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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Severe Weather and Flash Flooding Possible on Sunday for much of the Northeast

An advancing cold front will provide the focus for severe thunderstorms Sunday afternoon and evening as it crosses the Northeast and Midwest. The greatest potential for damaging winds will be across northern and western New York State. Flash flooding will also be possible across eastern New York and western New England as slow moving thunderstorms have the potential to dump very heavy rain.
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EVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BUFFALO NY
332 PM EDT SUN AUG 5 2012

NYC011-075-052015-
/O.CON.KBUF.SV.W.0063.000000T0000Z-120805T2015Z/
OSWEGO NY-CAYUGA NY-
332 PM EDT SUN AUG 5 2012

...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 415 PM EDT
FOR NORTHWESTERN CAYUGA AND OSWEGO COUNTIES...

AT 329 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR CONTINUED TO
INDICATE A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING QUARTER
SIZE HAIL...AND DESTRUCTIVE WINDS IN EXCESS OF 70 MPH. THESE STORMS
WERE LOCATED ALONG A LINE EXTENDING FROM HANNIBAL TO CONQUEST...
MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.

SOME LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
SCRIBA...
NINE MILE POINT...
MEXICO...
SAND RIDGE...
PULASKI...
ALTMAR...
CONSTANTIA...
WILLIAMSTOWN...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THESE ARE DANGEROUS STORMS. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH...PREPARE
IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WINDS...DESTRUCTIVE HAIL...AND DEADLY CLOUD
TO GROUND LIGHTNING. PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE TO A SHELTER...
PREFERABLY INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING BUT AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 700 PM EDT SUNDAY
EVENING FOR WESTERN NEW YORK.

&&
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Quoting Tazmanian:




that wind shear map is old it has not been updated


Taz, there is an anticyclone over Ernesto. Just because the convection is west of the circulation doesn't mean it was sheared. The trade winds did a number on the storm. New convection seems to be blowing up near the COC.. Should see regeneration from here on through tomorrow.
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That's an old wind shear map much closer to the 20 line now heading for 30.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Ernesto just needs to slow down a bit, and gain a couple of degrees of latitude, and there's still plenty of time for it to blow-up before CA/Yucatan. Could be stronger than the most aggressive forecasts or models show. You folks in the Caymans and Jamaica are well clear...expect some squalls at worst. imo




Its still caught in the westerly low level flow so this is essentially impossible.


Not totally, but nearly.

Another day at this speed and it will go right into central america and that will end it.
Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1534
Quoting reedzone:


What??? Where's the wind shear, please Taz, point out the devestating wind shear that is apparently affecting Ernesto..






that wind shear map is old it has not been updated
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hey everyone whats going on in tropics
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180+ hr nogaps same thing as GFS


So there's something to this forecast.
Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1534
Ernesto is going to Honduras or what is left of him IMO. Flo is another story, not looking good but a big girl if you know what I mean. We will have to jeep an eye on her. Some times they blossom after those early teen years. J/K
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Ernesto just needs to slow down a bit, and gain a couple of degrees of latitude, and there's still plenty of time for it to blow-up before CA/Yucatan. Could be stronger than the most aggressive forecasts or models show. You folks in the Caymans and Jamaica are well clear...expect some squalls at worst. imo
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Quoting Tazmanian:



tread winds are too strong wind shear is too strong



its RIP
The only thing that needs to RIP are the comments about Ernesto being dead.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



tread winds are too strong wind shear is too strong



its RIP


What??? Where's the wind shear, please Taz, point out the devestating wind shear that is apparently affecting Ernesto..


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Quoting reedzone:


With the current pattern, it's very possible. GFS showing dry air and wind shear weakening as the MJO pulse comes our way. However, the GFS is the only model seeing this.


It is interesting that GFS is only model seeing this, however, GFS was the only model that saw Ernesto developing and then weakening to its current state, only model that stuck to Debby heading east/NE the entire time. GFS has by far been the best model this year.
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469. txjac
Quoting scott39:
Hey you ding bats who think Ernesto is dead....Go look at maps and do your homework....He is moving into a favorable enviroment and slowing down. Just because he probably wont effect the US, doesnt mean he wont be a threat for somwhere else.


Watching it closely myself ...my daughter is in Guatemala doing charity work with her college honor society.
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180+ hr gfs transiting long track system across the atlantic.


Also of note, small low is noted developing in the gulf just in front of cuba.
Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1534
Hows Ernesto been? It looks like right on cue that some convection is trying to fire again near the COC (or whats left of it at least). Lets see if this trend will continue. I am the NHC intern btw for all those wondering or just tuning into the blog. Once again I appreciate the warm welcomes!
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466. Skyepony (Mod)
Fresh OSCAT

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I like how ComsmicEvents doesn't bash anybody else but me.. It's like I'm his target. I'm just making predictions.. He doesn't bash anyone elses, but mine. Smooth Cosmic, smooth...
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Quoting galvestonhurricane:


Could someone please post the 18z gfs and ecmwf or a link to them?

Link
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Hey you ding bats who think Ernesto is dead....Go look at maps and do your homework....He is moving into a favorable enviroment and slowing down. Just because he probably wont effect the US, doesnt mean he wont be a threat for somwhere else.
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Quoting SubtropicalHi:


No, I just thought he could become a hurricane with potential RI due to TCHP. He's still a TS, but he just hasn't landing into situations that could make him a major hurricane.



tread winds are too strong wind shear is too strong



its RIP
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Quoting DataNerd:



Too generous.


Could someone please post the 18z gfs and ecmwf or a link to them?
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Quoting Tazmanian:



your vary worng with that Ernesto is dead all so it may even be a open wave right now




No, I just thought he could become a hurricane with potential RI due to TCHP. He's still a TS, but he just hasn't landing into situations that could make him a major hurricane.
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458. yoboi
Quoting ilovehurricanes13:


wow
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2328
Quoting DataNerd:



GFS 168 hrs, longer range show this one heading due west as a classic long track cape verde system.


With the current pattern, it's very possible. GFS showing dry air and wind shear weakening as the MJO pulse comes our way. However, the GFS is the only model seeing this.
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Ernesto RIP
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Why do people keep saying that Ernesto is dead? It's not; it's just a little sick. Trust me; he will take some Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Tylenol, or something and he will get better before he runs into land.

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The same thing the ECMWF is thinking.



Too generous.
Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1534
still.a.cyclone..vis.loop
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So here's the breakdown:


1. Expecting ernesto to go in over central america and dissipate. Think the GFS is a bit too generous keeping the system alive much longer I think it won't have a chance after land interactions start.

2. Florence soon to be gone, thought it might have a chance to go west as an open low but it seems like its too far north and will die where it is.


3. Will be watching the new wave very carefully over the next 8 days, as well as the GFS long range forecast which would send a long track cape verde system towards South Florida by the 19th of the month.



Will also keep my eyes peeled for any trough spawned systems forming in the gulf or bay of campeche, as that is a common occurrence around this time of the season.


In the meant time will probably be less active on the blog, I tend to be more interested in tracking active cyclones then waiting for them.
Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1534
Also does Wunderblog have an ip capturing system, because this is childish. All these fake users, and trolls...I bet at least 75% are controlled by another user on here. Just check IPs and figure out which so called "member" is creating these puppet accounts to cause trouble.
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Quoting yoboi:



pat???
]



that is not the real pat he a imposter
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Quoting SubtropicalHi:
Learn something new with each storm. I expected Ernesto to become a hurricane with potential for RI.



your vary worng with that Ernesto is dead all so it may even be a open wave right now


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Quoting DataNerd:



Not sure what nogaps is thinking.

The same thing the ECMWF is thinking.
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444. yoboi
Quoting Tazmanian:




pat has a imposter



taz is that pat joking around????
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2328
a little pop up of convection near the center.
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Learn something new with each storm. I expected Ernesto to become a hurricane with potential for RI.
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Link



Florence likely to be a remnant low very soon.

Colder water got it.
Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1534
If Ernesto were in this current shape in the CATL, then the NHC would have declared it post tropical by now. Goes to show it's trying to act like more of a preparedness agency like the SPC instead of a scientific agency.
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439. yoboi
Quoting PatrapFag:
What did you mean its not a hurricane!??




pat???
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2328
We also have to make sure that we watch the tropics starting friday. The GFS shows a strong wave coming off africa on Friday August 10th. The GFS then has the system most likely Gordon making it to the Bahamas by August 21st. I am very concerned about any system that forms out by Africa this year. With the strong Azores/Bermuda high along with the persistent High pressure ridge across the midwest it would be very hard for a trough to dig far enough south and east to erode the ridge enabling a hurricane to curve out to sea. This pattern is very concerning for the United States especially the east coast. The pattern is very reminiscent of 2004 when Frances was able to make the long trek across the Atlantic
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


As I stated before, the GFDL model plots are much more in line with tracks from analog years similar to 2012.

I think Ernesto could very well dissipate, but I also think it could very well slightly strengthen and move more northernly than expected. 50/50 at this point.


+100 My thoughts exactly. My gut feeling this whole time has been a stronger storm with a more northerly track. And if that doesn't play out, good.
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Quoting DataNerd:



If just one of them ever makes it into the Northwestern Carrib or GOM from the straights it would be very nasty. Gulf is going to remain hot until late October.


Yeah, but "hot" water is only one piece of the puzzle needed. In years past, we've had plently of systems enter the GOM and struggle to develop even with very warm water temps.

Wind shear, dry air, etc can keep storms in check even when the water is hot.

But get a system in the GOM with low wind shear, moist enviroment, and upper level support and look out.
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Out for now. Be back for the next advisory.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242



Not sure what nogaps is thinking.
Member Since: June 24, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 1534
I just read about a space storm that could effect the earth soon. The last big one was a 150 years ago when we didnt have sats and power grids. This would be catastrophic world wide. It would make a hurricane look and feel like a scratch in comparison.
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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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