Whoa....the eye is projected to pass very near Merida, and given the forward speed of the storm and the relatively flat terrain of the Yucutan, it'll likely keep hurricane intensity throughout. Winds to hurricane force can be expected in the region -- maybe a little less if it passes just east of there -- with gusts higher. The main threat will be rain and flooding, yes, but wind damage is likely in the region too. I don't want to raise an alarm, but they are very much in the projected path. Being a story or so up is fine to keep from feeling any potential flooding impacts; being higher up isn't due to the higher winds aloft.
To take on some other questions...
* There is no TD behind Emily right now. Anything near Emily is an artifact of the storm itself, while there is nothing else of interest until you get east of the Lesser Antilles. The convection you see there is currently rather disorganized and part of the interaction between the old 99L and an upper-level low. Not likely for development at this time in the next few days due to the upper low and dry air in the region. Upper lows can work their way down to the surface and spin up something, but I don't see it really happening here...and even if it does, it'd take several days.
* The overall satellite appearance on Emily has improved from earlier, but it is nowhere near the intensity that it was just a day ago. Even a 20mph drop in winds -- I suspect it may be a little more than that before landfall -- is an exponential drop in damage. Given the small size of the storm, that's a lot. I suspect the storm is feeling the influences of the upper low over the Bay of Campeche, both in the northward jog over the past couple hours and a slightly sheared appearance. Wobbles can be expected to landfall, given the reorganization of the storm, but a maybe slightly further north motion than we've been seeing can be expected in the short-term (~6-12hr), evening back out more towards the west thereafter.
* Why have people not left? Well, while there are a number of resorts through the region, there are a lot of people in that region who simply cannot leave. Where else would they go? It's just like in the United States, where people go to shelters or to safe houses...when you are in an isolated region with your entire family with you, where are you going to go? Most people there have taken precautions and should come through the storm relatively okay. It's nothing they want to deal with, of course, but their preparations and lead time are just the same that we get.
* Wave action is going to be very high near where the storm makes landfall, despite the dropoff in intensity. The wave action has been building up with the storm for many days now; the fast translation speed of the storm has aided in this, allowing the waves to build and build and build. The jog northward and overall small size of the storm may have helped to contain these effects somewhat, but they will still be felt. The Weather Channel graphics earlier today were showing a broad 1-3' area of water rise...with knowledge of where the center is going to make landfall (give or take) now, I would ramp that up to over 10' near the landfall point, dropping off from there.
Current Tropical Model Output Plots
(or view them on the main page for any active Atlantic storms!)