Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:03 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
A quick update on Ernesto--the latest Hurricane Hunter mission at 6:30am EDT found only 45 mph winds at the surface, and a 1005 mb pressure. The Hurricane Hunters earned their money today, as they reported moderate turbulence during many of their legs. This often happens in intensifying storms right next to land, as the air flowing over the land to water is very turbulent. Ernesto is slowly strengthening, but probably only has enough time to make it to a 60 mph tropical storm before landfall on the mainland Florida Peninsula in Everglades National Park. Satellite imagery shows a slowly expanding area of intense thunderstorms near the center, and some decent upper-level outflow on the east side. There is dry air on the storm's west side, and this is being pumped into Ernesto by a small upper-level low to is west. This influence should wane today as the upper low weakens and moves off.
You can see some ill-defined spiral bands on the Key West radar, but the storm's low-level organization is poor.
The latest forecast models are all in excellent agreement, calling for a landfall in the Everglades tonight, a long passage up the spine of Florida, followed by a re-emergence into the Atlantic and possible re-intensification to a Category 1 hurricane before a second landfall in the Carolinas.
Figure 1. Tropical Storm Ernesto at 1:45 pm EDT Monday August 28, as presented by the NOAA Visualization Program.
I'll have an update by 12 pm EDT, and will discuss what might come after Ernesto. There is a new tropical wave in the mid-Atlantic that has some potential for development.
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