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July 18, 2005

Cozumel taking a direct hit from Emily

I have been refraining from posting an update all night because there simply hasn't been much so say. As I mentioned before, the radar in Cancun seems to be having serious problems. This is not completely surprising considering the power of the storm. Quite honestly, prior to this storm I did not know much about the Mexican radar system. However, after tracking Emily I am very impressed by it so far. The radar data I have seen out of Cancun is far better than I was expecting and much better than most Caribbean countries. It seems this is a much better tool today than the hurricane hunter planes, one of which was damaged by a hail column and violent updrafts, even for a hurricane hunter!

While the Cancun radar is still having serious issues, I was just able to get a very useful shot from the Mexican site. Take a look at the radar image below and you can see that Cozumel is suffering a punishing blow as we speak. Maximum sustained winds are currently at 135 mph and the eye seems to be coming ashore right now (2:15AM EDT). While I realize that this image is not very complete, it gives you a good understanding where the eye is currently located. I am not sure if the poor quality of the image is due to mechanical issues caused by the hurricane, or simply poor attenuation of the radar beam causes by extremely strong echoes close to the radar site.

Taking a look at the chart below will show you how much in agreement the models are for a second Mexican landfall on the western Gulf coast. Hurricane Emily is likely to strike somewhere between Tampico and Brownsville as a category two or three storm.

Right now I am thinking it is unlikely that Emily will be very intense hurricane during her second landfall. As you can see in the Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP) map below, the Gulf is simply lacking the abundant energy present in the Caribbean. However, the surface are still warm enough to support a category three storm.
Tracking God's Fury:
ATLANTIC
Tropical Storm Maria
Tropical Storm Nate
Hurricane Ophelia
EASTERN PACIFIC
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