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: 221 - 171

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 K8eCane:
Post # 169 is inaccurate...it shows me under H warning and i am just under TS warning
No, you're under a hurricane watch if you live along North Carolina.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting DestinJeff:
I think the blog is ingesting some dry air.


Question is, what are YOU ingesting there DJ? Hmmmmmm? lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Well the Eye is back and looken good. This one may be a little better than the 1st eye whe had yesterday. So by 11PM I expect significant increase in strength.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
215. xcool
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Post # 169 is inaccurate...it shows me under H warning and i am just under TS warning
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
#188

Storm,
YOu arent talking about the "other thing" again huh? I dont like the other thing lol.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
98L's circulation continuously getting better defined at 700mb, not the same can be said at 850mb though.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
When Juan hit NS, only one bridge was closed, the other remained open. Do you think this will be worse than Juan?
Member Since: August 22, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 3112
Quoting Ryuujin:


I'm not StormW, but I will say, respectfully, that Dr. Masters has been continually wrong on Earl's path in all of his blogs


Congratulations! :)

In 5 years on the blog, I have only ignored one person...... and that was JFV last season.....

You just became only the 2nd! Respectfully! :)

Poof!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:


High tide in Halifax.. no biggie.. well protected harbour. High tide in Bay of FUNDY... BIG BIG deal.


True.
NS will be an island briefly for a day or 2.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DestinJeff:


Penalty on the post. Illegal use of Eastern Hemisphere images.



100 mile penalty. Still second down.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Current setup still has me thinking Earl will be a bit west of the forecast path. Folks in the OBX and Eastern Mass should prepare for atleast strong TS conditions.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weathermancer:
If the model timing is correct... it will be high tide in Halifax at peak of storm.


High tide in Halifax.. no biggie.. well protected harbour. High tide in Bay of FUNDY... BIG BIG deal.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Quoting StormFreakyisher:

Let me guess another fishy.
Considering that it is still days away from emerging there is no way to know. But from what I've been analyzing and reading, the best answer I can give you is a "no".
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting StormW:


What I'm thinking might happen is, as that area backs SW, he may slow some...the trof may just make it. If not, then we'll have to see how the ridge orients further.

LINK


Okay. Got it that time. However,by the time we know the answer to that, he will already be right off the coast.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Updated




AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI


TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting btwntx08:
August 2010
28th-31st. Hurricane threat.


September 2010
1st-3rd. Thunderstorms, then pleasant.
4th-7th. Improving weather for Labor Day holiday: scattered showers, thunderstorms, then turning fair.
8th-11th. Hurricane threat, then clearing, cooler weather.
12th-15th. Thunderstorms.
16th-19th. Fair, then showery rains.
20th-23rd. Tropical system threatens Mid-Atlantic Coast. Mostly fair elsewhere.
24th-27th. Locally heavy showers/thunderstorms.
28th-30th. Clearing skies.


Is that farmer's almanac?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DestinJeff:


Penalty on the post. Illegal use of Eastern Hemisphere images.



MMmmmmmm Brownies....D'oh
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If the model timing is correct... it will be high tide in Halifax at peak of storm.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DestinJeff:


Penalty on the post. Illegal use of Eastern Hemisphere images.



Would that be a personal foul, or fowl??
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If there's any wave worth watching it is PGI40L which is currently approaching the prime meridian.



Why that wave and not the one in front of it?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


I am having issues everywhere, NHC links, no recon information is coming through and the satellite images on the SSD site are not updating either



I clicked on the NHC page and got some hurricane chat room. Even the Atlantic graphical tropical shows an error with the page. I don't know.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yup. CMC 12z, 144 hours below. Heading due west.


Let me guess this will be a fish too?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
190. Relix
Fiona: Won't do a thing. With the WNW movement and thanks to the weak it is the islands will only receive a few rains.

98L: Tough look this one has ahead. If it makes to it to the islands it should become a threat. But as for now I am not tracking anything
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2639
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If there's any wave worth watching it is PGI40L which is currently approaching the prime meridian.


Let me guess another fishy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting katadman:
Someone tell me how to change my avatar, please?

Upload a pic, modify series and set as "primary portrait."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If there's any wave worth watching it is PGI40L which is currently approaching the prime meridian.



Yeah, that's the one I mentioned last night, as the pouch trackers were very interested in/concerned about it. 'Twill be interesting...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Earl is now feasting on Fiona?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting alfabob:


Lol the loop current hasn't stopped. There has just been a lot of misinformation going around the net saying that it stalled in the Gulf area. But in fact the "Franklin" eddy just happened to break off in its normal cycle and is now floating westward in the GOM.


Some links that are scientifically accurate, most thanks to NOAA:

Current Loop with weakening eddy (not a problem)

Loop 3 months ago showing the eddy

Current Atlantic anamalies

Classic paper showing normal variations in the Loop Current.

Stop this urban legend
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: September 8, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 984
Someone tell me how to change my avatar, please?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Suddenly lost the satellite image server (ssd.noaa.gov). An Apache server error; seems like a bit of an overload crash, no? ;-)

AMENDMENT: It's back up. I imagine we'll be seeing a lot of that with the NE Corridor under threat...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If there's any wave worth watching it is PGI40L which is currently approaching the prime meridian.

How far back in africa do these systems start?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If there's any wave worth watching it is PGI40L which is currently approaching the prime meridian.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Earl definately looks like he's taking a NW turn.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting melwerle:
Doing okay Flood - enjoying the 75 and sunny thing here. This morning, when I drove my daughter to school, it was 58. Love the San Diego weather. Wake up and thank God every day that I'm home. Four years in Savannah was enough to make me be the most appreciative person in So Cal. I'll take the earthquakes. Kind of feels like the spin cycle is going on the wash machine...sometimes have to take a moment to think "is this an earthquake or am i doing laundry?"

How's by you?


Not too bad, all things considered...about to get busy, I fear...

I always loved San Diego...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Storm, if you will have patience with me, I swear I'll try to catch on. I un derstood your scrimmage drawing but my question is this: if the trough is slower getting to the coast, will the weakness in the ridge still be able to pull Earl far enough to the east to avoid landfall?

TIA
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So much for hurricane hunting this weekend.
I'll just stay where I am. Don't have to go anywhere. lol

Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 221 - 171

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 JeffMasters

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