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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Quoting sarahjola:
don't take it so personal. i said gaston looks better than fiona. i also said fiona should be down graded. the question was why didn't they call gaston a depression first? i always get amazed at how people can have their opinion and refuse to let others have their own opinion without getting angry about it. its just opinion. i actually think the nhc does a great job.
I saw gaston as a TD this morning, it was Fiona they skipped.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yup. Hopefully they were able to get a dropsonde into the eye to know how low the central pressure really is. The extrapolated surface pressure is usually off by a couple mb's.
True.
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NEXRAD Radar
Melbourne, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI

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Earl is playing with category 5 strengh. And Gaston get to life, now we are going to have some fun in PR. next week. eek.jpg.
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Yah Earl is a fantastic looken storm.
Personly I think recon will find Cat5 winds.
I mean if you look at satilite it has a almost perfect eye. I think this is the best looken storm iv ever seen in quite a while. At lest 2 years. So what do you guys think Cat5 or no Cat5. P.S. I know this does not matter but TWC says it may be a cat5.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Brian Norcross just said that it looks like the norhward turn has begun.


Look again. It's turning back NW
Member Since: August 20, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 372
Quoting atmoaggie:
Rolf? Knew he looked quite good, but dang, dat's low.
Yup. Hopefully they were able to get a dropsonde into the eye to know how low the central pressure really is. The extrapolated surface pressure is usually off by a couple mb's.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Rolf? Knew he looked quite good, but dang, dat's low.
Andrew was 922.
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798. JRRP
thank you all for your answers
have a good night
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Quoting tinkahbell:
I want googles!! Have laughed for 15 minutes at Cantore.

Googles?
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15718
we have not even started SEP and we may be soon talking about other name storm from per 99L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114068
Quoting dan77539:

her - MY - uh - knee


Oh. My mistake.

If we're going with the French, and I think we are, it's AIR-meen, then (the "h" would be silent).
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793. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Quite the intense eastern eyewall. Flight level winds were recorded at 150mph.


It's gonna take 5-6 hrs to see the results of the pressure drop at the surface.
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Quoting Patrap:
NOAA's P-3 Orion

Miss Piggy Emblem..or Nose art

Where'ed the nickname miss piggy come from,and it looks like Earl is trying to surprise us.After when several of you said he hit his peak yesterday......you know who you are....
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Rainbow

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Quoting Skyepony:
Ms Piggy just found 100 knots
(~ 115.0 mph) surface winds in Earl.. 927.5mb center fix 26.983N 73.417W.
Rolf? Knew he looked quite good, but dang, dat's low.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Relentless...
What bothers me the most about this pattern is the potential is there for a disaster of biblical proportions. Such as several major storms making landfall one right after another in the same area. Especially in the populated cities. Any victims that need help in a situation like that will not be able to receive it.
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Quoting clwstmchasr:


Where do you live?

That was just a little humor to try and calm down and pray for those that are in the path of Earl. Earl is a monster that will affect many lives if it makes landfall anywhere. I am actually in the same city as our famous shower curtain boy. I am concern with Gaston and the track that is forecasted
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I have a really good "annular funny",but Im gonna save it fer now.
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I want googles!! Have laughed for 15 minutes at Cantore.
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 249
Quoting AussieStorm:
Everyone, The Barometer Bob show is about to get started at 8PM ET. Find out the latest on Earl and friends. Just sign into the storm chat with your WU name. I am there now.


Find out the latest on Earl and Friends, StormW may also be calling in tonight, her the great man's thoughts and prediction on Earl and Friends.
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This is looking strikingly similar to 1995 when we got hit by Hurricane Fran... (I currently live in central NC)....Amazingly Earl and Fran look like identical on satellite.. for one thing...the other...the number storms in a row (one after another) coming off Africa...going to be an interesting rest of the season as to how it plays out...
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Quoting Greyelf:
Ok, so after all the time I've been lurking here and there on this blog, you'd think I'd remember this. So, I'm looking at the pretty pictures of Earl and wonder, what makes a hurricane qualify as "annular"? And, is an annular hurricane more or less dangerous than a "regular" one? If it is more dangerous, why?

I'll hang up now so I can listen to my answer on the air.
As a strart: Usually defined as perfectly symmetrical, annular canes seem to milk the maximum potential intensity better than others hurricanes. And they behave in unknown ways (we haven't seen many) and tend to weaken very slowly after getting to land/cold SSTs.
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The exit to this pass should be real interesting...Will get to see just how strong the winds on the W side are and how far out they extend.
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Quoting LADobeLady:


I bet the CEO's of the insurance companies are popping Tums.


If that thing was headed toward Texas I would be popping more than that

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That drop in central pressure is pretty interesting.
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NOAA's P-3 Orion

Miss Piggy Emblem..or Nose art



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Quoting Skyepony:
Ms Piggy just found 100 knots
(~ 115.0 mph) surface winds in Earl.. 927.5mb center fix 26.983N 73.417W.
Quite the intense eastern eyewall. Flight level winds were recorded at 150mph.
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TWC just said Earl could possibly hit Cat 5?
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center of Earl just found by recon: 26.983N 73.417W

That would be good news for NC, indicating a significant north component vs. the 2100Z position of 26.3/73.3
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Quoting StormW:


OUCH!


Likes to keep his audience rivited!!!!!! lol
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Quoting gwhite713:


Yep, it was a wobble. check last frame, its totally west now of 73N now.

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/flash-rb.html


Oops West of 73W
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
If that 928mb reading is correct, Earl is the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Felix.


If they find lower, it would be the strongest since Dean.
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"Miss Piggy" just found an extrapolated 927.5mb reading in the eye of Earl. Hopefully they were able to get a dropsonde into the eye to we can know the true central pressure. Nonetheless, Earl is likely stronger than what the 8pm EDT advisory dictates.

235030 2659N 07325W 6168 03605 9275 +153 +081 253004 007 014 002 00
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Quoting miliohara:
Earl is so Beautiful.


Coolest picture of the day ... click here
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
before the end of this night you shall see a ring of white it will be the second and final peak in this system
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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Quoting FLdewey:
Fiona was a cat 5 slamming into Florida at it's inception... do you people never learn?

Somehow "too soon" doesn't say enough.
Yeah I hate when the same annoying questions are repeated....But after Hermaine forms guess whaaaaat!.Come on just guess.Guess!!!!!!!!
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Quoting dan77539:

her - MY - uh - knee


Then it would be spelled "Hermione".
and it's not.
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Quoting Seflhurricane:
if florida goes this year untouched by a hurricane it would be a miracle


Well yeah but...I don't see that happening. Not only that, we'll be lucky if we go through the next week or so without at least a threat from something.
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StormW

Are we done with the Pre-Game show yet?

(Are we there yet Dad?)

CRS
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Quoting fldude99:


I'm not sure about beautiful? Ever been thru one of these? It is PURE EVIL as its happening..scary and just an evil feel to it



I've been through Charlie,Frances, and Jeanne. I live in Lakeland, FL. So yes I know what you mean. That is why I added that even though they spread fear and devastation, Their appearance from a distance is beautiful.
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Last frame on the floater looks like it's making a right. Maybe the coast can be spared a bit. Here hoping
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Well said post 739!
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759. Skyepony (Mod)
Ms Piggy just found 100 knots
(~ 115.0 mph) surface winds in Earl.. 927.5mb center fix 26.983N 73.417W.
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I'll be darned... on Track





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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


I'm getting tired of people critizing the NHC.

Both Fiona and Gaston meet/met the criteria.
don't take it so personal. i said gaston looks better than fiona. i also said fiona should be down graded. the question was why didn't they call gaston a depression first? i always get amazed at how people can have their opinion and refuse to let others have their own opinion without getting angry about it. its just opinion. i actually think the nhc does a great job.
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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.