Earl maintaining Category 4 strength; hurricane watches for North Carolina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:44 PM GMT on August 31, 2010

Share this Blog
3
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 421 - 371

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33Blog Index

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
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanehanna:
okay, who forgot to pay the bill at the NHC...can't link to the satellite links...
the java dosnt seem to work but the flash does
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Fiona is weird.

if you stare long enough at fiona you can see elvis
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
416. xcool
Fiona doom
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hunkerdown:
ahhh, the ol' bump drafting...


nice as long as their not trying to do a tag team thing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Fiona is weird.


Does she still have a defined llc, if not she might as well be called tropical wave Fiona.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
nhc site works for me

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormy2008:


Poof! Another drama queen down the drain.
Another one bites the Saharan dust.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
411. DVG
Well....it is the south y'all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting powerlineman2:
preparing to slingshot around!


Now that would be scary!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanehanna:
okay, who forgot to pay the bill at the NHC...can't link to the satellite links...


You'll have to use Navy...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xcool:


HERE 98l 228hrs


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?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
407. beell
Quoting tinkahbell:


Behind every man is a great woman...


Behind every great woman is another one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting breald:


The Patriots will allow the Bears to win the super bowl....LOL


Hey...That's a bit too far. I think the Southeast can take the blow. Let them keep that stupid trough. HAHA
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tornadolarkin:

I know. TWC has been showing her loop occasionally, and she appears as though she has no spin.
There are some people in here that have more spin than her.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MoltenIce:
She's getting sheared by Earl's outflow.


sounds rude....
shame on Earl
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
okay, who forgot to pay the bill at the NHC...can't link to the satellite links...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:


They make us tie our roofs down but don't tie the road down? :)


Dont think it would help.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting GTcooliebai:

Or it could weaken, die, & the low level swirl heads towards FL.


Poof! Another drama queen down the drain.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hunkerdown:
ahhh, the ol' bump drafting...
preparing to slingshot around!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Flyairbird:
9 AM?
OOps I left the tab open and didn't refresh it. Sorry LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Fiona is weird.


I know. TWC has been showing her loop occasionally, and she appears as though she has no spin.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
397. xcool


HERE 98l 228hrs

I m not be totally sure 98l
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Flyairbird:
We are holding the trof for ransom here in the Midwest... Whats it worth to ya?


The Patriots will allow the Bears to win the super bowl....LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Fiona is weird.

She's getting sheared by Earl's outflow.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting centex:
144 hours and the X's are watching over the tropics.



that looks like a clown face on there lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
393. xcool
'
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MoltenIce:
935 mbar from Earl.
9:00 AM AST Tue Aug 31
Location: 21.0°N 67.6°W
Max sustained: 135 mph
Moving: WNW at 13 mph
Min pressure: 935 mb
9 AM?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xcool:
98L SHOWS ON gfs 18z move in NW Caribbean hmmmmm


I am almost positive that is not 98L

it develops in 12 days in the Central Caribbean, timing does not add up there
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The 18z was east again with earl on the GFS (with regard to a NS landfall), perhaps around lunenberg/ bridgewater.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tinkahbell:


Behind every man is a great woman...

Nah thats Earl's daughter asking for a piggyback
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Fiona is weird.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Im not getting any recon infomation either and based on the recon schedule a plane should be headed to or in Earl right now
Maybe the US treasury couldn't pay the electric bill and the server may have got repo'd
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
144 hours and the X's are watching over the tropics.

Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3224
Quoting xcool:
98L SHOWS ON gfs 18z move in NW Caribbean hmmmmm


NO NO NO!!.....We don't need any more news like that!!
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2265
Quoting doorman79:


You know if it wasn't so devestating its really amazing how a bridge can be taken off its pillers. Happened here after K


They make us tie our roofs down but don't tie the road down? :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
935 mbar from Earl.
9:00 AM AST Tue Aug 31
Location: 21.0°N 67.6°W
Max sustained: 135 mph
Moving: WNW at 13 mph
Min pressure: 935 mb
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DVG:
Is it possible for Fiona to push Earl?
ahhh, the ol' bump drafting...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Northward wobble of Earl due to intensification or a set motion?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting goldenpixie1:


Drafting? Hmmm....that opens up a whole new sport....


And not too far from DAYTONA international Speedway to boot!!
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2265
378. xcool
98L SHOWS ON gfs 18z move in NW Caribbean hmmmmm
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Flyairbird:
I'm not a professional but I highly doubt it. One never knows tho, Earl may hit reverse or get a flat tire or something

Or it could weaken, die, & the low level swirl heads towards FL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormJunkie:
Evening all

I see ssd is having some problems...


Im not getting any recon infomation either and based on the recon schedule a plane should be headed to or in Earl right now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


nice wrapping shown there
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Flood that is what happens when you be sleeping awhile and suddenly you awaken, natural response.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 421 - 371

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.