Tropical Depression 5 has turned into Tropical Storm Ernesto as expected. Ernesto’s track has also shifted slightly more to the south. This track will take it over the very warm waters and Ernesto should develop into a hurricane in the next few days. Below are the current models for Ernesto showing this track with somewhat unanimous agreement.
Tropical Depression #5 has formed in the Atlantic Ocean. According to computer models, it looks like this storm could form into Tropical Storm Ernesto and then Hurricane Ernesto. The strength of the storm will depend on the track it takes.
To the left is the projected cone from the National Hurricane Center. I’ve overlayed two lines. The yellow line shows a path the storm could take that would lessen its impact. That line covers numerous land masses and mountainous areas which would rip the storm apart and/or severely inhibit its ability to strengthen more. Should this storm follow the red line it will have nothing but warm waters to strengthen and develop into a hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center has a forecasted cone a little to the south of where I would draw my forecast cone. I would draw my cone more to the north covering the YELLOW line from above mostly. The high pressure that is sitting over Florida doesn’t seem to be strong enough to continue to keep Tropical Depression 5 that far south.
The small details keep changing, but models continue to indicate there will be some kind of tropical development off of Africa in the next few days. This continues to be a problem if it develops. In the following picture we have a model of 8/5/12 (the subimage is the same model in a different design). You can see the modeled storm next to the Lesser Antilles. With current model projections we have the storm following the BLUE line most likely. The RED arrow shows a blob of high pressure that the storm will go around. The problem lies if that orange blob shrinks slightly. If so, the storm would follow the WHITE line and make its way into the Gulf of Mexico. I should note however that this is all speculation since it’s a week out, but what should be taken from this is how easily a change in the atmosphere can alter whether a storm hits the US or not (or forms at all).
As the generally tropically quiet month of July comes to an end, there is an increasing threat of a tropical system rolling off the coast of Africa next week. Here’s a model run for Tuesday, July 31st, 2012. There is currently a very wide high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean which means if something forms, it will travel towards the direction of the USA.