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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1956. Greyelf
Quoting jeffs713:

I doubt it. If the satellite pictures alone aren't doing it, I'm pretty sure the pictures won't either.
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Quoting acarty:
Well, this is an interesting problem for the Moderators.... I was in SW Florida (Bonita Springs) for Charlie, Florence, Jeannie, Wilma. It really really sucked but mainly because people did NOT pay attention to NHC forecasts...so there! All of the rest of you.........

Those of you "here casting" or "there casting" or saying the NHC doesn't agree with you, for the most part, are making crap up for whatever reasons are valid to you.

Most of you have no real training or technical knowledge but REAL PEOPLE die if they listen to your drivel. SO STOP IT!

Been there, done that.

If you have some training, state what it is and what you think and why you think it . It has been a long while for those of us in Maine and we are looking for some guidance.. OTHERWISE, STFU!


I doubt anyone would base a life and death situation on a free website blog. Pullease.

Textbook 'melodrama' begins.
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1954. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
07L/MH/E/C5
MARK NEAR
27.98N/73.98W
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1953. redUK
Some who have been on here for thousands of years need to use what they should've learned from all that blogging.
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1952. hydrus
Quoting leo305:


they'll think katrina..

most people think that katrina hit as a CAT 5, when it really only hit as a CAT 3
True.It was pretty close to land when it was at 5 though.
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...FIONA MOVING QUICKLY NORTHWESTWARD...


SUMMARY OF 1100 PM AST...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...21.8N 64.1W
ABOUT 270 MI...430 KM NNE OF SAN JUAN PUERTO RICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...60 MPH...95 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 320 DEGREES AT 23 MPH...37 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1000 MB...29.53 INCHES
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1950. N3EG
Has anyone checked the trough heading east for its forward speed? That would be a nice number to watch also...
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You'd be surprised at how many folks aren't taking this storm seriously.
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I'm thinking that Gaston will follow the same track as David 1979 but it will recurve sooner beetween Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic....
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Quoting Bielle:
I have friends in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, a mile from the ocean and a mile from the bay. They haven't worked out yet how to install their storm shutters. They are both in their 60s. What advice would you be giving them tomorrow morning, given there is just one road on the Cape to the mainland?


Listen to their emergency management and follow what they say.
Member Since: July 29, 2005 Posts: 21 Comments: 794
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Probably crying in their basements...LOL.


Well, if not, Gaston will do them in. LGEM @ 117kts @120hrs. 17N 55.1W
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Long time here - and have not gone through any storms but have heard stories and seen through other people's posts what has happened (patrap always posts good stuff). If you're told to evacuate - just do it. What is it going to hurt? YOu're going to have a few days poolside at the la quinta with your dogs? Wow. That's better than the stuff I have seen posted where people are screaming and crying that they think they are going to die.

If you're not going to evacuate, please unplug your phones and toss them in the trash because calling 9-1-1 puts other people at risk because you were STOOOOOPID.

If you are told to get out, get out. If you decide not to do it (and i heard this during IKE), please get a sharpie and write your social security number as well as your name on your arm. It will be easier to identify you when you are dead.

I am always dumbfounded when I hear folks not wanting to leave. When I lived in GA, with the super deflector shield, if something even HINTED at coming our way, I was on the phone making reservations to the hotel out of the cone. Nothing - NOTHING was worth me risking my kid's life, my pet's lives or the lives of my friends that I needed to get out. No way.
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Quoting spathy:

Wait a minute.
VB Girl.
Virginia Beach Girl?
In Virginia Beach I would not panic.
But I would not stay either.

All my family is in Va beach and not leaving and I wouldnt either unless I was within 5 miles of the water. West side of storm only 6 feet storm surge (built a sea wall there). Biggest problem will be local flash flooding and high water table meaning wind will knock trees down with ease. With that said if there were mandortary evacs I would follow directions.
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1941. o22sail
Quoting MrstormX:
Has anyone put the big "A WORD" out there yet...

Earl has possibly gone Annular!

saw the sawblades forming, and was thinking the same.
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Quoting gumbogrrl:
Post 1758 is right. If you choose to stay, write your social security number on your arm and even your legs with a sharpie marker! This what lots of folks did here in New Orleans during Katrina. You have the right not to leave, but if you don't leave, don't expect first responders to come out and get you during the hurricane. They won't do it nor should they...you will have to wait until the hurricane has passed for them to come & help. I can't imagine that anyone living near the tip of North Carolina would consider staying for this beast of a hurricane. I lived through Katrina. What I learned was that getting through the hurricane itself is not so rough. (although it's not a cake walk either) But, it's the aftermath that is pure hell. Why put yourself, your loved ones and pets through a hell like that? Just do the smart thing and evacuate...
All we and the authorities can do is try to warn these people. If most had seen what ground zero looked like, first hand and not just from pictures after Katrina, then they would get the heck outta there now...So what if it is a wasted evac, at least they would not be there if it hits them to find out. God be with them all.
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Quoting Melagoo:
What will the next report bring?! Can Earl be a CAT 5?



well soon find out
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Yes.
*watching the blog foam up*

No, not really.


ok
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CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.3 / 939.2mb/122.2kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
6.3 6.5 6.5
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15718
1936. leo305
Quoting hydrus:
lol...Yeah, those wimpy 4,s...


they'll think katrina..

most people think that katrina hit as a CAT 5, when it really only hit as a CAT 3
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1935. Melagoo
What will the next report bring?! Can Earl be a CAT 5?
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1787. VBgirl 2:25 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
No damsel in distress here believe me. If mandatory evacs are ordered I'm going. We are just about packed. And judging from the pressure drop and sattelite presentation of the storm, plus the fact it seems to be wobbling west, I would imagine first thing tomorrow we will be in the long snaking line of traffic trying to get out of here. But again, there is a part of me that would like to stay but I also don't swim that well and like being alive. So...I will leave if they tell me too. But I stayed here through Isabel and Emily and was in Charleston when Hugo hit. So I do have a hearty respect for hurricanes and Earl is looking like Hugo who scared the hell out of me. So we will leave if told to.

OK, it does sound like you know what is the right thing to do. Personally, I would be leaving now, during the night, so you do not end up stuck on the highways tomorrow morning. I am the CEO of procrastination, been there, done that.T rust me, been stuck on the road a few times evacuating in FLA, NO FUN! Middle of the night is the best time to go, less traffic, smooth sailing. Just be awake and have some Coffee, you will be ahead of the game and the rest by leaving tonight.
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Convection in the NW quad is starting to warm.

Looks like 120 knots may be its peak.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15718
I think the North Carolina hotline is soooo busy handling a possible future Category 5 Earl that it says the following words

"We are busy with our services in Cape Hatteras. PLEASE leave a message after the beep. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!"

Even though i'm not in the cape Hatteras area, I want residents to know that this storm is comparable to Hurricane Katrina. This storm is a giant and potentially catastrophic monster. There is a 50-60 percent chance that this storm will become a Cat. 5 by either tonight or 2:00 AM. Still, this storm has proven to be a very big player, and this storm will be historic in a sense that if Earl doesn't weaken or doesn't take that Northeast swing soon enough, then there is a chance that Earl will make landfall as a category 3 or 4 hurricane in North Carolina, and as a Category 2 in Cape Hatteras!! This is a situation I would like to call "unprecedented" if tjis storm were to deviate only 50 miles to the west. I'm a longtime weatherunderground non-member. I come to weatherunderground to check the forecasts. I;m warning you, north Carolina residents! If you don't evacuate soon, then you might DIE!! There might be hundreds of deaths and over $13 billion in damages.

That's all.
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i wounder wish name storm they do 1st
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I would love to see Earl on radar right now. It would be a thing of beauty.
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Quoting acarty:
Well, this is an interesting problem for the Moderators.... I was in SW Florida (Bonita Springs) for Charlie, Florence, Jeannie, Wilma. It really really sucked but mainly because people did NOT pay attention to NHC forecasts...so there! All of the rest of you.........

Those of you "here casting" or "there casting" or saying the NHC doesn't agree with you, for the most part, are making crap up for whatever reasons are valid to you.

Most of you have no real training or technical knowledge but REAL PEOPLE die if they listen to your drivel. SO STOP IT!

Been there, done that.

If you have some training, state what it is and what you think and why you think it . It has been a long while for those of us in Maine and we are looking for some guidance.. OTHERWISE, STFU!


You really expect everyone to give their credentials because you are new and don't know who is who? Go to the NHC site, listen to your local people. This is a blog, not your personal hurricane center.
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1927. Bielle
I have friends in Wellfleet, Cape Cod, a mile from the ocean and a mile from the bay. They haven't worked out yet how to install their storm shutters. They are both in their 60s. What advice would you be giving them tomorrow morning, given there is just one road on the Cape to the mainland?
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1926. angiest
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
I bet if someone posted a before and after picture of Bolivar Peninsula after Ike hit then it might change their mind about staying.


Galveston Island State Park, well west of Ike's landfall, past the end of the seawall. Those structures in the foreground are picnic tables. They were behind the dunes. There are no dunes in the picture.

Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
1925. acarty
Quoting KanKunKid:


Real people shouldn't get advice here. This is a weather blog, not your local emergency operations. For life altering decisions, do NOT listen to a blog! People in Maine know better than that. Listen to your local TV station and follow the directions of your local Emergency Management.
One more thing..
Don't tell us to shut up, it isn't your place.


Really, I thought it WAS a blog...my bad
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1924. hydrus
Quoting stormy2008:
I think we're looking at 145 to 150 for the next update. If Earl does become a Cat 5... that should hopefully get some folk's attention.
lol...Yeah, those wimpy 4,s...
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Quoting philliesrock:
There is a definite possibility that Earl could go annular as early as later tonight.


I highly doubt that.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15718
my latest fix is Latitude= 27.74° N Longitude= 73.74° W determined using GHCC......

If Earl gets west of 75...... OBX better watch out!
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OBXNCWEATHER:

I don't think you will have to wait much longer for the right call to take everyone out of Dare. Everything I have seen here in the past hour suggests that the emergency managers from your next of the woods to ours are about to get real busy. Root, very hard for the cold front.
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seems to me also looks like front has slowed
Member Since: August 31, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
Quoting Tazmanian:
i was wanting too no if there was any way this storm Earl could make a last sac turn and hit FL
Yes.
*watching the blog foam up*

No, not really.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Seriously? There is an absolute zero percent chance of that happening.



ok i was this wanting too no
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Quoting angiest:


If you have any doubts as to the ability of your home to withstand winds, if you doubt the roof to wall connection, don't risk it!


Its when you hear the 2 x 4's cracking and see the walls moving in and out like their breathing is the first sign that you wish to god you had left
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1915. Jax82
Earl: Beautiful, yet scary at the same time. It has that Andrew look. If this is a taste of whats to come, i'm already shaking.
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1914. redUK
To be fair, the last 3 frames of this shows the eyewall weakening on the North and NW quad...

He may have peaked (again)

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I'll go with winds of 140mph-145mph and a surface pressure of 931mb on the 11pm EDT advisory.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1911. 900MB
Quoting hydrus:
The eye is changing shape again. I do believe our hurricane peaked in the past 60 minutes.


Ummm...that is one of the best looking eyes I have seen at that latitude!
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 643
1910. hydrus
Quoting TOMSEFLA:
u have it correct.
I have to say, those scientists on board that aircraft must put a great deal of trust in the pilots and there abilities...And in the plane..!
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1909. 7544
maybe he could pull a donna taz lol that would be fun
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NW movement. Like Patrap once said, this blog is 18 hrs ahead of the media, we already know whats coming.
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Quoting philliesrock:
There is a definite possibility that Earl could go annular as early as later tonight.


doubtful...
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I think we're looking at 145 to 150 for the next update. If Earl does become a Cat 5... that should hopefully get some folk's attention.
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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.