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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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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Quoting Tazmanian:
09 i was wanting too no if there was any way this storm Earl could make a last
Quoting Tazmanian:
09 i was wanting too no if there was any way this storm Earl could make a last sac turn and hit FL


Really? But wait, it did go through the Hebert Box
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1904. leo305
Quoting kmanislander:
Here is another CAT 5, Dean, at night. Big difference.



Dean was a strong CAT 4 there =P

it became a CAT 5 right at the coast
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
There is a definite possibility that Earl could go annular as early as later tonight.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
09 i was wanting too no if there was any way this storm Earl could make a last sac turn and hit FL


Seriously? There is an absolute zero percent chance of that happening.
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Cloud tops warming slightly ?

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Quoting VBgirl:
We are near the Avalon Pier, pretty much right behind the KMart store on the bypass. Believe me I am not suicidal and don't want to wash away. I will leave. We only live about 90 mnutes away but I'm sure tomorrow it will take hours. I have already started securing the house and pulling down the storm shutters. Not that they will do much good.

Good choice... sorry to brow-beat you... but I don't want to have any thoughts that someone stayed, when they could have been talked out of it.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Less than 1%



ok
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
Here we go.
Every storm somehow has a damsel in distress.
The blog sadly wasted valuable time dealing with what turned out to be several fakes during Katrina.





I was thinking the same thing..........
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Sorry, but what is an annular hurricane?
Thanks
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Here is another CAT 5, Dean, at night. Big difference.

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Insane. Please start that turn soon...
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Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:


There is a HUGE problem with this, and I have been dealing with it all day.

Our county, Dare, which contains Cape Hatteras, has ONLY ISSUED EVACUATIONS FOR HATTERAS ISLAND - which is 1/2 of the county. If the storm actually makes landfall, then we're screwed.

A family member of mine is on dialysis three times weekly, and b/c she is five miles from the mandatory evacuation in THE SAME COUNTY, it may not be until 5pm until transportation is provided to get her out of the county.

this is ridiculous and scary. if this storm intensifies and hits us, people are going to die. period. this will go down in history as the "wait and see" catastrophe...

but, even though emergency management and government might fail us, it is our ultimate responsibility to make informed decisions on our own... and it's looking increasingly like we need to get the hell out of here....


Smartest damn thing you've said all night. Now get off the freaking PC and get your stuff together and get some rest, you're going to need it....
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SRSO
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting TerraNova:


It's the only button on my keyboard that's almost totally worn off.


HAHA ain't that the truth!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
## ANNULAR HURRICANE INDEX (AHI) AL072010 EARL 09/02/10 00 UTC ##
## STORM NOT ANNULAR, SCREENING STEP FAILED, NPASS=6 NFAIL=1 ##
## AHI= 0 (AHI OF 100 IS BEST FIT TO ANN. STRUC., 1 IS MARGINAL, 0 IS NOT ANNULAR) ##
## ANNULAR INDEX RAN NORMALLY

Per accepted research, may not pass the test. But it's trying awfully hard. Regardless of the end determination, an event to be reckoned with. Good luck to all in it's path,but let it curve out to sea.
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09 i was wanting too no if there was any way this storm Earl could make a last sac turn and hit FL
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Here are all the aircraft missions scheduled over the next 24 hours or so.

000
NOUS42 KNHC 011615
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1215 PM EDT WED 01 SEPTEMBER 2010
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 02/1100Z TO 03/1100Z SEPTEMBER 2010
TCPOD NUMBER.....10-093

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. HURRICANE EARL
FLIGHT 0NE -- NOAA 49 FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 76
A. 02/1200Z A. 02/1500,1800,2100Z
B. NOAA9 1307A EARL B. AFXXX 1407A EARL
C. 02/0530Z C. 02/1200Z
D. NA D. 30.5N 75.0W
E. NA E. 02/1430Z TO 02/2100Z
F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT F. SFC TO 15,000 FT

FLIGHT THREE -- TEAL 78 FLIGHT FOUR -- TEAL 76
A. 03/0000,0600Z A. 03/1200,1800Z
B. AFXXX 1507A EARL B. AFXXX 1607A EARL
C. 02/2030Z C. 03/0845Z
D. 32.8N 75.2W D. 36.0N 73.6W
E. 02/2330Z TO 03/0600Z E. 03/1130Z TO 03/1800Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT F. SFC TO 15,000 FT

2. TROPICAL STORM FIONA
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 72
A. 03/1800Z
B. AFXXX 0408A FIONA
C. 03/0915Z
D. 26.9N 67.1W
E. 03/1730Z TO 03/2100Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT

3. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: CONTINUE 6-HRLY FIXES ON EARL.
A POSSIBLE 04/0600Z FIX ON FIONA.
4. REMARKS:
A. NOAA P-3'S WILL CONTINUE FLYING EVERY 12 HRS INTO EARL
WITH TAKOFFS AT 0800Z AND 2000Z.OPERATING AT 12K.
B. NASA DC-8 WILL T.O.NEAR 02/1600Z FOR 8 HRS IN EARL.
C. NASA GLOBAL HAWK DEPARTS 02/0400Z FOR 24 HR OVER EARL.
D. NASA WB-57 DEPARTS 02/200Z FOR 6 HRS IN EARL.
E. NCAR G-V DEPARTS 02/1000Z FOR 6 HRS IN FIONA.

II. PACIFIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE.
JWP

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting angiest:
Apparently Channel 13 (KTRK) in Houston will be showing something from onboard a HH flight during the 10PM newscast.


Hope it's not a flight suit full of sh!t!!
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Quoting SykKid:
earl look not as good as hour ago.

he weakening now
I don't know about you, but that's a round eye.

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Grease up those F5 buttons...


It's the only button on my keyboard that's almost totally worn off.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
i was wanting too no if there was any way this storm Earl could make a last sac turn and hit FL


Less than 1%
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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.
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1882. Skyepony (Mod)
OFCL Wave forecast
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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!


Amen..well said!
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1879. robj144
Quoting redUK:


Good spot!

This is the eye:



Now there's a perfect storm!
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Earl will most likely not make it to Cat 5 strength. As a few have already stated here, conditions have to be nearly perfect. Earl's outflow is limited to the south due to around 10kts of wind shear and there is plenty of dry air to his west and south. Conditions just aren't quite there for Cat 5 intensity with Earl. However, there really isn't much difference between 145mph and 165mph. A Cat 4 is still going to do catastrophic damage, so let's hope and pray that the OBX can avoid Earl because the Gulf Stream would be able to sustain his current strength.
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Quoting VBgirl:
We are near the Avalon Pier, pretty much right behind the KMart store on the bypass. Believe me I am not suicidal and don't want to wash away. I will leave. We only live about 90 mnutes away but I'm sure tomorrow it will take hours. I have already started securing the house and pulling down the storm shutters. Not that they will do much good.


Just fyi, shutters dont help storm surge. I worked in the Pass Christian and Bay St Louis area after Katrina. 20-29 foot storm surge.
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Quoting angiest:
Apparently Channel 13 (KTRK) in Houston will be showing something from onboard a HH flight during the 10PM newscast.


Cool!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
It would be very foolish to stay when there is a mandatory evacuation out.



There is a HUGE problem with this, and I have been dealing with it all day.

Our county, Dare, which contains Cape Hatteras, has ONLY ISSUED EVACUATIONS FOR HATTERAS ISLAND - which is 1/2 of the county. If the storm actually makes landfall, then we're screwed.

A family member of mine is on dialysis three times weekly, and b/c she is five miles from the mandatory evacuation in THE SAME COUNTY, it may not be until 5pm until transportation is provided to get her out of the county.

this is ridiculous and scary. if this storm intensifies and hits us, people are going to die. period. this will go down in history as the "wait and see" catastrophe...

but, even though emergency management and government might fail us, it is our ultimate responsibility to make informed decisions on our own... and it's looking increasingly like we need to get the hell out of here....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think Earl could be a category two hurricane by the time he approaches Nantucket, MA.
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Grease up those F5 buttons...
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Haven't noticed the usual donwcaster crowd around lately.

I wonder why...



Probably crying in their basements...LOL.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting hydrus:
The eye is changing shape again. I do believe our hurricane peaked in the past 60 minutes.


Actually, that image is at least an hour old. It was taken just at the beginning of the rapid organization beginning. This loop proves it: Note how all of the cuircular-eye images are missing. Link
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i was wanting too no if there was any way this storm Earl could make a last sac turn and hit FL
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Quoting ADCS:


Yup. Also, write your name, address, and Social Security number on a card, and place it in a plastic bag somewhere on your person. They'll need it to identify the body, because that ocean can do some nasty things to corpses.

If you haven't figured it out - GET OUT OF THERE


best thing to do is write your SS# with permanent marker on your chest.
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So far we had a named storm in every month of the year.Let's see if it will continue in the coming months.....And by the way it doesn't even look like Fiona exsist.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17849
1866. angiest
Apparently Channel 13 (KTRK) in Houston will be showing something from onboard a HH flight during the 10PM newscast.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Nice.
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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!


This is a BLOG. We can say what we want to say within reason. POOF.
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Quoting ADCS:


Yup. Also, write your name, address, and Social Security number on a card, and place it in a plastic bag somewhere on your person. They'll need it to identify the body, because that ocean can do some nasty things to corpses.

If you haven't figured it out - GET OUT OF THERE


Darwinism at work
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Quoting charlottefl:
If you look at WV for the Eastern US you can see the steering flow really well, it's gonna be close, really close.


Yep, literally is going to be a foot race to the finish line...
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Quoting TerraNova:


Could be mesovortices protruding from the eyewall which is pretty common in intense hurricanes, but you're right, Earl has most likely peaked in intensity and should be starting a slow weakening soon.


I should add Earl may be still be stronger than currently expected while nearing the NC coast line, and there's increasing indication he'll maintain category 1 or 2 status up to Nova Scotia. He'll start weakening, but his core structure indicates he'll fight it.
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Quoting redUK:


Good spot!

This is the eye:



Dang Hydrus...I'm impressed!!
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Haven't noticed the usual donwcaster crowd around lately.

I wonder why...



Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
1858. leo305
When does the next plane go in?
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
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...
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1856. angiest
Quoting KanKunKid:


Hurricanes are actually kind of boring except when you can go out and stand at a 45 degree angle to the ground (wear safety glasses). The wind changes direction slowly.
When the wind starts moving the structure you are in you get a little scared. If parts start flying off of it, you might soil yourself, or someone else if nearby. Once the worst of it is over, you are pretty much safe from wind damage, unless something gets cut loose and comes flying at you. It takes about 4 to six hours unless it is really slow, but you can go out in 40 mph winds, just don't wear a full skirt or your favorite toupe.

By the way, when parts of your house start breaking off, you will wish the hell you had not stayed. If that doesn't happen, you probably will not be as afraid as you should be. Embedded tornadoes can do much more damage than a steady straight line wind.
My teenage boys watched movies all the way through CAT 4 Charlie who came ashore 10 miles from my house. I wouldn't be afraid to stay in a structure that I personally inspected for that purpose, but I don't recommend it to someone who isn't familiar with structural design and construction.


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!
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766

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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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