Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Update on storm activity

Bill
As of 7:00AM CDT, Hurricane Bill is located near 15.6N/50.1W, or about 740 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Maximum sustained winds remain at 100 mph with gusts up to 120 mph. Bill continues to be in an environment favorable for further intensification as it continues to the west-northwest at about 17 mph. The current Hurricane Severity Index is 15, with 7 points attributed to size.

Bill continues on a west-northwest track and is expected to gradually begin to turn the northwest over the next 12 to 24 hours. Our forecast continues to be in general agreement with current model guidance. This track will bring the center of Bill about 250-300 miles to the northeast of the northern Leeward Islands on Thursday morning, and then begin a gradual turn to the north on Friday and into the weekend with increasing swell the main impact on the islands. A moderate cold front reaching the East U.S. Coast on Saturday should cause Bill to take a northward turn and eventually turn to the northeast and out to sea. On this track the center of Bill could be very near Bermuda early Saturday. We do not think that Bill will have any impact on the East U.S. Coast, with the exception of increasing swell; though we cannot yet rule out any threat to New England early next week.

With favorable environmental conditions ahead of Bill we think that further intensification is likely and that Bill could become a major hurricane over the next 24 or so hours. Bill may maintain at major hurricane intensity until it moves towards Bermuda on Saturday and interacts with the approaching frontal boundary. The maximum Hurricane Severity Index value we're forecasting is 28 points on Thursday, with 14 of those points attributed to size. This would make Bill a large and powerful hurricane.

Tropical Disturbance 32
The remnants of Ana, or Tropical Disturbance 32, is an open tropical wave extending from 23N/75W to 17N/71W. It is moving to the west-northwest at about 25 mph. The thunderstorm activity associated with this system is spreading from Haiti and The Bahamas toward the Straits of Florida.

This disturbance is expected to continue into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and then turn north and reach the Florida Panhandle on Thursday. Wind shear should prevent any significant development of this system over the next three days. However, a second resurrection of this system back to Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm Ana remains very low, but not impossible. In any event, the main impacts will be squalls over Florida and portions of the northeast Gulf.

Other Disturbances / Areas to Watch
Tropical Disturbance 34 is located near 33W south of 15N, and is moving west near 15 mph. The associated thunderstorm activity remains minimal and poorly organized. Any chances of development are very low at this time. It is expected to track to the west to west-northwest over the next three to five days.

Below are some of the most important links in the event of major impending weather or other emergency conditions:

Weather Reports
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