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 GeoffreyWPB:
At this hour, Fiona seems doomed:



Fiona: *bump* Oh excuse me Earl. I didn't mean to run into you.

Earl: You are FOOD! OM-NOM-NOM-NOM

Fiona: EEEeeeeee....*poof*
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Things going great down here. How's it up in Tampa?


Things are great. It hasn't been as humid the past couple of days so it isn't too nasty outside!
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GOES-13 Atlantic EARL loop
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617. srada
Im glad the local media here in Wilmington isnt taking the track as set in stone..from WWAY TV3 website..

We must emphasize that Earl will travel very close to our shores before turning away. Any deviation in track could mean a possible NC landfall. If you haven't already done so, now is a good time to re-evaluate your hurricane preparations and plans. Make sure you're ready should Earl track closer to our area. Even if we are spared from the worst of Earl, there are many weeks left in the peak of this 2010 Hurricane Season.
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Quoting FLdewey:

Ooo la la

LMAO
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What would happen if earl eats fiona? would anything happen (strengthen) or would it be as if she never existed?
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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
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Quoting lakeEFX:
I live in Ohio and for he last two days, our forecast discussion on the NOAA site has said that the trough that is suppose to turn Earl away from the coast is "going to wait until the tropical storm to our east moves away". They also said that all of the models are showing the timing of the trough slowing down and the cold front not going by us until sometime Friday except the NAM, which is faster. That has me wondering.



I was wondering the same thing myself. We just had the northern part of the trough come through here yesterday and last night (100 mm. or 4 inches just south of us) and it seemed to be moving off to the east quite slowly. It's a long way to the eastern seaboard from here (Eastern Prairies, Canada) or perhaps the system we just had has nothing to do with the trough...just learning (and lurking). Love the blog BTW, great entertainment.
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GOES-13 Atlantic Large scale
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This game must be the Saints vs the Hurricanes. We all know who's going to win!
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3167
609. MZV
Remember Wilma/Alpha? Massive storms do not play nice with toddlers.
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Quoting FLdewey:

Ooo la la



Where does Andrew come into the equation?
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Quoting jason2010xxxx:
Earl will keep shifting west SHE IS MOVING WNW AGAIN
she?
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Quoting FLdewey:

Ohhhhh epic failure.

The correct answer is MORE COWBELL.

But yeah, more systems would help too, or make it unbearable worse. I fear the latter.



More cowbell! Lmao! Y'all are cracking me up tonight.
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Quoting FLdewey:

Ooo la la

LMAO
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Some nice waves coming off of Africa...Will they develop or go plop plop-fizz fizz?
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Quoting mrpuertorico:
it looks like fiona is enhanceing convection in that last band over the VI islands i wonder if it will effect PR to
We may be seeing the Fiona Fizzle soon
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600. bwat
Quoting LADobeLady:


a drink?
Agreed!, brb.
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it looks like fiona is enhanceing convection in that last band over the VI islands i wonder if it will effect PR to
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Quoting katty5:
Earl will keep shifting west..


Any your forecast reasoning for this is....
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Quoting capefearspt:

well...wife planted new flowers and refreshed mulch...she thinks we're probably gonna get some winds now


Y'all really should be fine. Light breeze I'd say...As long as he sticks the track or left of.

Good to see ya CW.
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Quoting FLdewey:
What this blog needs... is
Is for Earl to suck all the clouds off of fiona so we can see her naked swirl...
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Quoting CaneWarning:


It's been like this lately. How are things going MH?
Things going great down here. How's it up in Tampa?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting FLdewey:
What this blog needs... is


a drink?
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StormW: Is the that area of or moisture from the Great Lakes to Nova Scotia the trof or weakness that will be turning Earl to the Nw and eventually NNW?
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Quoting MoltenIce:
Fiona doesn't look too good.


invest 98 could be a looker~~
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At this hour, Fiona seems doomed:

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More like a bunch of adolescent males futilely trying to prove their manhood by indulging in silly misogynist humor.


phluffy poof!

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Oh my. Fiona's crashing into Earlie.

2345 GMT
Click for loop, Ramsdis, flash
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Quoting Hurricanes4life:
When is Recon suppose to be back in Earl?


Mission starts at 9:15 P
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NHC SAT links look to be down again. Even this blog looks to be slower than expected. Something effecting the web in general may be going on.
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Quoting superpete:


Regarding Anguilla, Storm Carib has a link to Mr. Steve Donohoes blog with pictures & stories: http://www.anguilla-weather.com/earl.html

Sorry for no link...
Thanks

I do know that all phone towers were down.
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Quoting MrstormX:


Look again, eye relocated... last frame of ir.


Well maybe if I had access to it i would see that. NHC down.
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Quoting thelmores:


Anybody think that the Global Hawk should replace manned missions into Hurricanes?

The Global Hawk can survey as much as 40,000 square miles a day..... is much more fuel efficient, and there is no risk of losing a plane filled with some of our best and brightest men.

Personally I feel it is inevitable......

Thoughts? :)


Some think the same for military pilots in combat. The one unquantifiable thing though is the human instinct in the middle of action. There are studies being done. There is some thought that not being there may make it "not real", especially for those who have grown up on video games.
Not saying which is wrong or right, but I'm guessing the people in those aircraft wouldn't trade it for anything. :)
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Quoting StormJunkie:


Well, and Who would order those assets to be moved like that?


Well, SJ - not as if the Navy doesn't 'do' weather, just that I can't imagine using a cruiser or amphib close enough to a storm to launch a UAV - much less spending the manhours to use a carrier to launch one,LOL. Speaking of assets, waiting for early morning decision on sortie from MidAtlantic. They'll have to run and gun to get out of Earl's way...
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Quoting FLdewey:
What this blog needs... is


More systems to track? I recall several saying that once we have a system to track things would calm down...
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Quoting WeatherMSK:
Looks like Earl is north of the TFP now.


Look again, eye relocated... last frame of ir.
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Earl is North and East of points. If this continues I'd say he will be fishing
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- 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
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Looks like Earl is north of the TFP now.
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Fiona doesn't look too good.
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Quoting StormJunkie:
You too cfs...Stay safe up there. Looks like Earl should follow all the rules now, but there's always that outside chance.

well...wife planted new flowers and refreshed mulch...she thinks we're probably gonna get some winds now
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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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