03 August 2011

Emily falling apart as it approaches Hispaniola

Since getting named on Monday evening, Tropical Storm Emily has intensified slightly to 45kts, but has also been struggling to organize.  A combination of vertical shear and environmental dry air has hindered the storm from strengthening very much, which is certainly welcome news to the Dominican Republic and Haiti (the eastern and western nations of Hispaniola, for anyone who isn't familiar with it).  As of 15Z today, Emily was located about 120 miles south of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and tracking W at 12kts.  As you can see in the satellite image, the low-level center (at about 17N 70.5W) is quite removed from the majority of the deep convection.

As it nears and traverses the mountainous island of Hispaniola, it will likely lose what structure it has, and undergo genesis again once it exits the island in about 24 h.  However, just because the storm isn't intense when measured in terms of wind speed, even tropical storms can be extremely dangerous to flood-prone areas due to large rainfall amounts... e.g. flash flooding, mudslides, etc.  The graphic below shows the latest 5-day forecast precipitation swath from the HWRF model (up to 24" over areas of Hispaniola with large amounts along the US coast from FL to NC later in the period):

In the longer range, models continue to indicate that Emily will graze or miss the US east coast, recurving very close to the coastline.  The current official forecast track as well as watches and warnings can be found here: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/storm_graphics/AT05/refresh/AL0511W5_NL+gif/

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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