Ernesto gets its name

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:18 PM GMT on August 25, 2006

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The Hurricane Hunters visited Tropical Depression Five this afternoon, and at 1:30pm EDT found a surface circulation center and maximum sustained surface winds of 40 mph, making this Tropical Storm Ernesto. Visible satellite images from this afternoon show a a sheared system, with the low level circulation center completely exposed. Upper level winds from the northwest are creating 10-20 knots of shear, which is keeping all the heavy thunderstorm activity confined to the southeast (downwind) side. However, this heavy thunderstorm activity is building towards the center, and the storm has some solid spiral bands forming. The storm is intensifying in the face of the shear. Radar from Aruba shows some of the outer spiral bands.


Figure 1. Current satellite image of Ernesto.

The models
The latest 12Z (8am EDT) model runs are in, and they portray a conflicting picture of what may happen. Three of the four major global models--UKMET, GFS, and NOGAPS--dissipate or severely weaken the storm by Monday. The Canadian model, which has been the most aggressive in making Ernesto a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, now keeps the system a weak tropical storm all the way to landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday. The European Center model has a similar forecast. Oddly, the large upper-level trough of low pressure over the central Caribbean is forecast by these models to move west away from Ernesto, and an upper level high pressure system to build on top of the storm. This situation should act to lower the shear and aid in intensification, and that it what the official NHC forecast is calling for. It is unusual for the models to forecast a favorable shear environment, yet dissipate a storm, and serves to show the limitations of these models in making hurricane intensity forecasts. I have very little confidence in any of the Ernesto intensity forecasts--including the official NHC forecast of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. High wind shear could still destroy this storm on Sunday. Ernesto should slowly intensify through Saturday, but beyond that, I have no idea. It's best to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. All portions the U.S. coast from the Florida Keys to Brownsville, Texas are at risk from this storm.

Given the high degree of uncertainty in Ernesto's intensity, those of you traveling to or from Jamaica, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and Cancun should play "wait and see" as long as you can. At this point, it is likely that Jamaica, eastern Cuba, and southwest Haiti will get tropical storm conditions on Sunday. Jamaica's airports will probably close about 2am Sunday, and remain closed into late Sunday night. Ernesto probably does not have enough time to intensify to a hurricane before reaching Jamaica. Airports in the Cayman Islands will probably close by late morning on Sunday, and reopen Monday afternoon. Ernesto could be a Category 1 hurricane for the Caymans.

Hurricane Ioke
Hurricane Ioke in the Central Pacific has reached Category 5 status with 160 mph winds today. Ioke is the first hurricane in the Central Pacific since 2002. It's not a threat to any land areas, but is most impressive on satellite imagery. The 12Z GFDL has Ioke at 880mb in 5 days, the lowest forecast pressure I've seen from the GFDL model.


Figure 2. Visible satellite image of Category 5 Hurricane Ioke, 2030 GMT, 8/25/06. Image credit: Navy Research Lab.

Max Mayfield to step down
Max Mayfield announced today that he is stepping down as head of the National Hurricane Center at the end of the year, according to press reports from the Miami Herald and Florida Sun Sentinel. Mayfield, 57, admitted that the last two hurricane seasons wore him out. Ed Rappaport, the center's deputy director and a veteran forecaster may be next in line for the job, after Max steps down on January 3. Max will be missed--his expert guidance of NHC has no doubt saved many lives, and I will miss his calm and intelligent presence at the helm of NHC.

Next update
The next Hurricane Hunter mission into Ernesto is at 2am EDT Saturday morning. My next update will be Saturday morning between 9-11am, or earlier if there's something major to comment on. I don't have my model summary piece completed yet, but will do so as soon as I get it done.

New JeffMasters blog for dial-up users
There is new blog site for those of you suffering on slow dial-up connections, or for those of you who don't want to see the comments:

http://www.wund.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html

Jeff Masters

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2766. Patrap
4:11 PM GMT on August 27, 2006
.Ernie has done what he set out to accomphish in last nights convective round.He was able to sustain the concevection..and consolidate the overall column..and start his Engine..Now.How well can the hurricane navigate? The Mona passage and the futre forecast track..depends on how well he does..in the next 24...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
2765. Patrap
4:08 PM GMT on August 27, 2006
..sess the new orleans non-humor..and remembers His Cousin ..Patricia.A retired PHD in Nursing..Lost to Katrinas wrath,a Ne w Orleanian..Killed in katrina..in Bay St.Louis,Miss..Found..Sept 4th..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
2764. flhurricanesurvivor
1:55 AM GMT on August 27, 2006
hello Milton and Pensacola...Ft Walton here.
Have you noticed that Ernesto is all the
talk around town? It is here. The memories of Ivan and Dennis are still to vivid to be looking at another CAT 3. Still too many blue
roofs!
Member Since: September 21, 2002 Posts: 1 Comments: 163
2763. IleenCan
6:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
You can see my cruise route at this link Link
2762. IleenCan
6:10 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
So I'm from South Florida and I know about the unpredictability of hurricanes. BUT...I planned my first vacation in three years on a budget Carnival cruise whose path happens to be precisely the path of Ernesto (leave Miami on Mon., Key West, Tues, Cancun, Wed.) I'm trying to tell myself it is not a conspiracy. Can any of you experts guess where Carnival might take me instead? Thanks for your wisdom
2761. stormybil
5:42 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
hi all does anyone think once earnie passes over the tip of cuba . that it might turn to the north thanks good luck evryone in gom
2760. chasingernesto
3:50 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
One is for certain if Ernesto does become a system to be reckoned with in the GOM, gas prices will skyrocket........again.....and don't even get me started on that Iranian dips**t of a President. Another factor in gas prices.
2759. hookedontropics
3:45 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
chocolate aquarium Nagin better get the buses started... If this were to hit anywhere, I hope it is weakening. If it does make landfall as a tropical system, I would think the best place for our economy would be NO, then would stop dumping fed dollars into a sinking ship...
Member Since: August 25, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 127
2757. RobertForsman
3:31 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
IOKE bounced off the International Date Line? That's just too funny
2756. chasingernesto
3:28 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Reason I say about the hotel rooms is because irregardless if the center of the cone is coming over you, the hotel rooms will be booked from evacuees, more so if you're in the center of the cone.

Three things to consider with Ernesto: (in order of precedence)

#1 Forward Acceleration - The slower the storm moves, the more likelihood of strengthening and a more easterly component in the GOM.

#2 ULL Shear - Can be overcome by #1 or ULL dissipation.

#3 Troughing / Ridging at higher latitude - Gives direction and location of landfall, but as well, hinders on #1.

This is what makes stormchasing fun, yet stressful!
2755. truecajun
3:25 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
thanks vortex, that is what I thought and happy birthday to whoever is in the Rita area, I lost your post and couldn't remember your name. I'm in the New Iberia/ Lafayette area, South Central LA. We havn't got hit since Andrew. then there was Lili that disappeared in the middle of the night. If she would have hit, things would have been pretty bad around here. Some say the faithful folks around here prayed her away.
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1867
2754. fldude99
3:25 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
portland, OR..that's the place
Member Since: July 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
2752. WPBHurricane05
3:24 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
NEW BLOG
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
2751. melly
3:24 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
fldude99.I have in the back of my mind about a volcano in Oregon.
2750. ihave27windows
3:23 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Posted By: wxwatcher at 3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2006.
WELLLLLL..... Last night and yesterday I was saying a certain turn and that TX and LA were Certainly out of the woods... everyone saying I didn't know what I was talking about and so on...

wwwweeeelllllllll, look what we have this morning! Texas, La, out of the woods. That turn to the north will happen a little sooner and I think the AL coast (with perhaps a sliver of FL and MS coasts) MOST at risk.

There will be a definite turn. The Western and eastern Gulf are definitely out of the woods. Question is, how strong will he be?

Maybe a Cat 3...

Good thing NEW ORLEANS hasn't rebuilt yet..
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You know, my guess is Texas is out of the woods.....but for you to be so absolute is irresponsible.
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14927
2749. SWLAStormFanatic
3:23 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Taz, slowing down will have more of an affect on its eventual track than strength. In the short term it will help with the strength as it allows the ULL to get out of his way.
2746. melly
3:22 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
fldude99.I'm thinking around Cartersville Ga.
2745. NervousPanhandle
3:21 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
FLboy

Nice to see someone else from Milton.

I'm off Avalon south of I 10
2744. WPBHurricane05
3:21 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
NEW BLOG
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
2743. ForecasterColby
3:21 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Charley's turn was caused by a cold front, there isn't one to turn Ernesto. A FL landfall could happen, but I'd say the odds are pretty long. My money is somewhere between the TX/LA border and Pensacola.

WOW at Ioke - GFDL takes it to 179kt/871mb !

2742. fldude99
3:21 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Melly..Oregon is a great place..hopefully be there myself in a couple yrs
Member Since: July 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
2741. Patrap
3:21 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
...irresponsible post..txs...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
2738. Patrap
3:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
..good advice from the Southmissgirl..Observe & prepare..always a great combo..and keeps the mind clear to make good decision...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
2737. Tazmanian
3:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
if the storm is slowing down dos that man it could get a lot stonger then forcast?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115247
2736. wxwatcher
3:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
WELLLLLL..... Last night and yesterday I was saying a certain turn and that TX and LA were Certainly out of the woods... everyone saying I didn't know what I was talking about and so on...

wwwweeeelllllllll, look what we have this morning! Texas, La, out of the woods. That turn to the north will happen a little sooner and I think the AL coast (with perhaps a sliver of FL and MS coasts) MOST at risk.

There will be a definite turn. The Western and eastern Gulf are definitely out of the woods. Question is, how strong will he be?

Maybe a Cat 3...

Good thing NEW ORLEANS hasn't rebuilt yet..
2735. afs
3:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
The whole levee system surrounding New Orlans is still seriously compromised. All the Army Corps of Engineers did was chicken wire and chewing gum together some patches to the levee system. The pumping system in NO is still running at less than 1/3 capacity.

Strong tropical storm conditions in New Orleans could breach the levees again and fill the city up with water all over again.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23
2734. melly
3:19 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Just where in the USA would be the safest place to live without Hurricanes, Tornadoes, fires, mudslides, earthquakes..Has anyone ever done a study on that??
2733. SouthMSgurl
3:19 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
I am actually in milton which is like 20miles away from pensacola.. If you are talking to me anyway..lol

Ah yes. I know where Milton is. Been there a few times to see some friends.
2732. kylejourdan2006
3:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Cane - the probability of Ernesto dying is probably 2% (forecasted by the NHC).
Member Since: July 18, 2006 Posts: 32 Comments: 1521
2731. fldude99
3:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
yup..pcola
Member Since: July 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 574
2730. SouthMSgurl
3:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
I'd hate for it to hit here, but I wouldn't want to wish it on anyone else either. Just hope it doesn't strengthen too much.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.
2729. Patrap
3:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
..remind the blogs..the consensus out past 72hrs is incomplete @ best..the SHIPS..Superensemble..all..should have better late wekend runs..as more UL patts derived from the G4 flights will help swing the consensus into finer view,,com Mon am...or late Sun evening
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
2728. SWLAStormFanatic
3:16 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
franck...and the trend has been in Ernesto slowing.
2726. Patrap
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
..27.0n 87.5w in 120hrs..problamatic for many..in GOM n coast
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
2725. nash28
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
JP: I meant the track up until Cuba is about like Charley's. Before the Gulf.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
2724. Joshfsu123
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Link

More model runs are out.... I didn't see these earlier but here they are. A clear turn to the North and even NNE is being predicted by many of these models.... Is this a one run thing or will it sustain itself, who knows... we will see later today. Seems a lot of agreement though in the models taking it north towards Florida/Mississippi area.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 580
2723. CaneCaneCane
3:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Good Morning All

Much appreciation for, on balance, some great analysis. Yesterday it looked as Ernesto was on the ropes. Today he looks quite a bit healthier. I understand the dynamics with regards to the ULL and its forecasted departure.

At this stage, what are the chances that Enrnesto doesn't survive the next 24-36 hours? Thanks in advance.
2722. franck
3:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
The landfall has everything to do with the forward motion of the storm, and it is not predictable when a storm might double its forward speed or slow it by half. If the storm suddenly slowed to 7 knots, all the landfall forecasts would change, and that could happen any time. So pretty much all is hedged science.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
2721. Patrap
3:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
..ioke not a player in this theater..a beautiful pic..but some may take the advisories..as confusing..to Ernesto..a note
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128616
2720. chasingernesto
3:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
fldude, you live in Pen?
2719. melly
3:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
What's scary about the gulf, If it survives, someone is going to get hammered.
2718. gatagus
3:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Hello gang....first post here...from Savannah, ga.....been long time weather nut....I think it is safe to say...the main factor to the direction of Ernie once it enters the gom...will be any troughs which dig down and weaken any high pressure...that will be the ultimate factor in the direction of ernie..of course with these storms timing is everything...by tueday of next week we all will have a much better idea...until then its only guessing....
2717. refill
3:13 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Five day predicted track doesnt look good for New Orleans...
2716. Dan187
3:12 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
000
WTPA42 PHFO 261505
TCDCP2

HURRICANE IOKE DISCUSSION NUMBER 27
NWS CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER HONOLULU HI CP012006
500 AM HST SAT AUG 26 2006

HURRICANE IOKE IS ONCE AGAIN A CATEGORY 5 STORM...WITH SUBJECTIVE DVORAK ESTIMATES FOR 26/1130Z RANGING FROM 6.5 TO 7.0...OR 127 TO 140KT. 1130Z ADT ESTIMATE WAS 7.0. RECENT GOES INFRARED IMAGERY SHOWS CLOUD TOP TEMPS REACHING -79C WITH EYE TEMPS AT +9.9C. A VERY SYMMETRICAL RING OF -72 TO -75C CLOUD TOPS NOW SURROUNDS THE EYE. THAT SAID...HAVE INCREASED THE INITIAL INTENSITY TO 140 KT.

ONCE AGAIN THE BIG ISSUE WITH THE TRACK GUIDANCE FOR THE 12Z MODEL SUITE IS THAT THE UKMET TRACK BOUNCED OFF THE DATE LINE...RESULTING IN AN ERRONEOUS MIRROR IMAGE TRACK...EASTBOUND BACK INTO THE CENTRAL PACIFIC. THIS THREW ALL OF THE CONSENSUS MODEL TRACKS OFF...BENDING THEM BACK SHARPLY EASTWARD. THAT SAID...HAVE BEEN FORCED TO IGNORE ALL CONSENSUS MODELS ONCE AGAIN...AND GO WITH A BLEND OF THE BAMM...BAMD...ECMWF...AND GFS. THE GFS SHOWS IOKE CONTINUING TO MOVE IN TANDEM WITH AN ANTICYCLONE LOCATED AROUND 25N UNTIL IT REACHES ABOUT 170E, THEN THE ANTICYCLONE STALLS IN RESPONSE TO A WELL DEVELOPED TROUGH NEAR 155E. IOKE THEN MOVES AROUND THE SOUTHWESTERN PERIPHERY OF THE ANTICYCLONE TO THE NORTH...AND BEGINS A CURVE TO THE NORTHWEST. THE 500 MB TREND OF THE GFS OVER THE LAST 3 RUNS HAS BEEN TO DIG THE TROUGH MORE DEEPLY AT 155E BY WED 30/18Z...HOWEVER THIS MAY NOT BE IN TIME TO KEEP THE STORM FROM BECOMING A SERIOUS THREAT TO WAKE ISLAND. THE NEW FORECAST TRACK IS VERY CLOSE TO THE PREVIOUS TRACK THROUGH 72 HOURS...WITH A SLIGHT MOVE TO THE NORTH TOWARD THE GFS SOLUTION AFTER THAT. THIS TRACK CONTINUES TO HAVE SERIOUS IMPLICATIONS FOR WAKE ISLAND IN THE 96 TO 120 HOUR TIME FRAME...WITH THE CURRENT FORECAST TRACK TAKING IT JUST NORTH OF THE ISLAND.

IN THE SHORT TERM...THE INTENSITY FORECAST SHOWS A SLIGHT WEAKENING OVER THE NEXT 12 HOURS...PRIMARILY DUE TO THE SSMIS 91 GHZ IMAGE AT 1030Z WHICH SHOWED WELL DEVELOPED CONCENTRIC EYEWALLS...ONE WITH A RADIUS OF ABOUT 10 NM...AND ANOTHER OUT AT ABOUT 4O NM. THE INNER EYEWALL WILL LIKELY COLLAPSE SOMETIME OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS... LEADING TO A TEMPORARY WEAKENING. THE CYCLE WILL LIKELY BE SIMILAR TO THAT SEEN OVER THE LAST 24 HOURS...SO THE INTENSITY WAS INCREASED ONCE AGAIN AT 24 HOURS. BEYOND THAT...IT WAS KEPT CONSTANT UNTIL RECURVATURE LATE IN THE FORECAST. LOOKING AT CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL WIND FIELDS AROUND IOKE AND HOW THE STORM HAS RESPONDED..BY INTENSIFYING AGAIN TO A CATEGORY 5...THE STORM WILL LIKELY REMAIN A CATEGORY 4 OR 5 STORM FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLES WILL LIKELY BRING PERIODIC FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY...HOWEVER THERE IS NO CLEAR EVIDENCE FOR ANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE OVERALL STORM ENVIRONMENT. ANOMALOUSLY STRONG MID AND UPPER LEVEL CYCLONES AT ABOUT 150W AND 155E FLANK A HUGE ANTICYCLONE COVERING THE MID PACIFIC...AND IOKE WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO BENEFIT FROM THE RESULTING LOW SHEAR AND FAVORABLE OUTFLOW PATTERN. IN ADDITION...SST VALUES WARM TO 29C ALONG THE TRACK.

IF INDEED IOKE MAINTAINS CATEGORY 4 OR 5 STATUS FOR THE NEXT 96 HOURS...A PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF THE RECORDS SHOW THAT THIS COULD BE A WORLD RECORD FOR LONGEVITY OF A CATEGORY 4 OR GREATER STORM.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 26/1500Z 18.7N 177.9W 140 KT
12HR VT 27/0000Z 18.3N 179.2W 135 KT
24HR VT 27/1200Z 17.8N 178.9E 140 KT
36HR VT 28/0000Z 17.4N 177.0E 140 KT
48HR VT 28/1200Z 17.2N 174.9E 140 KT
72HR VT 29/1200Z 17.2N 170.9E 140 KT
96HR VT 30/1200Z 18.9N 167.8E 135 KT
120HR VT 31/1200Z 21.7N 164.8E 130 KT


$$

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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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