The storm-total Doppler radar rainfall estimate for the area where Hurricane Emily made landfall this morning is damn impressive.
Hurricane Emily, a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds, is making landfall right now near Gpe. Victoria, Mexico:
UPDATE: Here’s a 4-hour animated GIF of Emily making landfall (1,014 KB).
Dr. Jeff Masters has a good post about Emily, featuring an excellent view of her concentric eyewalls at landfall, as well as the following summary:
Mexico was unfortunate to have the storm slow down and make landfall at peak intensity. The slow motion of the storm means that the coast will be exposed to a long period of high water and battering waves. However, this portion of the coast is sparsely populated. Browsville is just north of the area of hurricane force winds, but the coastal areas will take a severe pounding from Emily’s storm surge. The rains of Emily, expected to bring 2 - 4 inches to South Texas, will be most welcome, as this part of Texas is under extreme drought.
The Brownsville radar shows an excellent view of Hurricane Emily approaching the Mexican coast.
Maximum sustained winds are still at 125 mph as of 10:00 PM EST. The storm’s forward speed has slowed significantly — to 7 mph, and at times it has looked essentially stalled on radar — so landfall is now not expected to occur until morning. Emily could strengthen to a Category 4, but Steve Gregory thinks that she would then weaken back to a Cat. 3 before landfall, because of cooler water temperatures ahead. Dr. Jeff Masters, meanwhile, says he gives up predicting what Emily is going to do next. “I’m just going to watch.”
It is seen as highly unlikely that President Bush will appoint her to the Supreme Court, however.
More breaking news, this time on the hurricane front: Eye of the Storm reports, as of five minutes ago: “The maximum 30 second average winds found in the northeast quadrant were 120 knots, which would suggest that Emily has surface winds of 120-125 mph, putting her easily at category three status.”
This after a 4:00 PM EST advisory putting Emily at 100 mph, but noting that her central pressure, 956 mb, “would typically support” Category 3 status. Looks like she’s finally spinned into gear. An NHC update will probably follow shortly.
In other news, it looks like I’ll be taking several short lunches this week, to make up for today’s breaking-news-blogging time. :)
UPDATE, 5:22 PM: Confirmed:
DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS IN EMILY HAVE CONTINUED TO RAPIDLY INCREASE AND ARE AT LEAST 120 MPH. A SPECIAL ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY 530 PM CDT…2230Z…REFLECTING A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN THE INTENSITY FORECAST.
Hurricane Emily is now 1 mph away from regaining Category 2 strength. Her maximum sustained winds are at 95 mph, and they seem destined to rise further. She’ll be a Category 2 for sure, and perhaps a Category 3, before landfall overnight in Tamaulipas state, Mexico.
The Mexican mainland is currently sandwiched between two tropical cyclones, Emily and Eugene, making for an interesting satellite view:
Dr. Jeff Masters has some good analysis, and an interesting comparison with Hurricane Beulah in 1967. Meanwhile, over at Eye of the Storm, Charles Fenwick has damage reports from Emily’s first landfall on the Yucatan.
Perhaps I spoke too soon. Hurricane Emily got better organized overnight, with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph and increasing; she now is expected to become a major hurricane (115 mph+) prior to landfall, which should occur shortly after midnight tonight. Emily is still expected to take a left turn and hit Mexico rather than Texas, but because that turn has not yet materialized, Hurricane Warnings have been issued from Port Mansfield, TX southward to the Mexican border, just in case. (Map here.)
I apologize for the less-frequent-than-usual updates. Alas, my attempts to deal with my computer crisis is taking up most of the free time that I would otherwise be using to blog.
P.S. Dr. Jeff Masters points out that Michiana’s weather is having an effect on faraway Emily:
As far as the track forecast goes, there is a trough of low pressure pulling Emily a little more northward than yesterday’s track; she is now moving at about 300 degrees. However, the cold front attached to the trough just cleared Michigan, bringing heavy thunderstorms here (and FINALLY clearing out the remains of Hurricane Dennis!) This trough and associated cold front are rapidly headed east, and by morning should lessen its pull on Emily. I expect a more westward track tomorrow, as the models and NHC are predicting. Texas should miss a direct hit by Emily.
It’s amazing to watch the weather here in Michigan and see connections to a hurricane far away in the tropics. The weather everyone experiences is interconnected and influences what happens to the weather everywhere else.
In the circle… the circle of life… :)
Perhaps the residents of Tamaulipas, Mexico should send flowers to the residents of the Cozumel area. The Yucatan Peninsula sapped Hurricane Emily of most of her strength — she’s down to minimal Category 1 strength — and it now appears unlikely that she’ll regain major hurricane status before making landfall again, probably in the state of Tamaulipas, tomorrow night. According to Dr. Jeff Masters:
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.
After pummelling the Yucatan Peninsula overnight, Hurricane Emily is back over open water. She’s weakened from a Category 4 (155 mph at her peak, 135 mph at landfall) to a Category 2 (estimated at 100 mph, pending reconnaissance data), but she’s expected to re-strengthen over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The big question now is, where will she go next?
The official forecast track puts Emily about 100 miles south of the Texas/Mexico border late tomorrow night, but Hurricane Watches are in effect all the way northward to Baffin Bay, Texas (and all the way southward to Cabo Rojo, Mexico), just in case.
Texas, uncharacteristically, finds itself hoping for a leftward turn. (Ahem.) Tracing Emily’s motion on the satellite loop, the center of the storm presently appears to be making a beeline for Brownsville — but the NHC says that’s just a wobble:
A weakness on the western edge of the ridge may induce a small northward component temporarily. However…the weakness is forecast to be replaced by a ridge which eventually will force Emily to move on a more westward track beyond 24 hours.
Even so, folks in the Hurricane Watch area in south Texas should be preparing for the possibility of a landfalling major hurricane in about 36 hours, just in case the forecast is wrong and the “small northward component” doesn’t abate.
UPDATE: Data from the recon plane indicates that Emily has weakened to a minimal Category 1 with 75 mph winds, according to the 1:00 PM EST advisory. It is still expected to re-strengthen, and could become a major hurricane again before landfall, but it’ll have an uphill climb.
At this very moment, Category 4 Hurricane Emily is making landfall near Cozumel on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Hurricane Emily is still Category Four as of 10:00 PM EST, despite another precipitous pressure drop, but according to the NHC, “Some fluctuations in strength are expected… and Emily could become a category five hurricane at times… during the next 24 hours.”
The discussion has more, including this observation: “It is still to soon… however… to determine if landfall on the North American mainland will occur in northern Mexico or in Texas.”
Initial reports suggest Emily will stay a strong Cat. 4, and will not be upgraded to Cat. 5. Eye on the Storm has the latest.
In other news, Becky and I have changed our plans, deciding at the last minute to skip the Venetian Festival and stay home reading Harry Potter. :)
UPDATE: According to Eye, “Pressure is nine millibars lower, but wind observations remain the same. Unless the pressure trend reverses itself, we could be in the situation of where the wind observation is behind the pressure observation (i.e. the winds are becoming stronger, but we haven’t observed it yet). If the wind is indeed trailing pressure, then Emily will be observed as a category five this mission… we shall see…”
I haven’t been paying any attention to Hurricane Emily since midnight, as I’ve been totally engrossed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but I just looked at the latest advisory and — HOLY CRAP! — she’s at 155 mph, on the verge of Category 5 status. Take a look at the satellite views:
Emily’s current estimated intensity, 155 mph, is based on the data from the last reconaissance aircraft to enter the storm, at around noon EST. According to the discussion, “There is a possibility that Emily has gotten stronger since the aircraft left the storm.” Even a tiny amount of strengthening would bump this monster hurricane up to Category 5 intensity, which begins at 156 mph. But the NHC is going to wait for solid data from another recon plane before upgrading Emily to the highest level on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Another flight is scheduled for around 7:00 PM EST… so, stay tuned.
Already, she is the strongest July hurricane in the history of the Atlantic basin, surpassing the previous record-holder, Hurricane Dennis.
The forecast track calls for a devastating direct hit on the Yucatan Peninsula from a borderline Category 4/5 hurricane late Sunday night or early Monday morning.
P.S. Eye of the Storm wrote, at 5:43 PM EST, ” This certainly looks like a category five hurricane. We will know for sure about one hour from now…”
Stay tuned to Eye of the Storm for the latest, as I’ll be away from my computer for the rest of the evening.
In the entire 154-year recorded history of Atlantic hurricane tracking, there have been two Category Four or greater hurricanes in the month of July. The first was named Dennis. The second is named Emily.
2005 is a already year which will live in meteorological infamy… and we’re just getting started.
Hurricane Emily was upgraded to Cat. 4 status at 1:00 AM. It has maximum sustained winds of 135 mph. It’s expected to pass just south of Jamaica early tomorrow morning; Hurricane Warnings are up. Late Sunday or early Monday, it will either hit or brush the Yucatan Peninsula. And then… Texas? The official forecast track calls for a landfall near Brownsville, TX in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Here’s a look at what the various computer models are predicting:
If you live in south Texas, this weekend would be a good time to start making some initial preparations. Come next week, you could be looking at a serious hurricane heading your way… or not, but it never hurts to be prepared.
It’s July 14, and the Atlantic basin already has its second major hurricane of the season: Emily is now a Cat. 3, as of 4:00 PM EST. (There have been a grand total of four major hurricanes in the month of July in the entire history of hurricane record-keeping, which started in 1851 — and two of those four are Dennis and Emily!!!)
The official forecast calls for Emily to reach borderline Category 4 intensity within 24 hours… and then to level off and remain steady at 130-135 mph for two straight days (until hitting the Yucatan Peninsula). But if the NHC is correct that high sea-surface temperatures and low wind shear lie ahead, I personally see no reason to believe Emily won’t become a strong Cat. 4 (140-150+ mph), at least for a while.
The forecast track continues to show Emily hitting the Yucatan in 3-4 days and then entering the Gulf of Mexico on a track that looks rather threatening to the Mexican mainland and/or southern Texas, with a potential landfall around the middle of next week. But, as the discussion wisely notes, “Users are reminded that average 5-day track errors exceed 300 [nautical miles].”
P.S. Dr. Jeff Masters writes: “Locations from Miami to Brownsville are at risk. The key factors the next few days will be Emily’s forward speed, and the timing and strength of a trough of low pressure forecast to dip south across the U.S. by Tuesday. It is too early to speculate how strong this trough might be five days from now, and whether it might be able to turn Emily more northward.”