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 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.



Now that is an interesting track. Did you and reedzone put this one together?
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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.



Are all of the bahamas in your cone?
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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.
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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.



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.
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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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465. Manny
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.


I wonder if this is their first Earl mission. I was hoping they would have been up and running earlier on him.

That drone is a pretty great tool. I hope they get good data.
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Evening everyone I'm back did I miss anything?
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Quoting bluenosedave:


Lovely. That's a trend we want to encourage. Mr. Earl, please visit lovely Sable Island.


For Halifax its worse because it would put it on the eastern eye wall (worst winds) if that holds true. Sable island would be nice, how do those horses live throught all these storms.
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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.

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I wonder if we could be hearing this familiar tune in a couple days... Link
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Quoting mrpuertorico:


yeah stupid governor then he blames it on the weather office lol
Any more word on the Leeward islands? I am curious abut Anguilla
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im having the same problems when im using Java, use Flash and the floaters will work
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Quoting StormW:


Check's in the mail.


Maybe should have used online banking lol!
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
456. Vero1
TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 PM EDT TUE AUG 31 2010

BASED ON 1800 UTC SURFACE ANALYSIS AND SATELLITE IMAGERY
THROUGH 2115 UTC.

...SPECIAL FEATURES...

THE CENTER OF HURRICANE EARL AT 31/2100 UTC IS NEAR 22.0N
68.8W...OR ABOUT 150 MI...245 KM ENE OF GRAND TURK ISLAND
...MOVING NORTHWEST AT 12 KT. THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL
PRESSURE IS 940 MB. THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WIND SPEED IS 115 KT
WITH GUSTS TO 140 KT.
PLEASE READ THE LATEST NHC FORECAST/
ADVISORY UNDER AWIPS/WMO HEADERS MIATCMAT2/WTNT22 KNHC AND THE
LATEST PUBLIC ADVISORY UNDER MIATCPAT2/WTNT32 KNHC FOR MORE
DETAILS. NUMEROUS STRONG CONVECTION IS FROM 20N-24N BETWEEN
67W-70W. IN ADDITION...SCATTERED MODERATE CONVECTION IS FROM
19N-26N BETWEEN 65W-71W.

THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM FIONA AT 31/2100 UTC IS NEAR 16.7N
57.7W OR ABOUT 270 MI...440 KM E OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS...MOVING
WEST-NORTHWESTWARD 21 KT. THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE
IS 1006 MB. THE MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WIND SPEEDS ARE 35 KT WITH
GUSTS TO 45 KT.
PLEASE READ THE LATEST NHC FORECAST/ADVISORY
UNDER AWIPS/WMO HEADERS MIATCMAT3/WTNT23 KNHC AND THE PUBLIC
ADVISORY UNDER MIATCPAT3/WTNT33 KNHC FOR MORE DETAILS. SCATTERED
MODERATE TO STRONG CONVECTION IS FROM 14N-17N BETWEEN 55W-60W...
AND FROM 17N-20N BETWEEN 59W-61W.

...TROPICAL WAVES...AN ATLANTIC OCEAN TROPICAL WAVE IS ALONG 31W S OF 16N MOVING W
AT 12 KT. A 1008 MB LOW IS EMBEDDED ON THE WAVE AXIS NEAR
12N31W.
SCATTERED MODERATE CONVECTION IS NEAR THE LOW CENTER
FROM 10N-13N BETWEEN 30W-33W.

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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

I haven't heard of any injuries or deaths from Earl in PR, but he left the most significant traffic jam I have ever seen on the island. Thousands of people stuck in their cars. Terrifying.


yeah stupid governor then he blames it on the weather office lol
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48hrs Thel!
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
lol, but the member really knows his stuff, plus I'd be hyper-ventilating if I lived there. And as the member said "I live on Cape Cod, MA"


Yeah, the one hurricane or tropical storm a year that everyone says is the next New England Hurricane is Earl. I think Earl might be the only hurricane to affect New England this year, perhaps only coming from the ocean, as this year could be more of a SE US landfalling pattern. I guess it would be cool scientifically speaking if Earl made landfall, but it would be really made for our way of life up here. Bob in 1991 was a category one hurricane when it hit RI, and my dad said I slept through as a one year old, almost two year old at that time. He said the tree damage was horrible. It only lasted a good four hours.
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452. unf97
Quoting Hurricanes101:


ok think about it, do you really think it will take 98L 12 days to get from where it is now to the Central Caribbean?


Well, considering that it moving at around 15 mph to the west right now I would say it would reach the Caribbean or approach the northern Leewards within the next 5 -7 days should it organized into a developed tropical cyclone.
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Ya'll keep talking football, and I will have to start talking about the Gamecocks! And trust me...... nobody wants that! LOL
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haven't experienced any problems with SSD here
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Quoting Hurricanes12:


Hope everyone's okay!

I haven't heard of any injuries or deaths from Earl in PR, but he left the most significant traffic jam I have ever seen on the island. Thousands of people stuck in their cars. Terrifying.
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446. xcool
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Quoting Zeec94:


Hey...That's a bit too far. I think the Southeast can take the blow. Let them keep that stupid trough. HAHA


LOL...that is something my dad would say.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Good Evening! Earl left us with a 36 hour power outage, and no water as well. Conditions have significantly improved since then.


It's good to see you're okay.
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Quoting Flyairbird:
Resume trade winds?...


yeah all these storms have all the wind flow twisted up so to speak once the high sets in a more northeast flow will resume and we should start to get our trades back keeping us cool instead of the hot southerly winds from the carribean
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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.
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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.
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NHC is back a little but SAT links still down
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Quoting Tazmanian:
nhc site works for me

Link


Yeah Taz, ssd site is back up and running...But seems they have it running on DOS...or a hamster in a wheel cause it is slow as molasses running uphill in the dead of winter.
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436. xcool
btwntx08 I m not totally sure
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Quoting Hurricanes4life:
The 18z was east again with earl on the GFS (with regard to a NS landfall), perhaps around lunenberg/ bridgewater.


Lovely. That's a trend we want to encourage. Mr. Earl, please visit lovely Sable Island.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Good Evening! Earl left us with a 36 hour power outage, and no water as well. Conditions have significantly improved since then.


Hope everyone's okay!
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433. xcool
Fiona moved west to me jmo dity older lady
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Good Evening! Earl left us with a 36 hour power outage, and no water as well. Conditions have significantly improved since then.
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Quoting mrpuertorico:
.SYNOPSIS...AT UPPER LEVELS...EARL IS BUILDING A WEAK RIDGE TO ITS
EAST AND SOUTHEAST OVER THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS AND HIGH PRESSURE
NORTHEAST OF THE AREA IS EXPECTED TO FILL IN OVER THE ATLANTIC
WATERS TO OUR NORTH ON WEDNESDAY. A WEAK TROUGH JUST EAST OF THE
WINDWARD ISLANDS WILL MOVE THROUGH THE LOCAL AREA AND THE
CARIBBEAN TO OUR SOUTH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON WHILE FLOW AROUND THE
WESTERN ATLANTIC HIGH BECOMES EASTERLY AND ACCELERATES SOMEWHAT
OVER THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN AND THE WESTERN TROPICAL ATLANTIC. ON
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY LOW PRESSURE NOSES INTO THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN
AND ACCELERATES THE FLOW FROM THE NORTHEAST OVER THE LOCAL AREA.
THIS LOW IS FORECAST TO MOVE DIRECTLY OVER PUERTO RICO ON SUNDAY
NIGHT. ANOTHER HIGH PRESSURE MOVES WEST ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
WATERS TO OUR NORTHEAST AND CREATES A RIDGE ACROSS THE FORECAST
AREA ON WEDNESDAY.

AT MID AND LOWER LEVELS...HURRICANE EARL MOVES NORTHWEST AND AWAY
FROM THE AREA. THE MOISTURE PLUME FROM ITS TAIL ALSO GRADUALLY
DIMINISHES AND RECEDES TO THE NORTHEAST. HIGH PRESSURE OVER THE
CENTRAL ATLANTIC BUILDS WEST OVER THE ATLANTIC WATERS TO OUR NORTH
AND BECOMES BETTER CENTERED IN THE ATLANTIC CAUSING A RESUMPTION
OF THE TRADE WINDS.
Resume trade winds?...
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429. xcool
=
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Quoting xcool:
Fiona doom

Fiona moves West into Caribbean?
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NHC is down for me but the NWS looks to be OK
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and that means what?
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424. bwat
just got ssd back on my comp!
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423. xcool
Hurricanes101

I m not totally sure .
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Quoting btwntx08:
it will take less than 12 days for 98L to get to the central carribean


then what the GFS is showing is not 98L
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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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