Impressive Bill churning huge waves; New England air pollution episode underway

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 14:38 GMT le 18 août 2009

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Hurricane Bill has popped out an impressive eye, and continues to gather strength over the middle Atlantic. Visible and infrared satellite imagery show a well-organized, symmetric hurricane, with plenty of low-level spiral banding and upper-level outflow channels to the north and south. The spectacular appearance of the storm is evidence of the light wind shear environment that Bill finds itself in.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to remain low to moderate, 5-15 knots, for the next five days. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) will rise steadily from 27.5°C today to 29°C on Friday. Total ocean heat content also rises today into Wednesday, and it is expected that Bill will take advantage of these favorable conditions to intensify into a major hurricane. The Hurricane Hunters make their first penetration into Bill this afternoon. The NOAA Hurricane Hunters will be continuously flying Bill for the next three days. They are flying research missions that will feed real-time radar data into an experimental version of the HWRF model to see if this data can improve the model forecasts.


Figure 1. Wave forecast for Hurricane Bill from NOAA's Wavewatch III model. Beginning Saturday (right panel) large waves from Bill are expected to affect most of the U.S. East Coast. By Sunday, the model predicts waves of 10 - 15 feet may impact the offshore waters of New England.

Water vapor satellite loops show that a trough of low pressure is diving down towards Bill, and this trough will be able to turn Bill more to the northwest over the next two days, and Bill will miss the Lesser Antilles Islands. The main impact of Bill on these islands will be high waves. Yesterday, Bill passed just north of Buoy 41041, which recorded significant wave heights of 28.8 feet. Maximum wave height is typically a factor of 1.9 greater than the significant wave height, so Bill was likely generating waves up to 55 feet high. High waves from Bill are propagating across the Atlantic towards the U.S. East Coast, and will arrive there on Saturday, according to NOAA's Wavewatch III model (Figure 1). The highest waves spawned by Bill will affect the New England coast, where waves of 10 - 15 feet in offshore waters can be expected. The waves will cause significant erosion of beaches, and possible damage to shoreline structures.

A much larger trough of low pressure is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week, turning Bill to the north. Exactly where this turn occurs is still not clear, and both Bermuda and Cape Cod, Massachusetts will be in Bill's 5-day forecast cone of uncertainty. At present, it appears that the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia are at greatest risk from a strike by Bill, but New England and Bermuda cannot relax just yet.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The remains of Tropical Storm Ana are bringing heavy rain to Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas today, and this activity will spread over South Florida tonight. The remains are disorganized, and are not likely to re-develop. No models are calling for any new tropical cyclones to develop in the Atlantic over the next seven days.


Figure 2. Image from NASA's Terra satellite of air pollution haze over the Northeast U.S. on Monday, August 17, 2009.

First major air pollution episode of the summer for the Northeast U.S.
New England is currently experiencing a far more deadly weather event than a direct hit by Hurricane Bill would likely bring--a large dome of high pressure. The reason? The high pressure system camped over the Northeast U.S. has brought hot temperatures, stagnant air, and the summer's first major air pollution episode.

The event started on Sunday, when a high pressure system with light winds moved over the eastern U.S., limited mixing and leading to stagnation and a buildup of pollutants. Mostly sunny skies and high temperatures also enhanced formation of ground-level ozone gas, a dangerous pollutant. Furthermore, southerly winds brought high humidity into the Northeast, which is conducive to particle pollution formation in the atmosphere. Particle pollution is the most deadly form of air pollution in the U.S. The poor air quality led to issuance of air quality advisories and action days on Monday in more than 30 cities, including New York City, NY; Newark, NJ; Providence, RI; and Portland, ME.

Today's air pollution forecast
Today, similar conditions are expected across much of the region, and Air Quality Index (AQI) levels are forecasted to remain in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Code Orange) range for many areas in the Northeast. For a complete list of action/advisory days and their locations, visit the EPA AIRNow website.

Health Tip: Cut back on strenuous outdoor exercise when air quality is expected to be poor.

How You Can Help: Choose a cleaner commute - share a ride to work or use public transportation. Bicycle or walk when possible. Combine errands and reduce trips.

Mortality from air pollution
As I discussed in a previous blog post, air pollution is a far more deadly weather hazard in the U.S. than hurricanes. Sure, hurricanes have killed an average of 150 people per year in the U.S., and the "premature deaths" caused by air pollution are only partly attributable to breathing bad air, while drowning in a hurricane's storm surge is entirely due to the hurricane. Nevertheless, a great many children die of pollution-induced asthma attacks who would not have died otherwise, and the mortality due to air pollution in the general population is in the thousands or ten of thousands each year. Outdoor air pollution in the U.S. due to particulate pollution alone was estimated by the EPA in 1997 to cause at least 20,000 premature deaths each year. A 2005 study by EPA scientists (Particulate Matter Health Risk Assessment for Selected Urban Areas) estimated that over 4,700 premature deaths occur each year in just nine cities (Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Boston, Phoenix, Seattle, and San Jose)--even if those cities all met the current federal standards for particulate matter pollution. Extrapolating these data to the entire nation puts the annual death toll in the tens of thousands--but the EPA has not calculated that total. Some studies have placed the annual pollution death toll in the U.S. at 50,000 to 100,000 (Dockery, D.W., and C.A Pope III. Acute Respiratory Effects of Particulate Air Pollution. Annual Review Public Health, 1994, vol. 15,107-32.) The death toll is much higher in other parts of the world, where air pollution standards are not as stringent. Globally, about 800,000 people per year die prematurely due to outdoor air pollution, according to a 2005 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. This represents about 1.2 percent of total annual global deaths.

In the debate over the costs of switching over the cleaner energy sources, the huge costs and deaths attributable to air pollution are often ignored. Sure, it will be costly to move away from fossil fuels, but let's not forget that the price per gallon we pay at the pump does not include the billions in medical costs we pay for the effects of air pollution.

I'll have an update Wednesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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2147. RickD1
Quoting GPTGUY:


Yea I've been on here since the friday before Katrina...but have lurked the past few years..glad to know there are a lot of coast people on here!


From Biloxi here there are a lot of people from the coast that like this blog..
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2146. bwat
Any chance someone could post a link to where I can find the latest model runs?
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Quoting mobilegirl81:
The remnants of Ana are could be a horse in the dark.


What do you mean by that?
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Quoting MisipiGrl:
By the way, GPT, Biloxi and OS...I'm in LB. Alot of Coast people post here. I rarely do, as I mostly read and attempt to learn from everyone here.
A little Coastal get together tonight huh? nice to meet all of y'all
Member Since: 31 juillet 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
Quoting Patrap:


Seems its right where it appears to Be,..as per the WV Loop,..Claudette did the same,except 222 Miles NE in the Keys,as its Genesis was a ULL over the Hispaniola Region,Last Thursday.



South of Cuba?
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The remnants of Ana are could be a horse in the dark.
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Quoting GPTGUY:


Haha that's not me...I was wondering why he wanted to change his name also...how was the route today?
Oh crap.. I didn't see that...that should tell ya how it was today...just got home from football practice with the kids too....it was REALLY nasty and rainy...but I'm sure you knew that..Actually had some high spots on the Biloxi River on my route today...had to go thru a little water...keeping an eye out for these possible remnants everyone is looking at...
Member Since: 31 juillet 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
What is the best guess for Bermuda at this point? I need to know when to start battening down the hatches.
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ps, in Jeff Master's pic of Cape Cod I'm waving to you all from where I work, southern coast, left of Chatham, (the elbow) about 1/4 of mouse-arrow tip from elbow - in Dennis Port.



Right about here....................................^ and straight up to that beach. Work at resort hotel,but maybe not for long!
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Quoting MisipiGrl:
By the way, GPT, Biloxi and OS...I'm in LB. Alot of Coast people post here. I rarely do, as I mostly read and attempt to learn from everyone here.
same here i just read, learn, and speculate. but cool to know you all are on here.
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2134. GPTGUY
Quoting MisipiGrl:
By the way, GPT, Biloxi and OS...I'm in LB. Alot of Coast people post here. I rarely do, as I mostly read and attempt to learn from everyone here.


Yea I've been on here since the friday before Katrina...but have lurked the past few years..glad to know there are a lot of coast people on here!
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2133. Patrap
Quoting AllStar17:


Dumb question, but is the MLC north or south of Cuba?


Seems its right where it appears to Be,..as per the WV Loop,..Claudette did the same,except 222 Miles NE in the Keys,as its Genesis was a ULL over the Hispaniola Region,Last Thursday.

Member Since: 3 juillet 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129444
2132. centex
Forgive the source, accuweather. But I think they are right about this. It's the part S of Cuba which needs watching next couple of days.


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By the way, GPT, Biloxi and OS...I'm in LB. Alot of Coast people post here. I rarely do, as I mostly read and attempt to learn from everyone here.
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2130. Skyepony (Mod)
Date: Near the closest hour of 1Z on the 19th day of the month
Highest Mandatory Level For Which Wind Was Reported: 150mb
Coordinates: 11.9N 46.2W (View map)
Location: 909 miles (1463 km) to the E (95°) from Bridgetown, Barbados.
Marsden Square: 041 (About)

Level Geo. Height Air Temp. Dew Point Wind Direction Wind Speed
1003mb (29.62 inHg) Sea Level (Surface) Pressure extrapolated between surface and 850 mb level since sonde did not reach surface.
1000mb 31m (102 ft) 26.0°C (78.8°F) 24.2°C (75.6°F) 120° (from the ESE) 12 knots (14 mph)
925mb 715m (2,346 ft) 21.4°C (70.5°F) 18.7°C (65.7°F) 135° (from the SE) 16 knots (18 mph)
850mb 1,445m (4,741 ft) 17.2°C (63.0°F) 14.6°C (58.3°F) 145° (from the SE) 10 knots (12 mph)
700mb 3,081m (10,108 ft) 8.6°C (47.5°F) 4.3°C (39.7°F) 160° (from the SSE) 7 knots (8 mph)
500mb 5,790m (18,996 ft) -4.9°C (23.2°F) Approximately -13°C (9°F) 125° (from the SE) 10 knots (12 mph)
400mb 7,510m (24,639 ft) -16.1°C (3.0°F) Approximately -23°C (-9°F) 115° (from the ESE) 11 knots (13 mph)
300mb 9,620m (31,562 ft) -31.3°C (-24.3°F) Approximately -39°C (-38°F) 80° (from the E) 19 knots (22 mph)
250mb 10,890m (35,728 ft) -40.7°C (-41.3°F) Approximately -51°C (-60°F) 40° (from the NE) 27 knots (31 mph)
200mb 12,360m (40,551 ft) -53.1°C (-63.6°F) Approximately -62°C (-80°F) 15° (from the NNE) 26 knots (30 mph)
150mb 14,170m (46,490 ft) -66.5°C (-87.7°F) Reading usually unavailable when air temperature is below -40°C (-40°F) 30° (from the NNE) 30 knots (35 mph)

waves?
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2129. Drakoen
Dvorak reading of 7.0 would support a Category 5 hurricane.
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2128. Dakster
Mikla - Makes sense now!
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2127. GPTGUY
Quoting KATRINABILOXIGIRL:
hey there GptGuy...what's the reason for the name change request


Haha that's not me...I was wondering why he wanted to change his name also...how was the route today?
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5 or 6 weeks and counting..and thats all she wrote for 2009..at least in the northern gulf
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i
Quoting KATRINABILOXIGIRL:
hey there GptGuy...what's the reason for the name change request
idk i was just noticing there were some local people in the blog and felt left out i guess.
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Pat,Looking at Watervapor Loop ,with Bill headed lets say NW and the ULL NE of it headed SE, what happens to Bill if they meet? Does Bill bounce more Eastward?
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I hope the ull south of Cuba does not get to the ground it does appear to be getting warmer. There is a lot of energy around this system. And with a trough building from the west no fun, a Claudette scenario anyone could handle.
Member Since: 18 août 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3113
2122. Mikla
Sorry... the western line is the current official track. The eastern line is the official track from 48 hours ago. The larger cyclone symbols are actual BEST track fixes from the NOAA site.
Quoting Dakster:
Mikla - Which line is what?

Also, it looks like Bill will miss the box by about 20 miles!
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lol pat you got all the wishcasters up and excited, not nice! that spin is a ULL, NOT the remnants of Ana, ULLs almost never develop, I did say almost as I believe there are a handful of examples; can't think of any though.
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I thought the wave south of NW Cuba was an ULL and that is was rare for them to work down to the surface? Pat, thanks for your explanation. I'm still, after 5 years, learning!
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Quoting 50PastTheHour:
I wanna change to OSGUY(Ocean Springs)
hey there GptGuy...what's the reason for the name change request
Member Since: 31 juillet 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
Quoting Patrap:



The Most intriguing thing to note is the Convection Building on the west side of the Mid Level Vortex..Usually it Builds from the East,Se..but the Cuban Mountains seems to drag the ULL down,and its combined with ANA's remnant wave,..unusual,but not uncommon.blockquote>
That ULL is working it's way down to the mid levels. It's moistened the environment for Ana.
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Quoting Patrap:



The Most intriguing thing to note is the Convection Building on the west side of the Mid Level Vortex..Usually it Builds from the East,Se..but the Cuban Mountains seems to drag the ULL down,and its combined with ANA's remnant wave,..unusual,but not uncommon.



Dumb question, but is the MLC north or south of Cuba?
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Rit from Cape Cod here...

Wonderin' if we're all thinking if we SAY Bill's going to move East eventually, that it will. Here's hoping in the power of wishful thinking, 'cause Bill's going to do what Bill's going to do.

In re: earlier post replied to with ? on Perfect Storm which hit Cape Cod October 30-31 after Bob hit on August 19, 1991.

Perfect Storm was a combination of an extreme extratropical low which combined with Hurricane Grace. For more info go here: NOAA

This is Perfect Storm at it's Prime: I'm hunkered down there on the Cape, much like I was during Bob and hopefully not Bill, but as this storm shows, even after August, weather happens, 'specially in New England and really 'specially on Cape Cod.

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2115. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #17
TYPHOON VAMCO (T0910)
9:00 AM JST August 19 2009
=========================================

SUBJECT: Category Three Typhoon Near Minamitori-sima

At 0:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Vamco (970 hPa) located at 17.3N 157.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 65 knots with gusts of 95 knots. The storm is reported as moving east slowly

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T4.5

Storm-Force Winds
================
40 NM from the center

Gale-Force Winds
===============
180 NM from the center in northeastern quadrant
120 NM from the center in southwestern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 18.0N 156.9E - 75 knots (Cat 3/Typhoon)
48 HRS: 18.7N 156.5E - 80 knots (Cat 3/Typhoon)
72 HRS: 21.2N 155.9E - 80 knots (Cat 3/Typhoon)
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UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 19 AUG 2009 Time : 001500 UTC
Lat : 17:07:36 N Lon : 52:48:08 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.9 / 926.0mb/137.4kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
6.9 6.9 6.9

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2113. Dakster
Mikla - Which line is what?

Also, it looks like Bill will miss the box by about 20 miles!
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2112. Patrap
Quoting AllStar17:
Pat, do you think it will have more time over water than Claudette? Also, if this were to form, do you think it would be Ana or Danny? If Danny, we could have Erika and Danny if the african wave and this AOI both develop.



The Most intriguing thing to note is the Convection Building on the west side of the Mid Level Vortex..Usually it Builds from the East,Se..but the Cuban Mountains seems to drag the ULL down,and its combined with ANA's remnant wave,..unusual,but not uncommon.

Member Since: 3 juillet 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129444
Quoting GPTGUY:
Hey Biloxigirl how ya doin this evening?
I wanna change to OSGUY(Ocean Springs)
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The 00Z update for models has Bill moving 15 mph at 295 deg.
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2108. centex
Quoting txalwaysprepared:
Pat - Thanks for posting those Ana shots -- I'm not taking my eye off her yet.
Well hate to say it accuweather still has the low named Ana. I only look because they post a nice history of the storms for my website. No Ana history to post yet from them.
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Quoting P451:


I do indeed. You killed your one photobucket account though. The bandwidth is gone on it.

Maybe make an extra account or use some of the other sites such as bestimagehosting or maybe tinypic Thing is you can't keep track of your stuff like you can at imageshack or photobucket. Imageshack gives you more bandwidth though if I recall.


Thank you! I will check out those sites! :)
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All of the westcasters like me go now to the talkin tropics chat.They are talking up a total apocalypse and evacuations for Florida...LOL
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2105. Mikla
As an FYI... here is a graphic of the OFCL track from 48 hours ago. There less than a 20 mile difference between that track and the current fix of Bill...
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2103. GPTGUY
Hey Biloxigirl how ya doin this evening?
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2102. Dakster
Looks like an overall NW motion to me and the NHC...

I think he is on course for now - things change. (Sorry Bermuda - I hope it misses you but it might be a close call)

However, if it goes through Hebert's Box as a Major it would be interesting to see if it breaks the box rule.
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Pat, do you think it will have more time over water than Claudette? Also, if this were to form, do you think it would be Ana or Danny? If Danny, we could have Erika and Danny if the african wave and this AOI both develop.
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SAL
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Pat - Thanks for posting those Ana shots -- I'm not taking my eye off her yet.
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Surf will be huge from Fl to MD and enormous northward into New England. The NH and ME boys should be dusting off their guns. That little ME tourist town with the rivermouth may see 15'+ faces from this one. Like Helene in Sep '06.
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2097. Patrap
Member Since: 3 juillet 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129444

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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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