Reconnaissance planes out there tonight found numerous interesting observations just before they left. There were two planes out there tonight: the low level Emily mission and an upper air environment mission designed to better analyze shear and air masses. The low level mission followed Emily for about 6 hours as it make a very small cyclonic loop, and then continued west. During its last pass to the center, recon mentioned intense lightning and rapidly developing thunderstorms…both signs of intensification. During the upper air mission, recon dropped dozens of instruments designed to take pressure and wind observations at numerous levels of the atmosphere. It found that just to the west of Emily flow and shear have become lighter than we had expected. This allows Emily a small window of intensification before making landfall in Cuba.
Because of the cyclonic loop Emily went through, the forward speed was negatively effected, and was called a stall for a period of time. Emily continues to be a fighter. Early in the day, Emily was cloudless and rather weak with winds of only 45 mph (my estimate). Conditions are very close to good, and do support general intensification over the next 24 hours. Tropical storm force winds are moving inland west of Santo Domingo on Hispaniola, and will continue to spread inland over western DR and Haiti. The current tracking information for Emily is as follows:
- Maximum sustained winds: 50 mph
- West at 3 mph (my estimate)
- Minimum pressure: 1004 mb (and falling)
- Location: 17.1N 71.0W or 13o miles SW of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
- IKE: 2.00
- 24 hours — 11pm Thursday: 65 mph 19.3N 76.0w
- 48 hours — 11pm Friday: 45 mph 23.1N 78.9W
- 72 hours — 11pm Saturday: 60 mph 27.0N 80.4W
Emily continues to defy the NHC, and continues to move west, and I have extrapolated a just north of west motion out 6 hours for my first forecast point, which is south of Port Au Prince. Due to the slow down in recent days, my track is slower than it was yesterday except for on Saturday. From there I remained west of the general model consensus, but very close the HWRF, GFDL, and TVCN. I also want to note that the CMC has been doing very well in forecasting the track thus far. As far as intensity, my first two points are guided by the GHM and LGEM according to their position relative to land. On Saturday, I went very near the model consensus for an intensity near FL of 60 mph. I may have to make further corrections to the west and slower is trends do continue.
Tropical storm watches will likely be required for the southern Florida tomorrow from the middle Keys to the Space Coast. This is not really a storm to hype, but there is a large deal of uncertainty with this system because of the fickleness of Emily and its many land interactions. Please stay tuned to the National Hurricane Center for the latest information at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov . Emily may drop up to 4″ of rain in flat areas in its path, and up to 20″ in the most mountainous areas of Hispaniola and Cuba before all is said and done. Mudslides are likely in Hispaniola. Here in Florida, it will most likely be a wind and heat event. The counterclockwise flow around Emily has already created record high temperatures in north Florida in conjunction with the heat bubble over the central US. South Florida may pick up a couple inches of rain on this path, but if the track changes, impacts will change. Many recon flights are planned for the next 2-3 days and I will be posting general updates on twitter, so follow me @JonathanBelles, and I will update on larger updates here. I have tomorrow off, so I will make at least one if not two updates during the day.