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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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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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
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Quoting pilotguy1:


Maybe I am wrong. I thought the stronger hurricanes tried to go North. Maybe I was wrong in what I read a few days ago.


That is a rule of thumb, but not something upon which to base decisions. Lots of people on this blog cited that rule as reasons why Ike wouldn't make the Gulf, let alone Texas.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
EARL Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
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Very impressive structure.

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Quoting extreme236:
Probably looking at a 125-130kt peak coming up with Earl. I doubt it will get much stronger than that, but it is certainly possible.
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?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting angiest:

Katrina, Rita, Gilbert, Hugo(?), David(?). I really can't think of many that were going north. My point being that you can't depend on that rule of thumb.
So true...
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884. bird72 12:25 AM GMT on September 02, 2010

Bird: Get another car battery (same size) wire them in parallel. Should give you 12 hours.
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Quoting msmama51:


Ulcer building here....Please..elaborate


I would believe he's meaning as in U.S. landfalls...
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945. MZT
Checking in from Charlotte. The last few days the high pressure has been unlrenting, dry and cloudless from horizon to horizon. Tonight the pressure seems to be backing off, it's turning a bit muggy - you step outside and smell grass clippings. Only a very light breeze.

I can't say it feels like an "approaching storm" quite yet. When you start getting that north wind, and the fast-moving low clouds, then you know something is up.
Member Since: September 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 793

That's a round eye.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
Donut!!!!!,classic cat 5 imo


the eye needs to clear out, a classic 5 has a COMPLETELY clear eye void of clouds!

Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
The actual lowest pressure they found was 927mb and highst winds were 150mph so 6 mph from cat5
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Quoting will40:
He is feeling that Gulf Stream


What are your plans Will?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Would not be a surprise at all to see a special advisory on Earl to 140-150 mph..
It is so close the the coast. I am really worried about all the folks up there.
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Not looking good in nova scotia!
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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!


I agree, me either. We can easily see 20+ storms if this continues.
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Quoting StormW:


Yep. Intermission time. The real show should start next week.


Ulcer building here....Please..elaborate
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936. 900MB
Quoting Patrap:


Damnnnnn! That is one nasty looking Cane! Guess that's what happens when SSTs are at record #'s!
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 643
Quoting MoltenIce:
Dog 1950?

Katrina, Rita, Gilbert, Hugo(?), David(?). I really can't think of many that were going north. My point being that you can't depend on that rule of thumb.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
WOW just simply wow...

holy carp on a cracker that is one heck of a storm....
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He is feeling that Gulf Stream
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Quoting pilotguy1:


Maybe I am wrong. I thought the stronger hurricanes tried to go North. Maybe I was wrong in what I read a few days ago.



Your not wrong but they also won't cut through a high pressure ridge. Like I said before if the trough from the Midwest does not get there it is bad.
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000
ABNT20 KNHC 012347
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 PM EDT WED SEP 1 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON HURRICANE
EARL...LOCATED ABOUT 565 MILES SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF CAPE HATTERAS
NORTH CAROLINA. ADVISORIES ARE ALSO BEING ISSUED ON TROPICAL STORM
FIONA...LOCATED ABOUT 140 MILES NORTH OF ANGUILLA IN THE NORTHERN
LEEWARD ISLANDS...AND ON RECENTLY UPGRADED TROPICAL STORM
GASTON...LOCATED ABOUT 895 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE VERDE
ISLANDS.

YET ANOTHER STRONG TROPICAL WAVE IS ABOUT TO MOVE OFF THE WEST COAST
OF AFRICA AND IS PRODUCING A BROAD AREA OF SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE ADJACENT WATERS. SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF
THIS SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE AS IT MOVES WESTWARD NEAR 10 MPH OVER THE
NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...10 PERCENT...OF THIS
SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

PUBLIC ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL STORM GASTON ARE ISSUED UNDER WMO
HEADER WTNT34 KNHC AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER MIATCPAT4.
FORECAST/ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL STORM GASTON ARE ISSUED UNDER WMO
HEADER WTNT24 KNHC AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER MIATCMAT4.

$$
FORECASTER BERG

Isee 99L coming soon
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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!


Last time I saw 4 simultaneous systems was in 2008



Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15718
Everyone, The Barometer Bob show is on now. Find out the latest on Earl and friends. Just sign into the storm chat with your WU name. I am there now. StormW may has called in tonight and is currently on the Phone with Bob, hear the great man's thoughts and prediction on Earl and Friends.
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Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:


Thank you (again)... I am getting a little nervous now.

(and I can't reiterate enough that Jim Cantore hit the nail on the head... if this storm actually makes LANDFALL on the Outer Banks, Dare County Emergency Management ((he didn't say it by name, but I will)) will have blood on their hands)

this could be disastrous. is this storm gonna turn in time???? lol...

thank y'all..


I'll be tinking of all you guys up there. Be safe and stay brave. Remember- God won't put anything on your shoulders that you aren't strong enough to handle.

Ashley from New Orleans
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Probably looking at a 125-130kt peak coming up with Earl. I doubt it will get much stronger than that, but it is certainly possible.
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the center looks to be moving NW again
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Greetings all...
Lots going on in the Atl Basin.
Some people actually predicted this........
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Quoting Bradenton:


Okay, Miami, you've won me over. I had doubts at first because of your age, but, for posting helpful comments like this without any ego attached, I want to thank you. You've made a believer out of an old cynic like me.
He's going to be the next Dr. M!
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Donut!!!!!,classic cat 5 imo
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Impressive, 140 mph now.

Could even be stronger next update.
The water is plenty warm enough, and that trough is still far away. Earl Strengthening further is a very reasonable assumption.jmo
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19519
Very impressive satellite presentation. Looking very hurricane logoish.
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Wow, look at that eyewall pop!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Very nice and symmetrical eye with colder cloud tops firing around the eyewall. We are definitely dealing with an intensifying cyclone.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Would not be a surprise at all to see a special advisory on Earl to 140-150 mph..


With hurricane warnings up for the CONUS, I think a special advisory is almost certain to be issued.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
HurricaneEarl's heading had turned northward to 11.3degrees north of NorthNorthWest
from its previous heading of 3degrees north of NorthWest
H.Earl's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~21mph(~33.8km/h)

01Sep . 12amGMT - - 22.5n69.1w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - NHC.Adv.#26A
01Sep . 03amGMT - - 23.0n69.9w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - #27
01Sep . 06amGMT - - 23.5n70.7w - - 135mph - - 940mb - - #27A
01Sep . 09amGMT - - 24.0n71.2w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #28
01Sep . 12pmGMT - - 24.5n71.6w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - #28A
01Sep . 03pmGMT - - 25.1n72.1w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - #29
01Sep . 06pmGMT - - 25.7n72.7w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #29A
H.Earl becomes Cat.4 again
01Sep . 09pmGMT - - 26.3n73.3w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30
02Sep . 12amGMT - - 27.2n73.5w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30A

Copy&paste 22.5n69.1w, 23.0n69.9w, 23.5n70.7w, 24.0n71.2w, 24.5n71.6w-25.1n72.1w, 25.1n72.1w-25.7n72.7w, 25.7n72.7w-26.3n73.3w, 26.3n73.3w-27.2n73.5w, gso, 27.2n73.5w-37.3n76.0w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~33hours from now to CapeCharles,Virginia
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The vortex data message has the pressure at 932mb. A 9mb drop since the 8pm EDT advisory. Also note the 130kt flight level winds in the NE quadrant.


Okay, Miami, you've won me over. I had doubts at first because of your age, but, for posting helpful comments like this without any ego attached, I want to thank you. You've made a believer out of an old cynic like me.
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Pronunciation of "Hermine" is "err-meen" - roll the "r"

Link
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Quoting SportsmanPier:
Long time reader, first time blogger. Looks like models and swath might be correct all along. Radar showing NNW or even NNNW (made that up) motion. We have beach cottage at Atlantic Beach, NC so hoping models are right.


What radar station shows the core or Earl currently, or even the outer bands? The models (and forecast) track have been right of Earl's real track through most of his life. Don't let your guard down.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
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Will you northcasters stop your posting on wobbles due north..Anyone in the path of this, whether it's 50 miles offshore or not is going to get hammered. Giving false hope on a guess is just as bad as doomcasting, or westcasting. We don't need updates every sat frame as to what you think it is doing. W, NW, NNW, N, NNE...
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Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15718
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.


The fact that you even bothered to post this, or care puts you in the ultimate loser category.
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About JeffMasters

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