Ernesto Downgraded to Tropical Storm, but Expected to Regain Strength
Hurricane Ernesto made landfall on the southern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula late in the evening on Tuesday, August 7. The Category 1 hurricane brought heavy rains and winds, but weakened as it moved across land. Due to this weakening, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami downgraded Ernesto to a tropical storm at 5 AM EDT (0900 UTC) Wednesday morning.
Radio amateurs with WX4NHC -- the Amateur Radio station at the NHC -- as well as the VoIP Hurricane Net and the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated on August 7 in anticipation of the storm. The NHC was quick to praise those radio amateurs who sent reports, saying that “[r]ecent reports from ham radio operators indicate storm surge flooding of more than 2 feet has occurred on Ambergris Caye Island, Belize.” All three services have since stood down, although if Ernesto regains intensity and reaches hurricane strength again as predicted, they will reactivate.
Additional weakening is expected as Ernesto moves over land on Wednesday morning. NHC forecasters are predicting that Ernesto will continue to move across the southern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula on Wednesday and emerge over the Bay of Campeche in the afternoon. Ernesto should move across the southern portion of the Bay of Campeche on Wednesday night and approach the coast of Mexico. The NHC expects that Ernesto will gain strength after its center emerges over the Bay of Campeche and could once again regain hurricane strength before making landfall on Thursday.