From 11 a.m.: Tropical Storm Ernesto is nearing hurricane strength, and is just 220 miles from making landfall on the Yucatan peninsula. However, rainbands and the outer circulation will be reaching land very shortly.
Landfall is expected to occur near midnight tonight as a Category 1 hurricane; the center should pass very close to Chetumal, Mexico, which is right on the Mexico/Belize border.
The mountainous topography in Belize and the southern Yucatan peninsula will enhance rainfall totals, perhaps producing up to a foot in certain locations, which will in turn result in mudslides and flash flooding.
Immediately along the coast (particularly to the north of the landfall location), storm surge could reach 4 feet above normal tidal levels.
Model guidance is in excellent agreement that the storm will track over the extreme southern Yucatan peninsula after landfall, enter the Bay of Campeche , then make a second landfall on mainland Mexico near Alvarado late Thursday night.
* Brian McNoldy is a senior tropical weather researcher at the University of Miami/Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. He is serving as a guest tropical weather blogger for the Capital Weather Gang.