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 canesrule1:
Check this out, It's a 2-day stellite movie of Bill and Ana: Link


Thanks for the link!
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I still think the Leewards have to watch Bill very closely.
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Quoting leelee75k:
works now canesrule, thanks
no prob
4321. bwi
Any circulation signs in that batch of weather between Haiti, Jamaica, and SE Cuba? Appears to be spreading north but moving west?
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4320. centex
Track has been very consistent last couple days. Just S of WNW or about 285.
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4318. Grothar
Quoting yonzabam:



It was never a hurricane. It originated in the Bay of Biscay, off the west coast of France. It was a very strong gale with hurricane force winds.


Hey, Grothar here. Did you get a chance to read my response which would have been #4228. Would be interested in your comment. Where are you in Scotland. I stayed in Edinburgh on Esselmont Road between Mayfield and Craig Miller Rd.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26958
Quoting Tazmanian:
all come on guys


how many times did you all think Andrew was going to be a fish ??? or may be IKE ???


Taz, go back and look at the blog archives. It had already become clear that Ike would not be a fish storm long before it got to the Gulf. The only debate was whether it would hit the Bahamas and Florida, or Cuba and then somewhere in the Gulf.

Besides, this is really weak logic...if you think Bill is going to turn west and hit the US, make an argument based on Bill. Or, if you want to base an argument on Ike, show us how Ike was similar to Bill and the same error is possible. If you can't do that, it's just wild speculation.
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1589

what nice quikscat of Bill
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


that Bermuda High seems to be ridging toward the Carolinas? right?
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works now canesrule, thanks
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Quoting MahFL:
The storm in 1987 in the UK was very bad. Michael Fish, the chief met at the time, said an old women had called and asked if a hurricane was comeing. He said no, which was true, it was an ex hurricane, and that it would be in the south of the English Channel and not too strong. It went right over London, much stronger than forcast, and caused havoc. At the time I was on vacation in North Scotland,when I went home to Northern england I was confused as to why all the Ivy creeper was torn off my wall, some 250 miles from the storm, I was informed it was indeed the storm that did it. The storm was of cause a large extratropical one by that time.



It was never a hurricane. It originated in the Bay of Biscay, off the west coast of France. It was a very strong gale with hurricane force winds.
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Check this out, It's a 2-day stellite movie of Bill and Ana: Link
4309. fmbill
Quoting PcolaDan:


Noticed NHC has a yellow on it. I've been keeping eye on it (think Claudette). Once it clears Cuba will need to be watched imho just so it doesn't sneak up on us. Like everything down there it will eventually turn north into the cauldron. If it manages to have even a little organization could be a problem.


It looks like IF it does develop, it would most likely a Florida storm somewhere around the big bend.

Link
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Planes been flying out for hours now.


I know they were taking data out ahead of the storm...but did they actually get a vortex and fly through the center?...
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Quoting IKE:


It's already beyond those coordinates.

I'm going to check in an hour for the NHC coordinates and see if it matches up.
Canes advisory does not seem to be official. In fact it may be a rules violation of posting URL of "commercial services"
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Quoting canesrule1:
I am expecting the NHC cone to shift eastward at the 11AM advisory, models curving Bill out to sea, even earlier now, as of the 12z models.


I agree. I think Bill will be N of it's next TFP
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PTRAP-I read this post last night and liked it's simplicity. Do you agree with it, knowing of course that anything can happen with a tropical cylclone, but in general do you agree?

3047. LongGlassTube 10:17 PM EDT on August 17, 2009

Back in the days of paper charts we would do our own XTRAP using a ruler to pencil in a dotted line of travel. Generally speaking once the XTRAP is North of your position you are in the clear. If XTRAP is on you just prior to landfall well, there you are.

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Looks like Bill will be upgraded to 95kts at 11:00 advisory but still watching it to be sure. Also, reconnaissance should arrive in Bill around 18z.
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4302. SaoFeng
Quoting reedzone:


How do you get old forecast tracks like that?


http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2009/BILL.shtml?
Simply replace 2009 with the year and BILL with the storm... then click graphic archives if you wan to see the images. Enjoy!
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thanks but the link isn't working :(
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4300. MahFL
The storm in 1987 in the UK was very bad. Michael Fish, the chief met at the time, said an old women had called and asked if a hurricane was comeing. He said no, which was true, it was an ex hurricane, and that it would be in the south of the English Channel and not too strong. It went right over London, much stronger than forcast, and caused havoc. At the time I was on vacation in North Scotland,when I went home to Northern england I was confused as to why all the Ivy creeper was torn off my wall, some 250 miles from the storm, I was informed it was indeed the storm that did it. The storm was of cause a large extratropical one by that time.
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4299. Grothar
Quoting fmbill:


Satellite



Thanks for showing them the link. My facility with linking is not that good. Nice to know there is someone who can place a picture with a statement. Perhaps a bit premature, but what is your impression of the feature which has recently emerged off of Africa?
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26958
Quoting P451:


Andrew? Zero. The bit on Andrew was it was struggling to maintain 50mph and would probably be torn apart overnight by shear.

Well, that didn't happen. Andrew was about intensity not track.

Ike? I don't recall the discussions.


You are correct....Andrew was written off on more than one occasion. The dynamics of this storm is a bit different as well. Andrew was a more compact storm with most of the 135 mph plus winds near the core and moe compact. In my opinion Bill has the makeup of a Hurrican Frances in the overall size.
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Maybe the Bay of Campeche will send some rain to southern texas.
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4296. jake436
Quoting Grothar:


I believe your reference to the Weather man was Michael Fish, if I remembert correctly. He got a poor rap, I believe his quote of "not worrying about the storm was concerning another area. Please correct me if I am wrong!!
Maybe THAT'S why we call 'em "fish storms"! lol
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Eye is shrinking:

4293. fmbill
Quoting PanhandleChuck:


I have some pictures that I uploaded last year of the old pier when Gustav was making landfall west of us. They're not the best quality, but it was impressive.


Hey! I've been there.

I hope you don't have anything like that again. I'd hate see that area tore up.
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Thank you for answering my question..
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Quoting mobilegirl81:
NHC is going to ride the curvature west just like previous storms.
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Quoting canesrule1:
that is true.


Reading your posts is like watching a tennis match ... fish.. serve.. Florida.. Serve.. Fish.. Serve.. Florida
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Quoting leelee75k:
morning all, what's the best satellite to look at to see the trough and Bill interact today?
in my opinion this site: Link
Quoting AussieStorm:
What is the lastest with the Ex-Ana open wave???


Noticed NHC has a yellow on it. I've been keeping eye on it (think Claudette). Once it clears Cuba will need to be watched imho just so it doesn't sneak up on us. Like everything down there it will eventually turn north into the cauldron. If it manages to have even a little organization could be a problem.
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4285. Melagoo
Quoting NEwxguy:
a front is going to push south through New England tomorrow,but stall south of us,then move back north as a warm front at the end of the week,the real trough comes sunday which should push Bill out.


... and if it doesn't ... YIKES!
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4284. IKE
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting rarepearldesign:


Does it really have potential to hit us harder than Juan in NS??


I am no forecaster, but I would definetly keep a close eye on it. Remember keep your friends close and your enemies closer
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I am expecting the NHC cone to shift eastward at the 11AM advisory, models curving Bill out to sea, even earlier now, as of the 12z models.
I"m new to the site but have lurked for quite some time. I don't have any weather experience or anything but I am facinated with it! I live in Tampa Bay but was in New Orleans visiting when Katrina struck! I was stuck there for 5 days after..worst days of my life..I have a question though, what does the verification model mean on this site? I see where all the lines are pointing to Florida, sorry for sounding so dumb! I really enjoy this site!
I kind of agree with Canesrule1 about Bill though.
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Quoting Chiggy007:
ONCE AGAIN: BILL IS A FISH as far as CONUS is concerned!
LETS MOVE ON...LOL


Glad you added "as far as CONUS is concerned", but I still don't like "fish" being used when, models or not, a potentially major storm is at our doorstep.
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Quoting Patrap:


.."OMG!..their Break-blog fighting again"..



LMAO!
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Quoting SaoFeng:


Anything can happen... keep your eyes open!


How do you get old forecast tracks like that?
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bill is going W-WNW at this time
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Quoting PanhandleChuck:


At this point, I'd be more worried about human life and not vegetation. Not trying to offend you, but this could be pretty bad up your way.


Does it really have potential to hit us harder than Juan in NS??
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Looks like about 90% of the bloggers last night got it wrong with Bill's westward movement (exception-storm).
Quoting Tazmanian:
if bill dos not start pulling N today or soon it will soon be runing in too PR

Last night everybody was saying it was going west. didn't happen.
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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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