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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1271. leo305
Earl speeding up isn't a good thing for the U.S
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Quoting Orcasystems:


MLC, I want a double of that ever your having :)


BTW, is it against community standards to drink while blogging? Or is it blog while drinking? Oh, whichever. I'm not driving anyways - StormW is! ;P
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Quoting NoNamePub:
PLease elaborate about why people use Firefox...Use Chrome...love it?


they both work all of the time. IE doesn't
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I think before any major interaction happens between the two storms I think Earl will eat Fiona like Wilma and Alpha
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I don't think the NHC expected Fiona to tear in half. Definitely well south of the tropical points
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1263. Greyelf
No, I'm an IE user. and no, I won't elaborate in this forum.
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Know exactly where Pensacola is, but not Pensicola.

You don't see the hypocrisy in defending one group of people by using a joke to belittle another group of people? If you felt mine was in bad taste, a simple statement to that effect would have sufficed. I would gladly have removed it. And being a retired opera singer may make the fatlady sings joke self-deprecating humor to you, but it does not necessarily mean it will be interpreted as such to others.


I see you finally got my point. 'Nuff said.

If you feel the need to carry this further, then email will do. Personally, I'm done.

Best wishes to you, Pcola.
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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.


Heh, I bet I know why. :) All browsers do that now I think.
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1260. MahFL
Oh wait it was the shirt skirted weather presenter, lol, look away kids she is EVIL !!!!!!!!!!!!
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I think you're just making this up, just now. If someone feels the effects of a hurricane, they have been "hit" by it. This isn't baseball, there is no umpire. Either its effects were felt or manifested or they weren't.

Pfffft, indirect hit my @$$


Oh,so true...
now back to lurking.
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does anyone have the dynamic models image?
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Quoting immaturehurjunkie:
Looks like Fiona is right next to Earl. How will this affect both storms?


There will be some flavor of Fujiwhara effect...typicvally, ieht two systems of roughly equal strength, they will circle each other around a center point and eventually combine; in this case, Fiona will orbit Earl until Earl consumes her
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What are the opinions of Earl making a direct hit here in SE Mass? What can I expect? I need to start to prepare.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

I also have a Mac and the blog is fine for me. What is going on with it?

Don't have a Mac but use Chrome and it is fine for me.
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1254. Relix
Quoting scCane:



Well in that case it's definitely SW of the forecast points.
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PLease elaborate about why people use Firefox...Use Chrome...love it?
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Quoting CaneWarning:


People still use I.E.???


HERE!!

At work....can't download anything....so it iz what it iz!!
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2265
1251. Greyelf
What's wrong with my Amiga?
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1250. MahFL
I had a comment removed and I have no idea why, I can't even recall the comment....sheesh.
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1249. centex
Quoting FLdewey:
Blog looks okay for me... you guys need to buy a mac. :-P
Are you funding Mac purchases? The prices are out of sight. With a big family that is not reasonable. Lower your prices and become a real player.
Member Since: August 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3260
Quoting Orcasystems:


MLC, I want a double of that ever your having :)


LOL. Hey, Oss and I were just posting the facts as they've been presented.

The closer Earl gets to shore, landfall or not, is only insignificant if there's not surge. There will be surge, significant surge, even miles aways with a miss. If he manages to get even closer (models seem to be debating now - heckuva a CONUS high pressure, with a lil ol' trough coming - tilted), things could get a bit ugly, even if surge is reduced by 2/3's.
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Quoting fatlady99:


I guess when you try to make it a personal and abusive attack, or simply try to be demeaning, that it could be considered over the line.

I am an opera singer (retired) and church soloist, so I think that is considered self-deprecating humor.

Um... Pensacola is in Florida. Look west of Tallahassee.


Know exactly where Pensacola is, but not Pensicola.

You don't see the hypocrisy in defending one group of people by using a joke to belittle another group of people? If you felt mine was in bad taste, a simple statement to that effect would have sufficed. I would gladly have removed it. And being a retired opera singer may make the fatlady sings joke self-deprecating humor to you, but it does not necessarily mean it will be interpreted as such to others.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting doorman79:
yea, chrome is fine, but cant post images on chrome


Yes you can....just be patient - takes a moment to load -




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Quoting doorman79:
yea, chrome is fine, but cant post images on chrome


oh. i don't have the upgraded membership so I can't post images anyway.
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1243. flvol77
Quoting Ryuujin:


God I LOVE the Latin American countries. Who in the world is that?


Jackie Guerrido
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1242. leo305
Quoting Relix:


Makes no sense. The storm is split in half with no evident circulation. There's some rotation in the SW convection but that's it.

Also guys, if you used an actual, worthwhile browser (Aka... not Internet Explorer) you would have no troubles at all with the formatting.


actually the center is under the northern side of the erupting convection, some energy did split from the system though.. but the system is slowing down clearly.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Blog looks okay for me... you guys need to buy a mac. :-P


Once you go mac, you never go back :p
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1240. scCane
Quoting Relix:


Makes no sense. The storm is split in half with no evident circulation. There's some rotation in the SW convection but that's it.

Also guys, if you used an actual, worthwhile browser (Aka... not Internet Explorer) you would have no troubles at all with the formatting.

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1239. Relix
Quoting CaneWarning:


People still use I.E.???


Seems like it! XD!

www.getfirefox.com

There, get that. Leave IE behind. It's the worst browser available out there.
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1238. Greyelf
Heh. I won't elaborate what my husband, a network administrator, says about why people a lot of people want to use Firefox.
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Quoting extreme236:


Disagree. The T-numbers actually went up.
True, but the NHC shouldn't increase the intensity considering that TAFB still thinks it is a tropical depression (30kt). SAB on the other hand thinks it is a tropical storm (35kt).

It should remain a 35kt TS.
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Quoting CaneWarning:
Earl may never make landfall and that would mean we all wasted a ton of time and lots of comments on him.


I keep telling myself that i should do other things until 98 makes it debut, but i can't help it. not that i'm not giving credit to Earl. it's just not a GOM threat, so i shouldn't waste too much time on him
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Now it's back to normal.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Blog looks okay for me... you guys need to buy a mac. :-P


Forget +1, that's a +5.
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Its fixed.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Blog looks okay for me... you guys need to buy a mac. :-P
Hey don't get everyone to get one. Then they'd be the hack target.
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Quoting Relix:


Makes no sense. The storm is split in half with no evident circulation. There's some rotation in the SW convection but that's it.

Also guys, if you used an actual, worthwhile browser (Aka... not Internet Explorer) you would have no troubles at all with the formatting.


People still use I.E.???
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Quoting Walnut:
No problems on Opera either.


Theres an internet network called opera??? Weird.
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Quoting truecajun:


I'm on google chrome and i'm fine too
yea, chrome is fine, but cant post images on chrome
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
1227. Relix
Quoting extreme236:


Disagree. The T-numbers actually went up.


Makes no sense. The storm is split in half with no evident circulation. There's some rotation in the SW convection but that's it.

Also guys, if you used an actual, worthwhile browser (Aka... not Internet Explorer) you would have no troubles at all with the formatting.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1226. scCane
Quoting extreme236:


Disagree. The T-numbers actually went up.

Looks like Fiona might survive as Earl is starting to speed up while Fiona slows down. Their starting to put some distance between themselves.
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There are no pictures with peoples blogs
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Earl may never make landfall and that would mean we all wasted a ton of time and lots of comments on him.
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Quoting extreme236:


Disagree. The T-numbers actually went up.


Fiona appears to be WELL south of the NHC Forecast Points.
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Quoting Relix:


Or firefox. It's all good here.


I'm on google chrome and i'm fine too
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1221. Walnut
Quoting Relix:


Or firefox. It's all good here.
No problems on Opera either.
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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.