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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216. TexasGurl
5:59 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
I had a friend that moved from here that lived in Dallas with his X wife (before divorce) and moved to Florida. I have not heard from him in years!!! Wonder what he is doing now? lol He was my best friend forever...until we both got married to other people and we grew apart. : (
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215. tampagirl
10:58 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hey Nash - Steve Jerve on NBC has been pretty straight forward saying we need to watch it over the weekend. He reports the official track but notes that we are just outside of the cone. Not sure of any of the other stations as I'm an NBC junkie.
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214. kmanislander
11:00 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
out for dinner but will check back later
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
213. caymanguy
10:58 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
thanks Kman,

are you ready ....in case?
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212. STORMTOP
10:54 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
i been talking about this nw movement all day long....you people better pay attention on the sou fla coast.....StormTop
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211. SWFLdrob
6:58 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
shoudl have said they don't see it hitting the tampa area...not florida as a whole since the panhandle appears to be in play at the moment
210. TexasGurl
5:57 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
I live over in White Settlement area (West Fort Worth) at the West 820 and White Settlement Road area. I did not know you were from here Nash. Why would you leave TX for Florida????
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209. kmanislander
10:57 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
gee my typing skills are shot
TGIF
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
208. nawlinsdude
10:54 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
hey michaelstl, what site are those maps off of?
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207. drj27
10:55 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
does anyone think that the storm will hit the panhandle thanks
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206. SWFLdrob
6:55 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
seems like the tampa mets I've seen have said it is looking right now like it will not affect florida...but that it could change and people should be watching over the weekend.

I thought their tone was reasonable...not scaring people...but not making light of it either.
205. ricderr
10:56 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
i hope you're right
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204. sporteguy03
10:54 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
What causes a storm to intensify so high as Ioke? This seems like a once in a lifetime event to get something like that, thank God no one lives out in the CPAC.
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203. nash28
10:55 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hey TexasGurl. I am from DFW. Lived there for over 23 yrs. Been in Tampa for about five yrs. now. I lived in Carrollton, N. Dallas (Marsh and Rosemeade area) and Lake Dallas.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
202. kmanislander
10:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
caymanguy

the latest track has Ernesto passing between GCM and the sister islands
However, I am seeing a jog further N than that based on the last images. Weak systems have centers that jump around a lot which affects the short term track. It is still to early to know where this one is going, if it will survive and if it does how strong it will be.
By tomorrow morning a lot of this questions will be close to being ansewred
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15948
201. StormJunkie
6:52 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
sfl-It does appear to be moving a little more northerly then previously. We will have to see if it is just a jog or if it is a significant change. The 18z model runs should be coming out over the next hour and a half. It will be interesting to see what they say.

Find the models and a lot more here.
Select the first link in the model section. This is the FSU Experimental model page. For all models except for the GFDL I set the field to 850mb vorticity to view potential genesis or track and size of tropical systems. Select animate then scroll right and page through the model run. The GFDL only works with the field set to Surface Pressure.
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200. TexasGurl
5:51 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
I HOPE that "if" New Orleans has a possible closeness to Ernesto, and it could be bad, I think people might just listen this time..THE FIRST time and leave!!! You can always come back, but you can never replace your family/friends/loved ones. This is what I told my friends there in NO and they left. Thank God for that!!!!!! I pray that NO will be spared this year. I do however want some rain here in DFW area. We are so bad in drought, I do not want my new house to break. My water bill was almost 200 dollars this last month trying to keep the yard and foundation watered. We need a break from the heat also.
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199. nash28
10:53 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hey guys and gals out of Tampa. Since I have been LIVING on here, I haven't had any chance to see any of our local meteorologists speak of this system. What are they saying??

Just curious "scorecard" here to see who is bullsh*tting as to not worry anyone and who is actually telling it as it is and giving all the possible scenarios.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
198. nawlinsdude
10:53 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
ricderr- i dont know- down here people are really jumpy about that stuff right now
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197. WPBHurricane05
6:52 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
sflhurricane...I agree
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
196. ricderr
10:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
thinking about how long it took the governor and mayor to act....qactually..they were waiting on assurqances that the feds would pay for it...i'd say...they'll wait again
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195. nash28
10:50 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Yeah, I am seeing a true NW movement right now, but I am not convinced it is a trend yet.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
194. sflhurricane
10:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
from looking at the latest visible shots, the models have it all wrong... it looks to me like ernesto is actually moving a motion WNW,but almost NW towards the island of hispaniola...most of the models have the storm going over or south of jamaica. the storm at its current motion would pass north of jamaica and could hit southern haiti and eastern cuba... the GFDL mite have the best idea of where this storm is headed...does anyone else see this NW movement?
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193. nash28
10:48 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Sorry guys. Had to step away for a minute.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
192. BrnGrl
10:47 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
TexasGurl...Rita's winds caused significant structural damage to homes and propety all the way up to Jasper in East Texas. Part of my job is to help grant funds for long-term recovery in LA and TX since the '05 season. I didn't expect to see the level of damage that I saw that far inland, but Rita was much worse than what most people realize.
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191. nawlinsdude
10:46 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Okay here's going to be the interesting thing. Let's say this storm holds up through the shear and emerges into the gulf of mexico, I am wondering how long after that will New Orleans officials play the evacuation card.
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190. TexasGurl
5:42 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
Yeah I remeber vortex...
I was working at walmart at the time. We just opened the store over here and they had bought a bunch of sand bags and plywood to cover the windows so they did not break. I was weirded out by the frantic people up there. They said they would close the doors, and reopen the next day. They had everyone on call in case we had damage to come clean it up and we would all get double time for it. Being here in DFW, we are not used to Hurricane/TS stuff. Every since that day, I have been mesmorized by the Hurricane/Topical Weather stuff. I am trying to learn as much as possible. I have a lot of friends that live in Houston, San Antonio, and a few in New Orleans. One of my friends that lived in New Orleans just finally moved back into his house after it was completely covered in water. He said the good thing was after arguing with the insurance and FINALLY getting his money back in February, he was able to build a much stronger, larger, and a more flood friendly house.
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189. BrazoriaCountyUSA
10:40 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Thanks SJ!
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188. caymanguy
10:36 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
good evening folks,

hope all is well.

ernesto seems to have taken a northern jog, thnk he may miss grand cayman?

navy has him downtown georgetown?!?

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186. ForecasterColby
10:41 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hmmm...Ioke might be just a LITTLE warm core?

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185. Melagoo
10:39 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
How cool is that!
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184. Tazmanian
3:36 PM PDT on August 25, 2006
lol
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183. ForecasterColby
10:37 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
GFDL takes Ioke to ***182KT***

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182. StormJunkie
6:35 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
BCUSA....Check the imagery links here. I prefer the GHCC site. It seems to update faster then other sites and it allows for 30 frame loops. Email me if you need any help using it.
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181. mermaidlaw
10:32 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
LOL, TAMPA GIRL!
Steve Jerve does a pretty good job! And he is a little baby cutie!
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180. vortextrance
10:31 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: TexasGurl at 10:31 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
Okay, just a question for some of you "guys". I live about 300 miles NNW of Galveston. I want to know if a Hurricane of any intensity, or a TS or TD hit on the coast of Texas or West Louisiana, what are the chances of us getting hit with any hard winds/rain/tornadoes? I know when Rita hit Louisiana, we seen some of the rain bans with a few drops. I had a picture somewhere of them. We did not get a storm, but a bit of 15 mph winds from the SE. I am about 50 miles west of Dallas. Any help would be appreciated.


Last year while Rita was expected to hit Houston and still a cat 5 DFW NWS issued a special weather statement warning of tropical strom conditions. The track shifted north and east and the strom weakened so if course this didn't happen. It would take a Rita at its peak type system for those conditions to happen. With a normal type TS storm or weaker hurricane we could still get some decent rains and gusty winds. If the storm tracked west of the area we could even get some tornadoes out of it, but not the massive type we worry about in the spring.
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179. edith
10:33 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Thanks, Storm W.
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178. ricderr
10:35 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
vortrex....think dissipation only if it interacts with cuba...and i do think that is likely
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177. BrazoriaCountyUSA
10:33 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I'm looking for longer animation satellite loops, can anyone point me in the right direction?
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176. Melagoo
10:32 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I'll have a large Double cream only
Please!
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173. Melagoo
10:31 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
The Gulf is brewing by the looks of it
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172. tampagirl
10:30 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
LOL Coffee...will remember to NOT watch Fox 13. Maybe Steve Jerve is more accurate (and perhaps a bit better to look at)
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171. WPBHurricane05
6:31 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
charlie, i see that NW movement
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 8112
170. TexasGurl
5:25 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
Okay, just a question for some of you "guys". I live about 300 miles NNW of Galveston. I want to know if a Hurricane of any intensity, or a TS or TD hit on the coast of Texas or West Louisiana, what are the chances of us getting hit with any hard winds/rain/tornadoes? I know when Rita hit Louisiana, we seen some of the rain bans with a few drops. I had a picture somewhere of them. We did not get a storm, but a bit of 15 mph winds from the SE. I am about 50 miles west of Dallas. Any help would be appreciated.
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168. charliesurvivor
10:27 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Does anybody else notice a more N.W. movement on Ernesto?
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167. vortextrance
10:21 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Is anyone buying the dissipation possiblity over the weekend? I have been studying the shear mdoels and it seems to me if it survives its current situation dissipation on Sunday would be unlikely. The CMC develops a large area of shear Ernesto would have to deal with by Monday or Tuesday but their forecasts have been off. The most reliable(for shear) over the last few days has been the GFS which has some moderate shear for Ernesto to deal with on Sunday but not enough to dissipate the system.
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166. Trouper415
10:27 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Agreed StormJunkie. In the last few fames the convection has been building over the center much better than before.
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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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