Earl hits Category 4; Fiona forms

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:01 PM GMT on August 30, 2010

Share this Blog
3
+

Powerful Hurricane Earl, now a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds, continues to lash Puerto Rico and the northern Lesser Antilles Islands with heavy rain and high winds this afternoon. Hardest hit was Anegada in the British Virgin Islands, population of 200. The eye of Earl passed just north of Anegada at noon EDT, and the island probably saw sustained winds of 100 mph in the south eyewall of Earl. Second hardest hit was probably the island of Anguilla. Amateur weather observer Steve Donahue at anguilla-weather.com estimated gusts of 100 mph on Anguilla this morning; his anemometer broke at 88 mph. Juliana airport on neighboring St. Martin Island recorded sustained winds of 47 mph, gusting to 68 mph at 8am EDT. Winds were below tropical storm force on Antigua, but heavy rains of 5.71" have deluged the island. Heavy rains have hit Puerto Rico, where radar-estimated rainfall amounts of up to 5" have occurred southwest of San Juan. A heavy rain band moved across the island late this morning, with a tornadic thunderstorm that prompted issuance of a tornado warning.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Earl.


Figure 2. Radar image of Earl taken this afternoon from the San Juan, Puerto Rico radar.

Outlook for the Caribbean islands today
Latest radar animations out of Puerto Rico show that the eye of Earl has now moved past the Virgin Islands, and winds will begin to subside on most of the islands this evening. Heavy rains will continue through Tuesday, however, bringing the risk of flash flooding and mudslides.

Intensity forecast for Earl
Wind shear as diagnosed by the latest SHIPS model forecast is nearly non-existent over Earl--just 4 knots--but is expected to increase to the moderate range, 10 - 15 knots, tonight through Thursday afternoon, due to upper level winds out of the southwest from a trough of low pressure to Earl's west. This shear should not appreciably affect Earl between now and Thursday, since the hurricane is so large and strong. 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 continued intensification. Earl should continue to intensify until reaching Category 4 or 5 strength on Tuesday, and will probably maintain major hurricane status through Thursday, when it will make its closest approach to North Carolina. The hurricane will probably undergo at least one eyewall replacement cycle during that period, which will diminish its winds by 20 - 30 mph for a day or so. 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. Earl is more likely to be a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday morning, when it could potentially make landfall in Maine or Nova Scotia, Canada.


Figure 3. Swath of surface winds from Earl predicted by the 8am EDT Monday August 30, 2010 run of NOAA's HWRF model. Hurricane force winds (yellow colors, above 64 kt) are predicted to stay off the coast, except over Nova Scotia. Tropical storm force winds (light green colors, above 34 knots) are predicted to affect virtually the entire U.S. coast from North Carolina to Maine. Winds between 58 mph - 73 mph (dark green colors) are predicted to affect North Carolina's Outer Banks, Southeast Massachusetts, and Eastern Maine. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA/GFDL.

Track forecast for Earl
The latest set of computer models runs from 8am EDT (12Z) this morning push Earl's projected track a little closer to the U.S. East Coast, but still keep hurricane force winds offshore. 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. We now have one model predicting a U.S. landfall--the latest HWRF model predicts Earl will hit the Maine/Nova Scotia border region on Saturday morning as a Category 1 hurricane. None of the other 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. Several models now predict Earl will being tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph to North Carolina's Outer Banks, beginning on Thursday evening. The Outer Banks of North Carolina and Cape Cod, Massachusetts are both at the edge of the cone of uncertainty, and could potentially receive a direct hit. NHC is giving Cape Hatteras a 11% chance of receiving hurricane force winds. These odds are 10% for Nantucket, 5% for Boston, and 3% 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, but it is not unusual for the models to miss the timing and intensity of these troughs significantly in 4 - 5 day forecasts.

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.

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
Long range radar out of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Visible rapid scan satellite loop

Fiona forms
Tropical Storm Fiona finally gained enough heavy thunderstorm activity to be given a name, but continues to struggle with dry air. Satellite loops show that heavy thunderstorm activity comes and goes, and there are not many intense thunderstorms near the storm's center. 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 increase to moderate, 10 - 15 knots, by Tuesday. Fiona is moving quickly to the west, at about 24 mph. This means it is catching up to Earl, which is moving at 15 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 Fiona, and probably arrest the storm's development. A scenario predicted by the GFS, GFDL, and HWRF models is for Fiona to be drawn into the low pressure wake of Earl and pass to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles. Earl would then eventually destroy Fiona through high wind shear, and by robbing the storm of its moisture. An alternative scenario, championed by the ECMWF and NOGAPS models, is for Fiona to stay far enough away from Earl that it will be able to potentially threaten the Bahamas and U.S. East Coast early next week. At this point, it is difficult to choose between these two scenarios. History suggests that a storm in Fiona's current location has a 25% chance of making landfall on the U.S. East Coast.


Figure 4. Afternoon satellite image of Fiona.

Danielle
Danielle is now a tropical storm, and is on its way to oblivion over the cold North Atlantic waters.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Sign In or Register Sign In or Register

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1178 - 1128

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85Blog Index

Who here is from china?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Nah, that's a nice one you've got there BigToe. Hang on to it. Ahh the memories...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey, SJ.
Quoting StormJunkie:


Wait and see K8e...I think you should be ok, but you are a lot closer to the margin of error than I am. The smallest jog would make a big difference for you. I am buying in to Levi's dry air theory...I'm not sure he is going to hold this intensity all the way up the coast. Seems the GFDL and HWRF are having the same debate.
I think he is right on...
*Some* moistening is a reasonable expectation,but...

Question, though. Would we not be looking for surface level dry air more than mid-level dry air in this scenario? Seems that a solid-cored hurricane can insulate better at mid levels than at the surface.

In light of that, well, surface dewpoints not exactly impressing with the dryness ahead of Earl. All I could find was still above 70 F.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneGeek:


Ok, do you happen to know what the highest wind seed recorded in any of the islands was?


someone here can probably dig that up easily...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneGeek:


Ok, do you happen to know what the highest wind seed recorded in any of the islands was?


someone here can probably dig that up easily...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
jajajaja

esto gives us an idea of the number of lurkers jajaja
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting heretolearninPR:


First, I am about 3 pages behind in the posts so I apologize. Hurricane Bertha came by Puerto Rico the same year as Hortense. By far, Hortense was the stronger storm for most, but because of the location of my apartment facing directly north to the ocean in Old San Juan, Bertha was the much worse storm for me. I spent hours and hours mopping water that came in through the windows trying to prevent it from going into the back rooms (the rooms where I had moved all of my furniture and things). It was strenuous exercise to say the least. In terms of damage to the island and loss of life, Hortense was much worse. In terms of my personal experience, Bertha has been the worst hurricane that I have lived through. Georges didn't even top Bertha (except for the aftermath of no electricity or water).


hello,

couldnt help but chuckle with you on the first sentence... this blog takes a while. been coming here since 1997 when i think the blog didnt exist, *wunderground is an awesome page* and when i did find people here, it moved so awesomely quick and different from usual chats / forum postings that i was discouraged. once i found the befabled F5 key and got in the hang of it, i found it to be most enjoyable. in fact, i gladly sacrifice fridge time in the power generator for wunderground blogging chatter.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
http://www.barometerbobshow.com/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1167. BigToe
thelmores got to my avitar first :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bwat:
OMG thank you! I never knew F5 would refresh, i was getting cramps from clicking with the mouse!


Well... that was a generalization... I'm actually a big fan of ctrl+r and a little prayer for something good from the weather sages such as StormW :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Recon heading back towards the center.

Free Hit Counter


I'll have the counter posted with each one of my posts that way everyone can see it without having to go back to the previous page(s).
I think were getting about fifty hits a second!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting texwarhawk:
Seems the weakness to the north of Earl is weakening. Anyone Agree???

11:00am edt
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

NOW
Image and video hosting by TinyPic


Rather than the "weakness weakening," I would argue that Earl is being influenced by his coat tails. In other words, if you look carefully on the upper level satellite views, his exhaust is contributing to his westward cause.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HurricaneLovr75:


Im in Plymouth. I'm waiting till tomorrow night to make my own call. Local Mets only believe the models.


I think they get scared and don't want to be wrong so they stick to the models. Good luck to you!! Stay safe. I think SE Mass could get clocked this time...another Labor Day hurricane!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1162. HarryMc
Miami... You gotta be kidding... 1200 hits in about 4 minutes!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Portlight:
yep...lurking from the SOUTH Carolinas...trying to get some info from the islands...


Good to know Portlight is watching and ready to respond where Earl might impact.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hello bloggers!

Here's my comments:

1. Congrats to StormW for being on myfox. I was on The Weather Channel once, talking about a storm like Earl passing up the Jersey Shore, as did the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944.
2. I've noticed over the last day or so that Earl has gone from the size of one lat/long box to FOUR lat/long boxes.
3. The center of the hurricane. expected to be a high-end Cat 2/low-end Cat 3 as it passes the Jersey Coast, is already halfway into my lat/long box. (I live in Seaside Heights: yes people, the home of Jersey Shore: a blessing and a curse.)
4. My thinking is on with those who say "east side of the cone, a big deal, but not the worst, but the left side would be CATASTROPHIC, New York's Katrina."
5. The 1944 Hurricane damaged/destroyed boardwalks in Jersey from Wildwood to Long Branch, all the way up the coast south to north, and was WEAKER than Earl is anticipated to be.
6. If the storm is a Cat 4, it might not wind down as fast as they think.
7. For (luckily!) the next week, my house is directly on the oceanfront, although I'd never stay or leave anything of personal value behind.
8. I am SCARED! Nothing like this has threatened here in about 75 years, roughly twice my lifetime!
I have a distinct feeling that even with the best case scenario, I am in for an eventful few days.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VBgirl:
Do I need to get out the duct tape yet? I'm in southeast Virginia. It looks like a pretty close call for Hatteras.


Even if Earl did hit, I doubt duct tape is going to help you much. ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
During Fay didnt we have like 7000+ posts for one entry?

Not even sure that was the highest ever on the blog.


no landfalling conus immediate inminent threat, no big forum posting jump. its still a big USA site.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1155. bwat
Quoting Pipewhale:


Won't count refreshes will it? Because I think that many here (esp. us lurkers) could cause any counter to overload ;)

My F5 key is already considerably lighter then the rest.
OMG thank you! I never knew F5 would refresh, i was getting cramps from clicking with the mouse!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dmaddox:
i welcome your thoughts on the similaries and / or differences between earl and hurricane bertha 1996... thanks in advance!



First, I am about 3 pages behind in the posts so I apologize. Hurricane Bertha came by Puerto Rico the same year as Hortense. By far, Hortense was the stronger storm for most, but because of the location of my apartment facing directly north to the ocean in Old San Juan, Bertha was the much worse storm for me. I spent hours and hours mopping water that came in through the windows trying to prevent it from going into the back rooms (the rooms where I had moved all of my furniture and things). It was strenuous exercise to say the least. In terms of damage to the island and loss of life, Hortense was much worse. In terms of my personal experience, Bertha has been the worst hurricane that I have lived through. Georges didn't even top Bertha (except for the aftermath of no electricity or water).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Alot of vabeach bloggerss comin out, didnt realize you all were here! haha
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Pipewhale:


Won't count refreshes will it? Because I think that many here (esp. us lurkers) could cause any counter to overload ;)

My F5 key is already considerably lighter then the rest.


Yes it will. A more interesting item would be a Mapquest map because that would track unique users. Not sure that admin would be too fond of that though, although I'm not sure why they would mind either.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
yep...lurking from the SOUTH Carolinas...trying to get some info from the islands...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1149. mnborn
Quoting StormW:
HURRICANE EARL / TS FIONA "QUICKCAST" AUG. 30, 2010 ISSUED 8:15 P.M.

Thanks, Storm! Great Update.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1148. xcool
huhduct tape yet
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15705
1147. Brennen
Quoting StormJunkie:
1000 posts since 5:00 is NOTHING...The people that actually post on the blogs are the minority! The blog has had a whole lot more people view it sense 5. And that's just the blog...Can't imagine how many hits the whole site has received.


Unintentional DDoS just because people want to know what is going on XD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Portlight:
HurricaneGeek...not much reliable yet...likely morning before verifiable info is available


Ok, do you happen to know what the highest wind seed recorded in any of the islands was?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1145. breald
Quoting Plibster:
checking in from the SC/NC border(Little River,SC). Thanks again for all the great info today.


I love the Little River Band...LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1144. VBgirl
Do I need to get out the duct tape yet? I'm in southeast Virginia. It looks like a pretty close call for Hatteras.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1142. Bonedog
An important question is, "What causes these eyewall replacement cycles?" That is still being researched. Here are some possible explanations:

1. When the eye diameter gets too small then the eyewall convection is not able to stay organized. New convection and a new eyewall develop outside the old one where there is more space and energy.

2. Once the winds become too strong, turbulent breakdown occurs. This turbulence breaks apart portions of the eyewall which lead to its weakening. A new eyewall develops where the wind field remains less turbulent and more organized outside the old eyewall.

3. The band of convection outside the inner eyewall begins to rob the inner eyewall of moisture and energy. The inner eyewall weakens and the outer eyewall, which has greater moisture and energy, replaces it.


Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Nah, it'll be for all the people that click on Jeff Masters' blog regardless of what page I post it.


Won't count refreshes will it? Because I think that many here (esp. us lurkers) could cause any counter to overload ;)

My F5 key is already considerably lighter then the rest.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Portlight:
...hhhmmm...


1127- Good to see you are still lurking... ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
HurricaneGeek...not much reliable yet...likely morning before verifiable info is available
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1138. Engine2
Checking in from LI - hoping for a hard turn out to sea on Friday
Member Since: February 27, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 482
1137. srada
Quoting Alockwr21:
Greg Fishel in Raleigh,NC regarding Earl

http://www.wral.com/weather/video/8208629/


hmmm..interesting! so he is thinking the longer the WNW continues, the more problematic this will become for NC..not good at all
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1136. twooks
Quoting clwstmchasr:


I wonder why. There is no model support that brings it anywhere near there.


Check the European.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Here ya' go:

Free Hit Counter


I'll post the overall stats later tonight.


2 reloads already at 400... dang son hahaha
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
checking in from the SC/NC border(Little River,SC). Thanks again for all the great info today.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hello..
does anybody have any damage reports caused by Earl in the islands so far?

Thanks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Recon found an open eyewall. Cloud tops around the western/northwestern eyewall is also warming. It could be simply dry air intruding into the core, but it could also be the beginnings of an EWRC.


What general conditions lead to an EWRC? Is the thumb that it occurs when the eyewall contracts to 10nm or so? What other things can lead to it?

Of course I realize there is no one really good answer here... just looking for general conditions...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1129. BigToe
Columbia SC here, Home of The Fighting Gamecocks!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Relix:


Levittown Toa Baja. A few miles west of San Juan.


here comes the worst of it relix. from the sw
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1178 - 1128

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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

Local Weather

Overcast
75 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Carrot Nose in Danger
Deep Snow in Brookline, MA
Sunset at Fort DeSoto
New Years Day Sunset in Death Valley