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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After being through 5 hurricanes on the N Gulf Coast, I have learned there are 3 stages of sound after a hurricane.
1. Silence. No birds, wind, people, traffic, airplanes. Just an eerie silence.
2. Chainsaws, closely followed by generators.
3. Mosquitoes. Lots of mosquitoes.
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555. MahFL
NNW on the other sat pic.
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Quoting aasmith26:


Jim Cantore

I'm not so sure I can, lol


LMFAO
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Thx to Ike
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505. Loud whistle.
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Hi everyone, first time blogger. Just wanted to let you know how the British Virgin Islands faired through Earl. Earl passed approx 20 miles north of Anegada (as a cat 4) and approx 60 miles north of where I am in Tortola. I estimate we had 100mph winds here in Road Town with lots of trees down, a few boats washed ashore and some structural damage.It was a very very wild night and we retreated downstairs to the safe part of the house around 6pm on Monday night. Hugo in 89 was worse but this was much stronger than forecast. We expected 60 mph winds in Torotla....no way was that only 60mph....Anegada got hit pretty hard and we're stll awaiting the reports from that island.Earl is a pretty bad boy so please be prepared if its tracking towards you. Fortunately Fionia has missed us and we expect some rain tonight. Gotta watch for Gaston now!!!
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Hurricanehunter27: Can you tell me at what height in millibars is earl being steer by?
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549. MahFL
I thought he went North.
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Quoting doorman79:
Orca,

That one isnt on Storms list.

What is gfni? tia


Its one of the models
It has Fiona running up the Florida coastline as a CAT 4
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting LADobeLady:
Can one take Jim Cantore seriously if he's not wearing the goggles?


Jim Cantore

I'm not so sure I can, lol
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Earl is getting stronger on infared..

Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
545. redUK
Earl is now considerably east of where the NHC expected it to be:

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So is Earl actually turning north, or is it that the eye is getting larger and that makes an illusion that it turned more north in its movement?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
07L/MH/E/C4
MARK NEAR
26.95N/73.23W


Great detail on the movement...and pretty colors too!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
07L/MH/E/C4
MARK NEAR
26.95N/73.23W
NNW to me
Member Since: August 23, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 285
Quoting SiestaCpl:
From 22:45 to 23:15 Earl wobbles back to the west side of North...so can we stop wishing his direction and just watch now? Take the advice (myself as well) and use three hour tendencies...or 90 minutes at the least for the impatient!


I think wobbles are important now. I'll continue to watch them.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting hydrus:
And you are here to talk about. That is pretty amazing stuff...I am trying to imagine what you saw, I cannot..:)


A whole lot of mean looking water
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Can one take Jim Cantore seriously if he's not wearing the goggles?
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Quoting stillwaiting:
...,actually not true,100% chance earls not going to hit florida!!!!or.......alaska,see a forecast can be 100%
Sure it can LOL Link
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Go here for WU site Wave forecast animated map for Cape Hatteras:

http://www.wunderground.com/MAR/AM/154.html?map=wave&animate=1

Thu
Tropical storm conditions expected with hurricane conditions possible in the afternoon. E winds 15 to 20 kt...increasing to 30 to 40 kt with gusts up to 55 kt in the afternoon. Seas 13 to 17 ft dominant period 15 seconds. Showers likely...mainly in the afternoon.
Thu Night
Hurricane conditions expected. NE winds 55 to 65 kt with gusts up to 80 kt...becoming NW 60 to 80 kt with gusts up to 100 kt after midnight. Seas 25 to 26 ft. Showers likely.

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Just heard that when the hurricane comes, it's going to push the water out of the Chesapeake bay, being that we're on the west side of the storm, hmm, I should've known that! haha. Comparison to Isabel, we were on the right side of that storm, this time we're on the left, so it makes sense. DUH.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
hoe come you didn't let everyone know that is a picture of a hurricane while you're at it ?
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if it goes west of 75W tho, we gonna have problems....
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Beautiful weather in Kingston but there are reports on the radio of flooding in the western part of the island (Jamaica)
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Orca,

That one isnt on Storms list.

What is gfni? tia
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Quoting FLdewey:

Okay so I have to ask... was there Tim's on board?


No :(
But.. they did send us all the fixins to make our own :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting hurricanehunter27:
Look at Earl this is a strech but Cat5 maybe it sure does to me with the eye wall to the west and east looken spectacular.



Nothing supports it being so.
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From 22:45 to 23:15 Earl wobbles back to the west side of North...so can we stop wishing his direction and just watch now? Take the advice (myself as well) and use three hour tendencies...or 90 minutes at the least for the impatient!
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It amazes me that Earl is so close to Florida yet its a beautiful day. It's windy here today and I wonder if that is in part to Earl.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
Quoting IKE:


He does get carried away...add Stephanie Abrams(sp?), and they both need a shot of 7 and 7.
Truthiness! (nod to S. Colbert). LOL
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521. IKE
Quoting CaneWarning:


I know, but the idea of 50 foot waves hitting the OBX with the current forecast track is absurd.


You could be right. I haven't really looked at the wave forecast for the coast of NC.
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Quoting TerraNova:


This isn't 2012.


Ah, knowing Nature's sense of humour, she'll make that an El Nino.
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oop, last frame of the new image looks like a wobble back NW for Earl
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Look at Earl this is a strech but Cat5 maybe it sure does to me with the eye wall to the west and east looken spectacular.

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NNW on next advisory... IMO...
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Quoting breald:


Tornadoes must be hard in the dark because they can just pop up without much warning.


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!
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514. IKE
Quoting NWWNCAVL:


Ike,
How acurate do you think you can determine the exact COC... Can you really determine it to within a tenth as you are noting...This is not a smart a$% question...I want to know how you do it?


All I do is put the floater on...then the longitude and latitude. You can almost accurately get the eye to one-tenth of a degree, but the eye is wide enough and the sun angle can throw off what I see.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Retired Canadian Navy, Hecate Straits in excess of 80ft (winter storm) and the South China Sea during a Typhoon.
And you are here to talk about. That is pretty amazing stuff...I am trying to imagine what you saw, I cannot..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20951
Quoting IKE:


50 foot waves can happen. They've happened in the GOM with Ivan.


I know, but the idea of 50 foot waves hitting the OBX with the current forecast track is absurd.
Member Since: April 26, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 3667
07L/MH/E/C4
MARK NEAR
26.95N/73.23W
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We should see TD #8 at 11PM...At least IMO.

East Pacific
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506. xcool
btwntx08 .where my pizza at
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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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