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 KoritheMan:


Earthquakes frighten me greatly. I'm glad I don't live in an earthquake-prone area.


lol....history....How about New Madrid Fault Zone??
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Quoting surfmom:

((((thanks!!))) darlin' they'll always be fresh ground coffee for you

you know - this is bugging me, and I've been cautious to ask - cause I don't want to stir up things.. but I kinda missed the explanation for why EARL did not make the expected the curve... am I correct in saying the trough that was suppose to encourage the turn was 1. not strong enough or 2. the trough showed up late or 3. no of the above -go drink more coffee
lol as now its 3 lol; trof isn't supposed to pick earl up til OBX, earl isn't that far off its heading, was always going to be a close call for nc north, still looks to be one. If EURO and/or NOGAPS verify just may be a bit worse in OBX and NE needs to watch things closely
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Earthquakes frighten me greatly. I'm glad I don't live in an earthquake-prone area.
*giggle* it's why I live on a sandbar
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Quoting surfmom:

((((thanks!!))) darlin' they'll always be fresh ground coffee for you

you know - this is bugging me, and I've been cautious to ask - cause I don't want to stir up things.. but I kinda missed the explanation for why EARL did not make the expected the curve... am I correct in saying the trough that was suppose to encourage the turn was 1. not strong enough or 2. the trough showed up late or 3. no of the above -go drink more coffee


Earl was not supposed to recurve until the secondary trough, the one now moving across the central plains, came into play. That is now happening.
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Oh Goodness - give me a 'cane - will not do the earthquake risk - I won't even land in LA (*scardy cat*)
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Gee TraumaBoy - I put breakfast out every morning, but I don't get any sugar cookies? :(

No time today for a good breakfast spread - coffee is on the sideboard and I made some corn muffins - watch out for the ones in the red basket - they have jalapenos in them, LOL.

Watch is up for my area this am, waiting to find out if the ships are headed for open water. So far, wind forecast is low enough to stay home.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


lol

Sorry. :(

The both of us unfortunately live in very vulnerable spots when it comes to hurricanes. But you know what? I love where I love. It's beautiful, the people kick ass, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm sure you feel the same way.


Absolutely...about 45 miles as crow flies from coast......just worry about my Horses and Chickens...lol
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Quoting InTheCone:
Fascinating discussion on Fiona this morning - this is an excerpt....
ya things get tricky to call with this much activity constantly interacting with the environment around them
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Quoting traumaboyy:


LOL....we share with all the ladies...MORNIN AQUA!!

((((thanks!!))) darlin' they'll always be fresh ground coffee for you

you know - this is bugging me, and I've been cautious to ask - cause I don't want to stir up things.. but I kinda missed the explanation for why EARL did not make the expected the curve... am I correct in saying the trough that was suppose to encourage the turn was 1. not strong enough or 2. the trough showed up late or 3. no of the above -go drink more coffee
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Seems the models are not quite sure again. GFS is still going over my back yard after landfall, but the other models are all over including hitting New Brunswick through the Bay of Fundy.

Interesting.
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Quoting smuldy:
just about every spot in the globe is vulnerable to some kind of disaster; when i'm not here i'm in LA where a quake could hit at any second; at least you can see hurricanes coming.


Earthquakes frighten me greatly. I'm glad I don't live in an earthquake-prone area.
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Quoting ackee:
I am looking 98L if system devlops enter carrbean might be major cane been a while since a storm has move from the atlantic move across the carrb last time was Dean and Felix in 07


98L has some shear ahead of it beginning in about four or five days, but if it can manage to develop sufficiently before it hits the shear, it may be able to develop a 200 mb anticyclone aloft, which would lessen the impact of the shear.

Definitely one to watch.
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Fascinating discussion on Fiona this morning - this is an excerpt....


THE INITIAL MOTION IS 290/12 KT USING RECON AND RADAR FIX POSITIONS.
FIONA APPEARS TO HAVE DECREASED ITS RATE OF CLOSURE ON EARL LOCATED
TO ITS NORTHWEST. OVER THE PAST 48 HOURS...THE DISTANCE BETWEEN
FIONA AND EARL HAS BEEN DECREASING BY ABOUT 100 NMI EVERY 12
HOURS...AND THE TWO CYCLONES ARE CURRENTLY ABOUT 750 NMI APART.
RIDDING BETWEEN THE TWO SYSTEMS HAS OBVIOUSLY INCREASED...WHICH HAS
RESULTED IN THE SIGNIFICANT DECREASE IN THE FORWARD SPEED OF FIONA
FROM MORE THAN 20 KT DOWN TO THE CURRENT 12 KT IN THE PAST 12
HOURS. THE POSSIBLE CAUSE OF THE RIDGING TO THE NORTHWEST OF FIONA
IS THE UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOWS FROM BOTH CYCLONES CONVERGING TO THE
NORTHWEST OF FIONA. THIS RIDGING MAY ALLOW KEEP FIONA FROM
INTERACTING WITH THE LARGER CIRCULATION OF EARL LIKE MOST OF THE
GLOBAL MODELS HAVE BEEN FORECASTING THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS. ALL OF
THE MODEL GUIDANCE...EXCLUDING NOGAPS...NOW SLOWS DOWN FIONA BY DAY
3...WITH THE CYCLONE POSSIBLY GETTING TRAPPED IN THE SUBTROPICAL
RIDGE. AS RESULT OF THESE NEW SCENARIO...A 96-HOUR POSITION HAS
BEEN ADDED AND DISSIPATION HAS BEEN DELAYED UNTIL 120 HOURS. IF
FIONA BECOMES A STRONGER SYSTEM THAN CURRENTLY FORECAST...THE
CYCLONE COULD SURVIVE AND END UP MAKING A CLOCKWISE LOOP OR EVEN
BECOME STATIONARY BY 120 HOURS. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK IS
SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY..EXCEPT SLOWER AT 48 HOURS AND
BEYOND...AND IS ALONG THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE GUIDANCE SUITE.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


lol

Sorry. :(

The both of us unfortunately live in very vulnerable spots when it comes to hurricanes. But you know what? I love where I love. It's beautiful, the people kick ass, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm sure you feel the same way.
just about every spot in the globe is vulnerable to some kind of disaster; when i'm not here i'm in LA where a quake could hit at any second; at least you can see hurricanes coming.
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509. ackee
I am looking 98L if system devlops enter carrbean might be major cane been a while since a storm has move from the atlantic move across the carrb last time was Dean and Felix in 07
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Quoting aquak9:
(runs in, grabs sugar cookies, runs out)


LOL....we share with all the ladies...MORNIN AQUA!!
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Quoting traumaboyy:


Thanks...now I feel better....lol.....jk


lol

Sorry. :(

The both of us unfortunately live in very vulnerable spots when it comes to hurricanes. But you know what? I love where I live. It's beautiful, the people kick ass, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm sure you feel the same way.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Trust me, history has a history of repeating itself.

You guys just had a hurricane 35 years ago though, if that's any consolation.

I'm talking about 1975's Eloise, which hit as a Category 3.


Thanks...now I feel better....lol.....jk
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Nope:

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* ST. MARTIN AND ST. BARTHELEMY

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* ANTIGUA...BARBUDA...MONTSERRAT...ST. KITTS...NEVIS...AND ANGUILLA
* ST. MAARTEN...SABA...AND ST. EUSTATIUS
wow, guess they have high confidence that it will pick up north beforehand, we'll see, surprised not even a watch is up.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Hey.... I can speak with authority when I say Earl is currently well EAST of Floyd's track at this point.... at this point Floyd was getting set to cross the NE Bahamas, giving a direct strike to Abaco and quite a whack to the rest of the Bahamas... we had CAT 2 winds in New Providence, 75 - 100 miles SW of Abaco, as the eye made landfall there.

I think NC has a better chance of the "skirting" forecast for Earl being verified over a Floyd-type landfall....

latest runs at 2am were about 100miles east of where Floyd was, only NOGAPS had landfall in NC, but the northeast is a different story in the 2 that go that far out (NOGAPS & EURO)
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(runs in, grabs sugar cookies, runs out)
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Yeah, Earl reminds me a little more of Bonnie in 1998 (?). If I remember correctly, they have similar history up to this point... Bonnie was sloooooooww to recurve....
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Quoting smuldy:
lol absolutely much better, cant stand law & order. Fiona seems to be just south of where Earl was, are TS warnings up for PR yet?


Nope:

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* ST. MARTIN AND ST. BARTHELEMY

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* ANTIGUA...BARBUDA...MONTSERRAT...ST. KITTS...NEVIS...AND ANGUILLA
* ST. MAARTEN...SABA...AND ST. EUSTATIUS
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Quoting traumaboyy:


Figured you was watching Law and Order reruns!!

Adult swim even better!!
lol absolutely much better, cant stand law & order. Fiona seems to be just south of where Earl was, are TS warnings up for PR yet?
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Quoting BahaHurican:
For those interested, I made a brief entry in my blog about Hurricane Earl. Later today, as reports become available, I will update this entry with information about local effects.
thx Baha : )
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Quoting traumaboyy:


Yep.....well I hope not actually.....historically unless I am mistaken there has never been a landfalling major in panama city area. It does not make the weather Channel "it could happen tomorrow" but that place would be devistated and a whole butload of people live there!! History can leave us alone thank you!!


Trust me, history has a way of repeating itself.

You guys just had a hurricane 35 years ago though, if that's any consolation.

I'm talking about 1975's Eloise, which hit as a Category 3.
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dang this is gonna be close...
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How's it for the Bahamas right now, Baha?
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
495. xcool
;)
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Quoting traumaboyy:
GOOD MORNING LURKERS....COFFEE AND SUGAR COOKIES FOR NIGHT SHIFT STAFF ONLY!!

awwww - you can keep the cookies, not fair not sharing the Cafe'..LOL..how am I suppose to carry on after you leave? AFter all I bring in the Sunshine : )
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Well the northeast is definitely overdue for a hurricane. And unfortunately, history will always be sure to rectify that sooner or later.


Yep.....well I hope not actually.....historically unless I am mistaken there has never been a landfalling major in panama city area. It does not make the weather Channel "it could happen tomorrow" but that place would be devistated and a whole butload of people live there!! History can leave us alone thank you!!
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Quoting cfayne:
The way Earl is doing reminds me so much of Floyd in 1999. Stayed west of the forecast the entire time, and then slammed NC with catastrophic rain. I live 40 miles inland and we received 24 inches of rain. I fear Earl will do as Floyd and follow an almost exact tract as it is setting up to do now. Nobody took Floyd seriously til the warnings went up and then it was to late. Interstate backed up in one direction for over 100 miles. I hope I am wrong but I feel a NC landfall, somewhere around Morehead City. It will be interesting over the next 36 hours.
Hey.... I can speak with authority when I say Earl is currently well EAST of Floyd's track at this point.... at this point Floyd was getting set to cross the NE Bahamas, giving a direct strike to Abaco and quite a whack to the rest of the Bahamas... we had CAT 2 winds in New Providence, 75 - 100 miles SW of Abaco, as the eye made landfall there.

I think NC has a better chance of the "skirting" forecast for Earl being verified over a Floyd-type landfall....

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Morning all.

Earl really is getting very close. Hope the people in Outer Banks and its surrounding areas are ready.

Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting traumaboyy:


We definately have a front seat to history these next few days!!


Well the northeast is definitely overdue for a hurricane. And unfortunately, history will always be sure to rectify that sooner or later.
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Quoting xcool:
to me wnw


Thanks xcool for the reply. Any idea why the 2 sites are showing different info on Earls movement?

NHC NW

TWC/Weather.com WNW
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Good morning. Looks like a potential disaster is unfolding for the mid-Atlantic and/or New England. I hope they're ready.


We definately have a front seat to history these next few days!!
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Quoting smuldy:
hi! had replied earlier not sure if you got it-sobe was kinda slow, sorry just getting settled back in will be with shortly checking sat images that i missed while out now that AQTHF is over


Figured you was watching Law and Order reruns!!

Adult swim even better!!
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For those interested, I made a brief entry in my blog about Hurricane Earl. Later today, as reports become available, I will update this entry with information about local effects.
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Quoting traumaboyy:


Wow....Mornin Kori!


Good morning. Looks like a potential disaster is unfolding for the mid-Atlantic and/or New England. I hope they're ready.
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oooOOOOO XCOOL - I love this!!!
eeccck - correction - I love the picture - not the storms
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Quoting KoritheMan:


HURRICANE WARNINGS WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF THE NORTH
CAROLINA COAST LATER THIS MORNING.


Wow....Mornin Kori!
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Quoting traumaboyy:
try this again

Mornin Smuldy!!
hi! had replied earlier not sure if you got it-sobe was kinda slow, sorry just getting settled back in will be with shortly checking sat images that i missed while out now that AQTHF is over
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Good Morning to the AM shift - I see we got a Dr. Rob update and we're on stand-by for a new one by Dr. Masters this AM.

Those wave heights are Tremendous

Not much on Fiona.... and I see, as I suspected 98L is the swirl of interest with our Java Juice this morning.
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Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:
i know it is only slight, but it looks to me like the forecast track has shifted a couple miles closer to Cape Hatteras...


HURRICANE WARNINGS WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF THE NORTH
CAROLINA COAST LATER THIS MORNING.
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479. xcool
to me wnw
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So is EARL moving NW or WNW?

weather.com has the 5am as a movement of WNW.

Date: Sep. 1, 2010
Time: 5:00 a.m. ET
Winds: 125 mph
Strength: Cat. 3
Direction: Moving WNW at 15 mph
Latitude: 24 N
Longitude: 71.2 W
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i know it is only slight, but it looks to me like the forecast track has shifted a couple miles closer to Cape Hatteras...
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476. xcool
i think EARL lower end cat3
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475. xcool
traumaboyy mail.
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...EARL NOW A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE...HURRICANE WATCH EXTENDED
NORTHWARD ALONG THE VIRGINIA COAST
...
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Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:


You guys really missed a monster down there... Keep your fingers crossed for our little islands here in NC...


yes fingers and toes!!
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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.