Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tropical Depression FIVE Forms in Atlantic; Mexico Landfall Possible

Tropical Depression FIVE has formed in the Atlantic Ocean this afternoon, after a couple days of close monitoring by the National Hurricane Center.

Satellite imagery indicates strong convection ongoing in the center of the system, with outer convection beginning to show signs of wrapping around the center, indicating the presence of a center of circulation. Now that it has been classified as a depression, we will have to be looking for additional wrapping of convection around the center to see how strong the system is getting.

The track and intensity forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows TD-FIVE moving west-northwest into the Caribbean, in the process gaining tropical storm strength. This would make the system named Tropical Storm Ernesto. At that point, the track looks to try and take a more northwest turn, while strengthening into a hurricane at the end of the forecast point, which is about 5 days out.

Other model forecasts generally agree with the NHC's forecasts, but the members associated with the HWRF image appear less inclined to bring on hurricane strength to Ernesto. The FIM model, on the top, shows the track of Ernesto and how it is developed nearly into a hurricane. It will take a few days for more short range models like the HWRF/NAM to get this storm well into its timeframe, but for now it does appear that tropical storm strength is likely in the next day or two.
What is concerning is the FIM's landfall on Mexico. It is certainly possible, given how far south TD-FIVE is at the moment and its projected track by the NHC and HWRF members, but a landfall onto the Yucatan Peninsula could greatly affect countless tourists who go to enjoy the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula.


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