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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116. StormJunkie
6:04 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
Afternoon All.

StormAddict..You can also find the models as well as a lot more here. Including many of the best imagery sites

Looks like Ernesto is strugglin to get some convection back over the center...
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115. 1900hurricane
5:04 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
There have been several runs at Tip lately

Wilma

Monica

Now Ioke...
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114. bekroweather
10:06 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
But I saw it earlier saying: 05L.ERNESTO.
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113. WPBHurricane05
6:05 PM EDT on August 25, 2006
The navy site is referring to Ernesto as 05L.NONAME again.

Does this mean that they have downgraded it to a TD?


winds are still 35knts (40 MPH) still
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112. nash28
10:05 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
No. Ernesto has not been downgraded. Navy site is just not updating properly.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
111. dylan3112
10:04 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
How do you get mike naso's tropical weather report for today
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110. nash28
10:04 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Good job 1900!
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
109. bekroweather
10:03 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
The navy site is referring to Ernesto as 05L.NONAME again.

Does this mean that they have downgraded it to a TD?
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108. 1900hurricane
5:02 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
Wasn't done, but here are some helpful sites

NHC models
FSU models
PSU models
CSU models
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107. snotly
9:52 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I wonder if the forcast models are right
if so Ioke may make a run for Tip's lowest pressure on earth 870mb

Link
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106. nash28
10:03 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Define "junk" Bayou.....
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105. bayou
5:02 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
Where is that 'IGNORE' button located?? Is difficult to read the good posts vs the junk.
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104. mrpuertorico
5:57 PM AST on August 25, 2006
coast of africa bears watching thats for sure
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103. nash28
9:58 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
You're welcome Tampagirl. Believe me, if Ernesto has his shift eyes on our area, you'll hear me from Apollo Beach!!
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
102. stormaddict
9:56 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
thanks 1900 - newbie here still tryin gto learn and figure things out - very impressed with your posts
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100. horizondb
9:58 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Just got off a VTC with the NHC. They are being custious with the development. The models are divided when it comes to the wind shear. FEMA is grearing up and moving assets into place
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99. coastie24
9:56 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
That's a pretty nice wave coming off of Africa. It will be the next blob to watch.
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98. melwerle
9:50 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Ah..so Ernesto (with a capital E) is here...anything else out there we gotta keep an eye on?
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97. Melagoo
9:55 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Jamaica does look like it will be effected maybe a brushing
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96. tampagirl
9:53 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Thanks Nash! I'll be paying close attention. I bought some water and mac & cheese (OK, maybe it was just an excuse for buying the comfort food) today just in case as we all know what Publix ends up like if there is any threat. After following this blog today I'm thinking maybe I need some alcohol too....

Appreciate everyone's thoughts and enjoy following all of you!
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95. Trouper415
9:54 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Watch the outflow especially to the south of Ioke on this loop. Amazing storm

Good View of Ioke Outflow
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93. nash28
9:52 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Actually cctex, it was the easiest decision of my life. I realized how much I have love weather since I was a baby. I apparently was an ornary baby who cried ALL the time, but slept like wood during HAIL STORMS on a TIN ROOF!

That pretty much tells you what I was meant to do...
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
92. coastie24
9:55 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
It seems that all of the storms named Chris did the same thing.
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91. 1900hurricane
4:51 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
Posted By: stormaddict at 9:50 PM GMT on August 25, 2006.
1900 can you post the current runs of the models you posted last night. thanks


Ok, here I go!

GFS
GFS
GFS
CMC
CMC
NAM
NAM
NOGAPS
NOGAPS
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90. barbadosjulie
9:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Link

new wave off of Africa
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89. Melagoo
9:53 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Every single storm in the past named Ernesto has turned out to be a pathetic short-lived tropical storm that does absolutely nothing.

LOL! so true ehh!
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88. IslandStorm
9:45 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hi every one.
I've been watching this blog for over 2 years and learned alot form Dr.Masters,Thanks..
Ernesto is heading my way in Jamaica and wind shear analysis seems to give ernesto clearance as it approaches.
DR M., thanks for this wind shear link http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic/real-time/atlantic/winds/wg8shr.html It provides more info.
It is always interesting when a storm is far approaching and the sky gloomily overcast. Its just gets people anxious even though we all know the storm is 600 miles away and may never even disturb a leaf.

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87. mrpuertorico
5:53 PM AST on August 25, 2006
starting to get some rain bands here
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86. vortextrance
9:47 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
As far as the forecast goes I would say all bets are off right now. There are too many variables to have much of an idea past right now. Right now the convection is racing towards the coc. The shear has relaxed some allowing this to take place but is still there especially to the west of the coc where it is strong. I am waiting for the next cimms update to get a better idea on the current shear and how it matches up with the forecast.
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85. coastie24
9:53 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
jp, if the ridge did that, what path do think Ernie will take?
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82. scla08
9:51 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Ok. Well I'll be watching this thing all weekend into next week! It looks to be very interesting!
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81. nash28
9:47 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hey Tampagirl....

Ok, there are way too many dynamic variables out there right now that can change the track of Ernesto. That's why the cone is so wide. My advice to you dear is be prepared for the worst.

Now, for my reasons why I think our general area might need to be very concerned.... Right now, Ernesto is moving at around 15mph to the WNW. It has slowed down from the 22mph it was moving last night. The models are having a difficult time with this because of the speed of the storm as well as the center of the storm's circulation repositioning itself from run to run. Right now, it is further north than most of the model guidance has been showing.

Bottom line, make sure you have everything you need. And if it stays 400 miles west of us, no harm done.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
80. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
6:45 AM JST on August 26, 2006
921mb 140 knots winds (Ioke)

near 890mb 140 knots sustained winds (Saomai)
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79. coastie24
9:47 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I can see gas prices going up at least .25 with Ernesto. Now that we have reached a 4-5 month low here in Pensacola. I'm not going to make any quick decisions on where it's going at least for another day. That will give the ridge time to build in. I think we'll have a more definitive idea tomorrow.
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78. Trouper415
9:46 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Thanks for the updates JP and others.

Impressive yes 1900Hurricane that Ioke has been able to hold steady at Cat5 stength through the ERC up until this point. I want to check out Ioke when it starts to intensify again.
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77. barbadosjulie
9:48 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Thanks Jp
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76. stormaddict
9:50 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
1900 can you post the current runs of the models you posted last night. thanks
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75. Nawlinsgirl
4:49 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
New Orleans is too stressed to handle this event on the anniversary of "She who shall not be named."

Now, the "plans" are supposed to go into effect 72 hours out. What do you think the CORPS is doing right now? Driving piles into the canals because the pumps don't work? BTW - this is at the end of my street. I live in Lakeview.
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74. SWLAStormFanatic
9:48 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
SCLA, It's a little early to "worry". The models will probably shift back and forth as to where he will go. It's definately something to keep an eye on. There's still alot of time, we're looking at Tu/Wed if he decides to come this way. Just keep watching, we'll have a much better idea come Monday.
73. Sprocketeer
2:44 PM PDT on August 25, 2006
Ioke has a lower pressure than John and Emilia, though.

Every single storm in the past named Ernesto has turned out to be a pathetic short-lived tropical storm that does absolutely nothing. I'm curious as to whether 2006 will be the year he finally decides to turn the tides.
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72. cctex
9:41 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hello all, I have been reading this blog for a few weeks and have enjoyed it. Finally decided to join ya'll.

Nash, I just wanted to congratulate you on switching careers. I am sure that it was not an easy decision. I hope you have a great time.
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71. nolesjeff
9:48 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
I can translate that Tampa, do not rule anything out on the gulf coast. be prepared
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70. 1900hurricane
4:47 PM CDT on August 25, 2006
Loop that shows Ioke going through ERC, all the while remaining a Cat. 5!

Link
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69. Melagoo
9:47 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Intersting view Pac Storms churning

Link
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68. tampagirl
9:45 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Nash - can you translate that track for a layman? Any concerns on Ernesto paying a visit to our area?
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67. scla08
9:45 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Hi all.. I live in south central Louisiana, and I was wondering how worried should I be that Ernesto will hit around here??
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66. Melagoo
9:46 PM GMT on August 25, 2006
Gas prices will go up again .... :c(
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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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