Earl a Category 4 storm again

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:23 PM GMT on September 01, 2010

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Hurricane Earl has regained Category 4 strength this afternoon, and continues on a steady northwest path towards the North Carolina coast. Recent satellite imagery shows that Earl has become more symmetrical, with improved upper-level outflow and no signs of dry air wrapping into the core. The improved appearance is probably due to lower wind shear. Latest wind shear tendency imagery from the University of Wisconsin CIMSS group shows that shear on the southwest side of Earl has fallen by about 10 knots over the past 24 hours.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Earl.

Forecast for Earl
The latest set of model runs from 8am EDT (12Z) this morning shows little change to Earl's track. Thus, my write-up of the possible impacts to North Carolina, New England, and Canada in this morning's post remain unchanged. The latest SHIPS model forecast shows wind shear will remain moderate, about 15 knots, through Friday afternoon. This should allow Earl to maintain major hurricane status as it passes North Carolina early Friday morning. By Friday night, as Earl gets caught in the jet stream and accelerates to the northeast, wind shear will rise to 20 - 30 knots and ocean temperatures will plunge to 20°C, resulting in considerable weakening. Earl will still probably be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane early Saturday morning, when it will make its closest approach to New England. Earl is more likely to be a strong tropical storm or weak Category 1 hurricane early Saturday afternoon, when it is expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Earl is a large hurricane, which gives it a higher potential for storm surge damage than a smaller hurricane with the same top winds. One measure of a storm's power, useful for gauging storm surge threat, is to measure the speed of the winds and multiply by the area over which those winds blow. This total is called the Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE). Based on the storm's IKE, one can come up with a scale from 0 - 6 rating the storm's destructive power from its storm surge. A separate rating can be given to the destructive potential of the storm's winds. The IKE value of 112 Terrajoules for Earl, at 3:30pm EDT today, gives its storm surge a destructive power of 5.0 on a scale of 0 - 6. Earl's winds have a lower destructive power, 3.4 on a scale of 0 - 6. Let's hope the right front quadrant of Earl, where the main storm surge would occur, stays offshore! For comparison, the small Category 5 Hurricane Camille of 1969 had an IKE of 80 Terrajoules, and the very large Category 2 Hurricane Ike of 2008 had an IKE of 116 Terrajoules--similar to Category 3 Earl's.

Fiona
Tropical Storm Fiona is struggling due to high wind shear, courtesy of strong upper-level northerly winds from Hurricane Earl's outflow. The latest Hurricane Hunter center fix at 1:29pm EDT found Fiona had weakened some, with a central pressure of 999 mb. This is a rise of 1 mb from this morning. The wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin CIMSS group shows that shear has increased to a moderately high 15 - 20 knots this afternoon. Satellite loops show the classic signature of a tropical storm experiencing high wind shear--an exposed center of circulation, and all the heavy thunderstorms pushed to one side (the south side in this case). Martinique radar shows that the outer bands from Fiona are bringing heavy rain squalls to the same islands of the northern Lesser Antilles that were affected by Earl. Our wundermap for the northern Lesser Antilles shows no stations recorded winds over 20 mph this afternoon, though there was no reporting station on Barbuda, the island closest to Fiona.

Forecast for Fiona
Moderate wind shear and dry air should keep Fiona from attaining hurricane status over the next two days, as big brother Earl continues to bring high wind shear. The shear may be strong enough to destroy Fiona, as predicted by the NHC. However, by this weekend, Earl may pull far enough away for shear to drop and Fiona to survive. The 4 - 5 day track forecast is highly uncertain, as there is a large spread in the model solutions. It is possible Fiona may pose a threat to Bermuda on Saturday or Sunday, and the storm could wander for a week or more in the waters between Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast.


Figure 2. Afternoon satellite image of Fiona.

Tropical Storm Gaston forms
Tropical Storm Gaston developed enough heavy thunderstorms near its center this afternoon to get a name, and appears destined to become Hurricane Gaston by early next week. Water vapor satellite images show a large area of dry air to the north and west of Gaston, and this dry air will be the dominant inhibiting factor for development. The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts shear will remain moderate, 10 - 15 knots, for the next four days, and perhaps fall to the low range 4 - 5 days from now. Gaston is over warm 28°C waters, and should be able to steadily intensify into a hurricane by Saturday or Sunday, as predicted by the many of the intensity models. Gaston may threaten the northern Lesser Antilles Islands as early as Tuesday.

Next post
I'll have an update in the morning, and Dr. Rob Carver will have a late night update tonight.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting ussual:
Hey Storm Junkie was that Fadder a Mudder to a joke in reference from "Fire Fly" tv show?
Abbott and Costello
Member Since: August 23, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 285
2355. leo305
Quoting leo305:
do you guys know how I can upload an avatar for my pic?


??
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Quoting JLPR2:


Ah, but it can always change, right? :0)

Yeah, like go away completely!! wishful thinking I know...
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I just emailed someone at NHC my resume. Ya just never know!
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ok guys so if the high to the east gets strong enough what will it mean for us here in south eastern mass
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Quoting jlp09550:
Early is pretty dang amazing on satellite if you ask me.

He's Early alright!...That's the problem!...
Member Since: August 23, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 285
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:
Latest steering maps for a hurricane less than 940mb suggests the ridge has strengthened east of Earl.


Good to note..and hence the current path still West of North...it has to move around the West edge of that A/B high which is building westward.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 383
2347. MZT
The first outer cirrus bands are beginning to cross the coast now... Wilmington to New Bern
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Whoa. Where did that come from?


OMG is it going to hit Miami???
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting jlp09550:
Early is pretty dang amazing on satellite if you ask me.



Still don't understand that strong SW quad.
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3:15UTC time which is 11:15PM EDT. lol, this mofo is going NW. I've got the loop to prove it
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2343. ussual
Tis gonna be a long night of waiting to see wait Earl decides todo.
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Quoting SeniorPoppy:


It's way too early to tell.
it's never too early to tell on this blog:)
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2341. Dunkman
Model question: The 6h GFS running right now has Earl at 982mb...does that impact it's ability to forecast how he will react to steering currents?
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
He is Now Intervieving People at Buxton, NC (Outerbanks)

This Guy is Crazy Lol
Not crazy. Irresponsible.
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:

No but have you seen the video on you tube of Mexico's military video tape of the 11 UFO's they were tracking. And that their government released to the media. My teenager just showed it to me!
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Early is pretty dang amazing on satellite if you ask me.

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2336. xcool
TampaSpin hey
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Quoting muddertracker:
I have no idea what that means...my nickname comes from my family's mud-racing history..yes, I know, redneck, but you can't choose your family:)


lol...Actually it has to do with that in some respect...Kramer (from Seinfeld) got a tip on a horse...The track was muddy...The horses mother was mudder and the fadder was a mudder too...Just a good Seinfeld reference.
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Quoting hydrus:
Thank you...HEY!! Look at the big white thing with a hole in it.
Whoa. Where did that come from?
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting atmoaggie:
For those that wish to analyze the entire cycle of NHC 5 day forecasts from Earl's beginning:


Exactly...tried to quote this before but somehow it didn't pick up...
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2332. JLPR2
Quoting KATRINABILOXIGIRL:
Did u have to show that?....uggghhhh


Ah, but it can always change, right? :0)
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You know what? It'd be a double-win if that front actually stops stalling - it's unpredictability is causing the heat wave to keep being extended each and every day haha, and now Earl might actually make a landfall in North Carolina; just a glancing blow, mind you. Another thing the trough is supposed to do is weaken Earl, but it's taking its time, and Earl has more time to keep his strength up; which bad news for pretty much everyone.
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2329. leo305
do you guys know how I can upload an avatar for my pic?
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2327. xcool
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Caribbean here i come...
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Quoting JLPR2:


Here is the comparison:
Gaston:

Georges:


Creepy, right? XD
Did u have to show that?....uggghhhh
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Quoting MZT:
It looks like the trough has been nearly stationary in TN and AL the last 4 hours, and moving very slowly in OH. This is such a cloossee scenario.

LRAP Real Time Color Loop/a>
I'm IN COlumbus, OH , I wish it would hurry as I want to turn off my AC
Member Since: August 23, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 285
Quoting StormJunkie:
Thanks mudder, appreciate it!

So was your fadder a mudder too?
I have no idea what that means...my nickname comes from my family's mud-racing history..yes, I know, redneck, but you can't choose your family:)
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Quoting hydrus:
The West-casters were on track with the forecast track.


lol
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
Agreed. I'm going to venture a guess as to why the subject of annular vs. non-annular is a continuing debate this evening: Steering. If a small continuation of relative movement brings a large shift in the possible landfall, then the creation of a path resistant to change is extremely relevant.
Tried to bring 2 quotes together and my skills failed. Need more exp. (mumbles a choice word or two)
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2318. JLPR2
Quoting JLPR2:



Its creepy that Gaston the name that replaced Georges is forecast to have almost the same path, very eerie.


Here is the comparison:
Gaston:

Georges:


Creepy, right? XD
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Quoting aspectre:
HurricaneEarl's heading had turned westward to 1.5degrees west of NorthNorthWest
from its previous heading of 11.3degrees north of NorthNorthWest
H.Earl's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~15mph(~24.1km/h)

01Sep . 03amGMT - - 23.0n69.9w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - NHC.Adv.#27
01Sep . 06amGMT - - 23.5n70.7w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - #27A
01Sep . 09amGMT - - 24.0n71.2w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #28
01Sep . 12pmGMT - - 24.5n71.6w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - #28A
01Sep . 03pmGMT - - 25.1n72.1w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - #29
01Sep . 06pmGMT - - 25.7n72.7w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #29A
H.Earl becomes Cat.4 again
01Sep . 09pmGMT - - 26.3n73.3w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30
02Sep . 12amGMT - - 27.2n73.5w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30A
02Sep . 03amGMT - - 27.8n73.8w - - 140mph - - 932mb - - #31

Copy&paste 23.0n69.9w, 23.5n70.7w, 24.0n71.2w, 24.5n71.6w, 25.1n72.1w-25.7n72.7w, 25.7n72.7w-26.3n73.3w, 26.3n73.3w-27.2n73.5w, 27.2n73.5w-27.8n73.8w, gso, 27.8n73.8w-34.5n77.42w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~33hours from now to Jakcsonville,NorthCarolina
Quoting aspectre:
HurricaneEarl's heading had turned westward to 1.5degrees west of NorthNorthWest
from its previous heading of 11.3degrees north of NorthNorthWest
H.Earl's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~15mph(~24.1km/h)

01Sep . 03amGMT - - 23.0n69.9w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - NHC.Adv.#27
01Sep . 06amGMT - - 23.5n70.7w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - #27A
01Sep . 09amGMT - - 24.0n71.2w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #28
01Sep . 12pmGMT - - 24.5n71.6w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - #28A
01Sep . 03pmGMT - - 25.1n72.1w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - #29
01Sep . 06pmGMT - - 25.7n72.7w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #29A
H.Earl becomes Cat.4 again
01Sep . 09pmGMT - - 26.3n73.3w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30
02Sep . 12amGMT - - 27.2n73.5w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30A
02Sep . 03amGMT - - 27.8n73.8w - - 140mph - - 932mb - - #31

Copy&paste 23.0n69.9w, 23.5n70.7w, 24.0n71.2w, 24.5n71.6w, 25.1n72.1w-25.7n72.7w, 25.7n72.7w-26.3n73.3w, 26.3n73.3w-27.2n73.5w, 27.2n73.5w-27.8n73.8w, gso, 27.8n73.8w-34.5n77.42w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~33hours from now to Jakcsonville,NorthCarolina
ACK
Member Since: August 23, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 285
2316. hydrus
Quoting atmoaggie:
Of course. Hmmm, might have to dig up a paper we did 6 (?) years ago.

But, that has an interaction with the shoreline, and bays, etc. along with approach angle. Little effect where there is nowhere for the water to "pool". Big effect on a concave shoreline, and large bays, lakes, etc.
Thank you...HEY!! Look at the big white thing with a hole in it.
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2315. MZT
It looks like the trough has been nearly stationary in TN and AL the last 4 hours, and moving very slowly in OH. This is such a cloossee scenario.

RAP Real Time Color Loop
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I wish I had a job at NHC. That place is going in over drive now peeople running around triping over furniture yelling like the stock market
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:


I suspect that the water level rise due to atmospheric pressure is very small compare to that water pushed by the wind...correct?
~ 1/10. But, at sea, nearly all of it is the inverted barometer effect.

At the coast, ~10%, roughly.

And big increases in central pressure in deep waters would have the result of the pressure-induced surge level having the chance to dissipate.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
ROFL ----
It's nice to see some normal insanity among the abnormal sane! : )
Quoting Orcasystems:


I must admit.. I can't tell them apart anymore... they all look the same :(

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HurricaneEarl's heading had turned westward to 1.5degrees west of NorthNorthWest
from its previous heading of 11.3degrees north of NorthNorthWest
H.Earl's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~15mph(~24.1km/h)

01Sep . 03amGMT - - 23.0n69.9w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - NHC.Adv.#27
01Sep . 06amGMT - - 23.5n70.7w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - #27A
01Sep . 09amGMT - - 24.0n71.2w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #28
01Sep . 12pmGMT - - 24.5n71.6w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - #28A
01Sep . 03pmGMT - - 25.1n72.1w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - #29
01Sep . 06pmGMT - - 25.7n72.7w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #29A
H.Earl becomes Cat.4 again
01Sep . 09pmGMT - - 26.3n73.3w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30
02Sep . 12amGMT - - 27.2n73.5w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30A
02Sep . 03amGMT - - 27.8n73.8w - - 140mph - - 932mb - - #31

Copy&paste 23.0n69.9w, 23.5n70.7w, 24.0n71.2w, 24.5n71.6w, 25.1n72.1w-25.7n72.7w, 25.7n72.7w-26.3n73.3w, 26.3n73.3w-27.2n73.5w, 27.2n73.5w-27.8n73.8w, gso, 27.8n73.8w-34.5n77.42w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~33hours from now to Jacksonville,NorthCarolina
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Hey y'all.. I've noticed we have a new thing under our posts now. :o
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Quoting largeeyes:
Most of the OBX down here(Pine Knoll shores, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and one I'm forgetting) just went under evac too.
Indian Beach
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Stillwaiting i don't see you even signed in the website as you should show up.....make sure you are signed into the site.
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My thinking exactly...
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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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