Ernesto reaches hurricane strength as it approaches the Yucatan

By: Angela Fritz , 8:55 PM GMT on August 07, 2012

Ernesto strengthened to a category 1 hurricane this afternoon after the morning hurricane hunter mission found winds of 80 mph, which is unusual for a hurricane without an eye wall. The hunters also found a minimum central pressure of 984 mb, which has dropped since this morning. The next hurricane hunter mission is scheduled to reach the center of the hurricane around 8pm EDT. The rain bands from Ernesto have reached the coast of Belize and Mexico as it continues to move west along the coast of Honduras, and landfall is expected north of the the Belize/Mexico border tonight around midnight. The Yucatan Basin buoy is now reporting gusts up to 53 mph, with sustained winds around 40 mph and 19 foot waves. These gusts are about 10 mph stronger than this morning's readings. Weather stations along the coast of Mexico and Belize aren't reporting winds stronger than 10 mph, however, they are expected to pick up around 8 or 9pm EDT tonight. The island of Roatan in Honduras is experiencing winds around 15 mph this afternoon, along with some light to moderate rainfall. Honduras seems to be the most impacted country so far, although they have avoided issuing evacuations. Nicaragua, however, has evacuated 1,500 people as of last night, and Mexico's authorities have evacuated around 600 residents from Punta Allen, which is a fishing village between Cozumel and Chetumal.

Visible satellite imagery suggests Ernesto still has the potential to develop an eye wall before landfall, as strong, organized thunderstorms are present in all four quadrants of the hurricane. Infrared satellite imagery shows the clockwise circulation at high levels (the upper level anti-cyclone) which will help ventilate the hurricane and could support further enhancement. If Ernesto wasn't approaching landfall, it would likely continue to strengthen and could have even experienced a period of rapid intensification, given the heat content of the Caribbean Sea. Wind shear around the hurricane remains low at 5-10 knots.


Figure 1. Radar image from Belize as the outer rain bands of Ernesto approach. This image was captured at 2:30pm EDT.


Figure 2. IR satellite imagery of Hurricane Ernesto captured at 4:15pm EDT.

Forecast for Ernesto
Ernesto will continue to track west this afternoon and evening, making landfall north of the Belize/Mexico border around midnight tonight. Given the current state of the hurricane, some more intensification is possible over the next few hours as it approaches land. Heavy rains continue to be the main threat from Hurricane Ernesto. The Hurricane Center is forecasting 4 to 8 inches of rain to fall, increasing in the higher elevation of Belize. After landfall, the storm will take about a day to cross the Yucatan, and the terrain will diminish its winds. Once Ernesto re-emerges over water into the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico, wind shear will be light and ocean waters warm with high heat content. Ernesto is then expected to redevelop some strength and potentially regain hurricane status while over water, which a few of the models are suggesting. Second landfall will probably occur Friday morning around Veracruz, Mexico, but could reach land anywhere from Tuxapan to Coatzacoalcos.


Figure 3. Webcam image from Caye Walker Village in Belize.

Angela


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

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Quoting weatherh98:


Look what the all important xtrp model does:P


They have the XTRP model running on a new Cray - comes up right away now... ;u)
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1493. SLU
075

WHXX01 KWBC 081255

CHGHUR

TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE

NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

1255 UTC WED AUG 8 2012



DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.

PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE

AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.



ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR



DISTURBANCE INVEST (AL922012) 20120808 1200 UTC



...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...

120808 1200 120809 0000 120809 1200 120810 0000



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 13.5N 35.1W 14.0N 38.0W 14.3N 41.0W 14.5N 44.2W

BAMD 13.5N 35.1W 14.2N 37.1W 14.5N 39.0W 14.5N 40.8W

BAMM 13.5N 35.1W 14.3N 37.3W 14.6N 39.6W 14.8N 41.7W

LBAR 13.5N 35.1W 14.2N 37.7W 14.5N 40.3W 14.6N 42.9W

SHIP 25KTS 28KTS 34KTS 40KTS

DSHP 25KTS 28KTS 34KTS 40KTS



...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...

120810 1200 120811 1200 120812 1200 120813 1200



LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON

BAMS 14.7N 47.7W 15.7N 55.1W 17.1N 62.1W 18.8N 68.1W

BAMD 14.5N 42.6W 14.7N 45.8W 15.2N 49.2W 16.2N 53.6W

BAMM 14.9N 44.0W 15.2N 48.3W 15.8N 52.1W 17.1N 56.2W

LBAR 14.5N 45.7W 15.2N 51.0W 16.9N 54.4W 16.8N 56.3W

SHIP 45KTS 52KTS 53KTS 52KTS

DSHP 45KTS 52KTS 53KTS 52KTS



...INITIAL CONDITIONS...

LATCUR = 13.5N LONCUR = 35.1W DIRCUR = 295DEG SPDCUR = 14KT

LATM12 = 11.9N LONM12 = 32.3W DIRM12 = 288DEG SPDM12 = 13KT

LATM24 = 11.8N LONM24 = 29.6W

WNDCUR = 25KT RMAXWD = 60NM WNDM12 = 25KT

CENPRS = 1009MB OUTPRS = 1011MB OUTRAD = 150NM SDEPTH = S

RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM



$$

NNNN
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very possibly and the SAL layer is north of 92L. wave behind it I am watching.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
True. We've seen many beautiful and robust lows with hefty model support step magnificently off of Africa's west coast, only to dissipate into a bunch of scattered rainstorms within 24 hours of touching the water. You might want to give them a day or two before plotting U.S. landfall locations and times...
But then we have seen storms form right over Africa and come off and immediately develop with model support..Julie 2010 comes to mind :).
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1490. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
JeffMasters has created a new entry.
Quoting hydrus:
Good morning.


*yawn*

good morning hydrus....


was that a pinhole on ernesto?
Any wind reports, damage reports?
Seems like a very small eye and a nice eyewall and CDO If ernesto had had more time would have been a major in no time...might have even been stronger at landfall than the 85mph they gave it...
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Quoting islander101010:
next.threat...e.carib.wave...


Yes I agree. There is some model support and the southeast gulf should be favorable!
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About that time of year for the cone.
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Quoting weatherh98:
Will it even make it back in?


It's done. I see very little chance of this making it back over water and even if it does, at best it will only get half its core over water again. We saw this developing last night when it took that hard left turn. It took it's toll on the core and it not gaining any more latitude obviously ended up being it's death sentence.

It's going to be interesting to see what the post analysis is of Ernesto. He had a satellite presentation of a CAT 3 after landfall. He was probably rapidly intensifying as he was making landfall. I still think he was a round a 90 knot to 100 knot storm at max intensity.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
I am not feeling to well. I am going to go to bed early and Hope to raise early feeling much better.
Goodnight all Stay well, Stay safe


Good morning Aussie, hope you feel much better.
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Quoting kshipre1:
if this is the storm the gfs and euro keep on hinting at it could be bad. if air is moist, warm waters are there for sure and low wind shear, big possible hurricane.


It seems 92L would have moistened the atmosphere enough to clear a path for this wave through the Atlantic to....??
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next.threat...e.carib.wave...
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Look what the all important xtrp model does:P
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


A sleeper?
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Ernesto had an eye or something i see?
How did landfall go?
Funny it didnt clear out till just after landfall


Yes very odd.
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Will it even make it back in?
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1477. hydrus
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:
Ernesto had an eye or something i see?
How did landfall go?
Funny it didnt clear out till just after landfall
Good morning.
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CMC new TS by 144HR going to TX??
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1475. hydrus
240 GFS..
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Quoting Neapolitan:
True. We've seen many beautiful and robust lows with hefty model support step magnificently off of Africa's west coast, only to dissipate into a bunch of scattered rainstorms within 24 hours of touching the water. You might want to give them a day or two before plotting U.S. landfall locations and times...


I agree as that is usually the case but there is model support that this wave is going to take off right away.

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Ernesto had an eye or something i see?
How did landfall go?
Funny it didnt clear out till just after landfall
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if this is the storm the gfs and euro keep on hinting at it could be bad. if air is moist, warm waters are there for sure and low wind shear, big possible hurricane.
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it Come of tomorrow??
Quoting StormTracker2K:
This could be a first major cane of the season!

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Quoting bluesydeacon:




Right, and so the rest of the people in the eastern north american coast(ie; atlantic canada) need not worry?....


I'm sorry I was referring to us here in the US but yes people in Canada will have to watch this as well. I think the pattern favors a SE US hit thought JMO.

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1469. hydrus
Quoting bluesydeacon:




Right, and so the rest of the people in the eastern north american coast(ie; atlantic canada) need not worry?....
This is true. The Canadian Maritimes have been nailed repeatedly by huge storms..Tropical and non tropical. Igor fresh in the minds of many. WIKI..Hurricane Igor was the most destructive tropical cyclone to strike the Canadian island of Newfoundland on record. Igor originated from a broad area of low pressure that moved off the west coast of Africa on September 6, 2010. Tracking slowly westward, it developed into a tropical depression on September 8 and strengthened into tropical storm shortly thereafter. Higher wind shear temporarily halted intensification over the following days. On September 12, explosive intensification took place, and Igor reached Category 4 status on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. By this time, Igor had already begun a prolonged turn around the western periphery of the subtropical ridge. Peaking with winds of 155 mph (250 km/h), the cyclone began to enter an area unfavorable for continued strengthening, and Igor gradually weakened before brushing Bermuda as a minimal hurricane on September 20. After turning northeastward, the system began an extratropical transition, which it completed shortly after striking southern Newfoundland. The remnants of Igor were later absorbed by another extratropical cyclone over the Labrador Sea on September 23.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
People from FL to Maine need to watch this wave as it exits Africa because it is looking likely that a huge hurricane is going to be charging across the Atlantic towards the US.



0Z GFS


It has been a long time since I have seen a wave like the one that is about to exit Africa. That is one wicked wave!
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Looking at the steering winds-stronger, lower pressure storms track more west right now %$#@.
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Interesting how Skyepony pointed out the non-task NOAA flight just above Haiti yesterday. There is a wave there now and Flo maybe in the vicinity in 24 to 48 hrs. if it survives today. Maybe interesting to watch today.
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This could be a first major cane of the season!

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Quoting CanesfanatUT:
Guys chill with the TS the instant it hits the water. You gotta watch how the system does over water. Plenty have fallen apart
True. We've seen many beautiful and robust lows with hefty model support step magnificently off of Africa's west coast, only to dissipate into a bunch of scattered rainstorms within 24 hours of touching the water. You might want to give them a day or two before plotting U.S. landfall locations and times...
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Quoting Terradad:
Good morning. It looks to me like Ernesto might not make it back into the water, if he keeps up his current motion.
Agree.
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Quoting StormTracker2K:
We could have Gordon as soon as this exits Africa.

If not before.
I think Christine developed inside africa.
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92L looks good on the visible.

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1459. icmoore
Good morning to all!

Madeira Beach, FL
A Few Clouds
82°F
Humidity94%
Wind SpeedS 7 mph
Barometer30.00 in (1015.8 mb)
Dewpoint80°F (27°C)
Visibility10.00 mi
Heat Index93°F (34°C)
Last Update on 8 Aug 6:53 am EDT

Be sure y'all let those trains know that all the stations in Florida are closed for the season :)


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Good morning. It looks to me like Ernesto might not make it back into the water, if he keeps up his current motion.
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Nights people haven`t sleep all night and is now 6 in the morning.
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Quoting unknowncomic:
Trough to the rescue? It will be interesting for sure!


Have to watch the timing of these troughs .
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Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook


000
ABNT20 KNHC 081200
TWOAT

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT WED AUG 8 2012

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON
RECENTLY-DOWNGRADED TROPICAL STORM ERNESTO...LOCATED OVER THE
YUCATAN PENINSULA OF MEXICO ABOUT 90 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF
CAMPECHE.

A LOW PRESSURE AREA ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED ABOUT
700 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS HAS SLIGHTLY
BETTER ORGANIZED DURING THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS. ENVIRONMENTAL
CONDITIONS ARE MARGINALLY CONDUCIVE FOR GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OVER
THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. THIS SYSTEM HAS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30
PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS
AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH.

THE REMNANTS OF FLORENCE...A TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED ABOUT 450 MILES
EAST OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS...CONTINUE TO PRODUCE
DISORGANIZED THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY. HOWEVER...UPPER-LEVEL WINDS
ARE NOT EXPECTED TO BE CONDUCIVE FOR REDEVELOPMENT...AND THIS
SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...NEAR 0 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE AGAIN DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS AS IT MOVES WEST-
NORTHWESTWARD AT ABOUT 20 MPH.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN

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Quoting CanesfanatUT:
Guys chill with the TS the instant it hits the water. You gotta watch how the system does over water. Plenty have fallen apart


Almost all the models are showing this that is why people are saying that.

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Trough to the rescue? It will be interesting for sure!
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1451. hydrus
There may be a system in the S.E.gulf in 4 days.
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Rainy times ahead for FL come this weekend as a strong cold front stalls out over N FL. Lots of cool air coming down from Canada infact some areas of TN adn western N & South Carolina could have lows into the 40's and 50's.

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Guys chill with the TS the instant it hits the water. You gotta watch how the system does over water. Plenty have fallen apart
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We could have Gordon as soon as this wave exits Africa.
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People from FL to Maine need to watch this wave as it exits Africa because it is looking likely that a huge hurricane is going to be charging across the Atlantic towards the US.



0Z GFS
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1446. WxLogic
92L appears to be prepping the environment for P13L about to come out from Africa.





We'll see soon how they fair as they go through the ATL and fight off some of that dry air.
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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