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 KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


What do you think it is? bush week?

exsqueeze me... lol
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Quoting KoritheMan:


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


We're not in a drought anymore. :P
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Quoting unknowncomic:
Correction. Latest GFS has a storm that skirts FL and goes ashore into GA.
Can you post the next image in the run and the end of the run for me, somehow mine stopped at 324 hrs. out?
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Quoting KoritheMan:
It's two weeks out. It will change. It might hit Florida and give JFV the time of his life, or it may recurve. Hell, it might not even form. All we should take from this is that we all need to review our hurricane preparedness plans, because August promises to be a very active month.


Very true. Although I'm sure said JFV is quite ready for a big one..
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Quoting Stormchaser121:

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


There's your drought buster. Nya ha ha ha!
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Writing a 3rd blog in one 24 hour period and will have it ready soon. Covers the whole Atlantic. Hope everyone in Mx took the warnings seriously and that there is little damage.
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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)
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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:
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Quoting Ameister12:
This isn't related to Ernesto, but it is weather related.

NWS in Wilmington, OH says the high for Friday is 74 degrees Fahrenheit and on Saturday the high is 76. It might sound ridiculous with all the extreme heat going on, but this is typical Ohio weather.

(Click image to make it bigger)

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.
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Invest AL92. Tracks across the Atlantic, into the Gulf of Mexico, then WNW towards TX around Galveston/Houston.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
It's two weeks out. It will change. It might hit Florida and give JFV the time of his life, or it may recurve. Hell, it might not even form. All we should take from this is that we all need to review our hurricane preparedness plans, because August promises to be a very active month.


That's what one of my local guys said when Ernesto formed. Only adding, "The one you should've had ready on June 1st!"

I hope they're not having too tough a time with Ernesto down there. And I hope the rest go out to sea.
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1133. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting AussieStorm:

Pat, have another Freaca.

I did mention Dean was a Cat 5 and Ernesto is a Cat 1. all be it, a strengthening one.


What do you think it is? bush week?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1132. CRepp28
Ernesto Makes Rare Atoll-fall

Link
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Correction. Latest GFS has a storm that skirts FL and goes ashore into GA.
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Is that Helene and Isaac? Or Gordon and Helene?

It depends if 92L develops or not, if it does then Helene and Isaac but if not Gordon and Helene.
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Quoting JLPR2:
If I'm not mistaken this is farthest west it has taken it.


Yep,
The complete run takes that one a little too close for comfort to the east coast. lol still long ways out
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Quoting JLPR2:


GFS had it fall apart after entering the Caribbean.


and then regenerate into an open wave, and then explode in the Western Caribbean? Ernesto's twin??
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1127. TXCWC
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Sure quieted down in here. Wishcaster's went home. All and All, Ernesto turned into a very nice looking Tropical Cyclone. Has he slowed? Looks like it has been it that general area for 4 hours.


AGREED - LUCKY IT IS NOT TAKING A MORE NORTHERN ROUTE - POTENTIAL WAS DEFINETLY THERE FOR THIS TO BE A FORMIDABLE CANE.
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This isn't related to Ernesto, but it is weather related.

NWS in Wilmington, OH says the high for Friday is 74 degrees Fahrenheit and on Saturday the high is 76. It might sound ridiculous with all the extreme heat going on, but this is typical Ohio weather.

(Click image to make it bigger)
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
You mean because of this?



Is that Helene and Isaac? Or Gordon and Helene?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
It's two weeks out. It will change. It might hit Florida and give JFV the time of his life, or it may recurve. Hell, it might not even form. All we should take from this is that we all need to review our hurricane preparedness plans, because August promises to be a very active month.
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Quoting mcluvincane:


Oh yeah, definitely because of that lol


Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.....well that's certainly something to keep track of *blink blink* that's one where the placement of the storm is going to have to be watched very closely.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
You mean because of this?



Andrew? Is that you?
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Quoting Patrap:
The Cat 5 Scours the trees, Land and lays waste to everything.

Impressive Aussie.

Pat, have another Freaca.

I did mention Dean was a Cat 5 and Ernesto is a Cat 1. all be it, a strengthening one.
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Quoting JLPR2:


GFS had it fall apart after entering the Caribbean.


But at least is the first time it showed it. The CV wave train is in full swing.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
You mean because of this?

Not liking this. Trough misses it and it hits FL.
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1117. 7544
has anyone seen this is this suppose to be 92l gorden closin in on ....

Link
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Quoting mcluvincane:
Latest gfs is going to have a lot of bloggers talking tomorrow wow


Tomorrow? Why not tonight?
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Quoting mcluvincane:
Latest gfs is going to have a lot of bloggers talking tomorrow wow
You mean because of this?

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1114. JLPR2
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


What happened to 92L? Yes,the most west so far.


GFS had it fall apart after entering the Caribbean.
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1113. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting AussieStorm:
This is what Hurricane Dean did to Costa Maya in 2007







Dean was a Cat 5 Monster. Ernesto is only a Cat 1 so I wouldn't expect this much damage.
iam sure we will hear news come first light
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1112. Patrap
00z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Invest92

Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)




Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)




Early Model Wind Forecasts

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1111. Patrap
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Quoting JLPR2:
If I'm not mistaken this is farthest west it has taken it.



What happened to 92L? Yes,the most west so far.
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Sure quieted down in here. Wishcaster's went home. All and All, Ernesto turned into a very nice looking Tropical Cyclone. Has he slowed? Looks like it has been it that general area for 4 hours.
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I definitely think Ernesto achieved category 2 status just prior to landfall... perhaps even by the advisory that was issued nearly 2 hours ago, when they said they had technical issues. I actually don't think his appearance will degrade much by tomorrow morning, he had all the time in the world to build himself up to this and he took full advantage, it's going to be difficult for land like that on the Yucatan to degrade such a well-structured storm. Irene took a long time to degrade once it went ashore for similar reasons. She was still tropical as she approached the border into Canada.

I think there's a possibility of Ernesto achieving major status when he gets back out into open waters.
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1106. Patrap
04:15 UTC Rainbow

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Quoting tennisgirl08:


So, 92L may be Gordon and the monster behind it would be Helene? I've always found that female storms cause the most problems...and the "I" storms. Always the "I" storms.

92L will move through the Caribbean...hmmm. We'll see if a different environment will be present.



Hurricane Helene does have a serious sound to it.
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Quoting Skyepony:
Costa Maya PWS went down 2 hrs ago..



29.18in hg = 988mb

2 hours ago, Ernesto wasn't on land. With him having such a small core, it's not far-fetched to say he was sub 980mb.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting tennisgirl08:

What is the city under the eye feature? North of the bay?
I would really like to know the conditions there

Petcacab, Quintana Roo looks very close to the eye right now.
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1102. JLPR2
If I'm not mistaken this is farthest west it has taken it.

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1101. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
no tricks E just go the way ya suppose to go
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1100. Patrap
The Cat 5 Scours the trees, Land and lays waste to everything.

Impressive Aussie.
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1084. MississippiWx

Very lucky timing as well, MS Wx... another 3-4 days from now with even deeper digging trof coming and I would have been freakin' on the "shooting the gap" thru the Yuc Channel scenario too!

Okay, over / out...
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This is what Hurricane Dean did to Costa Maya in 2007







Dean was a Cat 5 Monster. Ernesto is only a Cat 1 so I wouldn't expect this much damage.
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1097. Patrap
Hurricane 05L

UW-CIMSS Automated Satellite-Based
Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT)
Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Estimation Algorithm

Current Intensity Analysis



UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 08 AUG 2012 Time : 031500 UTC
Lat : 18:45:18 N Lon : 87:48:09 W


TROPICAL CYCLONE OVER LAND
NO ADT ANALYSIS AVAILABLE




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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
T.C.O.L.
05L/XH/E/XX

I still see the eye, maybe it won't weaken that much.
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1095. Skyepony (Mod)
Costa Maya PWS went down 2 hrs ago..

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1094. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
T.C.O.L.
05L/XH/E/XX
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