Hurricane Emily was the fifth named storm, first hurricane, and only major hurricane of the 1993 Atlantic hurricane season. Emily formed on August 22 in the Atlantic Ocean well away from any land areas. Emily moved northwest, and was slow to attain tropical storm status, becoming a tropical storm on August 25. Emily briefly became a hurricane on August 26 as it moved to the southwest. Emily quickly weakened back to a tropical storm, later regained hurricane status, and moved generally west-northwest towards the coast of North Carolina. Emily attained Category 3 status just offshore the Outer Banks of North Carolina before turning east, southeast, and south where it weakened to a tropical storm once again. Emily then moved northeast and east, where it dissipated on September 6.

Emily caused $35,000,000 (1993 USD) in damage and killed 3 people, all directly.

Emily offshore North Carolina
FormationAugust 22, 1993
Dissipation September 6, 1993
Highest winds 115 mph
Lowest pressure 960 mbar
Deaths 3 direct
Damages $35,000,000 (1993 USD)
Areas affectedNorth Carolina
Part of the 1993 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological history

Emily appears to have originated from a tropical wave that exited the coast of Africa on August 17. The wave moved west-northwest across the Atlantic Ocean, and it was not until August 22 that the wave gained enough convective organization to be classified as Tropical Depression Six while located 700 miles east-northeast of Puerto Rico. Over the next two days, the depression moved to the northwest. On August 25 and 26, the cyclone slowed and became quasi-stationary as it encountered weak steering currents. During this time, the cyclone began to intensify, and the depression became Tropical Storm Emily on August 25. An area of high pressure built to the north of Emily, while the cyclone itself moved west on August 27 and 28. On August 26, Emily briefly attained hurricane status. During the two days the cyclone moved westward, its intensity fluctuated from 70 to 85 mph. On August 28, Emily began to intensify once again, and the cyclone also turned northwest on this day in response to the passage of a mid-latitude trough to the north. On August 30, Emily moved west-northwest and took a gradual turn to the north. The cyclone continued to intensify until late on August 31, at which point the storm was moving north and its eyewall reached the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Late on August 31, as the center was located about 20 miles east of Hatteras Island, Emily reached its peak intensity of 115 mph, Category 3 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

At this time, Emily was a large storm, with an inner eyewall about 40 miles wide. Emily's western eyewall passed over Hatteras Island and surrounding waters, with sustained surface winds being reported anywhere from 75 to 115 mph. By September 2, Emily had turned sharply to the east in response to another mid-latitude trough. The cyclone was weakening during this time over cooler water temperatures. On September 3, Emily weakened to a tropical storm as it moved southward and stalled. By September 5, Emily had weakened to a tropical depression and was moving east-northeast. On September 6, Emily became extratropical in the northern Atlantic Ocean, and quickly dissipated.


There were Hurricane Watches posted from North Carolina to Delaware due to the threat from Hurricane Emily. In addition, a Hurricane Watch was issued for the South Carolina coast. The watches were issued at 2100 UTC August 29, or 47 hours prior to the closest approach of the hurricane. A Hurricane Warning was issued at 1800 UTC August 30, or 26 hours prior to the closest approach of the cyclone.


Since Emily did not make landfall, North Carolina and Virginia escaped any significant damage. If Emily had made landfall, it could have done damage comparable to that of Hurricane Isabel of 2003. Emily killed three people, all from drowning, but caused relatively minor damage, reaching $35,000,000 (1993 USD).

North Carolina

In North Carolina, Hurricane Emily damaged 553 homes beyond repair. In addition, officials cut power to Hatteras Island, due to fears that downed power lines could start a fire. The area hardest hit by Emily in North Carolina was the city of Buxton, where a storm surge of 10.2 feet occured, along with a rainfall amount of 7.5 inches. There were reports of sinkholes on Highway 12 due to heavy rains produced by the cyclone, some of which swallowed up three four-wheel-drive vehicles. Because Emily hit during Labor Day weekend, the tourism industry suffered after Emily, losing $10,000,000 (1993 USD) when 160,000 were evacuated from northeastern North Carolina. Emily's storm surge and ensuing flooding left 25% of the people of Cape Hatteras homeless, which caused Dare County to issue a federal disaster declaration. Emily's strong winds uprooted trees, downed power lines, tore the roofs off of some homes, and combined with its flooding, caused $35,000,000 (1993 USD) in damage, which was less than was expected from the cyclone. Emily only caused 2 deaths in North Carolina; these occured when two swimmers drowned in Nags Head.


In Virginia, Emily produced lightning which caused a fire to start in the Lee Hall section of the city of Newport News. 5,000 residents were left without power because of Emily. In addition, Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel was left without electricity as well. Because Emily only produced light rainfall in the state, it was not enough to break a prolonged drought that was ongoing there at the time. Emily killed one person when heavy surf drowned said person a few days prior to the hurricane's arrival. Emily produced a 1 to 2 foot storm surge at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Mid-Atlantic and New England

Due to uncertainty of when and if Emily would make its northeast turn, thousands were evacuated from Virginia through New York, including 750 in Virginia, 100,000 in Maryland, 1000 in Delaware, and 20,000 from Fire Island, New York. The hurricane remained far enough from these locations to cause little, if any damage. In Ocean City, Maryland, 2.8 inches of rain were reported, while Sussex County Airport reported only .01 inches of precipitation.

Rainfall totals from Hurricane Emily.

Lack of Retirement

Because the damage was not extreme, the name Emily was not retired in the Spring of 1994 by the World Meteorological Organization. Emily has been used during 1999 and 2005, and is on the list of names to be used for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

1993 Atlantic hurricane season


External links

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