Ernesto likely headed for Yucatan then where?

TS Ernesto certainly has improved its appearance since this time yesterday. As noted in the latest NHC discussion, appearances can be deceiving and Ernesto has, in fact, weakened some. I see this as probably temporary as the storm is pulling in air from South America and to some extent, the Caribbean islands to its north. Remember, tropical cyclones can be very sensitive to even the slightest changes in their environment. Once Ernesto gets to about the same longitude as Jamaica, it should start to intensify and become a hurricane.

It is very puzzling as to why the various global models do not “see” Ernesto very well. This is called initialization and the models are not initializing the storm very well. I have read quite a bit on various message boards about how this could be throwing the future track forecast off. The logic is that if the models do not see the storm at the beginning of the run, then how can they predict where it will go later in the run? Let’s look at it from an entirely different point of view.

Forget that Ernesto is even in the picture. Then look at the computer models. I’ll take the GFS as an example. What does the large scale pattern look like three to five days down the road? Is there going to be a weakness in the big high pressure area over the Gulf of Mexico that would allow the would-be hurricane to turn more to the north? Not really. There seems to be just enough subtropical ridge nosing in from the Atlantic, across the eastern Gulf, to keep Ernesto on a WNW track towards the Yucatan and then in to mainland Mexico. So whether or not Ernesto is strong, weak, picked up in the models or not, I do not think it matters. The steering pattern strongly suggests that it will not directly impact the U.S. down the road. The only possibility that I see right now is south Texas but even that is a long shot in my opinion. So all this talk about the models not initializing the storm and thus not trusting them is non-sense to me. The trend has been more west with the tracks and since we are not quite in to the time of the season when deep troughs dig in to the Lower 48, I just don’t see a way for Ernesto to hit the U.S. Can there be a sweeping change coming up? I suppose so, you never say never but track forecasts are getting pretty good these days so I wouldn’t count on there being any big changes over the coming days.

TCHP Track Map

TCHP Track Map

With all that being said, let’s focus on the Yucatan now. Obviously with a hurricane aimed at that location, people need to be aware and ready to take action. Ernesto has to cross some fairly high ocean heat content (see graphic where the track is plotted on the current TCHP map). However, it is not forecast to go over the highest values, none the less, the western Caribbean is notorious for creating strong hurricanes and I urge people along the eastern side of the Yucatan from Belize to Cancun to watch this system carefully. It has the potential to be a serious hurricane for the region next week.

Beyond the Yucatan, as I said, the data suggests another landfall in mainland Mexico, south of Texas. We’ll worry about that later since it is still perhaps over a week away.

Next we have Florence out in the tropical Atlantic. This will be an interesting feature to track but should not pose a problem for land areas. It is already at a fairly high latitude and developed well east in the Atlantic, meaning that is destined to head out to sea. While there are certainly instances when long track hurricanes have made it all the way across, most do not and Florence is likely to not break precedence here.

The other feature to watch is just off the Florida coast. I think the only issue here is the increase in showers and thunderstorms for boating and beach interests. Otherwise, ignore it, nothing will come of it that will have any great consequence on your weekend plans.

I’ll post a video blog detailing Ernesto’s future in our HurricaneTrack app for iPhone shortly with another full post here this evening.

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Ernesto gaining organization as we usher in new tropical depression

TS Ernesto with Increasing Convection

TS Ernesto with Increasing Convection

TS Ernesto has developed rather deep convection tonight right over the center of circulation. You can plainly see this improvement in structure on various satellite imagery. The question is, will this be a temporary stay of execution before the inevitable happens and it’s ripped up or are we seeing the start of a significant intensification process? Wish I knew. This part (intensity forecasting) is the toughest aspect of tracking tropical cyclones. So many factors are at play and it is impossible for today’s computer models to grasp the totality of the complex nature of the inner core. So, we can only sit back and watch sat pics as they refresh, giving us another frame to the movie, quite literally. Of course, it helps to have recon out there as well but when none are flying, the eye in the sky, some 22,500 miles above the Earth, is how we watch these systems wax and wane. And tonight, it appears that Ernesto is on the up-tick, how long it lasts remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, out in the far eastern Atlantic, we now have tropical depression six. The NHC began advisories a little while ago and this too will have to be watched as it begins the long trek across the tropical Atlantic. There are some hurdles along its route but conditions seem to be a little more favorable than perhaps was earlier thought this year across the deep tropics and we may see quite a pattern coming up of several developments over the coming weeks.

As for 91L, the disturbance off the Florida coast, while it looks rather impressive on satellite imagery. it still lacks a well defined surface low and without that, it won’t develop much. However, these tropical disturbances can dump a lot of rain and bring gusty winds with any rain squalls that move over your area. Be aware of that this weekend across SE Florida. While there is a chance of further development, I do not see this system becoming a big problem for anyone outside of the heavy precip that is possible.

I’ll have regular updates throughout the weekend with frequent posts on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll also keep adding video blogs to the newly released HurricaneTrack iPhone app. Check it out in the App Store via the banner ad up on the top right column.

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Depression survived the night, heading towards Lesser Antilles

TD5

TD5

TD 5 almost fizzled out last night as environmental conditions are only marginal enough to keep it on life support. A combination of rather dry mid level air and some shearing wind from an upper level low (a large one at that) to the north took a toll on the fledgling cyclone.

This morning, however, the deep convection is making a comeback and a large curved band is seen on the southeast side of the depression. This will give it at least a chance to become a tropical storm before it moves through the Lesser Antilles and in to the Caribbean Sea.

Interestingly enough, the fairly reliable SHIPS model for intensity shows only slight strengthening in the short term followed by a modest increase to 75 knots by day five. This would make the system a hurricane over the very warm waters of the central Caribbean Sea. For now, it remains weak and disorganized but could become a tropical storm and bring squally weather to portions of the Lesser Antilles. I see no evidence that this will become a hurricane before passing through the islands.

In the longer term track-wise, there is not much change to the five day forecast from the NHC. A strong area of high pressure to the north (Bermuda High) will push the system generally westward with a gradual bend to the WNW with time. Obviously, people want to know if it will affect the U.S. coast. My answer is: too early to know. First we have to deal with the effects to Jamaica, the Caymans and possibly the Yucatan, all of which are potentially in the path of the soon-to-be storm. Any impact to the U.S. will be more than a week away.

In other news, we released our iPhone App yesterday and hope that you will pick it up in the App Store. For more information and to purchase your copy of HurricaneTrack, click the link in the main menu above.

We also have our JavaTrack Hurricane Tracking Maps back up and running with a new and improved look. Plus, we have added the error cone to the track. Check it out also via the link in the main menu bar at top. For additional maps, including our exclusive offering of Stormpulse maps, check out our subscription Client Services site.

The rest of the tropics are quiet and look to remain that way for the next several days. I’ll have another update here this evening with periodic posts to Twitter throughout the day.

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HurricaneTrack 1.0 Available in App Store August 1

HurricaneTrack 1.0 for iOS

HurricaneTrack 1.0 for iOS

I am very excited to announce that our app, HurricaneTrack, will be available for purchase in the App Store beginning August 1. It will be released for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad first followed by an Android version just as soon as possible.

With a wide variety of hurricane and weather related apps already available, what makes HurricaneTrack different? It’s simple. We take you there. HurricaneTrack was designed to keep its users informed before, during and after a hurricane. Here’s how…

Before

Each day, a detailed but concise video blog, the Hurricane Outlook and Discussion, will be posted to the app. It will cover any potential development areas in the Atlantic and east Pacific through the use of satellite pictures, maps and other graphics. Think of it as your daily hurricane video briefing and therefore as a tool to keep you informed. When there is the threat of landfall, the video blog will highlight the potential impacts, what to expect and what our plans are for field coverage. The daily video blog is sure to be a very popular feature. Keep in mind that during the off-season, the video blog will address other severe weather threats such as winter storms and tornado outbreaks. This makes the app useful even when we’re not in hurricane season.

Of course, the app will also have our social media feeds dynamically updating as we post info to Twitter or Facebook. This blog will also update anytime we post new blogs to the site.

During

When a hurricane is threatening to make landfall along the U.S. coastline, the app will become your portal for a vast amount of information and live data. This is the true heart of what HurricaneTrack is all about. From the moment we leave the driveway to head to the landfall zone, HurricaneTrack will keep you up to date. You can track our progress via GPS position right in the app. We have a live web cam that will update the image directly from our specially equipped hurricane tracking Chevy Tahoe 24 hours a day during the entire field mission.

You want video updates? We will deliver. The field mission video blogs will be a fantastic way for you to stay up to date on not only our mission to cover the hurricane, but also what is going on with the hurricane and the region it is forecast to impact. I am not talking about a few video posts each day. This is the next level. I am talking about several video posts each hour, each day, of the entire field mission! Each video will give you a chronological storyline of what is happening on the ground. As the hurricane draws closer, the video blogs will become increasingly important as we will be able to provide you with real information on actual conditions where the hurricane is coming ashore. You will feel like you are right there with us, experiencing the effects right along with us.

Live Weather Data and Web Cam

No other hurricane tracking app provides its own live weather data from instruments set up specifically for that hurricane landfall. HurricaneTrack will feature data from three 5-meter wind towers equipped with high-end RM Young wind and pressure sensors. We are not talking home weather stations here. This is the same equipment that NOAA uses on their Hurricane Buoys and Sentinels to gather live data during the most intense hurricanes. Our wind towers will be deployed to capture the best possible data. Each site will be labeled and ID’d in the app so you will know right where it is. The data will upload to the app dynamically every 60 seconds! You can literally watch the data change – no need to refresh, the app does it for you. In addition to the live weather data, each tower will also have a live web cam running, also posting an image every 60 seconds. There is simply no better way to monitor real time conditions during a hurricane than with HurricaneTrack.

After

When the hurricane has made landfall and the focus turns to the aftermath, we’ll be there. I have learned more and more that the demand for information in the post-hurricane period is almost as high, if not higher, than during the landfall itself. People want to know “what happened?” We will help to answer that question by use of post-hurricane video blogs, photos and reports. Depending upon the severity of the hurricane, we plan to remain in the region affected for several days after landfall. We can then utilize the reach of the app to provide detailed information through our video posts about the aftermath and what areas appear to need the most help. When the wind dies down, we won’t take off and leave the aftermath in our rear view mirror. Our work continues and we will do our best to continue to post info from the affected region. This is what will make HurricaneTrack the complete package.

On August 1 the app will be available for purchase for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (keep in mind we do not have an iPad specific version though HurricaneTrack will work on an iPad). We will have a special introductory price for a limited time only. This is the first version of the app. It is up to you, our audience, to support it and help to make future updates possible. Show us how important it is to you. Post feedback, let us know what we can do to improve and what features would really be helpful in future updates.

Version 1.0 is information driven. There are no tracking maps, model plots or satellite pictures. That will come. I do not want to re-produce what so many other apps already have. Instead, I focused on creating an information based product that will serve as an excellent foundation on which to grow. The maps, model plots, sat pics, etc will come. When they do, they will exceed your expectations. If you want to stay up to date with our brand of hurricane news and information, plus the exclusive field mission features, then HurricaneTrack is a must-have app. Next Wednesday, you can be among the first to get it!

 

 

 

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