Thursday, August 09, 2012

Tropical Storm Ernesto and the Atlantic Blob: August 9, Update A

Tropical Storm Ernesto behaved quite as expected throughout the day today. After making landfall last night, he lost some intensity and his convection decreased as he crossed the Yucatan Peninsula during the day. However, because he made landfall with strong circulation throughout the entire troposphere he didn’t lose much structurally as he crossed the peninsula. His center has just emerged over the Bay of Campeche, at about 19.1N, 92.0W (as you can see in the satellite image below – if you squint anyway ;-)), where the sea surface temperatures are around 30 deg C.

He is slowly picking up convective activity again, and his winds are now at 65mph (central pressure 994mb), making him a strong Tropical Storm. He is moving W at 7mph. The forecast keeps him in the Bay and takes him back into Mexico later tomorrow. I think he might stay over the water a little longer, and make landfall slightly to the north of the current center of cone, but nothing too wildly different from the forecast. There is a small chance he  will cross Mexico and move out into the Pacific, but he does have to cross a mountain range (I believe), and usually storms just dwindle out as tropical depressions.

Now for the Atlantic Blob.  This baby is slowly getting stronger and now has a 70% chance of developing into Tropical Storm Gordon in the next 48 hours. It looks like it is somewhere around 14.1N, 38.9W, moving W at 15mph. Convection has increased a bit, but there hasn’t been much change in the circulation since yesterday. There is very little wind shear, and sea surface temperatures are 27 deg C, so the biggest factor that is inhibiting development at the moment is the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) – lots of dry and dusty air around. This image shows the storm and the SAL (the red and yellow bits):

You can see that if it can survive to around 53W, it should be clear of this layer and can get its act together. This one will keep heading to the Caribbean – currently I think it looks like it is heading to the southern end of the Windward Islands again, but I estimate that would be around Sunday. I will have a better idea of things tomorrow (and there may be another blobette out there by then too!).  

Time for a nice nap now! J


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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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