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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2215. ihave27windows
12:23 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Thanks Musically, I have my beloved Beatles mug filled.

*cheers* God, is coffee not the best drink in the world?
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2214. IKE
7:23 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Geez....those model trends.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
2213. SWFLdrob
8:20 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
starting to look like the west side of the convection is really bumping into the shear. Notice how it goes from being round to elongated and that west side of convection nearly stops moving west in the last couple of frames. At least that's what it looks like to me (not an expert by any means). Could also be giving the system the appearance that it is slowing when really the LLC is still dhugging along and the convection still isn't able to keep up. Thoughts anyone?

Link
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2212. sporteguy03
12:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Randrewl,
What I don't understand about tv mets here in Orlando is they say it won't make a direct hit at Central FL.....you'd think they'd learn that its not the dotted line..if a storm is big in size it could be 100 miles W of Tampa and still pound the penisula
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5417
2211. pcolagirl
7:21 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
27widows I will tell my neighbors(the ones that still have the blue roofs) you said we could handle it. They are still trying to fix the bridge Ivan damaged two years ago.
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2210. Tazmanian
5:14 AM PDT on August 26, 2006
could i see the newer GFDL runs
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2209. treehuggingsister
12:23 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Peachy, just peachy, FLHurricaneChaser.
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2207. ihave27windows
12:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Mornin' Zap.....yeah, I think today will be interesting as well. Although I think we'll know much more tomorrow. Like I said, I like that pull to the north, but in anycase I have checked on my insurance, and I plan to thoroughly clean the house and do every stitch of laundry this weekend.
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2206. groundman
12:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Posted By: harleyg at 12:17 PM GMT on August 26, 2006.
New to the blog from a posting standpoint. Live in New Orleans area. Just heard that post Katrina we have almost 50% of the population back. Guess not for long. FEMA trailers get airborn at 40-45mph. The scene here could look like Lego blocks everywhere if we are hit again.


37,000 trailers here in MS I think?? Fema ones not to mention the fools like me who are working down here. Bunch of Leggos??? Only my camper be going north as far as I can drag it, Possibly Monday.

I know they are tied down though, is that estimate for the wind speed for the FEMA trailers that are properly anchored?
Terry

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2204. musicallydeclined
7:20 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
morning 27windows- im fixin' to brew second pot of coffee and look at the storm. can i offer you a cup?
brb
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2203. FLHurricaneChaser
8:19 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
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2202. 1900hurricane
7:18 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Another good loop of Ioke

Link
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2201. turtlehurricane
12:21 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Ernesto is on a continuing strengthening trend despite shear. Down the road, Ernesto could be a big problem for many areas. Read more on the fully updated 8:30 AM Ernesto analysis.

Hurricane Warning Ernesto Analysis
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2200. Hydrocvl
12:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Agree stormhank, if it slows down at gulf, it looks more like florida panhandle.
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2199. Selu
12:17 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Hi, Harley! Welcome to the blog.

I've got many friends living in FEMAnsions right now. They've been told that they can't remove the trailers when they evacuate. So I guess they'll be packing up their remaining belongings and leaving town, leaving the trailer behind.

It's sad.

I'm your neighbor to the north...north of the lake.

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2197. stormhank
12:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
wonder what stormtop will predict for ernesto today? cat 5 heading toward texas perhaps? lol
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2196. Zaphod
12:17 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Morning 27.
Pressure is down to 997, and winds ae slowly picking up to match. NHC expects shear to relax.

Should be an interesting day.
Zap
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2195. taco2me61
12:16 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Yes Music,

It is writen in Stone...
No Hurricane untill September...
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2193. lapirate
12:17 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
link to Naval weather
http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/tc_pages/tc06/ATL/05L.ERNESTO/ssmi/gif/full/Latest.html
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2192. 1900hurricane
7:16 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Ioke WV

Link
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2191. WPBHurricane05
8:16 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
head on....dirrectly to the forehead :(
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
2190. stormhank
12:16 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
wondering if ernesto may track like dennis of last year? any reply anyone?
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2189. groundman
12:12 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
musicallydeclined,

This person lives on a houseboat and wasn't watching Ernesto??? Suicidal or what??

I'm glad the "expert? said it wasn't going to hit LA. Makes me feel so much better since we are like 20 miles from border. (tounge in cheek big time)

I'm just really grateful we do have advance warning, Katrina did one good thing maybe, taught us to be prepared?? and the NHC might be right @ times. Oh yeah remember ST changed to hitting the gulf didn't he?? LOL
Terry
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2188. StoryOfTheHurricane
12:17 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
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2187. treehuggingsister
12:16 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
head???? head what????

Head as far away from him as you possibly can.
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2186. IKE
7:17 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
StormW...U have mail.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
2185. harleyg
12:17 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
New to the blog from a posting standpoint. Live in New Orleans area. Just heard that post Katrina we have almost 50% of the population back. Guess not for long. FEMA trailers get airborn at 40-45mph. The scene here could look like Lego blocks everywhere if we are hit again.
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2184. SaymoBEEL
7:16 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Head what? Head on.
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2183. 1900hurricane
7:15 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Ioke is looking really good

Link
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2182. ihave27windows
12:05 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Good morning everyone!

Well, my dreams of waking up to a dissipating Ernie have dissipated. All those folks last night saying how weak it looked, and how sheared apart it looked were unfortunately mistaken. I like the pull to the north, gets him outa my neighborhood, but threatens the panhandle of Florida.....America's wang. C'est ce bon, they can handle it.
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2180. musicallydeclined
7:14 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Posted By: rewman at 12:11 PM GMT on August 26, 2006.
Jim Cantore the next NHC head!

head???? head what????
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2179. Selu
12:13 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
No, rewman!

Keep him on TV. I like lookin' at him. Good lookin' man, he is.

As long as he's on TV and not in my town, I like looking at him.

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2178. Fl30258713
12:10 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Any expert that claims to know where Ernesto is going to hit in the GOM this far out isn't much of an expert
More than likely the local TV station is capitalizing on fear to motivate people into buying supplies from their advertizing sponcers.
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2177. 1900hurricane
7:12 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Posted By: OFAJ at 12:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2006.
Thank you 1900 for the link. Good info. This early in the game I think the wind shear will redirect further west. I look forward to updates from that site.


Your Welcome. Just trying to keep people informed.
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2176. musicallydeclined
7:12 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
ST said no hurricanes till Sept. countdown is on. lol

someone refresh my memory... was that written in stone???
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2175. rewman
12:11 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Jim Cantore the next NHC head!
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2174. 1900hurricane
7:11 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Ioke again

Link
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2173. Zaphod
12:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Looks like the models have tightened up quite a bit over the past day or so. Still, Ernie will be skirting the island chain and so may have some significant terrain interaction on one side.

I hear what you guys are saying about shear and a west-sided center, and it certainly appears to be keeping intensity down, but it's still a better looking storm than many sheared systems.

If the shear relaxes it looks well positioned to take advantage quickly.
Zap
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2172. SWFLdrob
8:11 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
is...not if (it's early)
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2171. musicallydeclined
7:10 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
can we depot cantore to the middle east??? harder for them to fight in a cane..lol
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2170. 1900hurricane
7:09 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
A lot of people don't relize Cantore was in downtown Houston for Rita. There was little damage to report.
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2169. SWFLdrob
8:08 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
looks like the 'cone of doom' if going to be shifting toward the right - for the time being at least.
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2167. IKE
7:09 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
Posted By: vortextrance at 7:07 AM CDT on August 26, 2006.
If the current trend of weakening shear continues allowing Ernesto to gain convection to the west of the coc and the forward speed slows a bit we will have a hurricane tonight. Jamaica is really in the danger zone right now. Lets up the speed stays the same so the shear will continue to take its toll on Ernie.


I bet that ULL is pretty much out of the picture by tomorrow.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
2166. OFAJ
12:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Thank you 1900 for the link. Good info. This early in the game I think the wind shear will redirect further west. I look forward to updates from that site.
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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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