Tropical Storms Ana, Bill And Claudette: Update August 16, 2009
Tropical storms Ana, Bill and Claudette are developing in the Atlantic. Weather services are tracking the storms as hurricane watch ensues.
Tropical storm Ana formed on Saturday, August 15, and progressed to the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Storm warnings are in place. The latest reports are saying Ana has already weakened to a depression and is losing strength.
Ana may eventually hit Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but forecasters can't say whether Ana will strike the continental U.S.
In the open Atlantic, tropical storm Bill is developing and is expected to become a hurricane early next week. Like Ana, tropical storm Bill is headed for the Leeward Islands.
Tropical Storm Bill -- which could become a hurricane on Monday -- should be watched closely as it heads west-northwest in the Atlantic, possibly toward Florida, CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf said. The storm was 1,555 miles east of the Lesser Antilles at 11 a.m. ET Sunday.
Bill may reach Category 3 status as it bears down on the Leeward Islands Wednesday or Thursday, he said.
Tropical storm Claudette is moving toward Florida, USA, and is likely to become the first tropical storm to make a landfall on the U.S. mainland in 2009. It could hit land as early as Sunday evening. Claudette is still gaining stregth according to latest reports.
Heavy rain began in the afternoon in Pensacola as Claudette approached. On Pensacola Beach, the National Park Service closed low-lying roads that connect the restaurants and hotels to the undeveloped National Seashore and historic Fort Pickens Fort.
The Park Service said campers would be ordered to leave the area because of the likelihood of the road flooding.
There are speculations that any of the three tropical storms can end up anywhere from Cuba to South Carolina, USA.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season began in June and will end in late November. So far, the season has been unusually quiet. No major storms have been named before August 15. Tropical storm Ana was the first named storm of the season. This year’s storm activity is predicted to be slightly below average to the relief of thousands of people living in hurricane zones.
Despite the storms, a warmer weather pattern called El Nino over the Pacific Ocean is generally expected to damper the formation of tropical storms in the Caribbean and Atlantic this year, said Brian Daly, a meteorologist with the national weather service in Mobile, Ala.
"It's pretty frequent that an El Nino year would be somewhat delayed with fewer storms," Daly said.
Tropical storm watches were in effect for Dominica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemey.