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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Question for Storm: I have a cousin somewhere around the DC/Maryland area wondering if the track continues west and goes over the Cape, what kind of weather can she expect in her area? I'm used to tracking Alberta Clippers, not hurricanes, since I'm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Thanks for any information you want to pass.
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They have Global Hawks flying missions, NASA has the GRIP Missions, based out of Fort Lauderdale. Now if there were abilities to fly those UAV's off of Naval or Coast Guard Vessels, then why not?
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Quoting trey33:


And if she did, how would that affect Earl? Seriously, I don't know.


It wouldn't.
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Quoting trey33:


And if she did, how would that affect Earl? Seriously, I don't know.


I honestly don't know either. Perhaps someone with more skill at this stuff can answer for both of us.
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Quoting CaneAddict:


I'm actually both, is theyre a problem?
LMAO!! Because I myself is high from drinking Coors Light of course!
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On infrared and water vapor loops, it looks like Earl is starting to ingest some of Fiona's moisture into it's Southeastern Quadrent. I think it will destroy Fiona, by tomorrow. She's just moving too fast and is getting too close to Earl.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


The blue colors represent dry air.

Yeah that Earl continues to push out of his way.
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Quoting CaneAddict:


I'm actually both, is theyre a problem?


6 points
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Lol yeah maybe I should sober up before making tracks I just realized how much of an error that track was..lol.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
NASA/GRIP

The Global Hawk is planned to have a mission with a takeoff at 04UTC September 2 for a ~24-hour mission around and above Earl.


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? :)
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Quoting weatherwart:
I got SSD back up. Dang. It sure looks like Fiona wants to run smack dab into Earl.


And if she did, how would that affect Earl? Seriously, I don't know.
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http://www.esl.lsu.edu/webpics/goes/Storm/AOI0/latest_ir_loop.gif
Fiona breaking up into 2 pieces? And you can see the trough taking shape over the midwest that is suppose to recurve Earl. Now it's about timing.
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NHC web services are slowly coming back. Looks like Earl will likely pass just East of the 01/600Z forecast point. That would be good news for all.
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Quoting CaneAddict:
My track, call me a west-caster all you wan't. I am not the NHC I don't go with the computer models 100% of the time, Agree or disagree this is what the blog is for..a good debate.



whimper...
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505. maeko
is Earl in NW motion or is this a wobble from EWRC?
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I got SSD back up. Dang. It sure looks like Fiona wants to run smack dab into Earl.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


Highly Unlikely. It Would Obliterate the Whole South east Coast.


Ok And You Think Because Of What Can Happen The Hurricane Will Avoid A Certain Track? Hurricanes Don't Have Minds The Last Time I Checked.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
http://www.esl.lsu.edu/webpics/goes/Storm/AOI0/latest_wv_loop.gif
What Dry Air??


The blue colors represent dry air.
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Quoting CaneAddict:


Excuse me? I said disagree or agree, not come out with a smartass comment. It's just my thoughts based on the evolving conditions. Don't EVER compare me to reedzone, I don't like him or his unsupported opinions. Thank you, and respect the elders here.


You put something goofy like that out there and you better be prepared for wise cracks...Just saying, if you can't handle the heat then don't stick your face in the frying pan.
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Quoting CaneAddict:


Excuse me? I said disagree or agree, not come out with a smartass comment. It's just my thoughts based on the evolving conditions. Don't EVER compare me to reedzone, I don't like him or his unsupported opinions. Thank you, and respect the elders here.
Are you High or drinking?
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Quoting Walnut:


Interesting, but your initial motion is off. It is XTRAP to SC right now. I don't foresee anything to turn it westward right now.


It's moving NW..that is westerly to a certain extend.
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http://www.esl.lsu.edu/webpics/goes/Storm/AOI0/latest_wv_loop.gif
What Dry Air??
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495. Vero1
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
NASA/GRIP

The Global Hawk is planned to have a mission with a takeoff at 04UTC September 2 for a ~24-hour mission around and above Earl.


Plan of the Day for DC-8
DC-8 Plan of the Day
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
DC-8 (Times in EDT)

Wednesday,Sep 1 - Science flight

0900 Power on/access
1030 Preflight brief
1130 Door close
1200 Take off
2000 Land

1000 14Z Science telecon
1200 16Z Tri-Agency Forecaster telecon

Thursday,Sep 2 - Media Day &
...
Plan of the Day for Global Hawk
Global Hawk Plan of the Day
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Global Hawk (Times in PDT)

Wednesday,Sep 1 - Thursday,Sep 2
For flying EARL on Thursday-24 Hour Flight

0700 14Z Science telecon
0900 16Z Tri-Agency Forecaster telecon
0900 - 1700 Fuel/weigh A/C - Mech/Elec Preflight
1900 T-0 Meeting
1930 PIs Show at...
Plan of the Day for WB-57
WB-57 Plan of the Day
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
WB-57 (Times in EDT while aircraft in Tampa)

Wednesday,Sep 1 - Science Flight
1000 14Z Science telecon
1200 16Z Tri-Agency Forecaster telecon
1600 Take off

Thursday,Sep 2 - Science Flight
1000 14Z Science telecon
1200 16Z Tri-Agency Forecaster telecon...
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Quoting weatherwart:


No score. Lots of penalties.


I don't know...I'd say it's 1-zip right now...Good guys up.
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SUMMARY OF 800 PM AST...0000 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...22.5N 69.1W
ABOUT 125 MI...235 KM ENE OF GRAND TURK ISLAND
ABOUT 835 MI...1545 KM SSE OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...135 MPH...215 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 315 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...940 MB...27.76 INCHES


True NW finally
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Looks like Earl is getting ready to pop his eye back out...also moving a tad east of forecast points...he's a wobbler...
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Coast Guard Site down also; Link
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Quoting CaneAddict:
My track, call me a west-caster all you wan't. I am not the NHC I don't go with the computer models 100% of the time, Agree or disagree this is what the blog is for..a good debate.



Wow, I better get my shutters up and I live in WPB - LOL!!
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Quoting MoltenIce:
She's getting sheared by Earl's outflow.Maybe she needed a haircut. Personally, I really didn't care for her do either.
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Dr Storm i was watching Earl position at 57w and Fiona is more to the south at the same spot? that could make Fiona closer to PR?
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Quoting thelmores:
Ya'll keep talking football, and I will have to start talking about the Gamecocks! And trust me...... nobody wants that! LOL


South Carolina GameChickens will get plucked this year...LOL.J/K.
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Can someone please explain to me if at 5pm Fiona was at 16.7N/57.7W and at 8pm is at 16.8N/58.7W how does that compute to wnw ?
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Quoting jason2010xxxx:


Thanks Jason.....I saw this about 100 posts earlier from you.
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Did the government computers get hacked? Coast Guard site down also, Link
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EARL IS A LARGE CYCLONE. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD
UP TO 90 MILES...150 KM FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE
WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200 MILES...325 KM.


His wind field has expanded, this will allow for the movement of more water, hence more waves and larger swells!
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478. MahFL
Moving NW now.
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Quoting Walnut:


Interesting, but your initial motion is off. It is XTRAP to SC right now. I don't foresee anything to turn it westward right now.


And high pressure is firmly in place here in SC; so it's not coming here.
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000
ABNT20 KNHC 312353
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT TUE AUG 31 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON HURRICANE
EARL...LOCATED ABOUT 125 MILES EAST-NORTHEAST OF GRAND TURK...AND ON
TROPICAL STORM FIONA...LOCATED ABOUT 300 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF
THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS.

SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD AREA OF LOW
PRESSURE LOCATED ABOUT 525 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE VERDE
ISLANDS HAS BECOME SLIGHTLY BETTER ORGANIZED TODAY. SOME SLOW
DEVELOPMENT OF THIS LOW IS POSSIBLE OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS AS IT
MOVES WESTWARD NEAR 15 MPH
. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...
OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48
HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER KIMBERLAIN
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Quoting Engine2:
Evening everyone I'm back did I miss anything?


No score. Lots of penalties.
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Quoting CaneAddict:
My track, call me a west-caster all you wan't. I am not the NHC I don't go with the computer models 100% of the time, Agree or disagree this is what the blog is for..a good debate.



I think the track will shift farther West, but thats too west imo.
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Quoting Flyairbird:
Any more word on the Leeward islands? I am curious abut Anguilla

I havent heard much
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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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