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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tropical Low Could Become Emily Soon

By Brian Edwards, Meteorologist
Jul 31, 2011; 10:20 AM ET
A tropical low located several hundred miles to the east of the Lesser Antilles is becoming better organized and could develop into Emily within the next day.

Tropical Low to Organize
This area of low pressure continues to cruise westward across the central Atlantic Basin. Recent satellite imagery shows quite a bit of shower and thunderstorm activity associated with the low which is a good sign that organization is occurring. 

In addition, atmospheric conditions are generally favorable for further development and then some strengthening as the system tracks toward the Lesser Antilles. 

The amount of wind shear or "changing of the wind direction and speed with height" is still causing some issues in getting the storm to organize. However, the shear values are lower over the central and eastern Caribbean directly in the path of the system.

Another thing that Meteorologists are concerned about is a front running piece of energy which is going to bring showers and thunderstorms to the Lesser Antilles tonight. This piece of energy has flared up the last few hours and could be robbing the aforementioned low of moisture and inhibiting further organization. 

However, some of our forecast tools are showing the primary low developing into what would the Tropical Storm Emily within the next day or so. 

Beyond that, there is some concern that Emily could strengthen fairly quickly given the warm waters and low shear values in its vicinity. Therefore, it is certainly possible that Emily approaches hurricane status by Tuesday. 

This is bad news for the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico as impacts from this feature, whether it develops or not, will be felt beginning Monday night and continuing into Tuesday.

The system at the time of passage could bring risk to lives and property from flash flooding, mudslides and washouts.

This system could be the start of a more active portion of the hurricane season as we are entering the point in the Atlantic Hurricane Season when Cape Verde systems take center stage. Storms that originate in this area of the Atlantic produce hurricanes among the strongest we ever see beginning in August.

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