As of the 1 AM update from the National Hurricane Center - Reconnaissance aircraft finds Ernesto strengthening and reorganizing. New Convection is exploding over the open water to the north of the center as seen in the satellite image below.
The center is expected to remain offshore for about 12-18 hours, and it seems Ernesto could regain hurricane strength in that amount of time considering the increasing intensity found by the Hurricane Hunter aircraft.
At 1AM Ernesto was located at 18.8N and 93.0W moving West at 16 MPH. Maximum sustained winds are 70 MPH.
Models continue to take Ernesto west-southwest into Mexico where high terrain will make short work of destroying the circulation. Once that occurs, that should spell the end for Ernesto. Although there is a very, very, slim chance that he could reform over the Pacific, it's almost not worth mentioning...
Again, please ignore the statistical CLP5 model. It does not take into account anything other than where previous storms have gone in relation to Ernesto's location, and, since most historical storms end up curving north in response to increasing westerly winds at higher latitudes, it assumes that Ernesto will be no different. However, the dynamical models (the others) take into account atmospheric parameters and pick up on the ridge of high pressure that is forcing Ernesto to remain on a westerly or southwesterly track until dissipation over Mexico.
Personally, I'm ready for Ernesto to be gone. He's been a nuisance... But, I have to say, the global models really did well with the forecasting of Ernesto.
Unfortunately, we still remain in the thick of hurricane season, and we're still not at the peak of activity (Sept. 10).
With that, we begin focusing on the next system keeping in mind that for a short time, during coverage of the more threatening Ernesto, a storm named Florence formed way out in the Atlantic. It was ripped apart by wind shear and shows little chance of redeveloping (yellow area below). However, the next area of interest, the "red" area (indicating a 70% chance of development into a depression in the next 48 hours), is making its way west and looking fairly well organized.
This system could be classified a depression by tomorrow, or maybe straight to a tropical storm depending on the wind speed and the presence of a closed surface circulation. Once it becomes a tropical storm its name will be"Gordon".
Here is a satellite shot of the future Gordon...
The map below is taken from the GFS model showing surface pressure. Warmer colors indicate high pressure and cooler colors indicate lower pressures. The letters mark, from left to right, Ernesto, remnants of Florence, the to-be-formed Gordon, and a robust wave over Africa that could become Helene in a few days. Have I mentioned we're approaching the peak of hurricane season?
I always like to think of high pressure as a big mountain and low pressures are like dimples. Airflow around the "mountain" of high pressure is clockwise and airflow around low pressure is counter-clockwise. The large area of high pressure in the Atlantic is the Bermuda High. It's there year round and basically just expands in the summer and shrinks in the winter - for various reasons having to do with the jet stream, surface temperatures, etc. Anyway, the Bermuda high is in control of these systems (tropical waves) that come off of Africa and depending on the southern extend and strength of the high pressure, it can keep these waves on a westerly track all the way until they reach the Caribbean and beyond (as seen with Ernesto). The remnants of Florence are being guided northward on the western edge of the High, and Gordon (to be) is actually moving slightly south of west in response to the bulge between Florence and Gordon.
NOAA is already running models on future Gordon so I have to share.
They're split. The barotropic (air pressure dependent) models take the system northwest, but the Global models take the system westward. The global models had a better handle on Ernesto, so it will be interesting to see how this progresses with future model runs. Given the low's current southwesterly movement, I'm already leaning towards the westward projection.
Or perhaps something like this which is more of a blend with a heavier bias towards the global solutions...
We shall see what is in store for this system, if it will be named tomorrow or Friday, and where the initial cone is aimed by the guys who have the coolest gadgets and get paid the big bucks!!
**As an aside, there are times when I am unable to update due to travel for work. My sincerest apologies. I hope to have a back-up to provide updates when I am unable (a rarity). As a back-up I try to update Weather Spectrum on facebook when I cannot formulate this kind of detail. You can access that site at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Weather-Spectrum/13 5621209791102.
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