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 PSLFLCaneVet:
No disrespect, but when Wilma exited the coast here in Port St. Lucie, you could not have convinced me of the subtraction.


Agreed! Something I DON'T want to experience again.
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I'm in awe, hope it stays away from land.
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1652. hydrus
Quoting bwat:
Can someone please link me a satellite loop of Earl? I can't get ssd to pull up for anything.
Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20507
Quoting angiest:


I don't know how long it takes there.

It would be too late now to evac Galveston and SE Houston now.


If you've seen the outer banks, it's a very small island, 2 rds, Hwy 158 and Rt 12. Rt12 would be packed, along with 158 but there are several routes to the north and west that can be taken to get out.
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 229
Quoting Vero1:
Patrap

The GRIP DC-8 , ...after returning from 3 great consecutive missions into Earl. It appears that the DC-8 successfully captured the rapid intensification phase of Earl. ...
great what science
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
1647. calder
Quoting leo305:
@Leve or anyone

what was the lowest pressure earl had north of puerto rico?

Apparently the system is at 931mb right now with 140mph winds


Lowest was 931HPa
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Earl is on a crash course.

PRAY FOR THE TURN
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Quoting Patrap:
Come the am,,,the roads will be full and folks swill be clearing out as they see whats a coming.

Hopefully.
just hope it's not too late
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1644. Patrap
Quoting bwat:
Can someone please link me a satellite loop of Earl? I can't get ssd to pull up for anything.


ALL NOAA Floater Imagery
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
1643. leo305
Quoting Levi32:


It is.


the last advisory had it moving NW

edit: nvm 8pm had it moving NNW, currently it's turned back towards the NW though
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1642. Patrap
Quoting Vero1:
Patrap

The GRIP DC-8 , ...after returning from 3 great consecutive missions into Earl. It appears that the DC-8 successfully captured the rapid intensification phase of Earl. ...


GRIP will have some Great data as to his run to cat 4...so they hit a Home run Id say too.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
1641. bwat
Can someone please link me a satellite loop of Earl? I can't get ssd to pull up for anything.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 353
1640. hydrus
Earl continues to become more powerful and more organized. Notice the eyewall is becoming smoother and more circular with each frame.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20507
1639. angiest
Quoting aasmith26:


If the storm strikes late tomorrow night, early Fri then yes, All day tomorrow evacs.


I don't know how long it takes there.

It would be too late now to evac Galveston and SE Houston now.
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Quoting oracle28:


I mean you can roughly subtract the forward speed from the wind speed on the west side of a storm that is heading north.
No disrespect, but when Wilma exited the coast here in Port St. Lucie, you could not have convinced me of the subtraction.
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Quoting Levi32:
Good evening. It appears Earl has dealt with the dry air so far much better than I thought, and is again strengthening. He is now reaching the same intensity that he was north of Puerto Rico, and we'll see if he passes that tonight.
Levi, this storm is nothing short of a jaw dropper. Think it will reach Cat 5?
Member Since: June 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 82
1636. xcool
2ifbyC REMOVE IT
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Quoting leo305:
@Leve or anyone

what was the lowest pressure earl had north of puerto rico?

Apparently the system is at 931mb right now with 140mph winds


931mb-938mb.
Member Since: March 19, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1421
Quoting TerraNova:


Hey wait Storm, I gotta quick question! :)

Would say Earl is annular? I've heard that word thrown around everywhere and it looks a lot like it to me.

He said no about an hour ago on storm chat
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1633. Levi32
Quoting leo305:
according to TWC its moving NNW?

since when is it moving NNW?


It is.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


Strong CAT 4 or Low CAT 5 at 11pm


Definitely not a cat 5 based on recon obs. Only around 125kts at best based on 137kt flight level winds in NE quad.
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Quoting StormW:


Thank you!

I'm out gang...early morning ahead.


Hey wait Storm, I gotta quick question! :)

Would say Earl is annular? I've heard that word thrown around everywhere and it looks a lot like it to me.

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Most of the OBX down here(Pine Knoll shores, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and one I'm forgetting) just went under evac too.
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1628. Vero1
Patrap

The GRIP DC-8 , ...after returning from 3 great consecutive missions into Earl. It appears that the DC-8 successfully captured the rapid intensification phase of Earl. ...
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Quoting xcool:
BEST analog year!!!!!
1998 RIGTH NOW.


Yes...Watup??.....Hope Good News!!
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Lovely

AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 120, 170N, 551W, 117, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
00z LGEM

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1625. Patrap
I understand the urge to witness..but if I lived on the OBX id be a getting out early in the am.

To risk this kinda impact and have the ability to not be there,well..good luck.

Keep a Magic marker handy and a Life vest too.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127559
1624. leo305
Quoting kmanislander:
Earl may make 145 but the last leg up does not come easy. All conditions have to be just about perfect.


I agree.. CAT 5's are very rare
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting angiest:


Is there enough time for that?


If the storm strikes late tomorrow night, early Fri then yes, All day tomorrow evacs.
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 229
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Beautiful and compact.



Like my ex-girlfriend! ;)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Beginning to head towards the NW/NNW. Not a good sign if you live along the mid-Atlantic states.


What degree is that? 300
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Quoting Levi32:
Good evening. It appears Earl has dealt with the dry air so far much better than I thought, and is again strengthening. He is now reaching the same intensity that he was north of Puerto Rico, and we'll see if he passes that tonight.
Hey Levi.Yeah alot of people thought we were going to see a way weaker system today.Well that changed for the worst......
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I am getting concerned though. I have an elderly grandmother who lives on the Pamlico Sound and she never evacuates.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Thanks for answering my question about the future tracks of CV systems on the radio Storm. I appreciate it.
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My thought on 11pm advisory:

Winds: 145 mph (Maybe 150)

Pressure: 932 mbar.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4898
Quoting Greyelf:

Speaking of crazies -- anyone checked a live feed of CycloneOz?


He just crossed onto Roanoke Island - not quite to the Outer Banks island yet, and is stopping to top off his gas tank.
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1612. leo305
@Leve or anyone

what was the lowest pressure earl had north of puerto rico?

Apparently the system is at 931mb right now with 140mph winds
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1611. angiest
Quoting aasmith26:


You are correct, I believe tomm, if the storm continues NW/NNW then we will see more mandatory evacs of higher-prone vacation spots, such as KDH & Nags Head.


Is there enough time for that?
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1610. xcool



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This is true beauty:



I really pray he stays offshore. Gotten much, much better organized the last few frames. Amazing eye structure.
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1608. leddyed
Quoting ussual:


Heck I live 20 minutes from the SC coast and until I see the turn happen I won't believe I am out of the woods. Not running for the hills (yet) but not taking my eye off it till it turns.

Yeah, I'm not particularly worried for my area, but, yes, that turn needs to happen soon. I believe it will, but I would be on pins and needles if I were in ENC right now, and don't blame you for being vigilant there. That's the smart thing to do.
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 75
Quoting redUK:
--

Has anyone here run the SLOSH storm surge model for Earl?

--
ADCIRC has been run.

Peak surge level:


From here: http://www.unc.edu/~cmattock/olas/web/storms/2010/earl.html

(ADCIRC is sooooo far and away better than SLOSH)
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Earl may make 145 but the last leg up does not come easy. All conditions have to be just about perfect.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15725

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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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