Ernesto strengthens as it approaches the Carolinas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:54 PM GMT on August 31, 2006

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Tropical Storm Ernesto is gathering strength, headed for a landfall near the North Carolina/South Carolina border late this afternoon. Radar animations from the Charleston radar shows a steadily organizing system, with a strong band of heavy rain wrapping around the west side of the center. Ernesto may have a partial eyewall and be a strong tropical storm with 65-70 mph winds at landfall. Wind observations from offshore buoys have been as high as 30 mph sustatined with gusts to 42 mph this morning. The Hurricane Hunters left the storm at 6am EDT this morning, and reported a pressure of 996 mb before they left. This is not far from Ernesto's 990 mb pressure it had when it was a hurricane with 75 mph winds south of Haiti. A NOAA Hurricane Hunter is due in the storm by noon, and an Air Force airplane at 2pm EDT.


Figure 1. Current long-range radar out of Charleston.

The north side of Ernesto is under some significant wind shear of 20 knots, thanks to southwesterly upper-level winds from the trough of low pressure pulling the storm to the north. As Ernesto moves further north, the shear will increase, likely putting a limit on the amount of intensification the storm can do. Water temperatures under the storm are about 30 C, which is very favorable for intensification. The eastern portion of the storm is over the axis of the very warm Gulf Stream Current.

Hurricane John
Hurricane John is a dangerous Category 3 hurricane this morning, just 100 miles off the coast of Mexico. The storm is moving parallel to the coast, but any deviation to the right would bring the intense core to the coast, making it one of the strongest Pacific hurricanes ever to strike Mexico. The forecast track of the storm takes it very near to the tip of the Baja Peninsula, so John has a chance to make a double hit on Mexico. John could be the strongest hurricane to affect Baja since Hurricane Liza of 1976 brushed the peninsula as a Category 4 storm. Only seven Category 4 Eastern Pacific hurricane have hit Mexico in recorded history. Wind shear is light and forecast to remain low, and sea surface temperatures (Figure 2) are a very warm 30 C under the hurricane--about 1-2 degrees C above normal for this time of year. John's strength is likely to be controlled by difficult to predict eyewall replacement cycles over the next three days, and could be a Category 4 hurricane when it encounters Baja. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate John at 11am PDT today.


Figure 2. Current sea surface temperatures along the Pacific coast. Temperatures in the Gulf of California may not be accurate, due to difficulties retrieving the temperature via satellite measurements in such a narrow body of water. The red line separating blue colors from yellow marks the 26 C isotherm--the critical temperature needed to sustain a tropical cyclone. Note the very cool waters extending from the California border southwards along the coast. This long stretch of cool water will make it difficult for John to hold together if it tries to approach California. Image credit: NOAA/AOML.

Is John a threat to the U.S.?
In yesterday's blog, I discussed in detail the historical record of the five Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones that have affected the U.S. with tropical storm force winds. The latest model guidance still suggests the possibility John could come far enough north to affect the U.S., but it is looking increasingly unlikely. A ridge of high pressure is expected to build in and force John to the west about the time the storm reaches Baja. The GFDL model, however, takes the storm about halfway up the Gulf of California before turning it westward across Baja and away from North America.

Super Typhoon Ioke
The incredible Category 4 Super Typhoon Ioke made almost a direct hit on tiny Wake Island in the Pacific, passing just to the northeast of the island. The island experienced the eyewall of the left front quadrant of the super typhoon, but probably missed the calm of the eye. Observations from Wake showed winds of 78 mph gusting to 100 mph and a pressure of 934 mb before the instrument failed at 2:18am EDT this morning. Ioke continues to be a borderline Category 4/5 super typhoon, and is not expected to decline to category 3 strength for several more days. This would probably make it the longest-lived Category 4 or higher storm on record anywhere.

African tropical waves
The large spiral of low clouds near 18N 50W surrounded by a large cloud of dry air and African dust continues to spin, and now has some thunderstorm activity near the center. This thunderstorm activity developed last night and stayed on through the morning, an indication that the dry air surrounding this system is starting to dilute. As the environment continues to moisten, this system will have the potential for development. Development would likely not happen until Sunday at the earliest, when it should be near the northern Lesser Antilles Islands.

A tropical wave near 12N 37W, a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, has changed little in organization the past day. Some slow development of this system is possible over the next few days, but doesn't appear likely.

A spinning area of clouds few hundred miles north of Puerto Rico is associated with an upper level low pressure system. Development is not expected of this system.

I'll be back this afternoon with an update. Tonight, I'll be talking live at 8:45pm EDT on the Barometer Bob show, live from northeast Florida:

http://www.barometerbobshow.com/

Jeff Masters

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737. SurfHB
4:06 PM GMT on January 03, 2007
Just wanted to let everyone know that we at Alan Holden Vacations and RE/MAX at the Beach have a new live streaming WEBCAM up and running. There is a daily surf report with pictures too. So now you can see what the weather is doing and also the ocean waves when Hurricanes approach. Here is the link:

Link
736. EricNielsen
9:35 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Btw. on the cam page posted liek 2 h ago, u can now see 3 surfer....

Cheers
735. HIEXPRESS
9:20 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
FYI - new blog up
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
734. Hellsniper223
9:02 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Pshhhtt... guys... This is Deeeffinnnittlyy a FLPanhandle Hit... Geeeeezzz...
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
733. HIEXPRESS
9:01 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
yes ... then it will go WEST

Where do you see it dying then Gulf? What state/providence?


Yank zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Screaming Drag LOL

Does Ernesto have ANY wind actually at The Surface?
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
732. ncsounder
8:54 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
LTX radar makes it look like it will go a little west of Southport...good news to me, I was looking at a rainy drive to channel marker 33
730. fran1983
8:49 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Anyone think it will take Bertha from 1996's track.

Bertha 1996 Track
728. kilgores97
8:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
5pm update is still 991mb, 70mph and moving NNE @17
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 66
727. Xion
8:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
I wonder if the NHC will pull the hurricane update out in 15 minutes.
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 726
726. fran1983
8:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
I was thinking it might do what Ophelia did last year.

Ophelia 2005 Track
725. Dan187
8:43 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
000
WTNT25 KNHC 312034
TCMAT5
TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO FORECAST/ADVISORY NUMBER 29
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052006
2100 UTC THU AUG 31 2006

AT 5 PM EDT...2100 UTC...THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS DISCONTINUED
FROM EDISTO BEACH SOUTH CAROLINA SOUTHWARD.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM NORTH OF EDISTO BEACH
TO CURRITUCK BEACH LIGHT INCLUDING THE PAMLICO AND ALBEMARLE
SOUNDS.

A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SOUTH SANTEE RIVER SOUTH
CAROLINA TO CAPE LOOKOUT NORTH CAROLINA. A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS
THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...IN
THIS CASE WITHIN THE NEXT 6 TO 12 HOURS.


TROPICAL STORM CENTER LOCATED NEAR 32.6N 78.7W AT 31/2100Z
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN 15 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST OR 20 DEGREES AT 15 KT

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 991 MB
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 60 KT WITH GUSTS TO 75 KT.
50 KT....... 40NE 40SE 40SW 0NW.
34 KT.......100NE 100SE 60SW 25NW.
12 FT SEAS..120NE 150SE 50SW 25NW.
WINDS AND SEAS VARY GREATLY IN EACH QUADRANT. RADII IN NAUTICAL
MILES ARE THE LARGEST RADII EXPECTED ANYWHERE IN THAT QUADRANT.

REPEAT...CENTER LOCATED NEAR 32.6N 78.7W AT 31/2100Z
AT 31/1800Z CENTER WAS LOCATED NEAR 31.9N 79.1W

FORECAST VALID 01/0600Z 34.7N 78.0W...INLAND
MAX WIND 50 KT...GUSTS 60 KT.
50 KT... 20NE 40SE 0SW 0NW.
34 KT...100NE 100SE 25SW 0NW.

FORECAST VALID 01/1800Z 37.0N 77.5W...INLAND
MAX WIND 30 KT...GUSTS 40 KT.

FORECAST VALID 02/0600Z 38.5N 77.5W...EXTRATROPICAL
MAX WIND 25 KT...GUSTS 35 KT.

FORECAST VALID 02/1800Z 41.0N 78.5W...EXTRATROPICAL
MAX WIND 25 KT...GUSTS 35 KT.

FORECAST VALID 03/1800Z...DISSIPATED

EXTENDED OUTLOOK. NOTE...ERRORS FOR TRACK HAVE AVERAGED NEAR 250 NM
ON DAY 4 AND 325 NM ON DAY 5...AND FOR INTENSITY NEAR 20 KT EACH DAY

OUTLOOK VALID 04/1800Z...DISSIPATED

OUTLOOK VALID 05/1800Z...DISSIPATED

REQUEST FOR 3 HOURLY SHIP REPORTS WITHIN 300 MILES OF 32.6N 78.7W

NEXT ADVISORY AT 01/0300Z

$$
FORECASTER AVILA
724. benirica
8:40 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Wont jeff give it like at 5.30 so he can talk about the update? He prob thinks theres a chance it MIGHT be a hurricane...
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1143
723. leftyy420
8:40 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
wilmington radar Link

charleston radar Link
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
722. kabraxis
8:40 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
I think That Bonnies landfall, not track after landfall, would be a good landfall prediction for Ernesto. LOOK
721. will40
8:39 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Link



wilmington radar
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4110
720. fran1983
8:38 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Isn't it about time for Jeff to give us an update?
719. 1900hurricane
8:38 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
NEW BLOG!!!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11666
718. kabraxis
8:37 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
My sister has field hockey at Indian River High alot, and yes, i know where the road is.
715. nolesjeff
8:36 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Let the Hurricane partys begin?
Member Since: June 20, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1391
714. 1900hurricane
8:35 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Ernie(or Ernesto)'s MIMIC

Link

Shows strenghining...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11666
713. kabraxis
8:35 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Haha...thats what I do, except I say Norfolk. I am Western Branch. A neighborhood next to me lost power already, but i doubt it was storm related. As for us losing power though, as bad as the power lines and VDOT are here, id give it a 50/50 shot. Again it depends on the landfall.
712. fran1983
8:35 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Posted By: VaBeachSurfer at 4:33 PM EDT on August 31, 2006.
i am in chesapeake as well kabrax but most peol;e never heard of chesapeake so is ay virginia beach...haha i am in greenbrier...think we'll lose power??


Hopefully yall will be okay. My mom lives off of Indian River Rd. I am assuming you know where that is??
711. weathermanwannabe
8:34 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
OK folks, per HCW, let's finish the sentence, "NWS Carolina?....This is Max...Yeah thanks, I'll invite you to the retirement party..Now, about this Earnie, this is what were thinking for the 5:00Pm advisory and I want to give you guys a heads up...."?............?".
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8798
710. Cavin Rawlins
8:34 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
nolesjeff, thanks....
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
709. miracleaa1990
8:33 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
could someone please put a link for the local radar to view ernie? TIA
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 284
708. benirica
8:33 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
thanks kmanislander, it worked
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1143
707. VaBeachSurfer
8:33 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
i am in chesapeake as well kabrax but most peol;e never heard of chesapeake so is ay virginia beach...haha i am in greenbrier...think we'll lose power??
Member Since: August 31, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 19
706. 1900hurricane
8:32 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Visible loop of Ernie (or Ernesto, if that's what you want to call him)

Link
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11666
705. Cavin Rawlins
8:32 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Correction:

A powerful Extratropical Cyclone, will move into Europe (Great Britain Area), bringing gusty winds and heavy rains, as usual with these mid-latitude cyclones.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
703. kmanislander
8:31 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
benerica

see link for shear forecast map. values are low
I do not have a link for the SAL ( Sahara Air Layer )map now but from previous posts I have seen over the last few dyas the dry air is further N near 16 or so and that is why the low at 17N50W cannotdevelop or maintain any significant convection.


hope this helpsLink
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15725
702. Patrap
8:29 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
....2..two
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
701. seafarer459
8:29 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Just don't call me collect
Member Since: July 16, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 515
700. kabraxis
8:29 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Hey VAbeachsurfer, I am in Chespeake. Depending on the exact location of landfall, the impact here could hange drastically. One thing is for sure- expect heavy rains (and when I say heavy, I mean heavy) and strong winds (most likely 35mph or greater). remember we have to add the foreward speed of the storm sine we will be to the East of its center (at least as of now lol). Looks like another band is headed here in the next 2 hrs. Stay safe!
698. HCW
8:28 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Recon is done now and has gone home for now .


Conf call just went out from the NHC to the local NWS offices. Waiting on details from a friend that works in the NWS office.
HARDCOREWEATHER
Link
Member Since: August 10, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 1406
696. nolesjeff
8:28 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Thanks 456, very well done.
Member Since: June 20, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1391
694. 1900hurricane
8:27 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Posted By: FierceWinds at 8:23 PM GMT on August 31, 2006.
Posted By: MiamiFisher at 8:23 PM GMT on August 31, 2006.
Posted By: nationalcatastrophe at 8:17 PM GMT on August 31, 2006.
ernie is a common nickname for ernesto, no one shortens chris to Christobal

Can I call you NatCat?

Can I call you MiaFish?


You can call me 1900!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 46 Comments: 11666
693. FierceWinds
8:27 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Posted By: VaBeachSurfer at 8:24 PM GMT on August 31, 2006.
Hello everyone, i have been an observer fo this blog for many months now! I finally joined!! Do you think Ernie will affect much here in Virginia Beach?? Thanks guys


Yeah you'll get rain and some gusty winds.
692. vortextrance
8:27 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
max flight level winds of 67 mph east of center where the strongest winds have been.
Link
Member Since: October 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 700
691. ihave27windows
8:27 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
sure, as long as I can call you MF
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OMG, that is the funniest thing.......and
what's even funnier is:

Posted By: MiamiFisher at 8:24 PM GMT on August 31, 2006.
works for me

LMAO

Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14898
690. Cavin Rawlins
8:26 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
Weather456’s Tropical and Subtropical Weather Discussion for The North Atlantic Ocean.............Part Three...Rest of The Tropics.........
Thursday, August 31, 2006.......…


An Upper Level Ridge extends pass Cuba into NW Caribbean Sea.

An Upper level Low moving WSW, North of the Leeward Islands, will enhance showers over the Southern Bahamas, Greater Antilles (Hispaniola and Puerto Rico) and some of the smaller islands. The rest of Islands South of Anguilla is dominated by sinking dry, stable air in association with Saharan Dust, moving into the Caribbean Sea.

A tropical wave moving west, with its axis located along 50W and a 1013mbar low located along it’s axis at 17N. The low/wave continues to be embedded in very very dry air ( I emphasized the word “very”).

Another wave is located along 35W, with a 1011mar low located ahead of the wave axis. This wave is embedded in an area of less dry air and numerous showers are seen in association with the ITCZ.

Both of theses wave waves have 0-10knots of shear to deal with, but massive amounts of dry air.

An Upper level trough is located over Eastern Canada, extending down into the NE USA.

Another trough is located in NE Atlantic Ocean, near 50N.

A powerful Extratropical Cyclone, will move into Europe (Great Brian Area), brining gusty winds and heavy rains, as usual with these mid-latitude cyclones.

A Cold front extends from 50N, 15W, to near 37N, 27W. The front will move into Portugal and Spain on Friday.

The North central Atlantic dominated by to surface Highs and an Upper Level High/Ridge is still situated West of Morocco.

By Weather456.....16:26UTC.....
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
689. mermaidlaw
8:26 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
HEY GUYS!

GULF!!! "then it will go west"!

LMAO!!!
Member Since: July 23, 2006 Posts: 20 Comments: 8768
688. Patrap
8:26 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
..with these first few cycles of eye-wall reformation(attempts at?)..its common to see the center reform in response to the collapsing downward of the previous cylce..but as a void is made..warm air will rush in to replace it..and the next cyle of this..process..Will begin..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
687. leftyy420
8:26 PM GMT on August 31, 2006
vabeahc rainy and brezzy 20-40mph winds and 4-8 inches of rain
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987

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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.