TROPICAL UPDATE: I Expect Gradual Strenghening With TS Ernesto Over Next Few Days, Florence No Threat To Land

Written by on August 5, 2012 in Tropical with 0 Comments

Map courtesy of The Weather Channel

Little has changed over the past 24 hours with Tropical Storm Ernesto as she continues to push into the eastern Caribbean Sea but there are some signs it may be slowly strenghening and I continue to stand by my idea that this system will be a hurricane before Sunday is out, if not early Monday. The track forecast remains much the same with an aim at the northeast coast of the Yucatan as a Cat 2 or even 3 storm.

Waters are in the bathtub warm mid-80s, so very conducive for plenty of intensification, however there is uncertainty about the overall atmospheric environment with shear and dry air which may surpress further develepment or keep a lid on things over the next 2-3 days, In saying that I do have concerns about a rapid ramping up which could occur over the central Caribbean to the south of Jamaica. I believe, with a small area of little shear and plenty of moist air, this storm could go from a 75 or 80 mph hurricane late Monday to a 120 mph major storm by noon Tuesday before threatening the popular Yucatan resorts of Cozumel and Cancun.

Courtesy of NOAA

While such island nations as Jamaica recieve strong wind and heavy rains, it’s Cozumel up to Cancun which should be closely monitoring Ernesto as it may strike very near around the midweek period.

As stated in the previous tropical post, beyond the Yucatan, the track of Ernesto is very unclear. Models are likely to vary with landfall anywhere from New Orleans to Brownsville. Intensity forecasts are even tougher but one must consider multiple aspects which control intensity. Eg, if Ernesto was to strengthen to Cat 2 or 3 and strike near Cancun, if it’s inner structure is well organised, then she may enter the Gulf and intensify quickly. It may also entrain dry air from off the land and significantly weaken. If she happened to stall over land for a long duration, this too can weaken a storm to a point that it can’t reorganise. We’ve seen this so many times in the past where powerful hurricanes strike and cross the large and lofty islands of the Craibbean and get ripped apart. Theoretically, the track of a weaker system has a better chance at continuing a more westerly track rather than powerful storms which reach higher levels of the atmosphere and feel upper level steering winds much more. Whether or not a system survives land depends of how organised it’s inner structure is, how long it spends over land and also what type of terrain. Flatter land will be much easier on a system whereas an island such as Haiti can rip apart storms much more due to 14,000ft peaks.

So, there you go.. it’s not an easy forecast ahead but I shall strive to provide you with the best possible accuracy.

Chart courtesy of The Weather Channel

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