Ernesto is on the way

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:42 PM GMT on August 25, 2006

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Tropical Depression Five is looking much more organized this morning, and will likely be named Ernesto with the NHC 11am EDT advisory. Satellite intensity estimates from NOAA using a the standard "Dvorak technique" are the same for Debby and TD 5 this morning. Since Debby has a name, Ernesto should getting his name, as well. The visible satellite images from this morning show a large and expanding area of intense thunderstorms, some solid spiral bands forming, and the beginnings of some decent upper-level outflow. A QuikSCAT satellite pass at 7:40am EDT showed winds of up to 50 mph near the center, and I imagine this will be the maximum sustained wind speeds for the 11am advisory.


Figure 1. Current satellite image of TD 5.

Wind shear
As usual, the major question is, "what is wind shear doing, and what is the wind shear forecast?" My top hurricane bookmark is the real-time wind shear analysis done by the University of Wisconsin's CIMSS group. This image, updated every 3 hours from data taken by the GOES-East satellite, shows yellow contour lines of what the shear is, in knots. Pink arrows show what direction the shear is coming from. The shear is the difference between the winds at high altitude (200 mb) and low altitude (850 mb). Hurricanes like wind shear close to zero, but can tolerate shear up to 20 knots and still slowly intensify. As we can see from the winds shear plot from this morning at 9Z (5am EDT) (Figure 2), Tropical Storm Five was under about 10 knots of shear, from the west. This is low enough to allow some intensification, and that is what we are seeing this morning. However, Tropical Storm Debby was under about 20 knots of shear, and has not been able to intensify this morning.


Figure 2. Wind shear estimate at 9Z (5am EDT) Fri Aug 25 2006. Image credit: University of Wisconsin's CIMSS group.

To the west of TD 5 we see a large area of very high shear of up to 50 knots, south of Jamaica. This area of high shear is associated with a strong upper level trough of low pressure that has been a common feature over the Caribbean this season. The trough is moving westward, away from TD 5, but TD 5 is racing fast enough westward that it may catch up to this high shear area and get torn apart on Sunday. The 8pm UKMET and 2am GFS models both have TD 5 dissipating by Sunday, and this is reasonable forecast. However, the trough is forecast to split apart on Monday and leave a region of low shear very favorable for intensification of TD 5 in the western Caribbean. If the storm does manage to survive into Monday, we could end up with a dangerous hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico by the middle of next week. The latest runs of the GFDL and Canadian models prefer this solution, bringing the storm across Cuba and into the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane. This is also a reasonable forecast. If you have travel plans to Jamaica, Cuba, or Cancun in the coming days, I would wait as long as possible to change them until we see if TD 5 will survive.

Debby
Tropical Storm Debby remains a minimal tropical storm today, with 20 knots of vertical wind shear putting a damper on her intensification. She could slowly intensify in response to some warmer waters along her path the next two days. By the time Debby turns north this weekend, she could attain hurricane status, but this is looking unlikely now. Early next week, Debby is expected to get caught up in the jet stream and die in the North Atlantic.

New African wave
Several of the computer models are predicting that the tropical wave coming off the coast of Africa today will develop into a tropical storm early next week.

Next update
The next Hurricane Hunter mission into TD 5 is at 2pm EDT this afternoon, and I'll have an update when the reports from their mission come in. Also, I'm getting a lot of questions about which models are best, where to find model output, etc, and I will try to post a quick summary of this info this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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941. thelmores
2:33 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
"this spares the gulf coast im breathing a lot easier now fot the people on the gulf coast...ernesto will be a cat 1 hurricane as it threatens fla and moves up the east coast.." -STORMTOP



what a moron!!!
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
940. STORMTOP
8:57 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
hey waverunner i havent changed my thinking if this thing stays together until sunday south fla and the east coast will have to deal with a cat 1 to cat 3 hurricane on wednesday...all you people in south fla and up the eastern seaboard should be alert and be ready to take quick action....those of us in the gulf we can relax as long as the trade winds are there it will turn ernesto to the nw and finally to the nnw....so right now it looked liked the gulf of mexico has dodged a bullet ...after what we been through we deserve it.....thats the latest now ill have new info around 8pm....StormTop
939. WPBHurricane05
7:48 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
NEW BLOG
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
938. txwxnut
7:31 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I say everyone who makes personal remarks needs to grow up and quite acting like a bunch of Tiddy-Babies & keep this blog informative instead of a cry-baby, name calling session.

Nuff said...stay on topic please...
937. GoofOff
7:25 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
My weather knowledge consists of trying to remember not to stare up at rain storms with my mouth open and drown.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 438
935. GoofOff
7:14 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Looks like canesnake went to visit TS Chris. He was here all puffed up and then just went poof.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 438
933. EdMahmoud
6:53 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I'm guessing, since they are calling it Tropical Storm Ernesto, it will be upgraded at 4:30
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 237
932. EdMahmoud
6:52 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
WHXX01 KWBC 251834
CHGHUR

DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.
PLEASE REFER TO TPC/NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONES.

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER NORTH ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR

TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO (AL052006) ON 20060825 1800 UTC

...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS... ...36 HRS...
060825 1800 060826 0600 060826 1800 060827 0600

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMD 14.1N 67.1W 14.9N 68.9W 16.0N 71.1W 17.2N 73.3W
BAMM 14.1N 67.1W 14.9N 69.5W 16.0N 71.8W 17.0N 74.2W
A98E 14.1N 67.1W 14.8N 69.8W 15.6N 72.2W 16.5N 74.5W
LBAR 14.1N 67.1W 14.9N 69.5W 16.2N 71.8W 17.2N 74.2W
SHIP 35KTS 42KTS 51KTS 59KTS
DSHP 35KTS 42KTS 51KTS 59KTS

...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS... ..120 HRS...
060827 1800 060828 1800 060829 1800 060830 1800

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMD 18.3N 75.7W 19.6N 80.7W 20.2N 85.9W 21.2N 90.7W
BAMM 18.2N 76.7W 19.9N 81.5W 21.0N 86.1W 22.2N 90.0W
A98E 17.7N 77.0W 19.6N 82.4W 21.2N 87.7W 22.6N 92.2W
LBAR 18.3N 76.6W 20.9N 81.0W 22.4N 85.2W 24.0N 88.9W
SHIP 68KTS 78KTS 81KTS 82KTS
DSHP 68KTS 72KTS 74KTS 76KTS

...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 14.1N LONCUR = 67.1W DIRCUR = 285DEG SPDCUR = 14KT
LATM12 = 13.3N LONM12 = 64.4W DIRM12 = 285DEG SPDM12 = 14KT
LATM24 = 12.7N LONM24 = 61.6W
WNDCUR = 35KT RMAXWD = 40NM WNDM12 = 30KT
CENPRS = 1005MB OUTPRS = 1011MB OUTRAD = 160NM SDEPTH = M
RD34NE = 80NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM

$$
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 237
930. fldude99
6:38 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
yea sis..even if it goes by 'cola..it will still disrupt the oil situation
Member Since: July 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
929. LyonOfLongBeach
6:37 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hey guys? What's that swirly GOM deal S of mouth of the MS River?
928. ricderr
6:37 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
melwerle....that would be ricardo to you...add the capital to the r mind you....and......i am the first to say i am not an expert and would want no one to use anything i say as more than a mere hobbyist attempt at assimilating meanings from data...however...when i see...crap..and smell crap..it's easy to say..it's crap..therefore i feel qualified in making my comments...as far as td5...i think the posistion on the center isn't clear right now and until that is known..it's very difficult to predict it's track and strength...i would however,expect shear to decrease..and i would think it has the best chance of becoming a hurricane than anything we've seen thus far this season...as far as anything else...i am happy in my ignorance..and will tra la la in the ocean this weekend torturing the fishies trying to find the all to elusive sailfish
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 672 Comments: 21435
927. weathermanwannabe
6:36 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Was out of commission this morning, hello all; this is just an observation, not speculation...I agree with Dr. Master's "do or die" scenario between now and Sunday as the NOAA Floater vapor loop clearly shows the impending collision between TD5/Dry Air/Shear...If the shear does not move westward as forcast, TD5 may be history in the very near future............As far as the present status, the same loop shows what appears to be another spilt/reorganization on the the southern end of the circulation
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8831
926. treehuggingsister
6:32 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
fldude99, I'd LOVE to argue with you, but seeing as how I got my gas cans filled this morning while we still had some to get, that would make me a hypocrite of HUGE proportions {8^P.

"hooked on a feeling..."
Member Since: August 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 188
925. paperfrog
6:32 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
> Kit ~ edge of Pleasant Grove {;^P

Ha! Almost neighbors. Pleased to meet you.

I think this storm may slip past us. But we have every right to be a bit gun-shy of anything with a name these days ...
Member Since: May 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 36
923. sayhuh
6:30 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
themores,
Yes I see the LLC or swirl you refer too, but in looking at the floater visible loop, there is too much evidence in my mind that the primary LLC is under the CDO. Its not uncommon for developing systems to have multiple LLCs that either combine, dissipate to the primary or split off all together. I don't think the one you showed [good eye by the way] is the primary. I think this looks pretty healthy, and will wait to see what happens as we near the diurnal max.
922. fldude99
6:29 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
i hate to say it sis..but this one seems to have pepsi cola written all over it..just a feeling
Member Since: July 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
921. WeatherByrd
6:29 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Dr. Masters going to head up the NHC now?
920. thelmores
6:29 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
OK, SOMEBODY CAME UP WITH A SOLUTION......

call it "TROPICAL DEPRESSION ERNESTO".....

since it looked like a storm this morning, and loks like a depression now!

works for me! LOL
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
919. txweather
6:28 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Analysis as of now. We ALMOST CERTAINLTY HAVE A STORM. However, whether this system will survive is still in the air. The centr is barely in the convection I think. I have been looking and think the midlevel center is to the SE, not the surface circulation. I'm unsure and not impressed with the structure, but Chris was almost identical and the called it a storms, so we probably have a storm.
918. daisey
6:27 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
1st hurricane..........


Eleana in 1985 I think.......... Oh yeah it ruined my labor day. That was a cool one. It was headed to tampa and did a complete loop and turned around and came b-line for us. My mome woke me up in the middle of the night cause my friends had to go home. No electricity and water for a week.


George ........... 8 mths pregnant with no electricity for a week. NOT FUN!!!

Katrina.......... 1 yr later still recovering.:(
916. melwerle
6:27 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Always StormW...thank you.
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
915. Melagoo
6:27 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hurricane center director retiring

Friday, August 25, 2006; Posted: 1:57 p.m. EDT (17:57 GMT)

Max Mayfield has led the National Hurricane Center since May 2000.

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield will retire in January, the center said Friday.

He told staffers at the center that "No one event has caused this. I've been here 34 years and as Forrest Gump said in the movie, 'I'm tired and I want to go home,"' The Miami Herald reported on its Web site.

Mayfield, 57, has led the hurricane center and its forecasters since May 2000.

He told the Herald that he wasn't sure what he would do after retiring: "I don't have anything lined up, and I don't want to even think about it until I get some rest."
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1558
914. treehuggingsister
6:27 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Kit ~ edge of Pleasant Grove {;^P
Member Since: August 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 188
913. WeatherByrd
6:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: HadesGodWyvern at 6:24 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
Latest Wind Sheer>
Thank you!
911. coffeecrusader
6:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
There is a lot of speculation regarding TD5 right now. However the only thing I can go on is the visible satellite and that shows that this storm is not looking as healthy as it did this morning when it clearly was a tropical storm. Now obviously, this could change and it could blow up again any time. As far as the models and where this thing develops. I am not going to put much weight in any of them until this system develops some consistency.
Member Since: August 21, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 254
910. thelmores
6:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
notice the good Dr. hasnt posted yet either..... guess he is sitting on the fence too! LOL
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
909. walrusiam
6:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I just looked down and saw that my center was exposed and I don't think that it is blowing hard enough for me to reclassify it yet.
908. Trouper415
6:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Can anyone clarify that prediction by a storm center said that Ioke will become 158 knots = 180 MPH storm with a central pressure of 886 MBs??? Is that true?
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 637
907. vortextrance
6:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Most want weatherguy on here since he is trained met and gives out educated and original info.
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 700
906. Hawkeyewx
6:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Current situation:


Red = surface flow around exposed vortex
Green = mid level flow with CDO feature

Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1923
904. LyonOfLongBeach
6:25 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
StormW, Not going to post my scores - no way -way too embarrassing. I think I'll keep my day job and just learn what I can from you guys.
903. StormJunkie
6:24 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
New blog is up
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15793
902. waverunner
6:24 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I have one question? Where is STORMTOP when we really need him. I really look forward to his analysis of storms heading to the GOM. Keep up the good work STORMTOP.
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 21
901. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
6:24 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Latest Wind Sheer>

Here for the person that asked for wind sheer map.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44856
900. guygee
6:24 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
New Blog.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3141
899. TampaSteve
6:24 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: BrnGrl at 2:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
Survey to pass the time until the 11am:

Name the first hurricane you can remember actually experiencing.

Mine was Alicia in 1983. The eye passed over my house. Then, a tornado destroyed our garage.


Agnes in 1972...not a lot of wind, but a lot of flooding...it inundated most of Occoquan, and took out our water treatment plant...we had no city water for days...it was my first experience with bottled water.
898. tampabayfish
6:24 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Things are gettin' dirty in here... It must be Hurricane season!
897. paperfrog
6:23 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
> That northern jog at the very end has those of us in Bangla-cola thinking "oh, peachy..."

No kidding. ;-)

kit (in Warrington)
Member Since: May 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 36
896. melwerle
6:23 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hey StormW - I think Canesnake is Stormtop...
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
894. daisey
6:22 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
What is the probability of my Labor Day weekend being ruined AGAIN???


I live in Southeast LA, and I am going to Gulf Shores, AL for Labor day camping.


Last year I did get to go camping on Labor day ................ but I prefer to have ELECTRICITY, WATER, and Phone if at all possible.
892. thelmores
6:22 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
"Its all going to depend on what they find under the convection. If they find winds from the SSE-SSW and just as strong (30-40 knot range)...don't hold your breath on that happening anytime soon. You'll have a better chance of the LLC surviving the shear and starting over than you will a new LLC forming...especially with a 1005mb pressure already with the LLC. The gradient winds will be WAY too strong for anything to work it's way down. Given the 40 knot winds are only 150 miles or so away...and blowing out of the area of the MLC...I am going to venture a guess and say the winds are going to be just as strong in that area.

Rule of Thumb: New LLC's do NOT form in strong pressure gradients within high wind fields. They like to form under heavy convection when the winds are light...usually under 10 knots."

we could be seeing the beginning of the end for td5..... the above analysis seems valid to me......
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
891. Chicklit
6:22 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I don't think Chris had nearly has much moisture around it as #5 and has less shear to go through.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11186

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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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