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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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting mrsalagranny:
LOL actually it was Derrek Beasley channel 15 news.
That's what I said. I was watching him as well.
Member Since: February 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1125
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Nicyclonechaser,
Shes pissed off, cuase the NHC rejected her from being retired after achieving category 5 status, so she has decided to defy all forecasts by the NHC, and is aimed for Miami(where the NHC is).
This storm really hates the NHC...

Its not the NHC who retires names, its the WMO

Emily: Why did they not retire ME? I was a Cat 5 and was not a fish!

WMO: Sorry, Emily, You did not cause enough damage

Emily: $^#%! Thats it! In 2011, I will defy forecasts from the NHC
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seflhurricane:
WILL NOT GO INTO THE GULF !!!! sorry for the caps making a point !!!


Wouldn't say it's impossible but def wouldn't expect anything west of the cmc's morning track, if it makes landfall in FL it will probably be SE FL and it probably won't be very far inland before heading back out to sea.
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
WILL NOT GO INTO THE GULF !!!! sorry for the caps making a point !!!
Prove that point where is your evidence not quite so sure about that any more.
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1863. Drakoen

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Quoting Seflhurricane:
based on the wording in the advisory looks to me a TS watch would be issued tomorrow morning or at 11 Am. with the models trending higher intensity , even though i dont think so would the NHC issue a hurricane watch instead ??? just asking
I would go with a TS watch for now since we don't really know in what shape it'll be when it enters the southwestern Atlantic.
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1861. WxLogic
G-IV almost done with drops... we'll eventually see how 00Z and subsequent models change (if any).
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Quoting msgambler:
You need to quit watching Derrick.....LOL
LOL actually it was Derrek Beasley channel 15 news.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Typical woman storm. How many of us here know of a woman that sticks to what she wants and never changes her mind once? Emily is doing just that, keeping us all guessing on what she is going to do. At least she's decided to put her clothes back on and not swirl around naked for all to see.
Aussie, I resemble that remark.
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Recon headed for another centre pass.
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Nrtiwlnvragn and robj144 – thanks for the info…

There’s no easy way for an amateur (me) to understand the how changing stuff (like where the storm is) impacts predictions without getting into a deep understanding of each model, how it works, etc.

- even the experts get surprised.

aA a minimum, if a storm stalls, someone needs to predict new speed and direction, and run models to see how the storm will be affected.

I guess I’ll just wait and watch like everyone else!
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
WILL NOT GO INTO THE GULF !!!! sorry for the caps making a point !!!


I agree..
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Quoting Goldenblack:
LoL, I agree...but do think that they are kinda scratchin the ol' noggin right now at what this storm is doing....Maybe not, but it sure seems like it....even with all that experience.



I think they're having a little bit of a hard time with the degree of the turn, but with so many factors weighing in it's not hard to see why. And as far as intensity, well they've already said their intensity forecasts can be subject to large errors, just not well enough understood all of the variables.
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1850. jonelu
Quoting charlottefl:
Interesting note that Westward movement should continue, with a gradual turn:

AT 800 PM EDT...0000 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EMILY WAS
LOCATED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT NEAR
LATITUDE 16.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 70.6 WEST. EMILY HAS MOVED LITTLE
OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS...BUT IS EXPECTED TO RESUME A WESTWARD
MOTION OF ABOUT 14 MPH...22 KM/H IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. A GRADUAL
TURN TO THE WEST-NORTHWEST AND NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT DAY OR SO. ON THIS TRACK...THE CENTER OF EMILY WILL MOVE
ACROSS THE SOUTHWESTERN PENINSULA OF HAITI EARLY THURSDAY AND MOVE
OVER EXTREME EASTERN CUBA THURSDAY NIGHT.

I also noticed the language. Emily WILL MOVE across.... no more "IF"s. So they must feel confidant that she feels the through like Levi has indicated in recent posts.
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I feel like Angry Birds at Emily. I'm done with her. What's next? Wave at like 50 doing anything?
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Quoting doabarrelroll:

Cat 5 to Mobile
Please dont say that.I know you are playing around.But seriously I was just curious as to how it would affect her.TIA
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TS watches could come up for Florida tomorrow morning, but we shall see.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
They might issue watches as soon as tonight, but more likely tomorrow morning.

Never hurts to let folks know that there's a decent possibility of tropical weather affecting us.
based on the wording in the advisory looks to me a TS watch would be issued tomorrow morning or at 11 Am. with the models trending higher intensity , even though i dont think so would the NHC issue a hurricane watch instead ??? just asking
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'm gonna have to wait for the GFDL once it's posted on the FSU site, but it looks to me like the wind speed at the top of the image is probably the wind speed it forecasts to affect southern Florida.

I'm also not the only person that been thinking eastern Florida, Levi and countless others have also shared the thinking. Still a while to go though, a lot can change between today and 60-72 hours.

Oh, and the 0z model plots should be out in 30 minutes or so.


On that image the wind at the top is 900 mb. Max surface is 78 kt.
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not getting off topic but did anyone notice on the gfs 18z run ? its developing a cape verde storm traveling west and getting close to the east coast out 2 weeks or so.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Actually storms do go from motion to a stop in very little time. Remember that each frame of the satellite is not seamless, there is a time lag of 30 minutes to an hour between frames, plenty time to cease forward motion.


I agree. Seems many don't quite understand exactly what a tropical cyclone is capable of. For some reason there seems to be this mentality that they cant turn quick or make a hard right etc. Fact is, they can and often do turn on a dime and often times you cant see it coming in sat frames prior. Likewise, with forward motion they can stop on a dime. I personally don't doubt for a minute that this storm will turn. The weakness is more than sufficient. And its not going to fill for some time. The models have been very consistent about the ridge building back east, but not enough to close the weakness off. It seems that the ridge should build furthest east in about 72 hours, then retreats west again. Unless Emily opens up (wave), it should respond to the weakness moving poleward somewhere between the se tip of Florida and the eastern edge of the northern bahamas.
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1840. Levi32
Quoting ElConando:
So at the moment is it stalled possibly?


It has moved 14 miles in 5 hours. That's 3 miles per hour on average, which is pretty close to stalled, but not quite. Satellite definitely indicates some movement.
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
does it look like TS Watches would be issued for Se fla Sometime tomorrow if the current trend continues
They might issue watches as soon as tonight, but more likely tomorrow morning.

Never hurts to let folks know that there's a decent possibility of tropical weather affecting us.
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So between 1800 and 2300 UTC, Emily moved 15 miles on a net heading of 295, which is WNW.

i.e. no real change....
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Quoting stormpetrol:

I'm lost scratching my head and confused like most. I'll say one thing about Emily she's a real woman( always remember there is 2 things about a woman and man know neither one)Note: It's just a quote I love women and personally think they're smarter and tougher than most men!!!
you are absolutely right my wife does as she wishes but when i say no she respects that
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LoL, I agree...but do think that they are kinda scratchin the ol' noggin right now at what this storm is doing....Maybe not, but it sure seems like it....even with all that experience.

Quoting charlottefl:


Don't think so... I mean how many more years of experience do they have than we do lol? Maybe the ridge continues to build to the W, it certainly looks like the trough is starting to lift out.
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Quoting mrsalagranny:
I have a question.My local met says that the high setting over us is suppose to be weaking by the end of the week.If this is true how will this affect Emily?No wishcasting, just curious.
You need to quit watching Derrick.....LOL
Member Since: February 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1125
1834. jdjnola
Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Nicyclonechaser,
Shes pissed off, cuase the NHC rejected her from being retired after achieving category 5 status, so she has decided to defy all forecasts by the NHC, and is aimed for Miami(where the NHC is).
This storm really hates the NHC...


Reminds me of Cher in Burlesque: "You haven't seen the last of meeeeeee... you haven't seen the last of me."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1833. Levi32
Quoting rmbjoe1954:
Hi Levi-


So what is your take on Emily? Do you think she has a method to her madness to impact south flo.?


A hit or impact on south Florida is much more within the realm of possibility now that Emily has tracked farther west due to her weakening last night. It will be close. Not really expecting the possibility for a track up the southwest coast of Florida or anything like that. The line is very thin and this should either be a scraping landfall on southeast Florida or a pass just off the coast.
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Quoting Levi32:


The pressure/wind centers could be jumping around a little bit, which usually happens in weak systems when new convection suddenly flares up. The centers get pretty excited at the sight of thunderstorms nearby.

So at the moment is it stalled possibly?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I'm gonna have to wait for the GFDL once it's posted on the FSU site, but it looks to me like the wind speed at the top of the image is probably the wind speed it forecasts to affect southern Florida.

I'm also not the only person that been thinking eastern Florida, Levi and countless others have also shared the thinking. Still a while to go though, a lot can change between today and 60-72 hours.
does it look like TS Watches would be issued for Se fla Sometime tomorrow if the current trend continues
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Seflhurricane:
i saw his post but looking at the last 2 Vort Messages the last one indicates a WSW Drift

I'm lost scratching my head and confused like most. I'll say one thing about Emily she's a real woman( always remember there is 2 things about a woman and man know neither one)Note: It's just a quote I love women and personally think they're smarter and tougher than most men!!!
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8134
Quoting Goldenblack:
Could it be that they are just being loyal to their 5 PM forecast track?



Don't think so... I mean how many more years of experience do they have than we do lol? Maybe the ridge continues to build to the W, it certainly looks like the trough is starting to lift out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting charlottefl:
Interesting note that Westward movement should continue, with a gradual turn:

AT 800 PM EDT...0000 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EMILY WAS
LOCATED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT NEAR
LATITUDE 16.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 70.6 WEST. EMILY HAS MOVED LITTLE
OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS...BUT IS EXPECTED TO RESUME A WESTWARD
MOTION OF ABOUT 14 MPH...22 KM/H IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. A GRADUAL
TURN TO THE WEST-NORTHWEST AND NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT DAY OR SO. ON THIS TRACK...THE CENTER OF EMILY WILL MOVE
ACROSS THE SOUTHWESTERN PENINSULA OF HAITI EARLY THURSDAY AND MOVE
OVER EXTREME EASTERN CUBA THURSDAY NIGHT.
going through the passage it seems.
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
what strength and have the rest shifted west , if they have you have been correct all along you did call that Emily would come very close to the Se FLA Coast
I'm gonna have to wait for the GFDL once it's posted on the FSU site, but it looks to me like the wind speed at the top of the image is probably the wind speed it forecasts to affect southern Florida.

I'm also not the only person that been thinking eastern Florida, Levi and countless others have also shared the thinking. Still a while to go though, a lot can change between today and 60-72 hours.

Oh, and the 0z model plots should be out in 30 minutes or so.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AussieStorm:

Typical woman storm. How many of us here know of a woman that sticks to what she wants and never changes her mind once? Emily is doing just that, keeping us all guessing on what she is going to do. At least she's decided to put her clothes back on and not swirl around naked for all to see.


LOL, You obviously haven't met me as once I decide something it is usually done before anyone gets the chance to try to change it. But, you're right that at least she's putting her clothes back on! *G*
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1824. jdjnola
Quoting BoroDad17:
So lets get this straight, for almost two days NHC has been predicting a WNW-NW turn, and it hasn't happened. FINALLY they change the short term track to reflect the non-turn, and Emily almost immediately STOPS.


I learned something about Emily early on: she won't be told what to do.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


The pressure/wind centers could be jumping around a little bit, which usually happens in weak systems when new convection suddenly flares up. The center gets pretty excited at the sight of thunderstorms nearby.
that too but what i am now thinking its drifting around until it starts a west motion again, thanks for everything Levi. GFDL has made a major shift west whats your take
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Could it be that they are just being loyal to their 5 PM forecast track?

Quoting charlottefl:
Interesting note that Westward movement should continue, with a gradual turn:

AT 800 PM EDT...0000 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM EMILY WAS
LOCATED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT NEAR
LATITUDE 16.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 70.6 WEST. EMILY HAS MOVED LITTLE
OVER THE PAST FEW HOURS...BUT IS EXPECTED TO RESUME A WESTWARD
MOTION OF ABOUT 14 MPH...22 KM/H IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. A GRADUAL
TURN TO THE WEST-NORTHWEST AND NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT DAY OR SO. ON THIS TRACK...THE CENTER OF EMILY WILL MOVE
ACROSS THE SOUTHWESTERN PENINSULA OF HAITI EARLY THURSDAY AND MOVE
OVER EXTREME EASTERN CUBA THURSDAY NIGHT.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have a question.My local met says that the high setting over us is suppose to be weaking by the end of the week.If this is true how will this affect Emily?No wishcasting, just curious.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Major shift to the left with the GFDL as well. Since the GFS did kill Emily, I'm quite surprised that it makes Emily a pretty decent system affect the eastern Florida coast.



Looks to be an interesting day for us tomorrow. I was hoping for a little more land interaction. NHC now says SOME weakening instead of we'll see if Emily survives.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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