- Wind speed probabilities over the next few days for Tropical Storm Emily. (National Hurricane Center)
To the west, there is Hurricane Eugene. This powerhouse storm is spinning sustained winds approaching 125 m.p.h., which rates a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. However, its course takes it out into the Pacific over cold waters, not an environment conducive to further strengthening. Says the National Hurricane Center: "Eugene has probably reached its peak intensity and should begin to weaken later today."(Talk of hurricanes warrants the ALL CAPS, OK?)
Still, Eugene's cool to look at right now. Here's the view over the past couple days, courtesy of NOAA's GOES-West satellite:
Now, to the east, we have Tropical Storm Emily, the fifth named storm for the 2011 hurricane season. Emily is a disorganized, limping blower that nevertheless has raised storm warnings in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Bahamas. The hurricane center notes that the storm has not become any better organized since early this morning and "In fact...the low-level center has become exposed and is located to the west of the convection due to wind shear. The low-level circulation is also less defined than yesterday."
Nevertheless, Emily is a problem. Winds are cycling up to 50 m.p.h. and rain is gushing out of Emily's waterlogged mass so profusely that some areas could see 20 inches of total rainfall by the time the storm passes. That's a good catalyst for deadly mud slides and flash floods. But what about the U.S.?
Emily has to hurdle over Hispaniola and Cuba, whose high peaks and craigs will take some energy out of the storm's wallop. If it survives, it could mow over the Bahamas and then move northwest toward the East Coast. Its expected track takes it to Florida by the weekend, but there are no storm warnings for the continental U.S. yet.
Here's how Emily has moved this week, as observed by NOAA's GOES-East satellite: