RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Ernesto made landfall in Mexico's southern Yucatan Peninsula overnight after reaching Category One hurricane strength. Sustained winds were as high as 85 mph at landfall. Ernesto was downgraded back to a Tropical Storm as it moved farther inland over the Yucatan Peninsula overnight into early Wednesday morning, but remained just below hurricane strength with sustained winds as high as 70 mph. Hurricane-force winds are 74 mph.
Shortly before Hurricane Ernesto made landfall, an automated weather station on Banco Chinchorro Island, just off the coast of Mexico, reported a minimum pressure of 979.4 millibars. Over the last several hours, the center of Ernesto moved west over the southern Yucatan Peninsula, with the eye becoming a little less distinct in the radar imagery. The last couple of geostationary satellite pictures also indicate the cloud tops are warming, which is a signal of weakening intensity.
CLICK HERE to watch Ernesto in motion.
The history of the wind strength from Ernesto is shown on this map below as it developed in the Atlantic Ocean, crossed into the Caribbean in recent days, then intensified to hurricane strength in the northwestern Caribbean.
Ernesto may not be able to re-strengthen to a Category One hurricane once it barely moves back over the very warm southern Gulf of Mexico waters in the Bay of Campeche in the next couple of days. Ernesto should make its second and final landfall in the east-central Mexican coastline, then dissipate over inland central Mexico Friday.