Time's almost up for Ernesto

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:34 PM GMT on August 29, 2006

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The latest Hurricane Hunter report from 3:17 pm continues to indicate that Ernesto is not strengthening. The surface pressure remains steady at 1005 mb, and the maximum sustained surface winds steady at 45 mph. Ernesto's appearance on satellite imagery is still improving, 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. Ernesto still has until midnight to intensify, and should come ashore in the Everglades tonight with peak winds of 60 mph or lower.

Marathon in the Keys has had several heavy squalls go through, and reported a peak wind gust of 32 mph so far this afternoon. Top winds at some of the offshore buoys have been 35 mph, gusting to 40 mph.

Forecast track
There is no change to the forecast for Florida, landfall will be tonight near midnight in the Everglades, followed by a 1-day long plus passage up the length of Florida, followed by a re-emergence into the Atlantic on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. Ernesto will re-intensify over water. If the storm stays close to shore and makes landfall in South Carolina, it will probably come ashore Thursday night as a tropical storm. This is the solution of the GFDL model. If the storm moves more offshore and makes landfall near the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it has extra time over warmer water, and will probably be a Category 1 hurricane. This is the solution of the UKMET model and Canadian model. The GFS and NOGAPS models have a solution in between. The models differ markedly in what direction Ernesto will go after landfall, with several models taking Ernesto up the coast into New England, and several northwest into Ohio.

Spectacular imagery
Since yesterday, the GOES-East satellite has been in rapid scan mode where it delivers one satellite image per minute. For those of you on high-bandwidth connections, the animation of these images available at http://hadar.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/RSOgeflt.html (Colorado State University) is most impressive.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image from 2:30pm EDT 8/29/06 over the Atlantic. Image credit: Navy Research Lab.

Ignore the wave I said to pay attention to, and pay a little attention to the wave I said to ignore--and the wave I didn't even mention
The concentrated area of thunderstorms I mentioned this morning, halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles Islands, near 9N 36W, has fallen apart. I no longer expect development of this system. However, another tropical wave to its east, at 12N 28W, has developed a very pronounced rotation this afternoon, and has some heavy thunderstorm activity on its south side. This wave has potential for some slow development over the next few days as it moves west at 20 mph. It's under 15 knots of wind shear. The thunderstorm activity associated with this wave is being enhanced by a process known as upper-level divergence. When the the winds at high levels diverge (blow outward from a common center), then air from the surface must rise to fill the vacuum created. As this surface air rises, the moisture in it condenses, fueling thunderstorms. Thunderstorms created by this mechanism make a tropical disturbance look more impressive than it really is. The upper divergence will go away over the next 24 hours, reducing the amount of thunderstorm activity the wave has.

The large spiral of low clouds near 18N 43W that I said to ignore this morning may be worth watching yet, although I don't think it will ever develop. A small burst of heavy thunderstorms developed on the east side of the center of circulation this afternoon, and the wave is under low enough wind shear for development, 10 knots. However, water vapor satellite imagery shows this wave embedded in a large area of dry air and African dust that should preclude development for at least the next two days.

I may have a short update tonight in Ernesto puts on a burst of intensification.

Jeff Masters

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1695. LoneStarWeather
1:28 AM GMT on August 31, 2006
scaldisnoel,
Just remember all the hype about how Ernie was going to restrengthen rapidly once he moved away from Cuba. It didn't happen. I don't think he's going to strengthen once he moves out of Florida either. Some storms just never get their act together. This one had a lot of potential but never followed through.
Member Since: September 8, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 436
1694. guygee
2:55 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Posted By: vettelt193 at 12:06 PM GMT on August 30, 2006.

The key to that statement is "this part of Florida". I grew up there, and it's an oddball part the coast. The gulfstream runs VERY far away from the coast there, unlike South Florida where it is only a few miles offshore. [...]

Since exactly where Ernesto comes offshore is still a short term concern for residents on the East Coast of Florida, and possibly still a bigger concern for folks along the mid-Atlantic coast should Ernesto make a second landfall, I thought it was worth clarifying exactly where the west wall of the Gulf Stream runs off of the Florida Coast. It is true that the heart of the Gulfstream runs only a few miles offshore along South Florida, as vettelt193 states above. However, the western wall of the Gulf Stream is not very far offshore of the ECFL coast. The western wall is the western extent of the deep warm water of the Gulf Stream, and its position is reported for the ECFL coast by the Melbourne NWS in the Coastal Waters Forecast.

Most recent report:
EAST CENTRAL FLORIDA COASTAL WATERS FORECAST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MELBOURNE FL
607 AM EDT WED AUG 30 2006

ATLC COASTAL WATERS FROM FLAGLER BEACH TO JUPITER INLET OUT 60 NM

AMZ500-301600-
SYNOPSIS FOR FLAGLER BEACH TO JUPITER INLET OUT 60 NM-
607 AM EDT WED AUG 30 2006
[...]
THE APPROXIMATE LOCATION OF THE WEST WALL OF THE GULF STREAM BASED
ON SATELLITE DATA AS OF MONDAY AUGUST 28TH AT 7 PM...

41 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF PONCE INLET.
25 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF PORT CANAVERAL.
20 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF SEBASTIAN INLET.
12 NAUTICAL MILES EAST OF FORT PIERCE INLET.
[...]
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3188
1693. Zaphod
2:24 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
So the wave at 27N 58W is a mid-to-upper level system versus a low-level wave?

Given the location and direction, I assume there is at most a small chance for it to "spin down" and develop?
Zap
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3239
1692. scaldisnoel
2:21 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
gwhite,

My concern is that there is too much talk of a weakening storm - which may give everyone in NC a false sense of security. Once over the gulfstream, I think it could zoom up to hurricane strength pretty fast. There really isn't anything I can think of that would preclude that happening. Anyone disagree or have any suggestions of inhibiting factors? As for when, where and how long it will be over the gulfstream, I'll leave that to the experts.
Member Since: September 3, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 59
1691. gwhite713
2:18 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Is it me or does the COC seem to be southeast of lake okchobie(sp?), just inland of the south east cloast. ?
look
http://www.intellicast.com/IcastPage/LoadPage.aspx?loc=kpie&seg=LocalWeather&prodgrp=RadarImagery&p roduct=RegionalRadarLoop&prodnav=none
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 93
1690. i12BNEi
2:14 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Good morning all!Just wanted to clear up the name I chose (i12BNEi).Being from Pa. I was always amazed at power of the storms that would roll through the area,Mother Nature.Now experiencing Fran and Jeane,WOW!It was unbelivable the power and length of time the winds would hold up.I can't imagine a Cat 2-5,And really would not want to see a 5 or 4 for that matter.I dont't want to see any harm come to anyone but am in awe of these storms much like all of us.I just joined this site and am greatful for all the info and experiences I have read about and even enjoy the "bickering".Anyway,These storms play a big part in my life...Real quick..I met my girlfriend during H.Charley,Daughter (Rain) born during Katrina and today is b-day and have ernesto.Won't take up anymore time,Thanks for all the info and great site!
1689. weatherbrat
2:14 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Ok...my observance/opinions only....The following waves are interesting.......57W/27N, wondering if this is an ULL? Nice spin & wind shear at 5-10 kts.......44W/17N (that we were told to ignore and then not to ignore), I see slight rotation, consistent flair-ups yesterday, overnight and this morning with wind shear at 5-10 kts however, imbedded in a lot of dry air and African dust. Will this have a chance?.......32W/12N, I see slight rotation, thunderstorms have been flairing up yesterday, overnight and this morning with wind shear at 10-15 kts. This could become our next depression within 24-36 hours?......What do you think?
1688. TheMom
2:12 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
SEFL ~ Hope you don't go to long with out power but at least you have a generator so that is a good thing!

Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 672
1687. gwhite713
2:11 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Scaldis noel. Definately looks that way as well. Any thoughts on the warm gulf stream will have on Ernesto, or how long it might be in the stream riding the coast?
Member Since: December 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 93
1686. TheMom
2:10 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
LOL thanks Gatorx That is exactly what had me we are so used to north east quadrant making us get slammed with wind and rain for hours before a storm is even near us and so this NOTHING is kinda freaky.
Thanks for the information.
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 672
1685. nolesjeff
2:08 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
New blog upLink
Member Since: June 20, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1391
1684. SEFL
2:08 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
My power is now off and we are running on the generator . So there are some isolated effects.
1683. SEFL
2:05 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
The effects of the storm (whatever they will be) are just now reaching Palm Beach County. The center of the state will still be receiving these effects most of the day. Already this morning my power has gone off and on 10 times!!! So there is a problem somewhere! It is staying off long enough for the generator to kick in.

The wind has just picked up and it is raining. About the equivalent of a good tropical wave....but the power thing is a little disturbing.
1682. weatherbrat
2:03 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Ok...my observance/opinions only....The following waves are interesting.......57W/27N, wondering if this is an ULL? Nice spin & wind shear at 5-10 kts.......44W/17N (that we were told to ignore and then not to ignore), I see slight rotation, consistent flair-ups yesterday, overnight and this morning with wind shear at 5-10 kts however, imbedded in a lot of dry air and African dust. Will this have a chance?.......32W/12N, I see slight rotation, thunderstorms have been flairing up yesterday, overnight and this morning with wind shear at 10-15 kts. This could become our next depression within 24-36 hours?......What do you think?
1681. Gatorx
2:03 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Here's my take on this perplexing storm- most of the time the right front quadrant is the worst - in this scenio its the best. therefore eastcoast fl has not seen any action - however the worst part of the storm really has not come onshore in populated areas - east coast fl you will see your share this afternoon - still time to bring in the windchimes!
1680. scaldisnoel
2:01 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
1956 and Stormjunkie,

gwhite and I have been discussing the maintaining (possibly strengthening) since landfall. Basically, to summarize, the flat geography, with plenty of water surrounding south Florida, mean that sourth Florida doesn't hinder relatively weak storms very much. In fact, other conditions have improved, allowing the storm to have a better radar presentation and maintaining or decreasing pressure. After hitting Cuba, which tore the storm up pretty badly, Ernesto had poor vertical alignment of the low pressure center (tilted). After that, it took a while to get realigned. Vertical alignment didn't improve until after landfall. As a result, some conditions improved (better vertical alignment) and some got worse (over land versus over water). On balance, the storm has essentially maintained its strength.
Member Since: September 3, 2003 Posts: 0 Comments: 59
1679. TheMom
1:59 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Okay are the comments about it getting stronger over land jokes are is it really? We have got nothing here on east coast not even a breeze muggy and oppresive

Clouds are not dense and think I got 58 rain drops on a 10 mile drive to work....

Zap, Iwent with the Buffalo Crow umm umm
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 672
1678. BocaBabe
1:58 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
sunny55, out here in West Boca, no flooding, and very minimal damage. The only damage I saw was people's basketball hoops blown down. I don't know how it is in East Boca by the Intracoastal or by the ocean.
1676. Zaphod
1:57 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Coastie,

Tastes a lot like chicken, but a little more gamey. Not as rubbery as squirrel at least.

Gotta watch out for the bones, though.
Zap
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3239
1675. Tazmanian
1:55 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
hey as any one noted it going back overe the same parts of FL today
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115437
1674. PensacolaDoug
1:55 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Meant to say "Doesn't disrupt as much as Haiti and Cuba.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 647
1673. nolesjeff
1:54 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Posted By: Randrewl at 1:52 PM GMT on August 30, 2006.
29.75 Cape Coral, whats that conversion to mb?

That's around 1007mb.

Thank you
Member Since: June 20, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1391
1672. Zaphod
1:54 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Wow, meaningful answers and polite conversation this a.m.! I'm impressed!

What are the thoughts on the mid-Atlantic circulation? There is some convection, a tightening spin, and a pretty good forward speed. Will it spin down toward the islands as it's headed now?
Zap
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3239
1671. PensacolaDoug
1:54 PM GMT on August 30, 2006


Competing LLC. The Storm never got itself stacked vertically.


1956...I have been watching that. It was around 1005mb when it made landfall. Makes no sense to me...

Being so flat and marshy S. Florida does disrupt nearly as much as Cuba or Hait. Also the storm continues to pull in warm moist air at the surface.


I think..... :)
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 647
1670. Hurricane1956
1:54 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
I HAD BEEN FOLLOWING HURRICANES FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS,AND THIS ONE IS ONE OF THE MOST STRANGE STORM THAT I HAD EVER SEEN!.
THE ONLY REASONING FOR THIS SUPPOSE INTENSIFICATION,COULD BE THAT THE CENTER COULD BE OVER THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES AND THERE IS A LOT OF WARM WATER,I DO NOT FIND ANY OTHER EXPLANATION??,LET SEE WHAT THE NHC CENTER SAID ON THEIR 11:00 AM ADVISORY.
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 638
1668. Weathermandan
1:52 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Does anybody else think that the northwestward veer across the Appalachians is a little questionable?
1667. coastie24
1:52 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Zap,

It appears there are a lot of people still stuck in 2005 and are expecting these storms to act like they did last year. One thing I've learned over the years, is that each year is different climate wise and one little change in the climate from year to year can have a great amount impact on these storms one way or another. How does the crow taste?? LOL!
1666. StormJunkie
1:49 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Zap, I think most of those did contribute, but the dry air was the biggest IMHO.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
1665. WSI
1:49 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
"Or was the drier air to the SW causing an issue? "

Tilted COC and dry air gets my vote. The shear didn't appear to be that bad.
1664. Gatorx
1:48 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
BocaBabe-

No it never had an eye just a center of circulation. The center is south and west of Boca - what you have is just the tearing apart of the east side of the storm which has been happening since last night.
1663. EricNielsen
1:48 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Posted By: Zaphod at 01:45 PM GMT am 30. August 2006.
I am trying to understand why, with low shear, high water temps, and a decent structure, Ernesto didn't strengthen before landfall, and what that means for the next pass over the gulf stream.

I think he was to fast and about to get shruddered, but somehow the SFL coast stopped him and now he gained time.
1662. nolesjeff
1:48 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Posted By: HurricaneRoman at 1:39 PM GMT on August 30, 2006.
pressure is 1005 here in south broward anyone have a lower pressure?

29.75 Cape Coral, whats that conversion to mb?
Member Since: June 20, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1391
1661. StormJunkie
1:46 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
1956...I have been watching that. It was around 1005mb when it made landfall. Makes no sense to me...
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
1660. Zaphod
1:45 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
After another helping of crow, and ruminating on yesterday, I've decided that I'm stuck in 2005, when EVERYTHING seemed to develope as agressively as could be imagined.

I am trying to understand why, with low shear, high water temps, and a decent structure, Ernesto didn't strengthen before landfall, and what that means for the next pass over the gulf stream.

I've seen some comments that the nearby ULL inhibited dev'p instead of helping outflow, but I don't think I fully understand that. Did it contribute shear, or did it lower the pressure gradient so the storm couldn't be as strong relative to its surroundings, or what? Or was the drier air to the SW causing an issue? Probably multiple causes.

So which factors will still be in play as it heads east? Will the expected strengthening occur this time?
Zap
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 3239
1659. WSI
1:45 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
1658. ihave27windows
1:45 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Posted By: HurricaneRoman at 1:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2006.
my cable went out
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh whatever will we do.....life as we know will cease. LOL
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14933
1657. Hurricane1956
1:44 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
HELLO,DID ANY BODY NOTICE HOW THE PRESSURE ON ERNESTO DROP TO AROUND 1000MB THIS MORNING,AND IT LOOKS LIKE INTESIFYING IN SATELLITE PICTURES?DEVELOPING SOME BANDING,HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING IF THE CENTER IS OVER LAND??
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 638
1656. HurricaneRoman
1:43 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
my cable went out
Member Since: February 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 959
1655. ihave27windows
1:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
The wave Dr. Masters told us to ignore, then told us not to ignore, has a nice spin and a bit of convection.
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14933
1654. HurricaneRoman
1:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
pressure is 1005 here in south broward anyone have a lower pressure?
Member Since: February 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 959
1653. PensacolaDoug
1:37 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
G'mornin' all. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels just took off for their morning practice. Man, they be loud! It's a beautiful day here Warrington down on da bayou! No visit from Ernie!
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 647
1651. WSI
1:35 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
The 6Z NAM solution is interesting, though probably incorrect. (looped model run)
1650. melwerle
1:34 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
Sun's out here in Savannah - nice day. Waiting...
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 12 Comments: 1837
1649. HurricaneRoman
1:33 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
This TS is like a Hurricane Drill for Florida
Member Since: February 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 959
1648. HurricaneRoman
1:32 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
with Ernestos rain my ceiling started to leak and now theres like cracks and im worried if it rains, if that part of the ceiling will fall.... :/
Member Since: February 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 959
1647. TheMom
1:31 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
OH no windchime damage and I forgot to get those out of the tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here on the east coast it is so still right now when I got up this morning I thought forsure it had headed into the gulf not was on top of Florida! We had stronger breezes last night. But we are not to start getting the rain bands till around 2 or 3pm. My lucky little one is out of school today but I'm at work should have taken off and gone to Disney!

Am worried this will cause another "who cares it is going to dissapate" effect for the next one.

*Pass the Crow*
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 672
1646. rwdobson
1:29 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
wait, isn't ernesto out in the warm waters of the gulf about to slam into tampa?
Member Since: June 12, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1589
1645. HurricaneRoman
1:29 PM GMT on August 30, 2006
lol randrewl 16 mph lol........... I had a reported gust of 35 but im sure that there was 1 or 2 gust to 40... it brought back memories
Member Since: February 25, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 959

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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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