Category 3 Hurricane Earl pounding northern Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:40 PM GMT on August 30, 2010

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An intensifying Hurricane Earl is pounding Puerto Rico and northern Lesser Antilles Islands with heavy rain and high winds this morning. The eye of Earl passed just north of Anguilla at 9am EDT, and Juliana airport on neighboring St. Martin Island recorded sustained winds of 47 mph, gusting to 68 mph at 8am EDT before going silent. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft currently in Earl just found a central pressure of 960 mb at 9:42 am EDT. This is a significant drop of 25 mb in 25 hours. Top flight level winds at 10,000 feet seen by the Air Force aircraft were 128 mph. Using the usual rule of thumb that the surface winds are 90% of the 10,000 foot flight level winds gives one surface winds of 115 mph, which is right at the border of Cat 2/ Cat 3 strength. Top winds seen at the surface by the Air Force's SFMR instrument were lower, 104 mph. Recent satellite imagery shows that Earl is not perfectly symmetrical--there is still fewer heavy thunderstorms on the hurricane's north side, suggesting that upper-level northerly winds are bringing 5 - 10 knots of wind shear to the storm.


Figure 1. Radar image of Earl taken at 7am EDT 8/30/10 from the St. Maarten radar. Image credit: Meteorological Service of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

Outlook for the Caribbean islands today
Latest radar animations out of Puerto Rico and St. Marten show that the eye of Earl is on track to pass just to the northeast of the islands of Anguilla, St. Maarten, and The Settlement in the British Virgin Islands today. The periphery of Earl's southern eyewall will probably bring Category 1 hurricane conditions to some of these islands today. NHC is giving its highest odds for hurricane-force winds to Saint Maarten--a 99% chance. These odds are 4% for St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and 2% for San Juan, Puerto Rico. The main threat to Puerto Rico will be heavy rains--up to eight inches in isolated areas. Earl's rains, in addition to causing flooding and dangerous landslides, will also help alleviate drought conditions that have affected many of the islands this year.

Intensity forecast for Earl
Wind shear as diagnosed by the latest SHIPS model forecast is nearly non-existent over Earl--just 3 knots--put is probably higher than that, based on the fact that the northern portion of Earl cloud pattern is ragged. Further evidence of this is the fact that Earl's eyewall had a gap in its west side, according to the latest report from the Hurricane Hunters. Ocean temperatures are a near-record 30°C, and very warm waters extend to great depth, resulting in a total ocean heat content highly favorable for rapid intensification. These nearly ideal conditions for intensification should bring Earl to Category 4 strength by Tuesday morning, and Category 5 is not out of the question. Earl should be able to maintain major hurricane status through Thursday, when it will make its closest approach to North Carolina. Sea surface temperatures are very warm, 29°C, along the U.S. East Coast, and wind shear is expected to remain low through Thursday. By Friday, when Earl will be making its closest approach to New England, wind shear will rise to a high 20 - 30 knots and ocean temperatures will plunge to 20°C, resulting in considerable weakening. Earl will still probably be a Category 2 hurricane on Friday, when it could potentially make landfall in Massachusetts or Nova Scotia, Canada.


Figure 2. Swath of surface winds from Earl predicted by the 2am EDT Monday August 30, 2010 run of NOAA's GFDL model. Hurricane force winds (yellow colors, 64 kt and above) are predicted to stay off the coast and tropical storm force winds (light green colors, 34 knots and above) are predicted to stay off the U.S. coast, but affect the coast of Canada. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/GFDL.

Track forecast for Earl
Once Earl passes the Lesser Antilles, steering currents favor a northwesterly course towards North Carolina. History suggests that a storm in Earl's current location has a 25% chance of making landfall on the U.S. East Coast, and Earl's chances of making a U.S. landfall are probably close to that. None of the computer models show Earl hitting the U.S., but the storm will likely come uncomfortably close to North Carolina's Outer Banks and to Massachusetts. The latest set of model runs (2am EDT, or 6Z) project Earl will miss North Carolina by 200 - 300 miles on Thursday, and Massachusetts by a similar distance on Friday. Keep in mind that the average error in a 4 - 5 day NHC forecast is 200 - 300 miles, so the East Coast cannot breathe easily yet. The Outer Banks of North Carolina and Cape Cod, Massachusetts are both at the edge of the cone of uncertainty. NHC is giving Cape Hatteras a 9% chance of receiving hurricane force winds. These odds are 14% for Nantucket, 4% for Boston, and 2% for New York City. The main determinant of whether Earl hits the U.S. or not is a strong trough of low pressure predicted to move off the U.S. East Coast Friday. This trough, if it develops as predicted, should be strong enough to recurve Earl out to sea late in the week, with the storm just missing landfall in the U.S., but possibly making landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Regardless of Earl's exact track, the U.S. East Coast can expect a long period of high waves beginning on Thursday. Significant beach erosion and dangerous rip current will be the rule, due to waves that will reach 10 - 15 feet in offshore waters (Figure 3.)


Figure 3. Wave forecast for 8am Friday, September 3, 2010, as produced by the 8pm EDT August 29 run of NOAA's Wavewatch III model. The model is predicting waves of 4 - 5 meters (13 - 16 feet) in the offshore waters from North Carolina to New Jersey.

Hurricane History for the northern Lesser Antilles
The last Cape Verdes-type hurricane to affect the Barbuda and the surrounding northern Lesser Antilles Islands was Hurricane Debby of 2000, which passed over the islands on August 28 as a Category 1 hurricane. Damage was less than $1 million, and no fatalities were reported. The last hurricane of any kind to pass through the northern Lesser Antilles Islands was Category 4 Hurricane Omar, on October 16, 2008. Omar took an unusual track, moving towards the northeast, and the storm's eyewall missed all of the islands. Omar did $80 million in damage to the Caribbean, mainly on the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, the SSS Islands (Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten), and the U.S. Virgin Islands. No direct deaths were attributed to Omar, and the name Omar was not retired from the 6-year rotating list of hurricane names.

Links to track Earl
Wundermap of the northern Lesser Antilles Islands
Long range radar out of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Visible rapid scan satellite loop

97L
The tropical wave (Invest 97L) now 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands has a well-defined surface circulation and enough heavy thunderstorms to be classified as a tropical depression, if it can maintain that state for another six or so hours. Satellite loops show the surface circulation clearly, but also that heavy thunderstorm activity has been slow to build. The storm is experiencing low wind shear of less than 5 knots, and is over warm 29°C waters. The main impediment to development continues to be dry air associated with the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) surrounding the storm. The latest SHIPS model forecast calls for shear to stay in the low range, 5 - 10 knots, through Tuesday, and this should allow 97L to organize into a tropical depression today or Tuesday. NHC is giving 97L a 90% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Wednesday.

97L is moving quickly to the west, at about 20 mph. This means it is catching up to Earl, which has slowed down to 14 mph. By Tuesday night, Earl is expected to be a large and powerful major hurricane with a well-developed upper-level outflow channel heading clockwise out from Earl's center at high altitudes. These strong upper-level winds will bring high levels of wind shear, 20 - 30 knots, to 97L, and probably arrest the storm's development. The most likely scenario depicted in the computer models is for 97L to be drawn into the low pressure wake of Earl and pass to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles. Earl would then eventually destroy 97L through high wind shear, and by robbing the storm of its moisture. An alternative scenario is that 97L will stay far enough away from Earl that it will be able to pass through the northern Lesser Antilles islands as a tropical storm on Wednesday and Thursday, then bend northwestwards to potentially threaten the Bahamas and U.S. East Coast. There is a very high degree of uncertainty on what may happen to 97L. History suggests that a storm in 97L's current location has a 25% chance of making landfall on the U.S. East Coast.


Figure 4. Morning satellite image of 97L.

Danielle
Hurricane Danielle is on its way to oblivion over the cold North Atlantic waters, and is only of concern to shipping interests.

Elsewhere in the Tropics
Over in the Western Pacific, tropical cyclone activity is ramping up, with two named storms expected to affect land this week. As is typical in a La Niña year, these storms have developed close to mainland Asia, and don't have a lot of time over water to intensify into strong typhoons. The storm of most concern is Typhoon Kompasu, which is expected to hit Okinawa today and recurve northward into Korea on Thursday. It now appears the Kompasu will not have major impacts on China's largest city, Shanghai. In the South China Sea, the fearsome sounding Tropical Storm Lionrock is forecast to hit the Chinese coast near Hong Kong on Tuesday, but is not predicted to develop into a typhoon.

The GFS model is predicting formation of a tropical depression off the coast of Africa about seven days from now.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting StormW:
Hey kman;nash! Good to see you guys!


Hi Storm. Busy times now and likely to stay that way for a long time.

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15813
1130. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #4
TROPICAL STORM GLENDA (KOMPASU)
11:00 PM PhST August 30 2010
=============================

Tropical Storm "GLENDA" has intensified as it moves toward the Southern Islands of Japan.

At 10:00 PM PhST, Tropical Storm Glenda (Kompasu) located at 24.0°N 130.9°E or 880 km east northeast of Basco, Batanes has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northwest at 7 knots.

Additional Information
=======================
This weather disturbance is still far to affect any part of the country.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm "Glenda" is expected to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and bring rains over Northern and Central Luzon.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin alert to be issued at 11 AM tomorrow.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1129. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #2
TROPICAL STORM NAMTHEUN (T1008)
0:00 AM JST August 31 2010
=============================

SUBJECT: Category One Typhoon In East China Sea

At 15:00 PM UTC, Tropical Storm Namtheun (996 hPa) located at 25.8N 121.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts of 60 knots. The depression is reported as moving west southwest at 6 knots.

Dvorak Intensity:

Gale Force Winds
================
50 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
======================
24 HRS: 25.7N 121.0E - 40 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
45 HRS: 25.0N 121.0E - Tropical Depression
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Quoting Floodman:


How have you been, nash?

I'd like to point out the if Earl deos make any substantial landfall in South Carolina you will be blamed...just sayin'



A g r e e d! ;-P
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1127. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #30
SEVERE TROPICAL STORM LIONROCK (T1006)
0:00 AM JST August 31 2010
================================

SUBJECT: Category Two Typhoon In South China Sea

At 15:00 PM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Lionrock (985 hPa) located at 20.6N 116.9E has 10 minute sustained winds of 50 knots with gusts of 70 knots. The cyclone is reported as almost stationary

Dvorak Intensity:

Gale Force Winds
================
110 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
========================
24 HRS: 20.9N 118.5E - 50 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
45 HRS: 22.1N 119.5E - 50 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
69 HRS: 23.7N 119.6E - 45 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Hey Tampa, if we get a system in the Caribbean then someone is in for a heap of trouble. This is the warmest I've ever seen the Caribbean and even the gulf for that matter. People need to be aware that once Sept comes then we could get storms to spring up very quickly in the Caribbean and Gulf.


YOu are so right about that. WELL get ready! Things are changing next week as a more ZONAL flow will be coming....Our typical Summer Pattern of the normal SeaBreeze late evening storms and everything will be coming next week.....Big high will develop near Bermuda and NO , NO trough protection for a while it appears. The real ride is coming it appears.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
1125. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #14
SEVERE TROPICAL STORM KOMPASU (T1007)
0:00 AM JST August 31 2010
================================

SUBJECT: Category Two Typhoon In Sea South Of Japan

At 15:00 PM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Kompasu (980 hPa) located at 24.0N 131.0E has 10 minute sustained winds of 55 knots with gusts of 80 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northwest at 6 knots

Dvorak Intensity:

Storm Force Winds
==================
40 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
140 NM from the center in northeastern quadrant
100 NM from the center in southwestern quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
========================
24 HRS: 28.3N 126.1E - 65 knots (CAT 3/Typhoon)
45 HRS: 32.4N 123.3E - 60 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
69 HRS: 37.4N 125.0E - 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
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Quoting WhereIsTheStorm:


Relax. This person has gone through a bad experience and is looking for support from someone she trusts. It is hard to trust the info from the NHC when every ohter blog entry on Dr. Masters Blog states that the NHC is wrong, even though they are not wrong. You also have person(s) (katrinakat5) stating the South Florida should stay on the lookout because the storm is not going to turn. This is not reassuring stuff.



Thanks!! I didn't mean to be annoying, but Storm's my friend, he doesn't mind me buggin' him!!
Member Since: September 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 672
Quoting Relix:


Nearly 2 hours of due west movement.


at least hes over our latitude, relix... but too close for comfort
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
1122. divdog
Quoting msmama51:


Explanation please?
he won't offer an explanation.. he just keeps saying thet over and over and over..kinda gettin old already.
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1121. ncstorm
Can someone post the 84 run of the ECWMF..there are two posts for 72 and 96 but no 84? I want to see if goes more west for NC..TIA
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15266
Explanation:

its moving westward rapidly, which indicates its not gonna turn. Cyclonic flow above Earl has a steering pattern to keep it going west when Earl moves north, by then it's in the Carribbean somewhere, and a building ridge setting up over the east coast after a trough moves out points to Gulf bound
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9629
I noticed it took a few wobbles NW now it changed back to almost due west.
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Quoting muddertracker:
anyone who turns their back on a CAT4 is an absolute moron

Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
Quoting DestinJeff:
ONLY A SMALL INCREASE IN
ORGANIZATION OF THE SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY WOULD RESULT
IN THE FORMATION OF A TROPICAL STORM

maybe they mean depression


Aircraft data suggested that it was already producing TS force winds.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


kman werent you the one talking about 18N 62W yesterday? you nailed that forecast...


Thanks, yes I was the one with that discussion. I selected those coordinates as an extrapolated position to determine whether the track was established as WNW or a temporary shift. Since then we have seen a pretty steady WNW motion for the past 18 hours or so.

Now we have to see when the track steepens to NW. If the high to the NW remains in the same general position and with the same orientation the track could start steepening in the next 6 hours or so IMO.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15813
Quoting nash28:
As I stated earlier, I live in SC. I am by no means sounding the alarm, but I am not taking my eye off Earl. A 300 mile variance west from forecast track smacks alot of people currently "not in the cone."


How have you been, nash?

I'd like to point out the if Earl deos make any substantial landfall in South Carolina you will be blamed...just sayin'
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Per radar, the center is about 20nm north of "The Settlement" on Anegada... the inside edge of the eyewall is only about 12 miles north... that will be a brutal pounding for a flat island!
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Quoting ho77yw00d:



hey hey hey watch ur language!! I am right here ya know...lol jk back to tropics


hahaha That was hilarious.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Gulf coast folks better start watching 97L down the road.


Explanation please?
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Quoting Floodman:


+1

One of the best posts of the day!


Gee, thanks, brudda.
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1106. luigi18
Quoting hurricanehanna:

"appears" to be westward movement


agree
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1105. Relix
Quoting Patrap:


Nearly 2 hours of due west movement.
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HurricaneEarl's heading had turned northward to 6.7degrees west of NorthWest
from its previous heading of 1.8degrees north of WestNorthWest
H.Earl's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was 11mph(~16.6km/h)

29Aug . 06pmGMT - - 17.4n58.9w - - 75mph - - - 978mb - - NHC.Adv.#17A
29Aug . 09pmGMT - - 17.6n59.5w - - 85mph - - - 978mb - - #18
30Aug . 12amGMT - - 17.7n60.3w - - 85mph - - - 972mb - - #18A
30Aug . 03amGMT - - 17.9n61.1w - 100mph - - - 971mb - - #19
30Aug . 06amGMT - - 18.1n61.8w - 100mph - - - 969mb - - #19A
30Aug . 09amGMT - - 18.3n62.4w - 105mph - - - 969mb - - #20
30Aug . 12pmGMT - - 18.4n62.9w - 110mph - - - 965mb - - #20A
H.Earl becomes Cat.3
30Aug . 03pmGMT - - 18.7n63.6w - 120mph - - - 960mb - - #21
30Aug . 06pmGMT - - 19.0n64.0w - 125mph - - - 955mb - - #21A

Copy&paste 17.4n58.9w, 17.6n59.5w, 17.7n60.3w, 17.9n61.1w, 18.1n61.8w-18.3n62.4w, 18.3n62.4w-18.4n62.9w, 18.4n62.9w-18.7n63.6w, 18.7n63.6w-19.0n64.0w, jax, 19.0n64.0w-30.04n81.3w, 19.0n64.0w-ngd into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours.

H.Earl's center had made a close passage north of or had hit northernAnguilla,
and has passed northeast of Anegada within 30miles(~48kilometres) of its shores.
Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~5days from now to Jacksonville,Florida
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1101. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
703
TCNA21 RJTD 301800 CCB
CCAA 30180 47644 KOMPASU(1007) 10245 11303 12244 250// 93112=
LIONROCK(1006) 09208 11170 14234 235// 90000=
NAMTHEUN(1008) 11257 11213 13144 225// 92612=

Typhoon Kompasu (TY 10)
24.5N 130.3E
Dvorak Intensity: T5.0

Severe Tropical Storm Lionrock (STS 09)
20.8N 117.0E
Dvorak Intensity: T3.5

Tropical Storm Namtheun (TS 11)
25.7N 121.3E
Dvorak Intensity: T2.5
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Earl moved .2 degrees west and .0 degrees north from 1pm - 2pm. Radar imagery confirms this. Hopefully this doesn't continue much longer.
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Quoting ncstorm:


you have had at least 10 people tell you it wasnt coming to SFL and you were even directed to his blog that He wrote and you still dont get it? Go to the NHC page and look at the 3 day and 5 day map..is South Florida anywhere near the cone..


Relax. This person has gone through a bad experience and is looking for support from someone she trusts. It is hard to trust the info from the NHC when every ohter blog entry on Dr. Masters Blog states that the NHC is wrong, even though they are not wrong. You also have person(s) (katrinakat5) stating the South Florida should stay on the lookout because the storm is not going to turn. This is not reassuring stuff.
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937mb, Cape Hatteras sitting ducks on this map

Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9629
I think a lot of crow is going to be eaten because of Earl the real question is who?
(I'm eating crow if Earl hits FL)
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1095. hydrus
Quoting hurricaneman123:
does any one think Earl is a CAT 4 monster right now?
Yes.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21173
1094. SeaMule
wwnw building strength.

no indication of a curve more north.. NONE

trending west...trending west...trending west....as as the storm intensifies...the fun will begin with the models.

whoop! der it is...near florida!
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12z EURO...72 Hrs

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Quoting nash28:
Great points Kman!

How are you today?


Hi Nash, pretty good today and trust the same is true for you.

Earl is putting on quite a show and the next act looks like it has started. As strong as he is now he will shoulder some of that high aside and we will likely see some indentation of the isobars later today. Fortunately the high is strong and should hold him offshore at least until the OBX. The pass there could be close.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15813
1090. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15669
Quoting PcolaDan:


This is exactly what I was saying last night. Showed two things, that the NHC cones are usually accurate, and that Earl could still hit the US and be within the cones the whole time.


You do realize how that cone is derived, correct?

http://hurrnet.com/tutorial/forecasts/track/cone.html
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1054
Quoting kmanislander:


You are probably right. Earl would need the high octane of the central and NW Caribbean to put on a sprint to Cat 5 but still possible given where he is and will be for the next 10 hours.


kman werent you the one talking about 18N 62W yesterday? you nailed that forecast...
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6481
Quoting hurricaneman123:
does any one think Earl is a CAT 4 monster right now?

Getting close, maybe 130MPH now??
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Quoting GetReal:
Throughout Earls tropical life, he has ridden along the left side of the forecast track. Occassionaaly the extreme left side of the cone.










The cone has also shifted west, with each advisory towards the U.S.







Earl continues to look like a problem for N. Carolina, and points north.


you can see how far west he has tracked out of the cone areas and official nhc track so. not a better example can be made
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 2 Comments: 1983
1085. angiest
Quoting LongGlassTube:
The lat/long lines are currently off on some of the SSD floaters. For example, the vis floater linked in through NHC has 65w line running through western PR (not accurate). I emailed the webmaster, but others here might have more direct contacts with people who can fix this.

We have cameras in space that can read a freaking newspaper or drop a bomb down a window and we get fuzzy images with the wrong L/L superimposed. Come on our tax dollars can do better than that.


A different authority pays for *those* satellites.
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does any one think Earl is a CAT 4 monster right now?
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Hi Tim...don't most of the models show a path for 97L similar to that of Earl? At least they did when I checked early this morning.


Only the models that show a weak 97L


Check these out......if a stronger 97L

GFS BAMD NGPS CMC
MODELS

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting Patrap:

"appears" to be westward movement
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Gulf coast folks better start watching 97L down the road.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9629

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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