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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I guess were not out of the woods yet from earl in Nova Scotia yet.Dr Master's told me that in Halifax where i live we can expect sustained winds of 75 mph with higher gusts, those kinda of winds will certainnly lead to widespread power outages. well at least my family, friends, are ready. Now this storm is ramping up i wonder what that will do to the overall intensity guide over the next 2 to 3 days, gulp.To all of our american friends that may be affected our prayers from your little brother to the north will be praying for your safekeeping.
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1204. Patrap
Earl appears to be in a steady state as I see no indication of a EWRC.


And the HH show no Indication as well.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128661
Quoting Patrap:




We have a winner! LOL, best post of the night Pat!
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1202. snowboy
Quoting TerraNova:
Interesting portion from a Canadian weather office discussion...

(...) Also Earl will be moving into a
pre-existing tropical airmass as is being experienced over Eastern
Canada recently. That could permit Earl to retain more tropical
characteristics as it enters our region.

Full: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/hurricane/statements_e.html


I'll vouch for the pre-existing tropical - 90 degrees to day up here near Toronto, and humid..
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With Earl at 932mb I wouldn't be surprised that it will continue to fall further as sat representation continues to improve.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Hi there LOL

Gaston may well be the first true test for the Caribbean this year. Zonal flow from E to W, negative NAO and the MJO always swinging back to the Atl basin. Factor in very high SST and off the charts TCHP and you have a recipe for real problems. If Gaston makes it to 70 W and 17N expect a CAT 5


Agreed. As scary as Earl is right now, I expect we'll be just as terrified if not moreso in about a week. Call me Mr. Sunshine.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting SykKid:
earl starting EWRC now thank goodness


Where are you seeing that? I see no evidence looking at it.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
WOW

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
Quoting SykKid:
earl starting EWRC now thank goodness


even if it did start one now... the eye would have to contract which would have a huge increase in winds before the outer eyewall develops
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1196. snowboy
the East Coast high is getting SQUEEZED between Earl and the trough - everything hinges on what gives first and how fast Earl keeps moving..
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/eaus/flash-wv.html
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1195. Patrap



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128661
Quoting Max1023:


When I see dvorak outputting a T 9.0 I wouldn't want to be in the same hemisphere as whatever monster makes that. A storm that strong would be sub 890mb pressure in almost all cases. I thought 8 was the maximum anyway?


LOL
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Will be interesting to see 11 pm update...

Also interesting to see how A-B High sets up next week ...The wave train is just gettin'
into gear!
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Quoting Chicklit:
LOL Kman. I was wondering when you'd show up to talk about Gaston!
Models showing it well south of 20N at 50W.


Hi there LOL

Gaston may well be the first true test for the Caribbean this year. Zonal flow from E to W, negative NAO and the MJO always swinging back to the Atl basin. Factor in very high SST and off the charts TCHP and you have a recipe for real problems. If Gaston makes it to 70 W and 17N expect a CAT 5
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It's the nickname for the WP-3D Orion aircraft. That's what is currently investigating Earl.


Oh ok.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
not that I am looking for a storm in the Gulf (our families lost everything to Katrina (St. Bernard Parish) but what is keeping these storms from going into the Gulf and is this expected to change or is the trend going to be for them to head to the East Coast?
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Quoting RecordSeason:
I just re-checked the image to be sure, and I didn't read it wrong.

It said 922mb.


Now that may be a typo on the part of whoever entered the data, but the tool is what it is. It said 922...


That's why I asked if anyone could confirm it.


Could you post a link to that image?
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From Steve Weagle's facebook page:
Buoy 41047 located 90 miles northeast of Earl reporting 63mph wind gusts. Earl still packing winds of 135mph
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1186. Max1023
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
solid white ring so it begins


When I see dvorak outputting a T 9.0 I wouldn't want to be in the same hemisphere as whatever monster makes that. A storm that strong would be sub 890mb pressure in almost all cases. I thought 8 was the maximum anyway?
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1185. marmark
Quoting Chicklit:
This is the bad boy.
I truly worry about Haiti with this one.
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1184. dmaddox
the eye is 30-35nm wide
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Interesting portion from a Canadian weather office discussion...

(...) Also Earl will be moving into a
pre-existing tropical airmass as is being experienced over Eastern
Canada recently. That could permit Earl to retain more tropical
characteristics as it enters our region.

Full: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/hurricane/statements_e.html
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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,
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
Quoting CaneWarning:


What is "Miss Piggy"?
It's the nickname for the WP-3D Orion aircraft. That's what is currently investigating Earl.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1179. twooks
Back.

Miss anything exciting?
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1178. Ryuujin
Guys, Earl is still fairly clearly stair stepping NW. I don't see this all of sudden True N direction people keep talking about.
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LOL Kman. I was wondering when you'd show up to talk about Gaston!
Models showing it well south of 20N at 50W.
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1176. dmaddox
the gonna make one more pass thru... will get another fix and vortex data message msg shortly...
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1175. marmark
Quoting msmama51:
I wanted to tell everyone who has been or will be affected by Earl, as well as the storms coming after in this very active season, that my thoughts and prayers are with you. May Whoever you hold holy protect and keep you and yours safe.
That is nice, mama.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
00z LGEM took Gaston to Category 4

Here's the 00z SHIPS:

V (KT) NO LAND 35 38 42 46 49 56 63 72 79 84 86 92 94
That's not a surprise considering it will deal with a favorable envierment along with warm sst.But wait the models didn't even pick up on Gaston and look what happend(hey that rhymed (*.*)!.
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I wanted to tell everyone who has been or will be affected by Earl, as well as the storms coming after in this very active season, that my thoughts and prayers are with you. May Whoever you hold holy protect and keep you and yours safe.
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1172. Patrap
NEXRAD Radar
Melbourne, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128661
1171. marmark
Quoting Greyelf: No offense...but you have the most annoying avatar...all that action makes me go into hypermode LOL!!!
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1170. Max1023
The dry air surrounding earl is reducing the amount of feeder bands in the southern semicircle, from about 270 CCW to 090. This makes earl look slightly annular, however it does not have annular structure.
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1169. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Patrap:
When you see the Dvorak make a white Number 9.

Well..best not be around near landfall.

solid white ring so it begins
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Quoting Chicklit:
This is the bad boy.


Agree, although the others will make for great surfing, Gaston looks to be to one to watch.
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Quoting hydrus:
Its 100,000 miles away. ask this weekend.:)

Wow, that's almost halfway to the moon! ;)
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Quoting Chicklit:
This is the bad boy.


Did someone say bad boy ??
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How wide is Earls Eye?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
"Miss Piggy" headed back towards the eye of Earl. If it did continue to intensify, I wouldn't be surprised to see Earl peak at 135kt.


What is "Miss Piggy"?
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
1163. 2ifbyC
Quoting Bonz:


They need to make them to take regular AAs or other normal batteries, not these "special" ones.


True. But most of 'em do have a DC input power jack.
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1161. jasblt
Quoting angiest:
Earl has been very wobbly today. Don't be fooled by a few frames on a sat loop. Compare the first and last frame to get the short-term motion.


Thanks for stating that, folks need to hear it more than once.
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how about 3 majors in 2 weeks when gaston become one.
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This is the bad boy.
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Quoting leo305:
lol...

even the gamign forums are talking about EARL..

btw.. 922?


932mb
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15921
1157. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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"Miss Piggy" headed back towards the eye of Earl. If it did continue to intensify, I wouldn't be surprised to see Earl peak at 135kt.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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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