Ernesto disorganized; more fires, extreme heat for Oklahoma

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:25 PM GMT on August 05, 2012

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A disorganized Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to speed westward at 23 mph across the Caribbean. Ernesto has brought sporadic heavy rains to Jamaica today, and Kingston has picked up 0.51" of rain as of noon, and recorded top sustained winds of 22 mph. Ernesto looks very unhealthy on visible satellite loops, with its low-level circulation center a naked swirl exposed to view with almost no heavy thunderstorm activity near the center. However, the storm does have some rather far-flung spiral bands, and these bands are bringing occasional heavy downpours to Haiti, western Cuba, Jamaica, and the southwest Dominican Republic. This morning's flight by the Hurricane Hunters found that Ernesto had a very high central pressure of 1006 mb and top winds near 50 mph. The latest wind shear analysis from the SHIPS model shows moderate shear of 10 - 15 knots affecting the storm, but there must be some wind shear the satellites are not able to detect affecting Ernesto, given its disorganized appearance. Water vapor satellite loops show a large area of dry air to the west, and this dry air is also interfering with Ernesto's organization.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image with 375 meter resolution taken of Ernesto by the new Suomi NPP satellite at 1:39 pm EDT August 4, 2012. At the time, Ernesto had a flare-up of intense thunderstorms, and had top winds of 60 mph. Image credit: University of Wisconsin Madison CIMSS.

Forecast for Ernesto
Ernesto's rapid forward speed of 23 mph has been part of the reason for its lack of intensification, but the storm is expected to slow down Monday and Tuesday in response to a trough of low pressure passing to the north. This slowing, in combination with low wind shear, a moister environment, and increasing heat energy in the ocean, may allow Ernesto to strengthen some before making landfall in Belize or Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday night. However, the storm will be passing very close to the north coast of Honduras, putting a portion of its circulation over land and limiting intensification potential. It is unlikely Ernesto will become a hurricane in the Caribbean; NHC is giving just a 19% chance that this will occur. The main threat from Ernesto will be heavy rains over Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and Jamaica. The track forecast for Ernesto has become a bit easier, since the storm's current disorganization and more southerly path make will make it more difficult for the storm to make a northwesterly turn into the Gulf of Mexico like the UKMET and GFDL models are predicting. A stronger Ernesto would have been more likely to turn northwest under the influence of a trough of low pressure passing to the north. If Ernesto survives its crossing of the Yucatan Peninsula, the potential exists for it to re-strengthen over the Bay of Campeche, and make a second landfall on Mexico's coast on Friday, between Tampico and Veracruz. It's pretty unlikely that Ernesto will hit the U.S.-- though Brownsville, Texas could see some rain from Ernesto's outer spiral bands on Friday, if the storm survives that long.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Ernesto, showing the exposed low-level center--a swirl due south of Jamaica--and only very limited heavy thunderstorm activity surrounding the center.

Tropical Storm Florence
Tropical Storm Florence continues to plow westward at 14 mph over the Eastern Atlantic, and is not a threat to any land areas for next five days. The SHIPS model is predicting a moderate 5 - 15 knots of wind shear for Florence Sunday and Monday, but the shear will increase to the high range as Florence encounters an upper-level trough of low pressure on Tuesday. The latest Saharan Air Layer Analysis shows that a large area of dry air lies to the north and west of Florence, and this dry air will likely cause problems for the storm. Ocean temperature are near 26 - 26.5°C, which is right at the threshold for where a tropical storm can typically exist. It is possible that Florence could pose a threat to Bermuda next weekend, if the storm survives that long. Both the GFS and ECMWF models dissipate Florence before then.

Historic heat wave in Oklahoma
A second day of destructive fires affected Oklahoma on Saturday, thanks to extreme heat and drought, low humidities, and strong winds in advance of an approaching cold front. At 3 pm CDT Saturday, Oklahoma City had a temperature of 107°, a humidity of 19%, and winds of 16 mph gusting to 22 mph. The Oklahoma fires have destroyed at least 125 homes. The high temperature in Oklahoma City on Saturday reached 109°, the 12th warmest temperature recorded in the city since records began in 1891. Friday's high of 113° tied for the warmest temperature in city history.


Figure 3. Highway 48 is covered in smoke as flames continue, Saturday, Aug 4, 2012, east of Drumright, OK. Image credit: Associated Press.

The only comparable Oklahoma heat wave: August 1936
The only heat wave in Oklahoma history that compares to the August 2012 heat wave occurred during the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the hottest summer in U.S. history. Oklahoma City experienced three days at 110° that summer, and a record streak of 22 straight days with a temperature of 100° or hotter. Those numbers are comparable to 2012's: three days at 110° or hotter, and a string of 18 consecutive days (so far) with temperatures of 100° or hotter. The weak cold front that passed though Oklahoma Saturday will bring temperatures about 10° cooler over the next few days, but high temperatures are still expected to approach 100° in Oklahoma City Sunday through Tuesday. It's worth noting that Oklahoma City has experienced only 11 days since 1890 with a high of 110° or greater. Three of those days were in 2011, three in 2012, and three in the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a new post on July's heat extremes in the U.S.


Figure 4. Most of Oklahoma has experienced nine consecutive days with highs of 100° or more, and many regions, including Oklahoma City, have had a streak of eighteen such days. Image credit: Oklahoma Mesonet.

Severe thunderstorm complex forces evacuation of Lollapalooza
A organized complex of severe thunderstorms developed over Eastern Iowa and Northern Illinois late Saturday afternoon, forming a dangerous bow echo that swept through Chicago, forcing the evacuation of the Lollapalooza music festival. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged over 150 reports of wind damage from the storm, with five of the thunderstorms containing winds in excess of hurricane force (74 mph.) And just yesterday, my daughter was bemoaning her misfortune at not being able to get tickets to the show! The thunderstorm complex traveled about 300 miles from Eastern Iowa to Ohio, generating winds gust in excess of 58 mph along most of its path, meeting the definition of a derecho.


Figure 5. Radar image of the severe thunderstorm complex that spawned a dangerous bow echo over Chicago, which forced the evacuation of the Lollapalooza music festival.

Jeff Masters

IN THE EYE OF THE STORM (nanamac)
Storm clouds overwhelming Chicago
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM (nanamac)
Sheets of rain & darkness!
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
()
Storm damage (Bubbly)
Straight line winds during a severe thunderstorm left crumpled metal and splintered wood behind in Frytown, Iowa
Storm damage

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Quoting Grothar:


It should have a very good chance of developing in the Bay of Campeche, if it gets there.
Agreed, 0z GFDL shows that possibility, taking the storm further north than the other dynamic models and strengthening it into a major hurricane.

The consensus between the 0z dynamic models seems to favor it reaching the BOC, although they really don't give it much time over water or distance from land to allow for much strengthening.
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Had a nice B767 overhead, shake up the house now.
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2031. emguy
Quoting Grothar:
I just have one last question for all the night shift bloggers. Do you all look as bad as I do in the morning? Nite now.


After an all nighter of Hurricane talk...I would say I have a face for radio. LOL! Gotta love the passion.
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


I think he's trying to make up for lost time Baha!!
tg08, u got some cred added 2night... good discussion on Ernesto... watching that Sward drift earlier made me wonder if we were going to see him pull a Wilma or Mitch type act... meander around in that same general area to get things together, then go off in the direction of the Yucatan... not likely he'll get much past hurricane, but I expect a much improved storm will greet the dawn...
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Fresh update. Center should be right on top of 80W.

850mb



500mb



Still not aligned perfectly with each other, but it's better than 3 hours ago.

850



500

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Quoting BahaHurican:
Stayed up late, typing w/ 1 hand, 2 c if Ernesto was going 2 try a RI..... lol .... looking good so far....


I think he's trying to make up for lost time Baha!!
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2027. Grothar
Quoting AllStar17:


I don't find your one liners funny at all. Lol. Jk


Sure! :)
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Quoting ProgressivePulse:
First look at a satellite tonight, there is evidence the center could be on the western edge of the convection, near 81W. (Click Image For Link)



Hmmm...not sure what to make of that. But I don't think it's the center.
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Stayed up late, typing w/ 1 hand, 2 c if Ernesto was going 2 try a RI..... lol .... looking good so far....
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XD NOGAPS DON'T KNOW WHAT DO WITH ERNESTO

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Keep an eye on this buoy.

Station 42057
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2022. Grothar
I just have one last question for all the night shift bloggers. Do you all look as bad as I do in the morning? Nite now.
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Quoting Grothar:
I have to go to bed. But if any of you ever want to drop and ask a question on anything like economics, Anthropology or any subject that interest you, you may also WU mail me. I will answer as best I can. I actually do more than post funny one-liners. It would be fun for me, too. As I mentioned before I also want to do a daily blog called "100 Years Ago Today" taken from my own diaries.


I don't find your one liners funny at all. Lol. Jk
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2020. Grothar
Quoting TomTaylor:
0z ECMWF brings Ernesto into the Yucatan as a moderate tropical storm but takes it on such a southerly track that it doesn't have anytime over the Bay of Campeche to strengthen.

0z ECMWF at 96 Hours (Hard to see the low, but it is onshore in Mexico near the SE BOC)



It should have a very good chance of developing in the Bay of Campeche, if it gets there.
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Blog update on Ernesto and Florence

Ernesto is really organizing, not a good situation.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Quoting yoboi:


read the label made in china like everything else...



Oh really?



As an aerospace engineer let me tell you something.

None of that is made in china nor was our rover that just landed.


While this is OT, when someone says something completely and totally ignorant I feel obligated to correct it.




None of this hardware was "made in china" nor are the spacecraft that make tracking Ernesto from an internet blog possible.

Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1537
Quoting yqt1001:


Wouldn't this also explain the SW movement recon found earlier?


Yeah, it looked like the center was moving erratically earlier as it was trying to find itself underneath convection.
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2015. Grothar
I have to go to bed. But if any of you ever want to drop and ask a question on anything like economics, Anthropology or any subject that interest you, you may also WU mail me. I will answer as best I can. I actually do more than post funny one-liners. It would be fun for me, too. As I mentioned before I also want to do a daily blog called "100 Years Ago Today" taken from my own diaries.
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First look at a satellite tonight, there is evidence the center could be on the western edge of the convection, near 81W. (Click Image For Link)

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Quoting MississippiWx:
New update:



Taking shape once again. Good TCHP near by.
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Quoting Grothar:


Good observation. Here is the image and also a link of what you described.





Link


Thanks, Grothar. I think we are in for a real treat tomorrow. Should be plenty to talk about on the blog.
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2011. Patrap
Tenacious "E"

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Quoting yoboi:


give more money to congress and senate to spend???lol
so long as they spend it on things like more Dopplars, new-improved QUIKscat, revitalization of flood plains... heck yeah! Schools that teach better math science and communication skills to the next generations of Americans so they can take their place? Absolutely!
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2008. yqt1001
Quoting MississippiWx:


Doesn't seems so. LOL.

I've seen this happen several times with TCs that are trying to fix their core structure. This time looks to be no different.


Wouldn't this also explain the SW movement recon found earlier?
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Quoting Grothar:
I would expect it to begin making its turn to the WNW soon.
Hope it is or Honduras will receive the first landfall if it doesn`t turn west northwest tomorrow afternoon Ernesto will probably make landfall in here.
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0z ECMWF brings Ernesto into the Yucatan as a moderate tropical storm but takes it on such a southerly track that it doesn't have anytime over the Bay of Campeche to strengthen.

0z ECMWF at 96 Hours (Hard to see the low, but it is onshore in Mexico near the SE BOC)

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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Yeah don't worry about it yet. That's just one run of a storm that doesn't exist yet. It may not even be on the next runs. Sorry I didn't want to alarm anyone.


We refer to those as "Phantom/Ghost" storms. GFS has been on the ball lately, trackwise and pre-development. IMO
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Has it moved at all MSX?


Doesn't seems so. LOL.

I've seen this happen several times with TCs that are trying to fix their core structure. This time looks to be no different.
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2002. Grothar
Quoting BenBIogger:


That dreaded turn hasn't commence yet? Well it has slowed down considerably compared to Saturday.


That is usually when it is ready to make a turn.
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2001. yoboi
Quoting sunlinepr:


bout to make a slight turn..
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2335
2000. Grothar
Quoting tennisgirl08:


See those tiny flare-ups to the west of Ernesto. Yep...that is evidence of shrinking dry air that is becoming moist out ahead of Ernesto.

I even think he is beginning to ventilate a little on his western half now.

Watch out! He's ready to go!


Good observation. Here is the image and also a link of what you described.





Link
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Quoting MississippiWx:
New update:



Has it moved at all MSX?
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New update:

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Quoting NJ2S:



Please tell me it just looks scary but is headed out to sea !!!


Yeah don't worry about it yet. That's just one run of a storm that doesn't exist yet. It may not even be on the next runs. Sorry I didn't want to alarm anyone.
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Quoting Grothar:
I would expect it to begin making its turn to the WNW soon.


That dreaded turn hasn't commence yet? Well it has slowed down considerably compared to Saturday.
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Actually Levi answered a few posts back. :)

Quoting Levi32:


GFS hints at it too. Both models show a large mid-level cyclonic gyre remaining over central America after Ernesto moves inland to the west, and both models show this gyre regenerating an area of low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico in 6-9 days.


ok THANKS
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Quoting Grothar:
I would expect it to begin making its turn to the WNW soon.


Yes indeed :-)
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I bet if HHs were in there now they would find a pressure below 1000mbs.
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Quoting washingaway:
Spaghetti loop


The best part is when she has babies...
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1991. NJ2S
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
HOLY...




Please tell me it just looks scary but is headed out to sea !!!
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Still not quite stacked but getting there with this halt in its speed.
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1989. Grothar
I would expect it to begin making its turn to the WNW soon.
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


See those tiny flare-ups to the west of Ernesto. Yep...that is evidence of shrinking dry air that is becoming moist out ahead of Ernesto.

I even think he is beginning to ventilate a little on his western half now.

Watch out! He's ready to go!


Long way we've been tracking Ernesto....

Full of surprises...
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1987. yoboi
Quoting BahaHurican:
my 1 comment on this: govt could cut debt to nothing in few years if millionares + paid their fair share of taxes. IMO current generation of US affluent benefit from gov't programs like NASA but are unwilling to 'pay it forward' so America the great can stay great.

But that's just me looking in fom the outside.

YMMV


give more money to congress and senate to spend???lol
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2335
1986. Grothar
Quoting ProgressivePulse:


Looks rather linear on the west side...


Actually very linear on not vertically stacked.(I usually notice that first. However it is trying to consolidate which is why I mentioned it. It hath that lean and hungry look to it.
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Quoting sunlinepr:


See those tiny flare-ups to the west of Ernesto. Yep...that is evidence of shrinking dry air that is becoming moist out ahead of Ernesto.

I even think he is beginning to ventilate a little on his western half now.

Watch out! He's ready to go!
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(click to enlarge)

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Spaghetti loop
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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