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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1005. aquak9
the tiniest little offshoot of rain from Earl, and it blew out our local transformer.

Wooom, Woooom, Woooom we could hear it in the distance, power flickered three times, and now we are all powerless.

Jacksonville
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1004. angiest
Quoting TerraNova:
Earl appears to be annular or close to it.

From Wikipedia:

An annular hurricane or truck tire pattern hurricane is a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific Oceans that features a large, symmetric eye surrounded by a thick ring of intense convection.

Annular hurricanes also tend to persist, even when encountering environmental conditions which easily dissipate most other hurricanes. Forecasters have difficulty predicting the behavior of annular hurricanes; they are a recently recognized phenomenon, and as such, little is known about their tendencies. Because of this, they can be more dangerous than typical hurricanes.



With Danielle a few days ago (wow, just a few days!) I offered the term quasi-annular for storms that look annular but don't meet the characteristics. My rationale is that there has to be a transition period from classic hurricane to annular, and that some storms storms start to transition and take on the appearance, but never make it there. Earl is starting to take on the appearance but, IMHO, is far from it. He might be a candidate for quasi-annular, though.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Good Evening! The Atlantic is very active as we near the peak, and this activity does not seem to be stopping with that new yellow circle off of Africa.
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1000. robj144
Quoting kingzfan104:


just so everybody knows, this guy is a fraud. all he does all day is post things in his blog 3000 times. that is how he got up from 60,000 posts 2 days ago to 90000 today. he is a complete loser.


I think we all know Taz and why do you care so much?
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Hurricane center says its possible but unlikely that it will become a CATEGORY 5 hurricane
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting Neapolitan:
Here's something slightly interesting: lightning in Gaston (still image). And this 12-hour loop shows a number of flashes in and around the eye of Earl, and tons more in the SE feeder bands.

Click for larger image:

What does that signify ?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Gettin there:
img src="" alt="" />



(Disclaimer: Not real)



LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
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Quoting pilotguy1:

We're doomed!!!!!!!!!!!

Evacuate the planet! ;-)
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Quoting TerraNova:
Earl appears to be annular or close to it.

From Wikipedia:

An annular hurricane or truck tire pattern hurricane is a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific Oceans that features a large, symmetric eye surrounded by a thick ring of intense convection.

Annular hurricanes also tend to persist, even when encountering environmental conditions which easily dissipate most other hurricanes. Forecasters have difficulty predicting the behavior of annular hurricanes; they are a recently recognized phenomenon, and as such, little is known about their tendencies. Because of this, they can be more dangerous than typical hurricanes.



It needs more intense convection around the eye. Right now its between -60c and -70c. If it were uniform -80c around the whole eye, and the eye was maybe a little bigger then I'd say yes.
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EARL Floater - JSL Color Infrared Loop
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Quoting 900MB:
Double eyewall again?


Looks like its nearing that on IR channel
Member Since: August 29, 2009 Posts: 12 Comments: 483
Quoting OKadjuster:
is STORMW also known as Tom Walsh?


HURRICANE EARL AND FRIENDS SYNOPSIS SEP. 01, 2010 ISSUED 12:05 P.M.
Thomas F. Walsh III, September 1, 2010
Meteorologist, Palm Harbor Tropical Forecast Center

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/StormW/show.html?entrynum=765
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Quoting sarahjola:
thanks for the answer with no attitude. i guess fiona came out the barn kicking. lol! you are always nice and informative


Thank you. I'm not sure why she never closed her circulation earlier, but this is not the first time it happened. In 2003 (I think it was) I watched the wave that became hurricane Claudette track across the Caribbean with winds of tropical storm force, but moving so fast that it just couldn't close off the circulation. I believe it was 2001 that Lili moved so fast through the Caribbean that she degenerated into an open wave before finally pulling it together to become a high end cat 4 in the Gulf.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting 2ifbyC:


Expen$ive, but worth it, Optima deep cell!

I have had three on my boat for over ten years now. They're my 'cane backup power besides a gen set.


How would you run..say couple of fan or a radio or tv on them? guess they wouldn't power a fridge tho, huh?
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Stormchaser i love the fact the date is 2012 dec 21.


Yep.

Mayan apocalypse.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Gettin there:
img src="" alt="" />



(Disclaimer: Not real)
Add Alpha
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Hey Extreme! Yeah, the African wave train is really going and it may not stop for another month or so.

Remember yesterday when the NHC had a 20% chance on 98L, who would of thought it that it went to become Gaston the next day?
Well like the doc said not much is still known about tropical meteorology.When I came home I was at least expecting a 60-80% chance.
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986. 900MB
Double eyewall again?
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 684
Yea I saw the GFS run of gaston going into carribean,,thats troubling considering those SSTs and with no storm so far passing thru that region to cause up welling yet,,gaston could be trouble
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Dvorak

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Quoting SirTophamHatt:
Earl went from 26 degrees to 27 degrees while maintaining 73.5 degrees.

That is straight north.






But it went from 72.w to 73.5W so NW
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I think my F5 button is worn out now LOL! I really hope everyone in the path of this monster will be ok! And to think I was doubting last month about an active season with this wave train coming now. WOW!
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Earl appears to be annular or close to it.

From Wikipedia:

An annular hurricane or truck tire pattern hurricane is a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific Oceans that features a large, symmetric eye surrounded by a thick ring of intense convection.

Annular hurricanes also tend to persist, even when encountering environmental conditions which easily dissipate most other hurricanes. Forecasters have difficulty predicting the behavior of annular hurricanes; they are a recently recognized phenomenon, and as such, little is known about their tendencies. Because of this, they can be more dangerous than typical hurricanes.

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Quoting extreme236:


Hey miami! I know I didn't expect it. I thought we'd see a TD today however, but not so much so fast. Looks like the NHC is picking up on these waves faster with the latest TWO mention. Probably looking at Hermine.
Yup. Conditions appear to be favorable in the eastern Atlantic for additional organization of that tropical wave. Hermine is definitely possible.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting LADobeLady:
For anyone thinking of evacuating, just a FYI. FEMA requires all kids of paperwork, not just your current insurance declaration page, but for past years as well, This is for homeowners and flood. If by chance you don't have them, don't panic they're easily enough to get from the people who issued your policies. Just thought I would mention this in case you're packing to leave.
Grrreat advice!
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Stormchaser i love the fact the date is 2012 dec 21.
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977. beell
Strong Earl! Should turn in advance of the trough sooner.
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North Abaco, Bahamas....max recorded NE wind 30 mph, no rain, running low on Maalox.
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Here's something slightly interesting: lightning in Gaston (still image). And this 12-hour loop shows a number of flashes in and around the eye of Earl, and tons more in the SE feeder bands.

Click for larger image:

Looks like Fiona is being deprived of moisture by Earl.
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is STORMW also known as Tom Walsh?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Gettin there:
img src="" alt="" />



(Disclaimer: Not real)


Dang it! I do not want to get hit by hurricane Kirk!
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting stormhank:
Evening...I know right now Earl is of main interest but, Is Gaston a threat to florida?? models dont tend to recurve him like the previous storms? Any input appreciated
It's just too early to tell...keep watch.
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thank you ashley from new orleans im here in elizabeth city nc only about 40 miles from outer banks
Member Since: August 31, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 14
Quoting stormhank:
Evening...I know right now Earl is of main interest but, Is Gaston a threat to florida?? models dont tend to recurve him like the previous storms? Any input appreciated


Hey stormhank, nice to see you back! The ridge is forecast to build back in after Earl's departure by many of the models, the Leewards should definitely be watching Gaston and the southeast coast in the long term. With the pattern change that StormW caught beginning to take shape, every wave that rolls off Africa has the potential to develop and threaten land.
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For anyone thinking of evacuating, just a FYI. FEMA requires all kids of paperwork, not just your current insurance declaration page, but for past years as well, This is for homeowners and flood. If by chance you don't have them, don't panic they're easily enough to get from the people who issued your policies. Just thought I would mention this in case you're packing to leave.
Member Since: July 29, 2005 Posts: 21 Comments: 794
Quoting angiest:


Fiona's maximum winds reached 35kts before she developed a closed circulation, hence she was never a td.
thanks for the answer with no attitude. i guess fiona came out the barn kicking. lol! you are always nice and informative
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Last time I saw 4 simultaneous systems was in 2008




Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Last time I saw 4 simultaneous systems was in 2008





today is the anniversary of Hurricane Gustav 2008. is that what that image is of. if so, this season is up to speed now with 08 since we've got our "G" storm.
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Quoting extreme236:


Yup. I've just never seen so many consecutive storms form out there in the EATL in such a short time. No waves are making it across the Atlantic because their developing so soon.


yep if the wave behind gaston develops, that would be 5 straight wave. freakin impressive.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Hey Extreme! Yeah, the African wave train is really going and it may not stop for another month or so.

Remember yesterday when the NHC had a 20% chance on 98L, who would of thought it that it went to become Gaston the next day?


Hey miami! I know I didn't expect it. I thought we'd see a TD today however, but not so much so fast. Looks like the NHC is picking up on these waves faster with the latest TWO mention. Probably looking at Hermine.
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Earl went from 26 degrees to 27 degrees while maintaining 73.5 degrees.

That is straight north.




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Gettin there:
img src="" alt="" />



(Disclaimer: Not real)
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
The actual lowest pressure they found was 927mb and highst winds were 150mph so 6 mph from cat5


Weren't those flight level winds?
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Bermuda is going to get some Very serious wave action from Earl!
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Quoting extreme236:
I have NEVER seen such an active wave train before. GFS shows this pattern continuing for the next couple weeks!


yep. not even in 2005. we could have 3 majors in a two week period. insane.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Last time I saw 4 simultaneous systems was in 2008





Yup. I've just never seen so many consecutive storms form out there in the EATL in such a short time. No waves are making it across the Atlantic because their developing so soon.
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Quoting StormJunkie:


What are your plans Will?


Gonna Look at it in the morn SJ
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914 - gulp!
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Here's something slightly interesting: lightning in Gaston (still image). And this 12-hour loop shows a number of flashes in and around the eye of Earl, and tons more in the SE feeder bands.

Click for larger image:

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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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