Figure 1. Hurricane Emily’s path through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.1
Light Red=Category 1-2 Hurricane
Dark Red=Category 3-5 Hurricane
Emily was the fifth named storm of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and the third Hurricane of the year. Emily briefly attained Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale late on 16 July, as she passed about 100 miles southwest of Jamaica2—all this following the unusually strong Hurricane Dennis just a week prior to Emily’s development. Emily made two landfalls; one just south of Cozumel on the eastern Yucatan Peninsula, and another on the northeast corner of Mexico near San Fernando, just south of Brownsville, TX.
Emily developed in the deep tropics, associated with convection along the active InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) just north of the equator. The area of convection that would soon become Emily maintained a very nice appearance on satellite imagery as it approached the Lesser Antilles.
Late on 11 July, the Hurricane Center named the fifth tropical storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season3. Emily’s appearance on Satellite gradually continued to improve, and by 13 July, she had strengthened into a hurricane about 100 miles southeast of Grenada4. After passing over the southern Antilles, Emily began a phase of
rapid intensification, and by the afternoon on 14 July, had developed a small, pinhole eye near 13N 67W.
Emily continued to maintain a generally steady strength, wavering between a Category 3 and 4 Hurricane as she marched northwestward towards Jamaica. Although not indicated on the original advisories issued by the National Hurricane Center, Emily did in fact strengthen to a Category 5 Hurricane late on 16 July at 17.1N 79.5W with maximum sustained surface wind speeds near 160 mph, and a minimum surface pressure of 929 mb.
Afterwards, Emily slowly began to weaken as she approached the eastern Yucatan Peninsula on 17 July. She did, however, manage to maintain hurricane intensity after crossing over into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. Once back over open water, Emily again began intensifying, and approached extreme northeastern Mexico as a potent Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained surface winds of 125 mph. Emily made landfall at 8AM CDT on 20 July around San Fernando, Mexico.
By the same time the next day, Emily had weakened to a tropical depression well inland over the mountainous terrain of northern Mexico.
As with all tropical weather systems, significant rainfall accumulations accompanied Emily’s strong winds, and affected large areas Jamaica, the Lesser Antilles, the Yucatan Peninsula, and southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. The heaviest rainfall accumulations were confined to St. Elizabeth Parish on the southwestern portion of Jamaica during Emily’s final explosive intensification, where many locations reported rainfall totals in excess of 10 inches.
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MODIS Aqua RGB using the MOD02HKM product. This image is of the swath data from July 20 at 2005 hrs. More images like this and parameters animation created from other datasets can be seen in our Archive Image Gallery for hurricaneEmily
1. Image courtesy of the NOAA coastal Services Center Http://hurricane.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes
2. Brown, Daniel P; Franklin, James L. “Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Emily.” 10 March 2006.
3.Stewart, Stacy. “Tropical Storm Emily Discussion Number 5.” 11 July 2005. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2005/dis/al052005.discus.005.shtml? (9 July 2006).
4. Knabb, Richard. “Hurricane Emily Advisory Number 13.” 13 July 2005. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2005/dis/al052005.discus.005.shtml? (9 July 2006).