07 August 2012

Ernesto landfall expected near midnight

After yesterday morning's burst of rapid strengthening, it leveled off for the rest of the day.  At 09Z (5am EDT) today, the intensity remains 55kts and 993mb.  However, another morning round of intensification seems to be taking place, and a reconnaissance aircraft has just found a 989mb central pressure at 7:43am EDT.  It's quite likely that the intensity will be raised for the 11am EDT advisory package (you should always find the latest information at NHC's website).

Hurricane warnings are posted for the entire Belize coastline and the southern half of the Yucatan peninsula's Caribbean coastline.  Tropical storm warnings cover the Honduras coast, the northern half of the Yucatan peninsula's Caribbean coast, and the western Gulf coast of the Yucatan peninsula.  The center of the storm is just coming into view of the Belize radar, which you can find here (look for it coming in around 18N).

The easterly wave that I mentioned yesterday that left Africa on August 4 is now located about 350 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands and is indeed showing some signs of organization.  It's a couple hundred miles further south than where Florence was, and as such, is a bit further away from the very dry SAL (Saharan Air Layer) air immediately to its north.  The image below from CIMSS shows the infrared satellite picture in grayscale, and the yellow/orange/red overlay is the intensity of the SAL... with darker reds being dustier and drier in the low-mid levels.

Most models keep this system around for the next five days, but with only modest intensification, if any.  As far as track guidance goes, a general W-WNW motion encompasses the spread.  If named, the next name on the list is Gordon.

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