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2009 Alternate Hurricane Season

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The 2009 alternate hurricane season was the record most active season ever recorded in the Atlantic basin since record-keeping history with 32 named storms, 19 hurricanes of which 12 became major.


Subtropical Storm Ana

Sometime in Mid May, a hybrid low developed near Bermuda bringing high surf and wind to the island before creeping Westward then moving more Southward and on May 24, the system now over The Bahamas gained winds of over gale-force and a closed circulation but no real tropical characteristics so was declared STS Ana. It gained speed and began to bend back Southeast but dissipated right before coming ashore Dominican Republic, where increased showers were reported from the remnants. No damage was reported along with no fatalities, just one surfer in Bermuda was decently injured from high waves.


Hurricane Bill

During the second week of July, a large tropical wave emerged off Africa into the Far Eastern Atlantic. The system was initially given a low chance of development but organized steadily over the next couple of days and on July 10, it was declared Tropical Depression Two due to reports of a small but recognizable closed circulation. Later that day it intensified further into Tropical Storm Bill and strengthened continued. Forecast tracks and models were curving it out to sea at that time but a sudden change in high pressure caused it to continue westward. Its first peak was a 60 MPH system on July 11 but it shortly ran into high shear and significantly weakened into a tropical depression on July 12. Tropical storm watches were issued for the Windward Islands and relaxed shear caused it to rapidly re-strengthen into a tropical storm on July 13 and a hurricane on July 14. Later that night, the center of Bill passed directly over Martinique packing winds of 85 MPH (981 mb). A storm surge of 5-6 feet and damage estimated up to around $850 million in the area as well as one death were reported. A sudden increase in shear caused it to significantly weaken again and by July 15 degenerated into a remnant low over the Central Caribbean. Its remnants caused minimal rainfall over Jamaica, Cuba and Florida later on.


Tropical Storm Claudette

In Mid-July, a cut off area of showers departed from a cold front off the Southeast US Coast and began to develop tropical characteristics. It gained 40-50 MPH winds and on July 18 was declared Tropical Storm Claudette halfway between North Carolina and Bermuda. Swells from Claudette impacted the US East Coast for days and Claudette peaked as a 70 MPH system on July 20 shortly before becoming extratropical SE of Nova Scotia. Despite the surf impact, no damage was reported.

Hurricane Danny

In Mid-July, a large tropical wave emerged off the coast of western Africa but due to shear left behind by Bill it took a few days to significantly organize as it crossed the Atlantic. Finally just more than halfway between Africa and the Northern Lesser Antilles on July 20, it developed a closed circulation and was declared Tropical Depression Four. TS Watches were immediately issued for the NE Caribbean Islands (Antigua, Barbados). The system however was still rather slow intensification wise and it didn't become a TS 'til July 22 by the time it was already bearing down on the NE Caribbean. The storm's center passed directly over Barbados packing winds of 45 MPH (1002 mb). Very light damage was reported and thankfully no deaths or serious injuries in the region. Danny gradually strengthened from there and on July 23 tropical storm warnings/hurricane watches were posted for much of The Bahamas and the system was poised to be a US East Coast threat at that time. On July 24, Danny became a hurricane but a ridge of high pressure lifted it off sharply to the NE greatly sparing The Bahamas from all but some increased surf. Now it was a threat to Bermuda and hurricane watches were issued. It became a category two on July 25 but it turned more ESE and the storm was over 100 miles at closest approach to Bermuda on July 26 as still a category two. Rough surf killed one surfer in Bermuda and rip currents killed 2 along the US East Coast but damage was limited to downed tree limbs and scattered power outages in Bermuda. An area of extremely high shear weakened Danny significantly from a category two to a remnant low all on July 27. The extratropical remnants were lifted to the north and affected no other areas. Damage was estimated at around $1.1 million USD, much less than ever feared.

Tropical Storm Erika

On July 27, a tropical disturbance began to show signs of organization near Puerto Rico. On July 28, it was declared Tropical Depression Five near the Central Bahamas. It intensified into Tropical Storm Erika later that day and tropical storm watches/warnings in effect for the Florida East Coast. The ridge that curved out Danny was positioned differently when Erika came around and therefore Erika was forced to the west and on the morning of July 30 it made landfall near Jupiter Island FL packing winds of 60 MPH (988 mb). Erika meandered around the Sunshine State for days dumping record breaking rainfall of over 2 feet and causing more than 10 feet of water in some locations such as Sebring. The flooding killed a total of 32 people in the state and Erika dissipated near Fort Myers. The damage was estimated at around $1.8 billion USD and the floods were considered even worse than Fay just the year earlier. Besides the TC Alerts, multiple Flash Flood Warnings and Evacuation Immediates were issued as well as several tornadoes up to EF-2 intensity in the Loxahatchee area. Erika's remnants went on to cause widespread but less significant flooding along the US Gulf Coast and 2 indirect fatalities. Because of the severe flooding damage, the name Erika was the second tropical storm ever retired alongside Allison.

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