Tracking the Tropics – August 7th 2012


Hurricane and Tropical Storm Warnings for the Yucatan peninsula – see further information at the National Hurricane Center‘s website.

Hurricane Ernesto: Ernesto continued to organize through the day and Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigating the storm found that its winds had increased to 80mph and its pressure had decreased to 983mb making Ernesto a category one hurricane. Ernesto is expected to make landfall in Mexico‘s Yucatan peninsula tonight. Further strengthening is possible and Ernesto may become a category two or three hurricane before its landfall in the Yucatan near the border with Belize – however this solution is unlikely.

Expect Hurricane force winds to occur somewhere in the warned area from Belize City, Belize to Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. A storm surge of 3-6 feet to the right of where the storm’s center crosses to coast can be expected, with large battering waves. Ernesto’s spiral bands are already bringing showers and thunderstorms to the Yucatan, and this activity will increase and lead to isolated flooding and flash flooding in higher elevations. Additionally, in the outer bands of Ernesto, tornadoes will be a threat.

After Ernesto crosses the Yucatan, it is expected to emerge in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm. However, warm waters in addition to an upper atmosphere that is forecast to be favorable will allow Ernesto to quickly get its act back together for a second Mexico landfall as a Hurricane. Interests in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz need to pay close attention to the future track and intensity of Ernesto.

UPDATE:

…ERNESTO STRENGTHENING AS IT MOVES QUICKLY TOWARD THE SOUTHERN YUCATAN PENINSULA……LANDFALL EXPECTED LATER THIS EVENING…
SUMMARY OF 700 PM CDT…0000 UTC…INFORMATION
LOCATION…18.7N 87.1W
ABOUT 65 MI…105 KM E OF CHETUMAL MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…85 MPH…140 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 270 DEGREES AT 18 MPH…30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…980 MB…28.94 INCHES
Tropical Storm Haikui making landfall in Zhejiang province spreading tropical storm conditions north into Shanghai and west into Hangzhou. Chinese Meteorological Agency radar image August 7th 2012 1900UTC.

Tropical Storm Haikui: The Joint-Typhoon Warning Center has determined that Typhoon Haikui has weakened to a tropical storm with 70mph 1-minute sustained winds, however the Japanese Meteorological Agency is analyzing the cyclone as  Typhoon with 75mph 10-minute sustained winds. This is a minor difference but the impacts form this tropical cyclone are the same. It has a fairly large wind field with tropical storm force winds extending about 180miles from the center. Haikui is making landfall in Zhejiang Province about 150 miles south of Shanghai, sparing the city-center the worst of the storm but still bringing wind gusts over 50mph there.

A storm surge of 5-10feet is likely occurring in areas of onshore wind to the right of Haikui’s path. Additionally multiple stations have already reported 75-85mph wind gusts as the storm’s eye-wall moved onshore earlier today. Flash-flooding and mudslides are a distinct possibility in more mountainous areas and hilly terrain along the storm’s path, and heavy rains will exacerbate any coastal flooding. Isolated tornadoes are possible in the storm’s outer rain bands.

After moving inland, the future of Haikui is fairly uncertain as the steering currents become very weak. The storm may sit over the Yangtze River Delta for days before being being picked up and taken eastwards toward Japan as a much weakened system – probably only a remnant circulation would remain. This is a grim forecast as it sentences the Yangtze River Delta and its >100million residents to a flood risk for every day is spends there.

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