Written by Michelle Palmer, Deputy State Meteorologist, FDEM Sunday, 05 August 2012 08:53
As of 8am EDT Sunday, Tropical Storm Ernesto was located 215 miles south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, or about 850 miles southeast of Miami, Florida.
TS Ernesto is currently moving rapidly to the west at 22 mph and this general motion is expected to continue through tonight with a decrease in forward speed. A gradual turn toward the west-northwest is expected by Monday and Ernesto is expected to pass south of Jamaica today and move north of the northeastern coast of Honduras Monday and Monday night.
The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center and computer models remain in agreement through the next three days, taking Ernesto through the central and western Caribbean towards Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula through Tuesday night. After that time, models show Ernesto emerging into the Bay of Campeche and the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and begin to diverge on the eventual path of the storm.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 50 mph due to intrusion of dry air to the south of Ernesto and slightly increasing wind shear surrounding the storm.
Despite these features, Ernesto is forecast to slowly strengthen through the next couple of days and may become a hurricane before it is forecast to make landfall in Central America or Mexico by mid week.
Computer models are in large disagreement on the intensity forecast for Tropical Storm Ernesto, but the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center suggests that the storm will weaken as it crosses the Yucatan but has the possibility to restrengthen into a hurricane once it emerges into the Gulf of Mexico by the end of this week.
There are no watches or warnings in effect for the United States and no part of Florida is within the 5 day error cone.
Further east, Tropical Storm Florence was located about 680 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands.
Florence is moving toward the west-northwest at 15 mph and a turn toward the west is forecast to occur within the next 24 hours as the storm is steered around the southern edge of a large high pressure system over the central Atlantic.
The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center takes Florence in a general west to west-northwest direction over the next few days before curving it to the north of the Leeward Islands later this week.
Florence appears to have become better organized and maximum sustained winds are now at 60 mph.
Significant strengthening throughout Florence’s lifetime is not expected due to a relatively stable air mass, dry air, and increasing wind shear within its path. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center keeps Florence at tropical storm strength through mid week before strong wind shear causes the storm to weaken by Thursday or Friday and potentially causes the Florence to lose tropical characteristics.
More information on Ernesto and Florence can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov.
Click here to view storm related graphics. Another update will be issued Sunday evening.
Deputy State Meteorologist
Florida Division of Emergency Management
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