The end of Ernesto and other tidbits (updated)

September 1, 2006

– The National Hurricane Center issued its last advisory on Ernesto this morning. The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center will issue advisories highlighting the rain threat from what’s left of the tropical depression starting at 5 PM.
The Associated Press reports that parts of Virginia have received six inches of rain from Ernesto and there are more than 200,000 people without power.

A flash flood warning covers Hampton Roads and flash flood watches are in effect for the rest of eastern and central Virginia, all of Maryland and New Jersey, almost all of Pennsylvania and southern New York. People in those areas may want to check their local National Weather Service office for further details.

– With Ernesto ashore, there are no active storms in the Atlantic. There are, however, two storms in the eastern Pacific, with Hurricane John threatening the southern half of Baja California. A hurricane hunter is currently in John and just found flight level winds of 102 knots in the northeast quadrant, which adjusts to 100 mph at the surface. That is about 15 mph lower than what the 8 AM PDT advisory rated it at.

The observations put John on equal footing with Henriette of 1995, which hit Cabo San Lucas with 100 mph winds before turning westard to open waters. The NHC forecast puts John on a similar path to that taken by Henriette, albeit closer to the coast after passing Cabo San Lucas.

– The Colorado State University forecast team has issued their updated hurricane season forecast , which includes a verification of their forecast for the month of August.

From the standpoint of named storms, their forecast for August was close. The forecast was four and three formed. Beyond that, however, it was a bust. They forecast three of those to be hurricanes and one of them to be major. Were it not for the hurricane hunter being in Ernesto at the right time, we would have had a hurricane-less August. And Ernesto of course, was not a major hurricane.

As the forecast notes, however, he likely would have been had he gone into the Gulf of Mexico and not interacted with Haiti and Cuba. Overall, dry and stable air were pinned as the culprits for the tropical cyclone activity being lower than forecast.

The forecast also points to El-Niño like conditions and increased hurricane activity in the Pacific as being indicative of reduced activity in the Atlantic. Indeed, from a named storm standpoint, the eastern Pacific has the most named storms at this point in the season that it’s had since 2000. Also, four of those storms were major ones, which puts it on par with 2002, which was an El Niño season. And don’t forget Ioke, which was the first category five hurricane to form in the Central Pacific.

As a result, their forecast totals for the season are adjusted downward again to 13 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes.


– The 11 AM PDT advisory for John rates him at 110 mph, a little bit higher than justified by the recon plane, which seems to be a compromise between the recon observations which suggested 100 mph surface winds, and satellite estimates of 115 mph. As mentioned above, a 100 mph storm hit Cabo San Lucas in 1995. However, while the center line of the National Hurricane Center forecast from this morning put CSL in the worst of the storm, Los Cabos radar and satellite imagery indicate that John has more of a northward component of motion, which suggests that area will miss the worst of the storm as it would either enter the Gulf of California or cross the Baja peninsula to the north.

– Just after posting this, a tropical wave about 1200 miles east of the windward Islands was classified as an invest area; an area that will be monitored for development. As one can see in the image below (credit: NOAA’s Satellite Services Division), the wave is just south of dust associated with the Saharan Air Layer, which runs uninterrupted from Africa. As such, any northward movement would severely impair development. Otherwise, it would have good prospects for development.



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