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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1094. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
T.C.O.L.
05L/XH/E/XX
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting DocNDswamp:


Well I'm trying not to break my arm patting myself on the back too, lol... Had insight on the WWD turn as well...
Do we win a prize or sumthin'?
;)

801. DocNDswamp 2:15 PM CDT on August 07, 2012 1
Hmmm, landfall...
So many luscious attractions to choose from, so little time...
I'm thinking Erny might still want to bend back slightly, avoid the heavier tourist traffic and visit the Mayan Beach Garden just above Mahahual / below the Reserve...


From my blog earlier in the day, not tooting my own horn but just one of the very few things I got right with this storm.
I expect a 90-95mph hurricane to make landfall between Costa Maya and Punta Allen.
As for the prize we get a cookie.
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1092. Patrap
Belize City, WunderMap®

Satellite
OptionsLegend
Display Options
Opacity
85
Animate
7 frames
Frame Delay
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Quoting tennisgirl08:

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

The town is called.
Costa Maya, Quintana Roo,Mexico
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re: #1066. sar2401
Nah, as I recall you also being part of the "Belize-MX" border camp for several days out as well, I'd say pass 'da man another Fresca'! lol...

Seriously tho' - Best wishes to our compadres down on the Yucatan with Ernesto, know it's gotta be a rough night ya going thru...
Later folks!
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1089. Patrap
The Hurricane Made Landfall just North of ChetumalBelize City, WunderMap®

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well guys I did say it before 92L will be a Caribbean storm

by the way Floater is up now for 92L as well still has a good spin but convection is kinda lacking but that should change as D-MAX will soon enter that area
I say 92L stays 30% orange at 2am and at 8am upped to 40% orange
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Ernesto also seems to have regained his westward movement. No more SW jog.

He is sure erratic.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Ameister12:
Ernesto is still looking very good despite making landfall. You can clearly see the eye feature now. We'll see Ernesto appearance deteriorate quite a bit by sunrise today.

What is the city under the eye feature? North of the bay?
I would really like to know the conditions there
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Ernesto is still looking very good despite making landfall. You can clearly see the eye now (even though it's cloud covered). We'll see Ernesto's appearance deteriorate quite a bit by sunrise today.
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US got really lucky with Ernesto. The Yucatan was lucky that he didn't have another 12 hours over water. Ernesto has a wonderful upper level environment in that there is a large upper level low to the NE helping to ventilate the upper atmosphere around Ernesto. Notice the high cirrus being pulled into the Caribbean. There is also another upper level low over Mexico and it is doing basically the same thing. This in the open waters of the Central Gulf would have been bad news for someone.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
That is a Powerful small cored Hurricane with the Eyewall Half Onshore.

Look Closely at the Eyewall feature inside that CDO





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1082. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1081. Patrap
A Great Image.

NASA's Curiosity rover and its parachute were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter as Curiosity descended to the surface on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT).

The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured this image of Curiosity--the rover and its parachute are in the center of the white box.

LARGE



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1080. JLPR2
Quoting sar2401:


I sure wish Dr. Masters had combed his hair better for a frst appearance.


Let's get him a Mohawk, it worked for the NASA guy. xD
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1079. Patrap
That is a Powerful small cored Hurricane with the Eyewall Half Onshore.

Look Closely at the Eyewall feature inside that CDO



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Quoting Patrap:


How to use Hurricane Maps

Deep-Layer Wind Shear

This next image is the Atmospheric Shear map. The contours (yellow) show the vector magnitude shear (absolute value). The streamlines (pink) indicate the direction of the shear. This map is useful for figuring out the direction of the wind shear & what may be causing it. Many times when we see a well established hurricane, you will notice pink streamlines in a clockwise fashion directly on top of the Hurricane. This is a high pressure aloft which aids in outflow of developing hurricanes. Shear values below 10 m/s (20 kts) are considered low enough for tropical cyclogenesis. More here.
Thanks for the link Pat, consider it bookmarked.
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1077. sar2401
Quoting Patrap:
Dr. Masters First TWC Tropical appearance,Ernesto Landfall,Yucatan




I sure wish Dr. Masters had combed his hair better for a first appearance.
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1076. Patrap
03:45 UTC Rainbow.


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1075. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
pat i must be gettin slow
or you are typing faster
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:
So far this is the first run I have seen from the GFS in which it closes 92L off and tries to strengthen it.



Yes,that is a sign that conditions may not be as hostile as we thought. By the way,I have a blog about the African Wave for the members to visit and comment about that huge wave that looks like a Storm already.

Link
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1073. Patrap
Quoting want2lrn:


Thank you Patrap, now i am going to be up half the night trying to learn! Judging by some of your comments "N into Barataria" i am assuming you are in the Crescent City. Spent a couple of hot humid summers in Westwego. Thank you again for the link.


Fer sure enjoy that one as it's a keepa.

Westwego, A west Banker, eh?

I'm Uptown Near Audubon off Magazine and Jefferson.

Home style Homie's almost.

: )

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Quoting Gearsts:
Ernesto part 2 please no!
I know tell me about it. Alberto and Beryl pretty much took the same track (with the exception of the landfall part), will Gordon follow Ernesto?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1071. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting gordydunnot:
Well goodnight all. I'm beginning to believe Flo is a Vampiress, she only comes out at night.
lol
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1070. JLPR2
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.



So far, the GFS is showing Ernesto's twin.
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1069. Patrap
00
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1068. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting want2lrn:


This is really going to be elementary to most of you, but when looking at the shear map, is the yellow lines the shear or the pink lines? Also, how do you identify the anticyclone? Check my handle and the questions will make sense. TIA




well the yellow is the level the pink is the flow the anticyclone is over cen america sw of e's playground
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


How to use Hurricane Maps

Deep-Layer Wind Shear

This next image is the Atmospheric Shear map. The contours (yellow) show the vector magnitude shear (absolute value). The streamlines (pink) indicate the direction of the shear. This map is useful for figuring out the direction of the wind shear & what may be causing it. Many times when we see a well established hurricane, you will notice pink streamlines in a clockwise fashion directly on top of the Hurricane. This is a high pressure aloft which aids in outflow of developing hurricanes. Shear values below 10 m/s (20 kts) are considered low enough for tropical cyclogenesis. More here.


Thank you Patrap, now i am going to be up half the night trying to learn! Judging by some of your comments "N into Barataria" i am assuming you are in the Crescent City. Spent a couple of hot humid summers in Westwego. Thank you again for the link.
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1066. sar2401
Well, I didn't do too bad. I called it as plus or minus 30 miles from San Pedro Island, Belize. Looks like I was off by about 25 miles. I think I just deserve a baby crow for that one. :)
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1065. Gearsts
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Gordon & Helene?

Ernesto part 2 please no!
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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.



we'll also see where exactly she places herself in the carribean...which could change things quite a bit too.
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Quoting huntsvle:


I hate when the GFS picks up on stuff like that.


Yeah, and only 4-5 days out. Not that unreasonable.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Gordon & Helene?

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting JLPR2:
So far this is the first run I have seen from the GFS in which it closes 92L off and tries to strengthen it.



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.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Well goodnight all. I'm beginning to believe Flo is a Vampiress, she only comes out at night.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:


Yellow delineates the shear in knots, and the pink lines show shear direction/anticyclones.


Thank you
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Quoting JLPR2:
So far this is the first run I have seen from the GFS in which it closes 92L off and tries to strengthen it.



I hate when the GFS picks up on stuff like that.
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1057. Patrap
Dr. Masters First TWC Tropical appearance,Ernesto Landfall,Yucatan


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1056. Patrap
Betta to Have Fresca that "Ernesto".

He wouldnt look too cool Heading N into Barataria or elsewhere.
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1055. JLPR2
So far this is the first run I have seen from the GFS in which it closes 92L off and tries to strengthen it.

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LOL Pat, Fresca it be, brother!
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Kinda creepy when they dance like this on the land. It will probably fizzle just as it leaves shore.

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1052. Patrap
Quoting want2lrn:


This is really going to be elementary to most of you, but when looking at the shear map, is the yellow lines the shear or the pink lines? Also, how do you identify the anticyclone? Check my handle and the questions will make sense. TIA


How to use Hurricane Maps

Deep-Layer Wind Shear

This next image is the Atmospheric Shear map. The contours (yellow) show the vector magnitude shear (absolute value). The streamlines (pink) indicate the direction of the shear. This map is useful for figuring out the direction of the wind shear & what may be causing it. Many times when we see a well established hurricane, you will notice pink streamlines in a clockwise fashion directly on top of the Hurricane. This is a high pressure aloft which aids in outflow of developing hurricanes. Shear values below 10 m/s (20 kts) are considered low enough for tropical cyclogenesis. More here.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1051. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
T.C.O.L.
05L/XH/E/XX
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1050. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #18
TROPICAL STORM KIROGI (T1212)
9:00 AM JST August 6 2012
=================================

SUBJECT: Category One Typhoon Far East Of Japan

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Storm Kirogi (996 hPa) located at 31.4N 159.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 50 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving north northwest at 10 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.5

Gale Force Winds
=================
240 NM from the center in northeast quadrant
180 NM from the center in southwest quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
=======================

24 HRS: 34.0N 156.0E - 35 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm) - Far East Of Japan
48 HRS: 40.0N 154.0E - Tropical Depression East Of Japan
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting want2lrn:


This is really going to be elementary to most of you, but when looking at the shear map, is the yellow lines the shear or the pink lines? Also, how do you identify the anticyclone? Check my handle and the questions will make sense. TIA


Yellow delineates the shear in knots, and the pink lines show shear direction/anticyclones.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxGeekVA:




If ex-Flo survives the shear she's about to enter... there is a better environment ahead.


This is really going to be elementary to most of you, but when looking at the shear map, is the yellow lines the shear or the pink lines? Also, how do you identify the anticyclone? Check my handle and the questions will make sense. TIA
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T-48 hrs. until Gordon:

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1046. Patrap
Yu win a Nice Cold Case of Fresca...!

The Tropical Quencher for the discerning blogger.







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Quoting wxchaser97:
Costa Maya looks to be the landfall location, I said earlier a landfall from Costa Maya to Punta Allen and I got it right.


Well I'm trying not to break my arm patting myself on the back too, lol... Had insight on the WWD turn as well...
Do we win a prize or sumthin'?
;)

801. DocNDswamp 2:15 PM CDT on August 07, 2012 +1
Hmmm, landfall...
So many luscious attractions to choose from, so little time...
I'm thinking Erny might still want to bend back slightly, avoid the heavier tourist traffic and visit the Mayan Beach Garden just above Mahahual / below the Reserve...

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1044. JLPR2
00z, check it out, that's 92L around 43W.

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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