of.
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Quoting canesrule1:
BILL AT 11 WILL HAVE WINDS OF 100 MPH AND A PRESSURE OF 967 MILLIBARS.


I noticed that the pressure is getting down into serious numbers.

Lets hope it does not get into the 'big leagues' below 930 anytime soon.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 488
2712. jpsb
Quoting GetReal:


Do not be surprised that once Bill gets past 50W that it picks up the forward speed again... 20+ mph towards the west, or WNW is very possible as Bill now comes under the influence of the Bermuda high to the NW....

IMO, if you are in the N. Lesser Antilles it is time to start getting nervous....


Something just doesn't add up here. Bill is forecast to go right thru all those white lines. Now how can that be? Either the NHC forecast is down right silly (I just can not believe that) or those white lines are really not there. Anyone? Thanks
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1197
Quoting Relix:


It won't for a few hours. It just met an invisible wall it seems =P


This WV loop shows the ridge of high pressure building down on top of Bill from the NW. Is it strong enough to hold him down ??
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Good Eveving Storm
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2708. Relix
Quoting Weather456:


55W is rather close to the islands


Too much for comfort...and it still would be below forecast points.
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Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers as Claudette made landfall in Fort Walton Beach. Although Pensacola was on the "good" side of the storm, that was no comfort for those of us in its path. As I closed up the umbrellas around my pool last night, the storm approaching, I shuddered to think what the morning might bring. Today, just 450 years after a hurricane destroyed this, America's first settlement, Claudette made her presence felt. When I awoke, the cowering umbrellas stood frozen by a pool whose water level was scarcely an inch from the overflow drain. Dozens of pieces of pine straw coated my windshield as I got in my Buick Lucern to drive to work. Along my commute, driver after driver clung to cell phones-- undoubtedly reporting conditions to loved ones that would follow in their paths. In the office, the lights flickered, and everyone gasped... but it was just the air conditioner kicking on. Memories of Ivan's aftermath are but five years old and still raw. The ghost of Hurricane Dennis seemed to pass through town as Claudette sashayed through our lives. I am glad to report no serious injuries from the City of Five Flags today. The Emerald Coast is still green. The white sands are still on the windward side of the roads. For at least one more day, Pensacola is safe. Peace be with all of you.
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Quoting StormW:
Good evening!


seriously need ur opinion on Bill motion
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2705. jdjnola
Quoting cchsweatherman:


Seems to be hitting some "wall" out there called the Bermuda High. Really thinking the computer models have severely underestimated the strength of the Bermuda High.


I would have to agree.
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Quoting weathercrazy40:
i noticed the Ensemble Computer models now starting to bend west on lastest run
They usually do once they get a handle on what's happening, We've seen this many times before nothing new and they'll shift again later in the forecast period Patience Patience
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2703. Engine2
Quoting StormW:
Good evening!
Evening Storm whats your thoughts on the westward shift in the models?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
at 55w thats when the turn begins


55W is rather close to the islands
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2701. jdjnola
I looked at the WU historical w/in 300 miles and found this map; Bill has followed almost exactly the same path up to this point--even the jog north close to 40W! This is one possible scenario if the models are wrong and Bill doesn't recurve when forecast.

1871 Hurricane Four
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2699. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Drakoen:
Bill struggling to get past 15N
at 55w thats when the turn begins
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2698. Relix
Quoting kmanislander:
This image shows the eye of Bill getting ready to cross 15 N



It won't for a few hours. It just met an invisible wall it seems =P
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BILL AT 11 WILL HAVE WINDS OF 100 MPH AND A PRESSURE OF 967 MILLIBARS.
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2694. java162
Quoting Ossqss:
Hummm, What is that?






DANNY!!!! lol.
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no indications of Bill changing couse yet
WATCHES MIGHT BE NEEDED FOR SOME OF THE ISLANDS AS EARLY AS TOMORROW MORNING
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.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Quoting BahaHurican:
There's a lot of stuff on the side of the models right now, including climatology, which says that 8 / 10 hurricanes in Bill's general location don't affect land areas. The models are based on 5 day global forecasts which, while nowhere near perfect, are a whole lot better than they were pre-2005 when it comes to TC tracks.

Right now it may look like that high is carved in stone. By Thursday, however, it is entirely possible that the trough people have been talking about - the kind of trough that causes most of the US weather - will carve away at that thing like a hunk of cheese.

Wait and see is the name of the game..... lol


But by Thursday, at current forward mtion, Bill will be past the Antilles?

That is the part of the equation that I am not getting.
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 488
This image shows the eye of Bill getting ready to cross 15 N

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Quoting Ossqss:
Hummm, What is that?

Rorschach test?
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Quoting cchsweatherman:
Despite the latest Dvorak numbers, it seems that Hurricane Bill may be struggling tonight with dry air. To be honest, I'm not even sure whether there's really an eye with Bill or if thats just another dry slot punching through the storm.

At this time, if I live in the Northern Lesser Antilles (right around Weather456's neck of the woods), I would be keeping a much closer eye on Hurricane Bill now.


Yup... hoping I can get some rest tonight. What a nailbiter.
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Quoting cchsweatherman:
Despite the latest Dvorak numbers, it seems that Hurricane Bill may be struggling tonight with dry air. To be honest, I'm not even sure whether there's really an eye with Bill or if thats just another dry slot punching through the storm.

At this time, if I live in the Northern Lesser Antilles (right around Weather456's neck of the woods), I would be keeping a much closer eye on Hurricane Bill now.



well ur right, just told us Bill maybe closer than expected
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
THIS WILL BE THE 11PM ADVISORY ON BILL PROVIDED BY TROPICALATLANIC.COM.

Storm information valid as of: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 0:00 Z
Coordinates: 14.8N 47.6W (View Map or View Storm Centered Satellite Image)
Location: 815 miles (1312 km) to the E (82°) from Bridgetown, Barbados
Distance Calculator: How far away is this storm from me?
Pressure (MSLP): 967 mb (28.56 inHg | 967 hPa)
Sustained wind speed (1 min. avg.): 85 knots (98 mph | 44 m/s)
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Quoting weatherboykris:


No...in fact the only people who believe that are the same ones waiting for Ana to hit New Orleans next week.
If you can't see that it is moving almost due West then you need to tilt your head a little more.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Bill struggling to get past 15N


Seems to be hitting some "wall" out there called the Bermuda High. Really thinking the computer models have severely underestimated the strength of the Bermuda High.
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2680. Ossqss
Hummm, What is that?




Member Since: June 12, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8186
2679. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
166

WHXX01 KWBC 180043

CHGHUR

TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE

NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

0043 UTC TUE AUG 18 2009



DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



TROPICAL CYCLONE BILL (AL032009) 20090818 0000 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

090818 0000 090818 1200 090819 0000 090819 1200



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 14.8N 47.6W 15.7N 50.3W 16.9N 52.6W 18.4N 54.8W

BAMD 14.8N 47.6W 15.6N 50.3W 16.5N 52.6W 17.5N 54.6W

BAMM 14.8N 47.6W 15.7N 50.4W 16.8N 52.5W 18.0N 54.6W

LBAR 14.8N 47.6W 15.7N 50.5W 16.6N 53.6W 17.5N 56.6W

SHIP 85KTS 91KTS 97KTS 101KTS

DSHP 85KTS 91KTS 97KTS 101KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

090820 0000 090821 0000 090822 0000 090823 0000



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 20.4N 57.0W 24.3N 62.4W 28.3N 65.8W 33.9N 64.1W

BAMD 18.9N 56.4W 23.2N 59.9W 29.6N 61.8W 36.5N 61.1W

BAMM 19.7N 56.5W 24.1N 61.0W 29.5N 63.9W 36.0N 63.2W

LBAR 18.6N 59.4W 21.3N 65.0W 25.2N 68.6W 37.5N 64.9W

SHIP 105KTS 106KTS 102KTS 99KTS

DSHP 105KTS 106KTS 102KTS 99KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 14.8N LONCUR = 47.6W DIRCUR = 285DEG SPDCUR = 15KT

LATM12 = 13.9N LONM12 = 44.6W DIRM12 = 289DEG SPDM12 = 14KT

LATM24 = 13.1N LONM24 = 41.3W

WNDCUR = 85KT RMAXWD = 20NM WNDM12 = 80KT

CENPRS = 967MB OUTPRS = 1010MB OUTRAD = 240NM SDEPTH = D

RD34NE = 130NM RD34SE = 90NM RD34SW = 75NM RD34NW = 130NM



$$

NNNN
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2676. Drakoen
Bill struggling to get past 15N
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Ha Ha Ha you said pinhole
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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.

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