Ernesto is now well inland. He has proven to be all but impossible to track as the models had him everywhere from Mexico to the “Big Bend” of Florida befire he struck Cuba, and subsequently, Southern Florida this evening.
Part of the fault lies in that a tropical storm can and does change centers of rotation which is what we use to determine not only the path, but the possible intensity.
After the calamities of Katrina, Rita, and Ivan, perhaps all of us are jumping a bit fast trying to predict the unpredictable.
Taking a deep breath, and a sigh of relief, many are fortunate tonight. The tropical conditions, upon initial reports, from Haiti and Cuba are nowhere near as bad as they could have been and have been in the past. Miami and the general southern Florida areas have experienced worse thunderstorms than the conditions they are facing now. Flooding, especially in the form of flash floods remain a very real and lethal threat from Ernesto, but catastrophic damage is not in the forecast.
Ernesto will emerge into the Atlantic, assuming he survives his visit to Florida, and could preset hurricane conditions to the Carolinas. At this point, I feel that we should wait and see.
Elsewhere we have a pair of waves in the Central Atlantic that could become something. One of the 300+ GFDL model runs again puts a little prize in the Gulf of Mexico within the next couple of weeks, but as we are seeing this season, the long term model runs are not verifying.
Of note, the Pacific Storm Ioke has a classic satellite formation and is one of the strongest storms I have seen. At one point sustained winds were 160mph, with gust up to 196mph. Wow. Super Typhoon Ioke appears to pose no threat to land.
I, like many others, feel great relief that Ernesto is about as minimal as he can be given the potential that lay before that storm. However, I urge you not to be lulled, as the SST’s in the GoM remain high, conditions for cyclonic activity are improving. We are in the middle of our hurricane season and still have a long way to go.