Ernesto nearing hurricane strength

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:02 PM GMT on August 06, 2012

Tropical Storm Ernesto is undergoing significant strengthening, and is not far from hurricane strength, according to data from this morning's Hurricane Hunter mission. The Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft in the storm found the pressure had dropped to 997 mb at 8:13 am EDT, and had dropped another 3 mb to 994 mb at 9:17 am. Surface winds as seen by their SFMR instrument had increased to 68 mph, and the plane found 89 mph winds at their flight level of 5,000 feet, on the northwest side of the eye. A full eyewall surrounding a small 9-mile diameter eye had formed. Ernesto's forward speed has slowed down to 12 mph--just half of what it was 24 hours ago, and this has allowed the surface center to align itself with the circulation at middle levels of the atmosphere. Visible satellite loops show that Ernesto's heaviest thunderstorms are now located near the center of the storm, and these thunderstorms have expanded in areal extent and intensity to form a Central Dense Overcast (CDO), a feature of intensifying tropical storms. Ernesto is still battling moderate wind shear of 10 - 15 knots, due to strong upper-level winds out of the west. Water vapor satellite loops show dry air to the west, but the environment around Ernesto is the moistest we've seen since it entered the Caribbean. On Sunday, Ernesto brought 1.73" of rain to Kingston, Jamaica, and top sustained winds of 37 mph.


Figure 1. Morning satellite image of Ernesto.

Forecast for Ernesto
Now that Ernesto has slowed down in response to a trough of low pressure passing to the north, continued steady intensification appears likely. While wind shear is expected to remain in the moderate range the next two days, Ernesto is over warm ocean waters of 28°C with very high heat content, and rapid intensification to a Category 2 hurricane is possible today. The 8 am EDT SHIPS model forecast predicts a 26% chance of rapid intensification--a 30 mph increase in winds over a 24-hour period. The main obstacle to intensification will probably be proximity to land, as the center of Ernesto is likely to pass very close to the coast of Honduras late Monday night. This will put a portion of the storm's circulation over land, limiting intensification potential.

The winds this Monday morning at Puerto Lempira on the northeast coast of Honduras have not yet begun to increase, but will begin to rise this afternoon and peak near midnight tonight. High winds and heavy rains will spread westwards along the coast of Honduras early Tuesday morning, and reach coastal Belize near 2 pm Tuesday. If Ernesto survives its crossing of the Yucatan Peninsula, the potential exists for it to re-strengthen over the Bay of Campeche, and make a second landfall on Mexico's coast Thursday night south of Veracruz. However, most of the computer models predict that Ernesto will pop out so far south in the Bay of Campeche that the storm will have less than 24 hours over water. This makes significant re-intensification unlikely. I don't expect rain from Ernesto will get as far north as Brownsville, Texas.

Tropical Storm Florence
Tropical Depression Florence is dissipating due to dry air and cool waters, and is not a threat to re-develop.

Historic heat wave ends in Oklahoma
The high temperature in Oklahoma City on Sunday reached 99°, snapping a string of 18 straight days the temperature had reached 100° or greater. The latest forecast calls for a few more days of temperatures in excess of 100° this week, but nothing like the heat wave last week that brought an unprecedented three straight days of 112° heat. The winds today in Oklahoma will be considerably lower than we saw over the weekend, which will aid firefighting efforts.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a new post on July's heat extremes in the U.S.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting CothranRoss:
Once Ernesto builds a new eyewall like MississippiWx suggested it was doing, it will explode. This evening will probably be the time to watch.
This storm will explode anyway This will be a large and intense storm once the mid level circulation fills with convection. It already has a large wind field.
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..
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hello?
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Where are my posts?
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Hopefully recon will have time to make another center pass. I haven't checked what time the mission is supposed to end.
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hello? test
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Latest image. Eye showing up, but southeast side is open. Give it a little time to close. When it does, all intensity bets are off...



looking at rainbow idk about it:

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/floaters/05L/flas h-rb-long.html


cloud tops seems pretty uniform without an eye region
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Since Ernesto is strengthening, steering at the next layer up for storms with a min. central pressure between 970 - 989 mb. and winds between 60-90 kts.



Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting yqt1001:


Might be done already?

L. Eye Character: Closed Wall
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 15 nautical miles (17 statute miles)

Perhaps, but I still think it will be later this evening. On IR satellite, the vigorous convection is having a little lunchbreak right now. Once we get some more convection to shoot off, it will start intensifying.
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Probably will go north of the next forecast point.
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ow that eyewall is fully closed expect RRI to occour in a feew min maybe an hour it it does that we may see even a more N movement maybe NW 318
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Eye very discernable on rgb @ 16.3/80.5
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Quoting AllStar17:


I don't see that at all.


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Quoting tennisgirl08:
There is supposed to be a 2nd trough coming that will be more stout. Anyone know when this is supposed to happen?


It's way up in Canada and won't get near enough to have any effect on Ernesto.
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I'm out again for few hours. Be back tonight.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Using Google Earth, and a least squares approximation with my eye, says 305 degrees.


My thinking exactly. The question now is how fast can it ramp up and force the track to a sustained NW as a deeper system. If it passes over that TCHP between Cayman and the tip of the Yucatan all bets are off on intensity.
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Ernesto is probably a Hurricane right now
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WELL I DARN GOOD BELIEVE WE'VE DONE IT AGAIN...WE'VE BROKEN THE BLOG
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Latest image. Eye showing up, but southeast side is open. Give it a little time to close. When it does, all intensity bets are off...



Wow classic 9 shape... The eye is obvious. People in the Yucatan need to be preparing for a possible Major Hurricane. I'd say its going to be 50/50 on whether or not Ernesto makes it to CAT 3. Conditions are just too favorable at the moment.
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this is one xxxxup storm
go sleep its a mess
wake up and its a hurricane cat 1
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Latest image. Eye showing up, but southeast side is open. Give it a little time to close. When it does, all intensity bets are off...

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Southern part of Ernesto might miss the land, and that's not a great news for Mexico if it does miss the land.
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Quoting floridaboy14:
Ernesto is moving about 305 degrees which is wnw about to be NW soon. i think the track is too far south and should be adjusted further north

Agreed...be back in a few hrs need a nap desperately lol
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Quoting floridaboy14:
Ernesto is moving about 305 degrees which is wnw about to be NW soon. i think the track is too far south and should be adjusted further north
I kind of agree specially if Ernesto becomes stronger.
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Quoting CothranRoss:
Once Ernesto builds a new eyewall like MississippiWx suggested it was doing, it will explode. This evening will probably be the time to watch.


Might be done already?

L. Eye Character: Closed Wall
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 15 nautical miles (17 statute miles)
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Once Ernesto builds a new eyewall like MississippiWx suggested it was doing, it will explode. This evening will probably be the time to watch.
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I think Ernesto will move NW closer to 315 very soon
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Ernesto is moving about 305 degrees which is wnw about to be NW soon. i think the track is too far south and should be adjusted further north
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


this last fix already shows a westerly turn compared to previous motion.
Still gonna go into open water... good chance for RI.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Are we positive this northwest motion isn't just a wobble...?


Well, I'm not. Ernesto has a history of such wobbles but the long run path has always been west with a slight northward tilt.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Are we positive this northwest motion isn't just a wobble...?

Recon says it's moving at a heading of 303 degrees, which is WNW, but almost NW.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
Are we positive this northwest motion isn't just a wobble...?


its predicted mostly..
ernesto had even jogged ne for a tad
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Quoting kmanislander:


Good morning

It is very close to NW but not quite I think. Somewhere between 300 and 310 degrees would be my guess.



Using Google Earth, and a least squares approximation with my eye, says 305 degrees.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


this last fix already shows a westerly turn compared to previous motion.


I don't see that at all.
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Out for a while. Ernesto is leveling in intensity for now until it completes a new eye wall. Looks to be near complete already, though. We'll see.
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There is supposed to be a 2nd trough coming that will be more stout. Anyone know when this is supposed to happen?
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Quoting CURIOUSWEATHERGRL:
Is there still a chance of Ernesto being pulled to the North into the GOM if it strengthens significantly like predicted earlier last week?


Extremely unlikely. Given Ernesto's history, I would never say never but, since it only has a little more than 24 hours before it makes landfall, it would have to be some kind of record for RI for that to happen. If this was two days ago, things may have been very different.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Not 100% sure yet, but the tiny eye that Ernesto had earlier could have collapsed making way for a new banding eye. That idea seems to be showing up on visible frames.



AMSUB from an hour ago supports this..

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Quoting stormpetrol:
Time: 16:00:30Z
Coordinates: 16.0167N 80.6833W
Acft. Static Air Press: 843.9 mb (~ 24.92 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,471 meters (~ 4,826 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 997.0 mb (~ 29.44 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 291° at 12 knots (From the WNW at ~ 13.8 mph)
Air Temp: 21.5°C (~ 70.7°F)
Dew Pt: 15.5°C (~ 59.9°F)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 14 knots (~ 16.1 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 12 knots (~ 13.8 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 2 mm/hr (~ 0.08 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data

looks this might be the latest fix
petrol I am starting to buy into your turning nnw theory
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Are we positive this northwest motion isn't just a wobble...?
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Could the shape of the coast help tighten up Ernesto even further?
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting Bluestorm5:
Hmm... open water? That's going to get ugly FAST


People in Cozumel need to start preparations NOW
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Hmm... open water? That's going to get ugly FAST


this last fix already shows a westerly turn compared to previous motion.
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Quoting tornadodude:


Are you aware that humor and jesting about such a serious subject is not allowed here!!!????
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Sorry 2 b OT, but FYI 400m Men's race @ 12:30 / 11:30 for most of the Caribbean...

EDIT: mybad... 4:30 / 5:30 p.m. our time. not theirs....
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Trough lifting out.

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Hmm... open water? That's going to get ugly FAST
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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