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 Katelynn:
Buoy 41046

@ 2:50am EDT

66 knts NNE, gusts to 83.5

Wave Height 48.6 ft

Pressure 28.3 (falling rapidly)


Hi! New here :) Having sailed that area a few times, I find the wave heights to be unbelievable at that buoy!


ETA: dang....I type so slow, lol....thx mississippi!


My boat only 43.....NOT GOOD SAILING WEATHER!!
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422. xcool
lmao
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421. xcool
Earl need meds
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Quoting traumaboyy:


NOOOO!!!


Darth Vader agrees.
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Earl is holding steady at 941mb. 133 mph
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
We'll have to watch it. Some are predicting a major pattern change soon which will "open up" the Gulf.


NOOOO!!!
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Quoting cat10pr:


wow. ain't heard that one in forever! reminds me of when i was a kid and heard an interview with the commodores on the radio. they were explaining how they came up with the band's name-they threw a dictionary into the air and without looking stuck a finger onto a page and went with the closest entry. i'll never forget how one of them chimed in "we were almost the commodes!"



sorry all for my first comment being completely irrelevant. been lurking forever but just signed up. should've known better than to comment first on a link to a song after drinking... hope those still up can forgive my indescretion. thanks to all others for all the actual useful and informative posts. i'll choose my comments much more carefully & soberly from now on.
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earl look so bad now
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415. xcool
Earl look sick
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Quoting moonlightcowboy:
Have a good sleep, Nightshifters! ;P


LINK

Thought a few of you might stick around for the next runs.


wow. ain't heard that one in forever! reminds me of when i was a kid and heard an interview with the commodores on the radio. they were explaining how they came up with the band's name-they threw a dictionary into the air and without looking stuck a finger onto a page and went with the closest entry. i'll never forget how one of them chimed in "we were almost the commodes!"
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As Earl lifts away to the NW, Fiona seems to have been given room to improve a little. This may be temporary, but a continued W'ly path could casue a few problems.
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Wow 98L is at 50%
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Just woke up to check fiona... please dont tell me she is strenghtening on my doorstep :s
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Katelynn: Sorry to ruin your first post! But yes, those waves are amazing...and that is only SIGNIFICANT wave height. WOW!
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407. xcool
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406. xcool
48ft wow
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does anyone see in the near future that 98L will get into the GOM?
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Buoy 41046

@ 2:50am EDT

66 knts NNE, gusts to 83.5

Wave Height 48.6 ft

Pressure 28.3 (falling rapidly)


Hi! New here :) Having sailed that area a few times, I find the wave heights to be unbelievable at that buoy!


ETA: dang....I type so slow, lol....thx mississippi!
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Buoy 41046:

Wind Direction (WDIR): NNE ( 20 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 66.0 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 83.5 kts
Wave Height (WVHT): 48.6 ft
Pressure: 28.13 in, 953 mb
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41046 has 48 ft sig wave height!
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401. xcool
hmm
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Not much shear affecting Fiona now, as widely predicted. I also fail to see the "absorption."

The dance, now that I see.

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398. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #43
TROPICAL STORM LIONROCK (T1006)
15:00 PM JST September 1 2010
================================

SUBJECT: Category One Typhoon In South China Sea

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Storm Lionrock (990 hPa) located at 22.5N 118.9E has 10 minute sustained winds of 45 knots with gusts of 65 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving northwest slowly

Dvorak Intensity: T3.0

Gale Force Winds
================
140 NM from the center in southeast quadrant
100 NM from the center in northwest quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
========================
24 HRS: 23.6N 117.6E - 40 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Storm)
48 HRS: 24.3N 114.5E - Tropical Depression
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397. xcool
btwntx08 lol
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395. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #27
TYPHOON KOMPASU (T1007)
15:00 PM JST September 1 2010
================================

SUBJECT: Category Three Typhoon In East China Sea

At 6:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Kompasu (965 hPa) located at 32.3N 124.7E has 10 minute sustained winds of 75 knots with gusts of 105 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving north at 20 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T5.5

Storm Force Winds
==================
50 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
120 NM from the center in eastern quadrant
90 NM from the center in western quadrant

Forecast and Intensity
========================
24 HRS: 38.9N 127.5E - 50 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
48 HRS: 42.0N 135.5E - EXTRATROPICAL
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394. xcool
so SAD models NOT PICK UP ON 98l
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Quoting tessa:
Hi everyone, I wanted to see what the effects of Earl might have on CT. Any information is appreciated.

At the moment, TS wind gusts to 40-55MPH. Nantucket Island looks to be the closest, with Cape Cod possibly experiencing hurricane force winds.

Just keep a watchful eye on Earl.
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Quoting CoopNTexas:
Well, maybe not...Ivan on S2k says this is the wave behind 98L....



It's not 98L.
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389. xcool
CoopNTexas lol
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Well, maybe not...Ivan on S2k says this is the wave behind 98L....

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387. JLPR2
Well I'm off to bed, good night everyone! :D
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Long range EURO...here is 98L (Gas-ton)

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385. tessa
Hi everyone, I wanted to see what the effects of Earl might have on CT. Any information is appreciated.
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384. xcool
btwntx08 yes need update
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Quoting KoritheMan:


If that's the case, I'll remain primitive in my forecasting. There's no fun in forecasting if you don't analyze things for yourself.



Best quote this week! :)
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Coolio...YOU KNOW IT...LOL
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380. xcool
CoopNTexas you bigg EURO fan :)
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Quoting CoopNTexas:
EURO drops fiona.



Coop, I think the Euro (respect) has been confused about Fiona all along. Can't quite digest these two systems in such proximity.

Even Earl's northerly shear is moving west and weakening out in front of Fiona, as Earl continues to lift out. Yup, it's gonna get some shear, but imo, it looked like Fiona's low level circ has stayed intact. If it can hold some vorticity until it gets into the eCarib and Earl lifts out further, Fiona may still have a chance.

Who knows? These dyanamics are diverse, plentiful and rapidly changing. Tomorrow evening, I'm suspecting we'll see a heap of discussion, yack and all else.

Ok, y'all - I'm spent. Have a good sleep, all.
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EURO seems to do better when a storm is developed.
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376. xcool
i really think EURO need update
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120 hrs...98L back up

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Quoting btwntx08:
according to the euro natucket could get a serious blow
nantucket, RI and mass according to the Euro, CT east according to NOGAPS, weak side of what will still be a CAT 2 isn't exactly weak, so if center crosses in RI whole region needs to watch out, got alot of family and friends still up there I will definitely be telling them to keep an eye out and have ice water and coldcuts just in case
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at 96hrs, it's weak on 98L but notice another one coming off the coast.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.