Emily powers towards Cozumel

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:12 PM GMT on July 17, 2005

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Posted: 2pm EDT July 17
===================
The 1:15pm EDT Hurricane Hunter report indicated the winds and pressure inside Emily had not changed much. However, the report stated: "Very strong convection with hail outbound thru north eyewall." As a former hurricane hunter, I can speculate on a more detailed version of what happened:

"As our C-130 airplane crossed out of the eye into the north eyewall, the plane hit updrafts and downdrafts of 30 - 40 mph and the turbulence severe enough to throw loose objects around the cabin. The clattering sound of hail on the metal skin of the airplane was loud enough to make your ears ring, and the plane will probably need a new paint job after this ride."

Hail is rare in hurricanes, due to their warm nature. Hail can has cut short several Hurricane Hunter missions in the past--the hail damages engines and instruments, and will strip the paint off the wings. And you can bet if they're mentioning "very strong convection", they're probably getting accelerations of 2 - 3 g's in severe turbulence. The Hurricane Hunters are definitely earning their money today.

Jeff Masters

Posted: 10:30am Sunday July 17
=========================
Hurricane Emily is a little weaker this morning, after briefly flirting with Category 5 status last night. The National Hurricane Center never officially upgraded it to a Cat 5, but noted that about 3 GMT (11pm EDT), when Emily had its lowest pressure of 929 mb, it may have briefly attained Category 5 status. The 10am EDT Hurricane Hunter flight found a minimum pressure of 946 mb, up 18 mb from last night. The winds have fallen some, from 155 mph to 150 mph. The eye is no longer as distinct, the Central Dense Overcast (CDO) is not circular, and upper-level outflow on the SW side looks restricted. Emily is undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, and it appears that this has also made the storm more vulnerable to some shearing. As Steve Gregory noted in his blog, there is more shear than one typically finds over a major hurricane right now--10 knots.

Emily will probably not have time to make it to Category 5, if the last eyewall replacement cycle it went through is any indication. When that cycle started, Emily's pressure rose for about 8 hours, leveled off for 4 hours, then started falling again. A full 24 hours elapsed before she regained her former intensity. The current cycle began at about 11pm EDT, and it appear to be following a similar trend. Emily's pressure rose for 8 hours, and has leveled off the past four hours. Satellite images from the past hour show some improved organization, and re-intensification is probably starting to occur. If it again takes a full 24 hours for Emily to regain her previous strength, she may approach Cat 5 again late tonight. However, Emily will be close to landfall at midnight tonight, and will begin pulling in dry air off of the Yucatan Peninsula late this afternoon. This may disrupt the hurricane enough to prevent it from reaching Category 5. I expect Emily will hit Mexico tonight as a strong Category 4 hurricane.

Emily will hit the resort towns of Cozumel and Cancun hard. When Hurricane Gilbert hit this area in 1988 as a Category 5 storm with 170 mph winds, it took the 125-foot Cuban ship Portachernera and cast it up on the beach at Cancun, where it remained for months.

Image credit:The St. Petersburg Times



Damage from Gilbert to Cozumel alone was $80 million. Damage from Emily will probably be much higher, even though is it a much smaller storm and not as strong. The reason is because the Cancun/Cozumel resort areas had only 8,000 hotel rooms back in 1988, but now have over 50,000. A tremendous amount of development has occurred in the past 17 years. A mass evacuation of the tourists in the area is currently underway, and the towering beach front hotels will stand vacant to confront Emily's wind and seas tonight.

After crossing the Yucatan, Emily will emerge into the Gulf of Mexico as a much weakened Category 2 or even Category 1 storm. Emily is relatively small as hurricanes go, and the passage over the Yucatan should severely disrupt her inner core. Waters over the Gulf are warm--about 30C--but the depth of warm waters is not as deep as the western Caribbean. Thus, the total heat energy available to the storm is probably not enough to support a Category 4 hurricane. I expect Emily will make its second landfall south of the Texas/Mexican border as a Category 2 hurricane. With this intensity, and if the current track forecast verifies, Brownsville would only receive tropical storm force winds. As usual, it must be emphasized that a hurricane's intensity is extremely hard to predict, and Emily could easily be a Category 1 or Category 3 hurricane at its second landfall. Hurricane track forecasts the past 10 years have had a median error of 200 miles for a 72-hour forecast. The official NHC 72-hour forecast puts the landfall point about 100 miles south of Brownsville. So, a landfall 100 miles north of Brownsville--or 300 miles south of Brownsville--should not come as a surprise.

One more note--I do read all of the comments posted, and answer the ones I can do quickly. In many cases, I don't know the answer, or need to perform fair bit of research to confirm my knowledge, so I am unable to post as many follow-ups as I'd like. Last night, I was unable to post from my home up here near Ann Arbor, Michigan. A thunderstorm spawned from the remnants of Hurricane Dennis knocked out power to my neighborhood for 12 hours!

Dr. Jeff Masters

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379. Accordionboy
5:15 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
This is inSANE!!!!!!
378. Alec
3:55 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
dang...just pulled up another one of David's aliases....LOL
377. atmosweather
3:53 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
DONT YOU UNDERSTAND THE GULF LOOP CURRENT IS FOR LOSERS ALEX...STOP THREATENING TO SUCK IN THE SUN...YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO FORCE ENOUGH ELECTROSTATIC ENERGY TO LIFT THE CENTER OF VORTICITY OUT OF THE MID CEREBRAL CORTEX OF THE SUN SPOT IN THE MIDDLE WHILE BEING PULLED BY A ROPE LIKE SUBSTANCE FROM THE MODELS WHICH ARE OUT TO LUNCH AND YOU WILL GET CRUSHED UNDER 5 TONS OF METAL HURRICANE SYMBOLS.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
376. Alec
3:51 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
CRUD...I MUST BE HAY....WELL I BETTER THROW A PARTY IN THE LOOP CURRENT WATCH OUT FOR THAT HUGE VORTICITY CENTER IT MIGHT SUCK IN THE SUN...LOL
374. atmosweather
3:49 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
ALEX I DO THE FINING AROUND HERE..YOUR NOT GOOD ENOUGHT TO DO IT BECAUSE YOU LISTEN TO MODELS....THAT BANANA SHAPED LOW IN THE GULF IS THE ONE TO WATCH ITS GONNA SPLIT AND PRODUCE A SUNDAE WITH WARM VANILLA SAUCE AND YOU'LL FEEL LIKE YOUVE BEEN SERVED AT OLIVE GARDEN WITH NO NAPKIN...GET READY TO BE FIRED...THIS HAS BEEN AN OFFICIAL ATMOSWEATHER BLURB...HEADER 4747384
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
373. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
3:48 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
LMAO Michael
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44778
372. Alec
3:47 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
but we're back in time Michael...so I cant issue fines.........NOW YOU ALL KNOW WHAT TO DO IF YOU WANT TO THWART OFF A FINE. GO TO A VERY OLD BLOG BEFORE APRIL AND I CANT FINE YOU!!!lol
371. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
3:47 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
omg Hurricane Emily
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44778
370. atmosweather
3:46 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
ST always calls him Alex
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
368. atmosweather
3:44 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
SHUT UP ALEX WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU....WHY DO YUO INSIST ON DEGRADING EVERYONE...IM RIGHT AND YOUR SILLY LITTLE COMPUTER MODELS CAN DO NOTHING TO STOP MY WORLD DOMINATION SCHEME...YOULL BE TOO BUSY GOING OUT TO LUNCH AND ANALYZING CHARTS....THE GULF STREAM HAS 150 DEGREE WATER AND WILL BOIL YOU INTO THE EARTH'S CRUST...THIS HAS BEEN AN OFFICIAL ATMOSWEATHER END OF THE WORLD ALERT...HEADER 584585
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
367. Alec
3:43 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
its off to the mountains!!!
366. Alec
3:42 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
i wonder where ST is??? that would be great if he came here....LOL
364. atmosweather
3:41 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
GOD WHY ARE THEY SAYING THAT THIS IS THE WORST CANE IN COZUMEL HISTORY...WILMA IS GOING TO BE MUCH WORSE...THE SCIENTISTS ARE OUT TO LUNCH...THIS HAS BEEN AN ANNOYING ATMOSWEATHER BULLETIN...HEADER R784585
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
363. Alec
3:41 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
no it will hit mexico guys....lol
362. HurricaneKing
3:40 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
lets find somemore of Davids blogs. Everyone will think he is bringing back more names.
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 71 Comments: 2465
361. HurricaneKing
3:39 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
HA
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 71 Comments: 2465
360. Alec
3:38 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
lol
359. HurricaneKing
3:38 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
LOl
Member Since: July 6, 2005 Posts: 71 Comments: 2465
358. atmosweather
3:37 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
STORMTOP DO YOU HAVE ANY CLUE WHATS GOING ON HERE..THIS STORM CANNOT HIT THE CENTRAL GULF COAST AND STALL...ANYONE WHO AGREES WITH THIS KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE WEATHER...HOW CAN U NOT SEE THE 500 MB CHART WHICH SHOWS A MASSIVE CLOUD IN THE SHAPE OF AN ARROW POINTING AT SOUTHERN ARIZONA??? GOD PLEASE GET WITH IT OR GET OUT...THIS HAS BEEN AN OFFICIAL ATMOSWEATHER BULLETIN...0610784
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 9265
356. Alec
3:36 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
anyone made it here yet?
355. Alec
3:35 AM GMT on June 22, 2006
ummm Emily will plow the mountains and stall in capeche...DUH!!!LOL
354. tessa
1:35 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Does anyone think that Emily will get caught up in the fetch of moisture that is coming out of Mexico into Texas?
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
353. Jedkins
12:57 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
looks still a little ragged,Ithink until that dry air leaves the storm its going to strengthen fairly slowly.
352. sharonmarie
1:04 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Emilys center looks more like a belly button then an eye..but she sure is impressive for someone who spent the night on dry land.
http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/rmsdsol/TROPICAL.html
351. outrocket
12:55 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Emilys has emerged in the Gulf off North coast of Yucatan..now that she is about through interacting with land....the next few fixes will maybe give a hint as to direction she takes...
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 104 Comments: 11010
350. cozumelvillas
12:48 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Shifted? It's far away now.
Signing off.
Thanks to Dr. Masters for this blog.
349. outrocket
12:43 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
cozulmelvillas....hope the sun shines for ya soon and your area dont suffer the worst...and I sure hope nobody there is hurt..Good luck...has the wind shifted?
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 104 Comments: 11010
348. cozumelvillas
12:36 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Sharonmarie, thanks for your concern about Cozumel inhabitants. 7am CST....No electricity but many phones work. STreets are extremely difficult to pass - lots of very large trees down, light posts fell on top of buildings. No news of casualties as there's no radio broadcasts yet. Elec went out around 10pm or well before in some areas of town. Cat 2 level winds by 10pm. Worse part of storm between midnight and 2am CST.
347. icmoore
12:34 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
As a native Floridian I thank you very much for your insights and experiences into our hurricane season. I was totally fascinated by your desciptions and comments about the hurricane hunters report and you being a former hurricane hunter. As someone who is too afraid to fly even on a sunny day this is amazing. We are all down here fleeing in our cars and you guys are flying into them. I can only imagine it must be an amazing experience being up there with all the noise and turbulance and lots of adrenelin mixed in. So, I say thanks again for all the interesting weather info,images,charts ,etc.
Member Since: July 18, 2005 Posts: 9 Comments: 4146
346. weatherwonderer
12:23 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Good morning,

Just a quick post:
Hope everybody made it alright on the Yucatan, looks like Cozumel got the brunt of the storm. I'm amazed at Emily condition, she is still very well intact. Moving pretty much NW although the latest Cancun rader showed a more westward jog. Should be interesting to what happens in the next 4 hours or so. Her strength and speed should play a large role in how the upper air features affect her.
Time to get ready for work...
Also I agree that flaming should not be part of the discussion, we can say what we want w/o putting anybodie elses life in danger, the NHC doesn't have this luxury.

Adios for now.
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 167
345. TipOfIsland
12:22 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
That's a deal. Thanks a bunch, sharon.
344. outrocket
12:21 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/WestGulf.shtml
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 104 Comments: 11010
343. sharonmarie
12:21 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
As soon as I open wunderground.com thre is a central map of the USA and tabs above it reading.
Current Maps/ForecastMaps/AviationMaps/ComputerModelMaps
The pressure map is under computer Model Maps..
I can see we are members of this site...but it must be under 10 bucks a year or we would not have it.



342. outrocket
12:20 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
NO...it dont mean its strenghtening...it means either Emily is dropping the pressures over western gulf...OR the ridge which is sterring emily is weakening...
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 104 Comments: 11010
341. sharonmarie
12:16 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
When the data bouys drop, does that signify strengthening?
340. TipOfIsland
12:15 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Sharon - Would you mind tracing exactly where you go on Wunderground to see it. Maybe I am missing a step somewhere. Thanks. Good luck on your Dallas/southern trip.
339. sharonmarie
12:14 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
This image of Emily has it almost over the water again...
http://flhurricane.com/imageanimator.php
338. outrocket
12:13 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
the data bouys in western gulf are dropping now..they were holding steady at 29.98...now some are down to 29.91...so emily is either dropping those pressures ....or ridge may be weakening...even the northern most western bouys are showing a fall now...
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 104 Comments: 11010
337. sharonmarie
12:13 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
I can look at it any time I want.
It is a part of wunderground. If I can see it and you can not...it must be paid. (not sure this is a shared computer)
336. TipOfIsland
12:09 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Thanks fredwx - sharon - wow, I can see that is going to be awesome when it gets lighter. Thanks. Am I reading you right, you have free access to the FSU Superensemble model?
335. sharonmarie
12:08 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
I am supposed to be taking off for Dallas tonight and driving south again Tuesday night. The forcast is making me feel a bit more at ease...they are predicting later and later land falls.
334. sharonmarie
12:06 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Tip..once the sun comes up...this site has one of the best views of Emily..
http://www.cira.colostate.edu/ramm/rmsdsol/TROPICAL.html
333. fredwx
12:06 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
TipOfIsland,
It looks like the eye is close to passing over water again... with an hour or 2 at most
Member Since: June 8, 2005 Posts: 221 Comments: 261
332. sharonmarie
12:05 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
Tip
It was free for me..but God only knows what is on this computer...It is shared by a family of many.
331. TipOfIsland
12:02 PM GMT on July 18, 2005
sharonmarie - just looked at the site you mentioned explaining the models. Very good. Not much is ever mentioned about the FSU Superensemble. It is usually the most accurate. Is that a paid access or something?
330. sharonmarie
11:58 AM GMT on July 18, 2005
I think it is a surface pressure forecast
It is supposedly very limited in its ability to predict tropical storms hitting...but it is interesting
329. TipOfIsland
11:55 AM GMT on July 18, 2005
What is that?

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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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