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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388. STORMTOP
3:43 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
TTORMTOPS NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE...ERNESTO WILL begin to intensify slowly...there is a new fly in the ointment that will effect the south fla area on tuesday or wednesday...once ernesto gets to 72 degrees longitude ernesto will began to encounter the trade winds and this will turn ernesto towards the nw AND SOUTH FLORIDA UP THE EAST COAST WILL HAVE TO BE ON GUARD...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...people be on your guard over fla ernesto could strengthen to a possible 3 if conditions become right....ill be back at 2pm when they upgrade ernesto...this has been a bulletin from the stormtops natl weather servive.....StormTop
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387. BrnGrl
3:44 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: vortextrance at 3:44 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
Posted By: LyonOfLongBeach at 3:40 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
I don't have the eye for this like a lot of you do, so forgive my noob-ism but it appears to me that the center has reformed to the east

I agree, but I am directional challenged and keep having to correct my posts saying west instead of east.


I learned this trick in 3rd grade:

WE see the World.

WE= WE

hasn't failed me yet
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386. BrandonC
11:45 AM EDT on August 25, 2006
hey nationalcatastrophe....Try putting Patron Citronge instead of Grand Marnier...It's better tasting and does well with patron tequila.. I'm a bartender currently and it goes very well together if you add some sweet and sour to make a Margarita....If you're looking for the drink to last longer that is...
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385. Gatorx
3:43 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
TheMeanSeason-

Shear mainly effects intensification - however intensity could effect track so they are cleverly interelated,,which makes is so unpredictable and thats why we are all here to speculate ..a nice clean hobby..don't you think?
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384. swlaaggie
10:41 AM CDT on August 25, 2006
Stormtop,

This was in Lake Charles NWS discussion from this morning.

.WEEKEND...
A WET WEEKEND IS BEGINNING TO TAKE SHAPE.

"THE BERMUDA HIGH WILL REBUILD WEST THROUGH THE GULF OF MEXICO. GULF BREEZES WILL FRESHEN AND DEEPEN ACROSS THE NORTHWEST GULF OF MEXICO;
DUE IN PART, TO THE CLOSE PROXIMITY OF THE BERMUDA HIGH-PRESSURE RIDGE TO LOWER PRESSURE ACROSS TEXAS."

Given this scenario, I would have to disagree. I believe that Ernesto, should it survive shear, will be heading to Yucatan.

Gulf, does that minimal double-speak meet your requirements? I'm off the fence, that's my story, I'm sticking to it.

Just one non-expert's opinion.
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382. Cheekytaz
3:42 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I have added the following link to my faves - you may find it as useful as I do.

:-)

Link
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379. sayhuh
9:33 AM CST on August 25, 2006
Looking at the 850/200 models, as well as looking at the 500 steering models, I am favoring a path closer to Cuba into the Gulf.

ST, I am not seeing the ridge strengths the same way...I do not see it relaxing near enough to allow it on the E side of Florida. I don't favor the TX hit either...I might go for the panhandle of Florida..but not up the east coast without a Gulf hit first. Next day or so will help define this.
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378. vortextrance
3:44 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: weatherguy03 at 3:43 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
I think it has reformed to the east. Hard to really get a good grasp by looking at the visible. We will definately know soon enough with recon in there in a few hours.


Agreed, thanks for your input.
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 700
377. BrandonC
11:44 AM EDT on August 25, 2006
I am beginning to see what the GFDL model is seeing with the northward motion. The ULL over Cuba is moving to the west-southwest and once west of TD-5 it would tend to push the system further to the north. There is also another developing ULL farther to the east of the above mentioned ULL and that will also come into play. Very interesting and what I'm looking at can be seen here...Link
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376. vortextrance
3:41 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: LyonOfLongBeach at 3:40 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
I don't have the eye for this like a lot of you do, so forgive my noob-ism but it appears to me that the center has reformed to the east


I agree, but I am directional challenged and keep having to correct my posts saying west instead of east.
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 700
372. weatherguy03
3:41 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I think it has reformed to the east. Hard to really get a good grasp by looking at the visible. We will definately know soon enough with recon in there in a few hours.
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371. whirlwind
3:41 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Ill get Alcoholics anonymous
for ya'll
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370. GulfGuy
3:40 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Dr. Masters,

Thank you very much for your explanation of Wind Shear and interpretation of the Wind Shear analysis map. Ill be waiting for your take on the various computer models that exist.
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369. reeldrlaura
3:40 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
GulfS----BOAT DRINKS!!! I'LL TAKE 2!
Member Since: July 31, 2005 Posts: 93 Comments: 6007
368. LyonOfLongBeach
3:40 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I'm putting that on my receipe list, Gulf. Gonna give it try this evening - I'll let you know what I think.

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367. TheMeanSeason
3:37 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I hate to ask what is probably a stupid question, but could someone tell me if wind shear affects only intensification... or is direction of movement also influenced? Thanks. :-)
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366. txwxnut
3:24 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
AMEN bonedog. Gust to 55??? Also, I don't usually chime in, and I don't get excited over all the "blobs" but has anyone checked out the latest water vapor loop in the GOM? There appears to be an ULL geting down to the surface. Check out the clockwise rotation on top of the system to left, and the rapid spin up on the western side. I'm curious what this will look like 6-12 hours from now, if it will sustain, or just go POOF like everything else. That water out there is hot. I kinda hope something will develop and create some upwelling to slow down a potential intensification of "Ernesto to be" if it does make it to the GOM. I have very serious concerns about what "Ernesto to be" (or IS for that matter) if the forecast for slakening sheer actually takes place.
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365. LyonOfLongBeach
3:39 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I don't have the eye for this like a lot of you do, so forgive my noob-ism but it appears to me that the center has reformed to the east
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364. whirlwind
3:39 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Stormtop has 6 days left until a hurricane may form.

Remember ST... no canes till Sept 1...

You are bust mofo


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362. Cheekytaz
3:33 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
CAYMANITE - I couldn't agree more. We seem to always get missed from the reports. Even with Ivan, it wasn't until it was practically on top of us that we got a mention on the Weather Channel!! :-) You would think that as one of the largest offshore financial "Haven"'s we'd at least get a mention!! Go to www.stormcarib.com for weather reports from correspondents in a around the many Caribbean islands (including Cayman!).
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361. vortextrance
3:37 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
weatherguy03 what's your take on the center. Do you think it has reformed to the east or is in the same place? Damn I can't quit saying west instead of east.
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359. BrandonC
11:36 AM EDT on August 25, 2006
Wow convection around TD-5 has died off quite a bit...
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358. snotly
3:35 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
if you looking for a pin-point eye look no further than hurricane Ioke right now in the central pacific. I'd say the pressure is dropping below 900mb as we speak. They estimate it at 921mb.
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357. StPeteBill
3:37 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
This just really chaps my butt.

LONDON (Reuters) -- Oil leapt more than $1 on Friday as a storm brewing in the Caribbean threatened to sweep through the U.S. Gulf next week and menace oil supplies yet to recover from last year's hurricanes.
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355. thelmores
3:27 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
TD5 seems to be getting a signficant amount of shear from the sw, and has dry air to the s, e, and n......

may also be trying to "re-organize" as well....
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
353. reeldrlaura
3:33 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: STORMTOP at 3:26 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
yes i took all kinds of insults in katrina from all you bafoons so i guess i will take the insults again i will say this one more time things have changed and ernesto is florida bound cat 1 to 3 hurricane by wednesday....now thats my forecast im sorry for you people in fla but like you said you can handle hurricanes better then anybody im just glad ernesto wont get in the gulf unless the high would build west forcing ernesto across fla and into the gulf....this is not a scenario i think will happen so people in the gulf can relax a bit.i would be getting all my supplies if i lived in the florida and anywhere up the east coast....StormTop


WHAT ARE YOU REALLY TRYING TO SAY? I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOUR MULTIPLE CYA "FORECASTING"
Member Since: July 31, 2005 Posts: 93 Comments: 6007
352. vortextrance
3:36 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
weatherguy03 what's your take on the center. Do you think it has reformed to the west or is in the same place?
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 700
351. StPeteBill
3:36 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
This just really chaps my but.

LONDON (Reuters) -- Oil leapt more than $1 on Friday as a storm brewing in the Caribbean threatened to sweep through the U.S. Gulf next week and menace oil supplies yet to recover from last year's hurricanes.
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350. Gatorx
3:35 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Stormtop-
Don't worry about us in Fla...even on the school supply list from the Elem schools you will find bottled water, flashlights, batteries and generators....geez your so wrong on this one.
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348. tornado7
3:34 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
eastcoastwx it wont even make it to the gulf its dead
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347. LyonOfLongBeach
3:35 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
1 HR at 20 at bats does not exactly make for a heavy hitter.
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343. weatherguy03
3:33 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Good, ST has it hitting me. I am safe. Phew!! Thank you Stormtop!!
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342. EastCoastWx
3:33 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hurricane79, I will have to go with a strong storm into the gulf... maybe even barely missing Cuba and strolling right between Yucatan and Cuba right into the GOM

EastCoastWx.net Forums
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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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