Ernesto slowly strengthing, headed towards the Keys

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 12:03 PM GMT on August 29, 2006

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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.

Next update
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.

Jeff Masters

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643. littlefish
5:50 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Finally Ernesto is looking like a somewhat normal TS after a couple days of looking like a messy TS/TD. Still quite small but growing in size. Now for the pressure to drop...
642. KeyWestStormWatch
5:49 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
looks like a burst of convection over or near the coc i still think we are going to get socked prudy good here in ol' Key West!!
641. CaneCountry
5:34 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
I doubt the next advisory will have this thing at a Cat1... But you never know.
640. Boynton
5:29 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
ERNESTO is definetly stregthening. You can clearly see the eye on the radar, and the structuaral bands are clearly defined. I couldn't be surprised is winds are now ar 60-70mph.
Link
639. ocalafl
5:25 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
can anyone see this comming through ocala? They always say inland is not as bad but when we got hit by Frances and jean It was not fun at all:(
638. tomnbeverly
5:22 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Ernesto is blowing up... My latest GOES infrared is showing substantial center thunderstorm build up. I'll bet the 2p.m. advisory has this thing approaching cat 1
637. tea3781
5:14 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Its looking a lot better...sure the winds will be stronger at 2pm!
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 455
636. leftyy420
4:58 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
this si a surface map. see the Shortwave cenetr near kentucky and the trailing trof down thru texas. that will make him recirve in 24 hrs if not sooner



now this same feature on water vapor

Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
635. leftyy420
4:54 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
its going nw than will be pulled north than ne by the trof that is now moving thur. this will not take it with it so it will remerge and than make a second landfall somewhere on the east coast and even bring rains upinto canada
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
634. stormybil
4:50 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
thanks lefty it is filling in now for the track it looks like it will cross the so. east fl. pinisular and stay nw into the gulf do you see that . i dont see it going striagt noth this reminds me of irene . it was a big rain maker
633. leftyy420
4:45 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
latest recon fix was 23.48n 79.43w i circled at for u on a recent visible sat image

Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
632. stormybil
4:43 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
look south the center is now filling in down to the south it gaining strenth will be 50 mph at 2 pm .
631. Rick54
4:38 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Sombody posted the link to the Water Vapor Loop and when you lay the forcast points on top of them the points show barely skirting the Southern tip. If the forcast keeps drifting West at all it should go into the Gulf. I would agree that there is likely to be some changes in the 5pm.

On another note ... this storm is making me nuts. I work in the insurance industry and I was called 2 days ago to be put on standby to go to work when this thing makes landfall. Now the question is do I continue packing. If it follows the NWS forcast I get to stay home for a while longer. If it doesn't I will likely be in Fla. by the weekend.

630. leftyy420
4:36 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
he has nice deep convection as well as improved banding in visible imagery. still not as impressive on radar but tropical storms usually aren't. at best he is holding his own for now. doubt we see any sig strengthening as the cneetr is still quite disorginsed
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
629. leftyy420
4:33 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
ernesto starting to look much better
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
628. CaneCountry
4:29 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
I, too, expect changes made during the 5pm advisory. This thing will not be over today... or tomorrow.
627. Brandonr007
4:24 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
The Center is very hard to find..But I find the whole ciculation to be moving West to NW..As I have predicted for days now..THIS STORM WILL MAKE IT TO THE GULF..It has to turn almost due North within a few hours for it not to make the gulf..I guess the trough is weaker then the NHC thinks it is..I see it hitting the gulf and exploding to a Cat 2..The startto turn North once it enters the gulf and I thinbk the west coast of Florida around Tampa to Ceder Key is the bulls eye..I expect some big changes coming from the NHC at 5pm..Any comments..
626. reeldrlaura
4:20 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Afternoon all.....looks like Otto Pilot is still at the helm for ERnesto? What's up? Where's he going? Been catching some of the Katrina ceremonies.......glad you were there Patrat....represent darlin'....SO much love sent your way!!!
Member Since: July 31, 2005 Posts: 93 Comments: 6007
625. WKendallGuy
4:20 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
The Key West radar is here Link
Bahamas Link
And Cuba, Link , but only one (useless) location is working now
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 24
624. franck
4:16 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Hiexpress..verticle tilting is certainly a factor. That is something that could make it roll up the coast and stay out of the open Gulf after all. It would roll up the coastline like a barrel on its edge.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
623. nolesjeff
4:15 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
New blog upLink
Member Since: June 20, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1391
622. StPeteBill
4:15 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
I donít understand why there has to be so much bashing here. This is not going to be a major hurricane wherever it makes land fall. Yes we all would like to know where and when but we are not God, not even the people at the NHC that ultimately will get blamed for something. The bottom line is that anyone who lives in Florida knows the risk during the hurricane season and what precautions to take and what to be ready for. Personally I have no sympathy for anyone trying to buy plywood once his or her area is in the cone, gas is a different situation. Pipsneyy, I am curious where are you from?
Member Since: June 12, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 68
621. ihave27windows
4:12 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: GulfScotsman at 11:07 AM CDT on August 29, 2006.
Posted By: Patrap at 10:59 AM CDT on August 29, 2006.


we will never forget ... here in blogspace!

God Bless you and your family and all who lost so much!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Very well said GS.
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14927
620. FierceWinds
4:12 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: hadishon at 4:06 PM GMT on August 29, 2006.
If this storm DOES enter the gulf and heads towards LA, what would you predict it's size would be at land fall? This isn't a debat of IF it will it's a question of what would happen if it does go into the gulf.


A major hurricane.
619. stormybil
4:11 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
hi everyone back again earnie is getting better organized lots of purple blowing up near the center it might be a cat1 before it get to fla

what you think lefty and hurricane 23 prettey impressive this hour
618. wileycoyote
4:11 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Slip the Keys into the Gulf of Mexico, cat 1 or 2 within 18 hours... potential major hurricane landfall on the Florida West Coast.Posted by GulfScotsman

I agree with your track, but I think the intensity will top out at a low level Cat 2 at best. Ernesto will intensify, but it has too much reorganizing yet to do to reach major status before land fall IMHO.
617. illumine
4:11 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Taz a strong possiblity
616. nolesjeff
4:11 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Looks like middle keys getting them alsoLink
Member Since: June 20, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1391
615. Patrap
4:11 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
..Thanx all for knds words.They go far..in our Hearts..Now.Lets send Ernie to the Cragger!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128636
614. XFORCEGAMEZ
4:11 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Check out the water vapor loop at http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/watl/loop-wv.html

This tells the whole story.
613. Thaale
4:10 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
New blog up.
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
612. HIEXPRESS
4:11 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
GulfScotsman (& others)- still hanging tough on the West Coast Landfall I see. Me too. That being said, I am starting to see resistance to the West, Upper levels giving ground to the east. Ernesto tilting vertically to the NE? It seems to be a coast skirter so; it skirts the SW FL coast. Hard to say landfall - takes a hard shove to put it over when paralleling the coast & a couple of degrees moves the landfall a long way... But...way out on a limb... Englewood.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
611. CaneCountry
4:10 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
GulfScotsman:

How confident are you in your predictions? If you are correct, you, and some others, deserve some sort of prize. I must admit, I am starting to see it doing exactly what you are saying it will do.
610. Tazmanian
4:10 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
so how is are storm doing is it bombing now???????????? and is it going to the gulf???????????
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115234
609. Patrap
4:09 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
..Thanx Franck..Got some good pics of the Ceremony & the Breech as it stands now.Along with shots of the new Floodgates and the Construction..will try to post them on my Blog..if I can,,
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128636
607. illumine
4:09 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: hurricaneman23 at 4:01 PM GMT on August 29, 2006.
its gonna go right through florida. all u idiots need to calm down



nothings writein in stone yo
605. seaoftranquility
4:08 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Don't know what happened to my last post but here goes again. It looks like some severe weather bands are now hitting Key West. It also looks lie Miami may be getting them in about a hour or 2.
604. HurricaneRoman
4:08 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
i think it is moving nw
Member Since: February 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 959
603. littlefish
4:08 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
That flare off Panhandle was just the ULL hitting some of the trough coming down from the north IMO.
602. HurricaneRoman
4:08 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
I think thw inds will go up by the 2:00 pm advisory proabably 50 -55 mph
Member Since: February 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 959
601. Patrap
4:07 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
..sees the overall motion ..last 45 mins..290 @ 12
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128636
600. Zaphod
4:07 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
FortLaud,

Finally! Somebody who agrees with me!

If we're right about this we'll have to start a Blind Squirrels Society!

If it is indeed that far S and moving that slowly, FL has a serious problem coming.
Zap

Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3239
599. franck
4:07 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Condolences..Patrap..thoughts are still with you guys.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
598. littlefish
4:07 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Ernesto's right on track and actually has the best structure (albeit very small) I've seen in days... Nice little TS now...
597. dpryor1
4:07 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Thanks, DRick. I'm not overly-excited- I just wish some of them would move a tad to the west-my way! 22 in. down is not a fun place to be...
596. Tazmanian
4:06 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
so how is are storm doing is it bombing now? and is it going to the gulf?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115234
594. hadishon
4:06 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
If this storm DOES enter the gulf and heads towards LA, what would you predict it's size would be at land fall? This isn't a debat of IF it will it's a question of what would happen if it does go into the gulf.
593. nolesjeff
4:06 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: franck at 4:02 PM GMT on August 29, 2006.
gosh hurricane..do you have money down on the Florida landfall?


No, But he did stay at a Holiday Inn last night!
Member Since: June 20, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1391

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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.