Is now a hurricane.
KINGSTON, Jamaica - Ernesto became the first hurricane of the Atlantic season Sunday with winds of 75 mph, and forecasters said it would strengthen as it headed toward the Gulf of Mexico, where it could menace a wide swath of coastline including New Orleans.The 3-day forecasted track puts Ernesto's middle line to the west of Key West but Southeastern Florida is within the cone. So TFM and other South Florida bloggers will be following this storm over the days ahead.
The storm could grow into a Category 3 hurricane by Thursday, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Category 3 Hurricane Katrina struck the city a year ago Tuesday.
"It's over nice warm Caribbean waters, and far enough off the coast of Haiti that it is still strengthening now," said Ron Goodman, a forecaster at the center.
The storm, moving northwest at 10 mph, was projected to make landfall in Haiti on Sunday afternoon, dropping heavy rain that could cause deadly mudslides in the heavily deforested country. Ernesto was expected to cross west-central Cuba on Tuesday night before continuing into the Gulf of Mexico.
"There will be probably be a restrengthening after it leaves the Cuban coast to a Category 2, and Wednesday night it will be west of Fort Myers as Category 3. That's the current thinking," Goodman said.
Ernesto was expected to bring rain and wind to southern Florida by early Tuesday, and the hurricane center encouraged the Florida Keys to monitor the storm. It was projected to strengthen off western Florida on Wednesday but the location of any U.S. landfall was unclear.
This discussion at the National hurricane center got my attention.
NOW FOR THE REST OF THE BAD NEWS...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. THE CONSENSUS OF THE
AVAILABLE MODEL GUIDANCE NOW INDICATES THAT A STRONG SHORTWAVE
TROUGH CURRENTLY OVER THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ROCKIES WILL DIG
EAST-SOUTHEASTWARD INTO THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO...
CAUSING THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE SITUATED OVER FLORIDA AND THE
SOUTHEASTERN U.S. TO GRADUALLY ERODE EASTWARD. THE GFS AND NOGAPS
MODELS APPEAR TO BE ERODING THE RIDGE TO QUICKLY AND HAVE ERNESTO
OVER SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA IN 84 HOURS. THE REST OF THE MODEL
GUIDANCE TAKES THE CYCLONE FARTHER WESTWARD OVER OR WEST OF THE
LOWER FLORIDA KEYS.
Hurricane season might not be so quiet anymore.
11 a.m. Update- The new 3-day map has Ernesto's track shifted eastward, Palm Beach County is now in the cone.
Note to any Florida Bloggers- If you're following Ernesto also, feel free to link to me and send a trackback. I'll update my post with a link back to you.
Linked to- Bright & Early, Basil's Blog,