- Hurricane Emily (2005)
Image location=Hurricane Emily 16 july 2005 1545Z.jpg
July 16, 2005
July 10, 2005
July 21, 2005
Fatalities=6 direct, 9 indirect
Windward Islands, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Yucatán Peninsula, northeastern Mexico, southernmost Texas
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 hurricanebefore passing through the Windward Islands, where it caused heavy damage in Grenada. Emily then made landfall on the Yucatán Peninsulaas a Category 4 storm, first on the island of Cozumeland then just north of Tulumon the mainland of Quintana Roo. After crossing the Bay of Campechethe hurricane made a final destructive landfall in the state of Tamaulipasin 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 Dennisjust 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.
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 Dennishad made portions of the Caribbean Sea"warmer",cite web|Author=James Franklin |year=2005 |title=Emily Discussion 8| publisher= National Hurricane Center| accessdate=2006-05-02| url=http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2005/dis/al052005.discus.008.shtml| format=HTML] and therefore more favorable for tropical cyclone development. Late on July 13, Emily strengthened rapidly and reached hurricane strength while passing Tobagoand 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 5in 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.cite web| author=James L. Franklin & Daniel P. Brown|date= March 10, 2006| title=Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Emily| publisher=NOAA| accessdate=2006-03-13| url=http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/TCR-AL052005_Emily.pdf| format=PDF |publisher= National Hurricane Center] The storm weakened slightly as it continued westward, and remained a Category 4 while passing south of Jamaicaand, 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 Cozumeljust before mainland landfall at Playa del Carmenat 2:30 am EDT on July 18. Sustained winds were 135 mph (215 km/h), and the eyewallpassed directly over Cozumel.
The center of circulation emerged over the
Gulf of Mexicolater 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 20near 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 Orientalon July 21.
July 14, Emily hit Grenadawhich was still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Ivanless than a year earlier. Emily resulted in one reported fatality and significant damage in the northern part of the country, including Carriacouwhich 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.cite web |url=http://www.cdnn.info/news/travel/t050715.html |title= Hurricane Emily leaves damage, kills one in Grenada|accessdate=2007-12-17 |author=Michael Bascombe |date= July 15, 2005|publisher=CDNN] The estimated damage from Emily in Grenada was USD $110 million.
Landslides were reported in eastern
Jamaica, triggered by heavy rain as the storm passed south of the island. Four people were reported dead. Damage was also reported in Trinidad and Tobago, where landslides and flooding damaged several homes.In all, ten people died across the Caribbean.
In Mexico, tens of thousands of tourists and residents were evacuated from the beach resorts in and around
Cancún, the Riviera Maya, and Cozumel. [cite web |url=http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WEATHER/07/18/tropical.weather/ |title=Emily churns across Gulf of Mexico |accessdate=2007-12-17 |author=Karl Penhaul |date= July 19, 2007|publisher= CNN] 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 helicopterpilots were killed when their aircraft crashed while evacuating offshore oil platforms operated by Pemex. 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 Yucatán (despite having a similar intensity as Emily).
Emily caused havoc for Yucatán's tourism industry. Many hotels sustained significant damage, especially those built in a traditional style with thatched roofs. While
Cancúnremained 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
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. Several communities on the remote coast of Tamaulipaswere 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.cite web |url=http://www.guycarp.com/portal/extranet/pdf/CAT-i/GC_TC_EMILY_2005_6.pdf |title= Catastrophe Information - Hurricane Emily|accessdate=2007-12-17 |author=Guy Carpenter |date= July 20, 2005|publisher=CAT~I]
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. 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. [cite web |url=http://www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2005-07-19-emily_x.htm |title=Texas weathers Emily with little damage |accessdate=2007-12-17 |author= Associated Press|date= July 19, 2005|publisher= USA Today] Eight tornadoes were also reported in Texas as a result of Emily, destroying several homes. Some positive effects were noted; the remains of Emily passed farther west into Texas and delivered some badly needed rainfall, helping relieve a drought. Damage in Texas was less than $50 million.
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
2011season'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.
List of tropical cyclones
List of Atlantic hurricanes
List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes
* [http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2005/EMILY.shtml The National Hurricane Center's archive on Hurricane Emily]
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