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Ernesto jumps towards Hispanolia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:19 AM GMT on August 27, 2006

The Hurricane Hunters left Ernesto at 7:30pm EDT this evening, and found that the center had jumped about 50 miles east-northeast of the previous center. This sort of center reformation is common in strengthening tropical storms subject to significant wind shear, and we should not be surprised if another center shift occurs before the shear finally starts to decrease Sunday afternoon.

The new center position is bad news for Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which will now be subject to torrential flooding rains. Considerable loss of life may occur in Haiti, where deforestation will allow flood waters to rampage unchecked down the barren hillsides of the nation's rugged terrain. The new center position is also bad news for Cuba, whose entire length will now get a pounding from Ernesto.

Current IR satellite image of Ernesto.

The new center position is good news for the U.S., since Ernesto's closer approach to Cuba and Hispanolia will keep the storm weaker than it otherwise would have been. In the past few hours, the cloud pattern on infrared satellite imagery has gotten more fragmented, which may be due to storm starting to struggle due to interaction with the island of Hispanolia. It could also be a temporary adjustment due to reorganization of the storm around the new center, or an increase in wind shear, which is still a substantial 15-20 knots.

The forecast
The new set of model runs show more agreement that Ernesto will make it to the Gulf Coast by Friday as a hurricane, possibly a major hurricane. All four major global models are forecasting a landfall between Louisiana and Florida by the end of the week, so the threat to Texas appears lower now. It is still possible that Ernesto could stall shortly before landfall and assume an unpredictable path, however. The GFS model's solution of bringing Ernesto over Key West and inland farther north near Tampa appears unrealistic, due to the failure of the model to put the surface center in the same place as the center at mid levels of the atmosphere.

Next update
The next Hurricane Hunter mission into Ernesto is at 2am EDT Sunday morning. I'll have an update in the morning. I apologize for my late update tonight; a thunderstorm took out my Internet service all afternoon and evening.

Jeff Masters

P.S., for those of you on slow dial-up connections, try the "lite" version of my blog--no comments, only one ad, and no links on the page:


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

why isnt the nhc recognizing the gfdl more?
Ernie.... Hah.... Everyone knows the nick name is Nesto pronounced NAYS-toh.

never thought it..but the bahamas could still be in the picture
Anton7.....WAY too serious!
OK, guys, this is a guess from an amateur, so tell me why this would be right or wrong.

The move to the northeast is an abberation, due to wind shear and interaction with Hispanola (thanks Dr. Masters). If 'Nesto is able to bust through the shear, a more WNW course will resume.

OK, Now tear it to pieces. :)
For the nhc to make this huge change in track they either have more confindence in their data or none at all....still no idea where ernie will hit.
Anton, It is the same kind of levity used in the Operating Room. It is used between peers to relieve stress. I think that would also apply here.

It doesn't bother me.
As a Houstonian newbe to this blog (how could you tell?), I have enjoyed reading the comments on big E for the last couple of days. I'm happy for the locals in Houston about the northwarward progression - not so happy for the Florida folks. But IMHO, that may also change if big E decides to go sightseeing over Cuba. Right now, it appears, based on the last visual, that the COC is moving more N than W and heading for Guantanamo (are we surprised?).

Anyone else see this trend?
saymo, TWC says a course due west will emerge
houston, it appears to be heading nnw to me

I know someone called Nesto. His real name is Ernesto.

I'm on Folger's decaf with Splenda.

Do you live on the coast?
1515. Anton7
Ok, it seems now everyone is going to call this storm anything but ernesto, I should have expected that ;-)

so is hurricane big blob going to trash Florida?
My comment yesterday was if they start naming your city too early, it will change.
Anton, I prefer "ernie"...sounds weaker
1518. PBG00
You must be new anton..Plenty of knowledgable people who are worth listening to will not refer to the storm as ernesto...
Lets hope you folks are also out of the woods. If a more westward trend does develope as you say TWC suggests, then IMHO it would also suggest that the ULL now moving towards Belize is having a HUGE influence on the steering of big E. This could conceivably help steer it into the WC Gulf.
not sure what u r on about, nesto?

Folgers lol ::: get it:::

I live on the gulf coast. Saymobeel is a phonetic spelling of where I live. People always pronounce it wrong.
1523. Anton7
Posted By: pensacolastorm at 1:21 PM GMT on August 27, 2006.
Anton, I prefer "ernie"...sounds weaker

Great, I prefer Hurricane Snowdrop for the same reason.
1524. dewfree
Well I think it is interesting that Ernesto current track and possible landfall based on current data could actually show all of us that no matter how much info or knowledge we have about Huricanes,you just can't make a perfect forecast for outlooks on seasonal Huricane activity.Ernesto may make landfall in an area that was considered to one company "whitch i want mention" to be the lowest threat area of the season ! Lol it happens.i can't say much i am an ameture and the worst at best . Before the models started showing the new possible paths yesterday evening i believed the storm would track closer to the islands possibly across Cuba into the gulf and recurve toward the NE and cross florida and then ease up the coast to North carolina and out to sea.Alot of time and chances for change are still possible at this point but i believe that the general synopsis is correct.First US land fall being between Aligater Point and Tampa Fl with reformation off the South East coast of Ga And possible outer banks Land fall and then to the sea.Given 100 miles variable iether way.this is vague i know but with the data that is current and given data that is now old and actual event that is the best with this storm .have a good day!!
Howdee dewfree,
I see you've had your cafeine too..
See y'all later. Going to pray some folks here get kinder.
1527. OFAJ
Good morning Houston I'm in Friendswood. 1900 Hurricane you posted a link yesterday morning of the gulf can you repost it I didn't add it to my bookmarks.
Posted By: nash28 at 12:36 PM GMT on August 27, 2006.
Good morning Salter.

My thoughts are they had better be getting ready now, or it may be too late. No need to panic as the models have been left/right every run, but the general consensus is either right up Tampa Bay, or close enough to skirt us, which is just as bad depending on the size of the storm.

Myself, I am in my garage right now pulling out the plywood and stacking it just in case.

Good morning nash, I agre with you. While I am not in a panic I am going to take some precautions today. After putting it off for over 10 years I am going to go buy a generator this morning and stock up on the essentials. People think that it takes a direct hit to be impacted by a storm, wrong. If this storm just skirts the coast everyone on the west coast of Florida will be impacted in some way.
Good morning Friendswood. I'm actually in Katy. You've got a shower heading your way..

1530. dewfree
Sorry about the novel i will try to be brief from now on !!
For all you fellow Tampa Bay area folks...don't panic just yet. I remember back in 2004, the forecast track had Ivan coming in right over Tampa Bay when it was still several days out, and we all know where Ivan went.
1532. dewfree
For you people that want to save money on generators " Harbor frieght has a altenator only " 10,000 watt capable you can find a frame or build one and add a motor that might be sitting around. The altenator is around 300.00 and the rest id up to you .They are reliable and well tested in after Katrina. I know of one that ran three weeks solid twice and no problems .
1533. OFAJ
Houston.....Seems more like June than August around here with the everyday showers and thunderstorms. I don't think we will be affected by "snowdrop" at this point....but never know could take WNW turn after Cuba, doubt this far west though.
Your 'novels' make for great reading. One of the few posts on this blog (unlike mine) that actually have some substance to them. Keep 'em coming...
I'm back. I am thinking this is turning west to skirt Cuba (maybe crossing the western end. I would not bet my life on it. But, it appears that way to me.
1536. dewfree
You all have a good day have to go and earn some money even on Sunday .Will return t later and see how things looks to me and the world .
Hope you're right. Hate to have to go through the same 'evacuation' we had with Rita last year. By the way, we stayed put until the storm passed. Then we drove down to Corpus after KISD closed the school system. No problem getting there, gas available, although 59 was littered with abandoned cars from the evacuation a few days earlier. We got to Corpus and it was deserted - seems they had evacuated the city in prep for Rita. Once in Corpus, we had the Padere Island beaches all to ourselves. Great time!

Well folks, you all have a great rest of weekend... the family calls.
1538. Anton7
in the latest loop, Ernesto looks to have stalled, even breaking up, is this just eyewall replacement happening? not much westerly movement since yesterday, Jamaica still under clear skies
I'm back!
We have an eyewall! I feel like a proud father... bye all.
1540. wxgssr
What an interesting situation. Very complex...
whenever I can't get a grip as to whats going on...I look at the hemispheric Water Vapor loop for the past 24 hours.

Ernesto struggled to get going in the face of the shear from the ULL to his west. As expected, this low has moved out to the WSW. The overall steering flow is what has caused Ernesto to move NW vice WNW over the last 12 hours.

In my opinion, Ernesto will soon change back to a WNW motion. The reason is that a ridge over the SE US is moving S...and as Ernesto begins to butt up against this ridge, he will begin to track toward the WNW. The path of least resistance will be for Ernesto to track between the ridge and the ULL that is racing toward the Mexican coast. Evidence of this is already showing up in the last few hours worth of frames on the WV loop.
St.Petebill, we broke down and bought a 8000 watt generator for 1,300 the season after Lily knocked us out for 5 days. It has actually been a worthwhile purchase as we live in the woods and lose power for bad thunderstorms. We also bought a window unit ac that we keep in a spare closet. We wind up using the generator and AC unit maybe 2 or 3 times a year.. but are always very grateful to have it each time. We have even lent it out a few times.