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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Lots of applauses... I just saw one of the monitors, the guy was watching the Olympics.... ;)
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1832. Grothar
I think I will be writing a blog on the next feature. I like to get a jump on them. It should be a very interesting two weeks; frazzled nerves and such. I prefer not to call them pre anything, because it is too far out to tell.

Levi, you did quite well on this one. Missed a few steps, but all in all you kept the blog informed of each change. I'd give you a kudos, but I ate the last one.

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1831. sar2401
Quoting aspectre:
allancalderini: Thanks but I am asking because my local news are saying that is nothing to worry about and that maybe some showers. I am not sure to tell the truth.
And thanks for your concern AtHomeInTx. I will hope this hurricane season doesn't affect us severely.

1651 sar2401: Just my unofficial guess but, having been in your area before, Ernesto should make landfall far enough north in Belize, or even the Yucatan, if Ernesto gets stronger.
I really think your local met is right. It shouldn't be any worse than the typical tropical wave that you get there. Some rain, lightning, and a little wind, but no landslides or flooding. Just keep an eye here and you'll know what's happening.


"Hurricane Mitch....rapidly strengthened to peak at Category 5...After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane...made landfall 80 mi (130 km) east of La Ceiba...with 80 mph (130 km/h) winds..."
Flooding rains caused most of the DEVASTATION in Honduras. Any Honduran who is not paranoid and prepared when facing the possibility of a landfalling TropicalCyclone is completely&utterly bonkers.


Aspectre, do you really think Ernesto has even a 5% chance of hitting Honduras with a direct blow? Everyone in Central America should alwys be prepared for a hurricane, but there's no need of scaring this guy with the "spectre" of Mitch.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 15176
Ok...just read responses...glad I CMA with untrained eye disclaimer...thanks for setting me straight!
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1829. Patrap
Entry has begun,

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128282
1828. yoboi
Quoting aspectre:
1738 yoboi: I am stomping trolls, what is ernesto doing???

No you're not. You are being a troll. Your WAY over the top and WAY overly numerous "reaction"s make me suspect that you are also the troll that you're "responding" to.


sorry ya feel that way....
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1826. Skyepony (Mod)
OSCAT caught Florence
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Quoting sar2401:


You wouldn't be if you lived on the East Coast. Are you looking for mass destruction, or what?

nope. Im looking for a chase.
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1824. yqt1001
Here we go...

Entry starts now.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
I gotta admit, I do type them... then delete...lol


lol Been there done that. :)
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1822. yoboi
Quoting Patrap:


what's your thoughts with the saints??
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1821. scott39
Quoting Grothar:


Not very likely at this time. I would say he should maintain an WNW motion for awhile. If he stengthens like I think....well never mind, I'll save that for the morning.
Do I spy a new track in the near future?
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1738 yoboi: I am stomping trolls, what is ernesto doing???

No you're not. You are being a troll. Your WAY over the top and WAY overly numerous "reaction"s make me suspect that you are also the troll that you're "responding" to.
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Quoting midgulfmom:
Ernesto looks to be blooming blobs, wrapping tighter, and consolidating a bit further NW then previously. Just my untrained eye....

seeing the smae thing. but my eyes could be off.
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1818. Patrap
Heartbeat tones are good and stable,

90 secs to atmosphere interface.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128282
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Lol. I wish I had that kind of discipline sometimes. :)
I gotta admit, I do type them... then delete...lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
Ernesto looks to be blooming blobs, wrapping tighter, and consolidating a bit further NW then previously. Just my untrained eye....
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1815. Grothar
Quoting yoboi:


lol good one gro penny for our thoughts huh...


It's called tact, yoboi. The unsaid part of what one is thinking. When you are married to Mrs. Grothar, it can be a quite useful attibute.
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1814. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 424 Comments: 128282
Quoting RTSplayer:
It's just a model.LOL.

Same model doesn't know what's going on right now, or 5 minutes from now, and you're worried about 16 days from now. LOL.

Think about it, these things don't even initialize with the correct, known data half the time, so how can you take a 16 day forecast seriously?
GFS has been getting better at calling these storms... not so much intensity or exact track as timing...

Quoting tennisgirl08:
Those long-range forecasts are scary...but I really think we should be focusing on the impending storm that is Ernesto.

He will blow up tonight. And is barely moving at all.
That's the scary part...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
1812. yoboi
Quoting Walshy:


lol haarp???
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1811. sar2401
Quoting Stormchaser121:
Are all the Cape Verde storms gonna recurve this year? Im tired of seeing the same thing over and over and over again.


You wouldn't be if you lived on the East Coast. Are you looking for mass destruction, or what?
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 15176
1810. scott39
Ernesto is just about crawling and organizing more every hour. kaboom
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1809. yoboi
Quoting Levi32:


I don't remember being particularly offended. I enjoy your insightful observations on here.


levi if ya ever in louisiana ya might want to stop by a casino and throw some nice it's alot like predicting storms....never know what ya going to land...hope that advice helps if ya ever make it big time...
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1808. Grothar
Quoting midgulfmom:
Anybody? .....new more northern coc possibly forming?


Not very likely at this time. I would say he should maintain an WNW motion for awhile. If he stengthens like I think....well never mind, I'll save that for the morning.
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1806. sar2401
Quoting midgulfmom:
Anybody? .....new more northern coc possibly forming?


Umm..no. The COC, if it even exists, is still south.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 15176
does anyone know when the next recon will go out.
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Are all the Cape Verde storms gonna recurve this year? Im tired of seeing the same thing over and over and over again.
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1803. Patrap
.. Separation from the Carrier Bus is complete Standing by for Pyro Arm and first contact of atmo..


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1802. robj144
You guys watching the Mars rover landing:

Link
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Quoting Grothar:



I think them, I just don't write them.:)


Lol. I wish I had that kind of discipline sometimes. :)
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1800. Walshy
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Mars landing procedure on the way...
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Quoting midgulfmom:
Is a new coc forming further north? Eye evaluation only....

seams that why by looking at it. getting more circular as well and not spread out.
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1797. yoboi
Quoting Grothar:



I think them, I just don't write them.:)


lol good one gro penny for our thoughts huh...
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1796. Grothar
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
how ya doing grothar


Sitting and watching flowers bloom
as bloggers write of gloom and doom

How you doing?
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Anybody? .....new more northern coc possibly forming?
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1794. yoboi
Quoting Levi32:


I won't be looking hard at this until after Ernesto, but right off the bat it is very difficult to get a storm that is already above 20N at 40W to make it all the way to the United States. 12-15 day forecast shouldn't be taken seriously at all right now.


i thought that when ernesto formed so close to the equator something to think about no way he was going to pull an ivan...might not be in textbooks but that far south hard to hitt usa...
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Quoting midgulfmom:
Looks like its drifting a bit NW to me...
looked like SW drift earlier....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22101
Looks like Gordon will recurve to miss me in FL.
Its been a while since a hurricane has hit the Northeast.
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1791. Grothar
Quoting yoboi:


it's cool we all prob said things we wish we could take back....



I think them, I just don't write them.:)
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Levi - would you mind giving us your thoughts on Ernesto's movement and organization at the present time? Thanks so much.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Quoting yoboi:


keep that rain over there i almost had to bale hay in my yard today...

hahaha! No problem, we'll be happy to keep it here awhile longer!
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Quoting Levi32:


I won't be looking hard at this until after Ernesto, but right off the bat it is very difficult to get a storm that is already above 20N at 40W to make it all the way to the United States. 12-15 day forecast shouldn't be taken seriously at all right now.


Agreed. Ernesto people!
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Is a new coc forming further north? Eye evaluation only....
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1786. scott39
Quoting Grothar:
I told you all today at 3:30, Ernest was just taking a nap. He won't disappoint you.
Ive always been in his court. I say he goes farther N over the Yucatan.
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Those long-range forecasts are scary...but I really think we should be focusing on the impending storm that is Ernesto.

He will blow up tonight. And is barely moving at all.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
1783. Levi32
Quoting emguy:
Good evening folks. I wanted to ta a moment to aplogize to everyone on here, in particular, Levi and TomTaylor.

I made comments last night that were incorect and immapropriate, and they were unfair to those individuals. I'm very very sorry if I offended any body on this site, including them. They are good guys. My comments are my fault and I accept that. With that, my sincere apologies. I was wrong. I'm sorry.


I don't remember being particularly offended. I enjoy your insightful observations on here.
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About

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