07/10/05 TALK: Major Hurricane Emily

11am NHC discussion surprised me - seems like they are pretty quick to change their whole forecast. In just 12 hours the forecast has gone from something like 'no inhibiting factors, no reason it should not be a Cat 3 or much stronger at landfall' to something like 'shear is evident and will continue to grow, Emily will basically die over the western gulf'.
That's the problem with forecasting so many days in advance. This was one of the obstacles that was supposed to be 'moved out of the way' for Emily but instead appears to be becoming a bigger problem to the future of Emily. Emily should remain a major Hurricane for now and will have to see how the interaction with the Yucatan and whether she can regain her strength in a less favorable environment.
Yep , that is indeed a pretty wild boundary. Still very much in evidence as of 1658z. And it's to the west of the storm, exactly where Emily seems to be having the most trouble with her outflow. Interesting.
I've noticed the tendency in recent hurricane forecasts perhaps to discount too much the results of rather successful research IMO into ocean heat content, water temperature, and other boundary layer effects in favor of upper-level effects.

Major hurricanes (which Emily still is in its current "weakened" state) apparently respond to these subtle boundary features especially in the tropics. TTI Emily has passed over a tongue of low TCHC water from about 68-72W longitude, but is now about to traverse high energy waters throughout the rest of the Caribbean. If true, one can look to imminent re-intensification to full Cat 4, and perhaps even Cat 5 for awhile based on climatology. FWIW.
After completing her eyewall replacement cycle which took up a good portion of the last 16 hours or so, Emily has restrengthened to a Cat 4 once more. Central pressure is down to 954 millibars, and she is looking quite impressive with good outflow on all sides now as she hurtles towards a close encounter with Jamaica. The discussion suggests another cocentric eyewall cycle could occur in the next several hours. The shear doesn't seem to be bothering her at this time, and I think she could make Cat 5 as she gets past Jamaica and the Caymans. Right now the NHC official track just glances Emily off the northeastern tip of the Yucatan and sends it straight for Brownsville/Metamoros. I don't know why they drop the intensity so much after the predicted encounter with the Yucatan... at the angle she's approaching and if she maintains her current speed Emily will probably be done with the Yucatan in 12 hours or less, possibly as little as six hours if she moves to the right of current guidance. Or she could miss the Yucatan entirely, which would require her to turn straight northwest once she passes the Caymans, which seems unlikely as the high pressure area over the southeast US will prevent her from doing that unless it shifts significantly eastward and allows her through. Her encounter will probably cause a hiccup in the intensity, but after the way she recovered from dropping down to a Cat 2 and then rapidly restrenghting to a Cat 4 in 12 hours, this storm could easily be as strong and/or stronger than Dennis was in the Gulf before he weakened as he made landfall. If I lived in far south Texas I would begin to prepare tomorrow as she is only 5 days out...
the latest IR image at 0945z shows a well defined eye with very symetrical CDO. Emily really has been organizing these past few hours. We might see a 5 soon...
Oh my... Quite a change from yesterday into this morning. The eye has really come through. NHC update says that a recon plane said winds are now up to 145MPH. Currently a strong Cat 4.
Whoa! Emily has really strengthend once again at an astonishing pace! Eyewall is clear and symetric as well as good looking outflow. New data indicates 145mph (Vortex/Dvorak compromise) and 944mb.

Edit: Also NHC playing a differant flute in indicating Emily could regain major Hurricane status after Yucatan land interaction.
The pressure's gone back up three mb, but the storm's still looking very intense, and now there's no mention of Emily dying out before a second landfall, but rather remaining a cat. 3, and striking somewhere along the coast between S TX and NE Mexico.
I am finding that they are predicting that Emily will be picked up by the Hi coming from Arizona and taken west through N Mexico. At the same time, a Hi near Florida is expected to be the weaker, but still in place. I am not so sure of the current plan, if either Hi moves any, Emily will come charging N up toward the upper Texas coast.

Guess I am saying the same as alot of folks I am talking about Emily to...will wait until she clears the Yucatan and see what direction she chooses. Wunderground has a model that is taking Emily directly into Corpus Christi on Tuesday (and the only model even flirting with Texas coastline at this time). http://www.wunderground.com/modelmaps/maps.asp and then hit Animate. Wild.
Emily Looks perfect! The maximum winds are now 145 mph. It is said that she is traversing through the highest thermal heat content in the caribeann.. I am noticing a more nw jog; though that could be an eyewall replacement cycle.
Emily's eye has veered N of the forecast track a bit. Wobble?

Anyway, interesting that as that occurs, model guidance shifts S'ward, with NHC following suit, albeit cautiously.

I just think the next 12 hours or so will be huge as far as whether A) Emily will spend 3 hours or 8 hours over the Yucatan, and B) whether we will be seeing a US landfall as cat4 or so or MX landfall as something less.

Enhanced IR Sat imagery also indicates some warming at the top recently.


[edit] Yeah...it does look like it was a wobble, now.
At 11:45, the pressure had fallen to 940 mb and sustained winds at 150 mph...flirting with Cat 5. Cozumel looks to take a big hit from Emily. Cancun also will feel the eastern flank. I hope the vacationers are prepared from it.
Pretty impressive... that's a lot of wind for "only" 940mb... I know it's a small hurricane in terms of strongest winds coverage, but I've seen similarly-sized 'canes with lower pressures that actually had lower winds. Just always find the wind-pressure relationship fascinating (though they should be entirely related when considering pressure gradient and wind).
Looks like we are going to be looking at a 5 by the end of the day. The latest visible image is beautiful! You can actually see the stadium effect from the satellite. The outflow is not being restricted at all and there is nothing stopping her all the way to the Yucatan. It is starting to look like Emily could eventually be as strong as Mitch. I hope not because the damage would look like a 25 mile F-4 came buzzing through. I have been very impressed with the forecasting of this storm so far, it looks like the NHC just drew a staight line from Emily to Matamoras, Mx and she has stayed right down the middle of the official forecast for 3 days now. The wobbles that Emily has taken have been as small and quick as I ever remember seeing in a major hurricane.
From NHC:

IS 937 MB...27.66 INCHES.
Jim Leonard enroute to Cancun

I phoned Jim Leonard a couple hours ago and he was chomping at the bit at MIA waiting for a flight to Cancun...he probably should be arriving there now...As of the latest data..Emily is a borderline Cat 5, it may hit 160mph briefly but I anticipate the eye wall will begin recycling tonight or tomorrow which will likely diminish the storm to a high end Cat 3 or low end Cat 4 by land fall which unfortunately for Jim will happen during the predawn hours of Monday morning...onless it speeds up or signifigantly slows down...and I don't see that happening.

Anyway...lets hope and pray that Jim makes it back safe..and with some kick in the rear video.
Right now, closest point of approach and Kingston is reporting.....
5 kts sustained winds!!!!!!

Emily is ridiculously small, with such a tight wind field and pressure gradient that there is not much out beyond maybe 30-40 nm from the center. With a large, or average-sized 13 nm eye, there is not much area that will be getting high winds. Just think of this as a Charlie with a larger eye...or a 25 mile-wide tornado. The explosive recovering earlier this morning is indicative of BOTH things....the improved outflow and slightly less so, the higher oceanic heat content.

I say this with caution, because it is clear that the outflow is more important in this case. Ever since Emily entered the central Caribbean, the outflow has controlled its intensity. Waters have gotten increasingly warmer with time as she heads west, but why did she weaken abruptly to cat. 2 yesterday? Outflow. The upper low was cutting off exhaust out of the western semicircle, so even though waters were warm, Emily still weakened dramatically. Now, it has gotten stronger because as per my own streamline analysis from satellite water vapor derived winds, the upper-low has opened up into a weak trough in the Bay of Campeche. Outflow improved dramatically, hence the explosive strengthening this morning. Yes, of course high oceanic heat content has a part to play. However, it is my belief that that part is much smaller than upper-level winds. Scientifically, even measly 26 degree water can support a cat. 5 storm!! But if outflow is not favorable, the hurricane will still dissipate.

If you shove a sponge into your car exhaust pipe, no matter how much gas you put into your tank and how hard you step on the gas pedal, your car is going to die, let alone gain any speed.
My landfall forecast is South of Corpus Christi, TX ~ I actually think that the the ridge that has kept Emily on a westly course will weaken as the hurricane move into the GOM and this will allow Emily to begin moving north.
Thats awesome Owen. Also I expect Emily to make landfall tommorow night from 0z-03z. Man, the mm5 is pretty useless it's now forecasting Emily to turn straight north towards LA. (LOL)
Thanks Owen!! That is amazing.

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 3:04 pm Post subject:


I wish I was there. In a boat. With a really solid hull.

Yeah, I wonder when we will see the Hurricane attack boat on ebay claiming it is going to get in the eye of a developing tropical system and stay in there until landfall. Once they get to land they will get out of the boat and get in a Hurricane attack vehicle and stay in the eye until the storm dies. HMMM......bet I could get a ton of free publicity. Does anyone know where I can get a bunch of Fiberglass and a loan?
I just read the NHC 5 P.M discussion and was floored by this:

That is insane! :shock: If Emily were to strengthen to 160 knots, she would have sustained winds of 184 mph with gusts well over 200. And if she does this (which is unlikely but not out of the question) she could beat out Gilbert for strongest Atlantic hurricane ,as well as give him a run for his money on central minimum pressure. Hopefully Emily will begin an eyewall replacement cycle before she hits the Yucatan; otherwise, Cozumel and Cancun could be looking at devastation on a scale of that wreaked by Gilbert. They had better start evacuating the locals now, since they already sent the tourists home. This could be very bad. Also, the weakeness in the high pressure ridge seems to be expanding. This may allow Emily to either just cross the tip or glance off the coastline and allow her to turn to the northwest and head straight for the south/middle Texas coastline.
A side note: Emily is not the only 155 mph storm in the world right now. Supetyphoon Haitang is as strong as Emily currently is slashing a path towards Taiwan and will make landfall within the next 24 hours. Strangely enough Haitang is also moving west-northwest, though as he appraoches Taiwan he is expected to turn northwest.
A little off topic but it's very peculiar that two tropical systems thousands of miles apart would have identical strength (135 kts) and direction of movement(W/NW.) Gives you a very weird feeling. :shock: