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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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

Looks like "Miss Piggy" has had enough and she is going home.




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Quoting hydrus:
The eye is changing shape again. I do believe our hurricane peaked in the past 60 minutes.


That was around 815pm EDT. It is now 1033pm EDT.
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10AM tomm gonna start seeing panick i bet
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1852. 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!
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1851. 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.
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goes 15 rapid scan is great. keep those posts updated
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Quoting hydrus:
The eye is changing shape again. I do believe our hurricane peaked in the past 60 minutes.


This image is almost 2 hours old
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Quoting AustinTXWeather:
StormW, Miami - just saw you are both on.. - per 1795, trying to get good insight on this if you have an update -
I believe that Earl will be a hurricane by the time it approaches New England. By that time though, it will probably moving at a pretty good clip and possibly beginning an extratropical transition.
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Here is Felix as a CAT 5. This is the other type of satellite presentation that you tend to find. The intensity of it just about jumps off the page.

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HH are done they sent their concluding message out... now when does the next plane get to the center?
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
Quoting jeffs713:

Barrier Island = large sand dune.
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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1844. redUK
Quoting hydrus:
Isnt that the "jet stream" on Saturn? I do not think it is an eye.


Good spot!

This is the eye:

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Quoting hydrus:
The eye is changing shape again. I do believe our hurricane peaked in the past 60 minutes.


I believe that is old. Check #1819
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Quoting VBgirl:
No, wouldn't stay if I did. Just me and hubby and he's as crazy as I am.


Uh yea. Epic fail. Seriously. Why would you even risk it? I guess Katrina was just another story on the TV for you, huh? Didn't get to see the photos of people clinging for their lives on the top of their roofs, or clinging to a tree surrounded by water. You want to know their mentality before hand? ...."I'm going to ride it out, we've been through this before".
Katrina was a Cat 3 on landfall. The East Coast is dealing with a very powerful Cat 4 and there is still room for more growth. If you think you can ride out 50 foot waves, well, yea. Lord help you.
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Eye temp is rising, indictative of continued intensification. Up to 15.5C according to the CIMSS dvorak intensity estimates.
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Quoting hydrus:
The eye is changing shape again. I do believe our hurricane peaked in the past 60 minutes.


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.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
1839. hydrus
Quoting TerraNova:


It's a perpetual feature on the south pole of saturn that resembles a hurricane. Data from Cassini shows that it has an eyelike feature more than 2,000 miles in diameter and an eyewall towering over 40 miles. But that's already beyond the point lol
Whatever it is, It is cool looking...I must google.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21492
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
Quoting MrstormX:


The leading edge is though... passed through earlier.
Just entering Columbus ohio
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Also - freeze water in two liter bottles or gallon jugs. As many as you can. The ice will last longer without making a mess when it melts. And don't forget rope for the tarps. Rope is important, too. You'll want that if you lose your roof.
Best of luck,
Ashley in New Orleans
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From Wikipedia:

"Annular hurricanes also tend to persist, even when encountering environmental conditions which easily dissipate most other hurricanes. Forecasters have difficulty predicting the behavior of annular hurricanes; they are a recently recognized phenomenon, and as such, little is known about their tendencies. Because of this, they can be more dangerous than typical hurricanes."

Hope it's not annular!
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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


Thank you.
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Quoting hydrus:
The eye is changing shape again. I do believe our hurricane peaked in the past 60 minutes.
u have it correct.
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Quoting jeffs713:

Good that you are considering to go... but I would be leaving now. Not waiting for the mandatory evac that you know is coming.

(look at Galveston with Ike... Galveston's mayor waited WAY too long to order the mandatory evac, and several people died because of it)


If you don't see some good news on the track by 1 am get out of dodge while the traffic is lite.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Heading towards the NW.


Miami... are HH inbound?
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If you look at WV for the Eastern US you can see the steering flow really well, it's gonna be close, really close.
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Quoting Barkeep1967:
I am in Illinois. The front is still not past me. do the math here please.


The leading edge is though... passed through earlier.
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Evacuations have been ordered for residents and visitors of Carteret County.

The Carteret County Emergency Manager tells WITN those evacuations have been ordered for Pine Knoll Shores, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, and Atlantic Beach.

The mandatory evacuations are set to start Thursday morning at 5a.m.

Beginning at 5:00 pm on Thursday, 2 September, access to these municipalities and Bogue Banks will be restricted to essential personnel only.
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00z early cycle models initialized on 120knots and CIMSS is at 120 knots, so we should have 120 knot winds for the 11pm EDT advisory.
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## 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

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
By the Hand of God, Earl will turn.

Katrina survivor.
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1824. hydrus
The eye is changing shape again. I do believe our hurricane peaked in the past 60 minutes.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21492
StormW, Miami - just saw you are both on.. - per 1795, trying to get good insight on this if you have an update -
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Quoting RadarRich:
1710. bcycsailor 2:18 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting JupiterFL:


Where are the 3 drunk guys for this storm? That had to be some of the funniest video I have ever seen.


You can find Oz here:

http://thextremeweather.com/


Thanks for the info, appreciated


You're welcome. I've had the vicarious thrill of being on a few chases. Passionate and excitable indeed. But...I hope he doesn't put himself in harm's way :/
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Quoting MississippiWx:
The GOES-15 from RAMSDIS updates every 10 minutes...sometimes even less:

Link
Heading towards the NW.
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One more thing...anybody else ever seen the charts for what remains above water on the Outer Banks with a Cat 4? The answer is almost nothing. Not worth the risk.
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Quoting hydrus:
Isnt that the "jet stream" on Saturn? I do not think it is an eye.


It's a perpetual feature on the south pole of saturn that resembles a hurricane. Data from Cassini shows that it has an eyelike feature more than 2,000 miles in diameter and an eyewall towering over 40 miles. But that's already beyond the point lol
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
I am in Illinois. The front is still not past me. do the math here please.
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Quoting snowboy:


It's not worth it to take the risk - please get out when they evacuate..


You should listen, especially if you are not from here. Kill Devil Hills between the beach road and bypass? Are you perhaps near Hayman or Archdale St?

I fully expect six feet of water up to the bypass (hwy 158) if the storm takes the 5pm forecast track.

If you don't live on the OBX you really really really need to leave, and those of us who DO live in zones not under mandatory evacuation (yet) should all have bags packed and be ready to evaluate things at the 5am advisory (i do).
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1814. MZT
Quoting charlottefl:
but think about where you're at, surrounded by ocean, and no where to go for help if you need it.


The OBX are a terrible location to be stranded. Even in good weather it is a long ride across the bridges, to get to the mainland. Imagine waiting until the last minute to leave Key West FL. You are seriously isolated out there.
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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.


After what happened with Katrina and Ike if anyone stays, it's on them. People will say anything for attention. It's not brave, cool, or fun to ride out a killer storm. The only thing one proves by doing it, is their level of stupidity. I'm not talking about people who HAVE to stay but the ones that chose to stay.
Member Since: July 29, 2005 Posts: 21 Comments: 794
Quoting VBgirl:
Rt 12 almost always washes out and gets inpassable. They usually have to get the backhoes out to get the sand off the road. Two lane road between miles of sand dunes. We're a bit better off down this end.

If you're staying, be prepared to be totally on your own. Nobody is coming to the rescue in a storm like this. If you're staying on a beach that's getting hit - not to be morbid, but write your ss # on your arm or leg, just in case. And as far as supplies: cash (credits cards don't work without electricity), at least 20 gallons of water, baby wipes, first aid kit, hand cranked flashlights (or lots of batteries), canned food, hand sanitizer, paper plates and plastic utensils (you must assume your water will be contaminated), bleach, tarps, valium, good red wine, shelf stable bacon, milk and cheese. The milk is called Parmalat, and can be found in Walmart near the baking stuff - it's in a box. What else? A gun. Dogs pack up and get distressed and bite frequently after storms. Protect yourself. There are a million things... but hopefully you just stay out of harm's way, unlss you're in an elevated fortress and have some experience with hurricanes.
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1811. ladykat
Just got mandatory evac call for Carteret County (Atlantic Beach, NC)
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Quoting angiest:


Been debating that all night.

His eye is there... I need to find something with the SHIPS text.
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It would be very foolish to stay when there is a mandatory evacuation out.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
1808. ADCS
Quoting ShelterNurse:

Please leave your name, home address, next of kin information with the local authorities and let them know that you don't expect them to save you.


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
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Hey, everyone.

I haven't been here since tracking Hurricane Ike with you all. Earl is starting to show characteristics of a Cat 5. This "Fish" storm is starting to put on a show.
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1806. Dunkman
Evacuation for Bogue Banks NC (Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, etc.) beginning at 5am tomorrow morning.
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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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