HURRICANE: Track of Bill depends on formation of low-pressure trough

ATLANTIC OCEAN — Most of the computer models show Hurricane Bill making a pretty drastic turn to the north this week, but part of the rationale behind those models is based on an atmospheric condition that does not exist yet. So coastal residents should keep a close eye on Bill this week.Former NOAA Hurricane Hunter Dr. Jeff Masters reported this morning that,”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.Predictions estimate that Bill might be a Category 4 storm by the time it would reach Bermuda. If so, it could cause catastrophic namage to the island nation.”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.”The United Kingdom Meteorological (UKMET) model depicted by the white line in the graphic to the left (as of 5 a.m. Monday) is holding out because the forecasters in the UK predict that an upper-level trough that Bill is about to encounter will not be strong enough to pull the system in a northerly direction. “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,” Masters said. “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.”If the Brits are correct, that would put Indian River County squarely in the cone of error for Hurricane Bill. We hope they are wrong and that Bill turns swiftly to the north, avoiding the U.S. mainland.Satellite imagery is showing the trough to be modest and all the other major models are in fair agreement about the expected effects of the trough.”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,” Masters said.Even under a worst-case scenario for Florida, which would be that Bill would remain on a west-northwest path, at its current forward speed of 21 miles per hour, Hurricane Bill is still about six days away. The next two to three days’ progress of the storm will be crucial. The computer models are usually updated at least every morning and sometimes throughout the day. Bill is expected to pass over a NOAA buoy today, which should also provide more information for scientists to work with in getting to know this storm.

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