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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2566. chasingernesto
2:21 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Anyone up for a chase?
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2565. hurricane79
2:20 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
According to Master's Post, he should be making a new post very shortly.
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2564. nash28
2:19 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Yo guys. Yard is done and I am dripping with sweat.... I am really curious to see how rapidly Ernie intensifies and if he begins to control his own environment steering wise.

Looking forward to the next set of runs. By the end of the weekend, we should be able to fit the puzzle pieces a little better.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
2563. musicallydeclined
9:18 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
nolatcher- i still cant believe he is back for 4 more years. nope i'm not going there.. this is not a political site. and now back to the weather....
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2562. UponCrippleCreek
2:18 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Amen, musicallydeclined.

Some of us live in hurricane alley.
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2560. thelmores
2:19 PM GMT on August 26, 2006


looks like there is some rotation at the surface.....

thoughts SJ?? anybody??
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2559. magicfan1423
2:15 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
You may respect his opinion guygee, but i don't when he's ignoring the model forecast and making it seem as though there's nothing to worry about for the people of Florida. I saw what happened in 2004, 4 hurricanes in 6 weeks. The damage was devastating. I saw what Dennis did last year. It was horrible, and i'd hate to see people from Florida here ignoring the possibility of a landfall there and not being prepared. That was my reasoning behind the post, it wasn't to attack his knowledge on hurricanes or tropical systems. It wasn't meant to be hostile.
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2557. hurricane79
2:16 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
PascMississippi, The new GFDL will come out at 1:30 PM . The new GFS and CMC will come out at noon.
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2556. ProgressivePulse
2:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Good Morning All!
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2555. musicallydeclined
9:10 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
everyone- please refrain fron the direct "I think Blank will get Hit" Some of the people lurking here believe we are all meteorligist. I for one am not, just an enthustic tropical weather watcher having spent my life on the gulf coast. People watching this site, there are alot of knowledgeable persons here and some official met. students (heck, maybe a met or two) but be cautioned any area in the gulf should keep watch. i have learned alot here and hope you do too.
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2554. nolatcher
2:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Can anyone really believe anything the mayor of New Orleans says?
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2553. pensacolastorm
1:55 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Erin was the wind storm. Opal was the surge storm.
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2552. vortextrance
2:16 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Posted By: guygee at 2:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006.
magicfan1423 - I respect txweather's opinions very much. I think most people here would agree.
I can assure you that txweather is no "wishcaster".


No doubt.
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 700
2551. hurricane79
2:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
kmanislander, If you overlay the tropical forecast points over that visible loop you will see that the center appears to be right under that first TS icon.
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2550. PascMississippi
2:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
When will they update the models again?
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2549. Patrap
2:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
..Gm franck..how goes it?
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2548. StormJunkie
10:14 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
I second that guygee...txweather=good peeps.... :)
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16985
2547. thelmores
2:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006


hey SJ..... you see your low finally came to fruition...... think it has a shot at any development??

or is that an ULL???
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2546. Barbados
2:12 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Does anyone know if any new waves will come off Africa this week? The atlantic looks very quiet now.
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2545. UponCrippleCreek
2:14 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Thank you very much, hurricane79.
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2544. StormJunkie
10:08 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
StormHank, recon should be headin in around two.

You can find the real time 30 second updates from the Hunter flights here. It is in the Wind Data section. Disregard that the pages says 2005. It is current.

I am off to get some breakfast. See ya'll later
SJ
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16985
2543. amazinwxman
2:13 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Coffee I'm with you I see Ernesto going North of Jamaica. I'm thinking slightly North but North regardless.
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2542. kmanislander
2:11 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
from looking at the short wave loop it would almost appear that the COC has reformed further E in the heart of the CDO
This is possible in response to the shear impinging the W flank
Anyone have a view on this ??
Link
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16242
2541. guygee
2:08 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
magicfan1423 - I respect txweather's opinions very much. I think most people here would agree.
I can assure you that txweather is no "wishcaster".
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2540. hurricane79
2:11 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
uponcripplecreek, the GFDL model was the best last year for Gulf storms
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2539. Patrap
2:11 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
.ses all the Pumping staions in New orleans & Jeff online & working as of 8ammlocalcst..the new Pump motors at the OUTFALL canal projects ..had vibration tests that revevealed a flaw in the motors resonace..35 pump motors will have to be replaced..this does not mean the Pumping stations are down.They r not.
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2538. Alec
10:12 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
Hey StormHank! How have ya been? I am getting ready to go back to Tallahassee today to start school Monday...
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2537. franck
2:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Patrap...but there is something new here.
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2536. magicfan1423
2:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
LOL. TXweather... read my post again. Are you dumb? I didn't imply you lived in the NCentral Gulf Coast. Do you think i'm an idiot and can't read TXWeather? Don't take me for a fool, and they don't give out masters in hurricanes. They give them out in Meteorology or Atmospheric Sciences. You don't type like you own a Masters, just think next time before you make such a harsh and outlying prediction. It would be nice if more people kept us updated with Data and Graphics though. I'm sure you know all the links and could be a big help with Data Analysis?
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2535. drusierDMD
2:12 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
sst

100M deep 5 days from now
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2534. thelmores
2:07 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
"Guys the center will be very tough to locate in visible imagery"

AGREED.... my position was simply an educated (or not) guess.... :)
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2533. UponCrippleCreek
2:11 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Can anyone tell me this:

Which models best predicted the path of Katrina and Rita last year?
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2532. amazinwxman
2:07 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
ST(or StormTop)= see. stupid, a fool, dumb, idiot, or any four letter swear word.
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2531. nola70119
2:10 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
I don't like that last update on the projected path at all.......if Ernesto gets to 90L we are in deep trouble here. If NOLA gets a hit they are going to close the storm gates in the canals and the pumps are not working yet. What folly.
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2530. coffeecrusader
2:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Does anyone see this thing going north of Jamaica. The NHC track has it going right over Jamaica. I just don't see that.
Member Since: August 21, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 255
2529. Melagoo
2:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
The Mayor of New Orleans seems to think they can withstand another monster Hurricane.

Since the GOM is like a caldron boiling and bubbling anything that reaches that will be a strong storm.

I doubt it maybe a glancing blow but a headon collision would be totally devastating.

Ernesto may not even come close to that area fingers crossed for those folks there.
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2528. stormhank
2:09 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
hey ALEC, how are you man
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2527. tornado7
2:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
i think central louisiana will get hit
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2526. Alec
10:06 AM EDT on August 26, 2006
Hey JoshFSU, you go to FSU now or are you a grad? I go back to FSU today and school starts Monday.............what a way to remember Katrina, lets hope that Ernesto doesnt become as bad as it is being forecasted!
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2525. franck
2:04 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
thelmores...not sure how you mean that you made an arse ...last night.. Your post last night seemed to show outflow being affected by shearing winds. Thought it was a very good photo.

The photo you posted just now shows that outflow much less affected by winds.
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2524. dylan3112
2:03 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Its still to early to say where this storm will make the turn, we deal with this every year, just remember what those models did two days before Katrina hit it jumped from the panhandle all the way to New Orleans. I always say that anything that hits the gulf they always point to florida and thats not always the case
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2523. PensacolaDoug
2:08 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
I live on the west side of P'cola directly across Bayou Grande from the main runway at Pensacola NAS about a hundred yards from the Bayou. This mornings GFS is sobering. If any one can put in a good word with man upstairs, It would be appreciated. Lets all hope this thing dissipates or at least doesn't really ramp up.
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2522. txweather
8:05 AM CST on August 26, 2006
magicfan1423, I don't live on the ncentral Gulfcoast. I don't have PHd, but do have a masters and in particular my area of study is hurricanes. I've often said I'm no forecaster, however, then model seem to say what I'm saying.
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2521. stormhank
2:06 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
seems to me ernesto wants to compare itself with ivan.. dennis tracks? hopefully not their strenght though
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2520. Patrap
2:05 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
..26.5n by 88.0w..in 120hrs..problamatic for many with Storm Cat 3 and Moving with N to NW or Ne movement..
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2519. musicallydeclined
9:03 AM CDT on August 26, 2006
jackkip- refer to
Posted By: Joshfsu123 at 1:57 PM GMT on August 26, 2006 post

i think he did a great job with the percentages. but i caution you to continue watching. no one can accurately predict/guess a storm this far out.
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2518. hurricane79
2:02 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
Guys the center will be very tough to locate in visible imagery. It is still imbedded in deep convection and appears to be keeping that way. The only way to see the center on visible in the deep convection is if it becomes organized enough in the future....eye like.,
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2517. txweather
8:03 AM CST on August 26, 2006
coffeecrusader, I have and they reinforce the concept of a NC landfall. Mobile would be dead center of that.
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2516. tornadodude
2:03 PM GMT on August 26, 2006
i dont think Tx is in for it, but u never know when its this far out. just my 2 cents worth.
im leaning more toward Miss. or Louisiana.
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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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