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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I think eastern Maine will have to be on the look out for Earl, the 06z GFS shifted significantly west at 90hrs.
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Quoting breald:


It is going to take him forever to get to the outer banks. He should have flown into Raleigh/Durham. But I a sure it was cheaper to fly into Charlotte.


Wow Charlotte to the OBX is quite the drive ...even from Raleigh its about 5-6 hrs
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I am concerned about the Outer Banks. That place is filled up this time of year. Getting on or off the island on highway 12 this time of year is a nightmare if you hit it at the wrong time. I honestly can not imagine an evacuation happening quickly. My MIL has a beach house in Currituck...it's way over built up there, IMO. Only one way off, have to drive south for 20 miles to get to the bridge. I know authorities walking a fine line between vacation dollars and safety, but this is scary.
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1269. 900MB
It is interesting to see how Earl is pushing dry air into Kentucky, WV, and pushing the dry air at the front. Seen clearly in water vapor loop:
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/nwatl/flash-wv.htmlLink
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1267. Engine2
NAM 48 w/ precip
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1266. Bonedog
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Could someone who understands maps better than I take a look at this and tell me what it is showing? I got on one of my web-surfs riffing off SLOSH and wound up on Google maps with what I think might be a simulation of a post hurricane arial survey of the outer banks but I'm having trouble interpreting it. Might help if its someone who knows the place better than I. I've only been there one time and it was a wile ago. Map


US Army Corps Engineer Flight Survey after Ophelia



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does anyone see Fiona doing a Hurricane Jeanne like back in 2004 where Jeanne did a clockwise loop, went straight west and hit florida?

Also, what does someone make of 98L? It seems like a much further west tracking system? Maybe Florida?

who can shed some light on this for me? thanks
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1263. Engine2
NAM 48
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Zoomed:


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1261. unruly
Quoting Unlabled:
Projected storm path reminds me a lot of Hurricane Bob (1991)
!
it is very similar
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Quoting ackee:
anyone one think 98L will be TD#9 by 11am


Um it already is
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1258. ackee
anyone one think 98L will be TD#9 by 11am
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1257. Or4590
Quoting ILwthrfan:
Hes wrapping in some dry air.

WV loop
Link



He's been doing this for awhile now. There's no dry air in the core...so for now it looks like he'll continue to strenthen
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1256. breald
Quoting hurricanejunky:
Got a call around 8am from Cyclone Oz that he was onboard his flight to Charlotte. He'll be onsite at Buxton, NC (Cape Hatteras) near the water to intercept Hurricane Earl. Go live to be determined but you'll be able to follow along as usual.


It is going to take him forever to get to the outer banks. He should have flown into Raleigh/Durham. But I a sure it was cheaper to fly into Charlotte.
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1255. markot
gaston could be very dangerous hurricane for antilles, leewards. bahamas and fl.
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1254. will40
i will be really surprised if they allow OZ to set up at Buxton
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1253. Dunkman
I really hope the NAM has it right...of course it's done a pretty miserable job with this storm so far...
Member Since: February 6, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 214
Could be that the impacts are minimal.

Peak water level ("blinking" from astronomical tide effects), in meters:


Peak winds, in knots:
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Quoting Engine2:
NAM 42


Out to lunch
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Steering at, above and below Earls pressure. Notice anything missing from yesterday?







Link
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1249. snotly
Could the dry air wrap around Earl and turn him annular?
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If Earl stays offshore, it will be not be too bad for the East Coast and there should not be a big tornado threat because the NE quadrabnt will remain well offshore.......But the beach erosion will be brutal and probably the biggest impact (might even wash up a few lobsters towards the beaches).


This tune of yours is getting old. Give it a rest.
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Could someone who understands maps better than I take a look at this and tell me what it is showing? I got on one of my web-surfs riffing off SLOSH and wound up on Google maps with what I think might be a simulation of a post hurricane arial survey of the outer banks but I'm having trouble interpreting it. Might help if its someone who knows the place better than I. I've only been there one time and it was a wile ago. Map
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1245. Vero1
Quoting markot:
has earl turned more west


Earl only has one eye...and it is difficult to focus on which line to follow.
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1244. 7544
Quoting markot:
has earl turned more west


yeap hes wobbling again and getting stronger now
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I went and bought water, batteries and a couple of lanterns. I live in DE and from what I am seeing, they don't expect much here. Better safe than sorry. I didn't want to be in Walmart with all of the crazies should the forecast for "showers" change.
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1242. Or4590
Quoting Melagoo:


That cold front will not allow Earl to hit the USA but NOVA SCOTIA is royally screwed


Meh, shouldn't be too bad here in Cape Breton. :D
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1241. hydrus
Quoting FLdewey:

Interesting. Fiona is in limbo.
The Antilles could be in for a really busy September.
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Quoting 1992Andrew:
Is TD9 a caribbean or Bahamas storm?

Its barely even a cyclone (and not yet a "storm"), and its in the Central Atlantic. Right now, its forecast is to be over water for a few days.
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1238. Bonedog


Quoting doggonehurricane:
Hey how come some posts are automatically hidden. I just joined, I didn't poof anyone yet


doggone... upper right side of the blog is a drop down menu. Probably says show average right now. Click on it and change to show all then refresh the blog.
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1237. Engine2
NAM 42
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1235. hydrus
Quoting 1992Andrew:
Is TD9 a caribbean or Bahamas storm?
Too early to say. I think Bahamas.jmo
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1234. markot
has earl turned more west
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1233. 900MB
Guessing Earl's pressure has peaked for the moment and looks to be going back to the 930's. I think we are back to Cat 4. Not sure if that will be called for the 11am advisory, but would be willing to bet we are at Cat 4 for the 2pm.

Still so much unknown- the timing of trough, various highs, wobbles, etc.. One thing for sure, this is one impressive storm, one to be exceedingly cautious about!
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1232. Hhunter
Quoting 1992Andrew:
Is TD9 a caribbean or Bahamas storm?


Quoting 1992Andrew:
Is TD9 a caribbean or Bahamas storm?


It's early but it looks that way.
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1229. Engine2
NAM 36
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at the very top of the comments section (just below the blue bar) there is a box that says 'filter'. Use the dropdown to select how you want to filter the comments.

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Is TD9 a caribbean or Bahamas storm?
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Bob 1991
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1225. will40
Quoting FloridaHeat:
my aunt lives in newport news virginia should she be concerned


here is a link for the NWS in her area

Link
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Once storms get this close to the coast, I quit and ignore the models and watch the satellite loops, they don't lie
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Projected storm path reminds me a lot of Hurricane Bob (1991)
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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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