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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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: 15671
Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:
y'all... earl is really freaking starting to scare me lookin' all doughnut-like and stuff... (lol)

honestly, though, can anyone tell me if we're trending towards an OBX strike or away (models, general thinking... ANYTHING would be appreciated).

If I wake up in the morning and the winds have responded to that drop in pressure, imma gonna pee my pants.


OBX, it's Ok to be scared. It's life-threatening. Kinda natural to be scared. You just have to be as prepared as you can be - whether you're evacuating or not. Are you evacuating? What is your situation? How close are you to the water?
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Quoting StormW:


Thanks!
Hey Tom, that was good show with Bob!
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1602. snotly
Quoting LongIslandXpress38:


The Perfect Storm!



I don't know, Wilma, Gilbert and Mitch come to mind. Then you got Tip in the West Pac
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Quoting TerraNova:


I've heard only Ocracoke and Cape Hatteras. Both are very flat barrier islands with a lot of tourists, especially Ocracoke which is only accessible by ferry.


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.
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 226
Quoting leo305:


yea..



yep it did this is a scary storm hope folks
hear what is being said your home can be replaced you cant.
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1598. leo305
according to TWC its moving NNW?

since when is it moving NNW?
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1597. 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.
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1595. MZT
Outstanding presentation for a storm at 10PM. This is usually the diurnal minimum.
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1594. GoWVU
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Beautiful and compact.



Reminds me of Hurricane HUGO in 1989
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The more he screws around going NW and NNW just wasting time to make a turn. It's as if his own environment is buckling the trough and plowing NW into his own made up weakness
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9625
Good work on the radio show, Storm.....you are number one for hurricane info in my book!
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Quoting aasmith26:


Not all of the OBX is under mandatory evac attm...


I've heard only Ocracoke and Cape Hatteras. Both are very flat barrier islands with a lot of tourists, especially Ocracoke which is only accessible by ferry.
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1590. Engine2
Quoting Orcasystems:


I see the models still have you in their sites, and Nantucket thingie.
Going to be close
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Some great info on here tonight !!
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Are they playing storm alert music on the weather channel?.Everytime a serious storm forms they do it.
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StormW another outstanding job on the show.
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1585. Patrap
Come the am,,,the roads will be full and folks will be clearing out as they see whats a coming.

Hopefully.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125555
Quoting bwat:
I can say your absolutly right on that! Today is was scary calm when we come across the albemarle sound bridge. You never see that water as slick as it was. Then we came back across around 4pm and it was still slick. Most time we get a little sea breeze around 3, but not today. Very tranquil


you know the high is strong when inland temps hit 100 in september, not unheard of but rare for sure!!
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Beautiful and compact.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1581. leo305
Quoting Ameister12:
I'm anxious if TWC will play the storm alert music. I wanna know what it would sound like.


I don't think they will, they would have played it already =(
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting Engine2:
Great job StormW on the radio show!


I see the models still have you in their sites, and that Nantucket thingie.
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Quoting Engine2:
Great job StormW on the radio show!
Absolutely
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Based on last advisory, Earl's eye is 567 miles from me......
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1576. hydrus
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:


Rappaport was 46 in '04...so let's see, he's...younger than me...wash out your mouth, young man, I'll hold the soap!!

I'm glad he's calm and a snore... I think I'm nervous enough for the whole blog. And I come back in after months and you all just had to be talking about Isabel...MEMA just closed that one out a couple years ago, yikes!

Hale and hello, btw. Good to see you all, and a lot of new names.
I must have him mixed up with another Rappaport. The one I am talking about was probably 52 when Ed was 46. Good to see ya back A.I.M.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19514
1575. xcool
BEST analog year!!!!!
1998 RIGTH NOW.
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time to move north. way too strong of a storm to consider anything else so far as the outer banks, one high tide cycle would change everything, if it doesn't. Good wishes to the people of Dare County, tonight.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Dollar says we get another video of someone windsurfing this thing


I wanna see the guy get pulled up so high in the storm that he meets the Hurricane Hunters mid flight!
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1572. Engine2
Great job StormW on the radio show!
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I'm anxious if TWC will play the storm alert music. I wanna know what it would sound like.
Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 4498
Quoting BenBIogger:


Gaston might be the one if it gets into W.Caribbean.


There will probably be others in September and if nothing enters the Caribbean in September to tap into that TCHP what do you think will happen in Oct. and Nov. when the fronts dip down and lows spin up on the tail ends in the SW or Central Caribbean ?.

But, no point in looking too far down the road for now.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15671
1568. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125555
Quoting JupiterFL:


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


Dollar says we get another video of someone windsurfing this thing
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1565. xcool
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 0, 130N, 371W, 35, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 12, 132N, 388W, 41, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 24, 136N, 402W, 48, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 36, 138N, 415W, 54, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 48, 142N, 428W, 60, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 60, 147N, 443W, 67, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 72, 152N, 461W, 79, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 84, 155N, 483W, 91, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 96, 155N, 510W, 101, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 108, 160N, 532W, 109, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 120, 170N, 551W, 117, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
00z LGEM
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1564. xcool
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 0, 130N, 371W, 35, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 12, 132N, 388W, 41, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 24, 136N, 402W, 48, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 36, 138N, 415W, 54, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 48, 142N, 428W, 60, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 60, 147N, 443W, 67, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 72, 152N, 461W, 79, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 84, 155N, 483W, 91, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 96, 155N, 510W, 101, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 108, 160N, 532W, 109, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090200, 03, LGEM, 120, 170N, 551W, 117, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
00z LGEM
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Quoting largeeyes:


So you're ignoring the mandatory evac?


Not all of the OBX is under mandatory evac attm...
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 226
About to reach 74W. amazing, clear NW motion.
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Quoting kmanislander:
931 mbs

CAT 5 not likely with Earl. Too little time and too far down to go.

Dunno, the eye is really clearing out (stadiuming?)
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Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:


Um... Yeah...


So you're ignoring the mandatory evac?
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Quoting RadarRich:
No disrespect to Dr Jeff Masters, and the WU, if they banned OZ, did not know that, hmm? But, does anyone have the link to where we can find Oz's site/webcam?
He has a passion and is following it, whether it is crazy or not. He has given us all a lot to follow in previous storms, TIA


Where are the 3 drunk guys for this storm? That had to be some of the funniest video I have ever seen.
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1556. leo305
Quoting cartking24:
What is so important about it not hitting 75w? I live in Va. Beach, we are at 76w. Even if it hits 75 it can still be driven ne well before obx.


if it hits and passes 75W, the chances of a landfall becoming high
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753

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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.

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