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Tropical Storm Ernesto On August 5 2012
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Tropical Storm Ernesto On August 5, 2012

August 6, 2012
In early August, 2012 the fifth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season formed east of the Lesser Antilles. Starting as a low pressure area on July 30, the storm strengthened and was christened Tropical Storm Ernesto on August 2 at 5 p.m. EDT.

Earlier that same morning, at 10:20 EDT, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite passed over the region and captured this stunning true-color image of the strengthening storm as it was moving westward and approaching the Lesser Antilles. The spiraling arms of a strong storm are just beginning to form, with high clouds in the north, east and southern quadrants. Some of the clouds were so high that they cast shadows on the clouds below.

On August 3 at 7:00 a.m. EDT the NHC reported that Ernesto’s center passed over or near St. Lucia before speeding westward at 24 mph (29 km/h). Just one hour later, at 8:00 a.m. EDT, the storm’s maximum sustained winds were near 45 mph (75 km/h), and the storm had travelled 40 miles (65 km) west-southwest of St. Lucia. At 8:00 p.m. EDT, the NHC reported that the center of Tropical Storm Ernesto was moving towards the west near 18 mph (30 km/h), and the storm packed maximum sustain winds near 60 mph (95 km/h). The storm is predicted to continue the general motion with a decrease in forward speed over the next two days, and the potential to strengthen to a hurricane during the next 24 hours.

Tropical storm conditions are expected on Jamaica by the afternoon on August 5, and squalls should continue to affect the south coast of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola through August 4. Heavy rain, accumulating from 3-6 inches is expected in Jamaica, with heavy rains and thunderstorms in Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire.

Credits: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC