SPECIAL UPDATE Hurricane Ernesto - 8/7/12
Good afternoon and welcome to my special tropical weather outlook for Tuesday, August 7th, 2012. I haven't posted on Ernesto much simply because there has not been much change with the storm until now. Ernesto failed to be influenced by the weakness to it's north and is now poised to make landfall in the Yucatan as a Hurricane. Hurricane Hunters discovered in the most recent recon that Ernesto has become a 80mph Category 1 hurricane, the second of the season as it churns westward towards landfall tonight or tomorrow morning.
figure 1. Latest satellite image of Hurricane Ernesto
Forecast for Hurricane Ernesto
Ernesto won't probably strengthen much beyond Category 1 strength as it's running out of time for rapid development, but I could see it becoming a 90mph hurricane just as it crosses the coast. Gradual organization is expected as the system exits the Yucatan and could regain Hurricane status. The Bay of Campeche is famous for causing storms to quickly intensify, this is due to the geographical shape of the coastline that acts to accelerate the winds in a cyclone, causing them to intensify. Recent examples are Hurricane Lorenzo in 2007, and Hurricanes Alex and Karl in 2010. All of these systems managed to intensify into potent storms before landfall. It all depends on how much time Ernesto gets over the Bay of Campeche for strengthening to really get going. In the end, I could see Ernesto at least regaining the strength it has now and perhaps even stronger.
Figure 2. Latest forecast track for Ernesto.
Florence no threat to re-develop into a cyclone
Wanted to make a passing mention that in my break of posting we did get Tropical Storm Florence, the 6th named storm of the season. Florence managed to intensify into a 60mph Tropical Storm becoming the first Cape Verde system of the season before dying due to the dry Saharan Air. Dry air and shear should keep Florence in check and regeneration is unlikely.
Invest 92L no threat to develop
Another disturbance, Invest 92L has also developed just south and west of the Cape Verde islands. The computer models do not develop 92L, but the intensity models are rather over-enthusiastic about the systems chances. Dry air will probably keep this system in check before development can occur, at most becoming a brief Tropical Depression before dissipating in about 3 days.
Figure 3. Invest 92L out in the Eastern Atlantic.
Watching for another wave to emerge later this week
Our next area of interest to watch for future development will be once again off the African coast as the GFS has been very consistent the last few days with developing a classic Cape Verde hurricane later this week. The other models, with the exception of the NOGAPS, are unenthusiastic about this but I do believe there is a good chance development may happen. Unfortuantly, this wave seems unlikely to recurve straight away and *could* pose a threat downstream. I will not guarantee this as it's all about timing, but the GFS has been showing in the long range this getting close to the United States. We'll see what happens. Focus though on the initial development before actually seeing this come towards the United States or any body.
Figure 4. Latest GFS model run 84 hours out showing a possible Tropical Storm over the Cape Verde islands.