Tracking The Tropics – August 6th 2012


Tropical Storm Ernesto as seen from MODIS Satellite Imagery from NASA August 6th 2012.

Tropical Storm Ernesto: Tropical Storm Ernesto redeveloped last night after disorganizing so significantly that it almost became unclassifiable. When the hurricane hunters investigated the storm this morning, they found a closed eye-wall, 65mph winds, and 993mb central minimal pressure. The storm has reached a much more favorable environment -before it was dealing with dry air and a fast steering current, now it has slowed down and the air around it has moistened, not to mention it is over even warmer waters than it has ever been over. As of 8pm EDT, Ernesto still had 65mph winds and a pressure of 995mb. 

Despite the core convection in Ernesto collapsing around noon today, the storm appears to be redeveloping deep convection around its center and so the thinking is that Ernesto will likely become a hurricane tonight and has a fairly decent shot at rapid intensification into a major hurricane before making landfall in Belize or the Yucatan Peninsula where Hurricane Warnings are in effect. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting a landfall at 85mph near Chetumal, Mexico – however landfall may be anywhere from Cancun to Belize City. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Honduras for tropical storm conditions that may develop in Ernesto’s southern rain bands.

A second landfall along the western Gulf of Mexico coastline is expected by Friday. Ernesto may be a hurricane once more by this time so interest along the Mexican Gulf of Mexico coast need to keep an eye on Ernesto.

Post-Tropical Cyclone Florence: After quickly developing from Invest 90L, tropical storm Florence also quickly succumbed to the dry air and wind shear in the Central Atlantic due to the Saharan Air Layer of dust and dry air from north Africa, and the transient Tropical Upper-Tropospheic Trough or TUTT. There is a very small chance that the remnant circulation of Florence survives and heads far enough west to find a more favorable environment and regenerates, however, this scenario is very unlikely.

Typhoon Haikui approaching Eastern China as seen from MODIS Satellite Imagery from NASA August 6th 2012.

Typhoon Haikui: Slow and erratically moving Tropical Storm Haikui has organized significantly and is working out a lot of the dry air that it was born into. It strengthened today into a Typhoon with 75mph winds according to the Joint-Typhoon Warning Center. The storm is expected to continue west or west-northwest through the East China Sea and towards a possible landfall in eastern China, probably south of Shanghai, but Tropical storm conditions are likely to affect the city. Ningbo, Hangzhou, and Suzhou are other cities that could potentially see tropical storm or typhoon conditions from Typhoon Haikui and are accordingly under typhoon advisories from the Chinese Meteorological Agency. The outer bands of Haikui are already beginning to move ashore in China and conditions should go downhill as the typhoon approaches slowly for a landfall expected on the 8th of August.

The region around Shanghai is estuarine and therefore very low lying and is shaped such that onshore winds can concentrate a storm surge associated with a typhoon. This will need to be monitored very closely especially for Hangzhou. Additionally, heavy rains will likely lead to flooding along the storm’s path, tornadoes are always a threat in the rain bands of landfalling tropical cyclones. Millions are at risk in this metropolitan area – keep a close eye on this storm.

Tropical Storm 13W: This tropical cyclone has been classified as a tropical storm by the Joint-Typhoon Warning Center, however, none of the local warning centers in the West Pacific have done so and so it hasn’t been named. The Japanese Meteorological Agency has classified it as a tropical depression, and not given it a name. Fortunately, at this time, the storm is not expected to affect any further landmasses until it transitions to a post-tropical cyclone and affects the Kuril islands and there is only a small chance for any further development or strengthening.

Invest 92E: The National Hurricane center is monitoring a disturbance in the Eastern Pacific and has determined that it has about a 50% chance of becoming a Tropical Cyclone in the next 48 hours as of 11am PDT August 6th 2012. Regardless of development, this system isn’t expected to affect land for at least another three days – if at all.

***I will have an update post for Tropical Storm Ernesto and Typhoon Haikui tomorrow to include information from the 5pm EDT advisories.***

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