Ernesto is now deepening again after a delay yesterday when its small, fragile core collapsed and allowed some dry air into the circulation, forcing Ernesto to rebuild from scratch. The pattern is very conducive in the western Caribbean for intensification, but Ernesto got a little too excited too fast, and had to reset. The pressure is now falling again, down to 988mb, and Ernesto should easily attain hurricane-force winds before landfall near Chetumel, Mexico late tonight. Ernesto’s core is still small, but his spiral bands expanded yesterday and have broadened the wind field of the storm as a whole, so a large area of rain and TS-force winds will be slamming Mexico and Belize as the center comes ashore. Ernesto will be weakened by the crossing of the Yucatan, but will likely restrengthen some on the other side in the Bay of Campeche, possibly back to hurricane strength if it moves far enough north to get more time over water. However, the 2nd landfall will occur relatively quickly, not allowing much time for intensification. This will be a classic double hit for Mexico, with flooding rains probably being a bigger problem for them than the winds.
In the rest of the Atlantic, we have ex-Florence and Invest 92L in the central Atlantic. The models are not excited about either system, and develop nothing in the Atlantic during the next 10 days. The GFS and CMC hint that the Gulf of Mexico will remain somewhat active after Ernesto leaves, with upper ridging and some low-level disturbances possibly making some noise during the next 8 days, but right now no immediate or significant threats are apparent.
The MJO is forecasted to move deeply into phases 1 and 2 over the next two weeks, supporting an active Atlantic overall, and the GFS has been bullish on many Cape Verde waves that it has moving off of Africa during that time. As promised pre-season, the African wave train is strong this year, but will have trouble generating storms in the deep tropics, and these waves are more likely to develop after they get north of 20N and farther west. We will have to watch for some of these to sneak up on us closer to our back yard. Overall, there are no immediate development threats after Ernesto leaves.
We shall see what happens!