16 July 2005

Emily almost a CAT5 storm...

Since yesterday, Emily has once again rapidly intensified, this time from a meager CAT2 to nearly a CAT5.  In the past 12 hours, the pressure has fallen 13mb, and 32mb in the past 24 hours.  Any nudge upward in intensity will make Emily a CAT5 hurricane, following Mitch 1998, Isabel 2003, and Ivan 2004 in recent years.

The satellite presentation is nearly flawless, and Jamaica is experiencing just the outer rainbands as I write this... they will luckily escape a direct landfall.  The intensity as of 21Z today is 135kts and 937mb, or a very strong CAT4 storm.  Motion is WNW at 16kts.  Hurricane Warnings are in effect for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, and a Hurricane Watch is in effect for the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The forecast is for Emily to maintain current intensity up to landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula, near Cozumel.  Of course, minor (+/- 15kts) intensity fluctuations are inevitable during eyewall replacement cycles.   Its first landfall there is expected on Sunday evening.  After crossing the peninsula, it will be a bit weaker, but should regain strength as it tracks over the steamy western Gulf of Mexico.  The next and final landfall is expected to occur between Tampico and Brownsville on Tuesday night as a major hurricane.  So, Mexico could suffer two major hurricane landfalls within 48 hours.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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