Hurricane Ernesto (2012)

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Hurricane Ernesto
Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Ernesto Aug 7 2012 1920Z.jpg
Hurricane Ernesto as a category 1 on August 7, 2012.
Formed August 1, 2012
Dissipated August 10, 2012
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 160 km/h (100 mph)
Lowest pressure 973 mbar (hPa); 28.73 inHg
Fatalities 7 direct, 5 indirect
Damage $252.2 million (2012 USD)
Areas affected Windward Islands, Jamaica, Central America, Mexico
Part of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Ernesto was a Category 2 hurricane and damaging tropical cyclone that affected several Caribbean Islands and areas of Central America during August 2012. The fifth named storm and second hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Ernesto originated from a tropical wave that emerged off the west coast of Africa in late July. Moving westward, the system developed into a tropical depression in the central Atlantic, and further into a tropical storm prior to entering the Caribbean Sea. The system encountered high wind shear south of Jamaica but subsequently reached its peak intensity as a Category 2 hurricane as it made landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula. Ernesto briefly emerged in the Bay of Campeche as a strong tropical storm before dissipating over the mountainous terrain of Mexico. The remnant circulation emerged in the eastern Pacific basin, contributing to the formation of Tropical Storm Hector.

Following the formation of the system, tropical storm watches and warnings were issued for the Windward Islands. Hurricane watches and warnings were extended for nearby Caribbean Islands in the days following as Ernesto trekked across the central Caribbean Sea. Evacuations were performed in low-lying areas on the Yucatán Peninsula and cruise ship departures were cancelled.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map showing the path of the storm; the points indicate the storm's position and intensity at six-hour intervals, and is colored using the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale.

On July 27, the precursor to Ernesto moved off the west coast of Africa as a tropical wave. At the time, the wave was associated with a disorganized area of convection. On July 29, a broad low pressure area developed in association with the tropical wave.[1] The National Hurricane Center (NHC) first monitored the tropical wave in its tropical weather outlook on July 30, noting that the system had an accompanying low pressure area and was showing signs of development.[2] The convection slowly organized due to generally favorable environmental conditions.[3] After the circulation became better defined, the NHC initiated advisories on Tropical Depression Five at 2100 UTC on August 1. At the time, the depression was located about 810 mi (1305 km) east of the Lesser Antilles, moving west-northwestward due to an anticyclone to its north.[4] In the 12 hours after its formation, the system's convection became disorganized due to westerly wind shear and dry air, and the NHC remarked the potential for degeneration into a tropical wave.[5] However, the depression's rainbands began to strengthen and become more organized.[1] A Hurricane Hunters flight on August 2 observed tropical storm force winds, and accordingly the NHC upgraded the depression to Tropical Storm Ernesto at 2100 UTC.[6]

After becoming a tropical storm, Ernesto initially had difficulty maintaining convection near the center, and its rapid westward movement prevented significant organization.[7] At around 1200 UTC on August 3, the storm moved over or very near Saint Lucia,[8] and radar imagery observed a well-defined circulation moving by the island.[9] Wind shear gradually decreased over the storm, allowing for outflow to increase in its western portion. There were disparities among tropical cyclone forecast models over the future of Ernesto; some anticipated significant intensification due to warm waters and low shear, whereas others forecast the storm to remain a minimal storm or even weaken.[10] Although the satellite appearance was well-organized, a Hurricane Hunters flight on August 4 observed a disorganized structure,[11] and early the next day the circulation became exposed to the northwest of the convection;[12] the weakening was possibly due to dry air and some mid-level shear, despite otherwise favorable conditions.[13] On August 5, the storm passed south of Jamaica.[14] Early on August 6, convection redeveloped over the center after Ernesto slowed its westward movement,[15] and decreasing wind shear allowed for restrengthening.[16] Late on August 7, Ernesto intensified into a hurricane to the north of Honduras.[17]

While approaching the Yucatán Peninsula, Ernesto quickly intensified, developing a well-defined eye. Early on August 8, the hurricane moved over Banco Chinchorro offshore extreme eastern Mexico as a strong Category 1 storm,[18] then strengthened further into a Category 2 hurricane before making its mainland landfall on Mahahual, Quintana Roo, at around 10:15 p.m. CDT (0315 UTC), with winds of 100 mph (160 km/h). The 85-kt estimated landfall and peak intensity of Ernesto is based on a blend of Dvorak intensity estimates of 77 and 90 kt from 0000 UTC and 0300 UTC 8 August 2012, respectively; the 90-kt Dvorak estimate at landfall was performed by TAFB during the post-storm analysis. The improved structure and continued intensification of Ernesto through landfall is also supported by two minimum pressure observations in Mexico. An automated observing site on the Banco Chinchorro Islands reported a minimum pressure of 979.4 mb (Table 2) at 0100 UTC 8 August as the center passed over the area. This was 5 mb lower than the minimum pressure reported by reconnaissance aircraft 8 h earlier. A storm chaser located inland near Buena Vista, Mexico, reported a minimum pressure of 975.0 mb (Table 2) at 0534 UTC while still experiencing strong winds. Based on these data, the estimated minimum pressure at landfall is 973 mb. Ernesto later weakened to tropical storm status after its convection weakened over land.[19] It reemerged over the Bay of Campeche, and intensified into a strong tropical storm.[20] The system moved inland across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec on the afternoon of August 9,[21] and into southern Mexico before dissipating as a tropical cyclone on August 10.[22] The remnants later contributed to the development of Tropical Storm Hector in the Eastern Pacific on August 11.[23][24]

Preparations and impact[edit]

Caribbean[edit]

Effects of Hurricane Ernesto in Cuenca del Papaloapan, Oaxaca

When Ernesto first formed, a tropical storm watch was issued for Barbados, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Martinique, and Guadeloupe.[25] All of the watches were upgraded to a warning after Ernesto intensified into a tropical storm.[26] While moving through the Lesser Antilles, Ernesto produced wind gusts of 63 mph (101 km/h) on Saint Lucia and sustained winds of 43 mph (69 km/h) in Barbados.[8] Due to the storm, the airport in Dominica closed for two days, and ferry service between Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and Saint Lucia was canceled. On Saint Lucia, officials ordered businesses to close early. No damage was reported in the Lesser Antilles.[27]

Rainfall totals from Hurricane Ernesto in Puerto Rico

At 1200 UTC on August 4, the government of Jamaica issued an island-wide tropical storm watch,[28] which was upgraded to a warning only three hours later.[29] Officials ordered fishermen on outlying islands to evacuate to the mainland.[30] A tropical storm watch was issued for the Cayman Islands.[31]

Before Ernesto passed south of Jamaica, the government of Honduras issued a tropical storm watch from its border with Nicaragua to Punta Castilla.[14] Portions of the watch area were upgraded to a tropical storm warning on August 6, around the same time that the Mexican government issued a hurricane and tropical storm watch for portions of the Yucatán Peninsula.[32] After Ernesto began quickly intensifying, however, the Mexican government upgraded the watch to a hurricane warning from Chetumal to Punta Allen along the peninsula and a tropical storm warning northward to Tulum. At the same time, the government of Belize issued a hurricane watch for its coastline.[33]

Mexico[edit]

Losses by State
State Fatalities Damage Source
MX$ US$
Campeche 0 92.7 million 7.2 million [34]
Chiapas 0 664 million 51.9 million [34]
Guerrero 5 70 million 5.4 million [35][36]
Oaxaca 0 1.044 billion 81.6 million [37]
Tabasco 2 121.1 million 9.5 million [34]
Quintana Roo 0 163 million 12.7 million [38]
Veracruz 5 985.8 million 77 million [34]
Yucatán 0 88.3 million 6.9 million [34]
Total 12 3.9 billion 252.2 million

Authorities in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo were moving more than 1,300 tourists from resorts in Mahuahal and other spots to Chetumal, a bayside city that was expected to see less rain and wind than the coast. Two cruises ships scheduled to dock on the Riviera Maya put off their arrival. In the city of Tulum, some 6,000 tourists were sheltering in hotels that authorities said were strong enough to qualify as storm shelters. Authorities also prepared two kindergartens as shelters that can hold up to 220 people. Soldiers and police were moving 600 residents from the fishing village of Punta Allen in Quintana Roo and began preparing for the evacuation of residents from other low-lying coastal settlements.[39] Mexico closed its three major oil export ports in the Gulf of Mexico - Coatzacoalcos, Cayos Arcas and Dos Bocas. Almost all of the country's crude oil exports are shipped to refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States from the three ports. Authorities expected them to be back in operation by 9 August.[40]

In Tabasco, heavy rains from the storm triggered flooding that killed two fishermen and damaged 100 homes.[41] Three members of a family were killed when a tree fell on their pick-up truck of Río Blanco, Veracruz. Also in the state of Veracruz, a teenage girl died after her car got dragged in a current, and a 62-year-old man was killed by a lightning strike.[42]

United States[edit]

In the United States, authorities in the Florida Panhandle and Alabama warned swimmers of potentially dangerous rip currents that will affect the coast for a few days. At least ten people were rescued in Pensacola Beach on 9 August alone. A man was injured in a lightning strike, and part of a store was washed away in Pensacola Beach on 10 August.[43][44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Daniel Brown (December 6, 2012). Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Ernesto (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL052012_Ernesto.pdf. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
  2. ^ Stacy Stewart (July 30, 2012). Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/gtwo/atl/201207300552/index.php?basin=atl&current_issuance=201207300552. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  3. ^ Todd Kimberlain (July 31, 2012). Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/gtwo/atl/201207311733/index.php?basin=atl&current_issuance=201207311733. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  4. ^ Richard Pasch; Eric Blake (August 1, 2012). Tropical Depression Five Discussion Number 1 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.001.shtml?. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  5. ^ Todd Kimberlain; Lixion Avila (August 2, 2012). Tropical Depression Five Discussion Number 3 (Report). http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.003.shtml?. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  6. ^ Richard Pasch (August 2, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 5 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.005.shtml?. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  7. ^ Michael Brennan (August 3, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 7 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.007.shtml?. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  8. ^ a b Lixion Avila (August 3, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Intermediate Advisory Number 7-A (Report). http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public_a.007.shtml?. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Lixion Avila (August 3, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 8 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.008.shtml?. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  10. ^ Jack Beven (August 4, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 10 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.010.shtml?. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  11. ^ Lixion Avila (August 4, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 12 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.012.shtml?. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  12. ^ Jack Beven (August 5, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 14 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.014.shtml?. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  13. ^ Michael Brennan (August 5, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 15 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.015.shtml?. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Michael Brennan (August 5, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Advisory Number 15 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.015.shtml?. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  15. ^ Stacy Stewart (August 6, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 18 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.018.shtml?. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  16. ^ Richard Pasch (August 6, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 20 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.020.shtml?. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  17. ^ Richard Pasch (August 7, 2012). Hurricane Ernesto Special Discussion Number 25 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.025.shtml?. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  18. ^ Stacy Stewart (August 8, 2012). Hurricane Ernesto Discussion Number 27 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.027.shtml?. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  19. ^ Daniel Brown (August 8, 2012). Hurricane Ernesto Discussion Number 28 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.discus.028.shtml?. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
  20. ^ "Tropical Storm Ernesto Discussion Number 32". 
  21. ^ Avila, Lixion (August 9, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Advisory Number 34 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.034.shtml?. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  22. ^ Avila, Lixion (August 10, 2012). Tropical Depression Ernesto Advisory Number 37 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.037.shtml?. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  23. ^ Avila, Lixion (August 10, 2012). Tropical Weather Outlook (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/text/TWOEP/2012/TWOEP.201208101139.txt. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  24. ^ Lixion Avila (August 11, 2012). "Tropical Depression Eight-E Public Advisory Number 1". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  25. ^ Richard Pasch (August 1, 2012). Tropical Depression Five Advisory Number 1 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.001.shtml?. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  26. ^ Richard Pasch; Eric Blake (August 2, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Advisory Number 5 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.005.shtml?. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  27. ^ "Tropical Storm Ernesto strengthens over Carribean". CBS News. Associated Press. August 3, 2012. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  28. ^ Lixion Avila (August 4, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Tropical Cyclone Update (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.update.08041134.shtml?. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  29. ^ Lixion Avila (August 2, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Advisory Number 12 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.012.shtml?. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  30. ^ "Tropical storm Ernesto brings heavy rain to Jamaica". The Canadian Press. Associated Press. August 5, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  31. ^ Eric Pasch; Dave Roberts (August 5, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Advisory Number 16 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.016.shtml?. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  32. ^ Michael Brennan (August 6, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Advisory Number 19 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.019.shtml?. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  33. ^ Richard Pasch (August 6, 2012). Tropical Storm Ernesto Advisory Number 20 (Report). National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2012/al05/al052012.public.020.shtml?. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  34. ^ a b c d e (Spanish) "Casi mil millones para daños de 'Ernesto' en el campo". Los Tuxtlas Diario. August 20, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  35. ^ (Spanish) "Huracán "Ernesto" deja 12 muertos en México". Efe-Milenio/KMM. teleSUR. August 11, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  36. ^ (Spanish) "Solicita Guerrero 70 millones de pesos para reconstruir daños por huracán "Ernesto"". SN Digital. September 7, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  37. ^ (Spanish) "El estado de Oaxaca solicita 1,044.6 millones de pesos al FONDEN, para atender los daños en los 134 municipios declarados en Desastre por el paso del Huracán "Ernesto"". Government of Mexico. ReliefWeb. September 26, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  38. ^ (Spanish) Oscar Arce (September 13, 2012). "Pagarán 163 mdp por daños de Ernesto". Diario Respuesta. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Ernesto becomes hurricane off coast of Honduras, heads for landfall at Mexico’s Yucatan". Washington Post. August 7, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  40. ^ "CORRECTED-(Official)-UPDATE 3-Ernesto weakens over southern Mexico, churns toward Gulf". Reuters. August 8, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  41. ^ Ioan Grillo, Krista Hughes, Lizbeth Diaz, and Luis Manuel Lopez (August 9, 2012). "Tropical storm Ernesto skirts Mexican Gulf coast, kills two". Reuters. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Ernesto kills 7 before weakening in Mexico; forecasters warn of threat of dangerous rain". Washington Post. August 10, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  43. ^ "Panhandle Beaches Brace for Ernesto's Waves". WTVY. August 10, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Ernesto, thunderstorms cause dangerous conditions on Gulf Coast". AL.com. August 10, 2012. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]