Emily churning through Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:44 PM GMT on July 18, 2005

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Posted: 2pm EDT Monday July 17
===========================
Emily is now a Category 1 hurricane. The 1:22pm EDT Hurricane Hunter mission found a central pressure of 984 mb and peak winds at 10,000 feet on the NE side of 89 mph, which would make Emily's surface winds about 75 mph. Satellite imagery shows a large area of dry air spiraling north from the Yucatan Peninsula and wrapping into the center of the hurricane. This dry air is severely weakening Emily. The storm has a more ragged appearance than when it moved off the coast at 9am, and the lack of convection on the south side has expanded.

Emily has shown great resilience, and may still regain Category 3 status when she moves further away from the Yucatan and stops pulling in so much dry air. However, the kind of disruption of the inner core that appears to be happening usually takes at least a day for a hurricane to recover from, and Emily has only 36 hours before landfall. It is unlikely Emily will be stronger than a Category 2 storm at its next landfall.

Posted: 10am EDT Monday July 17
=============================
Emily made landfall at 2am EDT this morning as a Category 4 storm with peak winds of 135 mph and a central pressure of 955 mb. The eye passed just southwest of Cozumel, Mexico, with the northern eyewall passing over Cozumel. No wind, pressure, or damage reports have emerged from Mexico yet, but the 8 - 12 foot storm surge and 135 mph winds must have done tremendous damage.

Emily's eye moved off the coast of Mexico at approximately 9am EDT this morning, after spending just seven hours over the Yucatan Peninsula. The hurricane has survived the crossing fairly intact, as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm looks somewhat lopsided, with a notable lack of cloudiness on the south side where dry air from the Yucatan has been drawn in. However, the eye is still distinct, a decent-looking circular Cirrus Dense Overcast still covers the center of the hurricane, and Emily has exellent-looking spiral banding. This is the look of a hurricane that has been only temporarily disrupted, and will soon begin strengthening. There is plenty of warm water ahead of the hurricane, and low vertical wind shear. I see nothing that will prevent Emily from reaching Category 3 status by tomorrow, perhaps even a strong Category 3.

The track forecast remains pretty much the same, with Mexico expected to receive a second pounding early Wednesday morning when Emily comes ashore about 50 miles south of the Texas border. The median track error the past 10 years for a 36-hour forecast is over 100 miles, so Emily could still hit Texas. However, the NHC has done an great job forecasting this hurricane the past seven days. The five-day forecast issued five days ago put the landfall of Emily as a Category 3 storm directly over Cozumel, and was in error by less than 75 miles. This is a pretty excellent forecast, considering the median error for a 5-day forecast is 310 miles. Since that forecast was issued, the forecast errors for 3-day forecasts have been below 100 miles every day. And with the NOAA jet up in the air sampling Emily's large scale environment each of the past two days, the reliabililty of the current and future forecasts is likely to continue to be excellent. Thus, the chances of Texas getting a direct hit from Emily is less than 25%.

Jamaica was largely spared yesterday, as Emily passed 100 miles south of the island and brought them only tropical storm force winds. However, torrential rains caused serious flooding damage and was responsible for sweeping five people to their deaths when they drove past a closed road blockade and were swept over a cliff by floodwaters.

The Cayman Islands, which Emily missed by only 85 miles, also escaped serious damage. As reported by WunderBlogger CaymanMike:, "Wow! Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands made it through our brush with Emily with nothing more than some gusty tropical storm force winds and some heavy rains. The official word from the government is that the power stayed on over the island, the airport has reopened and no major damage is reported."

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501. Jedkins
11:07 PM GMT on July 19, 2005
I rekon this storm is following the NHC trak pretty good based on radar imagery
500. Jedkins
11:05 PM GMT on July 19, 2005
My age is 14-18(not telling exact because of internet security resons)but age means nothing to me,I do not care about my age it has nothing to do with my knowledge of weather,credibility or maturity as I said do not let my age fool you.
499. moocrew
5:45 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
well i'll have to give it a listen one night. well goodnight
497. moocrew
5:39 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
its been awhile since i've listen to that show though. Just don't stay up late like i used too. Man that show had me glued some nights...would go into work with just a few hours of sleep.
496. weatherwonderer
5:35 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
I posted George Noony (totally different beast), I meant George Noory.
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 167
495. moocrew
5:35 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
well be interesting to see what happens to emily in the next few hours...i guess it is time for sleep
494. weatherwonderer
5:34 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
still up, yeah I listened to Art probably about the same time you did (zx21). Maybe slightly earlier, I was really upset when he quit. Now he's back again on the weekends but he is going to only host on Sundays starting now. George is actually quite good too. Different personality but very good.
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 167
492. moocrew
5:19 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Weather wonder did you ever listen when Art was doing the show? Used to be addicted to that show...much like i'm getting addicted to this site...
491. weatherwonderer
5:17 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Yeah, I'm listen to George Noony on the internet "Coast to Coast" broadcast.I'll be switching to listening to it on the radio in a few moments. I have to admit I love the radio show too bad it starts so late at night. Looks like Emily will be here tomorrow night. Who knows she still might have a surprise or two left. Good Night all.
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 167
490. OneDay
5:07 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Well, nevermind, I guess I did know....boy, it's getting late.......
Member Since: July 13, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 931
489. OneDay
5:06 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
And unfortunately, no, I do not know how deep the water is. I read a few days ago (in Mr. Gregory's blog) that the warm water in the western gulf is only a couple of feet deep.
Member Since: July 13, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 931
488. Canenut
5:05 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
984mb/90kts at 0434z, holding the same.
487. OneDay
5:05 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
According to Mr. Gregory, yes. He has become quite a proponent of total oceanic heat content vs. just SSTs after Dennis weakened so rapidly just before landfall.
Member Since: July 13, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 931
486. weatherwonderer
5:01 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
saorry if I scared you all away. Guess it is getting late. I am goinf to turn in about 10 minutes. One question I have. Do any of you have idea how deep the warm water is in Emily's path. Could that be playing a role in her fluctuating appearence?
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 167
485. weatherwonderer
4:56 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Looks like Mexico about 100 miles South of Brownsville and that may be to far North. Only question is the intensity. I don't really see her stalling. This has been both an informative and entertaining blog. Probably be lots more of them by the time the seasons over, hell by then, we will all be experts.
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 167
484. weatherwonderer
4:41 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
She keeps warming up and then cooling down...reminds of some people I know. Looks like she is slowly cooling down again after warming up quite a lot. Her intensity is crazier by far then her direction. Probably be a Cat. 5 going up the Mississipi river and snmashing Cairo, Il. That would be one for the records.
Member Since: July 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 167
483. EmmyRose
4:32 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Night y'all - catch ya manana - great time tonight!!!
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 76405
482. wxwatcher
4:31 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
well the pressure tends to rise at night, that's why emily tracks west at night, during the day the pressures tend to let up allowing her to turn more north...however

in the past 4-6 hours the pressure contours have shifted dramatically west, I say Brownsville is definintely cleared...will only get a brush of TS winds..
481. swmpman
4:30 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
beaumont74 - May the labor be short and the baby healthy. Now we all know you will be there the whole time.
Good night ya'll. I got work tomorrow.
480. swmpman
4:28 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
I thought my eyes were playing tricks. Sur does look west to me. And the bouys are all coming up in pressure.
479. EmmyRose
4:26 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
West you say as in Mexico?
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 76405
478. wxwatcher
4:24 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
check out the pressure contours on the goes 1 floater from nhc, MSLP (2) box... the pressure has increased SIGNIFICANTLY and Emily is treking to the west...
477. EmmyRose
4:23 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Love the name Caleb - yep, money is on Thursday full moon
and with the barometer falling (supposedly)
I say 8 pounder
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 76405
475. chubri777
4:20 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
gut
Member Since: July 13, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
474. swmpman
4:19 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
zx21 - saw a report awhile back that said the Alantic zone has changed somewhat to a point that we in the gulf would see more.
473. Beaumont74
4:18 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
just a gut chubri??? or you have basis for your prediction?
472. chubri777
4:17 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
beaumont...i'll guess friday morning between 9:30 and 9:50AM and between 7.4 and 7.9 pounds
Member Since: July 13, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
470. Beaumont74
4:16 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Thanks...
469. swmpman
4:16 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Caleb is an excellent name. Strong.
468. Beaumont74
4:15 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
no....its a boy....Caleb...i think if no hurricane...the full moon will have an effect...i call thursday as his date of birth...
467. swmpman
4:14 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Odds on a CAT 5 this year?
465. EmmyRose
4:14 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Beaumont the HIGH is pushing her supposedly to South Texas
Is your baby going to be named Emily? I know when ALLISON was here there were people naming their babies that
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 76405
464. chubri777
4:13 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
oops...nevermind...i forgot to animate the loop..my bad
Member Since: July 13, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
463. swmpman
4:13 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
one thing for sur she has a large circulation.
462. chubri777
4:13 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Emily has stalled
Member Since: July 13, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1
461. EmmyRose
4:12 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
I was just thinking once Emily goes into whereever
we better find another hurricane to fight over
But this being 2005, one will appear I'm sure
very soon....
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 76405
460. Beaumont74
4:12 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Ok....im not understanding this....if you look at satelite in motion over central texas to north easter texas...the cloud movement is going northeast....coming out of MEXICO going norhteast over texas...would this not get emily caught up in it and pull her more north possibly ne...maybe causing her to skirt the tx coast...esp if she slows down?
459. wxwatcher
4:12 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Does anyone remember the famous Roxanne who tried to spell her name in the Gulf a few years back? She made the infamous "R" before deciding where she went... Shows yall how tricky these storms can be..
458. swmpman
4:11 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Slow movers are the best. Now, oh Em has done some crazy things, so slowing and thinking is not off target.
456. swmpman
4:07 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
Yea. Others you know... but these yea
So is Emily playing out or what? Been out awhile
455. Beaumont74
4:06 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
does it seem like movement is slowing rapidly...seems to be slower than 15 mph....looks almost stationary...
454. EmmyRose
4:06 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
But they seem so adamant about it going to Brownsville
The way they're going on is like there is no room for error
Well...we shall see I guess
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 76405
451. swmpman
4:03 AM GMT on July 19, 2005
now this is nice set of blogs.

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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.