Ernesto disorganized; more fires, extreme heat for Oklahoma

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:25 PM GMT on August 05, 2012

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A disorganized Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to speed westward at 23 mph across the Caribbean. Ernesto has brought sporadic heavy rains to Jamaica today, and Kingston has picked up 0.51" of rain as of noon, and recorded top sustained winds of 22 mph. Ernesto looks very unhealthy on visible satellite loops, with its low-level circulation center a naked swirl exposed to view with almost no heavy thunderstorm activity near the center. However, the storm does have some rather far-flung spiral bands, and these bands are bringing occasional heavy downpours to Haiti, western Cuba, Jamaica, and the southwest Dominican Republic. This morning's flight by the Hurricane Hunters found that Ernesto had a very high central pressure of 1006 mb and top winds near 50 mph. The latest wind shear analysis from the SHIPS model shows moderate shear of 10 - 15 knots affecting the storm, but there must be some wind shear the satellites are not able to detect affecting Ernesto, given its disorganized appearance. Water vapor satellite loops show a large area of dry air to the west, and this dry air is also interfering with Ernesto's organization.


Figure 1. Visible satellite image with 375 meter resolution taken of Ernesto by the new Suomi NPP satellite at 1:39 pm EDT August 4, 2012. At the time, Ernesto had a flare-up of intense thunderstorms, and had top winds of 60 mph. Image credit: University of Wisconsin Madison CIMSS.

Forecast for Ernesto
Ernesto's rapid forward speed of 23 mph has been part of the reason for its lack of intensification, but the storm is expected to slow down Monday and Tuesday in response to a trough of low pressure passing to the north. This slowing, in combination with low wind shear, a moister environment, and increasing heat energy in the ocean, may allow Ernesto to strengthen some before making landfall in Belize or Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday night. However, the storm will be passing very close to the north coast of Honduras, putting a portion of its circulation over land and limiting intensification potential. It is unlikely Ernesto will become a hurricane in the Caribbean; NHC is giving just a 19% chance that this will occur. The main threat from Ernesto will be heavy rains over Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and Jamaica. The track forecast for Ernesto has become a bit easier, since the storm's current disorganization and more southerly path make will make it more difficult for the storm to make a northwesterly turn into the Gulf of Mexico like the UKMET and GFDL models are predicting. A stronger Ernesto would have been more likely to turn northwest under the influence of a trough of low pressure passing to the north. If Ernesto survives its crossing of the Yucatan Peninsula, the potential exists for it to re-strengthen over the Bay of Campeche, and make a second landfall on Mexico's coast on Friday, between Tampico and Veracruz. It's pretty unlikely that Ernesto will hit the U.S.-- though Brownsville, Texas could see some rain from Ernesto's outer spiral bands on Friday, if the storm survives that long.


Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Ernesto, showing the exposed low-level center--a swirl due south of Jamaica--and only very limited heavy thunderstorm activity surrounding the center.

Tropical Storm Florence
Tropical Storm Florence continues to plow westward at 14 mph over the Eastern Atlantic, and is not a threat to any land areas for next five days. The SHIPS model is predicting a moderate 5 - 15 knots of wind shear for Florence Sunday and Monday, but the shear will increase to the high range as Florence encounters an upper-level trough of low pressure on Tuesday. The latest Saharan Air Layer Analysis shows that a large area of dry air lies to the north and west of Florence, and this dry air will likely cause problems for the storm. Ocean temperature are near 26 - 26.5°C, which is right at the threshold for where a tropical storm can typically exist. It is possible that Florence could pose a threat to Bermuda next weekend, if the storm survives that long. Both the GFS and ECMWF models dissipate Florence before then.

Historic heat wave in Oklahoma
A second day of destructive fires affected Oklahoma on Saturday, thanks to extreme heat and drought, low humidities, and strong winds in advance of an approaching cold front. At 3 pm CDT Saturday, Oklahoma City had a temperature of 107°, a humidity of 19%, and winds of 16 mph gusting to 22 mph. The Oklahoma fires have destroyed at least 125 homes. The high temperature in Oklahoma City on Saturday reached 109°, the 12th warmest temperature recorded in the city since records began in 1891. Friday's high of 113° tied for the warmest temperature in city history.


Figure 3. Highway 48 is covered in smoke as flames continue, Saturday, Aug 4, 2012, east of Drumright, OK. Image credit: Associated Press.

The only comparable Oklahoma heat wave: August 1936
The only heat wave in Oklahoma history that compares to the August 2012 heat wave occurred during the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the hottest summer in U.S. history. Oklahoma City experienced three days at 110° that summer, and a record streak of 22 straight days with a temperature of 100° or hotter. Those numbers are comparable to 2012's: three days at 110° or hotter, and a string of 18 consecutive days (so far) with temperatures of 100° or hotter. The weak cold front that passed though Oklahoma Saturday will bring temperatures about 10° cooler over the next few days, but high temperatures are still expected to approach 100° in Oklahoma City Sunday through Tuesday. It's worth noting that Oklahoma City has experienced only 11 days since 1890 with a high of 110° or greater. Three of those days were in 2011, three in 2012, and three in the great Dust Bowl summer of 1936.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a new post on July's heat extremes in the U.S.


Figure 4. Most of Oklahoma has experienced nine consecutive days with highs of 100° or more, and many regions, including Oklahoma City, have had a streak of eighteen such days. Image credit: Oklahoma Mesonet.

Severe thunderstorm complex forces evacuation of Lollapalooza
A organized complex of severe thunderstorms developed over Eastern Iowa and Northern Illinois late Saturday afternoon, forming a dangerous bow echo that swept through Chicago, forcing the evacuation of the Lollapalooza music festival. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged over 150 reports of wind damage from the storm, with five of the thunderstorms containing winds in excess of hurricane force (74 mph.) And just yesterday, my daughter was bemoaning her misfortune at not being able to get tickets to the show! The thunderstorm complex traveled about 300 miles from Eastern Iowa to Ohio, generating winds gust in excess of 58 mph along most of its path, meeting the definition of a derecho.


Figure 5. Radar image of the severe thunderstorm complex that spawned a dangerous bow echo over Chicago, which forced the evacuation of the Lollapalooza music festival.

Jeff Masters

IN THE EYE OF THE STORM (nanamac)
Storm clouds overwhelming Chicago
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM (nanamac)
Sheets of rain & darkness!
IN THE EYE OF THE STORM
()
Storm damage (Bubbly)
Straight line winds during a severe thunderstorm left crumpled metal and splintered wood behind in Frytown, Iowa
Storm damage

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Quoting floridaboy14:
Carl parker from the weather channel says RI is taking place
I don't want to hear that :)(By the way the smiley face is sarcastic).That means Ernesto is more than likely to feel the weakness.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17492
Quoting MississippiWx:


More than likely.

A bit ahead of schedule.
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Quoting Chicklit:
What time is 13:19:00z? And how do you convert that to Caribbean time at 81W, anybody know?
We are on EST so you subtract 5 hours which makes it 8:19.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Hurricane?


More than likely.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Where did you get the updated RAMSDIS satellite? The site doesn't show any of them updating since Ernesto was in the Eastern Caribbean.


Link
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From this.....
A. Time of Center Fix: 6th day of the month at 12:13:30Z
Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 997mb (29.44 inHg)

to this.....
Time: 13:17:00Z
Coordinates: 15.7333N 80.1667W
Acft. Static Air Press: 848.1 mb (~ 25.04 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,400 meters (~ 4,593 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 994.5 mb (~ 29.37 inHg)

in 1hr 4mins.
2.5mb drop in pressure
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It really sucks that the NASA site is still not updating. The rapid scan loops would be great today now that the center is above 15N.
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Quoting Chicklit:
What time is 13:19:00z? And how do you convert that to Caribbean time at 81W, anybody know?


1:19 pm
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Still an hour of observations left. 77kt flight level winds are impressive for NW quad. Would love to see NE quad.

Hurricane?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
With a 6nm eye in the NW Caribbean, interesting things can happen.



Where did you get the updated RAMSDIS satellite? The site doesn't show any of them updating since Ernesto was in the Eastern Caribbean.
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Carl parker from the weather channel says RI is taking place
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URNT12 KNHC 061344
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL052012
A. 06/13:17:00Z
B. 15 deg 43 min N
080 deg 10 min W
C. 850 mb 1381 m
D. 40 kt
E. 137 deg 3 nm
F. 235 deg 54 kt
G. 137 deg 3 nm
H. 994 mb
I. 17 C / 1538 m
J. 21 C / 1400 m
K. 15 C / NA
L. CLOSED WALL
M. C8
N. 12345 / 8
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF302 0805A ERNESTO OB 10
MAX FL WIND 55 KT E QUAD 12:05:30Z
MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 77 KT NW QUAD 13:19:00Z
GOOD RADAR SIGNATURE
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Still an hour of observations left. 77kt flight level winds are impressive for NW quad. Would love to see NE quad.


Agreed, they will probably hit the NE quad right before advisory time.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24508
if Ernesto Gets any stronger you could see him moving NNW
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12697
Yo Gro.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17492
What time is 13:19:00z? And how do you convert that to Caribbean time at 81W, anybody know?
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Time: 13:20:00Z
Coordinates: 15.85N 80.3W
Acft. Static Air Press: 847.7 mb (~ 25.03 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,472 meters (~ 4,829 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1005.1 mb (~ 29.68 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 76 at 54 knots (From the ENE at ~ 62.1 mph)
Air Temp: 15.0C* (~ 59.0F*)
Dew Pt: 15.0C* (~ 59.0F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 57 knots (~ 65.5 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 62 knots (~ 71.3 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 37 mm/hr (~ 1.46 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
With a 6nm eye in the NW Caribbean, interesting things can happen.

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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

ATCF says 65mph, so they'll probably go with that.
not.if.next.fly.threw.is.about.100mph.flight.leve l..going.up.fast
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

ATCF says 65mph, so they'll probably go with that.


Still an hour of observations left. 77kt flight level winds are impressive for NW quad. Would love to see NE quad.
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Quoting allancalderini:
Ernesto will probably be up to 70mph in the next advisory or 75mph.

ATCF says 65mph, so they'll probably go with that.
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Time: 13:19:00Z
Coordinates: 15.8167N 80.25W
Acft. Static Air Press: 848.5 mb (~ 25.06 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,440 meters (~ 4,724 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1002.2 mb (~ 29.59 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 72%uFFFD at 72 knots (From the ENE at ~ 82.8 mph)
Air Temp: 15.0%uFFFDC* (~ 59.0%uFFFDF*)
Dew Pt: 15.0%uFFFDC* (~ 59.0%uFFFDF*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 77 knots (~ 88.5 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 56 knots (~ 64.4 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 29 mm/hr (~ 1.14 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data


Morning, this was NHC at 8 a.m.
8:00 AM EDT Mon Aug 6
Location: 15.2N 81.0W
Moving: W at 12 mph
Min pressure: 1003 mb
Max sustained: 50 mph

Can this be considered rapid intensification less than 2 hours later?
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Quoting AussieStorm:

would a Circular eye with a diameter of 6 nautical miles be classified as a pinhole eye??


Anything under 10 is considered small. Wilma's eye was 1.9mi across.

Eye_(cyclone)
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Hey Levi. hope you are doing well. two quick questions for you. First, do you agree with CSU raising their storm total forecast? Second, given the projected upper air patter in the coming peak months of hurricane season, which portions of eastern US and gulf coast would you say is at risk? Do you think this season kind of mirrors patterns and tracks of 2004 and 2005? Thanks.
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Makes you wonder with that big ULL in the SW Gulf doesn't sling shot that thing NW into Gulf, but that isn't the case according to experts and everyone else. That is a massive ULL
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Oh don't we all hate it :).We've been trolled one to many times this year by storms.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17492
Time: 13:19:00Z
Coordinates: 15.8167N 80.25W
Acft. Static Air Press: 848.5 mb (~ 25.06 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 1,440 meters (~ 4,724 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 1002.2 mb (~ 29.59 inHg)
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 72 at 72 knots (From the ENE at ~ 82.8 mph)
Air Temp: 15.0C* (~ 59.0F*)
Dew Pt: 15.0C* (~ 59.0F*)
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 77 knots (~ 88.5 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 56 knots (~ 64.4 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 29 mm/hr (~ 1.14 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
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Ernesto will probably be up to 70mph in the next advisory or 75mph.
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4467
Ernesto has beaten some odds the past several days. Will be real interesting to see if he throws another punch today and thumbs his nose at the current TS status through landfall near the Yucatan.

Gonna sit back for the time being and see what NHC, and the models do, later on today as they process the Hunter information. The evening runs later tonight will give us a better picture as to what adjustments to intensity and track may be needed.

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I hate this storm.

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Quoting Levi32:


The 997mb dropsonde was with 43kt winds though. Actual pressure fall during the last 80 minutes is about 1mb.
Would you go as far as saying RI?
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_
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Quoting NewEnglandExpress:
Why is it that nobody can get the weather right in the northeast.
Forcasting is down right awful in this part of country, 30% of the time there are right at best over the last year,
I wish I could be wrong 70%of the time at my job too!
I just cant believe how really off they are!

Depends on what you consider "right", and how precise you want them to be.

If they give you a 50% chance of rain, and it doesn't rain anywhere in the forecast area, that is a busted forecast. If they give a 50% chance of rain, and some areas in the forecast area get rain... its a good forecast.
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Quoting jeffs713:

You mean you don't have a cough coming on? ;)


he does...even i can hear it all the way in GA....you really oughta take the day off levi...or the week off...or how about the hurricane season off......?

lol
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9738
2396. Levi32
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


down from 997mb half an hour ago?


The 997mb dropsonde was with 43kt winds though. Actual pressure fall during the last 80 minutes is about 1mb.
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2395. Levi32
Quoting washingaway:


Technically moving north.....is consistent with the development of a pinhole eye. You're start a frenzy in here with language like that. LOL


Just passing along observations. Folks here know I don't make those kind of observations lightly.
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Quoting Levi32:
994mb from dropsonde 12kt winds.


down from 997mb half an hour ago?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9738
Quoting Levi32:


Yeah, have to be up this early to get a video out, which I have to record right now if I'm to get to work on time. Hate working on days like this.

You mean you don't have a cough coming on? ;)
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Good Morning...
I said last night that Ernesto would look way better in the morning...and I was right....

...but that isn't a good thing.
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yes Ernesto is moving NW
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12697
Why is it that nobody can get the weather right in the northeast.
Forcasting is down right awful in this part of country, 30% of the time there are right at best over the last year,
I wish I could be wrong 70%of the time at my job too!
I just cant believe how really off they are!
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Quoting jascott1967:


When someone posts a particular model run that showed Ernesto (or any storm, real or model created or just plain imagined, heading for a CONUS landfall) in the GOMEX as a strong hurricane with the verbiage, complete with any number of explanation points "WOW!!!" what is one to think?

When I start seeing NHC statements doing that type of thing I will start seeing those people/posts as sensible and nonbiased...or the NHC has lost all credibility, the later more likely.
You mush be talking about ilovehurricanes a.k.a Jason.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17492
Quoting jiminceiba:


ok, thanks...I be learnin...need to..thing is coming my way big time...just about ready to go and stock up on rum

Important to stock up on that.

I don't use JSL for locating cloud-covered eyes. Rainbow or RBTOP are the best for that due to contrast.

RBTOP (you can't see an eye in this one)
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Quoting Levi32:


I can't imagine how they cannot update the intensity for the interests in Honduras, Roatan, and the Yucatan.
Do you think a cat 2 can happen with Ernesto before a landfall in Yucatan?
Member Since: October 15, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 4467
Quoting Hawkeyewx:
I'm very impressed with what Ernesto is doing this morning. As soon as the surface flow stopped screaming westward, the storm was able to align itself and explode. Amazing how fast this stuff can happen.

Nuclear TCHP can do that.
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Quoting Levi32:
Unflagged 62kt SFMR reading in the NW eyewall.



consistent with an eye
microwave is iffy but a lot of red:
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9738
New satellite image reveals yet another huge blowup of intense thunderstorms over the center.

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Quoting Levi32:
77-kt flight level wind reported, and the straight pass through instead of the loop last time reveals an extremely small center with a markedly steep pressure gradient, which, to be realistic, is consistent with the development of a pinhole eye.



Technically moving north.....is consistent with the development of a pinhole eye. You're start a frenzy in here with language like that. LOL
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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