Hurricane Emily (2005)

Hurricane Emily
Category 5 hurricane (SSHS)
Enlarge picture
Hurricane Emily near peak intensity, July 16, 2005

Hurricane Emily near peak intensity, July 16, 2005
FormedJuly 10, 2005
DissipatedJuly 21, 2005
Highest
winds
mph (0 km/h) (1-minute sustained)
Lowest pressure929 mbar (hPa; 0 inHg)
Fatalities6 direct, 9 indirect
Damage$550 million (2005 USD)
$0 billion (2006 USD)
Areas
affected
Windward Islands, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Yucatán Peninsula, northeastern Mexico, southernmost Texas
Part of the
2005 Atlantic hurricane season
Hurricane Emily was the fifth named storm, third hurricane, second major hurricane and first Category 5 of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm formed in July as a Cape Verde-type hurricane before passing through the Windward Islands, where it caused heavy damage in Grenada. Emily then made landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 4 storm, first on the island of Cozumel and then just north of Tulum on the mainland of Quintana Roo. After crossing the Bay of Campeche the hurricane made a final destructive landfall in the state of Tamaulipas in northern Mexico.

When its central pressure fell to 929 mbar and its sustained winds reached 160 mph (260 km/h) on July 16, Emily became the strongest hurricane ever to form before August, breaking a record set by Hurricane Dennis just six days before. It was also the earliest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin (beating Hurricane Allen's old record by nearly three weeks) and the only Category 5 hurricane ever recorded before August.

Storm history

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Storm path
Tropical Depression Five formed in the central tropical Atlantic the evening of July 10. Late on July 11, it strengthened and was named Tropical Storm Emily. Initially forecast to strengthen rapidly and move west-northwest through the Greater Antilles, Emily instead moved almost due west toward the Windward Islands, remaining a moderate tropical storm. The storm languished while moving quickly west, and struggled with maintaining its form. Contrary to the normal occurrence that hurricanes leave a cold wake behind, Hurricane Dennis had made portions of the Caribbean Sea warmer,[1] and therefore more favorable for tropical cyclone development. Late on July 13, Emily strengthened rapidly and reached hurricane strength while passing Tobago and entering the eastern Caribbean. On July 14 Emily made landfall in northern Grenada.

The intensification trend picked up again the next day with a fairly rapid drop in the storm's central pressure as it entered the southeastern Caribbean Sea, a region typically unfavorable for intensification. Hurricane Emily's winds increased in reaction, briefly bringing the storm to Category 4 strength early on July 15. During the day, the storm's strength fluctuated greatly, dropping to a Category 2 storm and then rebuilding to Category 4. On July 16, Emily strengthened considerably, making it the strongest hurricane ever on record to form in the month of July with peak winds of 160 mph (260 km/h), the earliest Category 5 in the Atlantic basin. Initially at this point Emily was thought to have peaked as a Category 4 storm, but the post-storm analysis showed it was indeed a Category 5 storm.[2] The storm weakened slightly as it continued westward, and remained a Category 4 while passing south of Jamaica and, on July 17, the Cayman Islands. Hurricane Emily continued on its nearly straight track to the west-northwest, weakening somewhat but remaining at Category 4 until striking Cozumel just before mainland landfall at Playa del Carmen at 2:30 am EDT on July 18. Sustained winds were 135 mph (215 km/h), and the eyewall passed directly over Cozumel.
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Hurricane Emily before landfall on July 17, 2005.
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Hurricane Emily, as seen by the US National Weather Service's NEXRAD in Brownsville, Texas at 10:07 CDT July 19 (0307 UTC July 20). The storm's eye is clearly visible, surrounded by the strong storms of the eyewall. At imaging time, Emily was a Category 3 storm with 125 mph (205 km) winds, was moving west-northwest at 7 mph (11 km/h), and was roughly 100 miles (160 km) away from the location of landfall.


The center of circulation emerged over the Gulf of Mexico later that morning. Passage over land disrupted the hurricane's center of circulation, and it had weakened to a minimal hurricane with wind speeds of 75 mph (120 km/h). However, several hours over the warm waters of the western Gulf provided the energy needed for Emily to regenerate, and by midnight wind speeds were increasing. The increase in wind speed stalled, but the storm continued to become better organized. Emily started to show very symmetrical outflow, but the hurricane's strongest winds were being found at three different distances from the center. However, the outer wind radii subsided in the end, and the inner core prevailed. The result was a rapid strengthening of the inner core on the evening of the 19th. The pressure dropped about 30 millibars and the winds went from 90 mph (145 km/h) to more than 125 mph (200 km/h), all within a few hours.

Further strengthening was expected by forecasters, but did not come. The storm's motion slowed, and the center began wobbling erratically toward the coast. The storm made landfall around 6:00 am CDT (1100 UTC) on July 20 near San Fernando in Tamaulipas. The storm had sustained winds of 125 mph (200 km/h), Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. After heading inland over northeast Mexico, it dissipated over the Sierra Madre Oriental on July 21.

Impact

Caribbean

On July 14, Emily hit Grenada which was still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Ivan less than a year earlier. Emily resulted in one reported fatality and significant damage in the northern part of the country, including Carriacou which had been spared the worst effects of Ivan. 16 houses were destroyed and well over 200 more were damaged, and two of the main hospitals were flooded.[3] The estimated damage from Emily in Grenada was USD $110 million. [4]

Landslides were reported in eastern Jamaica, triggered by heavy rain as the storm passed south of the island. Four people were reported dead.[5] Damage was also reported in Trinidad and Tobago, where landslides and flooding damaged several homes.[6] In all, ten people died across the Caribbean. [7]
Enlarge picture
Tree damage from Hurricane Emily

Yucatan Peninsula

In Mexico, tens of thousands of tourists and residents were evacuated from the beach resorts in and around Cancún, the Riviera Maya, and Cozumel [8]. Hotel guests were evacuated on Saturday afternoon, and staff on Sunday afternoon. Though some hotel guests in second floor rooms and above were given the option to be bussed into the center of Cancun to safe houses and shelters or to stay and wait out the storm in only the modern built hotels and resorts. Most of the remaining guests were restricted to their rooms and were not allowed out on the beach areas. No alcohol was sold in Cancun for 36 hours prior to the arrival of the storm, in an attempt to avoid drunken tourists being injured during the night. Two helicopter pilots were killed when their aircraft crashed while evacuating offshore oil platforms operated by Pemex [9]. A German resident was electrocuted while on his roof in Playa del Carmen. The area was hit a second time just three months later by Hurricane Wilma, which caused even more damage as it tracked much more slowly across the Yucatan (despite having a similar intensity as Emily).

Emily caused havoc for Yucatan's tourism industry. Many hotels sustained significant damage, especially those built in a traditional style with thatched roofs. While Cancún remained relatively unscathed, further down the coast some hotels remained closed for many months, some reopening shortly before Hurricane Wilma hit; others having their re-openings delayed even further.

Northeast Mexico and Texas

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Total rainfall from Emily in the United States
Emily's second landfall as a strong Category 3 hurricane brought significant damage to the northeast coast of Mexico. In the fishing community of Laguna Madre, over 80% of the buildings were destroyed as a result of the storm surge.[2] Several communities on the remote coast of Tamaulipas were isolated after the storm, and major coastal flooding was reported along with heavy wind damage, with numerous homes destroyed. Inland flooding was also reported in Monterrey.[10]

Communication to the Riviera Maya area was difficult after the storm; not all cellular phones were receiving coverage to the area, land lines were down, and electricity was out. About 18,000 people in 20 low-lying communities in the state of Tamaulipas, just south of the U.S.-Mexican border, were evacuated. Insured damages in Mexico were estimated at $200 million[11]. The total damage estimate for Emily in Mexico was $400 million.

In the southernmost tip of Texas, damage was relatively minor despite the close proximity of the storm. No significant structural damage was reported, although some trees were down and over 30,000 customers lost electricity.[12] Eight tornadoes were also reported in Texas as a result of Emily, destroying several homes.[13] Some positive effects were noted; the remains of Emily passed farther west into Texas and delivered some badly needed rainfall, helping relieve a drought. [14] Damage in Texas was less than $50 million.[15]

Lack of retirement

Despite the extensive damage across several countries and its intensity, in addition to the several records it broke, the name was not retired and is on the 2011 season's list. Emily is only the fourth Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since 1953 - and the first since Edith in the 1971 season - not to have its name retired.

See also

References

1. ^ Emily Discussion 8 (html). National Hurricane Center (2005). Retrieved on 2006-05-02.
2. ^ National Hurricane Center (2006). Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Emily (PDF). NOAA. Retrieved on 2006-03-13.
3. ^ [1]
4. ^ [2]
5. ^ [3]
6. ^ [4]
7. ^ [5]
8. ^ [6]
9. ^ [7]
10. ^ [8]
11. ^ [9]
12. ^ [10]
13. ^ [11]
14. ^ [12]
15. ^ [13]

External links



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The Windward Islands are called such because they were more windward to sailing ships arriving in the New World than the Leeward Islands, given that the prevailing trade winds in
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Yucatán Peninsula, in Southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a northwestern geographic partition separating the region of Central America from the rest of North America.
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tropical cyclone is a meteorological term for a storm system characterized by a low pressure system center and thunderstorms that produces strong wind and flooding rain. A tropical cyclone feeds on the heat released when moist air rises and the water vapor it contains condenses.
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The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a scale classifying most Western Hemisphere tropical cyclones that exceed the intensities of "tropical depressions" and "tropical storms", and thereby become hurricanes.
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The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history, repeatedly shattering previous records. The impact of the season was widespread and ruinous with at least 2,280 deaths and record damages of over $128 billion USD.
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Cape Verde-type hurricane is an Atlantic hurricane that develops near the Cape Verde islands, off the west coast of Africa. The average hurricane season has about two Cape Verde-type hurricanes, which are usually the most intense storms of the season because they often have plenty
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Windward Islands are the southern islands of the Lesser Antilles.

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Yucatán Peninsula, in Southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a northwestern geographic partition separating the region of Central America from the rest of North America.
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Tulum (also Tuluum or Tulúm) is the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city serving as a major port for Cobá. [1]

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