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

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 394 - 344

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30Blog Index

Quoting redwagon:


Do you suppose they were somehow unexplicably denied flyover rights for the mission? That would be odd, and probably a first-time occurrence. Shame, lots of data could have been gathered for a storm that has only three known analogs, and none with HH analysis.
Nah... the no-fly thing is more abt not killing pple, imo....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting floridaboy14:
the US has gotten lucky in recent years but its going to be hard not to get at least 1 out of the 4


Not really considering there are not 4 true tropical cyclones. The GFS is just showing that there will most likely be tropical troubles in the near future. We've seen this numerous times. Sometimes, you get all four to develop. Most of the time, you don't.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dunkman:


It may be other places, this is what I have bookmarked:

http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/tc_pages/tc_home.html



Which is the microwave imagery?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Or the back of your head?

Back in 101 I said 'I guess the only question left to ask is why are the HH going into Mexico for a Mexican storm that is not forecast to impact the US?'

Because we are NOT granted flyover rights. Many folks noted I was hard-hearted for asking this question. It was sad sarcasm.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dunkman:


It may be other places, this is what I have bookmarked:

http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/tc_pages/tc_home.html



Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CosmicEvents:
It would be nice to see an eye before bumping this one up to C2.


Time is pretty much up for that to happen. Also, satellite estimates won't go up too much either without an eye presenting itself. NHC may bump up the wind speeds 5kts or so just from satellite presentation. Terrible timing to not have the HH in that storm.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
IMO banking on a storm hitting the United States or missing due to a trough by what a model says past 5 days is unwise. Models change enough as it is 3 days out, 10 days+ is ridiculous to forecast. However, I do think that it's possible what the GFS is showing could very well happen later this week as it is climatologically favored and has been showing consistency.

Also, fwiw check out that ridge over the storm on the GFS. Forces it W-SW for a time even.
the US has gotten lucky in recent years but its going to be hard not to get at least 1 out of the 4
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ernesto looks good. He's big. He would have taken up the whole Gulf if he had gotten up there.

Whew! US was lucky.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
It would be nice to see an eye before bumping this one up to C2.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
IMO banking on a storm hitting the United States or missing due to a trough by what a model says past 5 days is unwise. Models change enough as it is 3 days out, 10 days+ is ridiculous to forecast. However, I do think that it's possible what the GFS is showing could very well happen later this week as it is climatologically favored and has been showing consistency.

Also, fwiw check out that ridge over the storm on the GFS. Forces it W-SW for a time even.


Lol. All of it is worth watching, but none of them have even emerged from Africa, much less developed. 92L is more of an immediate concern.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Dragod66:
where does one wait for new microwave imagery


It may be other places, this is what I have bookmarked:

http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/tc_pages/tc_home.html

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
I highly doubt the NHC will make Ernesto a Cat 2 without having recon observations to back them up.
agreed. This storm has been too deceptive ...

BTW, HHers r supposed 2 insert some time within thte next hour. I mean reach the storm...

Should b wheels up lil while now....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

That's illegal.

I know... :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Goodnight, Ernesto...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
IMO banking on a storm hitting the United States or missing due to a trough by what a model says past 5 days is unwise. Models change enough as it is 3 days out, 10 days+ is ridiculous to forecast. However, I do think that it's possible what the GFS is showing could very well happen later this week as it is climatologically favored and has been showing consistency.

Also, fwiw check out that ridge over the storm on the GFS. Forces it W-SW for a time even.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Or the back of your head?

anyone standing outside in this deserves it!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:
I would kill to see what was going on under there, one way or another.


That's illegal.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I would kill to see what was going on under there, one way or another.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seflhurricane:
yes we are but look at post 347 if that pans out with the bermuda high not allowing recurvature we are in for a significant disaster in the US East coast , one hurricane after the other


Yeah, but luckily that is GFS fantasy land. As far north as those storms start developing, it will be very difficult for them to make it all the way across the Atlantic.

I know, the ridge is "strong". However, all it takes is one trough to make a weakness and it's a fish storm.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Hot towers, huge diameter and a pinwheel shape. Ernie looks pretty slick.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
05L/H/E/C2
ON APPROACH
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
For perspective on how big this thing is:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
AustinElevation
465 ft
Scattered CloudsTemperature
104.6 °F
Feels Like 108 °

Just Outside Austin Texas at 6 pm today, Yes I was hoping a Tropical System would come this way to give us some relief then move north into Center of Country and give them Drought relief, no rain here going on 4 weeks with 99 to 103 just about every day.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanislander:


Would you like a dropsonde through your roof ?
Or the back of your head?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting floridaboy14:

look at the pattern! its trapped under a ridge and is head WNW!!!!!! the GFS has gone bonkers and whats even more scary is it nailed debby and ernesto!


Bonkers?? These 300+ model post should be limited. All i see is recurve with a trof of the southeast.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
366. Gorty
I wouldnt write 92L off yet. Anyone else agree?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
where does one wait for new microwave imagery
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The worst of this storm is defiantly on the ne side.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting floridaboy14:

look at the pattern! its trapped under a ridge and is head WNW!!!!!! the GFS has gone bonkers and whats even more scary is it nailed debby and ernesto!


Over the last couple of years I have been watching GFS runs, and it has been extremely good with tropical cyclogenesis starting in August. Also the overall pattern (staying largely out to sea vs threatening land), though the particulars remain very iffy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting superpete:

I know...seems we are in for playing the guessing game of the ridge & the trough...sound familiar? A certain ...September in our pasts...LOL
The A-word has come up in talks w/ some pple I know.....





:0/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:


This one looks unfriendly for the NE Caribbean.



Thank goodness it's 384hrs out.

look at the pattern! its trapped under a ridge and is head WNW!!!!!! the GFS has gone bonkers and whats even more scary is it nailed debby and ernesto!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
anyone have any observations near northern Belize would be intresting to see the wind speeds , the worst of the storm is starting to come ashore
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This storm has grown so much, especially in the past few hours.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting redwagon:

Good.. so they ARE in the air en route to Ernesto.


They might be or might not be. All I'm saying is that sometimes they don't transmit their data until they are in the storm's vicinity or they have problems for a while getting it working. We will know in about 30 mins whether they are in the air because if they are not transmitting data by then they never flew at all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting redwagon:

Of course they can fly over Mexico. HHs have Atlantic governing and fly-over authority. Which is good that they co-operate like this, given the mudslide death count over the years alone, not even mentioning wind and surge damage.
not the same as dropping 'sondes....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
To the United States Gulf Coast residents, we got lucky.

This emerging into the Southern Gulf through the Strait would have been bad news.

yes we are but look at post 347 if that pans out with the bermuda high not allowing recurvature we are in for a significant disaster in the US East coast , one hurricane after the other
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
T.C.W.
05L/H/E/C2
MARK
R.I.FLAG ON
NEARING LANDFALL
19.11N/86.76W
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
354. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Gordon, Helene, Isaac, and Joyce...or, if 92L develops, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, and Kirk.



This one looks unfriendly for the NE Caribbean.



Thank goodness it's 384hrs out.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:
If microwave doesn't update prior to landfall, I may develop some slightly destructive tendencies...


Haha that's exactly what I'm waiting for too :P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
landfall looks to be around 9Pm est
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting floridaboy14:
18z GFS is INSANE. 4 named storms in 16 days! gordon helene issac joyce!


Hmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmosweather:


This happens very often, they have problems relaying the data but can fix this...still an hour until they reach the meat of the system so I wouldn't rule out having data by then.

Good.. so they ARE in the air en route to Ernesto.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
To the United States Gulf Coast residents, we got lucky.

This emerging into the Southern Gulf through the Strait would have been bad news.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
If microwave doesn't update prior to landfall, I may develop some slightly destructive tendencies...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Gordon, Helene, Isaac, and Joyce...or, if 92L develops, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, and Kirk.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
18z GFS is INSANE. 4 named storms in 16 days! gordon helene issac joyce!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cg2916:
The HH not going into Ernie right before landfall is a very bad thing.


Do you suppose they were somehow unexplicably denied flyover rights for the mission? That would be odd, and probably a first-time occurrence. Shame, lots of data could have been gathered for a storm that has only three known analogs, and none with HH analysis.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
What I find interesting is that all the major global models (ECMWF, GFS, UKMET, CMC) all say that Ernesto's peak intensity will happen in the Bay of Campeche regardless of how strong Ernesto gets before landfall.


I think since he has trended further north the past few days that he should have enough room to strengthen in the BOC, similar to Karl.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 394 - 344

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30Blog Index

Top of Page

Category 6™

About

Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather