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 RainyEyes:
Is the NHC Satalites down? Or the site? Can't get on...

Thanks


Yeah they're down.
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Question... could remnants of Fiona slip under Earl (plus his shear) and reamerge into the Caribbean
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Quoting FLdewey:

Just hit the monkey exhibit at the zoo... you can watch it all day long.
Now thats funny
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Quoting breald:


Are you mixing it with beer?


Just Worcestershire sauce and yes...hot sauce.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11271
Quoting AustinTXWeather:
Congrats on getting into A&M's program -- good school. :)


WAIT!!!!!! With your avatar???? and your calling A&M a good school!!!!!

TRAITOROUS!!!!!!!

:)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
AT 800 PM AST...0000 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM FIONA WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 16.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE 58.7 WEST. FIONA IS
MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 20 MPH...32 KM/HR. A TURN
TOWARD THE NORTHWEST WITH A DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS ANTICIPATED
TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF FIONA
IS EXPECTED TO PASS NEAR OR NORTHEAST OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD
ISLANDS LATE TONIGHT AND EARLY WEDNESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 40 MPH...65 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140 MILES...220 KM
FROM THE CENTER.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1006 MB...29.71 INCHES.


I guess they hve faith in fiona
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Starting to become clear again.
Member Since: May 1, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 352
Quoting RainyEyes:
Is the NHC Satalites down? Or the site? Can't get on...

Thanks


I couldn't get on either. I think they are down.
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Quoting RainyEyes:
Is the NHC Satalites down? Or the site? Can't get on...

Thanks
Try now
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3260
I think it is amazing that we are able to witness the joining of Earl and Fiona...very rarely seen!
Member Since: February 1, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 243
Quoting Xyrus2000:


Actually, if a storm was a man, it would be wandering around aimlessly looking for it's pants.
LMAO!
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Is the NHC Satalites down? Or the site? Can't get on...

Thanks
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Quoting Grecojdw:
Is it me or is 98L trying to form into a storm much farther South than any of the other storms.


No, you're right.
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704. 900MB
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
- EARL PICTURES

* By "Steve Donahue"
* Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 20:02:57 -0400

Finally managed to get some pictures posted that I took last night. Can be seen at http://www.anguilla-weather.com/earl.html


Ah, Cap Juluca-heaven! Except last night!
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Quoting thelmores:


Did you get this from your magic 8-ball, or do you actually have any related proof or evidence for your theory/opinion?

I think he explained it earlier
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Quoting FLdewey:
I would think Fiona should be watched, but with all of that disruption she may be deader than Destin Jeff's comedy career.
Good one dude.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17084
Is it me or is 98L trying to form into a storm much farther South than any of the other storms.
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Quoting 2ifbyC:


phluffy poof!



Not my type, thanks. You go ahead. Whatever turns you on.
Member Since: September 4, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 410
Quoting 2ifbyC:


Especially when heavily laced with vodka and hot sauce...


mmmm Vodka, Clamato, and Tabasco.. the heavenly trio!
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696. MZV
Anegada is a bad place to be in a big hurricane. Low lying island surrounded by reefs. Hard to get onto, or off, even in good weather.

A serious storm surge could simply wash right over it.
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Quoting Xyrus2000:


Actually, if a storm was a man, it would be wandering around aimlessly looking for it's pants.
HA!
Member Since: February 1, 2004 Posts: 2 Comments: 243
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


3 hours old
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Quoting CATMAN5:
Maybe the NHC gave the mass of clouds a name(Fiona) so they could get closer to their predicted total, which they know they are coming up short on!


They can't do that. You, sir, are ignorant.
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Quoting cYcLoN1C86:
Hey Guys and Gals! I just wanted to introduce myself, I am a senior in high school and will be graduating early in January to attend Texas A&M, to join their meteorology program (atmospheric sciences) I wanted to also thank big contributors such as StormW, and Drak, the 13 year old Miami hurricane dude, and Levi! You all have taught me some good info that will help me in the coming months.

I hope you all will accept me on your Blog, as I will try my best to contribute honest and informative data, along with my UN-biased opinion.


Congrats on getting into A & M!
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Quoting StormJunkie:


In the next 30 or so.


thanks
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690. xcool
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Quoting Xyrus2000:


Actually, if a storm was a man, it would be wandering around aimlessly looking for it's pants.


lmao
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Fiona is a Failed In Organizing North Atlantic. Unless she puts on breaks she will be in fatal crash.
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3260
Looks like another large wave is getting ready to exit Africa...
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Is Clamato considered an adult beverage?


Are you mixing it with beer?
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Quoting P451:


ECMWF had Fiona as a cat 4 or 5 plowing Florida.

oops... guess everyone's favorite model took a dump. As it has multiple times this seasons so far.

Yes, I'm a blasphemer! So well, sue me, lol.

Again, have a good night all!



Honestly I saw one run where the Euro took her into Georgia.
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Anegada OhMyGada and more info from the BVI

Published: Tue, Aug 31 14:55 EDT
By DearMissMermaid at aol.com

Rec'd via text at 10:54 am

"No one injured on
island. Heavy damage on Anegada.Worst storm since Donna(1960). Setting
Point has large boats washed ashore.All docks gone except govt.
dock.Power poles down. Desal plant down."


Water was out to main cement road between Neptunes and Setting Point.No injuries reported. Damage at Cow Wreck, some roof damage at restaurant, small shed blown away.Large boats washed ashore at Setting Point.Neptunes lost a lot of palms.

200 PM AST TUE AUG 31 2010
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Quoting cYcLoN1C86:
Hey Guys and Gals! I just wanted to introduce myself, I am a senior in high school and will be graduating early in January to attend Texas A&M, to join their meteorology program (atmospheric sciences) I wanted to also thank big contributors such as StormW, and Drak, the 13 year old Miami hurricane dude, and Levi! You all have taught me some good info that will help me in the coming months.

I hope you all will accept me on your Blog, as I will try my best to contribute honest and informative data, along with my UN-biased opinion.
Welcome to the blog.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
When do the early cycle 0z's come out?


In the next 30 or so.
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Quoting aspectre:
HurricaneEarl's heading remained steady at 6.6degrees west of NorthNorthWest, ie
within the margin of error from its previous heading of 6.7degrees west of NorthNorthWest
H.Earl's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was 13mph(~20.9km/h

31Aug . 12amGMT - - 19.4n65.1w - - 135mph - - 939mb - - NHC.Adv.#22A
31Aug . 03amGMT - - 19.9n65.8w - - 135mph - - 938mb - - #23
31Aug . 06amGMT - - 19.9n66.2w - - 135mph - - 933mb - - #23A
31Aug . 09amGMT - - 20.5n66.7w - - 135mph - - 931mb - - #24
31Aug . 12pmGMT - - 20.7n67.2w - - 135mph - - 931mb - - #24A
31Aug . 03pmGMT - - 21.2n67.9w - - 135mph - - 939mb - - #25
31Aug . 06pmGMT - - 21.5n68.5w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - #25A
31Aug . 09pmGMT - - 22.0n68.8w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - #26
01Sep . 12amGMT - - 22.5n69.1w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - #26A

Copy&paste 19.4n65.1w, 19.9n65.8w, 19.9n66.2w, 20.5n66.7w, 20.7n67.2w-21.2n67.9w, 21.2n67.9w-21.5n68.5w, 21.5n68.5w-22.0n68.8w, 22.0n68.8w-22.5n69.1w, jax, 22.5n69.1w-34.54n77.3w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~74hours from now to Jacksonville,NorthCarolina


Oh Great, i live 30 miles to the south east of Jacksonville. I was predicting a Morehead City landfall myself. I hope it misses us completely
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Quoting stormpetrol:
I would not underestimate Fiona!

agree
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Quoting P451:


ECMWF had Fiona as a cat 4 or 5 plowing Florida.

oops... guess everyone's favorite model took a dump. As it has multiple times this seasons so far.

Yes, I'm a blasphemer! So well, sue me, lol.

Again, have a good night all!



That was a day or so ago. The past several runs haven't even picked her up.
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Quoting P451:


They may have male names.


If a storm was a man it'd instantly be 175mph wind, and beeline straight towards a destination.


Actually, if a storm was a man, it would be wandering around aimlessly looking for it's pants.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cYcLoN1C86:
Hey Guys and Gals! I just wanted to introduce myself, I am a senior in high school and will be graduating early in January to attend Texas A&M, to join their meteorology program (atmospheric sciences) I wanted to also thank big contributors such as StormW, and Drak, the 13 year old Miami hurricane dude, and Levi! You all have taught me some good info that will help me in the coming months.

I hope you all will accept me on your Blog, as I will try my best to contribute honest and informative data, along with my UN-biased opinion.
Congrats on getting into A&M's program -- good school. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Is Clamato considered an adult beverage?


Especially when heavily laced with vodka and hot sauce...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
672. maeko
good grief! i give up!
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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.