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 btwntx08:

he got mixed up with the lats and longs just put in the wrong but i correct for him


Thanks.
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1622. yamil20
SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST INFORMATION...
LOCATION...14.6N 46.7W
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...90 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WEST-NORTHWEST OR 285 DEGREES AT 16 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...969 MB
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Have to run now. Have a great afternoon. No time to make sure every detail is correct so need to stop posting for now LOL

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
1620. fmbill
Quoting CatastrophicDL:

I'm not sure. Some models yesterday and earlier today had been showing development of the next wave, but the latest runs are showing nothing.


12z CMC showc something.
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Quoting StormSurgeon:
Here fishy, fishy, fishy............

Talking to Bill or something a few noses away.
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1618. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
5 PM out, still at 90, pressure 969 or Strong Category 2 pressure. The ADT will go nuts once that eye pops out.
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Quoting Chucktown:


The NAM sucks at forecasting for the tropics. Its like the GFDL trying to forecast a blizzard.

Correct! lol!
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1614. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Claudette sure left a bunch of garbage in the northern GOM.
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Quoting fmbill:
18z NAM 54-hour

Ana just offshore Florida east coast.

Bill approaching Leeward Islands.


The NAM sucks at forecasting for the tropics. Its like the GFDL trying to forecast a blizzard.
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Here fishy, fishy, fishy............
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can someone look at the radar of Pensacola and see the rotation and figure out why the moisture is not coming on shore, I thought for sure we would have rain all day, but it seems like the majority is disappating well south of us. Thanks
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For anyone who's interested in seeing some awesome live pictures of Bill from the ISS, NASA's TV webcam shows the storm when it sweeps by from above. You have to time it right, but it's worth the watch. Gotta be patient while it does its earth revolution - when the storm comes up, you'll get a good look at what looks like the currently closed circulation of one huge storm - very impressive.
Link
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Quoting kachina:


Thanks bunches for this post! That made it easy for me to understand what is happening.


You're welcome. Please note I had to correct the post to delete the reference to 990. I had it right the first time.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
I can't believe people think Bill is going into the Caribbean or hitting Florida. Seriously?
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Quoting MeterologistDewon9:


That is something that we all know that we will not see.
I know but since he can wish for one I can wish for none.
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Latest on Bill (probably will look identical to the 5 o'clock advisory.

Storm information valid as of: Monday, August 17, 2009 18:00 Z
Coordinates: 14.4N 46.0W (View Map or View Storm Centered Satellite Image)
Location: 919 miles (1479 km) to the E (84°) from Bridgetown, Barbados
Distance Calculator: How far away is this storm from me?
Pressure (MSLP): 969 mb (28.61 inHg | 969 hPa)
Sustained wind speed (1 min. avg.): 80 knots (92 mph | 41 m/s)
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1603. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting clwstmchasr:
I use to have the Hurricane Hunters on Google Earth but I had to restore my computer and now it is not there. I have Google Earth open and can not find the Hurricane Hunters anywhere.
Under layers, there is a weather/hurricane season2009/Ana section but no hurricane hunters.

Help! Where can I find the hunters?


Link
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1600. JRRP
the models shift to west ???
Link
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
You think everything will be a Caribbean hurricane. Sounds like another wishcaster. I can tell you what I wish. No hurricanes affect any land mass this year.

no I dont think everything will be a carib cane just hurricane BILL
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1598. slavp
Quoting TampaSpin:
Here is StormW and My Tropical Updates if anyone would like to view.
BOC? Are you serious? Ugh!!! LOL
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Thought this was kind of interesting. Colson from NWS said this in the AFD.

Marine...Tropical Depression Ana may begin to affect coastal waters later on Wednesday into Friday. There is much uncertainty with how Ana will react once it moves away from Cuba. Mariners should pay close attention to the latest advisories from the National Hurricane Center for the remainder of the week. The
current forecast could change significantly.

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i am back any new news on ana and bill
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Quoting JeffMasters:


Large waves from Bill will probably reach the Florida coast by Saturday night, but the the only places in the U.S. that likely need be concerned about Bill's winds are Cape Cod and Maine.

Jeff Masters


As I said, the surfers will love the Outer Bank in few days. Thanks Jeff.
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1594. fmbill
18z NAM 54-hour

Ana just offshore Florida east coast.

Bill approaching Leeward Islands.
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1593. WxLogic
Quoting atmoaggie:

Not necessarily. Is possible of course, but our particular basin is losing it's MoJO.



After Bill... looks like we'll go back to a non active period until may be late Sept. when CFS and GFS are forecasting some upward motion to come back... but not even that is guaranteed.
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1592. kachina
Quoting kmanislander:


Sorry, stepped away for a bit. The steering layer is determined by the strength of the system. The 850 mb level would be for a storm no stronger than 990 to 1000 mb pressure.

At Bill's strength the steering is up around the 400 mb level as shown in the graphics posted by others.

While there is still some W to WSW steering shown there are other factors that affect steering such as the strength of the ridge to the N. The stronger a system the more it is inclined to move poleward and will " seek out " any weakness to its North in order to do so.

In 2004 and similar years we had very strong ridges far S that forced hurricanes like Ivan all the way W across the Atl. This year the ridge is further N and not continuous. A " bridged " ridge will have a weakness in it, such as the weakness now located near 50W and any weakness will attract a strong storm unless it is far South of it.

Also, the WNW to NW track is a forecasted track assuming the future evolution of features that affect steering, such as the trough that is forecasted to move off the East coast and erode the western flank of the ridge.

Hope this helps.


Thanks bunches for this post! That made it easy for me to understand what is happening.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
NHC can drop Ana,but my guess is she'll be back, I've seen storms in this area before where no west winds could be found and came back as strong TS or Hurricane. Fay & Dolly comes to mind, the HH looked for west winds til I'm sure they were sick.


They're still looking ...

20:11:30Z 17.517N 66.517W
949.3 mb(~ 28.03 inHg)
543 meters(~ 1,781 feet)
1010.6 mb(~ 29.84 inHg)

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Pretty decent westward shift on the models today as expected, maybe a slight more of a shift and that's where I believe Bill will head. Just off the East Coast, a recurvature that is too close for comfort.
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Quoting MiamiHurricane80:
On 8/17/2009 at 145 PM EST, Bill was located at 12.5W & 39.3N. 24 hours later, Bill wa slocated at 14.5W & 46.1N. That translates into a movement of 2W & 6.8N in 24 hours. Not the movement models have predicted.


Why don't you go back and take a look at those coordinates again.. Those say your in the Sahara Desert!
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1587. slavp
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
You think everything will be a Caribbean hurricane. Sounds like another wishcaster. I can tell you what I wish. No hurricanes affect any land mass this year.
Is this what you would call a carribacaster? LOL
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Quoting pottery:
Thanks Tampa & Kman.
Both well put.
Interesting to see the improvement in the system so late in the day.


You are welcome. I just corrected the post about the strength of storm for the 700 to 850 mb level. It is 990 to 1000. Need to proof before I post LOL
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
You think everything will be a Caribbean hurricane. Sounds like another wishcaster. I can tell you what I wish. No hurricanes affect any land mass this year.


That is something that we all know that we will not see.
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I think the next 24 hours is critical for a more definitive track on Hurricane Bill, if he's not north of 16 lattitude in 24 hours, then the Caribbean , Bahamas & East coast can look out imo
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Quoting CatastrophicDL:

I'm not sure. Some models yesterday and earlier today had been showing development of the next wave, but the latest runs are showing nothing.


That's what I thought...
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what degree latitude and longitude is the high supposed to weaken and split? Is it showing any signs of it yet? Thanks
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Quoting CaneWarning:
Does everyone think the next wave off of Africa will become Danny?

Not necessarily. Is possible of course, but our particular basin is losing it's MoJO.

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Uggh?

Quoting MiamiHurricane80:
On 8/17/2009 at 145 PM EST, Bill was located at 12.5W & 39.3N. 24 hours later, Bill wa slocated at 14.5W & 46.1N. That translates into a movement of 2W & 6.8N in 24 hours. Not the movement models have predicted.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

I agree I think bill will be a caribbean hurricane
You think everything will be a Caribbean hurricane. Sounds like another wishcaster. I can tell you what I wish. No hurricanes affect any land mass this year.
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Quoting barryweather:

I believe the circulation has moved well to the North.
http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/tracking/at200904_sat.html#a_topad

Im not sure if this is not just growth. But overall in compare to the past days it has shifted a bit to north.

EDIT
i thought you mean bill ...
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
I think this first weakness won't be strong enough to bring him out but force him on a more northwestern motion until he reaches just north of Puerto Rico where the second trough which will be stronger will sweep him up...I think it will come close enough to the East coast for a few big waves
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1575. pottery
Thanks Tampa & Kman.
Both well put.
Interesting to see the improvement in the system so late in the day.
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Quoting CaneWarning:
Does everyone think the next wave off of Africa will become Danny?

I'm not sure. Some models yesterday and earlier today had been showing development of the next wave, but the latest runs are showing nothing.
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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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