Tropical Storm Ernesto was the fifth named storm of the 2000 Atlantic hurricane season. It formed from a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on August 28. The wave developed into a tropical depression on September 1, while located well east of the Lesser Antilles. The depression became Tropical Storm Ernesto, and Ernesto peaked with 40 mph winds and a pressure of 1008 mb.
Ernesto caused no damage and no fatalities.
|Formation||September 1, 2000|
|Dissipation||September 3, 2000|
|Highest winds||40 mph|
|Lowest pressure||1008 mbar|
On August 28, a tropical wave exited the coast of Africa. The wave headed west-northwest across the Atlantic Ocean, and showed evidence of a weak low-level circulation as early as August 29, while it was located a few hundred nautical miles south of the Cape Verde Islands. By September 1, when the wave was located well east of the Lesser Antilles, there was sufficient convection and evidence of a low-level circulation center to classify the system as Tropical Depression Eight. After forming, the depression moved west-northwest at a foward speed of 12 to 15 knots from September 1 to September 3, under the influence of a westward building subtropical ridge to the north. The depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Ernesto at 0600 UTC on September 2, even though rather strong southerly vertical wind shear was evident. The shear was caused by an upper-level low northwest of Ernesto. The upper-level low moved westward as Ernesto advanced, and it continued to produce strong shearing winds aloft that prevented Ernesto from strengthening further. Ernesto lost its low-level circulation September 3, and dissipated while centered about 250 nautical miles northeast of the northern Leeward Islands.
The remnant clouds of Ernesto moved northward and merged with a frontal boundary in the North Atlantic Ocean over the next several days.
Satellite imagery was the only source of data available for both the intensity and position of Ernesto, aside from reports from a few drifting buoys. The classification of Ernesto being a tropical cyclone is uncertain, since on September 2, QuikSCAT showed an open wave, rather than a closed surface circulation that tropical cyclones have. However, visible satellite imagery contradicted this, as it clearly showed a tiny swirl of low clouds near the deep convection. Since Ernesto's foward motion was near 15 knots, it may very well have been an open wave, rather than a tropical cyclone. But because of lack of data, Ernesto was classified as a tropical cyclone.
Lack of Retirement
Because Ernesto impacted no land areas, the name was not retired in the Spring of 2001 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was used again in the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, and is on the list of names to be used for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.