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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1406. leo305
Quoting CloudGatherer:
::Whimper::

895mb 60° (from the ENE) 173 knots (199 mph)


LOLLL WHAT??
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1405. bwat
Quoting sammywammybamy:
11pm Will be 145Mph. They Wont Upgrade it to a Cat 5 even if it is One.

Why?

The Media and Public are already going Crazy over a CAT 4. But a Cat 5... .Diffrent Story...
You may be right about that, but I really hope thats not the case. I hope, and think the NHC would deliver the most accurate information they could. But who know, I've seen jaws before too.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.

Here's your chance:


And here's your intensity:


Of course all this is subject to change.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
People die all the time between the surfing and the rip tides. Its amazing to me that someone hasn't figured out a way to stop them.

I saw a windsurfer in a NE in NJ. Was a having a grand time until he tried to come in, winds were blowing the wrong direction. Exhausted himself, fell off the board, kept going under. Fortunately CG wasn't too far away, and actually found him in the waves.

It really is crazy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.


For now I am saying a chance to make 65 W. If it gets there then we can look at it again. Fiona will cause the sub tropical ridge to build back in behind it and Gaston is taking his own sweet time coming West. Lots of time for the atmosphere and the steering to settle down.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15725
1401. hydrus
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.
Dont tell me.....Your on the Outer Banks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sammywammybamy:
11pm Will be 145Mph. They Wont Upgrade it to a Cat 5 even if it is One.

Why?

The Media and Public are already going Crazy over a CAT 4. But a Cat 5... .Diffrent Story...


Wilma was a Cat 6!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Those are some reliable instruments....

000
URNT15 KWBC 020131
NOAA3 WX07A EARL9 HDOB 37 20100902
012130 2753N 07335W 7645 02119 //// +158 //// 103106 108 070 006 21
012200 2755N 07335W 7684 02093 9764 +160 +163 104105 106 070 008 00
012230 2757N 07335W 7693 02097 //// +163 //// 106103 105 069 010 21
012300 2800N 07335W 7696 02105 //// +163 //// 107100 101 067 009 21
012330 2802N 07335W 7701 02111 //// +165 //// 108095 099 065 009 21
012400 2804N 07335W 7730 02086 9812 +165 +170 108094 096 064 008 00
012430 2806N 07335W 7747 02080 //// +159 //// 108101 105 063 014 21
012500 2808N 07335W 7733 02100 //// +155 //// 104103 105 063 016 21
012530 2810N 07335W 7737 02103 //// +159 //// 103099 101 062 011 21
012600 2812N 07335W 7740 02112 //// +161 //// 104102 102 059 010 21
012630 2814N 07335W 7755 02104 //// +162 //// 106098 101 060 010 21
012700 2816N 07335W 7763 02103 //// +159 //// 106099 100 057 011 21
012730 2819N 07335W 7777 02094 //// +162 //// 106096 097 059 008 21
012800 2821N 07335W 7780 02098 //// +161 //// 107093 094 054 007 21
012830 2823N 07335W 7756 02129 //// +160 //// 106093 094 054 006 21
012900 2825N 07335W 7783 02109 //// +159 //// 106093 096 050 004 21
012930 2827N 07335W 7834 02058 //// +158 //// 108089 090 053 005 21
013000 2829N 07335W 7828 02068 //// +157 //// 107089 093 051 008 21
013030 2831N 07335W 7827 02077 //// +158 //// 105090 093 049 007 21
013100 2833N 07335W 7819 02086 //// +157 //// 104091 092 047 008 21
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
1396. Max1023
Quoting ElConando:
Flight level winds don't make it seem it strengthened much.


Yes it has, they are finding 10 knots of extra wind in a quadrant which should not be stronger. They need to do a pass NW to SE and SW to NE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanislander:
For Earl to reach CAT 5 intensity the pressure would need to be sub 920 mbs and stay there long enough for the winds to ramp up. I do not think Earl has either the time or the ocean heat content to make that threshold.


I agree, I think a peak intensity of 140 mph/121 knots at 11 sounds reasonable followed by gradual weakening.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
Quoting mrpuertorico:



wow that eye is damn near perfect


The structure is there for a run at CAT5. Doubting the sustainability due to the surrounding atmosphere.
Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
::Whimper::

895mb 60° (from the ENE) 173 knots (199 mph)
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173 knt winds at 895 mb (199 mph winds)

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Quoting oracle28:
From the article "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."

This is good news, it will churn up cooler waters.


But the price of fish is going to skyrocket...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Earl has the most gorgeous looking eye I've seen in years. It's almost as though he knows this is his final push, and he's not making any waste of it whatsoever.
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1387. ch2os
TexasHurricane
Hurricane Earl

In that shot the eye is larger than Lake O.
Quite intimidating.
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Quoting gulfbreeze:
ARE YOU BLIND?


Who?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1384. leo305
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


If they played by that...

Alex would have been a Cat 4.



well have they moved into the North eastern eye wall?
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
1383. hydrus
Quoting DestinDome:
wierd.....thats downright insane!
BEHOLD!!...The perfect heat engine. I just hope the perfect heat engine does not kill anyone.
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Oz is broadcasting right now. One hour and 20 minutes from the coast. Will try to get on the island tonight (think he said Buxton?).
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Nothing to support that at the moment.


Nothing to support 150 mph surface winds? Well, Miss Piggy is flying through the eyewalls at roughly 7,000ft - and paying for it by getting fiercely bound around. If, at that level, it's registering winds of 137kts, then it's not too hard to imagine surface level winds of 130kts at some point this evening. We're not there yet, but with a rapidly intensifying storm, it's not an unreasonable projection.
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Quoting kmanislander:


If you look at the progression of storms and the sub tropical ridge we see a pattern of systems making it farther and farther West. The set up in the Central Atlantic has changed with the high going from being centered off to the NE, which allows for recurving East of or near to the Caribbean, to being zonal. This is the type of set up we have seen in years like 2004 and 2005.

I looked at several computer runs earlier today and this evening and they insist on having the ridge drive Gaston into the Caribbean. When you see that type of consensus with the models you need to pay attention to that.
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting leo305:


the pressure surely does...


If they played by that...

Alex would have been a Cat 4.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
Earl is probably a strong Cat 4, I can't see it being a 5 right now.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Heck I'm a bit scared too as I live on the west coast of Alaska where I can see Russia from my house.
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Quoting CyclonicVoyage:
Earl is going Ballistic tonight folks.





wow that eye is damn near perfect
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
Could this be a brief transition to annular status? Forgot who mentioned this earlier. Looks like the feeder bands are diminishing for now and the doughnut showing nicely. Thanks for any input.
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Not sure what we will see at 11 pm, but it could be that Hurricane force windfield will expand a little as will T/S force windfield...

JMHO
Member Since: September 8, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 1011
1372. wjdow
Quoting klaatuborada:
ok, well, this sucks. I thought he was s'posed to turn, dang nab it. We're under hurricane watches now on the ole Cape of Cod.

Here's the real problem. There's no way to evacuate. There are only 2 bridges off Cape, the Sagamore and the Bourne. Even if they keep traffic in one direction, all four lanes going off, the little 2 lane highways to them will be backed up so far, people will be sitting ducks in their cars when the storm hits. That's why so many people just hunker down and pray.

I'll be back tomorrow. I have to work 10-4, then I have a conference call for a new job, then I have a hurricane. lol!


there's time for people to get off the cape assuming some are already starting, except if it's anything like rita in houston/galveston, there won't be enough gasoline or open gas stations, so many cars may stall and clog the roads. hopefully, fuel trucks are on their way to the cape now and people will be encouraged and able to get gas before they get on the road.
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1371. leo305
pressure dropped from 941 to 932, so it's probable that the winds may follow soon.. that tends to happen in hurricanes
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
ARE YOU BLIND?
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Quoting redUK:
--

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

--

Good idea! Volunteers?!
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Quoting TOMSEFLA:
long range gfs has gus crossing hispanola.


Also keeping the wave train active through a lot of next week.

Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 76 Comments: 4063
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:
Oh Gaston to think I actually thought the Gulf would be spared this year and you had to show up and mess that all up. Gaston does not look good. This could be the one that does some serious damage. Yes I know Earl is out there but I just dont see a direct hit from the eye onshore and the worst part NE side should remain over water.


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.
Member Since: July 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 596
Quoting weatherman12345:
did recon reach the center yet


Post 1325
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Not really looking like a Caribbean system. Maybe another system that ends up north of the islands.

Notice that cut towards the west at the end of the model plots though. Lots of uncertainty right now, but definitely a strong possibility.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Earl is going Ballistic tonight folks.


Member Since: January 30, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 3259
Quoting TOMSEFLA:
long range gfs has gus crossing hispanola.



this what they dont need
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Wow. Welcome to the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

It's REALLY getting crazy now. Earl could be a monster. Really interested to find out what the 11pm advisory will say.

Gaston will be very interesting to monitor.
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1358. leo305
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Nothing to support that at the moment.


the pressure surely does...
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting FLdewey:
CycloneOz just wiped out a Sports Authority in Goldsboro,NC. All of the XXL Athletic supporters and cups are GONE.


LOL
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15776
For Earl to reach CAT 5 intensity the pressure would need to be sub 920 mbs and stay there long enough for the winds to ramp up. I do not think Earl has either the time or the ocean heat content to make that threshold.
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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