The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has finally come to the conclusion that "Invest 91" has developed into Tropical Storm Emily. The satellite image above was taken just a moment ago. The criss-cross pattern of various colors indicate the wind speed and direction along the flight path of the Hurricane Hunter aircraft that just recently visited the storm. The pink colored wind barbs indicate winds of 40-45 knots (46-51 mph) at flight level, which translate to winds of approximately 40 mph at the surface - which results in a classification of Tropical Storm intensity.
A more traditional satellite image without the Hurricane Hunter data is shown below (with Emily at the center of the screen):
Computer forecast models are increasingly suggesting that Florida may have to deal with Emily (likely then a hurricane) by this weekend:
There is still a lot of time, and there are still a lot of factors involved which will ultimately determine the exact track Emily will take by this weekend (and the exact intensity that she will attain by then). With that having been said, residents of Florida and the Southeast U.S. should monitor the progress of Emily very closely this week. It would be a good idea to make sure that you have your severe weather preparedness kit stocked and ready, and review tropical weather preparedness tips just in case.
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