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 breald:
If Earl is turning North how far west is he at this point in time?
looks like around 73.5 W
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8:00 PM EDT Wed Sep 1
Location: 27.2°N 73.5°W
Max sustained: 135 mph
Moving: NNW at 18 mph
Min pressure: 941 mb
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654. bwat
Quoting ncstorm:
Our local news just said NW..not north..I really hope they are wrong..
Ive found that local mets just repeat what the latest NHC advisory said. I've never seen a local met go against the NHC ever. Let NHC say NNW at 8, the local mets will say NNW.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 353
652. beell
Some hopeful signs on this water vapor loop-at least in the upper levels. Hopeful this will also follow suit in the lower levels soon

If you look just inland over SC, NC, VA you might just pick out the last little bit of oblong shaped ridging getting squeezed by the approaching trough.

Also noticeable towards the end of the loop-near the apex of the ridge over Maine as the approaching trough lifts the ridge north and east-allowing Earl to follow.

Both obs (if accurate!) should allow Earl some room to move north. No ridge busting required.

Atlantic WV Loop
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651. amd
just updated the Hi Res IR shot, and the latest update showed a substantial wobble to the west.

Earl is wobbling more than a drunk after a pub crawl.

Overall though, movement is still nnw in the last 3 hours or so, probably at 335-340 degrees.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
07L/MH/E/C4
MARK NEAR
27.00N/73.25W
Little closer Please!...LOL
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Quoting sarahjola:
fiona and gaston both look nothing like tropical storms. i can't believe they named gaston,and fionas should be down graded to an open wave. i wonder why they jumped the gun on gaston? could have called it a depression first.
Fiona hardly looks like a 95 km/h TS. Gaston looks like a TS IMO and yes looks miles better than Fiona.

Gaston

Fiona, mass of clouds with 95 km/h winds.
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If Earl is turning North how far west is he at this point in time?
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Quoting sarahjola:
fiona and gaston both look nothing like tropical storms. i can't believe they named gaston,and fionas should be down graded to an open wave. i wonder why they jumped the gun on gaston? could have called it a depression first. i see it may be trouble down the road, but gaston does look way better than fiona. glad to see earl is starting to go north and hopefully won't be any problem to the folks in the northeast. god bless and hope it stays away from you all.
Jumped the gun on Gaston? How did they do that? The circulation is closed and well-defined. Satellite estimates are also linear towards a stronger tropical storm.

ADT: T3.1 (47kt TS).
TAFB: T3.0 (45kt TS).
SAB: T2.0 (35kt TS).

I don't see any reason why 09L shouldn't be Gaston.
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Quoting gwhite713:
Its a stair step people. To get a true sense of it overall motion will take some time..A better question might be,what is there, there to affectively turn it to the north.The trough isn't close yet and a fairly weak one at that..


I'm still waiting for the "east" wobble.
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Quoting sarahjola:
fiona and gaston both look nothing like tropical storms. i can't believe they named gaston,and fionas should be down graded to an open wave. i wonder why they jumped the gun on gaston? could have called it a depression first. i see it may be trouble down the road, but gaston does look way better than fiona. glad to see earl is starting to go north and hopefully won't be any problem to the folks in the northeast. god bless and hope it stays away from you all.


I'm getting tired of people critizing the NHC.

Both Fiona and Gaston meet/met the criteria.
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Quoting blsealevel:


bet this is driving the roofing chasers nuts


I bet the CEO's of the insurance companies are popping Tums.
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Looks Like a HUGE wobble North....Is that the Turn?
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Quoting gwhite713:
Its a stair step people. To get a true sense of it overall motion will take some time..A better question might be,what is there, there to effectively turn it to the north.The trough isn't close yet and a fairly weak one at that..
My friends on Cape Cod are basically screwed anyway even if it goes straight north. The longer it takes to even get due north is worse for them in any respect.
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07L/MH/E/C4
MARK NEAR
27.00N/73.25W
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Station 41047 - NE Bahamas
09 01 6:00 pm 30.2 24.6 12.9 SSE 17.4 7.1 SE AVERAGE 9.7


seas kickin at 30'+++ alot of ocean going to go somewhere...
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bet this is driving the roofing chasers nuts
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918
Its a stair step people. To get a true sense of it overall motion will take some time..A better question might be,what is there, there to affectively turn it to the north.The trough isn't close yet and a fairly weak one at that..
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Quoting thelmores:
Earl looking like he is ready to buzz something! LOL



wOw !
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EARL Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop

A more Northerly motion is seen
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Quoting warmreflections:


I'm terrified of them. Mainly because they can pop up out of nowhere. I'm sure hurricanes produce many tornadoes at night, too. Scary!

Hurricane Hugo produced over 80 tornadoes in Summerville, SC, 15 miles inland from Charleston.............at night!
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fiona and gaston both look nothing like tropical storms. i can't believe they named gaston,and fionas should be down graded to an open wave. i wonder why they jumped the gun on gaston? could have called it a depression first. i see it may be trouble down the road, but gaston does look way better than fiona. glad to see earl is starting to go north and hopefully won't be any problem to the folks in the northeast. god bless and hope it stays away from you all.
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The "red model" = warm SST's.
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628. xcool
Hurricane Earl. moved nnw
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Earl looking like he is ready to buzz something! LOL

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NHC guy on TWC does not sound too confident on the storm moving north.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
Current News Agencys Covering:

CNN - Isreal/Palestine Confrence
CNN Headline News - Cops
MSNBC - Hardball
CNBC - Wall Street
FOX - Typical junk
ABC - Nothing
CBS - Nothing
NBC - Nothing
TWC - Countuing Coverage for Hurricane Earl.


What kills me is how much time TWC dedicates to weather and how shallow they are. I get a more in depth discussion on this weather blog filled with various people of various backgrounds than I do from an entire channel with hundreds of dedicated people focused on weather. ITS PATHETIC.
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Quoting kokaken:


I am new to all this....what's a 7:4:2?


7 named storms, 4 hurricanes, 2 major hurricanes.
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Our local news just said NW..not north..I really hope they are wrong..
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Am I looking at this map wrong or there are areas with no shear at all in the Caribbean?
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Cross posted from my blog...

Local TV mets still saying 'maybe as high as 40 mph near the oceanfront, maybe some rain'.

My WU forecast is a little more severe:

Thursday
Partly sunny in the morning...then mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers in the afternoon. Breezy with highs in the mid 80s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph...increasing to east 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph in the afternoon. Chance of rain 20 percent.
» ZIP Code Detail

Thursday Night
Cloudy. Showers likely...mainly after midnight. Very windy with lows in the mid 70s. Northeast winds 30 to 40 mph. Gusts up to 50 mph...increasing to 60 mph after midnight. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Friday
Cloudy with showers likely in the morning...then mostly sunny in the afternoon. Very windy with highs in the lower 90s. Northwest winds 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph...becoming west 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph in the afternoon. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Neither one is bad enough to make me grab the already packed go bags. Heading to bed early tonight so I am rested in the a.m. Will check the runs in the morning, and see if anything has shifted west enough to make me load up and run.

The fact that the Navy kept several billion dollars worth of ships in port instead of sending them out to sea is relatively reassuring.

The fact that Pat said he was leaving N.O. for the East Coast is not.

We'll see in the morning.
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Quoting MoltenIce:
We could have 7:4:2 by the end of the week. Wow what a "dead season"!


I am new to all this....what's a 7:4:2?
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Quoting IKE:
Still looks like he's going almost due north on the 2315 visible on him. I put my pointer on where he starts on the loop and it ends almost due north...Link


Try the Hi Res IR loop...
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I recently rebuilt my computer and lost the stuff needed to show tracks, hurricane hunter info, and such on google earth. Anyone have a link to tell me what I need to "re install" so I can get my google earth back to it's old self ??
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614. IKE
Looking at a water vapor loop of the eastern USA, which shows Earl, I wouldn't say he's going at 360 degrees...maybe 345-350.
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613. xcool
MiamiHurricanes yep
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80 foot waves, in a small ship???


Holy BarfBag OrcaMan

How did you keep Bobbin from falling over board as he leaned over the rail to feed the fishes the lunch he tried to eat?


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Quoting Engine2:
That elongation to the North makes me a little nervous - hopefully it starts to erode.


Is possible... Earl is strong enough to erode the DLM High western periphery.

A clue to this, is the motion of Fiona... not 100% this proves it but if Fiona keeps gaining latitude it could be a good indicator that Earl is having some success at eroding the western flank of the DLM High (which is rather deep).
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Quoting RecordSeason:
man...

That one outlying ensemble member is still calling for 150kts sustained...and it's definitely a different run of the model.

http://wind.mit.edu/~emanuel/storm.html

Potential intensity maps shows this IS possible, wiht a broad area of potential in the 150kts range, and even spotty zones in the 165kts range, but man....that's two consecutive runs that had a member call for ~150kts...
Don't hold yer breath, is only one ensemble member and just about worthy of being called an outlier.

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting sammywammybamy:
Jim Cantore.. Lol.. No Offense .. But hes going Overboard. There are 5,000 People in that area and they are/have already evacuated, now if a hurricane was heading for a large city like Miami or New York, then it would be justifyed for him going crazy


He gets paid to add that excitement. Though, I do remember his colleagues in the studio made a comment about him getting built up when Bonnie was approaching Florida!
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Quoting RyanFSU:
The Last 29 forecasts from HWRF for Earl including the most recent:



Nice loop but it makes Earl look like a caterpillar on crack or something....LOL
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Earl looks to be NORTHBOUND.....Hopefully it continues this trend and stays out there with the fishy's!!
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Only way for earl to go west would be a loop da loop.
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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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