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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Watch this loop. Look at the open area south of the convection around 12N. You can see the low clouds were basically stationary at that point. In the last few frames, they started moving to the east at a good clip. Ernesto could finally be fixing that southern part of his circulation.

Link
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10282
anyone see tribucanes today

hope thats not the house
the FBI is at in Wisconsin
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very impressive final 4 frames of false color rgb loop. he is definitely stacking fast again in front and wrapping now that the dry air is about done for....

Link

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/carb/flash-rgb. html
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780. JLPR2
SOI values look like a roller coaster...

31 Jul 2012 1011.09 1014.60 -27.45 -0.08 -3.87
1 Aug 2012 1010.36 1014.75 -36.48 -0.86 -4.23
2 Aug 2012 1010.84 1014.65 -32.96 -1.47 -4.63
3 Aug 2012 1013.15 1014.40 -17.42 -2.10 -4.95
4 Aug 2012 1015.51 1014.20 -1.88 -2.06 -5.06
5 Aug 2012 1016.68 1014.35 4.31 -1.51 -5.06
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Quoting Levi32:


Yes. I've been saying the African wave train is very healthy and vigorous this year. It's just that development in the deep tropical Atlantic will be hard to pull off due to the El Nino. Expect storms to be strongest north of 20N and when they get farther west this year.
Agreed, although that's pretty much true every year, except for the 20N part. Usually it's more like 15N. Should be further north though with the ENSO conditions and the cool SST anomalies over the tropical Atlantic up to about 5N (almost up to 10N right off Africa).

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ZOOM is available

Ernesto Long Floater - RGB Color Imagery Loop
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Yep yes we will find out real soon!
Member Since: June 4, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 767
Quoting Levi32:


Strengthening tropical storms actually are the best survivors of the Yucatan. Mature hurricanes compete with their own core too much during major land crossings, and weakling depressions can die completely, but tropical storms have little to lose and much to gain, and can retain their structure for redevelopment on the other side. Given improving conditions in its path, Ernesto should recover from the Yucatan if it actually gets water time on the other side.


A good example is Karl in 2010.
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Quoting VermontStorms:
Hi there,

While we are all waiting for the next recon info, I want to introduce myself and ask for some info. I am Kate, long-time lurker in Vermont (and really appreciated all the info here in the run-up to Irene last year).

Can you all point me to some good sites for learning meteorology basics, beyond the limited FAQ links above? I have learned loads just lurking here over the years, but would love to know more about stuff like the physics of why stronger storms tend to veer poleward, etc, that get talked about here.

And one quick question: What is ACE?

Thank you all!

I would refer you to Tropicalanalystwx13. He is seasoned enough to take on teaching now.

Old axiom, you cannot teach without learning while you teach.
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Quoting VermontStorms:
Hi there,

While we are all waiting for the next recon info, I want to introduce myself and ask for some info. I am Kate, long-time lurker in Vermont (and really appreciated all the info here in the run-up to Irene last year).

Can you all point me to some good sites for learning meteorology basics, beyond the limited FAQ links above? I have learned loads just lurking here over the years, but would love to know more about stuff like the physics of why stronger storms tend to veer poleward, etc, that get talked about here.

And one quick question: What is ACE?

Thank you all!

Hi Kate,

ACE, or Accumulated Cyclone Energy, is simply a measure of the amount of energy released by an individual tropical cyclone. It is also used to sometimes compare tropical cyclone activity be season.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32253
Quoting Levi32:


Recon will shortly find out whether westerly winds have redeveloped on the southern side of the center. The circulation is at least a defined swirl that is growing tighter now due to the new thunderstorms in proximity to it. It's on the verge of regaining a legitimate circulation.



i guss will wait and see what recon finds
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Quoting gator23:

US got hit by a Hurricane last year. Ernesto isnt a Hurricane and likely wont be one. Im just confused about this shield that seems to be broken. Its also pretty early in the season... Andrew hit in late August.

The shield is protecting against Major Hurricanes... Irene was a hurricane yes... Debby was a TS yes... But no Major Hurricanes in a while... Thats the so called shield which im hoping still holds but time may have run out... idk none of us do
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Quoting Tazmanian:



do you think Ernesto is a open wave?


Recon will shortly find out whether westerly winds have redeveloped on the southern side of the center. The center is at least a defined swirl that is growing tighter now due to the new thunderstorms in proximity to it. It's on the verge of regaining a legitimate circulation.
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dont think so taz
Member Since: June 4, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 767
Quoting sar2401:


An eye? Can you post a link or graphic? Try as I might, I see five disconnected blobs of convection.



there is NO eye


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Quoting VermontStorms:
Hi there,

While we are all waiting for the next recon info, I want to introduce myself and ask for some info. I am Kate, long-time lurker in Vermont (and really appreciated all the info here in the run-up to Irene last year).

Can you all point me to some good sites for learning meteorology basics, beyond the limited FAQ links above? I have learned loads just lurking here over the years, but would love to know more about stuff like the physics of why stronger storms tend to veer poleward, etc, that get talked about here.

And one quick question: What is ACE?

Thank you all!


Accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) is a measure used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to express the activity of individual tropical cyclones and entire tropical cyclone seasons, particularly the North Atlantic hurricane season. It uses an approximation of the energy used by a tropical system over its lifetime and is calculated every six-hour period. The ACE of a season is the sum of the ACEs for each storm and takes into account the number, strength, and duration of all the tropical storms in the season.[
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Quoting Levi32:
Can't fully see Ernesto's center anymore as the convective canopy expands from this burst, which is still throwing up strong updrafts as of 21:45z.




do you think Ernesto is a open wave?
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OK so the storm has calmed down now.... fine here in S. PA but up just north of me there are lots of trees down and some injuries because of the fallen trees.... wind gust of 61mph here tho
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http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/windmain.php? &basin=atlantic&sat=wg8&prod=sht&zoom=&time=

http://tropic.ssec.wisc.edu/real-time/windmain.ph p?&basin=atlantic&sat=wg8&prod=shr&zoom=&time=

wind shear tendency and deep layer wind shear maps (current from wisu)

ernie is lookin like he wants to get things going. even the sat pic above in dr. masters blog showed alot of circular symmetry with ernie even though he didnt have any towers in the left quads....that being said the fact that he chewed up that much dry air in front of him is impressive and the stage is set for something we haven't seen in quite awhile.

i expect the trade winds push to end now that the high pressure/dry air pocket in front is now about to completely fold. instead of a push they will just wrap in, ernie will slow up, stack quick, could r.i., and may take a northerly track near the straits.....if he is strong enough and hangs over the water once he hits the 89-90 degree water in the GOM things could change even faster....way faster.....his r.i. could become scary to say the least.....
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys looking at rgb Ernesto is developing an eye no joke


An eye? Can you post a link or graphic? Try as I might, I see five disconnected blobs of convection.
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Can't fully see Ernesto's center anymore as the convective canopy expands from this burst, which is still throwing up strong updrafts as of 21:45z.

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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys looking at rgb Ernesto is developing an eye no joke



dont wishcast
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys looking at rgb Ernesto is developing an eye no joke


There is absolutely no eye whatsoever forming, this storm is very unlikely to follow the GFDL either

quit while you are behind and enjoy your swim
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Hi there,

While we are all waiting for the next recon info, I want to introduce myself and ask for some info. I am Kate, long-time lurker in Vermont (and really appreciated all the info here in the run-up to Irene last year).

Can you all point me to some good sites for learning meteorology basics, beyond the limited FAQ links above? I have learned loads just lurking here over the years, but would love to know more about stuff like the physics of why stronger storms tend to veer poleward, etc, that get talked about here.

And one quick question: What is ACE?

Thank you all!
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:



Sar2401, you said the key word: terrain. The Yucatan is a peninsula and is largely very F L A T terrain, non-mountainous. There's hardly any fatal disruption of any kind to storm be it a developing, maturing or a disintegrating system. Unless a system completely stalls over land there is often quite enough moisture on all three sides of the peninsula to fuel its longevity until the system can cross back over into open water. I've watched this many, many times! Good question though! ;)


Indeed. The 5 pm model ensemble seems to have shifted really far to south and now wants to take Ernesto into Belize, then into Guatemala. If this occurs, Ernesto is a dead duck. The current five day forecast track is completely disconnected from the models. Since I've thought this was Belize storm from the begining, I'm sticking with the ensemble. :)
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Hurricane Alex is now a good analogue for Tropical Storm Ernesto. It probably won't get as far north as Alex, but I think it will come close to matching Alex in terms of first landfall intensity, location, and peak intensity in the Gulf.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32253
recon will find a open wave
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hey guys looking at rgb Ernesto is developing an eye no joke
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

no that is just what it is doing


Hate to say it, but you are wrong.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Yes.But by tropical storms.Not hurricanes.

US got hit by a Hurricane last year. Ernesto isnt a Hurricane and likely wont be one. Im just confused about this shield that seems to be broken. Its also pretty early in the season... Andrew hit in late August.
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


Probably at least an hour.

thats good
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Quoting ABH4Life:


You really are wanting this storm huh?

no that is just what it is doing
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys I'm going for a swim do you think I have time before recon get in like umm 30min


Probably at least an hour.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

I think Ernesto will track like the GFDL but more N and E of it


You really are wanting this storm huh?
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hey guys I'm going for a swim do you think I have time before recon get in like umm 30min
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

accually it not really bold seems likely now Ernesto is moving more WNW and is getting stronger it may very well follow that kinda track


It's bold because it goes against a majority of the models and Levi, who is the man of the hour right now.
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Quoting islander101010:
the.real.deal?...72.w26n


ULL
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Quoting gator23:


What shield? The US was hit twice already this year
Yes.But by tropical storms.Not hurricanes.
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:



Sar2401, you said the key word: terrain. The Yucatan is a peninsula and is largely very F L A T terrain, non-mountainous. There's hardly any fatal disruption of any kind to storm be it a developing, maturing or disintegrating system. Unless a system completely stalls over land there is often quite enough moisture on all three sides of the peninsula to fuel its longevity until the system can cross back over into open water. I've watched this many, many times! Good question though! ;)


Yes. Storms almost always survive the Yucatan.

Now he wouldn't have much of a chance if he goes into Hondorus/Nicaragua. I am not buying that scenario, though, at this time.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Ernesto is going into Mexico.Once again the invisible protective shield has come in handy for the U.S :).We don't need them here.Not to sound selfish.


What shield? The US was hit twice already this year
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the.real.deal?...72.w26n
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Quoting Doppler22:

Would the recons findings b posted in the 8pm or 11pm advisories??


Not really sure. Maybe by 11pm...depending on what they find.

I do think they will find a system moving slower.
15-18 mph would be my guess.

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Quoting gator23:

By FIU?
yes
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Quoting gator23:


Wow this wasnt helpful
its just south of the turnpike and hwy 41
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Quoting sar2401:


I'm a little confused as to why the NHC thinks a relatively weak storm like Ernesto will survive the trip across land, especially if it makes landfall in northern Belize and has some pretty good terrain to deal with.



Sar2401, you said the key word: terrain. The Yucatan is a peninsula and is largely very F L A T terrain, non-mountainous. There's hardly any fatal disruption of any kind to a storm be it a developing, maturing or a disintegrating system. Unless a system completely stalls over land there is often quite enough moisture on all three sides of the peninsula to fuel its longevity until the system can cross back over into open water. I've watched this many, many times! Good question though! ;)
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Ernesto is going into Mexico.Once again the invisible protective shield has come in handy for the U.S :).We don't need them here.Not to sound selfish.
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


Wow... that's bold! It sure doesn't seem likely, at least not at this point in time.

accually it not really bold seems likely now Ernesto is moving more WNW and is getting stronger it may very well follow that kinda track
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Quoting tkdaime:
So when will s florida,s luck run out


If I knew the answer to that question, I'd be off in Vegas winning at craps. :) Still, there's thing in weather called "persistence". In the absence of all other factors, forecast the same weather as yesterday. The CV storms haven't looked good so far, and the El Nino seems to be getting stronger. In the absence of these things changing, and since Florida hasn't been hit by a major since 2005, the best WAG is that Florida is not under the gun until conditions in the ITCZ return to "normal". The wild card is a storm developing in the Gulf, but even those typically affect the Panhandle rather than further south.
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Yeah...but I only said I would follow the GFDL IF he started strengthening.

Let's see what recon shows.


Honestly, I agree with you. My gut feeling this whole time has been a more northerly track if Ernesto was stronger. But I am usually not right. Lol.
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Quoting floridaT:
just off the turnpike its that bomb shelter looking building

By FIU?
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Link

Looks like Ernesto is springing back to life ... Thunderstorms boiling up
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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.