I am pleased to forecast and dispel any further suggestions that Hurricane Emily is a threat to the US Mainland.
The vigorous TROF (weakness) that was located over Texas and was, at least for awhile, expected to remain has all but vanished. A slight weakness remains over parts of South-Central/East Texas, however this should be overcome by morning. In addition, the upper ridge that was said by some to be relaxing, by some to be building, has in fact become quiet strong over the past 12 hours or so. This ridge has built both faster and stronger than previously forecasted and has arguably built much further south and west. The final straw is the S/W moving east across the high plains...this feature is not nearly as strong as was forecast to be approx. 18 hrs ago. This means practically no impact on the ridge barreling to the west. Given all of these parameters -- I can see no logical explanation for a northward "jog" toward the US mainland.
Given the circumstances only 8 to 10 hours ago, one would have expected this storm to track more north than was being forecasted -- and rightfully so. The weakness over TX, the 'thought' that the ridge wasn't as strong or as far west, and the threat of a vigorous S/W across the high plains...coupled with the apparent northward "jog" for approx. 6 hrs caused many of us to speculate Emily was indeed beginning to shift. This scenario is extremely unlikely given the aforementioned conditions and Emily's continued apparent nearly due-westward track.
Models continue to pick up 'artifacts' and may lead some to think Emily has a shot of shifting northward...however, these are artifacts as Emily has reconvened her more westerly track.
The strength is anyone's guess; I'll attempt to narrow it down...Somewhere between TS and CAT5 (joke).
Folks along the TX/LA/ and perhaps MS (if you were worried) coastlines can breathe a much needed sigh of relief. This is not to say affects (high surf, rain bands, and occasional TS force winds) can't be expected. The brunt, however, will remain to the south somewhere around or just north of Tampico, Mexico.
As with any storm that hasn't reached land, things can change... NOT likely. Stay tuned to NHC or local NWS offices for official forecasts...
I'll see all of you when we track the next storm! - GN