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.

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BULLETIN
HURRICANE ERNESTO ADVISORY NUMBER 27
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052012
1000 PM CDT TUE AUG 07 2012

...ERNESTO NEARING THE COAST OF SOUTHERN YUCATAN AS A CATEGORY ONE
HURRICANE...NEW WATCHES ISSUED FOR MAINLAND MEXICO...


SUMMARY OF 1000 PM CDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.7N 87.7W
ABOUT 40 MI...65 KM ENE OF CHETUMAL MEXICO
ABOUT 200 MI...325 KM ESE OF CAMPECHE MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...85 MPH...140 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 270 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...980 MB...28.94 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WATCH FOR MAINLAND
MEXICO FROM BARRA DE NAUTLA SOUTHWARD TO PUNTA EL LAGARTO. A
TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS ALSO BEEN ISSUED FROM NORTH OF BARRA DE
NAUTLA NORTHWARD TO TUXPAN MEXICO.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* CHETUMAL TO TULUM ON THE EAST COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA
* COZUMEL
* COAST OF BELIZE FROM BELIZE CITY NORTHWARD TO THE BORDER OF MEXICO

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* BARRA DE NAUTLA TO PUNTA EL LAGARTO MEXICO

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* NORTH OF TULUM TO CABO CATOCHE ON THE EAST COAST OF THE YUCATAN
PENINSULA
* SOUTH OF BELIZE CITY SOUTHWARD TO THE BORDER OF GUATEMALA
* CELESTUN SOUTHWARD AND WESTWARD TO CHILITEPEC ALONG THE GULF COAST
OF MEXICO.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* NORTH OF BARRA DE NAUTLA TO TUXPAN MEXICO

A HURRICANE WATCH MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE
WITHIN THE WATCH AREA. A WATCH IS TYPICALLY ISSUED 48 HOURS
BEFORE THE ANTICIPATED FIRST OCCURRENCE OF TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE
WINDS...CONDITIONS THAT MAKE OUTSIDE PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR
DANGEROUS.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 48 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 1000 PM CDT...0300 UTC...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE ERNESTO WAS
LOCATED BY THE BELIZE DOPPLER RADAR TO BE NEAR LATITUDE 18.7
NORTH...LONGITUDE 87.7 WEST..OR OVER NORTHEREN BANCO CHINCHORRO
ISLANDS MEXICO. ERNESTO IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 15 MPH...24
KM/H...THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH
TONIGHT...FOLLOWED BY A MOTION TOWARD TOWARD THE WEST OR
WEST-NORTHWEST ON WEDNESDAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE EYE OF
HURRICANE ERNESTO WILL CROSS THE EAST COAST OF THE YUCATAN
PENINSULA WITHIN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. THE CENTER OF ERNESTO IS
FORECAST TO MOVE ACROSS THE YUCATAN PENINSULA LATE TONIGHT AND
EARLY WEDNESDAY...AND EMERGE OVER THE BAY OF CAMPECHE BY WEDNESDAY
AFTERNOON OR EVENING.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 85 MPH...140 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. ERNESTO IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
SCALE. SOME SLIGHT STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE BEFORE ERNESTO REACHES
THE YUCATAN PENINSULA LATER TONIGHT. WEAKENING IS EXPECTED AS
ERNESTO MOVES OVER LAND.

HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 35 MILES...55 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 175
MILES...280 KM.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 980 MB...28.94 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE EAST COAST OF
THE YUCATAN PENINSULA IN THE WARNING AREA TONIGHT. TROPICAL STORM
CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED ALONG PORTIONS OF THE GULF COAST OF MEXICO
IN THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING AREA BY WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

RAINFALL...ERNESTO IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL
ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 5 INCHES ALONG THE NORTHERN COAST OF
HONDURAS...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 8 INCHES OVER
MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES
WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER
BELIZE...THE YUCATAN PENINSULA AND NORTHERN GUATEMALA. THESE
RAINS MAY PRODUCE LIFE THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES OVER
HIGHER TERRAIN.

STORM SURGE...A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY
AS MUCH AS 2 TO 4 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS ALONG THE IMMEDIATE
COAST NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL ON
THE EAST COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA. A STORM SURGE OF 1 TO 3
FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS LIKELY IN AREAS OF ONSHORE WINDS
IN THE WARNING AREA ALONG THE GULF COAST OF MEXICO. NEAR THE
COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DANGEROUS WAVES.
EARLIER REPORTS FROM HAM RADIO OPERATORS INDICATE STORM SURGE
FLOODING OF MORE THAN 2 FEET HAS OCCURRED ON AMBERGRIS CAYE ISLAND
BELIZE.


NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY...100 AM CDT.
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...400 AM CDT.

$$
FORECASTER STEWART

NNNN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Seems Dr. Masters was on Skype from Ann Arbor.

Was way cool

I like Ann Arbor, lots of cool stores and UoM. It's a college town with actually 2 colleges( UoM and Eastern). Ann Arbor is really nice imo and enjoy going down there during football season;)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

Quoting airmet3:


Agreed. It will take much more than Ernesto to make a big difference. I'll accept whatever Ernesto can do (perhaps another .5F) and keep my fingers crossed the Gulf ridge holds.
But that's what I'm saying. A half a degree reduction is completely meaningless in that portion of the basin.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
(I know soon my comment will be removed )The reason why TWC is showing programming while Ernesto is nearing landfall because let's all just be honest here...they really don't give a damn unless it's impacting America..Sorry to say.That's just the attitude of the average american...Nothing personal.They barley mentioned the storm on Nightly news with Brian Williams or any other major news network for that matter....Now let me go before people get offensive...


It was the same when Texas was experiencing one of its worse droughts in history last year. Few cared, all eyes were on Irene. Meanwhile, many Texans lost their crops and cattle. Same as what's going on in the middle of the country now.

It doesn't matter if the weather and climate is effecting America. It only matters when it makes it on the evening news.

Listen to the song by Don Henley, Dirty Laundry. Not much has changed since he recorded that song.
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Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Still 85mph, 980mb, W at 15mph
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Quoting KoritheMan:


TomTaylor and I got into a discussion about this yesterday. Yes, Ernesto has caused upwelling. Any sort of wind action does. But the western Caribbean is home to an enormous reservoir of heat energy. I would honestly compare it to the western Pacific, albeit on a slightly lesser scale. Either way, it'll take more than a Category 1 hurricane to cause appreciable upwelling there. If Category 5's survive over it, there's no reason to assume any tropical waves behind Ernesto will not.


Agreed. It will take much more than Ernesto to make a big difference. I'll accept whatever Ernesto can do (perhaps another .5F) and keep my fingers crossed the Gulf ridge holds.
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02:15 UTC

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Quoting floridaboy14:
he was talking to mike betes about ernesto

On the phone?
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Seems Dr. Masters was on Skype from Ann Arbor.

Was way cool
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Very impressive image at landfall; incredible really considering all the struggles he had in the Central Caribbean........Wow.
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Quoting CCkid00:
Dr. Jeff Masters was just on TWC and they mentioned Weather Underground!


The WunderBlog isn't on weather.com yet...
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Quoting angiest:


It may have gone largely unnoticed but the ridging this year is different than last year. Last year, we couldn't buy rain in Houston. This year, we have plenty to spare, in fact in one week this summer most of the area got more rain than all of last *year* until November-ish. The ridge has been centered further north and hasn't been felt all that much here until the last couple of weeks, when temperatures have returned to roughly average (July was the coolest July in years, well below the 30 year average). Storms tracking like Claudette from a few years ago wouldn't have been unreasonable (think the original forecast for Debby).


I totally agree...and I would have mentioned that, however, with the ridging patter the way it is...a storm that made landfall from the east like that would have most likely been driven to the west at some variation and not had a large impact on oklahoma or north texas. Most certainly not in a drought busting kind of way.
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Quoting Clearwater1:


We may be in some luck and have a 2010 type set up again this year. Storms out sea for the most part.
You will as long as the drought remains entrenched over the central United States. It only makes sense meteorologically.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
There you go...

And that's what I call a pinhole
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:

Say What?!


did they scrub recon?
he was talking to mike betes about ernesto
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Ernesto has probably made landfall as a 85-90mph Category 1 hurricane. Now we will have to see how much it weakens over the Yucatan before re-emerging into the Gulf.

I say it emerges as a 65 Mph storm...
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Quoting cynvision:
Goodness, I still remember the Chicago weather radio before they perfected the automated voices and had a real met dropping in feeds to update the current conditions ;D


WFO Ft Worth always had hicks reading the reports.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
There you go...
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Quoting weatherh98:


Yea I was making sure. Eventually the sonoran ridge has to move back and when it does Texas will be wide open

Usually by that point, troughs recurve stuff before they can get close enough to here though. :P
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting sunlinepr:


No recurving to the NE yet by GFS...


R: post 825
It starts to curve shortly after hr 168. I think that's the wave after 92L. Not sure, but I thing that one is predicted to come off Africa 8/10/2012. Right?
We may be in some luck and have a 2010 type set up again this year. Storms out sea for the most part.
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Quoting huntsvle:


Unfortunately, until the the ridging patters change any weak storm is probably not going to be able to make it to the north. Any other storm that can bust through that ridge is going to be a lot more than just a drought buster.


It may have gone largely unnoticed but the ridging this year is different than last year. Last year, we couldn't buy rain in Houston. This year, we have plenty to spare, in fact in one week this summer most of the area got more rain than all of last *year* until November-ish. The ridge has been centered further north and hasn't been felt all that much here until the last couple of weeks, when temperatures have returned to roughly average (July was the coolest July in years, well below the 30 year average). Storms tracking like Claudette from a few years ago wouldn't have been unreasonable (think the original forecast for Debby).
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Quoting floridaboy14:
Dr masters is on the weather channel!

Say What?!


did they scrub recon?
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Can't watch TWC because I lack a cable hookup for my TV. sadface
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And a plug for our blog!
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Dr. Jeff Masters was just on TWC and they mentioned Weather Underground!
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Goodness, I still remember the Chicago weather radio before they perfected the automated voices and had a real met dropping in feeds to update the current conditions ;D
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Ernesto has probably made landfall as a 85-90mph Category 1 hurricane. Now we will have to see how much it weakens over the Yucatan before re-emerging into the Gulf.
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Dr. Jeff on The Weather Channel!!!
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Igor the terrible.


Exceptionally beautiful storm. It did not achieve category 5 intensity according to dvorak though because the convection was warmer than average, which held the T#s down. However, the storm had such an impressive signature on visible imagery that I would argue that category 5 intensity was achieved in spite of the warmish convection. In my opinion, that shot there is on a short list with Mitch and Ivan (the name it actually replaced) as the most visibly striking Atlantic tropical cyclone captured with visible imagery.

*Edit: yeah, I should definitely include Isabel too.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Yo Mon, Da Lime in da FunkTop be vary bad Mojo tonight.

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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:

Ernesto is making landfall?
I missed it! DAMN!
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Landfall by Costa Maya,Quintana Roo,Mexico?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Dr masters is on the weather channel!
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school??
Quoting weatherh98:
Night I have school tomorrow:,,,,(
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Quoting airmet3:


Ernesto's wave action also knocked the water temperature down a couple of degrees according to some of the bouy data. It will probably only take a couple of weeks to recover, but any edge removed is a good thing.


TomTaylor and I got into a discussion about this yesterday. Yes, Ernesto has caused upwelling. Any sort of wind action does. But the western Caribbean is home to an enormous reservoir of heat energy. I would honestly compare it to the western Pacific, albeit on a slightly lesser scale. Either way, it'll take more than a Category 1 hurricane to cause appreciable upwelling there. If Category 5's survive over it, there's no reason to assume any tropical waves behind Ernesto will not.
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Night I have school tomorrow:,,,,(
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Isabel



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Quoting CozumelCati:
From Cozumel~ We have a bit of gusting wind and intermittent rain. That is about it so far.
~I hope everyone south west of us is faring well.


Good to hear that (for you folks)......The core of the storm is South of you so people to your S-SW are really getting hammered this evening.
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Quoting quicksilverskys:
Time for my Bi- Annual comment & dumb question. (been Lurking since about 2002 or so:)
First, total agreement about too many other "shows" on TWC now. Guess I am weird, I go there to actually watch the weather....
Now Dumb question,(questions, many) Whats the chances of getting anything in the way of a tropical "drought buster" to come up thru TX, OK this year?? What conditions would it take to get one into the GM & headed this way?? What about the new one behind Ernesto, any better chances? Is there any way with the steering patterns etc that Ernesto could come out farther N.E? I know all the models & forecasts say no BUT..... Is there anything out there to suck him towards TX, OK, KS etc, if something different happens. I wish I could find a site that shows where the wind currents etc are moving. Seems like I had one once but cant find it again. Thanks for any info.


Open this link in a new window/tab: Link

This is a chart of all historical tropical cyclones that have crossed within 65nm of Galveston. If you look at the list, you will see they cluster in June and early July and then from mid to late August through September. Mid July to mid August is the hottest time of year for Texas, when the ridge that usually sits over us in the summer is strongest. While not impossible for it to weaken enough for something to hit during that four week span, it is much more likely to happen later in the season (or in the first couple of weeks) when the ridge is not usually as strong or in the same place.

Bottom line, this region of the Gulf is getting close to its second peak for activity based on history. As far as this year goes, it remains to be seen if the door actually opens.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting tennisgirl08:
Do you think Ernesto's legacy will be that he moistened the Caribbean for the monsters to follow?


Ernesto's wave action knocked the water temperature down a couple of degrees in the W. Car. according to some of the bouy data. It will probably only take a couple of weeks to recover, but any gasoline removed is a good thing.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Yeah, I meant ridge. But they are pretty much interconnected anyway.


Yea I was making sure. Eventually the sonoran ridge has to move back and when it does Texas will be wide open
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
ONE of the 18Z
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
I think we have landfall guys.



Belize radar supports this...... it appears the eye,or LLC, is on the coastline. Will be interesting to see what the overnight hours brings...... but I will leave this to the night owls......
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Quoting quicksilverskys:
Time for my Bi- Annual comment & dumb question. (been Lurking since about 2002 or so:)
First, total agreement about too many other "shows" on TWC now. Guess I am weird, I go there to actually watch the weather....
Now Dumb question,(questions, many) Whats the chances of getting anything in the way of a tropical "drought buster" to come up thru TX, OK this year?? What conditions would it take to get one into the GM & headed this way?? What about the new one behind Ernesto, any better chances? Is there any way with the steering patterns etc that Ernesto could come out farther N.E? I know all the models & forecasts say no BUT..... Is there anything out there to suck him towards TX, OK, KS etc, if something different happens. I wish I could find a site that shows where the wind currents etc are moving. Seems like I had one once but cant find it again. Thanks for any info.
Ok I will try to answer this for you :o)
For Texas to get hit by a storm and move up towards OK.... The AB High in the atlantic would have to be strong enough to move the storm to the west also a High Pressure would have to be over the Central Southeast.... Then it would move up towards Texas and OK area.... Take Hurricane "IKE" it did just that..... Now don't get me wrong there are a lot of players involved here. But that is the best I could come up with at the moment :o)

I hope this helped
Taco :o)
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washingtonian115,
Like a friend from Canada told me, you want the real Olympics, get an international satellite and watch the BBC. Same for world news. US news is so wound up in president bashing and the election you don't get the world. Or, find a way to tape the old McLeir News Hour on PBS. I don't care for anything like FoxNews or CNN anymore. The old Headline CNN at least was okay, they had to move fast to cover lots of subjects and make time to sync up with CNN regular. Is there anything like Headline News anymore? Facts? A run-down you can listen to? Maybe AM news radio still around? NPR?
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


Does my avatar look familiar?


Igor the terrible.

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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