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Hurricane Emily heads toward Yucatan Peninsula, gulf coasts of Mexico and southern Texas

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Sunday, July 17, 2005 - As Hurricane Emily moves steadily toward the Yucatan Peninsula, residents along the gulf coasts of Mexico and southern Texas are bracing for the storm's potential impact.
Hurricane Emily remains a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 135 to 145 mph and higher gusts at times. It is expected to bring high winds and heavy rain to coastal areas as it makes landfall.

In preparation for Hurricane Emily's possible arrival in Texas, the American Red Cross is gearing up to provide pre-hurricane shelter for those who need a safe place to ride out the storm. Teams of Red Cross disaster workers are on the way to Texas and relief supplies have been pre-positioned in staging areas for rapid deployment to affected communities in the hurricane's aftermath.

The National Hurricane Center is tracking Emily's course through the Caribbean toward the Yucatan, where hurricane watches and warnings have been issued for the peninsula. Although the storm is not large, its strength may cause devastating damage to areas near the eye when it makes landfall. The storm surge will cause high waves along the coast and may drop as much as eight inches of rain in its path.

The Caribbean coast of Mexico is a popular vacation spot with tens of thousands of tourists currently visiting coastal communities. Local officials are asking visitors to leave the area before the storm hits. Preparations are underway to open shelters in local schools and community centers to provide a safe haven for those in the storm's path.

If Emily continues on its projected course, communities along the eastern coast of Mexico and the southern tip of Texas could experience a direct hit by Hurricane Emily, with expected landfall sometime Tuesday or Wednesday. Emily is expected to weaken as the center of the storm crosses the peninsula, but may regain strength as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico toward the mainland. Heavy rains associated with the Emily could trigger flash flooding along the coast and mudslides in mountainous areas.

The Red Cross urges all residents of communities in the path of Hurricane Emily to monitor the storm's progress and to take precautionary measures to ensure their safety. For more safety information, visit the Red Cross Hurricane Preparedness section.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of [this disaster] and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

American Red Cross
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.