Bill is now a hurricane; Claudette comes ashore
The second named storm of the 2009 season has grown into a minimal hurricane, the season's first, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Bill now sports top sustained winds of 75 mph as it churns across the Atlantic. While it is still far east of any landmass, Bill is expected to continue to strengthen, reaching Category 3 on the Safif-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity in the next few days, with top sustained winds fo 155 mph.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Claudette (map above) has come ashore in the panhandle of Florida, where it has begun to weaken. High winds and heavy rains are the main story down there. The storm's remnants are expected to drop 3 to 6 inches of rain - and in spots up to 10 inches - along a path through Alabama, Mississippi, and reaching inland as far as Tennessee in the next few days.
Finally, what was once Tropical Storm Ana remains badly disorganized in the northeastern Caribbean. But the depression remains a heavy rain threat to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
In the meantime, our forecast continues to call for more hot, humid, summery weather, with highs near 90 degrees for the rest of the week. Rain won't become a factor for another day or two. And we won't see a break from the heat until the weekend. Sticky.