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 PcolaDan:


Even being on the west side can create havoc. Ivan tore up the south side of Pensacola Beach when we were on the right side. The next year Dennis hit east of us and took out the north side of the island, pulling the surge water from the Bay.


Wind is one thing, but wind driven water is 3 fold. Thats the beast that man can't stop.
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting staffofthegods:


You're right of course. People are weird aren't they? Personally I'd never own a piece of property close to a body of water. Be it a river, lake or most certainly the ocean. Beautiful no doubt but not worth the risk and worry.


Or have them look at the pictures of Galveston after Ike. If I remember correctly, there was one house still standing.
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1369. MZT
Quoting Xyrus2000:
By my eyeball estimate from satellite it looks like Earl is heading NW or possibly NNW at somewhere around 20-25MPH. AT least over the past three hours or so.


Fast with any westward component = not good
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Even being on the west side can create havoc. Ivan tore up the south side of Pensacola Beach when we were on the right side. The next year Dennis hit east of us and took out the north side of the island, pulling the surge water from the Bay.


IVAN was terrible even over here around Marianna!! The Tornadoes were amazing.....and terrifying!!
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1367. EtexJC
Quoting Xyrus2000:
Almost looks like Earl is trying to run away from Fiona. By my eyeball estimate from satellite it looks like Earl is heading NW or possibly NNW at somewhere around 20-25MPH. AT least over the past three hours or so.


thanks kenpachi-senpai, LOL
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98L and soon to be other invests....

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Quoting will40:


but you dont have to be a paying member to post images


oh. LOL! well i guess i just assumed because i never figured it out.
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1364. JP2010
The 0Z data says that Earl will turn in 48 hours to the NNE 30 going about 100 miles east of outerbanks. Then it will rapidly move toward Hailfax Canada in 96 hours.

The outbanks will have NNE winds gusting to 50+ with hugh waves amd massive flood is likly even with the center going east.
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Quoting RuBRNded:


Bay St Lois across from Pass Christian has an estimated 29 feet.


I got into an argument with a couple of people about the height of storm surge in that area. I said 20 feet just now as just a number; the highest scouring I could find in trees in the Pass Christian, Waveland and back bay at Bay St Louis was 27'7" (measured myself); NOAA says the maximum surge was 22' (or thereabouts)...you're talking to someone who agrees with you; I was there
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Almost looks like Earl is trying to run away from Fiona. By my eyeball estimate from satellite it looks like Earl is heading NW or possibly NNW at somewhere around 20-25MPH. AT least over the past three hours or so.
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The big picture:

Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11557
1360. 2ifbyC
Quoting RecordSeason:
1323:

And yeah, I can't stand being prompted for updates I don't want and don't need every time I start an application.


Go to 'Tools', then 'Options' and turn the update notices off.
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Earls convection is looking rather weak right now, almost as if its moving over cooler waters, which of course it is not, but it has that same appearance of a hurricane moving over cooler water.

Maybe its cause Earl has moved into that very very dry air mass? All I know is it sure doesn't look like a category 4 anymore, I'm surprised its still holding onto 4 status, when it looks more like a 2.

Its funny cause yesterday it looked like nearly a category 5 at one point, yet somehow Earl was the same intensity then as now.


Go figure! There is so much more to learn still about these danged things!
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Quoting RecordSeason:
Guess night shift guy is asleep at LSU.

They haven't updated their graphics in well over an hour.


it's bid week. LOL
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1357. h0db
Quoting KanKunKid:


It's Sharona! And it is EATING MY BRAIN!


I know how to fix that
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1355. will40
Quoting truecajun:


yes. that is what i was saying. chrome works well for me because i can't post images anyhow.


but you dont have to be a paying member to post images
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4266
Quoting moonlightcowboy:



Shen, thanks - so right!
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Why havn't people figured that water is the biggest danger with these storms? Folks questioning whether to get off the outer banks. Well DUH they are sand bars. Give me a break. No matter what, parts of the only road are going to be gone and power knocked out.


You're right of course. People are weird aren't they? Personally I'd never own a piece of property close to a body of water. Be it a river, lake or most certainly the ocean. Beautiful no doubt but not worth the risk and worry.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


Anyone that has a problem with that concept? I can post some photos of Waveland and Pass Chriatian...20 or so feet of fast moving ocean water can make for a VERY bad day


Even being on the west side can create havoc. Ivan tore up the south side of Pensacola Beach when we were on the right side. The next year Dennis hit east of us and took out the north side of the island, pulling the surge water from the Bay.
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Quoting bassis:



Some one posted a model showing at least 20 -30 foot waves coming that way. Be curious if any ones looked in to timing with the high tide


Track over us in Halifax, NS has the timing about dead on now to high tide (4-6 PM AST depending on exact location of coast).
Member Since: August 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 145
Any bets on Earl being PORT of track??



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Quoting Greyelf:
Heh. I won't elaborate what my husband, a network administrator, says about why people a lot of people want to use Firefox.

Let's see, a network administrator recommended firefox since internet explorer kept stalling my system and on top of that the last two versions of ie were disk hogs (took up a lot of space) and the updates didn't always load correctly.

Not the forum for this but other browsers that are considered better than Internet Explorer are:
Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari (yes this is an apple application; but there is a mircosoft version that works fine.

Not saying the IE doesn't work, for what it is it works fine; but you can't always read all the stuff on the blogs, since it's not IE compatible..guess I made my point.

Guess I'll be banned next, just make sure you take her with me OK!
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Quoting RecordSeason:
1323:

I quit using firefox for that reason and because it sucks for downloading files. It simply will not let you put a file directly where you want it by any means I was ever able to discover...so you have to download the entire file to the temporary directory, then manually copy it to where you really want it, which really, really annoyed me.

And yeah, I can't stand being prompted for updates I don't want and don't need every time I start an application.


Would you be using Vista by any chance? Vista has this USER ACCESS CONTROLS that doesn't let you put files where YOU want. It tries to protect YOUR computer from YOU. If are using Vista just disable UAC and that problem goes away.. (MSCONFIG / TOOLS tab / Highlight DISABLE UAC and hit LAUNCH) Solves a MILLION problems!
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1348. MZT
Where Earl could really generate a surge is the bay of Fundy, if he plows straight up into there. It gets huge tides anyway even in normal weather.
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Quoting will40:


i think she was saying that people had to be paying members of WU but i may have been mistaken


yes. that is what i was saying. chrome works well for me because i can't post images anyhow.
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Quoting CaneWarning:
I just don't think Earl will give the Outerbanks a huge storm surge if he follows the projected path. In fact, he'd give them an offshore wind that would take the water out, not in.


What direction was the wind blowing when the 22-28 feet of surge hit Waveland in 2005?
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting RecordSeason:
1323:

I quit using firefox for that reason and because it sucks for downloading files. It simply will not let you put a file directly where you want it by any means I was ever able to discover...so you have to download the entire file to the temporary directory, then manually copy it to where you really want it, which really, really annoyed me.

And yeah, I can't stand being prompted for updates I don't want and don't need every time I start an application.


You can set the automatic updates in the Preferences menu. You can also download to a specific location by clicking Save in the download menu. A box should pop up and you can pick your spot.
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1344. Walnut
Quoting truecajun:


i knew they were special, but i thought they had aircraft staged in different coastal locations that the crew flew to depending on where the cyclone of interest was.

as always, i learn something new everyday.

wasn't that real pretty blond girl on TWC a hurricane hunter?

Nicole Mitchell... yes.
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Quoting Floodman:


Anyone that has a problem with that concept? I can post some photos of Waveland and Pass Chriatian...20 or so feet of fast moving ocean water can make for a VERY bad day


Bay St Lois across from Pass Christian has an estimated 29 feet.
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Quoting EtexJC:


from their site

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, known as the Hurricane Hunters of the Air Force Reserve, is one-of-a-kind: the only Department of Defense organization still flying into tropical storms and hurricanes--since 1944.

Our ten Lockheed-Martin WC-130J aircraft and crews are part of the 403rd Wing, based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.


i knew they were special, but i thought they had aircraft staged in different coastal locations that the crew flew to depending on where the cyclone of interest was.

as always, i learn something new everyday.

wasn't that real pretty blond girl on TWC a hurricane hunter?

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Quoting EtexJC:


firefox downloads into windows's download folder under your name....
Or, a simple change in the options consists of "Ask me where to download files to".
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1339. Walnut
Quoting CrazyDuke:


Odd, I remember sound side flooding being a major issue with the Outter Banks.
Yes that is what happened with Hurricane Alex in 2004.
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1338. bassis
Quoting CaneWarning:
I just don't think Earl will give the Outerbanks a huge storm surge if he follows the projected path. In fact, he'd give them an offshore wind that would take the water out, not in.



Some one posted a model showing at least 20 -30 foot waves coming that way. Be curious if any ones looked in to timing with the high tide
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Hey there, you hear from your sister yet? Everything okay?


Hey thanks. I did talk to her today. She said they lost power yesterday and their generator failed. With no cell service she only plugged in her land line to the "little generator" that only ran a fan and the TV just once in awhile. Her husband tried to get out to find his brother to fix the generator, but couldn't get anywhere as most of the road were impassable with either trees or electric company trucks working on the lines. She said ALOT of wind and damage, but she was surprised that the didn't get too much rain. Which was good for her since they live on the side of a mountain and the water runs down right through there house when there is too much rain.

Thanks again for your help yesterday. Despite the bickering and the trolls this place really is a very caring community!
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Quoting F4PHANTOM:
Be sure to wave at them as they go past your door. lol
Definitely, lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting CaneWarning:
I just don't think Earl will give the Outerbanks a huge storm surge if he follows the projected path. In fact, he'd give them an offshore wind that would take the water out, not in.


Odd, I remember sound side flooding being a major issue with the Outter Banks.
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1334. EtexJC
Quoting RecordSeason:
1323:

I quit using firefox for that reason and because it sucks for downloading files. It simply will not let you put a file directly where you want it by any means I was ever able to discover...so you have to download the entire file to the temporary directory, then manually copy it to where you really want it, which really, really annoyed me.

And yeah, I can't stand being prompted for updates I don't want and don't need every time I start an application.


firefox downloads into windows's download folder under your name....
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Always checking the rear view mirror. More models on board with 98L, not liking the track thus far.




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1330. will40
Quoting doorman79:


not on chrome


i think she was saying that people had to be paying members of WU but i may have been mistaken
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4266
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Why havn't people figured that water is the biggest danger with these storms? Folks questioning whether to get off the outer banks. Well DUH they are sand bars. Give me a break. No matter what, parts of the only road are going to be gone and power knocked out.


Anyone that has a problem with that concept? I can post some photos of Waveland and Pass Chriatian...20 or so feet of fast moving ocean water can make for a VERY bad day
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Hopefully the hurricane hunters fly by me. :)
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting truecajun:


why are they flying out of mississippi? do they always fly from there?


Yea, Keisler
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
1326. EtexJC
Quoting truecajun:


why are they flying out of mississippi? do they always fly from there?


from their site

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, known as the Hurricane Hunters of the Air Force Reserve, is one-of-a-kind: the only Department of Defense organization still flying into tropical storms and hurricanes--since 1944.

Our ten Lockheed-Martin WC-130J aircraft and crews are part of the 403rd Wing, based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.
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I just don't think Earl will give the Outerbanks a huge storm surge if he follows the projected path. In fact, he'd give them an offshore wind that would take the water out, not in.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Gonna be a longtime to get good HH data





why are they flying out of mississippi? do they always fly from there?
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1323. centex
I have all of these but use IE because need to use for work and firefox wants an update everytime I use it.

2010 IE8 IE7 IE6 Firefox Chrome Safari Opera
July 15.6% 7.6% 7.2% 46.4% 16.7% 3.4% 2.3%
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1322. Halyn
Quoting truecajun:


I'm on google chrome and i'm fine too


As soon as a new page comes up .. the problem is solved .. unless .. someone again quotes or posts a YouTube .. so ..best thing is just to not do that .. :)
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Quoting RMM34667:




Hey there, you hear from your sister yet? Everything okay?
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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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