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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1221. Walnut
Quoting Relix:


Or firefox. It's all good here.
No problems on Opera either.
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Quoting FLdewey:
Blog looks okay for me... you guys need to buy a mac. :-P

I also have a Mac and the blog is fine for me. What is going on with it?
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1219. djdanik
uuu its the moment for downcasters...
advisorys said nothing about dry air, if anything fiona will give earl her moisture.....
and anyway its not so easy to dungrade a 4-CAT to much energy, maybe high end 3, but no less.
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:
"...la te dah, la te dah, Earl's gonna miss a landfall! La te da!"


...and 50 foot waves come crashing in!

Earl is a major! It's been steadily gaining strength and momentum. It's passing over hot, deep water. It'll hit the Gulf Stream. Further north waters reported to be at least 4 degrees higher than normal.


"...la te dah, la te dah! Gonna miss us!"


NOT - whether it makes landfall or not, it will have a hulluva an impact!




MLC, I want a double of that ever your having :)
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Quoting FLdewey:
Blog looks okay for me... you guys need to buy a mac. :-P


I've got a Mac too and everything is fine.
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Quoting Relix:
I say Fiona is dead at 11PM. TD at least. There's no way that's a TS.


Disagree. The T-numbers actually went up.
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Quoting centex:
Messing with blog software again tonight.


Great timing....Monster Cat 4 off the coast!!
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1214. bassis
Quoting MyrtleCanes:


Nothing is going to bring him back


you know better but i know him
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Can people stop it with that stupid youtube video???
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1212. Relix
Quoting FLdewey:
Blog looks okay for me... you guys need to buy a mac. :-P


Or firefox. It's all good here.
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1211. Greyelf
FFS. Now someone had to go and quote the danged youtube video again so it can screw up this page too. Whoever put the video up, please take it down.
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"...la te dah, la te dah, Earl's gonna miss a landfall! La te da!"


...and 50 foot waves come crashing in!

Earl is a major! It's been steadily gaining strength and momentum. It's passing over hot, deep water. It'll hit the Gulf Stream. Further north waters reported to be at least 4 degrees higher than normal.


"...la te dah, la te dah! Gonna miss us!"


NOT - whether it makes landfall or not, it will have a hulluva an impact!


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1209. Relix
I say Fiona is dead at 11PM. TD at least. There's no way that's a TS.
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1206. centex
Messing with blog software again tonight.
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Quoting bassis:


Earl is to strong to get in too much trouble with dry air.

This reminds me of one of my fav Grateful Dead songs


Nothing is going to bring him back
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Quoting JLPR2:




Thank you!
Everything's good, little damage to report, some branches, two or three trees down and nothing else. XD


Glad it wasn't closer Man!!....Welcome Back!!
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It looks like earl is turning into an asymmetric hurricane with that big eye wall that is forming on the IR on the wundermap. It is even starting to look like a big truck tire and the air is starting to leave the center of the large eye. I am an amateur so is there any possibility of that even happening? Thanks for everybody that responds.
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Quoting earthlydragonfly:
How is Shreks wife doing??? She heading south to follow the convection???


I think it's safe to say, Shrek's wife will be going R.I.P soon
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Quoting truecajun:


it's fine for me


working good on chrome, bye the way love those cajun reeboks. And who said they had to be white ones lol. :)
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting JLPR2:
I'm finally back!
26hrs without power! T_T
I don't want to image what would have happened if Earl would have passed 50 miles closer to PR.

Well, anyways, I see Fiona is hanging on and that we have 98L, ah! I feel so far behind. XD
Glad to see you made it through alright though.
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Quoting gulfbreeze:
Whats happen to the blog it looks weird.


Same here.
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Hurricane Earl 10PM Update Aug. 31st. 2010
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Quoting Alockwr21:
What does everyone think models will do at 11?
No change in track or intensity.
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I hope the people of NC don't let their guard down wtih all the "great confidence" in the NHC forecast?? This thing could still plow right into NC!
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Quoting cheetaking:
Latest F-16 satellite pass shows that the southern eyewall of Earl has been eroded down to almost nothing. If it doesn't do something about that quickly, it may weaken significantly due to the dry air and shear.


Actually to me, it appears to be going the other way. Based on microwave imagery prior to that one, Earl's core was in worse shape earlier in the day and is actually improving and rebuilding his eyewall. That would also make sense because of Earl's recent trends in organization since that image was captured three hours ago.
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Whats happen to the blog it looks weird.
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1189. Greyelf
Apparently no one listens. Luigi quoted the youtube video which screwed up the previous page. that's why it's screwed up on this page. Is this mic on?
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Not sure you were here. Just in case:
it was someone called StSimonIslandGAGuy not StSimonsIslandGAGuy, letter missing.


ahhh. i see. the real one is irritating at times, but i wouldn't say that he's a troll. so a phony poser makes more sense.
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1187. Ryuujin
Quoting Headindaclouds:
This is how I like to watch Hurricane Earl :)


God I LOVE the Latin American countries. Who in the world is that?
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1186. centex
New York Times online tonight, LOL. - Hurricane Earl churned through the Caribbean Tuesday evening on a path toward the United States, prompting people along the Atlantic coast to brace for the powerful storm’s expected impact later this week.
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How is Shreks wife doing??? She heading south to follow the convection???
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Not sure you were here. Just in case:
it was someone called StSimonIslandGAGuy not StSimonsIslandGAGuy, letter missing.


I heard something about that earlier. I was just surprised that someone who has only been here for a week, would post something like that... sort of reminds me of someone else, if you know what I mean :)

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starting at post 1141
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comment 1132 has messed up the blog.. but if you hide it, you can't see any other post.
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Quoting SunnyDaysFla:
One of the local weather guys here in Tampa---the only one who gives his own take as well as NHC's--said he thinks Earl's path could be similar to Hurricane Gloria. Anybody here think so?



Seems very possible. All major models this evening look almost identical in track. Which local met was it?
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Quoting PcolaDan:


But stereotyping "the fatlady sings" is okay though? Where is that line of okay and not okay jokes? And stereotyping a region "in jest" is okay? BTW, I have no idea where Pensicola is.


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.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


and you have been a member for a whole week... gutsy call from a newbie.


+1
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Quoting Ossqss:
Oh my!!!! Not good ....... 50' waves ?

Clickable pic to extend run....





Hello, friend! Nope, not good. Even a miss won't be good!
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1177. Greyelf
the blog is screwing up because a youtube video that screwed up the previous page now got quoted on this page.
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something is going on with the blog.
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1175. scCane
Quoting SCwannabe:
I'm really suprised that no TS watches or Hurricane watches haven't been posted for S.Carolina with the potential close proximity of Earl. Maybe at 1100??

Nah Earl will be to far off if anyone gets hit from the Carolina's it will be Cape Hatteras and that's a big if.
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1174. BDAwx
The eye of Earl passed directly over Sombrero Island, the southern and southwestern eye-wall scraped Barbuda, Anguilla, and Anegada.

In my books- Earl most definitely is not a fish storm.
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What did I miss?
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EARLS EYE IS BACK AND HE MOVING BACK TO THE WEST MAY BE A JOG BUT IT IS WEST!!
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Quoting doorman79:
ok, is the blog acting crazy or is it just me

yea, it is....
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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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