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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1324. Patrap
NOLA Discussion


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1323. Dakster
Quoting canesrule1:
pressure down wind up, intensifying rather rapidly.


Where are you getting realtime measurements of Bill? are the HH in bill too?
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1322. Drakoen
Quoting WeatherStudent:


?, post them, please.


????????????????????????



NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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1321. jpsb
Quoting hydrus:
I am not a met, but if I were living in the Northern Antilles, I would still keep track of Bill.
If I were living in the Northren Antilles I'd be booking the next flight out.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1013
Quoting canesrule1:
pressure down wind up, intensifying rather rapidly.

14.4 N? that's current?
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Quoting Grothar:


In reading a few other blogger in your area I am wondering if you do not have mandatory evacuations for coastal areas in strong storms as we do. Since we live on the Intracoastal island we must evacuate even though our elevation is quite high.


We do have mandatory evac orders when storms threaten. Of course, it's mandatory as far as the order goes, but people do choose to ignore the orders...

Since our law enforcement folks will be busy helping those who do want to evacuate, we're not going door to door to arrest folks for not evacuating... We're relying on people to use common sense and heed the orders when the threat is present.
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IF YOU LOOK AT THE VISIBLE SHOT OF ANA IT LOOKS LIKE THE CIRCULATION IS JUST NW OF PUERTO RICO.
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1315. Dakster
Cool maps from Dr. Masters for the Storm Surge. I have seen some that were done for the SE Florida Coast..

It is kindo f funny that most people are concerned about the wind speed of a Hurricane and not the several story high wall of water coming at them.
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I have a possible dumb question.. in the WU image for Ana, 2pm model...in the info box it states the hours and mph.. now..IF I AM reading this correct (which most likely I am not) says that Ana in 48 hours will have possible 58mph winds?? plz help.. thanks..
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Quoting JupiterFL:


I would hope so since you all are the office sports grill of the Dolphins.



I am going to dolphins game tonight but before that i am going to duffy's woooohhhoooo. Go Dolphins!!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting Patrap:
Waveland Surge Zone,..Just up from Beach.1 block



Waveland, Bay St Louis, and Pass Christian got the brunt of Katrina...however, all of the coast was devastated. I have several personal pictures of the surge....we stayed for the storm and live 3 miles north of I-10.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
BILL.80kts-969mb-144N-460W.100pc.jpg |
pressure down wind up, intensifying rather rapidly.
1310. fmbill
NWS Melbourne...

AN UPPER TROUGH AXIS CURRENTLY
LOCATED ACROSS THE BAHAMAS WILL MOVE ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA AND THE
FLORIDA STRAITS TUE NIGHT AND INTO THE GULF ON WED. THIS TROUGH WILL
ALLOW ENHANCED MOISTURE FROM TROPICAL DEPRESSION ANA TO INVADE EAST
CENTRAL FLORIDA...ESPECIALLY FROM THE CAPE SOUTHWARD...ON WED
INCREASING RAIN CHANCES. STAY TUNED AS SOME HEAVY RAIN POTENTIAL MAY
EXIST ON WED DEPENDING ON EXACT TRACK OF THIS CURRENT DEPRESSION.
FOR NOW WILL NOT MAKE ANY WHOLESALE CHANGES TO THE CURRENT PRODUCTS
UNTIL THINGS BECOME A LITTLE MORE CLEAR.
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1309. Engine2
Quoting JeffMasters:


Coming soon, I'll have a full set of storm surge maps for the coast. You can take a sneak preview:

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/FlGulfCoastSurge.asp

Jeff Masters

Dr. Masters how about a storm surge map for Southern New England?
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969 MB is near Category 3 pressure. Bill's wind should respond soon.
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1307. Patrap
Remember,,Wave Action/on top of Surge accounts for the Majority of Deaths in a Hurricane,Run from the water,..dont be there if you dont have to.
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Quoting JupiterFL:


I would hope so since you all are the office sports grill of the Dolphins.


That would be "official".....
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1305. srada
Quoting Patrap:


Hi Patrap,

Whats that in front of Ana?
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Quoting Drakoen:
The 12z models made quite a dramatic shift with Bill... will see if the trend continues.
which will not be good
1303. szqrn1
Quoting Patrap:
Waveland,Miss Oct 2005,30 ft Surge Zone






It is amazing what the surge did to bay st louis/waveland . BSL at that point,is the highest point at GOM i belive... was BAD!

Ok PAT...please look at your radar cause I cannot figure out how to post it.. and tell me where all of this off the coast here is going..it is just sitting here. Starting to get bad just N. of I-10 in Harrison Co. MS
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Quoting Patrap:

Do you have the Mercator of past years too?
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting Chicklit:

Do you remember seeing 90L's center jump over into another blob around the Leeward Islands? I recall thinking a miracle would be required to save it from shear and then it magically switched locations and continued north toward the Bahamas.


Yep

Back in a few minutes
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
Quoting Acemmett90:
sweet the dolphins just sent me a game used football by the way bill looks like a linebacker cuz no one wants to get hit by him


I would hope so since you all are the office sports grill of the Dolphins.
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1299. Grothar
Quoting TampaTom:


1921 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1921_Tampa_Bay_hurricane



In reading a few other blogger in your area I am wondering if you do not have mandatory evacuations for coastal areas in strong storms as we do. Since we live on the Intracoastal island we must evacuate even though our elevation is quite high.
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Quoting ph34683:

Thanks! I didn't know 19 was such a weak area!

Thanks again for the surge help!


No sweat. Here's our Emergency Management page... I wrote most of the stuff on it...

http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency
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Quoting Dakster:


50W is going to be interesting... If Bill gets caught up in the trof or "ignores" it (for whatever reason) and keeps on trucking West to WNW.

I hope this isn't a "LOOKOUT!" situation...
well if it trucks through the trough located around 50W it will definitely change the the models towards a possible eastern seaboard hit, which will be very bad.
BILL.80kts-969mb-144N-460W.100pc.jpg |
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ph34683,

While the county may not have re-entry tags it may depend on your municipality. St. Pete beach and Treasure Island have a tagging system. I would check your city public safety web-site and see if they have anything.

On another note, I have worked for emergency management in the state of Florida for awhile until recently moving to NC. Pinellas County is especially vulnerable to being isolated after a major storm. As others have advised I would plan on evacuating early so as to get through Hillsborough before they start their evacuations. Traffic would be a mess if you wait too long.
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Looks like they are heading back to the SW

Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
1293. JeffMasters (Admin)
Quoting ph34683:
Storm surge question...if you don't mind answering...

I live in the Tampa area (Pinellas County) but I live in a "non-evacuation" zone which means that I will never fall under a mandatory evacuation from a hurricane. They determine the zones by storm category, not storm surge. So, how do I know if the surge would effect me? Can I go by my elevation to determine if surge is a threat?


Coming soon, I'll have a full set of storm surge maps for the coast. You can take a sneak preview:

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/FlGulfCoastSurge.asp

Jeff Masters
Quoting AllStar17:


It indeed may, Chicklit.

Do you remember seeing 90L's center jump over into another blob around the Leeward Islands? I recall thinking a miracle would be required to save it from shear and then it magically switched locations and continued north toward the Bahamas.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11047
Bill is looking like one serious powerful large hurricane, Chad Myers from CNN says Bermuda is the only threat he sees from Bill and he would be more vary of Ana.
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Quoting midgulfmom:
Mikatnight/Patrap, Thanks, I agree and will check out the new Scale at the NHC.


Actually it was Patrap who brought it to my attention, so...thanks Pat.
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Quoting fmbill:


Someone mentioned earlier (and it seemed to make sense) that if the system is moving west a 30mph, it would be very difficult to find 30mph west winds. Your thoughts?


That has happened before where the HH has struggled to find a W wind with a fast mover. Having said that the guys that fly those missions are very good and if they believe the W wind is out there they will stay and hunt for hours looking for it.












Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15671
1288. Drakoen
The 12z models made quite a dramatic shift with Bill... will see if the trend continues.
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1815.goes12.x.ir1km_bw.02LANA.30kts-1010mb-176N-670W.100pc.jpg |
Full-Sized imag Per the Navy site
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Especially the GFDL shifting left is somewhat of a concern.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
Definitely a left trend. If we see a few more runs of this the ENTIRE East Coast should watch Bill a bit more closely

Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
1284. Dakster
Quoting canesrule1:
its moving Westward, not WNW, which is odd, it should be moving NW when it reaches 50W.


50W is going to be interesting... If Bill gets caught up in the trof or "ignores" it (for whatever reason) and keeps on trucking West to WNW.

I hope this isn't a "LOOKOUT!" situation...
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recon has found dome light pink barbs around Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and are now heading towards isla mona.
Quoting Chicklit:
Could Ana's center reform around 19N 69W?
Loop

Well they have it at 69.5 and 19.5 so I'd think it possible? Or am I looking at the plot points incorrectly?
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1280. Patrap
Waveland Surge Zone,..Just up from Beach.1 block

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1279. Drakoen
All east winds between PR and DR. Ana has degenerated into a sharply inverted tropical wave
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Quoting AllStar17:
Heading north. Found 25 mph winds near center (NHC placed). Hope they continue to navigate around the Hispaniola / Puerto Rico area to make sure the center did not jump somewhere unexpected which would change the future track / intensity.



Could mean they have given up looking for W winds down S
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15671
Quoting ph34683:
We definitely would leave for anything over a Cat 1 (two small kids to think about) but I worry about the house flooding and what we should take with us/move to higher ground, etc.

Would we be allowed back to our house fairly quickly? My dad lives in NC and he has a pass that allows him back on the island he lives on but they don't do that here.


Entirely dependent on what pinellas county emergency management policy is. Check in with the sheriff's office, and St. pete police et al. If the bridges are out, I would imagine they'd start evacuating remaining people via boat and air, and begin cleanup.
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1276. fmbill
Quoting kmanislander:


They may fly between the two islands and check out what they can N of the DR but given the proximity of the convection to the coast they will probably not be able to get on the S side of it due to terrain. If so, the HH will not be able to tell if there are any W winds with that feature and without W winds the NHC will not maintain a TD classification for the new location unless shore based obs provide the necessary data.


Someone mentioned earlier (and it seemed to make sense) that if the system is moving west a 30mph, it would be very difficult to find 30mph west winds. Your thoughts?
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Quoting Chicklit:
Could Ana's center reform around 19N 69W?
Loop


It indeed may, Chicklit.
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5238
1274. Fshhead
Hmmm Anna is starting to fire up her convection AGAIN. LOL
Sure hope she tracks over the islands. If not oh-oh..
Remember she IS a fighter..
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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.