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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365. groundman
11:52 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: sandcrab39565 at 11:47 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
groundman, Rush? LOL no PA will just have to do a lot of versions.lol


I forgot, FEMA rush?? LOL
Thanks for keeping me informed and everyone else. I'm curious to see what the bottled water supply looks like @ wal mart, it's usually low anyway.
Nice to meet you, we have the silver chevy and white bucket truck, hard to miss, oh yes the ugliest picker truck, sort of red w white stripes.
Terry
364. hurricane23
7:46 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
Good evening guys...
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363. Weather456
8:05 PM AST on August 25, 2006
7:15pmEDT - Repeating the 800 PM AST position...14.5 N...68.4 W. Movement
toward...west-northwest near 15 mph. Maximum sustained winds...40
mph. Minimum central pressure...1004 mb.



Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
362. StormJunkie
8:03 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
The 18Z GFS continues to keep it weak and move it towards E Cuba, then it cuts it back WSW into the BOC (Bay of Campeche)
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16875
361. FLHurricaneChaser
12:03 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Somebody ban that douche bag sunriselover
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360. IKE
7:05 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: sunriselover at 7:04 PM CDT on August 25, 2006.
CAT 5'S ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Good for you. Real intelligent post.
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359. kylejourdan2006
6:05 PM MDT on August 25, 2006
WPBHurricane - if you click the RSS button to the right of the cyclone's name it posts the advisories before the actual website does - don't know why but it's true! LOL
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358. WPBHurricane05
8:04 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
now i see
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
357. Trouper415
12:03 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Looks like Ernesto is as strong as ever right now, and we are just at the beginning of the durinal max.

What is the shear forcast for the next 12 hours?
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356. IKE
7:02 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
It moved .2N and .8W in the last 3 hours.

Convection really firing around the COC.

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355. mahep1911
12:04 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
jp where did you se 45 on the winds
???
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354. WPBHurricane05
8:03 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
its not showing the 8PM for me
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
352. LALady
12:01 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Dr. Masters:

I just logged on and found where you posted a link for dial-up users.

I believe I speak for all dial-up users...thank you, thank you, thank you!
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349. kylejourdan2006
6:01 PM MDT on August 25, 2006
GMT is 7 hours ahead of CST, I do believe (at least that's what I learned when I went to Greenwich this summer! LOL GMT is Greenwich Mean Time if anyone didn't know)!
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347. mahep1911
12:01 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
Tropical Storm Public Advisory

Statement as of 8:00 PM AST on August 25, 2006



...Tropical Storm Ernesto continues west-northwestward over the
eastern Caribbean Sea...

a tropical storm watch remains in effect for the southwestern
peninsula of Haiti from the Haiti-Dominican Republic border
westward to the southwest tip of Haiti.
A tropical storm watch is also in effect for Jamaica.

Interests in the Cayman Islands and western Cuba should monitor the
progress of Ernesto.

For storm information specific to your area...including possible
inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued
by your local weather office.

At 800 PM AST...0000z...the center of Tropical Storm Ernesto was
located near latitude 14.5 north...longitude 68.4 west or about 285
miles...460 km...south-southeast of Santo Domingo Dominican Republic
and about 600 miles...965 km...east-southeast of Kingston Jamaica.

Ernesto is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph...24 km/hr
...And this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24
hours. On this track the center of Ernesto will passing near the
southern coast of Hispaniola on Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph...65 km/hr...with higher
gusts. Additional strengthening is possible during the next 24
hours.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 90 miles...150 km
from the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1004 mb...29.65 inches.

Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are expected in association with
Ernesto across portions of Hispaniola and Jamaica...with 1-3 inches
expected for parts of Puerto Rico and the Dutch Netherland
Antilles.

Repeating the 800 PM AST position...14.5 N...68.4 W. Movement
toward...west-northwest near 15 mph. Maximum sustained winds...40
mph. Minimum central pressure...1004 mb.

The next advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at
1100 PM AST.

$$
Forecaster Mainelli/Knabb


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346. seafarer459
11:57 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
JP...I agree with you.

there isn't a port...city...town...or pellican nest in the gulf,that someone hasn't predicted a landfall...

Plus all the predictions on how strong it will be..
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344. WPBHurricane05
7:59 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
did the NHC fall asleep again




joking
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
343. mahep1911
12:00 AM GMT on August 26, 2006
8pm says still 40 mph and still moving wnw at 14 mph
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341. kylejourdan2006
5:57 PM MDT on August 25, 2006
Oh, and msphar - I am seeing all the forecasters beginning to a agree that shear will begin weakening and a high will build over Ernesto, aiding in development.
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340. Nawlins
11:55 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
What is the conversion from GMT to CST?
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338. mermaidlaw
11:53 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I am great 27! I am having a nip of toddy, LOL, and going to try to eat some chilli, so that I may be able to effect the end result of Ernesto! WINK WINK! Humor never hurts!
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337. sporteguy03
11:57 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hey JP,
Good to see you on here.....the 18z models are for 2pm and that means these computer models are basing info before the recon got the new data right?
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336. caymanguy
11:57 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
i was afraid youd say that amazing,
oh well lets see do i got da rum.....
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333. Zaphod
11:56 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
The diurnal cycle should be helping now, too. I don't see much shear effect now at all, but I'm no expert on what tomorrow will bring.

The GFDL intensity projection looks pretty low, which may play into the more western track forecast. SHIPS has it higher, but it is often bullish.

So far I think the models are close, and it'll be "steady as she goes" for the next day or so.

Zap
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332. Weather456
7:58 PM AST on August 25, 2006
Oh yeah, wind shear has relax to 10knots.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
331. Weather456
7:57 PM AST on August 25, 2006
Hey JP,

Anyone seen hurricane23?
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
330. WPBHurricane05
7:57 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
8PM is 0Z i believe
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
329. kylejourdan2006
5:56 PM MDT on August 25, 2006
Hey where is this intermediate advisory? It always makes me nervous when they actually release them at or after the release time (8pm AST)! LOL
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328. amazinwxman
11:54 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Cayman keep prepping even if you don't have to put your plan into effect it'll be a good drill/exercise/refresher. Practice makes perfect and it never hurted anyone.
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327. sporteguy03
11:56 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
18z=2pm, not 8pm
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325. wxgssr
11:53 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
The shear is definitely relaxing as the ULL retreats to the west. In response, Ernesto is becoming more symetrical as onvection is no longer being sheared on the western side of the storm. Cloud tops are cooling. Could be quite an intersting overnight period.
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323. Thundercloud01221991
6:54 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
Are the planes still out their
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322. WPBHurricane05
7:53 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
i think the models are as of 2pm not 8pm models, right??
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
321. waverunner
11:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
If Ernesto makes it past the shear, I see him making landfall between Brownsville and Corpus Christi, like Hurricane Allen in 1980. Its just a prediction.
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320. sporteguy03
11:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Those 18z models though are using old data from before recon planes checked out ernesto so they are of not too much value now ...
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319. WhereIsTheStorm
11:46 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
The latest models have TS Ernesto heading more towards TX than LA. Have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. No three day models have been correct yet. They just keep adjusting them and later they said they had it correct...LOL
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318. Zaphod
11:46 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Still not too strong, but it appears to be consolidating its appearance on infrared over the past couple of hours. The last couple frames of visible seemed to be popping up a dense overcast over the center, too.

Any reason NOT to trust the GFDL track? It's been pretty consistent.

Positive view: Stupid questions are easier to deal with than stupid actions.

Negative view: There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots!
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317. WPBHurricane05
7:49 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
ooops sorry didnt see you already provided a link Nelly
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112

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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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