Sunday, August 16, 2009

Claudette forms in Gulf!/I was a Hurricane Hunter/This Week's Weather

Wow! There is not a dull moment lately. While Ana weakened and became a tropical depression today, the system in the eastern Gulf got its act together and at 11 am, the National Hurricane Center announced that Tropical Storm Claudette had formed! Don't forget that we also have Bill out in the Atlantic and it will likely become a hurricane tonight.

First of all, Ana has a tough road ahead because its path will be primarily over islands such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. If it holds together, it will emerge in the southeastern Gulf around Thursday and probably be in the central Gulf end of the week. So, we need to watch it carefully. My gut is that it won't head toward Houston because of the steering pattern around the Bermuda High. But it is way too soon to tell. And strength-wise, again, it may not even survive moving over so much land. But I'll keep a close eye on it. This is a good time to revisit your supplies and preparedness plans.

Looks like Bill is going to stay away from the US. By Wednesday, it could be a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) with Bermuda being most threatened.

Claudette should make landfall Sunday night along the northeastern Gulf (Florida panhandle) and then bring rain to the southeast US.

I haven't forgotten about Hurricane Guillermo in the eastern Pacific. It will weaken as it moves over cooler water and it looks like Hawaii will be spared a hit.

On Monday, eastern ridge has flattened a bit but it is still most pronounced southcentral and eastern US. Trough is over north central US and that is where the highs in the 70s will be. Highs will also be in the 70s along coastal California. The Pacific Northwest will be in the 70s and 80s. Highs will be in the 100s in the desert southwest. Look for 90s from Texas to Boston. Look for some severe storms from Colorado to Illinois.

Houston continues hot and humid...there will be more of that this week with scattered showers and thunderstorms (some with heavy downpours) on Monday and Tuesday.

Let's do hunter or cazador, pronounced cah-zah-DOOR. I am a find out what I have hunted, read the And More section.

I was at the editor's this afternoon. We were finishing up some final edits of Volume 2 of our DVD series for children, Let's Learn Spanish with Frank & Paco. It's almost done and I am super excited about how nice it looks. Until it is ready, you can purchase our winning Volume 1 DVD, Let's Learn Spanish with Frank & Paco from the shelves of many Barnes & Noble stores throught the US. If not there, you can also order your copy from You can also order from,,,,,, and For our English as a Second Language (ESL) version, go to

Seeing Claudette form today reminded of the last Claudette--the one I flew through!!! It was in July of 2003 that Hurricane Claudette hit the upper Texas coast as a Category 1 hurricane. Because of where it came in and the forward speed, it actually caused a Category 3 type storm surge in a small area of coastal Brazoria and Matagorda counties. In Houston, it mostly brought some sporadic heavy rain and some gusty winds. When the storm was first moving into the Gulf, I flew through it. The flight took about 10 hours and was quite memorable. I thought I was doing so well. But when they kept making passes through the center over and over, (I think on the 10th pass), I lost it...and I think you know what I mean. I had been on the headsets talking to the crew. They wondered how I was doing and kind of laughed and joked around. After I got sick, I felt so foolish. But later, they told me that even those of them who had flown thousands of missions got sick a lot, because your inner ear just can't get used to that. The aircraft was a very well maintained WC-130...been around since the 50s I think. When it got dark, there was no way to get your bearings...can't see the horizon and the few windows they have where you sit in the cargo hold are really small and high. So, you just get sick.

Anyway, they gave me a nice certificate to help me remember the adventure and here is what it said.
"Honorary Hurricane Hunter
Let it be known to the world that Cecilia Sinclair did, with great skill and remarkable airmanship, penetrate for the first time the eyewall of a fully-developed hurricane [PLEASE NOTE IT WAS NOT YET A HURRICANE WHEN I FLEW THROUGH IT BUT IT WAS BUMPY ENOUGH-BELIEVE ME!]. This individual's undaunted dedication and fearless devotion to duties, while being bounced, rocked, rolled and slammed about the aircraft interior reflect great credit, luck and a high threshold for personal injury. In testimony thereof, this certificate is awarded to this "Hurricane Hunter" for meritorious achievement while participating in the penetration of Tropical Storm Claudette aboard a WC-130 Hercules Aircraft given under my hand at Keesler AFB, Mississippi this 11th day of July 2003."
And it was signed by Brigadier General Rick Ethredge, Commander, 403rd Wing.

I'll tell you more war stories later. But I also want to tell you about Tropical Storm Claudette of 1979 which dumped extremely heavy rain south of Houston. In Alvin, it dropped a total of 45" of rain (43 of those inches in 24 hours). That 43 was never made official--but if it was--that would be the all time greatest 24 hour rainfall in all of North America--and that was right here in our own backyard!!! Even 2001's Allison did not come close to that total. That one did have some 20" in 10 hours east of Houston and it was so devastating because highly populated areas were hit hard.

I'll keep an eye on all of those storms for you whether it be a Claudette, Ana or something else.

Have a great week!
Cecilia Sinclair
Wonder Weather Woman

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