Category 3 Earl Continues Moving Towards the East Coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:13 AM GMT on September 01, 2010

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Hi, Dr. Rob Carver with your evening blog update. It's a busy night in the tropics with Hurricane Earl and Tropical Storm Fiona in the Atlantic, and 3 named storms in the western Pacific. Tonight, though, we'll focus on Earl.

As of 11PM EDT, Earl is still a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts of 160 mph. From the advisory, Earl is located at 23.0 N, 69.9 W, 910 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC. On average, Earl is currently moving towards the northwest at 14 mph. Remember, large storms are known for having wobbly tracks. Aircraft observations and microwave imagery (Fig. 1) indicate that the eyewall is reforming.


Fig. 1 Estimated rain-rate of Earl taken at 2332Z 31 Aug 2010. Image courtesy of the Naval Research Lab

Earl is passing near buoy 41046 and is generating some large waves as shown by Figure 1.


Fig. 2Plot of wave heights observed at buoy 41046. Data courtesy of the National Data Buoy Center

Earl is a large storm. Hurricane force winds extend 90 miles from the storm center and tropical storm force winds can be found 200 miles away. This means Earl will have an impact on areas well away from the center's track

Track Forecast
NHC has not really altered their track forecast for this update. Thanks to the subtropical high, Earl will continue a slight turn to the right as it moves around the subtropical high. Then when a trough in the jet stream comes out on Thursday, Earl will accelerate quickly to the northeast. The timing of the trough's arrival will determine Earl's impact on the East Coast. The current forecast still holds that Earl's center will stay out to sea, and I don't see any reason to disagree. Most of the computer model guidance supports this forecast (except for NOGAPS and NGFDL, and they have Earl only crossing the Outer Banks). It is worth noting that the ECMWF global model (the best global model) does bring Earl close to the Outer Banks. Earl will make his closest approach to the Outer Banks sometime early Friday morning.

Winds Forecast
Earl's size and track will likely produce tropical-storm force winds somewhere along the East Coast this weekend. From the wind probability product issued by NHC, Cape Hatteras has a 63% chance of tropical-storm force winds sometime this weekend. There is a wide swath of 30% chance of TS winds from Virginia north towards Maine. New York City has a 20% chance of TS winds, and Nantucket, MA has a 50% chance.

When Earl hooks on to the trough and starts accelerating to the northeast, it will start transitioning from a tropical system to an extratropical low. This means it will start weakening.

Current Watches
As of 1045PM EDT, a hurricane watch is in effect for the coastal US from Surf City, NC to the NC/VA border. Remember, this means tropical-storm force winds are expected within 48 hours. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Turks and Caicos islands. A tropical storm watch is also in effect from Cape Fear to Surf City and for the southeastern Bahama islands. For the latest information on watches and warnings for Earl, visit our Tropical Alerts page.

Impacts
It's too early to be specific. That said, the local NWS office in Morehead City, NC thinks that with the combination of tides and winds, a storm surge of 4 feet is possible along the Outer Banks with moderate coastal flooding possible. They also think rip currents are a likely threat at the beaches.

What to do
People living in areas covered by the hurricane watch should start following their hurricane preparation plans now. You have less than 48 hours to complete your preparations. Be sure to listen to local media for statements from emergency management agencies and the local NWS. If you live in areas prone to flooding, evacuate to a hurricane shelter or a place outside evacuation zones. If an evacuation order is given, please follow it.

People living from Virginia to New England should monitor the progress of Earl and think about their hurricane preparations.

Fiona
Fiona stayed too close to big brother Earl and is paying the price. Outflow from Earl is expected to create shear, transforming Fiona into an open trough. It's forecast to dissipate in 2-3 days.

600AM EDT UPDATE
Earl has weakened to a category 3 storm with maximum winds of 125 mph. NHC has extended the hurricane watch from the NC/VA border to Parramore island. The track forecast has shifted a bit to the west, so the chance of tropical-storm force winds in the New England area has gone up. For example, Eastport ME has a greater than 50% chance of tropical storm force winds now. For more cities, take a look at the wind probabilities product. Intensity forecast is relatively unchanged.

Fiona is starting to build a little more space between herself and Earl. If this keeps up, Fiona might have a shot at survival. This is worth keeping an eye on.

Next update
Dr. Jeff Masters will have an update Wednesday morning.

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Quoting Cotillion:


They're still classing it as a disturbance rather than a low, which may prolong its classification a touch.


Yeah... I won't be surprised if they're awaiting more model support/consistency before getting out that "classifying" state. :)
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5031
Quoting barotropic:


To issue a Hurricane warning means a huge economic impact on government and municipalities as well as citizens. Especially considering the already poor state of our economy. While a warning is probably 100 percent likely, waiting until the last proper moment to issue it is probably a very good idea.


It is a shame that politics and economics have to come into play when people's lives may be at stake, but that is how it is.
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Quoting StormW:


Beginning to slowly...should have more of a hold in about 7 days or so.
Thank you Storm.Now I will let you finish your Sypnosis.I am very eager to see your thoughts on Earl.East Coast my thoughts and prayers are with you.Please be safe and prepared.
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Storm,

good morning. two quick questions for you. First, the pattern shift you were talking about last week, is that already taking effect as far as the High pressure building in? Or will that take effect after the trough west of Earl passes?

Second, what do you make of Fiona? some of the discussion I read indicates getting sandwiched underneath a ridge of high pressure and making a clockwise loop. does this remind you of Hurricane Jeanne that hit south florida back in September 2004? thanks
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Quoting WxLogic:


Almost... TD by 5PM, but won't be surprised if it gets bumped up to TD status by 11AM ET.


They're still classing it as a disturbance rather than a low, which may prolong its classification a touch.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
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964. 7544
just asking is the term omega will this direct future storms further west that could effect fla is this why we said the next ones coming off africa could threaten tia
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Isabel in 2003 was intense... I was on Hatteras Island for the storm, only a few miles where 2000+ feet of the island was cut away, forming a new inlet...

If Earl strikes us from the south at 115+ we are done for...
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Quoting KanKunKid:


Ya, the Chief was talking about that yesterday in his synopsis. Not good for us Caribbeaners, eh?
Definitely not..Actually makes my stomach turn a little.
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Quoting Cotillion:
AL, 98, 2010090112, , BEST, 0, 123N, 352W, 30, 1006, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,


Almost... TD by 5PM, but won't be surprised if it gets bumped up to TD status by 11AM ET.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 4 Comments: 5031
958. beell
Peak of the ridge in the upper right corner of the frame. Moving E/NE-and the ridge along with it.

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Quoting barotropic:


Looks like she wont get to the islands. Almost clear of the islands and moving wnw - nw.

thanks.
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Quoting gordydunnot:
Omega maybe

If I understand it right the the more pronounced north-south orientation of the trough (as shown in this image) leads to a more pronounced ridge over eastern Canada with clockwise flow that inhibits to some extent eastern movement of the storm. Does this sound reasonable to anyone? Please feel free to correct me if not right. Enjoy learning
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Quoting palmasdelrio:
I know most of you are concerned about Earl's track, but I'd like to know your thoughts on Fiona since she's close to PR where I live. Does it look like she's going to strengthen to hurricane strength before she gets to the islands?


Looks like she wont get to the islands. Almost clear of the islands and moving wnw - nw.
Member Since: August 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 652
Quoting Bonedog:
NY and NJ mets are funny. reading this morning forecast discussions when it comes to earl...

...for information and forecast for earl please refer to the NHC....

then it is followed by

... if earl is close we will have the effects of a tropical system, if it moves out to sea we will not...

Gotta love THAT forecast LOL
Not very wordy. I like that...:)
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everything is looking a lot better today East coast take cover I think Earl is going to make a Direct hit
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AL, 98, 2010090112, , BEST, 0, 123N, 352W, 30, 1006, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
WOCN31 CWHX 011200
Hurricane Earl information statement issued by the canadian
Hurricane centre of Environment Canada at 9.00 AM ADT Wednesday
01 September 2010.

...Hurricane Earl continuing on its forecast track..Expected
To impact Atlantic Canada this weekend...

The next statement will be issued by 3.00 PM ADT
1. Current position, strength, central pressure and motion

At 9.00 AM ADT... Hurricane Earl was located near latitude 24.6 N
And longitude 71.6 W... About 600 nautical miles or 1100 km
Southwest of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds are estimated at 110
Knots... 204 km/h... And central pressure at 941 MB. Earl is moving
Northwest at 14 knots... 28 km/h.

2. Forecast position, central pressure and strength

Date time lat lon MSLP Max wind
ADT MB kts kmh
Sep 01 9.00 AM 24.6N 71.6W 943 110 204
Sep 01 9.00 PM 27.1N 73.6W 943 110 204
Sep 02 9.00 AM 29.8N 74.7W 945 110 204
Sep 02 9.00 PM 32.8N 74.8W 951 110 204
Sep 03 9.00 AM 35.8N 73.2W 961 100 185
Sep 03 9.00 PM 39.1N 70.2W 968 90 167
Sep 04 9.00 AM 43.6N 66.5W 974 75 139 transitioning
Sep 04 9.00 PM 48.0N 63.0W 984 65 120 transitioning
Sep 05 9.00 AM 51.8N 60.3W 982 60 111 post-tropical
Sep 05 9.00 PM 55.7N 58.3W 980 50 93 post-tropical
Sep 06 9.00 AM 60.2N 56.8W 980 40 74 post-tropical

3. Public weather impacts and warnings summary
It is still early to speak of details at this time since Earl is
2 to 3 days away from Atlantic Canada landfall. Official watches and
warnings will likely be necessary beginning late Thursday for Nova
Scotia.

The public should certainly pay close attention regarding weekend
plans that may be sensitive to high wind and heavy rain conditions.
It is emphasized that updated forecasts should be consulted for the
latest forecast decisions and rationale.

4. Marine weather impacts and warnings summary
Currently no warnings are in effect. As Earl approaches the
Maritimes..Warnings will likely be issued beginning early Thursday
for maritime waters. Ocean swell from Earl will reach Nova Scotia on
Thursday as well.

5. Technical discussion for meteorologists

A. Analysis

After the satellite imagery came out of the eclipse..It has become
evident that the dry air previously noted to the northwest of Earl
has wrapped itself around the west and south quadrants of the storm
as seen on the water vapour channel. The eye of Earl passed over bouy
41046 near 08Z. Just prior to the arrival of the eye the bouy
Reported a wind gust to 83 knots with seas of 14.8 metres..And with
the passage of the eye a pressure of 943 MB.

B. Prognostic
Earl continues to round the subtropical ridge entrenched over the
Atlantic. This means Earl will continue its northwestward track in
the near term before heading more northward thereafter. The
Approach of a trough from the west will cause Earl to accelerate as
it moves toward Atlantic Canada.

Slight adjustments have been made to the previous forecast track..
With a slight nudge to the west. Numerical model guidance shows a
majority of the model tracks becoming somewhat more divergent over
canadian territory. This is no surprise and this sort of
Uncertainty in predicting an exact track has been the empahsis of
The CHC since Earl was projected to move toward Atlantic Canada.
Again it is emphasized that there is a wide range of track scenarios
Over the weekend..From a potential landfall as far west as Maine and
as far east as Southwest Newfoundland.

The official track posted on our websites..Although specific in
Terms of a line with storm positions at specific times and a
Landfalling category-one hurricane..Simply represents the average of
many factors.

Probabilistic computer models generally show about a 75 percent
chance of at least gale-force winds (60 to 70 km/h) over land in
Nova Scotia. Our statistical guidance indicates about an 85 percent
Chance of Earl entering canadian forecast waters as a hurricane..And
40 to 50 percent chance of a land falling hurricane in Nova Scotia.

C. Public weather

See above.

D. Marine weather

Seas from Earl entering our waters Thursday morning are indicated
In the numerical wave guidance.

Predicted wind radii (NM)
Time gales storms hurricane
Ne se sw nw ne se sw nw ne se sw nw
01/12Z 175 175 95 175 120 120 60 90 80 80 30 60
02/00Z 175 175 110 175 120 120 60 90 80 80 30 60
02/12Z 180 180 125 175 120 120 60 90 75 65 20 45
03/00Z 180 180 135 175 120 120 60 90 70 50 10 30
03/12Z 190 190 140 175 120 120 60 90 70 50 10 30
04/00Z 205 205 130 160 120 120 55 80 50 40 10 30
04/12Z 210 215 110 135 120 125 35 65 20 25 10 20
05/00Z 210 225 110 150 125 125 30 60 0 10 0 0
05/12Z 210 245 130 210 120 125 30 60 0 0 0 0
06/00Z 210 280 145 270 60 60 15 30 0 0 0 0
06/12Z 210 320 155 330 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


End fogarty/borgel
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Quoting Bonedog:
NY and NJ mets are funny. reading this morning forecast discussions when it comes to earl...

...for information and forecast for earl please refer to the NHC....

then it is followed by

... if earl is close we will have the effects of a tropical system, if it moves out to sea we will not...

Gotta love THAT forecast LOL


Lol. Sounds like our NWS.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
75W is the magic Line of Longitude.... make or break I think at 75W


Is that the Las Vegas "over, under"?
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944. 900MB
Quoting barotropic:


To issue a Hurricane warning means a huge economic impact on government and municipalities as well as citizens. Especially considering the already poor state of our economy. While a warning is probably 100 percent likely, waiting until the last proper moment to issue it is probably a very good idea.


I beg to differ. Yes, there are economic consequences, the number 1 priority is safety. Long Islanders haven't seen a significant storm in years and I would figure that they could use a little extra lead time. Also, the last thing you need is people heading East for the long weekend when they should be staying put! Just my opinion.
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The last major to hit the US East Coast...

As a major...

Not including the Floridian east coast...

Would be Hurricane Fran, 1996.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting WildWillyFL:

In my humble opinion it is a stupid idea to possibly sacrifice lives to save municipalities a few dollars. In the grand scheme of things, there really should only be a few government responsibilities, saving lives and helping to prevent disasters should be on high on their list.


It is the highest on their list, however they do walk a fine line...and their is plenty of time. My guess is warnings are coming at 11am for sure.
Member Since: August 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 652
FLdewey:
Maybe it's because I've been up all night but at first glance I thought you wrote mandatory evacs for Dade county! That jolted me forward right quick.
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Good morning Storm.Is the atmosphere starting to set up the way you were saying it was going to do.In RE:that the systems would start goig in a more Westerly fashion?I hope I am remembering this correctly.Not saying anything in regards to Earl going West.Im no met just a interested lurker.TIA Storm.
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936. srada
Quoting StormW:


Until that ridge progresses further east, and that trof out west takes effect, he's gonna keep moving the direction he is. If he gets too much past 75W before turning, that's the time for concern


Hi StormW

If he gets past 75W in still going NW..who would be in the strikezone then? TIA
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Was Isabelle the last strong hurricane to hit the eastern coast?


Isabel in 2003....
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Quoting DestinJeff:
75W is the magic Line of Longitude.... make or break I think at 75W
Morning Jeff..Fiona may have a surprise for us. And 98L is growing.
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:
Was Isabelle the last strong hurricane to hit the eastern coast?


Depends if you include the Floridian east coast?
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting medicroc:
Is it yellow?


????
Member Since: August 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 652
Even after Earl goes by its gonna stay interesting. I'm worrried for the gom.
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Does anyone happen to have an idea of what the possible wind gusts might be along the Jersey Shore-- if Earl travels the mid to far west path what type of scenario might we see here? The areas from Cape May to Toms River, NJ, usually get hammered during NE storms, so I am just curious what can this area expect IF it takes that far west path? Any models that show this?
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Quoting leelee75k:
I hate the quote feature, it's the only thing that stops me from completely ignoring people on my ignore list.


+1
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Good morning folks. Just been following along. The news outlets have so little good information these days.

One question: Look at the recent satellite of 98L. Is that a COC/eye forming already?
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I know most of you are concerned about Earl's track, but I'd like to know your thoughts on Fiona since she's close to PR where I live. Does it look like she's going to strengthen to hurricane strength before she gets to the islands?
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NY and NJ mets are funny. reading this morning forecast discussions when it comes to earl...

...for information and forecast for earl please refer to the NHC....

then it is followed by

... if earl is close we will have the effects of a tropical system, if it moves out to sea we will not...

Gotta love THAT forecast LOL
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418

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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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