Ernesto becomes a Hurricane
Posted by Brent Cameron
Ernesto was a moderate to strong Tropical Storm while cruising across the Caribbean over recent days. Now, prior to landfall, it has become the season's second Hurricane. As of this writing, Ernesto is offshore from the Yucatan Peninsula. Flooding along with mudslides will be among serious concerns as the system moves inland, into Wednesday. The core of the Hurricane is relatively small (hurricane force winds extend outward about 35 miles) but tropical storm force winds extend out almost 150 miles. Rainfall amounts will range greatly: generally from 4 to 8 inches (but up to 12 inches possible in isolated spots). We'll see how much "punch" Ernesto loses over land during the day, on Wednesday. Mexico will then watch for a possible second strike, on the Mainland, a couple days from now.
Ernesto is the one and only system that's classified in the tropics at this point. Later this week, there's a slight chance of another feature organizing. A couple tropical waves in the distant Atlantic have existing low pressure... but conditions are not favorable for rapid development.
Locally, tropical moisture has been thinning out. With drier air in place it will be difficult to find much rain around. Chances for showers remain low over the next couple days... with some lingering haze. Another push of deeper moisture is expected to arrive prior to the weekend. If that happens, we'll probably see the familiar daytime storms popping-up again.
By the way, since our pattern consists of an onshore air flow, there's an ongoing threat for rip currents at all Atlantic beaches.