Earl a Category 4 storm again

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:23 PM GMT on September 01, 2010

Share this Blog
2
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1306 - 1256

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59Blog Index

Pass through the eye just found an extrapolated pressure of 930MB, and a peak flight-level wind of 137kts. Peak surface wind registered at 107kts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
Somewhere in the background one can hear the Carpenters singing...

.."We've only just begun"
lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Unless Earl's trying to build a 200 nm eye I doubt a EWRC is taking place.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting leddyed:

As someone who lives 60 miles from the coast in GA, I concur.


Heck, I live in Tampa and I'm freaked he's this close to me!
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting hydrus:
That is fricken bazaar...I try to imagine a 15 ft swell every 16 seconds. That has to be weird. I saw a report in the March 1993 Storm were the waves were 44 feet with a period of 18 seconds... Thats kinda weird...
wierd.....thats downright insane!
Member Since: June 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 82
Was wondering if others were seeing the NW jog.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1299. trey33
Quoting robie1conobie:
the 120mi. bouy off florida is reading 15ft. at 16sec.


The Disney Wonder is going to have a rough trip back to Port Canaveral tonight!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Chicklit:
I have a very bad feeling about Gaston, sad to say.
Also think people may die with Earl if they don't stay out of the goshdarned water.
Happens every year with those crazies wanting to get into high surf.
\

Quite ignorant statement :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I bet 157mph gusting to 170, if not now, at least by 11pm CDT. That should be it though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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!


Stay safe!!!
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Hello!

Earl looking great tonight. Really made up for all the dry air and the EWRC it was going through.

Member Since: August 9, 2009 Posts: 10 Comments: 5026
Gaston...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1292. Patrap
Somewhere in the background one can hear the Carpenters singing...

.."We've only just begun"
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128676
1291. leddyed
Quoting CaneWarning:
I'm just glad Earl isn't headed directly for FL, GA, SC tonight. Imagine if a storm like this made landfall. Wow. He should weaken by the time he comes close to NC. This still has the potential to be a VERY deadly storm.

As someone who lives 60 miles from the coast in GA, I concur.
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 77
Quoting kmanislander:


Earl is not the strongest system we will see this year.


Yup. With all that oceanic heat energy building up in the Caribbean, we will probably see another major like Earl.
Member Since: March 19, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1421
1289. Max1023
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It underwent an EWRC 48-36 hours ago, no reason for another one so soon.


Intense hurricanes often undergo Eyewall cycles quite frequently. Dean in 2007 had one almost once a day, and they only lasted 6-12 hours. Earl's first eye was 15 miles wide, it only lasted about 12 hours before an outer eyewall began on radar. The san juan radar recorded the event. This eye has lasted well over 24 considering that it was yesterday when it formed, so another cycle could be starting. However, this one will likely take longer to begin due to the size of the eye.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


Or 30n 90w

Or 29*N 96*W.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1284. hydrus
Quoting robie1conobie:
the 120mi. bouy off florida is reading 15ft. at 16sec.
That is fricken bazaar...I try to imagine a 15 ft swell every 16 seconds. That has to be weird. I saw a report in the March 1993 Storm were the waves were 44 feet with a period of 18 seconds... Thats kinda weird...Oh...Dat wuz in da Gulf 100 miles west of Bayport.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21420
1283. h0db
Quoting Chicklit:
I have a very bad feeling about Gaston, sad to say.
Also think people may die with Earl if they don't stay out of the goshdarned water.
Happens every year with those crazies wanting to get into high surf.


Yes, they have not revoked the law of natural selection, even in the US of A of the 21st Century.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1282. leo305
clearly moving NW again.. boy.. if htis moves west of 75W as a CAT 4/5 hurricane... this...is....very....scary...
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting 1900hurricane:

It looks like only a band to me at the moment.

I was about to say the same thing. A secondary eyewall would not be that broad and/or large.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Earl is gonna peak tonight/tomm morning. could approach the 150mph mark.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hm

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1278. Patrap



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128676
Quoting Patrap:


Or 30n 90w


I know what you mean. With what we have seen so far and the worst two months ahead I don't have to say much more. October and the fronts are still to come.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
gobal hawk flying earl thurs.
Member Since: October 19, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 234
Quoting Max1023:


According to a microwave image from this afternoon there was an outer eyewall forming, however the EWRC could have happened already or the intensification of the main wall could have destroyed the outer band, which can happen. However, in the south quadrant there is an outer wind maxima, however it is weak as of yet. I would estimate at least 6-12 hours before an EWRC can be fully underway.

It looks like only a band to me at the moment.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanislander:


At least I didn't say 19 N 81 W !!
I have a bad feeling about this one. Wasn't really too worried about Earl coming in the basin and Fiona I guess is about as bad as a normal nor'wester but Gaston gives me a bad feeling.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bwat:

I would love to have that url for the bookmarks, mind sharing?


I was going to ask as well :)
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 229
1272. redUK
According to the 00z early models, only one foresaw the intensification: the GFNI. That is also the model that bears farthest west.

It looks like a direct hit on Nantucket is a sronger likelihood.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm seeing Earl going back more NW in the last couple frames for sure...right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CanesfanatUT:


Agree - could be really bad. (No wishcastin')


We all know it.
Earl's just the warm up for Gaston imo.
Not saying Earl isn't important and it's a really impressive storm, but it's not heading due west either.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
The next indication to Look for if EARL continues to strengthen,,is radial symmetrical Spokes developing within the Eye itself.

A very rare occurrence we,may,..may see.


I agree. The spokes are usually a dead giveaway to annular type storms. At least with the eye. This is very close in my opinion. Looks very similar to Isabel.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Interestingly, the wake left behind Earl and Fiona may be enough to delay the high from closing, pushing Gaston to the north of the caribbean.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1266. trey33
Quoting CaneWarning:


They were just showing guys surfing in the dark in Jersey...


Darwin
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1265. bwat
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Its up to 140mph on the FTP site already.

May be stronger.

I would love to have that url for the bookmarks, mind sharing?
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 353
1264. Patrap
EARL Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128676
I'm just glad Earl isn't headed directly for FL, GA, SC tonight. Imagine if a storm like this made landfall. Wow. He should weaken by the time he comes close to NC. This still has the potential to be a VERY deadly storm.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting Max1023:


According to a microwave image from this afternoon there was an outer eyewall forming, however the EWRC could have happened already or the intensification of the main wall could have destroyed the outer band, which can happen. However, in the south quadrant there is an outer wind maxima, however it is weak as of yet. I would estimate at least 6-12 hours before an EWRC can be fully underway.
It underwent an EWRC 48-36 hours ago, no reason for another one so soon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
New F-16 satellite pass shows Earl with the best-organized eyewall structure it's ever had. Reds almost all the way around it. It very well could be making one last run at cat 5.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Just a question, I have been watching Hurricanes for about 5 years as part of my job and have picked up a lot of knowledge.

My question is regarding the track, the 8pm Adiv states that Earl is located at 73.5 W and moving at 330 at 18 mph. Given that trajectory and speed Earl will arrive at 34.31 N 77.78 W in approximately 27 hours at 1100 pm EST. The forecast places the center approx. 351 degrees from Earls current location. If Earl continues 330 at 18mph, What is going to turn earl almost due North from his current location. In approximately 4 1/2 hours Earl will need to turn 360 degrees to make the forecast point missing North Carolina and it gets worse from there. 18 hours from 8pm Eastern, if Earl follows the Projected Track, He will have to turn 010 degrees to miss NC. The expected Jet Stream that is supposed to pick up Earl and Pull Him Northeast is not supposed to be in place until 11pm Eastern on Sept.2. So what am I missing?????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like we may see the true intensity on this pass.

Do they have any GRIP planes in there? I know there was one last time Earl rapidly intensified.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1306 - 1256

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
48 °F
Overcast