Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ernesto Makes Landfall

Ernesto became the second hurricane this season yesterday afternoon.  Moving west-northwest the storm made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula east of Chetumal, Mexico.  The official landfall was about 11 p.m. and maximum sustained winds were estimated at about 85 mph in squalls northeast of the center.  Minimum pressure was 980 mb (28.94 in.).

The top picture is an enhanced infrared satellite photo.  Image Credit: NESDIS.  The bottom picture is of Ernesto making landfall from the Doppler Radar in Belize City.  The hurricane is into the top portion of the screen.  Image Credit: Belize National Meteorological Service.  Click on either picture for a larger view.

The hurricane was far enough south that the tourist areas of Cancun and Cozumel only saw tropical storm force winds at best.

Both maps are of the wind field around Ernesto at 00z August 8, 2012.  The winds are in knots and the bottom map is a closeup of the top map.  Image Credit: NESDIS.

The system will continue moving across the Yucatan Peninsula overnight and weakening.  It is expected to emerge into the Bay of Campeche early Wednesday afternoon as a tropical storm.  It could regain minimal hurricane strength before making landfall a second time near Veracruz, Mexico.

The forecast for Ernesto after landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula.  This was made at 11 p.m. EDT, August 7, 2012.  Image Credit: NOAA/NHC.

Heavy rains and high winds will be the main impact of this storm.  There will be some storm surge near the landfall points of the hurricane, but it should not be much of a storm surge.  Much of the flooding will likely be from heavy rains.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic

There is some interest in the area of disturbed weather now southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.  This could become a tropical storm later this week while it heads for the Leeward Islands.  The global models hint that the system could diminish once it crosses the Atlantic.  This will be watched.

However, the global models are suggesting that a system coming off the African coast on Friday may become a more vigorous system next week.  Both the ECMWF and GFS (two global models) are now forecasting this.  The forecast below is a 7.5 day forecast and the skill level is not that good, yet.

The GFS 180 hr. forecast made at 00z August 8, 2012 and valid for 12z Wednesday, August 15.  The dark lines are mean sea level pressure while the shading is the 1000-500 mb thickness.  Image Credit: WSI.

The weather pattern suggests that if this scenario plays out, then there is a chance that it will approach the East coast late next week.