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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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.
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Quoting Drakoen:
Bill is ugly. That dry slot is ugly.

that could be the joker that changes things. it seems it has loss a little of its roundness.
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Quoting Funkadelic:


LOL! I remember watching that cartoon growing up! Here is a picture of Butthead looking at the sattelite loops for hurricane bill:




Butthead: Ummmm Beavis, I think he's moving West

Beavis: Uhhhhh
that is to funny it helps to lighten the mood
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Quoting masonsnana:
Don't think this is just a "Jog" anymore....Anyone agree???


No...in fact the only people who believe that are the same ones waiting for Ana to hit New Orleans next week.
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Quoting 21N71W:

Evening Baha, no no no , no such thoughts please, by the way is it raining where you are? (remains of Ana) Nothing here in the Turks and Caicos yet...
No rain, but some thunder due to the ULL. Hope we don't get much of either ex-Ana OR Bill. Bill can have the ATL between her and Bermuda, and then between Bermuda and Nova Scotia.....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22138
In my opinion, which is worthless and I suggest you don't listen to it...I certainly don't...Bill looks far from strengthening, nor does it look like it is weakening.

If you understood what I just wrote, that makes one of us.
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Dont know whats Bill problem

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
Nope



"Eye" Be gone...
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2662. Ossqss
Is Bill starting to eat dust?
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i feel sorry for the fishcasters that where wishing for bill to be a fish storm now i am finding it more un likey that bill will be a fish
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115107
Quoting Chucktown:
Just like in previous years, there is so much impatience on this blog. You are not going to see much of a turn in the the next 24 hours. In fact Bill will continue to gain more west longitude than north latitude. This is the official track through Wednesday. From inital time at 5 PM this evening to tomorrow at 5 PM, Bill is only expected to gain 1.2 degrees of latitude. Give it time. It will turn once the trough draws closer to the east coast which isn't going to happen until Thursday. Bill slowing down is the first sign of some changes in the steering flow.


Thank you, good to know!
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Funkadelic..roflmao!
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Quoting Lafreniere16:
Quoting BahaHurican

Location, Lafreniere?
I'd agree with the bulk of the others on here; unless Bill gets somehow far enough west to affect places like Antigua and Barbuda, it's extremely unlikely to hit the Bahamas. Even if it did, the earliest time frame for that would be the weekend. Lots of lead time......


NOLA, not that I'm expecting it to come here or anything like that; its just all the hype about it missing the first ridge and the models moving West. I never really trust the models that much and i like hearing the reasons that people give on why the storms will move in certain directions. And i know it is still very far away from U.S.
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
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22138
Don't think this is just a "Jog" anymore....Anyone agree???
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Quoting Weather456:
Bill now a 100 mph hurricane

AL, 03, 2009081800, , BEST, 0, 148N, 476W, 85, 967, HU


Notice the 14.8 Lat - started at 14.6 at 5 PM and is supposed to be at 15.2 at 2 AM - very close to the NHC track
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2652. Drakoen
Bill is ugly. That dry slot is ugly.
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Quoting btwntx08:

yep i did mentioned a hurricane watch for the antillies earlier this am and now it is looking more and more that there gonna get a huuricane watch

I knew BIll was going to make you guys think about the caribbean cane
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i believe that the dry air is disrupting bill. it got strong enough to start pulling in dry air like opal did.
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should BILL continue to move west at the same speed then watches might be needed for some of the islands as early as tomorrow morning
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2647. 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....
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2646. java162
Quoting stormpetrol:
Bill imo is very close to major hurricane status, hope the Leewards are well prepared.


yes we are prepared to watch bill go up north. other than that i will be on the beach to get a look at some of the expected high waves
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i noticed the Ensemble Computer models now starting to bend west on lastest run
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Quoting palmbaywhoo:
florida would need an act of God to have this come their way imo
careful what you wish for......
Member Since: July 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
Bill now a 100 mph hurricane and has not reach 15N yet

AL, 03, 2009081800, , BEST, 0, 148N, 476W, 85, 967, HU
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2641. VARob
Quoting btwntx08:

yep i did mentioned a hurricane watch for the antillies earlier this am and now it is looking more and more that there gonna get a huuricane watch

And I believe that was for Ana as she was the center of you attention.
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Quoting Chucktown:
Just like in previous years, there is so much impatience on this blog. You are not going to see much of a turn in the the next 24 hours. In fact Bill will continue to gain more west longitude than north latitude. This is the official track through Wednesday. From inital time at 5 PM this evening to tomorrow at 5 PM, Bill is only expected to gain 1.2 degrees of latitude. Give it time. It will turn once the trough draws closer to the east coast which isn't going to happen until Thursday. Bill slowing down is the first sign of some changes in the steering flow.

Aw c'mon Chuck... I'm already getting calls and emails from some of your neighbors asking if they can come to the Upstate in a "what if scenario." At least Bill has people thinking about their emergency plans, even if it IS too early to be getting in the car :).
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Quoting DestinJeff:
This looks as if Billiam should maintain a mostly westward component in his fwd motion, due to the influence of the enormous white circles to his nw


This is what I am beginning to think and this makes the situation for the northern Lesser Antilles more dire by the hour. This chart indicates why we are seeing these shifts to the west since the path to the north is blocked. Then this opens a whole new chain of events for you guys and gals along the eastern seaboard of the continent.....being on this blog is like playing roulette!.... Russian or otherwise.
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2636. SLU


5:51pm quikscat
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Bill definitely moving west.....
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
AL, 03, 2009081800, , BEST, 0, 148N, 476W, 85, 967, HU
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2633. Relix
NHC won't put advisories up. They are so confident on their track they won't do it unless Bill moves W constantly for another 12, 18 hours. I trust the NHC, but the West movements of such a best unnerve me.
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2632. Hhunter
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Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2618.

U never know. lol.

Yeah, we can hope and I agree, I wish I could 'direct it away'.....it will cause untold damage to whatever it hits.

But, there are possibilities, probabilities and realities and maybes.........

We will see...

E-mail me when the aliens come...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 488
Dang...Bill is a good looking hurricane...
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2627. Hhunter
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Where do you get the weekend from. It is about 900 miles west of the islands moving at 16 mph would mean around Wed night Thursday morning.
Are we talking 21N 71W here? That's what I was thinking about.....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22138
Bill imo is very close to major hurricane status, hope the Leewards are well prepared.
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2624. breald
Have you guys seen the new trajectory posted under the Tropical/hurricane link? Pretty interesting. .




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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.