Hurricane Emily (1993)

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Hurricane Emily
Category 3 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Hurricane Emily 31 aug 1993 2059Z.jpg
Hurricane Emily off North Carolina coastline
Formed August 22, 1993
Dissipated September 6, 1993
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 115 mph (185 km/h)
Lowest pressure 960 mbar (hPa); 28.35 inHg
Fatalities 3 direct
Damage $50 million (1993 USD)
Areas affected Outer Banks, North Carolina, and Maryland
Part of the 1993 Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane Emily brushed the Outer Banks of North Carolina with strong winds, heavy rainfall, and rough seas. The sixth tropical cyclone, fifth named storm, and first hurricane of the 1993 Atlantic hurricane season, Emily developed from a tropical wave while located several hundred miles east-northeast of the Lesser Antilles on August 22. Initially, it headed northwestward while minimal intensification, though by August 25, the depression was upgraded to Tropical Storm Emily. The storm then became nearly stationary while southeast of Bermuda and steadily strengthened during that time. Late on August 26, Emily was briefly upgraded to a hurricane, though it weakened back early on the following day. However, by late on August 27, Emily was a hurricane once again. The storm then moved northwestward and maintained Category 1 intensity until becoming a Category 2 hurricane on August 31. By 1800 UTC, Emily became a Category 3 hurricane, while less than 25 miles (40 km) offshore Cape Hatteras.

However, the storm veered out to sea later on August 29 and weakened, falling to tropical storm intensity while located northeast of Bermuda on September 3. After curving southward and then back to the northeast, Emily further weakened to a tropical depression on September 4. The storm lost all tropical characteristics on September 6, while located several hundred miles southeast of Newfoundland. The outer fringes of Emily lashed the Outer Banks of North Carolina with heavy rainfall, high tides, and strong winds. The combination of those effects damaged 553 homes beyond repair, leaving 25% of the population of Cape Hatteras homeless. Elsewhere in the area, sinkholes formed along North Carolina Highway 12 and strong winds uprooted trees, downed power lines, and tore off roofs. Further north, two swimmers near Nags Head drowned. In Virginia, winds left 5,000 people without electricity and lightning in Lee Hall caused a roof to ignite. Light rainfall was also reported in southeastern Maryland. Losses reached $50 million, with all damage occurring in North Carolina.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale

Hurricane Emily originated from an African tropical wave that passed through the Cape Verde Islands on August 17, 1993. The wave traversed the tropical Atlantic and developed a closed cyclonic circulation five days later, when the National Hurricane Center (NHC) classified it as a tropical depression. At the time, it was located 800 miles (1,300 km) east-northeast of Puerto Rico while moving toward the northwest.[1] The depression remained poorly organized for several days, with an ill-defined circulation center and sporadic thunderstorms, in part due to unfavorable wind shear from an upper-level low to its north.[2][3][4] On August 25, it became nearly stationary in response to weakening steering currents.[1] After the upper environment became less hostile to development,[5] a reconnaissance aircraft flight into the depression found unusually high sustained winds—an indication that the cyclone had quickly strengthened into a strong tropical storm. The NHC named the storm Emily and upgraded it to a hurricane the following day, based on reports of 75 mph (120 km/h) winds from reconnaissance aircraft.[1][6]

Upon becoming a hurricane, Emily was centered roughly 1,000 mi (1,600 km) east of the Florida peninsula. A ridge of high pressure began to develop to its north on August 27, forcing the hurricane to curve toward the west. The cyclone's winds vacillated between tropical storm and hurricane force over the course of the day, although Emily resumed its strengthening by August 28, developing favorable upper-level outflow.[1][7] Located over warm sea surface temperatures, the hurricane continued to improve in appearance on satellite images, as the barometric pressure within its eye steadily decreased.[8][9] Emily turned to the northwest on August 29, when a shortwave trough eroded the southern periphery of the ridge.[1][10] The NHC expressed uncertainty in forecasting Emily's track from thereon, stating that South Carolina, North Carolina, and other Mid-Atlantic states were at risk of a direct hit from the hurricane.[11] As high pressure re-established itself near North Carolina, Emily briefly turned west-northwestward on August 30 before initiating a prolonged curve toward the north. By that time, the NHC forecast Emily to remain offshore, although one tropical cyclone forecast model predicted that the hurricane would move inland.[1][12]

Early on August 31, a reconnaissance flight indicated that Emily had become a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale, and further intensification was expected because of warm water temperatures.[13] Later that day, reconnaissance reported that Emily had intensified to a peak intensity of 115 mph (185 km/h), or a Category 3 major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale; the aircraft also observed flight-level winds of 152 mph (245 km/h). At the time of its peak intensity, the hurricane was located 23 mi (37 km) east of Hatteras Island and was turning northward. Its eye, measuring 45 mi (75 km) in diameter, moved over Hatteras and the Pamlico Sound, which was considered a direct hit instead of a landfall.[1][14][15] Continuing around the large high pressure area, Emily turned to the northeast after affecting the Outer Banks into an area of cooler water temperatures.[15][16] The eye remained distinct, and Emily maintained much of its intensity through early on September 2.[17] That day, the hurricane turned sharply to the east due to a trough.[15] Increased wind shear weakened Emily, and its eye feature quickly dissipated.[18] On September 3, Emily weakened to a tropical storm after turning to the southeast. The storm stalled and continued weakening,[15] with significant deterioration of the convection.[19] Late on September 4, Emily weakened further to a tropical depression, after only a small area of thunderstorms remained near the center.[15][20] The system turned to the northeast and became extratropical on September 6 before dissipating shortly thereafter.[15]

Impact[edit]

North Carolina[edit]

Rainfall amounts from Emily

In Cape Hatteras, Emily damaged 553 homes beyond repair from its near-direct hit and strong winds. In addition, officials cut power to Hatteras Island fearing that downed power lines could start a fire. The area most affected by Hurricane Emily was Buxton, North Carolina, where a 10.2-foot (3.1 m) storm surge and a maximum of 7.5 inches (190 mm) of rain occurred. On Highway 12, there were reports of sinkholes caused by heavy rains, some of which swallowed up three four-wheel-drive vehicles. Because Emily hit during Labor Day weekend, the tourism industry suffered after Emily, losing $10 million when 160,000 were evacuated from northeastern North Carolina.[21] Storm surge and flooding left 25% of the population of Cape Hatteras homeless, causing Dare County to issue a federal disaster declaration.[22] Emily's high winds uprooted trees, downed power lines, tore off roofs, and, combined with its heavy flooding, caused $35 million (1993 US dollars) in damage, a lesser total than expected. In addition, Emily's limited effects only caused two deaths in North Carolina when two swimmers in Nags Head drowned.

Virginia and Mid-Atlantic[edit]

Due to uncertainty of when and if Emily would make its northeast turn, 750 people evacuated in Virginia. On September 30, Governor of Virginia Douglas Wilder declared a state of emergency and put the National Guard on alert.[23] In Newport News, lightning from Emily set a roof on fire in the Lee Hall section of the city while 5,000 residents were left without power. The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel also lost power because of the storm. Emily's light rains in the area were not enough to break a prolonged drought that hampered Virginia.[24] Heavy surf resulted in one person drowning on the coast of Virginia a few days before the passage of the storm. In addition, a storm surge of 1.2 feet (0.37 m) was reported at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. In Maryland, 100,000 people evacuated. However, minimal impacted was reported, other than 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain in Ocean City, Maryland and only 0.01 inches (0.25 mm) at the Sussex County Airport. 1,000 people evacuated in advance of Emily in Delaware. 20,000 fled Fire Island, New York, which suffered "some" coastal flooding from abnormally high tides.[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Lawrence, Miles (1993-09-30) (GIF). Preliminary Report Hurricane Emily: 22 August – 06 September 1993 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/prenhc/prelim01.gif. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  2. ^ Lawrence, Miles (1993-08-22). Tropical Depression Five Discussion Number 2 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.002. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  3. ^ Mayfield, Britt M. (1993-08-23). Tropical Depression Five Discussion Number 4 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.004. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  4. ^ Pasch, Richard (1993-08-24). Tropical Depression Five Discussion Number 7 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.007. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  5. ^ Jarrell, Lixion (1993-08-25). Tropical Depression Five Discussion Number 14 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.014. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  6. ^ Lawrence, Miles (1993-08-26). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 17 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.017. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  7. ^ Avila, Lixion (1993-08-28). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 23 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.023. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  8. ^ Avila, Lixion (1993-08-28). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 24 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.024. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  9. ^ Avila, Lixion (1993-08-28). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 25 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.025. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  10. ^ Avila, Lixion (1993-08-29). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 27 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.027. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  11. ^ Lawrence, Miles (1993-08-29). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 29 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.029. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  12. ^ Mayfield, Britt M. (1993-08-30). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 32 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.032. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  13. ^ Pasch, Richard (1993-08-31). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 35 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.035. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  14. ^ Lawrence, Miles (1993-08-31). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 38 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.038. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Lawrence, Miles (1993-09-30) (GIF). Preliminary Report Hurricane Emily: 22 August – 06 September 1993 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/prenhc/prelim02.gif. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  16. ^ Lixion, Avila (1993-09-01). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 40 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.040. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  17. ^ Pasch, Richard (1993-09-01). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 43 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.043. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  18. ^ Rappaport, Ed (1993-09-02). Hurricane Emily Discussion Number 45 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.045. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  19. ^ Mayfield, Max (1993-09-04). Tropical Storm Emily Discussion Number 51 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.051. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  20. ^ Mayfield, Max (1993-09-04). Tropical Depression Emily Discussion Number 54 (Report). Hurricane Emily: Hurricane Digital Wallet Archives. National Hurricane Center. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1993/emily/tropdisc/nal0593.054. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
  21. ^ "Hurricane Climbs N.C. Coast to Virginia". Washington Post. January 30, 1999. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  22. ^ "NOAA: North Carolina hurricanes: Hurricane Emily". Csc.noaa.gov. 1993-08-31. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  23. ^ Staff Writer (1993-09-01). "Virginia Prepares". National Hurricane Center. Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2012-12-23. 
  24. ^ "Infoweb Newsbank". 
  25. ^ Goodge, Grant (1993). "Storm Data and Unusual Phenomena with Late Reports and Corrections" (PDF). National Climatic Data Center's Storm Data Publications. National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved 2012-12-23. 

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