Ernesto moves into the Florida Keys

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:08 PM GMT on August 29, 2006

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The Hurricane Hunter reports from late this morning indicate that Ernesto's pressure remains steady at 1005 mb, and the maximum sustained surface winds steady at 45 mph. Ernesto's appearance on satellite imagery is much improved, with upper-level outflow being established to the north, and the size and depth of heavy thunderstorm activity increasing. Key West radar animations show an increase in organization and intensity of the spiral rain bands, and it won't be long before the Hurricane Hunters observe a falling pressure and rising winds. We are very lucky this storm does not have another day over water, or it would be near Category 2 hurricane status. Ernesto has only about 12 more hours over water, and should come ashore in the Everglades tonight with peak winds of 60 mph.

Marathon in the Keys had a heavy squall go through at 11:09am EDT, and reported a wind gust of 27 mph. Winds at the offshore buoy on Sombrero Key near Marathon were sustained at 35 mph, gusting to 40 mph at 11am this morning. Winds will continue to rise in the Keys this afternoon, and a 1-3 foot storm surge can be expected.

The latest forecast models are still in excellent agreement, calling for a landfall in the Everglades tonight, a long 2-day passage up the length 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. Ernesto should then slowly push inland over the mid-Atlantic states, and may create inland flooding problems due to its slow movement northwards.


Figure 1. A tropical wave to watch, and one to ignore--visible satellite image from 9:45am EDT over the Atlantic.

New tropical wave to watch
A concentrated area of thunderstorms has developed about halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands, near 9N 36W. This tropical wave is showing some rotation, and had winds up to 60 mph in some of the heavier thunderstorms, according to a 4:15 am EDT pass from the QuikSCAT satellite. The GFS model does develop this system into a tropical storm by Friday, and predicts it will be a threat to the Lesser Antilles Islands early next week. This wave is very similar in position and appearance to the wave that spawned Ernesto. Wind shear is about 10-15 knots over the wave, which is low enough to allow some slow development. Sea Surface Temperatures are 84-86F (29-30 C), which is very favorable for development. However, the intensity of the heavy thunderstorm activity has declined markedly this morning, and the wave is not a threat to develop until Thursday at the earliest. A large spiral of low clouds to the wave's north-northwest is associated with another tropical wave. This wave we can ignore, since it is embedded in a large area of African dust that should inhibit development. The computer models are very bullish in developing waves coming off the coast of Africa in the next two weeks, and I expect we'll have at least two new named storms by the time the peak of hurricane season arrives, September 10.

I'll be back with an update by 4:30 pm EDT today, and include some thoughts on the anniversary of Katrina.

Jeff Masters

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733. pbimettech
12:33 AM GMT on August 30, 2006
Thanks Gulfscotsman!
732. cajunkid
12:30 AM GMT on August 30, 2006
applause GulfScotsman
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1281
731. pbimettech
12:26 AM GMT on August 30, 2006
Let's face it...this storm was a big bust for Florida...The times have changed..Today, the NHC would rather save it's butt than been be criticized for under-forecasting. Millions of dlooars were made by businesses, schools closed, businesses closed for a 45 MPH Tropical Storm. The media as usual created a frenzy...This all has to stop...Max Mayfield was not the right guy for the job..glad he's going. The NHC Director has to be a Public person in that position like the Robert Simpsons, Neil Franks and Bob Sheets...Max was not, I know, I worked with him..He's a stiff!

729. cowpen
9:04 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
COC is about 12mi NE of Elbow Cay. The "voids" in the Key West radar are just that - not eyes or COC's.

I'll put the storm "ashore" at Long Key at 9:30 PM EDT - max sustained winds of 46Kts at the Long Key NOAA bouy (Link)

He'll cross Fla. Bay a little weaker and come ashore between Chokoloskee and Marco at 4:30AM and will stagger weakly over my house east of Estero at 7:15 AM.

Ernesto will be a fresh blow for S. Fla. - nothing more. I plan to go to work tomorrow.
727. Melagoo
8:48 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
September should be a wild ride!
Member Since: July 31, 2006 Posts: 19 Comments: 1607
725. diffbean
8:48 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Oreodog it would put you just west of Tampa / St. Pete
724. floridafisherman
8:47 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
naples yes we were in the 'cone' but when landfall is only 3 hrs away and the nws still said it was gonna hit tampa what were ppl in ft myers/ pt charlotts supposed to think. it makes a big differnce where they fall due to storm surge possiblities for example if charlie had hit in NAPLES then damage in ft myers wouldve been less than if it hit north of ftmyers. so the track does make a huge differnce!
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 551
723. XFORCEGAMEZ
8:47 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Pencil thing isn't accurate the earth curves, your screen is flat.
722. TampaSteve
8:44 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: heatmieser at 8:32 PM GMT on August 29, 2006.
a little off topic...

but are there any plans to retire the name katrina?

i checked the list and saw dennis was put to bed in 2005, but not katrina...

anyone know?


Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma were all retired...first time in history that 5 names were retired in the same year.
721. XFORCEGAMEZ
8:43 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
The NHC isn't always right. That's why they have the conehead uncertainty. Today that cone hasn't shrunk width wise just shifted a little to the west. So we need some more guesses people and then I'll put them all in my computer and come up with one prediction. I still stand by my guess. Up the west coast, see previous post. It's not something I pulled out of a hat either. I've been studying all kinds of products all day long. Wanted to be a weatherman when I was a little kid, but got into computers instead. BTW i'm in N Tampa.
720. Rotorbeam
8:42 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Here's a way to see the directions in a clear way. On your screen, hold a pencil to the screen with the angle following the flow of a lop. Right now, using the Miami radar, to me, it's pointing in a direction of WNW. Try it, it's quite easy to use.
716. CaneCountry
8:38 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
People keep saying that Ernie is not going into the GOM... Some of Ernie is ALREADY there... LOL
715. Oreodog
8:37 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Ernesto is having bad dry air indigestion right now. His e side is quite weak. Did someone call Dr. Shearbay?

Dr. Shearbay.
Dr. Shearbay.
Emergency, emergency, come right away!

Ernesto is acting like a weak Ophelia.
713. NaplesPatty
8:37 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
I get tired of people saying Charley was "misforecast" - it was well within the cone!
712. sporteguy03
8:37 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Will the Hurricane Hunters fly over the keys?

Is there a webcam of US 1 on the Keys?
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5417
711. depalma13
8:36 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Check out the link for the key west doppler at the top of the blog. This thing is moving due west right now. Anyone who thinks this is making landfall in the south or east part of Florida is in pure denial.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 93
710. KShurricane
8:36 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: heatmieser at 3:32 PM CDT on August 29, 2006.
a little off topic...

but are there any plans to retire the name katrina?

i checked the list and saw dennis was put to bed in 2005, but not katrina...

anyone know?


Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma were retired this spring.
709. calder
8:35 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
can someone link me to some atlantic imagery (pref loops) im on a different comp and dont have the bookmarks handy.. thanks
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 419
708. BoyntonBeach
8:35 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
not java enabled at work...wasnt looking anyway...since tropical storms of 45 mph do not form eyes ! lol.. their letting us go early today ! last year they kept us till Wilma was on top of us !

late
Member Since: July 5, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
707. longislandxpress
8:35 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
"Hurricane" Ernesto RIP


NEXT
706. littlefish
8:34 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
txwxnut- prophetic words you speak... I'm sure the rancor will be fun to watch after little Ernesto! The real question is are the coming storms gonna be fish flingers?... You forgot to mention the 'ignore' system too:)
705. Pipsneyy
8:34 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
the new center that formed about 2 hours ago is now back to the west on the correct track.
704. rxse7en
8:34 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Ugh, looks like the COC is just north of Cuba in this loop:
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/loop-vis.html
And unless the turn north doesn't happen soon, it's gonna get some GOM goodness before it finally does.

Member Since: August 21, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 530
703. FierceWinds
8:33 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: heatmieser at 8:32 PM GMT on August 29, 2006.
a little off topic...

but are there any plans to retire the name katrina?

i checked the list and saw dennis was put to bed in 2005, but not katrina...

anyone know?


There will never be another storm named Katrina.
702. calder
8:33 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
i thougt id stir it up gulf :) defend me like a true scot! ps: KS here here well said
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 419
701. ccoralgal
8:33 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
i don't consider people who are questioning a west coast landfall "wishcasters" - i live on the west coast and would definately prefer it to stay on the east....I would say we are being careful....I still think that the system hugging the west coast is a possibility but I'm not saying the NHC is wrong....
700. heatmieser
8:32 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
a little off topic...

but are there any plans to retire the name katrina?

i checked the list and saw dennis was put to bed in 2005, but not katrina...

anyone know?
699. Pipsneyy
8:32 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
just watch the loop and turn on the trop forecast points. its exactly where its forecasted to be right now.
698. FierceWinds
8:31 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: CaneCountry at 8:27 PM GMT on August 29, 2006.
I wonder what is going to happen when this thing approaches the gulf... What do the conditions favor???


Development.
697. floridafisherman
8:31 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
jupiter nws has been wrong on a lot of occassions one that really concerned me at the time was charlie nws ,even only hrs from landfall, predicted a cat 2 storm to hit tampa. instead we got a cat 4 storm over 100 to the south so i myself are a little distrustful of nws forcasts i look at radar and wv and ir and make my own decisions
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 551
694. littlefish
8:31 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Ernesto looks kinda wispy and weak. A bit like a ghost, semitransparent... Onto the next big thing: TD6... Where will it be? Will it be Dr M's 36W wave (now slightly west of there)? Will it be Dr M's 'ignore' wave? Will it be 456's 31W 8N wave? Will it be in between 456 and Dr M's wave (my personal favorite, along with 'ignore')? Any votes people??
693. KShurricane
8:31 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Looks like Ernesto is not going to be much of an event. Guess I was wrong (eyes three crow steaks with mouth watering). Since today is Katrina's anniversary I decided to go back and read Jeff's blogs from the time it left Florida to dissapation. Pretty emotional stuff, and a reminder of why I love this site. (lifts 64oz mug of crow juice) To New Orleans, may her recovery be swift and prosperous.
692. TexasRiverRat
8:31 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Look out there at 10 and 30!!!
looks like the next one!
691. Tazmanian
8:31 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
i can see this going in to the gulf by toniht and boom in to a cat 2
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
690. FierceWinds
8:30 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Posted By: Melagoo at 7:41 PM GMT on August 29, 2006.
You probably haven't experienced a Winter blizzard so there! LOL!


Oh yeah? Last January I went to Dairy Queen and ordered one.
689. G35Wayne
8:30 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Dang!! ists going south back where it came from!
688. sonofwilma
8:30 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Tampa Steve is on point. LOL. Awesome.
687. raindancer
8:29 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
Check the buoys in the Keys - you can definitely see where the wind is from the north and where it's from the east - tells you exactly where the COC is going... Pressures falling rapidly.
Link
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
685. weatherbrat
8:29 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
1) I thought the ULL in the western GOM was to be moving West. It appears to be moving NNW. This is not allowing the trough to move to the southeast as predicted. Thus allowing Ernesto to not make the turn to the North as forcasted.

2) I have notice a spin in the visible in the Central Atlantic. Any thoughts on that? GFS model forcasts a developing storm by Friday, per Dr. Masters.

3) What is the burst of clouds in the Bay of Camp Peachy???
684. will40
8:28 PM GMT on August 29, 2006
the only gulf this thing is gonna hit is the gulf stream
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4266

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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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