Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Emily Slowly Organizing ... Still A Tropical Storm

At 5pm AST, the center of Tropical Storm Emily was located about 185 miles South/Southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Maximum sustained winds were 50 mph, and the minimum central pressure was 29.68 inches of mercury.  Emily is moving toward the West at 14 mph.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center, mainly to the North and East.  With this in mind, tropical storm force winds can be expected in Puerto Rico tonight as Emily begins to make a turn more toward the Northwest.

The radar image below shows shower and thunderstorm activity increasing across Puerto Rico (center of image) as the bands of Emily begin to rotate into the island:

Beyond the immediate threat to Puerto Rico, the next question is, of course, whether Emily will have any impact on Florida or any other portion of the Southeast U.S. Coast.  Computer forecast models today are converging on a path that would take Emily immediately East of Florida on Saturday, as you can see on the composite image below:

There is also some question as to how Emily will fare when passing over the mountains of Hispaniola tomorrow night or early Thursday morning.  Some of the models completely dissipate Emily by that time, while the majority weaken her substantially, only to forecast reintensification once she clears that land mass on Thursday.

The official National Hurricane Center forecast currently calls for Emily to remain intact after crossing Hispaniola, weakening to a depression at that time and then reintensifying to a tropical storm by Friday:

Residents of Florida and the remainder of the Southeast U.S. coast should continue to monitor the progression of Emily over the next few days.  Even though current trends suggest a diminishing threat, we are still several days out and conditions are always subject to change when dealing with a tropical system, particularly at this stage of the game.  We should know a lot more about whether we can dismiss a threat to the U.S. after Emily completely crosses through Hispaniola early Thursday.

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