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Ernesto Makes Transition to Tropical Storm

Former Subtropical Storm Ernesto made a transition to a tropical storm on Thursday afternoon.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Ernesto was located at latitude 43.0°N and longitude 41.0°W which put it about 645 miles (1035 km) east-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.  Ernesto was moving toward the northeast at 18 m.p.h. (30 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1007 mb.

Even though now Tropical Storm Ernesto moved over water where the Sea Surface Temperature was between 24°C and 25°C, there was enough energy in the upper ocean to cause more thunderstorms to develop.  In addition, many of the thunderstorms developed close to the center of circulation.  The inner bands of showers and thunderstorms became stronger and the bands in the outer parts of the circulation weakened.  Ernesto exhibited a structure like a tropical cyclone and the National Hurricane Center classified the system as a tropical storm in the 5:00 p.m. EDT advisory.

Tropical Storm Ernesto will move over much cooler water during the next 24 hours.  It is likely to make a transition to an extratropical cyclone when it moves over the cooler water.  Ernesto could strengthen when colder air is pulled into the western half of the circulation and a cold front forms south of the center.  The development of the cold front and upper level divergence could strengthen the pressure gradient force which would give the air a stronger push.  An upper level trough east of the U.S. is forecast to steer Ernesto in the general direction of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Subtropical Storm Ernesto Forms West of the Azores

Subtropical Storm Ernesto formed west of the Azores on Wednesday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Subtropical Storm Ernesto was located at latitude 38.1°N and longitude 46.0°W which put it about 695 miles (1120 km) southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.  Ernesto was moving toward the north at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb.

More thunderstorms formed closer to the center of a low pressure system west of the Azores on Wednesday morning and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Subtropical Storm Ernesto.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms wrapped around the eastern and northern portions of the circulation.  Bands northwest of the center of Ernesto consisted primarily of showers and lower clouds.  The circulation may have been transporting some cooler, drier, more stable air into that part of the circulation.  Showers and thunderstorms around the center of Ernesto were generating upper level divergence which was pumping mass away to the northeast of the subtropical storm.

Subtropical Storm Ernesto will move through an environment that could support some intensification during the next day or so.  Ernesto will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 26°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are not too strong and there will not be much vertical wind shear.  Subtropical Storm Ernesto could strengthen during the next 12 to 24 hours.  Ernesto will move over cooler water later on Thursday and it will start to weaken.  An upper level trough east of the U.S. will approach Subtropical Storm Ernesto from the west.  Southwesterly winds ahead of the trough will cause more vertical wind shear and Ernesto could make a transition to an extratropical cyclone.

The southwesterly winds ahead of the upper level trough will steer Subtropical Storm Ernesto in a general northeasterly direction.  On its anticipated track Subtropical Ernesto will pass between the Azores and Greenland.

Tropical Storm Don Forms East of Windward Islands

Tropical Storm Don formed east of the Windward Islands on Monday.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft found a small, but well defined center of circulation in a cluster of thunderstorms formerly designated Invest 91L.  Based on information from the recon plane, the National Hurricane Center classified the system at Tropical Storm Don.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Don was located at latitude 11.2°N and longitude 52.6°W which put it about 595 miles (955 km) east of Trinidad.  Don was moving toward the west at 17 m.p.h. (28 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1009 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issue for Grenada.  Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and St. Lucia.

The reconnaissance plane found a small, tight center of circulation near the surface.  A thin band of showers and thunderstorms wrapped partially around the western side of the center.  Other thin bands of showers and thunderstorms were occurring north and west of the center.  There were fewer showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of Tropical Storm Don.  The circulation of Tropical Storm Don is small and winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Thunderstorms in the band west of the center of circulation were generating some upper level divergence but it was not well developed.

Tropical Storm Don will move through an environment that will be somewhat favorable for intensification during the next several days.  Don will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level ridge east of Don is generating easterly winds which are blowing over the top of the tropical storm.  Those easterly winds are generating some vertical wind shear and the shear may partly explain why there are fewer showers and thunderstorms in the eastern half of the circulation.  The shear will also inhibit intensification, but Tropical Storm Don could strengthen during the next 24 to 48 hours.

A strong subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean is steering Tropical Storm Don toward the west and a generally westward motion is expected to continue during the next several days.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Don could pass south of Barbados on Tuesday.  Tropical Storm Don could move over the southern Windward Islands on Tuesday night.  Tropical Storm Don could bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the southern Windward Islands.  Flash floods could occur in areas of steep terrain, if they receive locally heavy rainfall.

Tropical Storm Earl Strengthens Near Veracruz

Tropical Storm Earl regained strength on Friday after the center moved over the southern Bay of Campeche near Veracruz, Mexico.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Earl was located at latitude 18.8°N and longitude 95.0°W which put it about 85 miles (135 km) east-southeast of Veracruz, Mexico.  Earl was moving toward the west at 8 m.p.h. (13 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 70 m.p.h. (115 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1001 mb.

Because Tropical Storm Earl re-intensified and the radius of tropical storm force winds expanded to the north, the government of Mexico extended Tropical Storm Warnings farther north along the coast.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Puerto Dos Bocas to Tecolutla, Mexico.

Most of the circulation of Tropical Storm Earl remained intact while it moved over land from Belize to the Bay of Campeche.  As a result, the surface part of the circulation on the northern side of Earl began to redevelop quickly as the center approached the water in the Bay of Campeche.  A primary rainband wrapped most of the way around the center of circulation and other rainbands reformed over the Bay of Campeche.  There have been hints on an incipient eye forming at the center of circulation on recent visible satellite images.  Earl is a very well organized tropical storm.

The Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C in the southern Bay of Campeche.  The upper level winds are weak and there is little vertical wind shear.  Upper level divergence is well formed in Tropical Storm Earl and it is pumping out mass.  The environment is favorable for further intensification.  However, the center of circulation is close to the coast and approximately 40% of the circulation is over land.  So, the proximity to land is the main factor inhibiting further strengthening.  Tropical Storm Earl does have a few hours to intensify and it could get stronger.

A subtropical ridge north of Earl is steering the tropical storm toward the west and that general motion is expected to continue.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Earl will be very near Veracruz, Mexico in 10-12 hours.

The winds in Tropical Storm Earl are strong enough to create a storm surge of several feet (1-2 m) near where the center makes landfall and north of that location.  The primary risks from Tropical Storm Earl will be very heavy rainfall and flash flooding.

Tropical Storm Earl Nearing Southern Bay of Campeche

Tropical Storm Earl was maintaining its intensity as it approached the southern Bay of Campeche on Thursday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Earl was located at latitude 18.1°N and longitude 91.7°W which put it about 40 miles (65 km/h) south-southeast of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico.  Earl was moving toward the west-northwest at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1000 mb.

The government of Mexico has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the portion of the coast from Ciudad del Carmen to Laguna Verde.

Despite moving over land for almost 24 hours the structure of Tropical Storm Earl retained much of its integrity.  A primary rainband wrapped around three quarters of the way around the southern and eastern portions of the center center.  A weather station at Ciudad del Carmen reported wind gusts to tropical storm force.  The circulation of Tropical Storm Earl is still generating upper level divergence, especially to the east of Earl.  The upper level divergence pumped out enough mass to allow the surface pressure to remain near 1000 mb.

The center of Tropical Storm Earl could move near the southern Bay of Campeche on Friday morning.  The Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C in that part of the Bay of Campeche.  If Earl moves along the coast, it is likely to maintain tropical storm intensity for another 24 to 36 hours.  If the center of Earl moves out over the southern Bay of Campeche it could intensify given the organization that still exists in the tropical storm.

A ridge of high pressure is steering Tropical Storm Earl toward the west-northwest and that general motion is expected to continue.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Earl could be near Veracruz, Mexico in another 24 hours.  The primary risk associated with Tropical Storm Earl is heavy rain and flooding.  Tropical Storm Earl is still causing heavy rain over parts of Mexico, Honduras and Belize.  However, Earl could also generate some storm surge along portions of the southern Bay of Campeche.

Earl Becomes a Hurricane As It Moves Toward Belize

A NOAA aircraft investigating Tropical Storm Earl found that there were sustained winds to hurricane force and the National Hurricane Center upgrade it to Hurricane Earl at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.  At 5:00 p.m EDT the center of Hurricane Earl was located at latitude 17.1°N and longitude 86.0°W which put it about 150 miles (240 km) east of Belize City, Belize.  Earl was moving slightly north of due west at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 988 mb.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Bay Islands of Honduras and the portion of the coast from Puerto Costa Mayo, Mexico to the Belize/Guatemala border.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the coast of Honduras from Cabo Gracias a Dios to the Honduras/Guatemala border and from Punta Allen, Mexico to Puerto Costa Mayo.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Earl is 10.4.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 8.0 and the Hurricane Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 18.4.  Those indices mean that Earl is capable of causing localized minor wind damage.

The structure of Hurricane Earl improved significantly on Wednesday as it moved farther from the northern coast of Honduras.  An eye developed at the center of circulation and a band of thunderstorms wrapped about two thirds of the way around the eye.  The eyewall is broken southwest of the center.  Additional bands of thunderstorms are rotating around the periphery of the circulation.  The core of strongest winds is relatively small and only extends about 60 miles (95 km) from the center.  However, outer rainbands extend at least 250 miles (400 km) from the center of circulation and the overall size of Hurricane Earl is much larger than it was yesterday.

Hurricane Earl is moving through an environment that is favorable for further intensification.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It is located beneath an upper level ridge and the upper level winds are weak.  So, there is little vertical wind shear and the ridge is enhancing the upper level divergence.  Hurricane Earl has another 10 – 15 hours to intensify before it reaches the coast.  Earl will weaken as it moves inland, but it could re-intensify after it moves over the Bay of Campeche.  The amount of re-intensification will depend on how long Hurricane Earl remains over land and where it enters the Bay of Campeche.

A subtropical high pressure system is steering Hurricane Earl on a track that is a little north of due west and that general motion is expected to continue for several more days.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Earl will reach the coast near the border between Mexico and Belize in about 10 – 15 hours.

Since it is a hurricane, Earl will be capable of causing some wind damage.  Hurricane Earl will also create a storm surge near and to the north of where the center makes landfall because the winds will be pushing water toward the coast.  The size and number of the rainbands in Hurricane Earl will create the potential for very heavy rainfall and serious flooding as it moves inland over Belize and Mexico.

Tropical Storm Earl Forms over the Western Caribbean

Based on data collected by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance plane, the National Hurricane Center designated a system previously known as Invest 97L as Tropical Storm Earl.  At 12:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Tropical Storm Earl was located at latitude 16.3°N and longitude 80.2°W which put it about 535 miles (860 km) east of Belize City, Belize.  Earl was moving toward the west at 22 m.p.h. (35 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 45 m.p.h. (70 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1001 mb.

A Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the portion of the coast from Punta Allen, Mexico to the Belize/Guatemala border.  A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the portion of the coast from Cabo Gracias a Dios to the Honduras/Guatemala border.

The recon plane found a small closed low level center of circulation on the western edge of a cluster of thunderstorms.  The circulation around Tropical Storm Earl is very small.  Winds to tropical storm force only extend out about 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation.  Most of the thunderstorms are occurring in the eastern half of the tropical storm.  Those thunderstorms are generating upper level divergence which has pumped out enough mass to allow the surface pressure to decrease a few millibars during the past 12 hours.

The environment around Tropical Storm Earl is somewhat favorable for intensification.  It is moving over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper level low centered near the western tip of Cuba is producing southwesterly winds which are blowing over the western side of Tropical Storm Earl.  Those westerly winds are producing some vertical wind shear, which is why most of the thunderstorms are in the eastern half of Earl.  The wind shear is inhibiting intensification, but the upper low is forecast to move farther from Earl, which would reduce the shear.  If Earl move north of the coast of Honduras, it should intensify.  However, if the center of circulation moves over Honduras, then Earl could weaken fairly quickly because of its small size.

The subtropical high over the Atlantic Ocean is steering Tropical Storm Earl toward the west at a fairly rapid speed.  The high is expected to continue to steer Earl toward the west during the next several days, but the tropical storm is expected to move a little more slowly on Wednesday.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Storm Earl is expected to pass just north of the coast of Belize.  Earl could be very close to Belize in about 36 hours.

Earl is a small tropical storm and the greatest risks are locally heavy rainfall and flash flooding.