Tropical Storm Ernesto strengthens in the Caribbean - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Tropical Storm Ernesto strengthens in the Caribbean

Forecast track as of 4 PM Saturday afternoon Forecast track as of 4 PM Saturday afternoon
Various computer models that predict where Ernesto may move Various computer models that predict where Ernesto may move

As of 4 PM Saturday afternoon, Tropical Storm Ernesto had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, slightly higher than the 50 mph reported at the 10 AM advisory. Minimum pressure was 1003 mb, and movement was to the west at 18 mph.

The forecast track from the National Hurricane Center remains nearly unchanged from the earlier advisory. They still expect Ernesto to slowly strengthen into a category one hurricane by Monday morning. An eventual landfall along the Yucatan Peninsula is then forecasted for Wednesday afternoon.

By Thursday afternoon, Ernesto is forecasted to reemerge in the southwest Gulf of Mexico as a strong tropical storm.

As we commonly see, there are a lot of discrepancies between computer models on the eventual track and intensity of Ernesto, especially in the long term forecast. There are a few reasons for this.

Nearly all the reliable computer models show Ernesto weakening as it continues west across the Caribbean. Two of the most reliable computer models depict a weak Tropical Storm or Tropical Depression moving west into the Yucatan Peninsula, and eventually dissipating along the Mexican gulf coast.

This scenario is entirely possible, as a large amount of dry air exists in the western Caribbean, and this would act to disrupt this system. A weaker Ernesto would take a more southerly path, and would provide the Pine Belt with little impact.

Now, a few other less reliable models show a stronger Ernesto through the next five days. If this storm is able to battle off the dry air, and continue to strengthen, a more northerly path is possible. This would put the northern Gulf of Mexico into play.

While both of these solutions are possible, the track to the south of the Pine Belt is generally more agreed upon.

We need to continue to watch this storm, as this track is not set in stone!

You can take a look at the computer models, and several other hurricane graphics, for yourself over at the hurricane center portion of our website.

http://www.wdam.com/category/102219/hurricane-center

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