Earl maintaining Category 4 strength; hurricane watches for North Carolina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2010

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Hurricane watches are now posted for coastal North Carolina, as Hurricane Earl continues towards the west-northwest at 13 mph with little change in strength. Currently, the outer reaches of the storm are affecting the Turks and Caicos Islands, and NOAA's Wavewatch III model is predicting 15 - 20 foot waves are affecting these islands. Early this morning, waves at buoy 41043 offshore of Puerto Rico reached 31 feet. Winds at Providenciales in the Turks were only 20 - 25 mph this afternoon, though Cockburn Town and Balfour Town in the extreme eastern Turks may be seeing winds near tropical storm force--40 mph.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Earl.

Intensity forecast for Earl
Recent visible satellite loops show that the southwest side of Earl is getting eaten into by wind shear and dry air. The storm is no longer as symmetrical as 24 hours ago, and the spiral band on Earl's west side has been destroyed by dry air. Wind shear as diagnosed by the latest SHIPS model forecast shows a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear, due to upper level winds out of the southwest from a trough of low pressure to Earl's west. This moderate shear is predicted to continue through Friday. Water vapor satellite loops show some moderately dry air to Earl's southwest, and very dry air to the northwest. Once Earl works its way farther to the northwest, it is possible that the persistent moderate wind shear will be able to drive this dry air deep enough into Earl's west side to significantly disrupt it. However, none of the models is predicting this, and Earl is probably large and strong enough to fend off this sort of assault. I give a 30% chance that a major dry air intrusion will significantly disrupt Earl between now and Thursday, weakening it to a Category 2 hurricane. Ocean temperatures are a near-record 29.5 - 30°C, and very warm waters extend to great depth, resulting in a total ocean heat content favorable for intensification. Earl is undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, which may diminish its winds by 10 - 20 mph for a day or so. There is no evidence that Earl has weakened, though, based on the latest pressure of 940 mb from the Hurricane Hunters. It is likely Earl will be a major Category 3 or 4 hurricane at its closest approach to North Carolina Thursday night and Friday morning. By Friday night, 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 night, 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.

Track forecast for Earl
The latest set of computer models runs from 8am EDT (12Z) are pretty unified in taking Earl 100 - 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina, then 150 - 300 miles off the coast of Southeast Massachusetts, then into Nova Scotia. The high degree of model unity gives confidence that this is the correct solution, but it is good to keep in mind that the average error in a 48-hour NHC forecast is about 125 miles. It is likely that Earl will bring a 15-hour period of heavy rain and tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph to North Carolina's Outer Banks, beginning on Thursday evening. NHC is giving Cape Hatteras a 15% chance of receiving hurricane force winds. By Friday evening, Southeast Massachusetts can expect a 6 - 8 hour period of heavy rain and tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph. NHC is giving Nantucket a 13% chance of receiving hurricane force winds. These odds are 5% for Boston, 6% for Providence, 8% for Eastport, Maine, and 14% for Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. 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. Keep in mind that the average error in position for a 3-day NHC forecast is 185 miles.

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 currents will be the rule, due to waves that will reach 10 - 15 feet in offshore waters. Waves from Hurricane Danielle killed two swimmers in the U.S. over the weekend and forced hundreds of water rescues along the U.S. East Coast. Earl's waves will be worse, and will likely cause millions of dollars in beach erosion damage.

Next update
Dr. Rob Carver is planning an update late tonight, and I'll have a full update in the morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting doorman79:
ok, is the blog acting crazy or is it just me

yea, it is....
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1170. Ossqss
Oh my!!!! Not good ....... 50' waves ?

Clickable pic to extend run....



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Quoting Orcasystems:


and you have been a member for a whole week... gutsy call from a newbie.


Not sure you were here. Just in case:
it was someone called StSimonIslandGAGuy not StSimonsIslandGAGuy, letter missing.
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1168. srada
Quoting doorman79:
ok, is the blog acting crazy or is it just me


Yep..all the posts are clumped together..
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Anyway, does anyway have a link for the northern water vapor besides nhc. Not working for me
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
I'm really suprised that no TS watches or Hurricane watches haven't been posted for S.Carolina with the potential close proximity of Earl. Maybe at 1100??
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1164. bassis
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
He's long gone.


Earl is to strong to get in too much trouble with dry air.

This reminds me of one of my fav Grateful Dead songs
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1163. Greyelf
Argh. why did you have to quote the youtube post??? that's the one that screwed up the last page.
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1162. JLPR2
Quoting rareaire:


welcome back my friend, hope alls well?


Quoting jonelu:


Welcome back! Glad you are ok..


Thank you!
Everything's good, little damage to report, some branches, two or three trees down and nothing else. XD
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NO GAMES with all this wave action building!

LINK
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1160. leo305
Quoting tropics21:
Acording to Norcross on TWC she will most likely get absorbed by Earl


yea I posted earlier that it was suprising he discounted fiona so easily like that

The question to me is whether or not the center is under that heavy convection, if it is.. then it's developing and slowing
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#1132

Sorry StormW.....
you have been replaced...Schwing :)

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1158. luigi18
Quoting Headindaclouds:
This is how I like to watch Hurricane Earl :)


NICE
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 481
Latest F-16 satellite pass shows that the southern eyewall of Earl has been eroded down to almost nothing. If it doesn't do something about that quickly, it may weaken significantly due to the dry air and shear.

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Quoting doorman79:
ok, is the blog acting crazy or is it just me


it's fine for me
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Quoting FLdewey:

He was banned 30 minutes ago... it's all good now.


what was he talking about? he picked a fight with me a couple of times.
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ok, is the blog acting crazy or is it just me
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting reedzone:
Latest satellite loop shows Earl trying to organize again, nice donut shape. I think he'll stay at 135 mph. by 11 p.m.

I'll have to agree. Aside from the lack of outflow to the SW, Earl's structure has definitely improved. I can clearly see the core again and now that the ERC is just about complete, I wouldn't be too terribly surprised if Earl decided to strengthen a little bit again, although not right away.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
No, Fiona will likely degenerate into a surface trough in a couple of days as shear continues to increase into an increasingly unfavorable threshold. By the time that happens, she should already be far from the Caribbean.
Earlier reply eaten. Thanks for the input Miami.
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hmm looking at the shear map earl is getting 20-30 kt shear and 10-15 over fiona depending fiona might survive
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1149. jonelu
Quoting JLPR2:
I'm finally back!
26hrs without power! T_T
I don't want to image what would have happened if Earl would have passed 50 miles closer to PR.

Well, anyways, I see Fiona is hanging on and that we have 98L, ah! I feel so far behind. XD


Welcome back! Glad you are ok..
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Quoting texcane:
ATTN ADMIN: I sincerely hope that there is no one asleep at the wheel. StSimonIslandGAGuy should be permanently banned from this blog. Not only are the comments not in the theme of this blog, but also are personal. I believe if it was taken up on a vote, the community would vote in favor of eliminating his presence or using him as a dropsonde in Earl. Please pay attention to the response of this community and take appropriate action.


and you have been a member for a whole week... gutsy call from a newbie.
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Quoting leo305:
98L is looking much better, considering very little models develop it..

Fiona is looking good too
Acording to Norcross on TWC she will most likely get absorbed by Earl
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Quoting JLPR2:
I'm finally back!
26hrs without power! T_T
I don't want to image what would have happened if Earl would have passed 50 miles closer to PR.

Well, anyways, I see Fiona is hanging on and that we have 98L, ah! I feel so far behind. XD


welcome back my friend, hope alls well?
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1145. Walnut
Quoting scCane:
Eh was wrong about Fiona just saw on the navy site the core is still intact and possibly under the convection.
This is very interesting and perhaps some new science is unfolding depending on what actually does happen with Fiona.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 185
1144. JLPR2
Quoting Walnut:
Same strength as now basically. Few mb lower but same wind speeds.


A thank you, hmm, thought he would be stronger than that.
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Quoting texcane:
ATTN ADMIN: I sincerely hope that there is no one asleep at the wheel. StSimonIslandGAGuy should be permanently banned from this blog. Not only are the comments not in the theme of this blog, but also are personal. I believe if it was taken up on a vote, the community would vote in favor of eliminating his presence or using him as a dropsonde in Earl. Please pay attention to the response of this community and take appropriate action.
He's long gone.
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Quoting Headindaclouds:
This is how I like to watch Hurricane Earl :)
LOL
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Quoting truecajun:


it's 98 that will be more of player for the Carib right?
It's possible, but a lot can change since we are not dealing with a well-developed disturbance or tropical cyclone. The CMC for example shows a scenario that 98L develops into a hurricane and heads into the Caribbean.

It still also remains to be seen that the disturbance will actually develop into a tropical cyclone.



Moving due west below on the 12z CMC by 144 hours.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting fatlady99:


Sort of like mentioning 'first cousins' to someone from Pensicola...

SNAP! Oh no you didn't!!

just kidding Pcola.

But seriously, you may want to rethink the fat jokes. They are somewhere around the level of ethnic humor. They say more about the person who makes them than the victim.

Besides,... see the dog in the photo? That's Fatlady. She's a flat coated retriever. She LOVES potato chips! LOL!!!


But stereotyping "the fatlady sings" is okay though? Where is that line of okay and not okay jokes? And stereotyping a region "in jest" is okay? BTW, I have no idea where Pensicola is.
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1137. scCane
Eh was wrong about Fiona just saw on the navy site the core is still intact and possibly under the convection.
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1135. Relix
I think Earl killed Fiona. Can I have the first RIP of the night?
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1134. Walnut
Quoting JLPR2:
So, a question, how strong did Earl become yesterday?
Same strength as now basically. Few mb lower but same wind speeds.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 185
Quoting KanKunKid:


I think you're just making this up, just now. If someone feels the effects of a hurricane, they have been "hit" by it. This isn't baseball, there is no umpire. Either its effects were felt or manifested or they weren't.

Pfffft, indirect hit my @$$
+1
Member Since: October 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8373
1131. JLPR2
So, a question, how strong did Earl become yesterday?
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Latest satellite loop shows Earl trying to organize again, nice donut shape. I think he'll stay at 135 mph. by 11 p.m.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

I don't know for sure, but it's really coming down to the wire...


Yeah, outflow is definitely restricted to the SW, but the core is looking pretty healthy, more so than earlier today.


Thats why the bahamas and turks and caicos are lucky.
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Quoting RecordSeason:
1102:

Color enhanced infrared and water vapor imagery from LSU?

What are you looking at?

You telling me you don't see the "hook" of blue and black than cut all the way into the CDO from 270 degrees, through 180, and then around to 90 degrees relative to the eye?

Earl is literally nothing more than an eye wall and one feeder band right now...everything else has just been cut off...


it's a cat 4 hurricane. you must be a troll
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1127. texcane
ATTN ADMIN: I sincerely hope that there is no one asleep at the wheel. StSimonIslandGAGuy should be permanently banned from this blog. Not only are the comments not in the theme of this blog, but also are personal. I believe if it was taken up on a vote, the community would vote in favor of eliminating his presence or using him as a dropsonde in Earl. Please pay attention to the response of this community and take appropriate action.
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Quoting MyrtleCanes:


sweet link, thanks!


;-P

...welcome!
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1125. Ryuujin
Quoting RecordSeason:
1102:

Color enhanced infrared and water vapor imagery from LSU?

What are you looking at?

You telling me you don't see the "hook" of blue and black than cut all the way into the CDO from 270 degrees, through 180, and then around to 90 degrees relative to the eye?

Earl is literally nothing more than an eye wall and one feeder band right now...everything else has just been cut off...


okay...

Anyone else seeing this?
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1123. leo305
The SW looks very unhealthy because of the dry air trying to wrap into EARL
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Quoting Ryuujin:


Wooboy. Didn't someone say that if he didn't start a N turn by 70 than the EC would be in for some serious issues?

I don't know for sure, but it's really coming down to the wire...

Quoting tropicfreak:


Looks a little lopsided, especially on the Southwestern end

Yeah, outflow is definitely restricted to the SW, but the core is looking pretty healthy, more so than earlier today.
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1121. JLPR2
I'm finally back!
26hrs without power! T_T
I don't want to image what would have happened if Earl would have passed 50 miles closer to PR.

Well, anyways, I see Fiona is hanging on and that we have 98L, ah! I feel so far behind. XD
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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.