Tropical Storm Ernesto. Sunday Aug 5, 2012.
Tropical Storm Ernesto continues to struggle to gain strength as he races westward across the Caribbean. First he battled wind shear and now he is ingesting dry air into his core at the low-mid levels of the atmosphere. The forecast models remain split on his future as far as strengthening into a Hurricane is concerned. Some of the models call for rapid intensification within a day or so, while others keep Ernesto much weaker until he crosses the Yucatan Peninsula and enters the Gulf of Mexico next week.
Tropical Storm Ernesto was located about 215 miles south-southeast of Kinston, Jamaica at 6 AM MDT this morning. His sustained winds have decreased a little since yesterday and now are down to 50 mph with gusts near 65 mph. His central pressure has risen up to 29.71" or 1006 millibars. Ernesto continues to race westward at 22 mph.
Once (if) Ernesto emerges into the Gulf of Mexico next week he will have ample opportunity to strengthen, possibly into a Major Hurricane. Hurricanes need warm waters to survive and the Gulf of Mexico is very warm. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf are ranging from the mid 80's to 90-degrees.
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