Monday, August 01, 2011

Tropical Storm Emily: August 1, Update B

Sorry, did I say earlier that you’d get a 6 minute warning if you lived on the Caribbean Islands? My bad. I was obviously still half-asleep or something when I wrote that… if I was being realistic I would change that to er… you’d get a 0 minute warning (or possibly a -6 hour warning), because that’s what appeared to have happened to a bunch of the Windward Islands today. Usefully (especially in case you live out there and missed it) the first NHC update for Emily says that Tropical Storm conditions are occuring in the windward islands. (I’m British, I can’t help being slightly sarcastic once in a while – we get it from contact with the rainwater over there. ;-))

Here's an IR satellite image of Emily a few hours after she was (finally) officially named (at around 7.30pm EST) and also the track map with watches and warnings that came into effect at the time, as per the NHC page, this ‘NEW TROPICAL STORM’ formed.

I’ll let you match the island warning with the convective activity… it’ll give you all something to do as we wait for the next official update. Fortunately for the people who live there, the winds are really fairly low at the moment 40mph (TS range: 39-73mph), but the rain is pretty heavy (red and gray areas are torrential downpours with thunder and possibly tornadoes).

They say that a plane finally found a closed circulation centered around 15.2N, 62W with a central pressure of 1006mb and at the 2nd advisory (11pm EST), the center was at 15.5N, 62.9W with no change in pressure or wind speed. She is moving W at 17 mph, and tropical force winds of 40mph can be felt as far as 70 miles from the center (mostly to the north). She is expected to make a WNW turn, bringing TS level winds to the US Virgin Islands tonight/early tomorrow, with those winds reaching Puerto Rico tomorrow during the day, and the Dominican Republic by tomorrow evening. I have heard from Tom on St. Thomas throughout the day today:

around here our local news have informed us via the weather service that this blob will hit us direct around tuesday/wed possibly as a hurricane...people here are not getting ready as far as I can tell” and then later this evening “the stores were more crowded than usual for a monday but I would say people are not reacting to the local warnings to get prepared for a direct hit from whatever it brings”

She is a bit messy so it is difficult for me to see the center, so for now I’ll go with the official word. She is being inhibited in development by the island chain at the moment, but I think once she is fully in the Caribbean she will have room to blossom a bit. The official forecast says she will slowly intensify to 50mph winds by tomorrow evening, and will remain a relatively weak system. (One of the models even predicts she will dissipate in 2 days!). Wind shear is still strong, and there is some dry air to her west and north – both factors that will keep her weak. However, to counter this, the water is certainly warm enough to sustain her and the warm water is in the upper 100m at least, so she’s got a lovely buffet to continue nibbling from. The circulation continues to remain strong in the lower half of the troposphere, with a very small signal in the upper levels. The track has her gradually curving WNW in the next 24 hours. I think there’s a good chance she will continue on a more westward track for longer than expected – but that really depends on where her center is. Hopefully I’ll have a better idea once daylight creeps back. There is a chance she could develop into a hurricane if she continues westward and stays away from the islands. Or she could weaken if she takes that WNW turn and interacts with land. Too soon to tell… the only thing I can say is that everyone should be ready anyway (northern Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, SE US, and also Bermuda for next week… oh bother, that includes me! now which box is my torch in? ;-))

Good luck out there!
Until tomorrow,

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

1 comment:

Shandy said...

Guess I should have bought that extra water instead of wimping out because I didn't feel like carrying it, then?