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 LongIslandXpress38:


The Perfect Storm!



LOL perfect!
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 229
Quoting kmanislander:
931 mbs

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


Despite that it is safe to say it will be the strongest storm this season come next advisory.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3757
1503. leo305
Quoting GWphilly:
Looks like a slight west wobble...??? Thoughts?


yea..

Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting hydrus:
Isnt he about 95?


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.
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1501. JLPR2
Very good looking hurricane, with a better and more circular eye.

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Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:


Um... Yeah...


Well, please dont hang around their to much longer this is going to be very bad for that area and you know it
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1498. Patrap
Rainbow

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128639
Looks like a slight west wobble...??? Thoughts?
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Perfect
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
down to 931 mb max outbound 137 kt NE quad
NHC website
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931 mbs

CAT 5 not likely with Earl. Too little time and too far down to go.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
Quoting bwat:
If he has a good story he'll get on. My co-worker's parents have a place in Buxton. He went today after work. I called him earlier and he just told the cops that he was boarding up his folks house (which he was), and getting out. So ya, unless this gues has no common sense, he'll get on.


We are talking about Oz here...
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1490. GoWVU
Earl reminds me of HUGO and I went through that in 1989, it is scary how much he looks like Hugo... I am glad Charleston is not going to get a visit from Earl and hope he gets pushed out toooooo sea....
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Quoting cloudymix:

The way Earl is evolving, all sides may be very bad soon.

I don't understand a Dvorak number of 9. Is that anything like saying Earl could become a C6? A C5 means general widespread destruction; so a C6 can't mean anything different. What exactly does a 9 mean?

Yea I didnt mean to make it seem that the west side wouldnt be bad but not as bad as the NE side of course. North side will be bad ont he east coast because that is where the surge will be. But avoiding the NE is clutch. Outer banks are going to get rocked even if the eye stays offshore.
Member Since: May 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1640
Hey Terra, good to see you...And nice post! I've posted that chart many a times.
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Extrapolated surface pressure down to 931mb on the vortex message. That will likely be the pressure on the 11pm EDT advisory unless they go in for a third look before the advisory.

000
URNT12 KWBC 020131
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 2/0114Z
B. 27 DEG 21 MIN N
73 DEG 38 MIN W
C. NA
D. 81 KT
E. 179 DEG 13 NM
F. 262 DEG 120 KT
G. 180 DEG 14 NM
H. EXTRAP 931 MB
I. 17 C/2267 M
J. 22 C/2645 M
K. 15 C/NA
L. OPEN S
M. C30
N. 12345/7
O. 1/1 NM
P. NOAA3 WX07A EARL9 OB 21
MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 137 KT NE QUAD 0118Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 7000'

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1486. Max1023
I saved the current WU Earl image as my desktop background. Earl is the best hurricane I've seen since Gustav at peak strength.
Member Since: July 22, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 286
Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:


Um... Yeah...
I wouldn't hang around for this one. You should evacuate inland ASAP. If the storm wobbles to the West even slightly.....your screwed!
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Quoting hurricanejunky:
Oz is broadcasting live. Leg 1 of the trip is getting on the island tonight. Think he can pull it off?



If Dr Masters has seen fit to Ban Oz from the blog, you might want to show Jeff some respect and not post someones webpage to go to.

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Quoting klaatuborada:


But the price of fish is going to skyrocket...


Already has on our coast.
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Quoting largeeyes:
I'm back! Reporting from eastern nc!


You might want to be reporting from western NC soon
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 44
1480. angiest
Quoting TOMSEFLA:
maybe earl be be east of the next forecast point.looking that way .{hope}


If he is it looks to be no more than an eye's width.
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1479. angiest
Quoting TOMSEFLA:
maybe earl be be east of the next forecast point.looking that way .{hope}


If he is it looks to be no more than an eye's width.
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good post. we need to keep this big guy will off shore
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Quoting sammywammybamy:
Jim Cantore is Evactuating the Outer Banks.. Now If you Know That a Well Experienced Top of the Notch Reporter/Meterologist is Heading out of the way.

Picture a Guy CycloneOz. One Day hes gonna get himself Killed.

Hell Just be another Statstic for People doing Crazy Stupid Things.

No Offense.


Cantore is being asked to leave by local autorities. Oz will never make onto KDH
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Quoting matilda101:
Heck I'm a bit scared too as I live on the west coast of Alaska where I can see Russia from my house.



LMAO
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1475. Vero1
Quoting LongIslandXpress38:


Like the Eye of Mordor!



For a minute there, I thought that was a pic of DestinJeff"s "peak season chart".
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Product: NOAA Vortex Message (URNT12 KWBC)
Transmitted: 2nd day of the month at 01:31Z
Aircraft: Lockheed WP-3D Orion (Reg. Num. N43RF)
Mission: Non-Tasked Mission, possibly not tropical (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Identifier: Earl9
Mission: Non-Tasked Mission
Observation Number: 21
A. Time of Center Fix: 2nd day of the month at 1:14Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 2721'N 7338'W (27.35N 73.6333W) (View map)
B. Center Fix Location: 279 miles (449 km) between the NE and ENE (56) from Nassau, Bahamas.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: Not Available
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 81kts (~ 93.2mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 13 nautical miles (15 statute miles) to the S (179) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 262 at 120kts (From the W at ~ 138.1mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 14 nautical miles (16 statute miles) to the S (180) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 931mb (27.49 inHg) - Extrapolated
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 17C (63F) at a pressure alt. of 2,267m (7,438ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 22C (72F) at a pressure alt. of 2,645m (8,678ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 15C (59F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Open in the south
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 30 nautical miles (35 statute miles)
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 137kts (~ 157.7mph) in the northeast quadrant at 1:18Z
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
SLP EXTRAP FROM 7000
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 460
Quoting StormJunkie:


Got to be a shame to fly from NM just to get turned around...Ouch!


He better start driving further up the coast. Think he can get to MASS. in time? LOL
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1472. bwat
Quoting CaneWarning:


No, the cops won't let him on the island.
If he has a good story he'll get on. My co-worker's parents have a place in Buxton. He went today after work. I called him earlier and he just told the cops that he was boarding up his folks house (which he was), and getting out. So ya, unless this gues has no common sense, he'll get on.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 353
Quoting cloudymix:

The way Earl is evolving, all sides may be very bad soon.

I don't understand a Dvorak number of 9. Is that anything like saying Earl could become a C6? A C5 means general widespread destruction; so a C6 can't mean anything different. What exactly does a 9 mean?


The shape of the white section around the eye. VERY INTENSE on the DVORAK.
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 229
He is basically perfect now.
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This millibar to height chart should help clear things up. The millibars in the dropsonde data are indications of height and not of pressure.

Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
1468. angiest
Quoting robj144:


Didn't the GFS have Earl hitting Daytona and then New Orleans the next day, a few days ago though?


AFAIR GFS never had Earl impacting land until recently.
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The Last few hours on Earl. JMObservation
Very impressive on the satellite images as the eyewall has started to come close to the stadium appearance, which has indications of him strengthening. However, the positive sign in the loops is the movement of Earl. There is an indication of a more northward trend, and I believe this is not just a wobble,IMO, which is a great sign for the Eastern seaboard. Let us hope this trend continues. Longitude 75 West is the key. The more likely Earl stays East of 75W is a good sign for all interests up the coast, Stay Safe Everyone...
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Quoting oracle28:


Agreed, and with Earl's forward speed, that will negate some of the most intense winds since the coast will be on the west side of the eye.

The way Earl is evolving, all sides may be very bad soon.

I don't understand a Dvorak number of 9. Is that anything like saying Earl could become a C6? A C5 means general widespread destruction; so a C6 can't mean anything different. What exactly does a 9 mean?
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maybe earl be be east of the next forecast point.looking that way .{hope}
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Quoting CaneWarning:


No, the cops won't let him on the island.


Got to be a shame to fly from NM just to get turned around...Ouch!
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Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
Be awesome at the ocean surface riding 50ft waves in calm winds and looking up at the clear skies with stars. Hellava sight going on out there.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
1460. angiest
Quoting GainesvilleGator:
On the WU site the NHC has winds of 115 MPH & pressure of 929. I take it they are not done taking wind samples. At the 8:00 PM advisory the winds were listed at 135 & Earle looks a lot better on satellite & infrared. I think this has a shot of hitting cat 5 status with this latest burst - it will take a few hrs for the winds to catch up with the drop in pressure.


115 sounds like knots.
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Quoting kmanislander:
If Earl makes like a donut with teeth on the outside run for the hills.


Lmao!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4158
No worries.
Oz has a jet pack on his hurricane suit to allow him to fly over road blocks, I believe.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11348
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
I don't know anything about ridges or anything else but I make sure I pay attention when you say something because so far you have been on the mark to me. I have asked you in the past couple years about systems reaching us and when you told me not a chance you have been right. If you say there is a chance for this to track in the Caribbean you can bet your bottom dollar I will pay attention.


Yep, StormW and Levi have been hinting at this pattern change for awhile now as well... This may be one year that a long track CV storm makes it all the way across to the Carib. or beyond..That being said..I Love fish, always have!
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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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