Tropical Update - 8/3/11 ... Emily to most likely survive Hispaniola, hit Bahamas

By: Thrawst , 2:16 AM GMT on August 04, 2011

Tropical Storm Emily

Currently, Tropical Storm Emily packs sustained winds of 50 mph, and a pressure of 1004 mb. While earlier today Emily had an exposed low level center, during the past few hours it seems as if thunderstorms are reforming over it.

The west northwesterly shear that caused most of the problems for Emily this morning seems to have temporarily lessened, and may stay lower than what it was this morning for the rest of it's life. It seems like the two main factors that will limit intensification over the next 48 hours will be the disruptive mountains over the island of Hispaniola, and the still significant amount of dry air to the northwest. However, as explained below, the mountains could not be as significant to weakening as many people think.

With the exposed low level center observed earlier today, it was impossible for the system to intensify and get deeper into the atmosphere. As a result, the center of Emily wasn't being able to be tugged northwest by the digging trough on the eastern coast of the United States, and thus, stayed further west. As of 8pm EDT, the center was stationary, meaning a possible reformation is occurring and intensification may occur before moving inland later tonight or early tomorrow. Here's the thing... where will Emily make landfall over the island of Hispaniola? With the continued westward movement for most of the day today, it should avoid the Dominican Republic and curve WNW to NW to hit the tongue of land in Haiti, close to Port Au Prince. Once hitting land, no doubt this system should weaken, perhaps into a tropical depression if it hits the mountains near Port Au Prince. After crossing Haiti, it emerges back over the warm waters near the Turks and Caicos of the Bahamas. Waters are very warm and extend to some depth, aiding in plenty of fuel for thunderstorm redevelopment. The center may have problems reorganizing after the hit in Haiti, but the fact that it should spend less than 12-18 hours over land, shouldn't totally damage the circulation. Also, weaker system tend to survive better over land than most intense hurricanes. Once reaching the warm waters, and lower wind sheared region of the Bahamas, strengthening should resume, possibly steady. One negative factor, as explained yesterday, is the confluent (or very dry) region of the Deep Layer Ridge centered over the Southeast United States, will be centered over eastern Florida and the Northwestern Bahamas. This may tend to limit how many thunderstorms develop in relation to Emily, but since Emily is relatively large, it MAY be able to offset this factor with warm waters and low wind shear. Later in the forecast period, as the NHC is forecasting, the environment should steadily improve and Emily could become a hurricane by as early as it leaves the Bahamas. There is a possibility that the center of Emily will move further west than forecast, and possibly threaten the southeastern Florida area. Anyways, this forecast is still listed as questionable because the center has yet to make landfall over Hispaniola.

In other tropical news, Hurricane Eugene has strengthened into a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with winds of 140 mph... but expect this system to start steadily weakening by tonight.

The GFS Model is predicting Cape-Verde type development in their latest run, and brings it across the Atlantic near the Bahamas almost 10 days later. This probably won't happen, but it signals the beginning of the Cape Verde season right around the corner.

Have a safe evening! :)

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About Thrawst

I have been fascinated by severe and tropical weather since the 2004 season. What a season that was!! Also a wave swell freak!

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