As of 11:00 PM, the NHC is no longer forecasting an aborted recurvature by Tropical Storm Ernesto. The left-hand turn has been replaced by a straight line. There goes pillar #1 supporting my shameless speculation about a New York Nightmare Scenario. And pillar #2, the belief that Ernesto’s right-of-the-forecast trend would continue, isn’t looking too good either:
ERNESTO HAS BEEN MOVING TO THE LEFT OF THE PREVIOUS FORECAST…AND THIS REQUIRES A SLIGHT WESTWARD SHIFT OF THE FORECAST TRACK. … SOME [FURTHER] SLIGHT WESTWARD TRACK ADJUSTMENTS [COULD BE] IN THE OFFING.
D’oh! Well, it was a good theory for the 3 hours that it lasted. :)
The other headline out of the 11pm advisory is that it looks increasingly unlikely Ernesto will ever live up to the hype… which is, of course, a good thing:
THE RADAR DATA SHOW A GRADUAL DETERIORATION IN THE ORGANIZATION OF ERNESTO…AND SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS ONLY VERY LIMITED DEEP CONVECTION WITH THE SYSTEM. THE UPPER-LEVEL LOW NEAR ANDROS APPEARS TO BE ADVECTING DRY AIR INTO THE CYCLONE…WHICH MAY ACCOUNT FOR THE ANEMIC CONVECTION. THIS LOW IS FORECAST TO MOVE OUT AND WEAKEN OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS…LEAVING ERNESTO UNDER LIGHT EASTERLY SHEAR. THIS WOULD FAVOR GRADUAL INTENSIFICATION AFTER THE CENTER CLEARS THE COASTS…BUT THE UPPER WINDS WOULD NOT SEEM TO FAVOR RAPID DEVELOPMENT. THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST IS A BLEND OF THE SHIPS AND GFDL GUIDANCE…AND REPRESENTS A DOWNWARD ADJUSTMENT FROM THE PREVIOUS PACKAGE. ALTHOUGH THERE IS STILL SOME CHANCE THAT ERNESTO COULD BECOME A HURRICANE BEFORE REACHING FLORIDA…THE LIKLIHOOD OF THIS IS DIMINISHING.
The only bad part about Ernesto potentially not living up to the hype is that some folks who don’t understand hurricanes, and the inherent uncertainty involved in forecasting them, will claim that it was patently ridiculous for anyone to ever be afraid of this thing in the first place. Which isn’t true. There was legitimate reason to believe that it could have posed a threat, and legitimate reason to put people on their guard. (Indeed, people should still be on their guard, from Florida to the Carolinas at least. It ain’t over till it’s over!) Sometimes, though, those fickle air molecules blow around in such a way that we luck out. When that happens, we shouldn’t gripe about hype; we should be grateful, and leave it at that.
P.S. Mark Sudduth at Hurricane Track sums things up well:
The way things look now, Ernesto will have a tough time surviving the night. Haiti first and then Cuba have both done a number on the inner core of the cyclone and without that engine running smoothly, it cannot rev up. This spells very good news for people in south Florida and possibly even farther north (the Carolinas). While we don’t want to ignore this storm, it does appear that it will be hard for Ernesto to make any kind of a significant run at becoming a hurricane. I tell you, if it weren’t for the Greater Antilles, the United States and Bahamas would be in bad shape from hurricanes that ran aground in the mountain nations. Still, we will need to be ready just in case Ernesto pulls some last minute intensity increase- better to be prepared than not. … Once clear of Florida, the storm should make its way in to the Carolinas though it is unlikely it will be a hurricane- but you never know.
Meanwhile, Alan Sullivan is looking ahead… way ahead:
I just ran the 16 day GFS model. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bad, projecting about six inches of rain for Norfolk this weekend, with ErnestoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s remnant moving slowly up the coast. It also shows another hurricane Ã¢â‚¬â€ a really big one Ã¢â‚¬â€ approaching the East Coast [in two weeks].
This is what he’s talking about:
Proto-Florence? Proto-Gordon? Proto-Helene?
Needless to say, this is ridiculously, indeed redonkulously speculative… sort of like giving a detailed breakdown of the offensive and defensive matchups in your anticipated Ohio State-West Virginia national title game, and a gametime weather forecast to boot. :) Still, it’s fun to look at the pretty colors on the map.
Last but not least, on a somewhat related note, Dr. Jeff Masters gives us an interesting and helpful lesson in what the various computer models are, how they work, etc.