Tropical Storm Ernesto, TD6 and Bahamas System
Tropical Storm Ernesto is BIG TROUBLE for the Gulf Coast
The storm is steadily getting better organized in the Eastern Caribbean. Satellite images show that the storm's thunderstorm activity is increasing significantly. Visible Sat is also showing spiraling bands wrapping around the center of the storm, especially on the eastern side of the storm and what looks like the formation of a possible eye-wall is underway. The ocean temperature ahead of the storm is way into the upper 80s and 90s which gives the storm plenty of fuel in a low shear environment and dry air located off to his north. All of that indicates that there is little in the way to prevent strengthening of Ernesto.
Below is the NOAA predicted path for the storm at 11 PM:
NOAA is forecasting the storm to make landfall around Cozumel Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday morning.
At 11 PM Tropical Storm Ernesto was moving west at 18 MPH and had maximum sustained winds at 50 MPH with a minimum pressure of 1003 MB.
Below is the 11 AM computer model projected path for the storm:
As you can see, there are two paths for the storm. One would take it across Belize and into the Bay of Campeche while the other takes it further north over Eastern Cuba and into the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. I am leaning more on the northern and eastern side of the models. There are several reasons for this. The main reason is that they have been predicting that the storm will stay weak and would therefore miss the trough's connection; however, I feel that the storm will steadily increase to hurricane strength. This would mean that it would be picked up by the incoming trough and steered towards a landfall along the central or eastern gulf coast. I also believe that the intensity of the storm will be higher than what the models are predicting due to low wind shear and high sea surface water temperatures ahead of the storm. There also has been an area of high pressure over Texas which has been baking the plains for recently; therefore, the likelihood of the computer models predicting the storm heading that direction doesn't seem reasonable to me.
Tropical Depression 6
Tropical Depression 6 formed at 11 PM and was located 13.8°N 27.8°Wand moving WNW at 16 MPH. Minimum pressure is at 1009 MB with max winds of 35 MPH. NOAA is forecasting the storm to develop into Tropical Storm Florence before degenerating into an open wave. I would not be surprised to see the system survive the track and make it into the Carribean, Even if the storm is disrupted, it would probably later re-form anyways.
Below is the 11 PM computer model predicted path for the storm:
It is far too early to tell but the track of the storm looks likely to be on a westward move. This would take it near or just north of the windward island a few days from now. A high building in to the north might likely push the storm towards the west and a weaker storm would certainly warrant a westward track. This storm will have to be watched over the next few days to see what comes about.
Showers and thunderstorms have been increasing in the Bahamas where a tropical wave and low is located. NOAA is currently giving it a 20% chance of developing into a Tropical Depression. This is reasonable given the decrease in organization over the late evening. Most of the heaviest activity is now located to the south of what was indicated as the center of the low earlier in the day. I still would not be surprised to see the storm system becoming a Tropical Depression before it makes landfall in Eastern Florida. With that being said, there is a great deal of wind shear over the area at the moment. This could inhibit development but I would not be surprised to see something come of this even with the hostile environment around the storm.
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