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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Mano...Que pena que habiendo tanto cubano decente y bueno sigas denigrando a tu gente... No apruebo el racismo, pero asi es como algunos te ven aqui debido a tu comportamiento.......

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SubtropicalHi:


Do they need to start an invest process for Africa now? Like 90AFR?

Darn they won't be able to do recon till it's in the Atlantic. (I learned today they can't do recon over land)



They don't do recon that far east anyway. Everything is done by satellite and reports from ships until much closer to the Caribbean or East Coast.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
841. JLPR2
Quoting Relix:


That strong and at that latitude its hard for it to reach the islands.

I am so pessimistic about anything getting to the islands these days haha


But you're right, the GFS has been consistently sending it WNW or NW, even N before it reaches the islands. Huzzah!

...

Well I'm hoping that is the case in the next days.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting SubtropicalHi:


Do they need to start an invest process for Africa now? Like 90AFR?

Darn they won't be able to do recon till it's in the Atlantic. (I learned today they can't do recon over land)



Yes u don't want to hit someone in the head it destroy personal property.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:
Dear god this blog moves fast with a landfall...

It's hard to wishcast a landfalling storm and still look good. :P
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
i don't get mad bro
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Just about there...

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Quoting KoritheMan:
Dear god this blog moves fast with a landfall.


You have to be The Flash to read every comment lol.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
Dear god this blog moves fast with a landfall.


Hey kori!

Did you guys get rain today? I can't remember if yalls area had a storm
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting tennisgirl08:
#785. sunlinepr

Amazing image!

All I can say is wow. These storms over Africa are absolutely monstrous. Scary!!


Do they need to start an invest process for Africa now? Like 90AFR?

Darn they won't be able to do recon till it's in the Atlantic. (I learned today they can't do recon over land)

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Dear god this blog moves fast with a landfall...
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828. Relix
Quoting sunlinepr:


No recurving to the NE yet by GFS...



That strong and at that latitude its hard for it to reach the islands.

I am so pessimistic about anything getting to the islands these days haha
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Quoting tennisgirl08:
#785. sunlinepr

Amazing image!

All I can say is wow. These storms over Africa are absolutely monstrous. Scary!!


No recurving to the NE yet by GFS...

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(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...
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Quoting Ameister12:
Some troll's gonna get banned tonight. :)


Lol, if you think they're going to get banned you're wrong. They will just make a new account.
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Ernesto is looking SW now trying to gain himself more time over water. And look he is going to the the bay where Chetumal is to gain another 30 min plus!


Looks like a cornered animal.
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i cross you with an X
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I'm done with this troll
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#785. sunlinepr

Amazing image!

All I can say is wow. These storms over Africa are absolutely monstrous. Scary!!
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Ernesto will make landfall around the time of the 11PM EDT advisory.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
You know the drill.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I was asked I not quote Sooo...


@805

Yea I'm sure he does, despite the fact that he's hitting mexico
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting CosmicEvents:
Whoa...slow down a minute.
That ancient machine worked best, in my lifetime, and
I'm not that old.


As far as technology goes, it's ancient.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Landfall could be very close to the city of Xcalak, Quintana Roo.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherh98:


That's fantastic-___-


Don't quote him... I have him on ignore -___-
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Just ignore him, Harry.


Nah we cool dog
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
Ernesto got right up to the coast and now seems to have slowed for a bit.


I know, right?? lol. He is the strangest storm.

I don't even see the SW jog as much anymore, either.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting huntsvle:
Okay...so everyone offer your opinion on this.

1. The wave we already know about leaving the frame to the west.
2. The huge disturbance that is still onland in Africa that will probably be a wave in the next couple of days.

BUT...follow the loop from the top of the frame and watch the circulation swing in from the north. It doesn't appear that it'll cross on land and it already appears to have some organization.

Any thoughts?!?!?!?


here's a Link if the loop doesn't show.
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Quoting PLsandcrab:
I agree. When weather is happening, TWC should be covering it, instead of these shows that could air anytime. This has been an amazing summer with heat waves, droughts, violent thunderstorms and active tropics and they still air storm hunter video from years ago. Strange. And I miss John Hope too.
Quoting PLsandcrab:
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Quoting weatherh98:
Evening janiel!

Just ignore him, Harry.
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Quoting Grothar:


:)

All Good thats for sure :o)

Taco :o)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
At what times does the next recon reach Ernesto?

No more recon until after it reemerges in the Bay of Campeche tomorrow night. They leave at 21Z.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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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