High wind shear disrupts Emily as it approaches Hispaniola

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:06 PM GMT on August 03, 2011

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In defiance to its forecast, Tropical Storm Emily continues to move due west this morning, and we wonder just how far west it will get before turning toward Hispaniola. Recent Hurricane Hunter missions have shown that Emily is still very poorly organized, and although the center of circulation is plainly obvious on satellite imagery, it's only because it is so displaced from the thunderstorm activity. Wind shear around the storm is just high enough, around 20 knots out of the west, to push the upper levels of circulation and thunderstorm activity to the east, exposing the surface low. In order for tropical cyclones to intensify (or, continue to exist at all), they need to be vertically stacked and standing straight up in the atmosphere. Right now, Emily is tilting to the east. This is bad news for the organization of the storm, and something that Emily will have to work hard at recovering from. In addition to the wind shear, dry air continues to wrap around the north and west of the storm. This isn't as critical as unfavorable wind shear, but it's not helping to create new thunderstorm activity. The strongest winds of 50 mph were found to the north and east of the center this morning, and Emily is not expected to intensify before making landfall in Hispaniola, which is forecast for tonight. The HWRF is forecasting the strongest precipitation to fall on the northeast side of the storm as is passes over Hispaniola. This is relatively good news for Haiti, but the country could still receive up to 5 inches of rain, and since the models have been trending the track west over the past couple of runs, it's something to watch closely. No matter the scenario, Emily is expected to produce heavy rains, flash flooding, and mudslides in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which are all to common on the mountainous island.


Figure 1. Forecast precipitation accumulation from the HWRF high resolution model's 6Z (2am EDT) run. The color contour scale is in inches. The coastlines are a thin, red line. The Dominican Republic is expected to get the most rain out of Emily. You can view the HWRF model runs on Wundermap.

Forecast for Tropical Storm Emily
The future of Emily remains uncertain, and even the National Hurricane Center is using the "if" word when forecasting Emily's track after crossing Hispaniola. "If" it makes it north of Hispaniola. Over the past couple of runs, the models have been trending their forecast tracks back to the west, most likely because Emily has remained on a westward track longer than expected. This is expected—the longer Emily remains shallow and unorganized, the longer it will track west. It will need to build up taller in the atmosphere to be influenced by the steering winds that can push it north. Given its westward track, today's models are likely closer to reality than what we've seen in the past couple of days. This morning, the CMC, UKMET, and HWRF models send Emily on a northwest track to Florida. This is a change from the past couple of days for the HWRF, but the CMC and UKMET have consistently been the western boundary of model consensus. THE GFDL has also taken a huge swing to the west, and now suggests it will come very close to a southeast Florida landfall. The ECMWF and GFS continue to forecast that Emily will take a harder turn north through the Bahamas, not reaching the Florida coast.


Figure 2. Satellite image of Tropical Storm Emily at 11:15am EDT. The surface circulation is visible to the west of the strongest thunderstorm activity.

Consensus of the models falls between the HWRF/GFDL solution and the ECMWF/GFS solution, and the National Hurricane Center continues to use the consensus for the official track forecast, which calls for Emily to take a turn to the northwest and make landfall in Hispaniola this afternoon, after which continuing northwest until Saturday morning when it's between the island of Grand Bahama and West Palm Beach, Florida. At this point, they expect the storm to jog north and then northeast.

Emily's intensity forecast continues highly dependent on the track it takes. Assuming it can survive the wrath of Hispaniola, Emily will enter slightly more favorable environmental conditions to the north of the islands. This is what the Hurricane Center is forecasting, although they remain cautious. There is a very good chance that, if Emily does turn northwest today, it will not be able to reorganize after crossing Hispaniola. If it does maintain organization, Emily could reach hurricane strength as it moves northeast out to the open Atlantic. The other scenario at this point is that the storm keeps moving west, which will be detrimental to its orgnization. The models that track Emily into the far eastern Gulf of Mexico don't suggest any reintensification—the CMC fizzles the system below tropical storm strength quickly, probably because of the long track over Cuba it would have to take. In any case, Emily remains a threat most certainly to Hispaniola, and potentially to Florida.

I'm planning a quick update later this afternoon/evening for an update on new model runs, and potential Hispaniola landfall.

Angela

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Quoting DestinJeff:


Yeah reed. Indeed, it was your product that forced authorities to make the tough call.

Albeit, there was some concern over the lack of a Continent of Uncertainty ... only a single track forecast.


It's just my thinking after looking at the trends and maps.. It could easily go over Cuba if it continues it's westward motion. Glad you're still on here, we need some humor to the blog when it gets tight in here with all the trolls and stuff.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Emily looks like she is going to go across the thinnest portion of Hispaniola. For now, it looks like she may be avoiding the long track across the high terrain. A persistent westward motion is helping her out with every passing minute.

I agree completely. Although there is some high terrain located within that 'mini-peninsula', I don't think it'll be enough to weaken Emily more than 5-10 knots.

Hispaola terrain
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Quoting msgambler:
Trying to stay out of trouble with the wife. C'mon tell the truth now.....LOL

Precisely!
I NEVER deny that.
(I woul'nt dare...)

heheheheh
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1004.9 mb
(~ 29.67 inHg)
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Emily looks like she is going to go across the thinnest portion of Hispaniola. For now, it looks like she may be avoiding the long track across the high terrain. A persistent westward motion is helping her out with every passing minute.





This hypothesis may be out on a limb, but does anyone reckon the geography and curvature of Hispaniola may be helping to strengthen and define Emily's vortex by enhancing lift?
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Dominican Republic webcam
Link
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all i can say is north carolina and virginia beware
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Still seems to be on a ~280 track. Should be interesting to see where see makes landfall tonight.
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WAIT is this true modles are predicting a strong storm closer to FL say it aint so im going on vacation there
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Quoting JupiterFL:


That looks about right to me Grothar.


Thanks, Jup, I do my best.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
Lucreto is just being a jerk, trying to start trouble. Don't feed his/her appetite for attention. That's what the main goal is for the immature and trouble makers. They just want to get negative attention and ruin other peoples day. Don't give in!


Jedkins is correct. I have had Lucreto on my ignore list since yesterday, and thanks to all of the requotes, I still have to see his insane remarks. Ignore is a great feature on this blog.
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44 knots
(~ 50.6 mph)
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301. GoWVU
Quoting Bluestorm5:
US East Coast will not be off the hook until this system disappears. It will be very close call for Florida/Carolinas... and to make it worse, models are predicting stronger storm than they first predicted.


The folks I work with keep saying it is nothing for us here in Charleston. But I disagree, this storm has a mind of its own, no matter what the forecasters think.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Blog,

As it becomes more clear that Emily may indeed have her winds affect the coastal region of FL early next week, the Boys on the Board over at DOOM:CON have so ordered the DOOM:CON be raised (or is that lowered?) to Level 2.

"DOOM:CON LEVEL 2"

Imagery analysis from the DOOM:CON Earth Orbiting Space Satellite reveals that DOOM is indeed possible, as many locations will be experiencing gusty conditions on or near Trash Day. The carnage may be unavoidable if actions are not taken immediately to prevent Can Blow-Over.

img style="width: 500px; max-width: 501px;" CON Satellite image shows lots of reds and yellows and greens, which can only mean DOOM.


Please note, as of now we are not all DOOM, but the increasing liklihood of such requires elevation (or is that delevation?) of the DOOM:CON level.

Be advised, and remember the DOOM:CON Mantra:

BE AND/OR STAY SAFE!!!!


::rolls eyes:: revising the da*m list of things to do again.
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Quoting pottery:

Thanks..
Treading carefully LOL!
Trying to stay out of trouble with the wife. C'mon tell the truth now.....LOL
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gfs first model run on emily (while invest) had here directly over s. fl.? maybe headed that way again
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DestinJeff...

Thank you for the DOOM:CON update. I had foolishly forgotten that Saturday morning is trash pick up. Perhaps another factor to consider is that it is also recycling pickup and yard waste pickup day. Thanks for the update!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The NHC has Emily moving northwest immediatly. Do you really think that's plausible considering it's moving around 272˚ right now?


I hate when they do that. The current motion will almost always continue for at least an hour. But they ignore it just to keep with the last model runs, or to hold on to their previous forecast... Too lazy to update the track map more than a little? I don't know why they do it.
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Quoting Grothar:


That looks about right to me Grothar.
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292. viman
Quoting robj144:


Can you site some? Off the top of my head, I don't remember any.

OMAR did, heading NE out of the Caribbean Sea...
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If you read the 2PM, it says it will cross Cabo Beata in the DR... Cabo Beata is that point of land poking out of the bottom of the DR... so it will "just" clip the DR in their thinking then over to the lower peninsula of Haiti... so, yup, they will adjust and are hedging their bets... but the mountains in the path of Emily's LLC will be on the southern Haiti peninsula at most...
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Emily looks like she is going to go across the thinnest portion of Hispaniola. For now, it looks like she may be avoiding the long track across the high terrain. A persistent westward motion is helping her out with every passing minute.

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Quoting DestinJeff:
Blog,

As it becomes more clear that Emily may indeed have her winds affect the coastal region of FL early next week, the Boys on the Board over at DOOM:CON have so ordered the DOOM:CON be raised (or is that lowered?) to Level 2.

"DOOM:CON LEVEL 2"

Imagery analysis from the DOOM:CON Earth Orbiting Space Satellite reveals that DOOM is indeed possible, as many locations will be experiencing gusty conditions on or near Trash Day. The carnage may be unavoidable if actions are not taken immediately to prevent Can Blow-Over.


DOOM:CON Satellite image shows lots of reds and yellows and greens, which can only mean DOOM.


Please note, as of now we are not all DOOM, but the increasing liklihood of such requires elevation (or is that delevation?) of the DOOM:CON level.

Be advised, and remember the DOOM:CON Mantra:

BE AND/OR STAY SAFE!!!!


Hey Jeff, I figured you would like this...

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Quoting GetReal:





IMO Emily is about to miss the weakness towards the Bahamas. The Azores/Bermuda high has become stronger and is ridging westward, closing the weakness.
Agree.Moving south of the projected path.If I recall,the turn was supposed to begin last night,after a reduction in forward motion.Perhaps, it will miss the trough.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
The US east coast not off the hook?.. this is giving me a headache

US East Coast will not be off the hook until this system disappears. It will be very close call for Florida/Carolinas... and to make it worse, models are predicting stronger storm than they first predicted.
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Quoting EYEStoSEA:


Way to cover there Pottery....lol...:)

Thanks..
Treading carefully LOL!
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When Emily gets off the coast of Florida, for a short period of time, it will have to deal with some subsidence and dry air as that southeasterly flow around the Texas high filters down on Emily. However, as an ULAC begins to balloon over Emily shortly after, conditions should be more than favorable.Also, it will be interesting to see how much the Upper Level Low that is forecast to develop and retrograde westward into the Gulf of Mexico ventilates Emily.

I think that if Emily survives the crossing, there will at least be a slight potential to rapid intensification once the ULAC sets up and the ULL moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30264
Recon confirms that Emily is still a 50mph TS

SFMR
44 knots
(~ 50.6 mph)
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Quoting pottery:
/It's been forecast to turn north for days now.....
Female storms have a tendency to do what they like.
I'm cool with that, mind you!



Way to cover there Pottery....lol...:)
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IMO Emily is about to miss the weakness towards the Bahamas. The Azores/Bermuda high has become stronger and is ridging westward, closing the weakness.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Vort has substantially increased.



I think she might actually survive Hispanola.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Wishcasting? How is it wishcasting when even the National Hurricane Center has it taking a similar path? I guess the experts are wishcasting too, huh?



P451, borrowing your image for a minute.



If you hadn't noticed, the trend has been west, west, west of the models ever since it was first a tropical wave. This is because it's been constantly weaker, more disorganized and sheared than expected. If it gets into a better environment such as bahamas, florida straights, or GOM then watch out. However, I think the odds of it surviving to that point are looking pretty bad.
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Emily is re-organizing and also note some banding features to the east. It's no wheres near TD status.



Good call from the NHC, 50 mph.
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275. beell
EMILY STILL MOVING WESTWARD...APPEARS TO BE LESS ORGANIZED

Nothing like a little subtle understatement.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


They are hesitant to move the path because of the large swings the computer models have been having. I understand that, but come on! A slight westward is definitely warranted at this time.
I think at this time they are confused,as we are.
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273. myway
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


They are hesitant to move the path because of the large swings the computer models have been having. I understand that, but come on! A slight westward is definitely warranted at this time.


New graphic not out until 5PM
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Quoting IKE:
DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EMILY WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 16.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE 70.3 WEST. EMILY IS
MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 14 MPH...22 KM/H. A TURN TO THE
NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE
CENTER OF EMILY WILL MOVE VERY NEAR OR OVER CABO BEATA IN THE
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC LATE TODAY...OVER HAITI TONIGHT...AND INTO THE
SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS AND TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS ON THURSDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 50 MPH...85 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. A RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY APPROACHING EMILY AND
WILL GIVE A BETTER ESTIMATE OF THE INTENSITY. LITTLE CHANGE IN
STRENGTH IS FORECAST TODAY BEFORE THE CENTER REACHES THE WESTERN
PORTION OF HISPANIOLA...FOLLOWED BY WEAKENING AS THE CENTER MOVES
OVER THE HIGH TERRAIN.
SOME RE-STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE AFTER THE
CENTER MOVES AWAY FROM HISPANIOLA.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 115 MILES...185 KM
TO THE NORTH AND EAST OF THE THE CENTER.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1006 MB...29.71 INCHES.


I'm no expert but I don't agree with the NHC saying it will pass over the Dominican Republic (DR). It's currenty moving pretty quick to the West at 14 mph so it would have to slow down considerably and make a sharp turn to the NNW to hit the DR so until I see that happening I'm not believing it. IF it's going to turn I think it will go over the Western portion of Haiti but just don't see it turning sharp enough to have the center go over any part of the DR IMO.
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270. 7544
look for a cone shift to west at 5pm imo maybe even a little south too
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.