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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Link

Looks like Ernesto is springing back to life ... Thunderstorms boiling up
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Well kiss my grits...Flo almost no mo...

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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.

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


South 15th street


Wow this wasnt helpful
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


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


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

Let's see what recon shows.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Quoting mcluvincane:


South 15th street
just off the turnpike its that bomb shelter looking building
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Quoting gator23:

Where in Miami is the NHC?


South 15th street
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Track


Wow... that's bold! It sure doesn't seem likely, at least not at this point in time.
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Quoting hurrtracker1994:


#1: Its my day off.
#2: With this amount of activity? Not coffee, its more like 5 hour energy ever 2 hours. Especially during the night shifts.

Where in Miami is the NHC?
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Recon still about 750 miles away from the center.
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Quoting sar2401:


Thanks. As I said in another post, Quintana Roo is nice and flat, and Ernesto, assuming it gets it's act together before landfall, can probably pop out on the other side. If it comes ashore in Belize and, depending on the exact track, there are some pretty good mountains to disrupt the storm. It'll be interesting to see which solution turns out to be correct.


Climatology also agrees with both of your posts :)
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Levi, the Gulf of Guinea is cool enough to have the effect of have strong waves emerging more north right?



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.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting galvestonhurricane:


In regards to the GFDL, you are following it for track and intensity?


Track
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
LinkThousands of fish die as Midwest streams heat up

Edit: The story says millions. So much for Yahoo news headlines.
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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.


Thanks. As I said in another post, Quintana Roo is nice and flat, and Ernesto, assuming it gets it's act together before landfall, can probably pop out on the other side. If it comes ashore in Belize and, depending on the exact track, there are some pretty good mountains to disrupt the storm. It'll be interesting to see which solution turns out to be correct.
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Quoting MississippiBoy:
is there an upper low in the gulf?and if will it effect ernesto?


there is a ULL...but it is forecast to retrograde West. It seems to be but slowly.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Quoting tennisgirl08:
Good evening! So Ernesto is trying to fire convection near the COC. Seems like the center finally slowed down enough for the MLC to catch up to it. Let's just see if it can work its way down to the surface.

Time, dry air, and light shear are working against him. BUT - I will err on the side of the GFDL if he starts strengthening.

When is the next HH mission?


In regards to the GFDL, you are following it for track and intensity?
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Levi, the Gulf of Guinea is cool enough to have the effect of have strong waves emerging more north right?

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712. jpsb
Quoting java162:
jamaica gold and sivler 100m olympic finals
Congratulations!
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Quoting tennisgirl08:
Good evening! So Ernesto is trying to fire convection near the COC. Seems like the center finally slowed down enough for the MLC to catch up to it. Let's just see if it can work its way down to the surface.

Time, dry air, and light shear are working against him. BUT - I will err on the side of the GFDL if he starts strengthening.

When is the next HH mission?


Now
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Yes 602 that was why we come here, most of us to learn. In my case a little slower than some. But I have fun trying.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:


no I don't think so


If it comes ashore in northern Quintana Roo, I'll buy that it might be able to survive a trip to the BOC. If it comes ashore in Belize, no way. Too much high ground to cross, and I believe it will die onshore.
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So when will s florida,s luck run out
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Quoting sar2401:


Levi, I've been with you on Ernesto since Day One. 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. What are your thoughts? I totally concur that Ernesto has zero chance of affecting the CONUS at this point...actually never thought it did.


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.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647



to get this image to hotlink, I selected the "print version" choice under the graphic, and this gives you a .gif

...but now it has disappeared.... sigh
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Quoting tennisgirl08:
Good evening! So Ernesto is trying to fire convection near the COC. Seems like the center finally slowed down enough for the MLC to catch up to it. Let's just see if it can work its way down to the surface.

Time, dry air, and light shear are working against him. BUT - I will err on the side of the GFDL if he starts strengthening.

When is the next HH mission?




there on there way now
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Quoting stormpetrol:
Time: 21:30:30Z
Coordinates: 17.3333N 65.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 469.9 mb (~ 13.88 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 6,373 meters (~ 20,909 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: -
D-value: 344 meters (~ 1,129 feet)
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 43° at 13 knots (From the NE at ~ 14.9 mph)
Air Temp: -9.0°C* (~ 15.8°F*)
Dew Pt: -9.0°C* (~ 15.8°F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 14 knots (~ 16.1 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: -
SFMR Rain Rate: -
(*) Denotes suspect data

Recon on the way!

I was woundering when recon going I am really excited can't wait to see what HH find but I think they ma find Ernesto moving WNW at a slower speed stronger winds lower pressure

plus more convection over the center lol
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Quoting tennisgirl08:
Good evening! So Ernesto is trying to fire convection near the COC. Seems like the center finally slowed down enough for the MLC to catch up to it. Let's just see if it can work its way down to the surface.

Time, dry air, and light shear are working against him. BUT - I will err on the side of the GFDL if he starts strengthening.

When is the next HH mission?

Next flight just left!
Member Since: June 4, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 767
Quoting stormpetrol:
Time: 21:30:30Z
Coordinates: 17.3333N 65.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 469.9 mb (~ 13.88 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 6,373 meters (~ 20,909 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: -
D-value: 344 meters (~ 1,129 feet)
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 43° at 13 knots (From the NE at ~ 14.9 mph)
Air Temp: -9.0°C* (~ 15.8°F*)
Dew Pt: -9.0°C* (~ 15.8°F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 14 knots (~ 16.1 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: -
SFMR Rain Rate: -
(*) Denotes suspect data

Recon on the way!
thankfully
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Good evening! So Ernesto is trying to fire convection near the COC. Seems like the center finally slowed down enough for the MLC to catch up to it. Let's just see if it can work its way down to the surface.

Time, dry air, and light shear are working against him. BUT - I will err on the side of the GFDL if he starts strengthening.

When is the next HH mission?
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
tonights recon should be very interesting
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Quoting RussianWinter:


It isn't getting stronger, it isn't getting weaker, it isn't staying the same...





Whats happenin?


It's actually slightly more disorganized. The pressure and winds are set the same as the last update. If Ernesto starts a big slowdown (and I mean like down to 10 knots) there's a chance it could strengthen a bit before landfall, but not more than a 70 mph TS. My best guess is that he will continue to affected by dry air and tradewinds, and then some colder water as he nears shore.
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Quoting TomTaylor:
Waves form over the Ethiopian highlands in Africa, not the Indian Ocean.
Quoting TomTaylor:
Waves form over the Ethiopian highlands in Africa, not the Indian Ocean.
Yes,but all that moisture in Ethiopia is pouring in from the Indian Ocean first,then getting heated to produce the waves.
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Time: 21:30:30Z
Coordinates: 17.3333N 65.8333W
Acft. Static Air Press: 469.9 mb (~ 13.88 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 6,373 meters (~ 20,909 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: -
D-value: 344 meters (~ 1,129 feet)
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 43° at 13 knots (From the NE at ~ 14.9 mph)
Air Temp: -9.0°C* (~ 15.8°F*)
Dew Pt: -9.0°C* (~ 15.8°F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 14 knots (~ 16.1 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: -
SFMR Rain Rate: -
(*) Denotes suspect data

Recon on the way!
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05/1745 UTC 15.3N 77.8W T1.5/2.5 ERNESTO -- Atlantic
05/1745 UTC 16.4N 35.8W T1.5/2.5 FLORENCE -- Atlantic
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Quoting WatchingThisOne:
#602 Tom Taylor - outstanding post. Thanks much.
I also thought it was a good read
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Quoting unknowncomic:
Ernesto rising from the dead?

was never dead just sick
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Quoting RussianWinter:


It isn't getting stronger, it isn't getting weaker, it isn't staying the same...





Whats happenin?


Nobody really knows.
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Quoting redwagon:


Tell us true: how prevalent was the dual COCs discussion? Seriously. Debby was the Parting of the Red Sea when it comes to model initialization. What points of argument were most divergent?


It was always a continuing issue that during the time, was not as prevalent in the discussions as was the overall forecasted path. We are actually currently undergoing post analysis of the storm (which is done with every storm sometime after it dissipates). That is starting to come up now, but with all of this activity we had to throw the brakes on post analysis for now. It is all apart of an ongoing initiative to improve forecasts. I can get you a definitive answer as to what our findings are at a later date though.
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#602 Tom Taylor - outstanding post. Thanks much.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

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


Even the GFDL track seems very unlikely.
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AMSU Imagery

Atlantic Wide
Precipitable Water Image

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Quoting Levi32:


Eh it's starting to look too late. The models just won't stop shifting south, except for one 12z ECMWF ensemble member that still takes it to Houston lol. At this rate it might be hard to even get Ernesto north of Tampico on the second landfall, but we'll see. The track is still far from finalized because of the disagreement the models are still having over the short-term intensity. Stronger still equals farther north track.


Levi, I've been with you on Ernesto since Day One. 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. What are your thoughts? I totally concur that Ernesto has zero chance of affecting the CONUS at this point...actually never thought it did.
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i can see the last update comeing in at 11pm for Florence

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Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22138
Quoting galvestonhurricane:


None of the above


It isn't getting stronger, it isn't getting weaker, it isn't staying the same...





Whats happenin?
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ernesto the little train that could I think I can,I think I can, I know I can
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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.