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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ATCF is going with 55 knots for the 12Z update:

AL, 05, 2012080612, , BEST, 0, 156N, 801W, 55, 994, TS, 50, NEQ, 30, 0, 0, 0, 1009, 120, 20, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, ERNESTO, M,
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13603
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2231. ncstorm
we got a new low where the tropical wave was preceding Florence..

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Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14557
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did Ernesto stall?
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

by the looks of it if the storms is moving NW we maybe very well upgraded to a TS warning or Hurricane Warning

it has slowed down so much that we my not start to feel the effect untill later today or this evening
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 6th day of the month at 12:33Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 302)
Storm Number & Year: 05L in 2012
Storm Name: Ernesto (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 8
Observation Number: 06
A. Time of Center Fix: 6th day of the month at 12:13:30Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 15°34'N 79°59'W (15.5667N 79.9833W) B. Center Fix Location: 270 miles (434 km) to the SW (232°) from Kingston, Jamaica.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 1,412m (4,633ft) at 850mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 56kts (~ 64.4mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 5 nautical miles (6 statute miles) to the WNW (291°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 170° at 55kts (From the S at ~ 63.3mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 4 nautical miles (5 statute miles) to the E (100°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 997mb (29.44 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 17°C (63°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,521m (4,990ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 24°C (75°F) at a pressure alt. of 1,469m (4,820ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 15°C (59°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Closed Wall
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 6 nautical miles
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 850mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 2 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 55kts (~ 63.3mph) in the east quadrant at 12:05:30Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 40kts (~ 46.0mph) in the east quadrant at 12:14:30Z
Maximum Flight Level Temp: 24°C (75°F) which was observed 0 nautical miles to the SSW (211°) from the flight level center
Radar Signature: Good
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8424
Is Ernesto finally singing "Good Day" by Ice cube?.
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Quoting weatherb0y:
Can anyone tell me if it is still possible for Ernesto to end up in the southcentral Gulf of Mexico?
Seems with the Upper Low in the Gulf that is unlikely? That is what I am hearing from our Local Weathermen.
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He has to gain at least 1 degree of latitude for his center to miss Honduras.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
New update...Center is directly underneath the coldest cloud tops. He could be getting ready to bomb out.

Is he still moving west or west northwest now?
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2222. Asrock
Quoting atmosweather:


0z Euro run



Is it me or does the last bit of the run there show the remains of Ernesto crossing Mexico and forming a new storm?
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If it go to Cat 2 or 3 it may go N today
Quoting MississippiWx:
New update...Center is directly underneath the coldest cloud tops. He could be getting ready to bomb out.

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Good Morning, no change in my weather in South Central Texas, forecast 100 to 102 next 7 days, has been this way last several weeks. Ready for Football and cooler weather, LOL. Rest of the USA does not seem to be too hot outside of Texas.
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Quoting stormpetrol:

I hope they keep the watch up for us!

by the looks of it if the storms is moving NW we maybe very well upgraded to a TS warning or Hurricane Warning

it has slowed down so much that we my not start to feel the effect untill later today or this evening
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12419
2218. ncstorm
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New update...Center is directly underneath the coldest cloud tops. He could be getting ready to bomb out.

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Quoting weatherb0y:
Can anyone tell me if it is still possible for Ernesto to end up in the southcentral Gulf of Mexico?

Hardly no chance. I believe he would have to go through major RI.
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Ernesto looks like a sno ball by hostess.
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possible is going up
Quoting weatherb0y:
Can anyone tell me if it is still possible for Ernesto to end up in the southcentral Gulf of Mexico?
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995.8mb

With 48mph winds.
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Can anyone tell me if it is still possible for Ernesto to end up in the southcentral Gulf of Mexico?
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thx
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

around 15.5N 79.9W
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Quoting stormpetrol:
The center is a bit further east and north than thought!(~ 24.86 inHg) 1,493 meters
(~ 4,898 feet) 995.8 mb
(~ 29.41 inHg) m>
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8424
Quoting stormpetrol:
I think by time the HHs mission is over this morning, Ernesto will be well on his way to becoming the 2nd hurricane of the 2012 Season , if not before!
Unless he makes landfall in Honduras.
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Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14557
995NOW!!!
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
what is it at 15. what

around 15.5N 79.9W
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12419
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

well not for me I did say and thought the center would be N and E of that NHC is thinking

I hope they keep the watch up for us!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8010
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Wow this time he is for real!!!
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what is it at 15. what
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

well not for me I did say and thought the center would be N and E of that NHC is thinking
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At least 60mph winds I see. And for the first time, these arent rain contaminated. Ernesto is strengthening.
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I think by time the HHs mission is over this morning, Ernesto will be well on his way to becoming the 2nd hurricane of the 2012 Season , if not before!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8010
The 997 reading was also at 15.5N and 79.5W
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Quoting stormpetrol:
The center is a bit further east and north than thought!

well not for me I did say and thought the center would be N and E of that NHC is thinking
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12419
Quoting wunderkidcayman:
looks like they found the center further NE location near 15.5N 97.9W


They said in their 5AM statement that his vertical rotation was stretched to the northeast. I'd say as he has tightened up, the mid to upper level circulation became dominant and pulled the low level circulation more to northeast. He's probably much more vertical stacked in my opinion. We will have to see what he does today. If he gets to close to the Central American coast line it will hold his intensity in check, but I would think the stronger he gets the more inclined he would to feel the small weakness up north and the further north he gets...

Tropical Cyclone Heat Protential

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2196. GetReal
Quoting AussieStorm:

Wind needs to catch up. Hurricanes are not designated by pressure but by wind speed.



Yeah, I just made that reference because that is usually the average pressure (990-993) that is seen with minimal hurricanes.
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Ernesto is for real this time. Center is well within the convection with at least a 997mb pressure reading. The 997 reading still had 12mph W winds.
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Link
Quoting HurricaneDevo:
Does anyone have the google earth link for recon?
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Does anyone have the google earth link for recon?
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2192. GetReal


Ernesto puzzle finally coming together.
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The center is a bit further east and north than thought!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8010
Quoting ncstorm:
Good Morning..

Anyone seen the 00z CMC..


Isnt that delightful. Right at my doorstep.
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Quoting GetReal:
Anything on the current motion from the HH??


we will have to wait for it to fly out of the center and make a few more passes into the center
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12419
Wow
Quoting StormTracker2K:



Strong trough across the east.

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2187. ncstorm
Quoting washingtonian115:
That's funny.Unless Ernesto RI very fast that's not going to happen.


I dont think thats Ernesto
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Quoting GetReal:



Sub 1000mb for the first time.... It needs to drop another 5mb, at least, to become a hurricane.

Wind needs to catch up. Hurricanes are not designated by pressure but by wind speed.
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Time: 12:07:00Z
Coordinates: 15.6N 79.9667W
Acft. Static Air Press: 843.0 mb (~ 24.89 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,487 meters (~ 4,879 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1000.9 mb (~ 29.56 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 102° at 35 knots (From the ESE at ~ 40.2 mph)
Air Temp: 15.0°C* (~ 59.0°F*)
Dew Pt: 15.0°C* (~ 59.0°F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 38 knots (~ 43.7 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 55 knots (~ 63.2 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 10 mm/hr (~ 0.39 in/hr)
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8010
Quoting ncstorm:
Good Morning..

Anyone seen the 00z CMC..




Strong trough across the east.

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2183. GetReal
Anything on the current motion from the HH??
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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.