Emily steadily intensifying

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:30 PM GMT on July 12, 2005

Satellite imagery shows that the deep convection at the center of Emily continues to become better organized, nice banding features have developed, and upper-level outflow is steadily improving. Emily is advancing over warmer and warmer waters, and the upper-level winds ahead of it look very favorable for intensification. NHC brings Emily up to a Category 3 in three days' time, and I cautiously agree.

Cautiously, because I note that Emily is now moving a little south of due west--it's latitude went from 11.4 to 11.0 North the past six hours. This may have been due to an internal re-organization where the center got sucked underneath where the deepest convection was. The computer forecast models predict that a west to west-northwest motion should begin shortly. However, if Emily's motion continues westward or slightly south of westward, the storm will enter the southeast Caribbean Sea--which historically has been very unfavorable for tropical storms. I've seen countless impressive-looking tropical storms cross through the Windward Islands between 11 and 13 North Latitude, only to weaken or die once they get into the southeastern Caribbean. The reasons for this weakening are not well understood, but one theory is that the presence of the South American land mass to the south cuts off an important source of low-level moisture to developing tropical storms, or entrains dry air into them.

If one looks at the past 20 years of data and finds all hurricanes and tropical storms that crossed into the southeast Caribbean between 11 and 13 North Latitude, here's what one finds:

Two tropical storms that weaken, but later regain their strength:
Lili (2002)
Chantal (2001)

Six tropical storms that die:
Jerry (2001)
Earl (2004)
Joyce (2000)
Arthur (1990)
Isaac (1988)
Danielle (1986)

Two tropical storms that intensify into hurricanes:
Joan (1988)
Emily (1987)

One hurricane that intensifies:
Ivan (2004)

So, in the past 20 years, over 70% of the tropical storms and hurricanes that have crossed into the southeastern Caribbean have died or weakened. But this is the hurricane season of 2005. The normal rules do not apply. Or in the words of NHC hurricane forecaster Dr. James Franklin in today's 5pm discussion, "So far...the 2005 hurricane season seems to have little interest in climatology."

I predict Emily will follow it's namesake storm, Emily of 1987, and continue to intensify once it crosses the Windward Islands into the southeastern Caribbean.

Dr. Jeff Masters

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40. rodrigo0
2:44 AM GMT on July 16, 2005

MAX FL WIND 113 KT NW QUAD 01:01:00 Z
39. fredwx
12:24 PM GMT on July 13, 2005
As I posted yesterday, I think Emily still looks like it will track towards a MEX/TEX landfall. Emily could turn northward over NW Caribbean but it is too early to tell.
1. Climatology - Historicly limited data for July suggests that those storms that develop either recurve east of Florida (which is unlikely here) or continue across the Caribbean into Mexico or turn NW-N towards Texas. There was one (1887) in late July that turned North to hit western Florida panhandle (Hope Emily does not take that track as those folks have already had their share)
2. Azores-Bermuda high forecasted to build or at least hold throgh this weekend.
Member Since: June 8, 2005 Posts: 221 Comments: 261
38. rodrigo0
12:03 PM GMT on July 13, 2005
The actual track is very very similar to superhurricane Gilberth. We will wait for more news later this week.
37. FreehandNursery
11:48 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
been checking through Dr Jeff's links...all the storms he mentioned were later in the season than Dennis or this Emily, also every time this Emily jogs she seems to try to go North as if she has a mind of her own
36. wxgssr
11:30 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
nsalwater...how much do you lose if you make reservations and don't use them? Where would you be leaving from? These are certainly things that would enter my equation. I am not recommending that anybody do anything...I'm just stating what I think will happen and I try to provide reasoning. Well, I will make one recommendation...don't rely on politicians to tell you when to evacuate. The flailex occuring now post Dennis in Louisiana would be hilarious, if it were not so serious a subject. Anyway, I could very easily be wrong, just as I was one of the ones who thought that Dennis would hit further West. I missed the NW gulf low moving East, I thought it would drop further South to enable Dennis to track further West. The latest models are backing away a bit from the Rockies TROF, and a central Yucatan strike is certainly plausible, but I think that the models have over corrected to the South now, and will start to walk back North as Emily gets some North of West in her track. An anticyclone is centeresd over the central gulf and the flow in the W carribean is heading towards the CENTAM/Yucatan coast, but I think this high will reorient just a bit to enable my scenario. For now, I'm sticking with a Yucatan brush, and a turn to the NW towards the NW Gulf coast...TX/LA. We'll see.
35. TampaSteve
10:41 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
gyontef...A few days ago, I would have said the chances were pretty good, but now it looks like Emily is pulling a Gilbert...headed straight for the Yucatan...we'll see what happens...
34. gyontef
8:20 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
What is the probability of Emily hitting Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale in the next 6 days?
33. creekchub00
7:48 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
The GFS has Emily almost dissappearing once it gets west of the Islands. The other models except for the NOGAPS takes this storm west and then NW 24-36 hours out then back to a more WNW direction after that. Ending up around Cuba and the Yucatan at the end.
The GFDL has this thing strengthening to a CAT4 Hurricanes I think. Odd the the GFS doesn't even have this thing showing up. What could cause that?
32. g3ton
5:52 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
Could Emily be a Louisiana storm. You sometime get those feelings, and hope you are wrong. Only time will tell. Around around she goes, but nobody know exactly where.
31. JohnnyEd
5:47 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
Lates update is it's swung back to 11 deg north.
30. JohnnyEd
5:45 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
It certainly sems as though us folk in Grenada are in line for yet another direct hit. Having never had one , we may now be looking at two in as many years
29. OneDay
5:31 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
Is Emily's deep convection out-running her low level circulation?
Member Since: July 13, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 932
28. nsaltwater
4:53 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
wxgssr, so basicly you're recommending that we make hotel resevations for tuesday or wednesday of next week? In Montgomery or Birmingham.

27. wxgssr
3:44 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
The Bermuda high is established further west. As to Emily driving into S America, its not gonna happen...Look at the vapor loops. Emily is emerging from under the steering influence of a sharp amplitude ridge that has taken her SW. The vapor clearly indicates that the steering flow she will soon encounter(probably by dawn) as she treks beyond the eastern periphery of this ridge will take her WNW towards the Yucatan...which NHC has nailed. I do think they are low in the intensity...still say strong CAT 3 S of Puerto Rico. Beyond the 5 day...long range models indicate a mid latitude TROF coming east outta the rockies...that will grab Emily and pull her NW then N into Galveston-New Orleans section of the coast. Oil and gas futures will spike as traders figure this out. Even if the Gulf rigs don't get shut in, there will be a refined petroleum products shipping slow down from S. America(Venezuela/Mexico) as Emily passes.
26. rodrigo0
3:42 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
Uhm and the track its now more close to Mexico.
25. sporteguy03
3:37 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
Possible new TD 400 W of Cape Verde Islands and another strong wave off the coast of Africa, dare I say Franklin and Gert????!
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5706
24. mobilehurricane
2:44 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
It is very rare to see a tropical system traverse the enire gulf moving westward without eventually turning to the north--but I won't rule anything out this season!
23. mobilehurricane
2:34 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
*wrong link* use thisLink
22. mobilehurricane
2:32 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
I have been looking at all of the models along with some previous storm tracks that Dr. Masters has provided and I believe that emily will strengthen and follow the general computer models for at least 72 hours and then decide to make its own path which would lead me to believe that it will turn north just before hitting the yucatan peninsula as so many other remembered storms have...Ivan, Lili, and most recently Dennis. I'm sure everyone has already seen this countless times, but take a closer look at where these storms converge?...Link
20. sporteguy03
1:56 AM GMT on July 13, 2005
Is the Bermuda high exactly the same as last year? Is it as strong? Stronger and has it builded further West?
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 5706
19. oriondarkwood
1:04 AM GMT on July 13, 2005

Thanks, kinda fiqured it was something like that
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
18. RobbTC
11:01 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
They don't use Q U X Y Z because they couldn't come up with enough unique names with those letters (plus leaving room for name retirement).
17. wxgssr
10:46 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
Convection has really diminished around Emily, although the last two frames of the loop I looked at did show a slight bit of refiring near the western core. It looks like the eastern edge of a high amplitude ridge is driving Emily to the SW and inhibiting convection. I expect Emily to stagger onward and suddenly begin to reintensify with a convective burst once it clears the eastern periphery of this sharp ridge. Very interesting dynamic.
16. oriondarkwood
9:46 PM GMT on July 12, 2005

That is curious any reason why they would not use Q or U?
Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
15. creekchub00
9:34 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
A lot of the models are showing an almost due west track the entire way. I think this storm will be intense enough to make its own track once it gets to around cuba. I think it will allow it to break down the ridge to the north and follow a track very similar to Ivan last year and Dennis this year. There is a trough dipping in from the west which should help push this thing north later in the week. I guess time will only tell.
14. boycla
9:16 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
thanks for the valued input Dr.Jeff, it is most interesting.
cajunkid, hold your tongue, we in New Orleans have had enough with Cindy, lol
13. rgeer68
9:14 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
When I was stationed in the Philippines, they had a list of names from A to Z. If the number of storms exceeded 26, they'd use names from an auxiliary list that started back at A (see Link).
12. mfolmer
9:00 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
I'm going to agree with craigomahawx on a northward progression once into the Western Carib. The models show the ridge progressing west, but don't overlook the cross equatorial trough in the Eastern Pacific that may be developing. If it does, it would mean a more northern track for Emily down the road. Plus, Dennis may have left enough of a weakness in Emily's path. Just some thoughts, which don't discount any possibility of a Central America landfall, just a bit of traffic in the way.
11. CrucianCrip
8:11 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
oniondarkwood, the name list does go to W, but doesn't include names that start with Q or U, so there's really only 21 names listed instead of 23.
10. oriondarkwood
6:22 PM GMT on July 12, 2005

Probably come up with more names, they have names all the way to "W" ( http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/B2.html )

To date the most storms a season has produced has been 19 (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/E10.html )

Member Since: July 5, 2004 Posts: 51 Comments: 42
9. fredwx
6:22 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
Regarding weakening storms over the SE'rn Caribbean: I see at least at the present there is cooler water near or below 28C over the region. I wonder if this is normally a cooler water area?

Member Since: June 8, 2005 Posts: 221 Comments: 261
8. raindancer
6:10 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
smilinez - I believe "T" was indeed as far as any year has ever reached.
Member Since: September 14, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 79
7. evolution
6:06 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
what's your reasoning craigomahawx? just curious. most models do look like they're favoring more of the westerly track now more that of yesterday.......again let's keep in mind that this is all just 'jibber-jabber' at this point anyway.
6. cajunkid
6:06 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
Mabe the third time is the charm for New Orleans. Boy I sure hope not!
Member Since: July 10, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1390
5. CraigOmahaWX
5:56 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
I dont think it will hit Mexico. I think it will curve North.
4. smilinez
5:42 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
What do they do when they run out of names? Has it ever happened? I looked and I see we got as far as Tanya (Tonya?) once. Have we gotten past T before?
3. fredwx
5:18 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
Climatology suggests the same thing.

Member Since: June 8, 2005 Posts: 221 Comments: 261
2. fredwx
5:11 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
Emily 1987 recurved northward into the southwesten North Atlantic but this years strong Bermuda-Azores High shouldn't allow that to happen anytime soon.
Member Since: June 8, 2005 Posts: 221 Comments: 261
1. Hawkeyewx
4:53 PM GMT on July 12, 2005
Dr. Masters, I notice the latest GFS run takes Emily west across the Caribbean into the Yucatan peninsula, at which point the model maintains a strong high pressure across the Gulf that forces Emily due west to its death in Mexico. It is still very early, but it would not surprise me at all if that happened.
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1928

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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