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 TropicalAnalystwx13:

Uhh...why wouldn't he?
Aliens my abduct him
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TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 PM PDT TUE AUG 7 2012

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON
TROPICAL STORM GILMA...LOCATED ABOUT 600 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF
THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA.

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE
LOCATED ABOUT 450 MILES SOUTH OF ACAPULCO MEXICO HAVE BECOME MUCH
BETTER ORGANIZED DURING THE LAST SEVERAL HOURS. ADDITIONAL
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE AND IT COULD BECOME A
TROPICAL DEPRESSION DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. THIS SYSTEM HAS
A MEDIUM CHANCE...40 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE AS IT
DRIFTS WESTWARD DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

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

&&

PUBLIC ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL STORM GILMA ARE ISSUED UNDER WMO
HEADER WTPZ32 KNHC AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER MIATCPEP2.
FORECAST/ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL STORM GILMA ARE ISSUED UNDER WMO
HEADER WTPZ22 KNHC AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER MIATCMEP2.

$$
FORECASTER CANGIALOSI/STEWART
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85 and a pressure of 980.
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HURRICANE ERNESTO INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 26A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052012
700 PM CDT TUE AUG 07 2012

...ERNESTO STRENGTHENING AS IT MOVES QUICKLY TOWARD THE
SOUTHERN YUCATAN PENINSULA......LANDFALL EXPECTED LATER
THIS EVENING...


SUMMARY OF 700 PM CDT...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.7N 87.1W
ABOUT 65 MI...105 KM E OF CHETUMAL MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...85 MPH...140 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 270 DEGREES AT 18 MPH...30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...980 MB...28.94 INCHES

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BULLETIN
HURRICANE ERNESTO INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 26A
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052012
700 PM CDT TUE AUG 07 2012

...ERNESTO STRENGTHENING AS IT MOVES QUICKLY TOWARD THE
SOUTHERN YUCATAN PENINSULA......LANDFALL EXPECTED LATER
THIS EVENING...


SUMMARY OF 700 PM CDT...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.7N 87.1W
ABOUT 65 MI...105 KM E OF CHETUMAL MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...85 MPH...140 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 270 DEGREES AT 18 MPH...30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...980 MB...28.94 INCHES
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Quoting thelmores:
Full effects from Ernesto are entering stage left......



If it continues to move WSW it will never get into the BOC.
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Looks like Hurricane ernesto is going to hit chetumal real hard if the WSW motion continues , alot of storm surge/water being pilled up into chetumal bay
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Uhh...why wouldn't he?


Look at the radar TA13. It is on a hard west jog right now, with a slight south bias.
Link.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We really need to watch for rapid intensification in the Bay of Campeche, especially since a majority of the global models show it attaining its peak down there and TCHP and SST depth is high enough to support it.

It mmight pull a Hurricane Karl on us
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Full effects from Ernesto are entering stage left......

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Uhh...why wouldn't he?
im wondering too. he is moving WSW now
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Quoting mexichick:
I live approximately 66 miles south of Cancun on the Mayan Riviera. We are currently experiencing periods of hard rain, then calm, then wind gusts. Ernesto is expected to go ashore south of us within an hour, according to the Weather Channel. I am not happy with the Weather Channel because it seems to believe that no people live where the hurricane will come ashore. The people who live in that area would be surprised to know that people think they aren't there. Even on this blog I read that when Hurricane Dean came ashore, the area was unpopulated. The 150,000 people of Chetemal and the Mayans of the jungle would be so surprised to know that. Last night, Weather Channel told us that if one was in Cozumel, one would be safe from the hurricane but not if one were in Cancun. Cozumel is much farther south than Cancun. Made no sense. Further, they told us that mud slides were somewhat mitigated by the topography in our area. My husband looked at me and said how does mud slide on a pancake. I would suggest they read up on the geography of the area before making such pronouncements.


I trust that Dr. Masters will encourage the powers that be to bring the weather back to The Weather Channel. The acquisition of WU by TWC may be a positive sign that thinking is swinging that way (and I'm sure it hasn't escaped NBC's attention that severe weather and global warming have become quite topical).

So you may have reason to hope for better in the future. Good luck with this storm - be safe.
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You can see where the eye would be, but you can't see the eye:

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no advisory in yet looks like something is occuring expect hurricane watches for the west coast of mainland mexico
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480. amd
Quoting tennisgirl08:
I really don't know if he is even going to make it into the BOC.


I think the southernmost part of the BOC is around 18.8 degrees North, so if Ernesto heads due west, it may just scrape the BOC. But, if there is not any more northern movement or even continues to wobble to the WSW (which it has clearly done according to the Belize radar) , I think you could be right.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We really need to watch for rapid intensification in the Bay of Campeche, especially since a majority of the global models show it attaining its peak down there and TCHP and SST depth is high enough to support it.


Biggest key it that equation is when it stops gaining in latitude. There is a HUGE difference between 19-20N in the Bay of Campeche as I'm sure everyone here knows. It has that look now that it has stopped with the wnw track at least in the short term.
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Quoting tennisgirl08:
I really don't know if he is even going to make it into the BOC.

Uhh...why wouldn't he?
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I really don't know if he is even going to make it into the BOC.
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Quoting hurrtracker1994:
Just posted my first full length blog entry stating my predictions with Ernesto and the rest of the Atlantic Basin. Please check it out and critique/comment. I appreciate it!

Link


thanx!!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We really need to watch for rapid intensification in the Bay of Campeche, especially since a majority of the global models show it attaining its peak down there and TCHP and SST depth is high enough to support it.
Agree another Karl is not out of the question it may go further north though.
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Last visual & other sat images show a stout core cluster of T-storms. Very compact. I wonder if it'll hit at Cat 2 after all.

As for that SW dip,...not sure what it is, but not sure it is really that, either, or maybe just shifting around a bit.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
No signs of an eye.

Hour until landfall.



Eye would pop first on IR anyway.
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Quoting mexichick:
I live approximately 66 miles south of Cancun on the Mayan Riviera. We are currently experiencing periods of hard rain, then calm, then wind gusts. Ernesto is expected to go ashore south of us within an hour, according to the Weather Channel. I am not happy with the Weather Channel because it seems to believe that no people live where the hurricane will come ashore. The people who live in that area would be surprised to know that people think they aren't there. Even on this blog I read that when Hurricane Dean came ashore, the area was unpopulated. The 150,000 people of Chetemal and the Mayans of the jungle would be so surprised to know that. Last night, Weather Channel told us that if one was in Cozumel, one would be safe from the hurricane but not if one were in Cancun. Cozumel is much farther south than Cancun. Made no sense. Further, they told us that mud slides were somewhat mitigated by the topography in our area. My husband looked at me and said how does mud slide on a pancake. I would suggest they read up on the geography of the area before making such pronouncements.
I hope you give us reports providing it is safe...Prayers for you..:)
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Ernesto may be jogging west a little, so this could mean we are not far from landfall.
following it on doppler radar landfall appears to be within the hour
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Ernesto making that #6 signature.
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Quoting redwagon:

I think everybody's missing the point here. There was no mission over Ernesto at landfall because it's not allowed. That's why we have so little data on Ernesto analogs.

Flyover once he emerges into the BOC? That's allowed, and wheels WILL go up. Then they can try to reverse-engineer what happened at landfall.


I would not be surprised if the mission was cancelled. The center is close to the coast and the low level investigations do not fly over land due to the turbulence created because of friction. It is much more smooth over the water.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
@#^%#*^%@#$%*#%$!!!!!!


Yay!
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Ernesto may be jogging west a little, so this could mean we are not far from landfall.
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Quoting PdCMexico:
I don't even drink. LOL La ley seca is always put into effect during red alerts. Also, during elections.

And, stay safe we will. Thanks.


Where are you exactly? I was just laughing about the priorities of the Mexican government...haha.
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We really need to watch for rapid intensification in the Bay of Campeche, especially since a majority of the global models show it attaining its peak down there and TCHP and SST depth is high enough to support it.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Eye is about to pop. It's not the red spot amongst the white, but it's the small greenish looking spot in the middle of the white. That spot matches well with radar. We'll see if it happens.

It's a #6.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
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I live approximately 66 miles south of Cancun on the Mayan Riviera. We are currently experiencing periods of hard rain, then calm, then wind gusts. Ernesto is expected to go ashore south of us within an hour, according to the Weather Channel. I am not happy with the Weather Channel because it seems to believe that no people live where the hurricane will come ashore. The people who live in that area would be surprised to know that people think they aren't there. Even on this blog I read that when Hurricane Dean came ashore, the area was unpopulated. The 150,000 people of Chetemal and the Mayans of the jungle would be so surprised to know that. Last night, Weather Channel told us that if one was in Cozumel, one would be safe from the hurricane but not if one were in Cancun. Cozumel is much farther south than Cancun. Made no sense. Further, they told us that mud slides were somewhat mitigated by the topography in our area. My husband looked at me and said how does mud slide on a pancake. I would suggest they read up on the geography of the area before making such pronouncements.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:
@#^%#*^%@#$%*#%$!!!!!!

LOL
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No signs of an eye.

Hour until landfall.

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Looks to be moving WSW/SW - notice the mountainous region ahead of Ernesto.

He will not last long.
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I don't even drink. LOL La ley seca is always put into effect during red alerts. Also, during elections.

And, stay safe we will. Thanks.
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@#^%#*^%@#$%*#%$!!!!!!

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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Looking at this radar imagery - Ernesto is dipping WSW/SW. If he keeps this up he will move over a much more mountainous region of the Yucatan.

The story of Ernesto may end sooner rather than later.


Yep, I agree. I have seen storms do this before and make a hard left turn before landfall. Karl did something similar but it was his second landfall when he turned hard left and had that wsw drift. Mitch did it to.
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Eye is about to pop. It's not the red spot amongst the white, but it's the small greenish looking spot in the middle of the white. That spot matches well with radar. We'll see if it happens.

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Quoting spathy:


Cut off alcohol sales?
Just before a storm?
Sacrilege!


I remember during the Rita evacuation some of the only stores open in some of the small towns were the liquor stores.
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Quoting 954FtLCane:
The eye looks to be dipping just south of due west in the last few frames.



lol maybe it will loop around and head to Cuba and S Fl


anyway people in the rest of the caribbean watch out we have 92L I have a gut feeling that 92L will be our next carib storm note Ships has it as a high end CAT1 E of Windward the LGEM the same but as a CAT2
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Quoting PdCMexico:
Raining pretty steady now. The government of Q. Roo has issued a red alert from Chetumal up to Tulum (and cut off alcohol sales). We are still in orange and I expect we will stay that way.


Alcohol sales? Priorities. ;)

Stay safe. Keep us updated.
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Very Strong storm here! Very cold tops. I bet this is close to 100mph Hurricane.

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Quoting CosmicEvents:
And a plug for this blog.
we should see 1 or 2 new members:)


At least

What's mjo

What's nao

What's enso

Whats PDO

What the chart

What's doom

Why did he just post a shower curtain

Oh and the usual "try to act smart in the first comment" by asking some idiotic question about radioactive decays effect on a hurricane
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Quoting ILwthrfan:


Looking at this radar imagery - Ernesto is dipping WSW/SW. If he keeps this up he will move over a much more mountainous region of the Yucatan.

The story of Ernesto may end sooner rather than later.
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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