Earl maintaining Category 4 strength; hurricane watches for North Carolina

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

Share this Blog
3
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

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: 1021 - 971

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 | 33Blog Index

1020. Zeec94
Quoting blsealevel:


Yep even cat 1 storm will do damage if your not ready for it and 10" of rain in a couple hours is bad enough if you live in a low lying area 1 or 2 inches of water in your home is just as bad as 1 or 2 feet the damage is the same good luck to yall and i hope it dont get that bad over their.

Don't forget Storm Surge...
Member Since: June 26, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 126
Quoting leo305:
why aren't my posts showing up


Did you not see this one?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting waverunner:
No DIRECT hit on land. They have skirted the islands, but no DIRECT lanfall.
No direct hit doesn't mean much when you are on an island only 20-30 miles long.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1016. Relix
Quoting waverunner:
No DIRECT hit on land. They have skirted the islands, but no DIRECT lanfall.


Yes like if all that matters is a COC. No it isn't. Tell that to some islanders folk and lets see how long your face stays like that fool.
Quoting scott39:
It looks like its heading W and slower with organization?


Yeah it seems she's trying to survive. Forecast may change or she may be downgraded/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KanKunKid:


Let this be an example, don't drink and post.


LOL!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1011. leo305
I am shocked Bryan nocross discounted Fiona so easily...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If Earl looks like he almost completed is ERC maybe he could strengthen tomorrow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting extreme236:
98L is getting closer to TD status if these trends continue.


and yet its only 20% lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fiona looks to be headin straight into the Carribean..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


Well u are acting like a 13 yr old so grow up!!! Whats next?? A cat 5 bearing down on FL and you lightheartidly joke around?? You're not being a good role model either for the youngins like me.


As a youngin, didn't you learn to respect your elders?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


Yup. one of our local stations, WTVR CBS 6 in richmond is calling for the hurricane to make landfall in NC and have Hampton roads receive hurricane force winds cat 1 strength, Richmond though looks to be receiving, ehh.. gusts up to 30 or 40 mph, 25mph sustained, with some rain, some folks along VA down the outer banks could see anywhere from 5 to 10" of rain!!


Yep even cat 1 storm will do damage if your not ready for it and 10" of rain in a couple hours is bad enough if you live in a low lying area 1 or 2 inches of water in your home is just as bad as 1 or 2 feet the damage is the same good luck to yall and i hope it dont get that bad over their.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jason2010xxxx:
its not a fish storm are you retarded..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Miami
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
98L is getting closer to TD status if these trends continue.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting leo305:
why aren't my posts showing up


Gotcha.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
999. 900MB
Storm- Are you saying I missed you? Bummer. Was wondering if you are still West of track and how scared we should be on East end of Long Island. If u r still at the computer. please let me know. Otherwise, good night, sir.
Thanks,
Andrew
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Relix:


That's just convection building to the SW. COC may relocate though.
It looks like its heading W and slower with organization?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting atmoaggie:
Both from the Navy. I usually don't discount them completely, but almost completely. The Navy models are rarely on the mark, but, ehh, maybe...

Where is Skye with the handy link on model skill?


As I understand it, the Navy takes the NOGAPs data, and feeds it in as the starting assumptions for their version of GFDL, known as NGFDL or GFDN. (The regular GFDL uses the data from GFS.) So it's more like one-and-a-half models. Basically, if NOGAPS is right in its basic assumptions, even a more sophisticated dynamic model follows the track it spits out. But it's not as if there're two wholly independent models showing that kind of track.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Does Fiona look to be going W and seperating from Earl. It looks like shes going into the Carribean!
I was wondering whether anyone was thinking that Fiona could leave a piece of energy behind to sneak past/under Earl and hit what looks to be a real sweet spot in the central Carib?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Relix:


That's just convection building to the SW. COC may relocate though.

Hello Relix agree que crees ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
why aren't my posts showing up
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
01/0015 UTC 12.2N 31.9W T1.5/1.5 98L -- Atlantic
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
So I guess the islands don't count right?

Pretty sad.
Remember some people think that if a storm doesn't affect the U.S it's not important.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
No DIRECT hit on land. They have skirted the islands, but no DIRECT lanfall.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
986. Relix
Quoting scott39:
Miami09, Fiona looks to be headed in the opposite direction than Earl on the Sat loop. What do you think?


That's just convection building to the SW. COC may relocate though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Would be really nice to know what is going on with Earl but no recon reports since 530pm

a few dropsondes but that is it, what a great time for everything to stop working
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
984. GoWVU
OK anyone out there who knows more than I do, do you think the cone is gonna shift more to the west?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
983. Relix
Fiona is moving due west at the moment. Seems to be reorganizing itself a bit to the south as well maybe to escape Earl's wrath.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Miami09, Fiona looks to be headed in the opposite direction than Earl on the Sat loop. What do you think?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good night!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KBH:

Storm,
been wondering, those weather systems which travel over Africa & Cape Verde towards that caribbean, do they originate over Africa or generally start west of Australia?


In simplest terms, they do indeed form over Africa.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


They originate over Africa...with help from the Indian monsoon.

Good night all.


G'nite Storm. Sleep well and thanks as always.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Night Storm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting waverunner:
Wow. 4 fish storms and no direct hit. We are lucky and hope it stays that way.
So I guess the islands don't count right?

Pretty sad.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting waverunner:
Wow. 4 fish storms and no direct hit. We are lucky and hope it stays that way.
YOU ARE NUTS!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CoopsWife:


And just how close do you think we want those billion dollar vessels to a major storm? Even the carriers move carefully AROUND an area of gale force winds, much less TS or hurricanes.


A better answer is that carrier aviation is expensive, and imposes strict design limitations on aircraft. It's why Hurricane Hunters have always been land-based assets, like the current G-IV, P-3s or C-130Js. And the same holds true for drones. You can easily fly a large drone from the same airfields currently used to stage flights (or, more to the point, from a single east coast airstrip, given their greater range) down to any hurricane you might care to visit. So why would you want to launch the flight from sea, when you can do it more cheaply and efficiently from land?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting centex:
Maybe and no expert. It's right of track now and think that is the trend that will go down in history.
Earl has been trending west off of the forecast points latley.If he keeps going west the more left the cone shifts,and that wold be Worst case senario.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fiona doesn't look like it wants to follow the NHC's path.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1021 - 971

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 | 33Blog 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.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron