Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tropical Storm Emily (2011)

Storm Active: August 1-7

An intense tropical wave left the African coast during the last week of July, producing a large area of scattered showers and thunderstorms as it moved westward. On July 28, a low pressure center formed on the south side of the system. The low continued to increase in organization, and on July 31, the circulation became associated with the convection in a pronounced swirl of clouds. However, the system was not yet closed, and development was delayed as the low approached the Windward Islands. During the evening of August 1, a burst of convection appeared west of the central low's previous position, accompanied by a circulation organized enough to name the system Tropical Storm Emily.

Due to the initial westward shift of the cyclone, its position at formation was west of the Windward Islands, in the Caribbean Sea. Emily's quick westward motion persisted overnight, bringing the system into the warm open waters of the Caribbean. However, conditions were not ideal for strengthening due to wind shear and dry air near the system, and Emily's center underwent a reformation on August 2, temporarily rendering it stationary. After shifting slightly to the north, the cyclone resumed its track and intensified somewhat as it approached Hispaniola.

Emily became disorganized during the morning of August 3, with the center of circulation becoming exposed and all convection being displaced to the southeast due to moderate wind shear. Despite these factors, Emily maintained its 50 mph intensity throughout the day, and scattered shower and thunderstorm activity reappeared near the center. As a result, heavy rain began to sweep across Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Late that night, the center redeveloped farther east, and Emily was once more temporarily stationary. A huge area of convection appeared about the center as Emily resumed a slow west-northwest motion, and powerful storms raged across Hispaniola early on August 4. The system remained offshore during that morning, but tropical storm force winds and rain covered a portion of the Dominican Republic.

During the afternoon, however, the circulation of Emily became entangled with the mountainous regions of Haiti, causing rapid weakening. By late that afternoon, despite never actually making landfall, all traces of organization were lost and Emily dissipated, leaving only a small trough of low pressure in its wake. The remains of the large area of convection that was formerly associated with Emily slid northward over Hispaniola and into the Bahamas overnight, but some thunderstorm activity reappeared near the trough on August 5, situated just to the south of the eastern tip of Cuba. This activity expanded northward during the day as a low pressure reformed just east of Florida. On August 6, the system became more organized, as the low connected to the new convection, and the low once again became a tropical depression, again being named Emily.

The depression became slightly better organized during that evening, but turned more to the northeast overnight, and the circulation became exposed on August 7 as the center was whisked away from the U.S. east coast. Emily continued to lose organization, and during the afternoon became a remnant low, losing tropical cyclone status once again. Over the next day, the low deepened, and briefly concentrated convection near the center, but it did not exhibit sufficient tropical characteristics to reform. The system was monitored for further development through August 11, but no change occurred, and the remnant low was finally absorbed by a front later that day. 5 deaths and at least $5 million in damages are attributed to Emily.

Emily near its peak intensity of 50 mph winds and a central pressure of 1003 mb.

Track of Emily.

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