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

Jeff Masters

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1116. hurricane23
11:34 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
crisis57 right now anything is possible but from reading discussion's from the NHC and current model forcast it seems that this system might stay to the south of my area.strong high pressure should keep ernesto on a WNW heading into the GOM away from south florida.
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1115. Sertgirl
3:44 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
definitely does want to know:?)
1113. AllyBama
3:43 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
good evening G'Scotsman...greetings from the west side of the Bay!!! and yes I want to know what is going on...
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1111. taco2me61
3:42 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Good Nite Thelmores

See ya tomorrow too...
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1110. Weather456
11:41 PM AST on August 25, 2006
And furthermore, the wind shear out of the west is 10-15knots and decreasing resulting in organization.....

Wind Shear is there, Yes, we all know that. But its not affecting Ernesto's organization to the extent as with Alberto.
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1109. Halon056
3:38 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Ok Ally, JP, I can see we done got out of control with GRITS thing :P LOL :) Makes me want to start singing Gretchen Wilson or something :P
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1108. Sertgirl
3:40 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
I just took a look at the infared loop and old ernie looks pretty doggone good considering the shear! Is the shear relaxing?
1107. AllyBama
3:41 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
jp - did you hear from friends in the Cayman's today?
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1106. BahaHurican
11:34 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
Undertaker,

They have a song here "Batten up your houses now, Quiet storm is coming down" . . .

I say check in tomorrow early to see how much the storm has developed, and if u live in flood prone area watch out for that. Just the basic preps you would make just in case this thing blows up faster than they expect.

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1105. thelmores
3:41 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
GS.... YOURE SUPPOSED TO BE GONE!!!

you gonna tell us ST is right???? and which time! LOL
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1104. FloridaSurfr
3:42 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
My shift is finally over. laters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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1103. VBgirl
3:29 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
My German Shepherd and I just got our certification as a FEMA search and rescue team. I sincerely hope we aren't soon on our way to the Gulf Coast.
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1102. G35Wayne
3:42 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
only shmeck knows!
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1101. Canenut
3:42 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Radar of Ernie

Link
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1100. Baybuddy
3:40 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Lots of passive aggressive wishcasting tonite.. from everywhere but the islands....
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1099. franck
3:41 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Tells us about it Celtic superman.
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1097. seminolesfan
10:33 PM EST on August 25, 2006
Hi all. Hope everyone's night is going well.

Myles-Yup, that west side of the storm looks WAY healthier than it did this afternoon.

And 456 thanx for the pic. I'm just getting back online tonight and it fit perfectly w/ Myles' comment.
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1096. thelmores
3:39 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
whatever 456.... i'm goin to bed.....

nite all
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1094. Hardcoreweather
3:38 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Yes, let's not get ahead of ourselves by predicting locations of impact... it's too early to tell, and no one knows yet

On the other hand, it is more realistic to predict strengthening forecasts... which I feel are pretty much prime for Ernesto

Hardcoreweather.com Forums
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1093. BiloxiGirl
3:35 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
We didn't get much damage here and we are just about halfway between the gulf and back bay. But either way we get heck outta here when one comes. You can't do anything to save your house really. Other than board up and say a prayer. I really fear the droves of Fema trailer dwellers who will run for the hills. I'll be right there with 'em, contra flow and all.
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1091. G35Wayne
3:26 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Who thinks this will affect the west coast of FL??
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1090. Zaphod
3:36 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
From the floaters it sure looks like it is growing to me, and any shear is having little substantive effects.


I may be schizophrenic, but at least I never have to drink alone.
Zap
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1089. taco2me61
3:38 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Good Nite 27,

See ya tomorrow...


taco:0)
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1088. palmettobug53
11:39 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
Ernie has flushed lefty out of the woodwork. lol
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1087. HurricaneMyles
3:37 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
thelmores.

Someone misspoke. Because the shear is to the NW, not from the NW.
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1086. Weather456
11:36 PM AST on August 25, 2006
thelmores, if shear was coming form the SW it would be thrown in the direction of Hispaniola.

It is coming from the West, so its being thrown to the East in the direction of the small islands.
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1085. AllyBama
3:37 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
27 windows - you are on a roll tonight!!! lol
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1084. FloridaSurfr
3:37 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Trolling for men on a wx underground blog...
God that's sad
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1083. hurricanealley
3:38 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Posted By: Crisis57 at 3:34 AM GMT on August 26, 2006.
hurricane23 what make u sure south fl is ok just asking, local news station said right now its something that can change at any moment and we still might not be in the clear. yes they said that
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1082. ziggyfsu
3:37 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
jup.... could be. Camille had a ULL to its west when it did its stuff
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1081. StoryOfTheHurricane
3:38 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
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1080. ahatt1
3:36 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
From my experience with Katrina, any river, bayou, creek, whatever, that has access to the ocean in a storm like that will rise unbelievably, without a heavy downpour.
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1079. sebastianjer
11:33 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
Don't know enough to say if it's outflow or shear but one thing is for sure Ernesto isn't going away. Unless of course the NHC is totally wrong, so why does it matter. By the way the NHS says the source of shear is leaving and all signs are for significant intesification, I think I'll be prudent and listen to them. Nite al
JER
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1078. ihave27windows
3:36 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Night all.....Husband is wanting to hit the hay....yeah right....oh behave....

See ya in the morning!
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1077. runnomore
3:36 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
27: if the storm comes towards Houston we need to have a party and watch all the people flee.
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1076. thelmores
3:36 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
seems the convection is on the decrease..... wonder why? LOL
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1075. sporteguy03
3:33 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
People in TX relax....get some rest and enjoy Saturday.....maybe Sunday too.....the track can change we are still waiting new info based on recon data things can change the models could shift......the whole GOMshould take a deep breath and just keep an eye on things no one should feel they are safe yet.....but just pay attention
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1073. JupiterFL
3:33 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
so is this one of those cases where a ull might actually be helping to fuel the storm with outflow as it moves away?
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1071. guygee
3:33 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
I used to live in Houston in the late 70's, first in Montrose near Westheimer, then way out in the western burbs beyond the Galleria. I imagine a lot has changed since then...
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1070. thelmores
3:30 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
"The shear is from the NW at 10-15knots.."

then why are all the clouds not associated with the cdo in the e and ne quadrant?????

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1069. SWLAStormFanatic
3:34 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
After Rita, I saw large, brick homes split in two by pine and oak trees. We're about the same distance from the coast as Houston.
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1068. WeatherfanPR
3:07 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
For everyone who lives in the Gulf Coast area and Florida. You better watch this one very closely and start making your preparations for a Hurricane of great strength. This one could be a Mayor Storm and it could be a threat to you by the end of August or the first days of September unfortunately.

Lets hope for the best!!!
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1067. leftyy420
3:34 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
hi all just poping in uodated my blog leave a comment
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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