Saturday, August 26, 2006


Ernesto 4
Notice the big shift in track more towards North Central Gulf than what was shown in the 2pm advisory. This was a result of the circulation center reforming about 50 nautical miles toward the north-northeast...and more significantly, under the central dense overcast.

Ernesto 1

By now most of you who regularly monitor the tropics know that Ernesto is moving through the Caribbean and encountering moderate shear on his western flank. This has inhibited development despite the tropical cyclone being situated over favorable water temperatures. As the storm moves west ward through the central Caribbean this weekend, an upper level Low in the Yucatan-Caymans vicinity is likely to erode and retreat. This will enable an upper level high pressure ridge to become established over the system, which provides developing tropical cyclones the much needed “outflow/exhaust” mechanism. A ridge over the storm, in conjuction with very warm surface water (85 F+), and weakening shear all indicate Ernesto is likely to undergo a period of rapid strengthening leading up to and past Jamaica that may bring it to near Category 3 status by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Ernesto models 1

If the storm moves into the southern and central Gulf as expected by Wednesday, it will be traveling along the western edge of the subtropical high pressure ridge extending from the Atlantic ocean. Concern over this dynamic is that the storm will slow down while also coming in contact with the “Loop current.” This is a notoriously warm but isolated gulf current that fueled Katrina, Rita and Wilma’s march to Category 5 last summer. It should be noted that Ernesto will enter the gulf at a time when it is climatologically the warmest of the year, and due to the less than active tropical season, even deep water currents have been able to warm significantly.

Ernesto 3

The combination of these factors means that Ernesto has the potential to make a US landfall anywhere along the Texas or Louisiana coast as a major hurricane in the Friday-Saturday time frame of next week. As of 5 PM Saturday, the most recent analysis of Ernesto's intensification and track shows we are starting to see a northward shift in the projected path, which now brings the Florida panhandle and possibly even the western coast of Florida at risk. If you are a resident of these areas or know anyone who is, I would strongly advise making advance preparations now to avoid the eventual supply and traffic rush that is to come. Consider that a hurricane watch would generally be issued when hurricane conditions are expected within 36-48 hours, which means a Friday afternoon landfall would be preceded by a Wednesday watch declaration. In terms of preparation time, residents who might be in the path of this storm currently have today, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to begin preparing. Anyone waiting until Wednesday will face the frustration of long lines, limited supplies and extensive traffic. It is also a foregone conclusion that gas prices will increase PRIOR to and during the storm in anticipation of reduced production throughout the Gulf petroleum region.

GOM rig map 1

Meteorological analysis paraphrased from NHC 5AM and 5PM 8/26 discussions


Foot's Forecast said...

Hey Ray... I'm back, and just in time to put a laser beam of scrutiny on the future of Ernesto. I'll try to update twice a the AM and in the evening. With school officially starting Monday, I'll probably issue an afternoon update via the Email Distribution List.

Anonymous said...

RAY- Expected to here from you a little sooner Mr. Foot, but better late than nevThis is rather far out and I may do some tweaking if I am off(prolly wont need to), but I'm feeln pretty confident so go ahead and hold me to it!
PEAK INTENSITY- Attained in the central Gulf -The only thing that will keep this thing from becoming another record breaker is the fact that I dont foresee it developing multiple outflow channels or a "duel exhaust" system if you will ie Katrina, Rita and Wilma because it seems as though it will end up with a ridge to its east as opposed to Katrina, which had an upper low sort of acting like a bowl in the atmosphere collecting her exhaust. It is already developing an exceptional poleward outflow channel and it will be in an otherwise perfect environment with low shear and ssts over the loop current pushing 90 in spots!That being said I do believe that Ernesto's peak intensity will end up right near the threshold of categorey 5 status, Strong cat 4, "low"(everything is relative : )) cat 5. 150-165 MPH.
LANDFALL INTENSITY- Peak intensity is all well and good for the ohhs and ahhs of the crowd, but what good is a 102 MPH fastball if ya cant get it over the plate! Much like Ivan, Ernesto is gonna have to take a little off if he wants to get it over the plate. I think aside from internal processis such as eyewall replacement cycles the most overlooked factor when predicting the intensity of a hurricane at landfall is the depth of the continental shelf over which the system will be passing immediately before striking the shore. The shelf off of the coast of AL and the FL panhandle is fairly shallow and anyone hurricane savy is cognizant of the the fact that not only does the water need not be below a certain tempature (80F), but also be at that temprature down to a sufficient depth. A shallow body of warm water will not be sufficient in strengthening or maintaining a hurricane! This is why I believe that if Ernesto strikes the coast of FL or AL, while still a powerful hurricane, he will be a shell of his former self (see Ivan and Opal). FL/AL LANDFALL INTENSITY- 105-120 MPH. "Low" cat 3-Strong cat 2 POSSIBLE MAJOR HURRICANE! It will be a scare as much of this weakening will likely occur within 12 hrs of landfall!
The MS and LA coasts however; are a different story. The shelves off of the coasts of these respective states are much deeper thus of sufficient strength to maintain more, if not all, of the hurricanes's strength after eyewall replacement cycles take there toll. MS/LA LANDFALL INTENSITY- 125-140 MPH. "Low" cat 4- Strong cat 3 MAJOR HURRICANE!! MY "CONE OF UNCERTAINTY" HIGHLIGHTS CLEARWATER, FL WEST TO MS/AL BORDER! I'm currently leaning towards FL, around Apalachicola. This strikingly reminds me of Hurricane Ivan, Dennis and to a lesser extent Hurricane Opal! Caveat- Slight chance of shear toward end of period is THE ONLY THING that could cause a revision of my intensities. I, as everyone, reserve the right to tweak my landfall! : ) Here is my Hurricane Ernesto Forecast, enjoy!!:

Anonymous said...

RAY- Sorry,that last sentence got displaced from the top when I cut and pasted from Theweatherservice forum. : )

E.H. Boston said...

Mr. Foot, did you notice that the NAM brings this storm slamming into the Yucatan and the GFS has it slam into FL and then reemerge into the Atlantic as a T.S.