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 Grothar:
So if it passes into the Pacific, what would it be named?



If it fully dissipates and then regenerates, then the H name in the Pacific. However, if the storm does NOT dissipate, it will keep the name Ernesto.
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693. MTWX
Quoting Grothar:


What about the W?

West Pacific
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One very rarely see white in these.

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691. beell
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This legitimately appears to be a tropical storm over land.



Yup. Sat pics never lie.
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Quoting pottery:

They start at 90 and end at 99 and repeat.
"L" for Atl and "E" for Pacific.

It's a ridiculous system....

Why not year/month/number ?
Who knows?


It may be something lost in time (although TBH I don't know how long they have been tagging invests). There are hysterical raisins, afterall, why weather alerts are still sent in all-caps.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
A Saving grace is that Ernesto is a Small Radii Hurricane.

Enhanced Infrared (IR) Imagery (4 km Mercator)


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688. JLPR2
Quoting all4hurricanes:

that rule was changed around the year 2000 although no storm has demonstrated this since


Ah I see, that's my new knowledge for the day. :)
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Quoting pottery:

They start at 90 and end at 99 and repeat.
"L" for Atl and "E" for Pacific.

It's a ridiculous system....

Why not year/month/number ?
Who knows?


Oh, ok. Thanks for clearing up for me.
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Quoting JLPR2:


I believe that if a storm changes basins it gains the next name of the list in said basin.




NOP the nhc dos not do that any more has long has the storm still have the same low it will still be called Ernesto but if the low falls a part and a new one fourms then yes it will it will have a new name
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Quoting Patrap:
The Anti-Post

Shudder's'


Here you go, Pat.

That's no moon...


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Quoting Grothar:


What about the W?


W fer West Pac, C for Central Pacific, and E for well, u know.


Itsa BIG Basin.


: )
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Quoting Ameister12:

Grrr... I was gonna post the same image. XD


Tooooo sloooooow. :-)
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Quoting JLPR2:


I believe that if a storm changes basins it gains the next name of the list in said basin.

that rule was changed around the year 2000 although no storm has demonstrated this since
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Quoting Jwd41190:
Why are invests always named like 91L or 92L? What does the L mean? Also what does the E mean in 92E in the Pacific? Just curious is all...

They start at 90 and end at 99 and repeat.
"L" for Atl and "E" for Pacific.

It's a ridiculous system....

Why not year/month/number ?
Who knows?
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Quoting all4hurricanes:

the letter indicates the Basic L stands for atLantic E is for East pacific. The Arabian sea has the A identifier


Yeah and Central Pacific is named 'C' (e.g. 91C).
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The Anti-Post

Shudder's'
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Quoting all4hurricanes:

the letter indicates the Basic L stands for atLantic E is for East pacific. The Arabian sea has the A identifier


What about the W?
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Quoting all4hurricanes:

the letter indicates the Basic L stands for atLantic E is for East pacific. The Arabian sea has the A identifier


Ok, well that makes sense but where does the numbers 91 and 92 come from??
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675. JLPR2
Quoting Tazmanian:




if the Ernesto gos intoo the E PAC it will still be called Ernesto


I believe that if a storm changes basins it gains the next name of the list in said basin.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This legitimately appears to be a tropical storm over land.



You're forcing me to take out my globe.

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Quoting MississippiWx:


Here are both the wave and 92L:


Grrr... I was gonna post the same image. XD
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Quoting Grothar:
So if it passes into the Pacific, what would it be named?

Grothar
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Quoting Jwd41190:
Why are invests always named like 91L or 92L? What does the L mean? Also what does the E mean in 92E in the Pacific? Just curious is all...

the letter indicates the Basic L stands for atLantic E is for East pacific. The Arabian sea has the A identifier
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West End Girls...
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So close...

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Quoting Jwd41190:
Why are invests always named like 91L or 92L? What does the L mean? Also what does the E mean in 92E in the Pacific? Just curious is all...

"L" is for Atlantic.
"E" is for East Pacific.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
So if it passes into the Pacific, what would it be named?





if the Ernesto gos intoo the E PAC it will still be called Ernesto
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05L/H/E/CX
LANDFALL
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Quoting angiest:


NBC has done them a major disservice.

And how much John Hope is missed.


John Hope's birthday was May 14th, and so is mine!!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This legitimately appears to be a tropical storm over land.



Here are both the wave and 92L:

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This legitimately appears to be a tropical storm over land.


Whatever its name ends up being, that's gonna be a strong storm... Not sure where it will go, but I think that could be our first major.
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So if it passes into the Pacific, what would it be named?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Why are invests always named like 91L or 92L? What does the L mean? Also what does the E mean in 92E in the Pacific? Just curious is all...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This legitimately appears to be a tropical storm over land.


Yeah it does. This one could be trouble down the road.
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Good evening.
Not liking the current track forecast for 92L right now.
The Islands don't need any bad weather.
Pre-Ernesto was enough for the time being....
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This legitimately appears to be a tropical storm over land.



youre right!
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Quoting all4hurricanes:
is there a HH in or headed for Ernesto?



nop
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LOL the next name storm for the E PAC is hector the horrid
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is there a HH in or headed for Ernesto?
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654. MTWX
Question:

Is the strongest part of a Hurricane relative to the direction it is traveling (ie. If it is traveling West the strong side would be the North side/ Traveling North the strong side would be the East side)??
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Quoting popartpete:
I don't like it now when The Weather Channel airs special shows in prime time. I've been a viewer since 1985, and John Hope would have preempted any program all night when we have a land falling hurricane. I love TWC, but I like the actual weather versus 'shows'. Although I miss the past, this blog is probably my number one source for information these days.
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This legitimately appears to be a tropical storm over land.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
93E, (soon to be TS Hector)

93E was activated just today and it's already getting very close to becoming a depression.
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List of years in which the name "Gordon" has been used for a tropical cyclone:

* 1994
* 2000
* 2006

1994's Hurricane Gordon: Category 1 hurricane that killed over 1,000 people in Haiti.



2000's Hurricane Gordon: Formed near Guatemala, cut across the Yucatán and later hit Florida as a tropical storm. Killed 23 in Guatemala and one in Florida, and $10.8 million damage there (no figure for Guatemala).



2006's Hurricane Gordon: Formed in the central North Atlantic, tracked north and east while becoming a category 3 major hurricane. Crossed the Azores as a category 1 storm before dissipating over western Europe.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting popartpete:
I don't like it now when The Weather Channel airs special shows in prime time. I've been a viewer since 1985, and John Hope would have preempted any program all night when we have a land falling hurricane. I love TWC, but I like the actual weather versus 'shows'. Although I miss the past, this blog is probably my number one source for information these days.
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648. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The models are run as if it's already at tropical depression status, which is not the case.


Ah. That explains why they all think this would be a TS in 36hrs.
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Eye spy...

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Quoting popartpete:
I don't like it now when The Weather Channel airs special shows in prime time. I've been a viewer since 1985, and John Hope would have preempted any program all night when we have a land falling hurricane. I love TWC, but I like the actual weather versus 'shows'. Although I miss the past, this blog is probably my number one source for information these days.


NBC has done them a major disservice.

And how much John Hope is missed.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

The models are run as if it's already at tropical depression status, which is not the case.


Maybe they know something we don't.
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Quoting JLPR2:


I always prefer your graphics over mine.


So do I, but you're still a nice guy.
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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