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 AtHomeInTX:


Kinda reminding me of 2007



Yeah. Good comparison, albeit atypical for an El Nino/warm neutral year.
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Listen to Kori folks, even though it does show up near the 20th anniversary of Andrew, it doesn't mean a thing.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
T.C.O.L.
WEAKENING FLAG ON
05L/XH/E/XX
And the eye decides to clear out overland, what a weird storm from the beginning to now.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


So much ridging that Alberto, Chris, and Debby all moved northeastward under the influence of a trough. I'll give you that the high seems stronger this year relative to the last two years, but it's nowhere near the scope of 2004, 2005, or 2008 (not that I'm saying you suggested that).


Kinda reminding me of 2007

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Quoting reedzone:


Here's the thing some bloggers don't understand. While this is long range... the pattern completely supports the idea of a Hurricane making it from Africa to the USA without recurvature. Too much ridging this year, it'll be an interesting couple weeks.
I was thinking the reason the GFS didn't recurve it this run is because it keeps it weaker than the previous run as it goes across the Atlantic, I did noticed the High is weaker, but the first trough also lifts out, the 2nd trough is the one to watch and it will come down to timing.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1189. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
T.C.O.L.
WEAKENING FLAG ON
05L/XH/E/XX
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


So much ridging that Alberto, Chris, and Debby all moved northeastward under the influence of a trough. I'll give you that the high seems stronger this year relative to the last two years, but it's nowhere near the scope of 2004, 2005, or 2008 (not that I'm saying you suggested that).


IMO it's all in the timing. Nature knows how many landfalls were wrong by many miles because the timing of the trough was predicted a bit wrong.
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Quoting WoodyFL:


Interesting to note...if the storm is not a strong one...it is possible that it would follow the ridge rather than tracking up the east coast. Still a couple weeks out, who knows. Synoptics have definitely played their roll this year.
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Quoting wxchaser97:

And it begins... but next few days will be thankfully cooler. Better watch out when college football gets here, especially Michigan vs Ohio state.


Michigan will tear up the Big Ten this year!
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Quoting reedzone:


Here's the thing some bloggers don't understand. While this is long range... the pattern completely supports the idea of a Hurricane making it from Africa to the USA without recurvature. Too much ridging this year, it'll be an interesting couple weeks.


So much ridging that Alberto, Chris, and Debby all moved northeastward under the influence of a trough. I'll give you that the high seems stronger this year relative to the last two years, but it's nowhere near the scope of 2004, 2005, or 2008 (not that I'm saying you suggested that).
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Quoting TXCWC:


Try this one - run is complete here: Link


Thanks TX. I didn't have that one. :)
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Quoting KoritheMan:


There's your drought buster. Nya ha ha ha!


South TX could sure use it. I think South TX is a pretty decent place for landfall. They've got South Padre and Port Isabel which are easy to evacuate. Brownsville is fairly far inland. South of Corpus is ranch country. Corpus is not a good place because it's a fairly large city on the water.
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Quoting wxchaser97:

And it begins... but next few days will be thankfully cooler. Better watch out when college football gets here, especially Michigan vs Ohio state.

Yeah. I'm ready to see the Buckeyes, kick the Wolverines butt. Heh, heh, heh... ;)
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1180. WoodyFL
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
You mean because of this?



Here's the thing some bloggers don't understand. While this is long range... the pattern completely supports the idea of a Hurricane making it from Africa to the USA without recurvature. Too much ridging this year, it'll be an interesting couple weeks.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I'm not US centric either, but the pattern favors a track well to the west of Bermuda as well. Long ways out, but still.


Oh that's good. Tough to remember that there is a huge distance between Bermuda and United States. Lol.
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1177. TXCWC
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


I saw it at the end of the run too. But now I can't get either site I use to work.


Try this one - run is complete here: Link
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1176. TXCWC
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


I saw it at the end of the run too. But now I can't get either site I use to work.


Try this one - run is complete here: Link
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Quoting WoodyFL:


So, uhh, Florida, South East Coast, New England, Nova Scotia, Fish, or Bermuda?

EDIT: Forgot the damn Canadians


I know it's been showing a storm for the longest time now but this thing been hoppin all over the place like a kangaroo or somethin.
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From experience I can say storm chasing can get dangerous.My friend and I chased one back in the 60's and nearly lost it's fun appeal.Last time for that.
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FILLED MAP YOU!!!

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Quoting RussianWinter:


AKA a Bermuda storm. My dad is doing a business trip there very soon so I am a bit concerned.


I know there are plenty of people who treat the islands as the sea and think that unless a storm hits the US of A. as if the storm is a storm for the fishies.

I'm not one of those people, I care about the various uncharted islands out there.

lol.


I'm not US centric either, but the pattern favors a track well to the west of Bermuda as well. Long ways out, but still.
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1171. WoodyFL
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


I saw it at the end of the run too. But now I can't get either site I use to work.
Ok I found another link that has updated the full run. Link

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
lol
just ribing ya you are alright

I knew that mate... rib away, Our mens Basketball team play you guy next. It's going to be good. We also might meet your girls for the gold in the womens basketball.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Well, you guys could always throw a hurricane party of some sorts. You know, act stupid and stuff before the storm actually hits. Then be like "OH **** WHY DIDN'T I EVACUATE?"

lolololol


That would be a great idea, except unfortunately I can't go with..
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Even if it does, it wouldn't matter at all. The synoptic pattern favors recurvature near 70W.


AKA a Bermuda storm. My dad is doing a business trip there very soon so I am a bit concerned.


I know there are plenty of people who treat the islands as the sea and think that unless a storm hits the US of A. as if the storm is a storm for the fishies.

I'm not one of those people, I care about the various uncharted islands out there.

lol.
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1164. TXCWC
Quoting Stormchaser121:

Invest AL92. Tracks across the Atlantic, into the Gulf of Mexico, then WNW towards TX around Galveston/Houston.


You need to qualify this by stating this is from 1 of the individual GFS Ensembles from the 06Z run this morning and is NOT even supported by the 06Z operational model run. Else someone might get the wrong idea in what you are posting. :)
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91C and another low west of Dateline interacting with each other
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Dr M did a whole blog about that some months ago. Lol.

I remember that one like it was yesterday.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
WAAAAAAIT A SECOND!!!!!

The GFS has a hurricane hitting Florida the day after my girlfriend gets there for vacation... Suddenly, I hope the model doesn't verify!


Well, you guys could always throw a hurricane party of some sorts. You know, act stupid and stuff before the storm actually hits. Then be like "OH **** WHY DIDN'T I EVACUATE?"

lolololol
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Ernesto in the Epac, Gordon near the windward Is, Helene behind it. Gilma weakens
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Quoting Ameister12:

Ohio? Worst state ever? You must me kidding.

...and so the Ohio/Michigan rivalry hits the Weather Underground Blog.


And it begins... but next few days will be thankfully cooler. Better watch out when college football gets here, especially Michigan vs Ohio state.
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Current Conditions at Consejo, Belize, on the Belize / Mexico border,

Location: 18.27N 88.18W

Wind: West at 17kts - Gusts to 30kts

Pressure: 997mb

Temp: 76F
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WAAAAAAIT A SECOND!!!!!

The GFS has a hurricane hitting Florida the day after my girlfriend gets there for vacation... Suddenly, I hope the model doesn't verify!
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Quoting RussianWinter:
*AHEM

Is there ANY model out there picking up Florence?

I dunno it seems as if it is something that will slip by everything and make a comeback out of nowhere. Although it has certainly sputtered, it's still goin relatively strong.


Even if it does, it wouldn't matter at all. The synoptic pattern favors recurvature near 70W.
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Quoting Ameister12:

Ohio? Worst state ever? You must me kidding.

...and so the Ohio/Michigan rivalry hits the Weather Underground Blog.



Dr M did a whole blog about that some months ago. Lol.
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Goodnight Night Crew....Hold down the fort...gonna go look at models....esp the GFS
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*AHEM

Is there ANY model out there picking up Florence?

I dunno it seems as if it is something that will slip by everything and make a comeback out of nowhere. Although it has certainly sputtered, it's still goin relatively strong.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Yeah, same here. One comes up to VA beach or the DELMARVA and I'll try to chase it.


I wanted so badly to chase Ernesto even when it veered into Mexico. Unfortunately, I don't have the money at the moment. That's why it has to hit Louisiana for a chase to even be possible.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Dude, I'm ready for a big one. Or at least a chase of some sort. Don't care if it's a Category 1, 2, or what. Anything higher than a 3 and I'd try and avoid it though.


Yeah, same here. One comes up to VA beach or the DELMARVA and I'll try to chase it.
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1150. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting AussieStorm:

exsqueeze me... lol
lol
just ribing ya you are alright
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Can you post the next image in the run and the end of the run for me, somehow mine stopped at 324 hrs. out?


I saw it at the end of the run too. But now I can't get either site I use to work.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

exsqueeze me... lol


Did you seriously just quote Jar Jar Binks? Really?
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Quoting wxchaser97:

Ohio, the worst state every;) Sorry but MI is better, even if you are not in Ohio I had to say it.
It is nice to see cooler temps after the record heat we have seen.

Ohio? Worst state ever? You must me kidding.

...and so the Ohio/Michigan rivalry hits the Weather Underground Blog.

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Quoting KoritheMan:
If anyone wants to read it, I just finished the rest of my blog.

Also, here's the one for Ernesto I did earlier.

This has been one busy night! D:

See post 1139.

Quoting DocNDswamp:
Ooops, one more -

1093. wxchaser97
Ah, don't get me wrong, wasn't pickin' at ya... go ahead, some times ya gotta toot the horn some, lol, as I was doing in a round-about way!

BTW, if I remember something read way back on a previous blog - I think it was you - we might have cake to share come this Sunday, not just cookie... along with fellow blogger StormJunkie - Aug 12th b'day!

Wheeeeee... (lol)

Happy early birthday to the both of us. I'll be gone starting Sunday morning and come back Friday. Hope you all don't get crazy or there's a landfalling hurricane while I'm gone.
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Quoting WxGeekVA:


Very true. Although I'm sure said JFV is quite ready for a big one..


Dude, I'm ready for a big one. Or at least a chase of some sort. Don't care if it's a Category 1, 2, or what. Anything higher than a 3 and I'd try and avoid it though.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


What do you think it is? bush week?

exsqueeze me... lol
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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