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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SPOOKY!!

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Is Florence down for the count? She looks pretty beat up.
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Maybe we will see a CDO form. A real CDO.

It had a real CDO. Yesterday and the day before. A very impressive one at that.

It's inner-core...not so impressive.

I remember this image like it was just yesterday...



Oh wait, it was.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Pretty safe to say Ernesto has a low chance of dying at this point. It's beginning to intensify for once.

I can agree with that... But its a very squimish type of Intensification, He could easily weaken back, or fall apart... Though slow organization back into a more impressive TS should occur throughout the next 48 hours before a cross through the Yucatan...
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Maybe we will see a CDO form. A real CDO.
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Trollnesto is a weird storm that's for sure..
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Quoting redwagon:

You know, you're right. Guess in all the hubbub I never thought to register W winds... who would think to look for W winds in a storm that is hauling due W for so long?

Now what might this mean.....


Nothing. It just means his inner core is better organized. Says nothing about track or intensity...for now.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Quoting belizeit:
First time we have really sean west winds with Ernesto

You know, you're right. Guess in all the hubbub I never thought to register W winds... who would think to look for W winds in a storm that is hauling due W for so long?

Now what might this mean.....
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Why is the blog so slow? Where is everyone?

Looks to me like Ernesto is going to skirt the coast of Honduras/Nicaragua to its South. I think his time is running out.

He may dissipate once over land. He will have to begin a WNW motion very soon to even stay in line with the NHC track.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
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Blog is slow
Member Since: July 19, 2011 Posts: 12 Comments: 2519
1171. ncstorm
thats a lot of moisture for the updated HPC map

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2012 is the year of the complex storms , erni has been quite interesting, i think the HH and NHC NOAA they must have stress with this storm
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Quoting ilovehurricanes13:
big spin coming off of africa


The biggest one is starting to appear on the loop to the right.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14571
First time we have really sean west winds with Ernesto
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Quoting ilovehurricanes13:
big spin coming off of africa


That is a massive wave just coming into frame on that loop.
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
see u all tomorrow looks like we are not going to see any significant info from recon winds are not strong at all


really have no clue what you are looking at lol

and they are going to be in the storm for several more hours, pretty clear to me Ernesto is better organized than earlier and is intensifying
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Lowest pressure so far on this RECON

Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1002.4 mb
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Ernesto should slow down...might help him organize...I still think Ernesto has a surprise or two left in him...
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AL, 05, 2012080600, , BEST, 0, 153N, 792W, 45, 1003, TS,
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362

1075. stormpetrol 12:03 AM GMT on August 06, 2012 +1


Look like an "eye" around 14.9N/78.8W , just sayin "looks like an eye" not sayin it is!

Just saying 15N/79.1 is very close to this estimate, wasn't so far off!
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Florence has a nic blow up


Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
It appears, to me, Ernesto might have 2 competing centers... One- which is the main center fix, and another Mid-level center trying to work down to the surface... If the #1 Center were to die, and the second were to work down to the surface... Could be an interesting set-up...
Doubt it... Just shows that Ernesto is still very disorganized, and could easily die...

were do you think the othere mid level center is at?
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
It appears, to me, Ernesto might have 2 competing centers... One- which is the main center fix, and another Mid-level center trying to work down to the surface... If the #1 Center were to die, and the second were to work down to the surface... Could be an interesting set-up...
Doubt it... Just shows that Ernesto is still very disorganized, and could easily die...

Pretty safe to say Ernesto has a low chance of dying at this point. It's beginning to intensify for once.
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Quoting Levi32:
Center is probably is jumping southward into the convection, accounting for the half-degree loss in latitude during the past 2 hours.

A sign that Ernesto is organizing
Member Since: July 19, 2011 Posts: 12 Comments: 2519
Quoting BahaHurican:
The Jetstream 1 is very good for beginners and for refreshers because it explains using simple clear language and lots of excellent graphics. Plus u can check off the different parts u have done....



Have bookmarked it as well as the other recommendations. They all look good and are just what I was looking for!
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Still disjointed at the various levels, but getting more vertical, lil ways to go though. Almost looks like the mid-level is spinning southeast of the main circulation. 200 mb level beginning to show slightly better intensity, too. Not much, but better than it has been. Ernesto is trying to grow up! ;)
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
if i dont see a WNW turn soon this storm will have less then 24 too 48hr lift overe water
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
It appears, to me, Ernesto might have 2 competing centers... One- which is the main center fix, and another Mid-level center trying to work down to the surface... If the #1 Center were to die, and the second were to work down to the surface... Could be an interesting set-up...
Doubt it... Just shows that Ernesto is still very disorganized, and could easily die...
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1150. Levi32
Center is probably is jumping southward into the convection, accounting for the half-degree loss in latitude during the past 2 hours.
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Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11432
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Ernesto is .4N south of previous thought. Still shouldn't affect the track significantly.

Recon found west winds. The storm's circulation is better defined than last night.


I figured there were some kind of west winds.
After all there was a very evident complete swirl
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1146. Gino99
Florence seems to interrupt with dry air now. The amount of thunderstorms has diminished. And Ernesto will definetly stay a tropical storm until the first landfall for sure.
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
that also



yup
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
If trends continue TS Warnings will be required for the north coast of honduras and Roatan islandsand also expect TS Watches for Guatemala & Belize
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dos FLORENCE have a better ch down the rd ?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Ernesto is .4N south of previous thought. Still shouldn't affect the track significantly.

Recon found west winds. The storm's circulation is better defined than last night.
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1141. Patrap

0 Days 04 Hours 52 Minutes 10 Seconds Until Curiosity Lands on Mars

MARS LANDING COUNTDOWN:
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Quoting Tazmanian:



or move right inland in honduras
that also
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Quoting Tazmanian:



with the center at 15N i wonder how this will change with the track
hmm maybe ladfall in Honduras the belize and dies
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see u all tomorrow looks like we are not going to see any significant info from recon winds are not strong at all
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Link
Florence

Or whats left of her at least

Theres actually really nothing left
Member Since: July 19, 2011 Posts: 12 Comments: 2519
Quoting Seflhurricane:
track may shift further south if a WNW motion does not commence Ernesto may indeed skirt the north coast of honduras



or move right inland in honduras
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting VermontStorms:


Thank you as well!
The Jetstream 1 is very good for beginners and for refreshers because it explains using simple clear language and lots of excellent graphics. Plus u can check off the different parts u have done....

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22583
Quoting Tazmanian:



with the center at 15N i wonder how this will change with the track
track may shift further south if a WNW motion does not commence Ernesto may indeed skirt the north coast of honduras
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
they have the center at 15.0N 79.1W

wow


they are right, wind shift and lowest pressure at that location

Ernesto is certainly still a TS, but he is moving West or even south of west the last hour or so
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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.