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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Well congrats to the new upgraded GFS with Earl and Fiona. Looks like the ECMWF has some competition this season.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


REPORTED!!


i hope ur being sarcastic
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918. KBH
this map that shows the wind flow, how is Earl going to get up the East Coast as opposed to heading further east?
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Quoting StSimonIslandGAGuy:
Earl will wipe wilmington north carolina off the map forever with 155 mph winds, look out norfolk va beach area too this will be downright cataclysmic, evacuate now if you live in these areas your life depedns on it


Fraudulent post. Not the real blogger.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11557
Quoting StSimonIslandGAGuy:
30-35 foot suge in hampton new roads and chesepeke virginia look out everything under 30 ft will be submerge


REPORTED!!
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Hum, and his avatar has no shirt, as well.
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Earl trying to form a new eye
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Quoting marmark:
I was talking about the fat lady joke...oh, never mind-it is hard to keep up with it all.


?????? Since when did trigger-happy Fiona have anything to do with me? Although I do admire her... determination.
Member Since: September 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 410
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
The other guy is a fake and doesn't know how to spell 'Simons'.
I was wonderin'. Thanks for clearing that up...I thought you were freakin out on us:)
Member Since: February 1, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 243
Quoting FLdewey:

Your joke is flawed on many levels, but I support you trying.
thank you, your support means alote to me, it's always great to get encouragement from the best.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Lighten up???? That wasn't relavant to earl. That pic of a girl in andrew was completely stupid.
I was talking about the fat lady joke...oh, never mind-it is hard to keep up with it all.
Member Since: February 1, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 243
o
Quoting fatlady99:


Oh c'mon! You haven't heard me yet! LOL!
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17860
Quoting StSimonIslandGAGuy:


Who the hell are you????


POOF
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting washingtonian115:
where's reedzone.I would like to read his forecast for Earl.I think his cone would be to the west of where the NHC is.....
I don't think he would be west at this hour. But I shouldn't speak for him. It basically followed the NHC track, it did stair step, not wobble like many said. It's now making the move from NW to NNW, it's over for the west folks. I didn't buy track either, and followed the trend west, but that is over and we need to get over it.
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3293
If Fiona and Earl Fugiwara, then they will move counterclockwise pushing earl South and West. I doubt this will happen
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Exhale.
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Fiona looks to be heading south into the Carb.
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Quoting StSimonIslandGAGuy:
Earl will wipe wilmington north carolina off the map forever with 155 mph winds, look out norfolk va beach area too this will be downright cataclysmic, evacuate now if you live in these areas your life depedns on it


Your name is missing an s after simon.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
897. KBH
Quoting StormW:

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?
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:


LOL - just wondering if folks were actually paying attention too much of the BS in here! LOL.

Ok, sorry. But, maybe it was light, just briefly. We've been fairly tense. ;)
Sit, legs crossed. Hands on knees. Deep breath. Hold it. hold it.
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Quoting StSimonIslandGAGuy:
Earl will wipe wilmington north carolina off the map forever with 155 mph winds, look out norfolk va beach area too this will be downright cataclysmic, evacuate now if you live in these areas your life depedns on it
Should I poof,or put you on hold for entertaiment purposes?
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17860
Quoting StSimonIslandGAGuy:
Earl will wipe wilmington north carolina off the map forever with 155 mph winds, look out norfolk va beach area too this will be downright cataclysmic, evacuate now if you live in these areas your life depedns on it
geesh...let's hope they are packing and not on this blog!
Member Since: February 1, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 243
Seems to me that interaction between (Cat.4)HurricaneEarl and (barely)TropicalStormFiona outta fling the remains of TS.Fiona northward toward the Bahamas...
...while the momentum transfer nudges H.Earl on a less northward and more westward path than predicted (ie less eastward than shown in the 3day cone)...
...hence an SouthEastCoast landfall becomes more likely.

So what's wrong with my reasoning?
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Quoting marmark:
Come on, that's the funniest post all night! Lighten up.


Lighten up???? That wasn't relavant to earl. That pic of a girl in andrew was completely stupid.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Earl is doing really well given his presentation. He doesn't look all that good, IMO. Just on satellite, with no other info, I might have guessed top end cat 2.

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Fiona fights backs she is looking real good now
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Well oblviously someone didn't like it very much.....


Oh c'mon! You haven't heard me yet! LOL!
Member Since: September 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 410
Someone posted a 910.7 mb pressure reading for Earl.

Can someone please tell me if that reading is fake? Many thanks.
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Someone posted a 910.7 mb pressure reading for Earl.

Can someone please tell me if that reading is fake? Many thanks.
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884. 1965
Earl will be moving quite near this buoy Link tonight. Earl is no petunia.

Wind Direction (WDIR): NE ( 40 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 38.9 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 48.6 kts
5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 28.2 ft
5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 11 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 9.5 sec
5-day plot - Mean Wave Direction Mean Wave Direction (MWD): E ( 98 deg true )
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.56 in
5-day plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.09 in ( Falling Rapidly )
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Quoting ncforecaster:


Highly unlikely at best. It is far more likely that Earl would absorb the much smaller and weaker TC.


Will Fiona be "absorbed" or "follow in its wake".
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881. jdj32
No current Recon on Google Earth. I can't find anything since early this afternoon.
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Interesting to watch the high over the U.S. erode in 3hr increments looking at the CIMSS wind steering level maps.

Most of the satellite feeds seem dead on the NHC site if it hasn't been mentioned already,



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Storm---I do not remember the last one but---is it not expanded? (the la nina?(
Member Since: September 19, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 642
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11557
where's reedzone.I would like to read his forecast for Earl.I think his cone would be to the west of where the NHC is.....
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17860
Quoting FLdewey:

Jeff can't compete with me.
Personally I think we should put FLdewey out in the middle of the Atlantic, surely Earl would be attracted to all that hot air!!!
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Quoting blsealevel:


yep i remember in Hurricane Camile my dad put duck tape on the windows it didnt work out to well for him on the bright side we didnt have to worry about trying to take the tape off
OMG! How awful...picturing windows blowing out...am I correct?
Member Since: February 1, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 243
Now that all the models are tracking consistently to us here in the Canadian Maritimes, everybody's clammed up. Only informative updates I seem to get (that I understand, StormW you are awesome with knowledge but over my head) is from NHC itself.
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The shear from Earl will be strong for Fiona for days. It's a dead duck. NHC drops it on Friday, maybe sooner would be more accurate.
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3293
Quoting druseljic:


Don't do that... you had me wondering for a sec when I started reading the post...


LOL - just wondering if folks were actually paying attention too much of the BS in here! LOL.

Ok, sorry. But, maybe it was light, just briefly. We've been fairly tense. ;)
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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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