Sunday, August 27, 2006

Errnesto Surprises Hurricane Experts

"If anything in this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product"
-- Legend below the 'official unofficial' NHC computer spaghetti models forecasting storms
UPDATE BELOW
After several days of hand-wringing by internet storm-watchers over the possibility that soon-to-be Hurricane Ernesto looked like it was heading for the central Gulf Coast somewhere between Port Arthur, Texas, and Pensacola, the early Sunday morning forecast contains some dramatic surprises. The Hurricane Center says at 5 am EDT:
THE OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK HAS BEEN SHIFTED SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE RIGHT OR EAST OF THE PREVIOUS TRACK...ESPECIALLY AT 96 AND 120 HOURS..AND NOW TAKES ERNESTO ACROSS THE FLORIDA PENINSULA.

* * *
ALL OF THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL MODELS NOW AGREE ON RECURVATURE OVER THE EASTERN GULF OF MEXICO AROUND 96 HOURS...AND TAKE ERNESTO NORTHEASTWARD ACROSS THE CENTRAL OR NORTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA BY 120 HOURS.
Heads up Orlando!

While not quite out of the long-range forecast cone painted by various computer models, in less than 8 hours Pensacola has shifted from being on the far-eastern edge of the long-range warning cone to the far-western edge. Adding to the uncertainty is the unknowable effects on storm intensity if Ernesto has a significant or prolonged encounter with the mountainous regions of eastern and central Cuba.

This should be a humbling reminder that humankind has yet to get a grip over Mother Nature's intentions, much less how to change her mind.

UPDATE - SUNDAY 7:30 am CDT

Ernesto is officially a hurricane.

3 comments:

Bryan said...

The center of Ernesto has been shifting east and north every time a plane gets in it.

Apparently the wind shear, in addition to keeping the intensity down, has been "bumping" the center, which means that the models that were initialized on the old point are no longer valid.

The direction of the storm has been pretty consistent, but center of the storm keeps getting bumped like a top that hits an obstacle.

Good news for us.

Anonymous said...

Honestly though, this storm had been erratic and hard to predict. At various times during the week it's been projected to hit anywhere between Texas and Tampa. The intensity of a US landfall has been anywhere between a weak one and a strong three.

While I don't advise panic mode like a lot of folks seem to get into, I'd advise at the very least a lack of complaceny. Need I point everyone to Opal, that was headed towards New Orleans when we went to sleep, and Pensacola Beach when we woke up

Ramey said...

I'm guessing the storm will go out to sea after touching the tip of south Fla.