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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Sorry for the rant. Just know that I was in Charlotte/Punta Gorda the April AFTER Charley and it was quite sobering. The devastation and destruction was beyond anything I had imagined. Grew up on the coast, father was in the Navy as a pilot and I have a deep respect for the ocean and weather.
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Not an expert by any means I would guess if that tract holds true may TS force winds and a lot of rain. But even that depends on the time when it makes the trun could be more could be less hard to call til it makes the turn.
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299. xcool
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Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15624
Hey leo just so you know both my family and my inlaws to include siblings and many friends all live in Va beach about 10 miles from water. They all are staying and I would too. I am confortable with them doing that. If i was anywhere near the outerbanks I would be gone already. If I had a house within 5 miles of water, I would be gone already. If I lived in a wooden shack, i would be gone already.
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Quoting Radioman300900:
Fox News just ran acroos the bottom of screen THE DIRECTOR OF THE NHC STRONGLY BELIEVES THAT EARL WILL VEER TO THE EAST AND NOT MAKE A MAJOR IMPACT.



Odd he was just on TWC saying Earl was a huge threat
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Speaking in absolutes is definitely the wrong approach. I wish the NHC/NWS would do more probabilistic analysis. Right now they're saying 36% chance Hatteras sees sustained hurricane force winds. I wonder then what of the chances of eye hitting shore? Maybe on the order of 10%? There would also be a tremendous difference between the Western and Eastern eyewall making it ashore given the relatively brisk northerly motion.
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That's my fear too.....

Everyone stay safe, Earl is a big monster & we all know how unpredictable the predictable can be. : )
Quoting Jeff9641:


I believe Gaston heads into the gulf.
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294. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15624
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

haha you crak me up...no wonder why we all have a good laugh on a regular basis at work when we check the blog from time to time. HaboobsRSweet says the eye will say off the shore but get close. Since I said it it is my opinion. A fact would be after it occured or something that is occuring now. For example, it did not rain over my house today. That is a fact.


you're saying "IT WILL NOT HIT LAND PERIOD" sure you claim it's your opinion, but you're throwing it out there as if it was a FACT..

Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Earl... will he be a Floyd or a Hortense.
Or nothing more than a Kyle.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Dayum. Dec 2001 to now completely silent?

I hereby nominate "major lurker", in this context, for the award of understatement of the year.


I just don't have anything productive, or knowledgeable to comment. I will say this, I have learned a great deal by lurking here and watching all the neat WG maps and gadgets.

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Quoting PuntaGordaPete:


I hear this bit about "caught off guard" repeatedly, but it is not true. Everyone I know spent days getting ready for Charley. Yes, the final track was a bit of a surprise, but frankly there isn't a lot more prep that can be done for a Cat 4. Windows were shuttered, boats were secured, and many people evacuated. That still didn't stop the roofs from coming off and the mobile homes from being demolished.



Charley was expected to hit just North of Tampa. But everyone along the west coast of Florida was very aware of the possibility.
I watched Charley all night on my computer and it was obvious (to me) that it was going to make landfall in the Ft. Myers/Captiva Island area.
The roof blew off our business and everything inside was ruined.
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288. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15624
Quoting Jeff9641:


I believe Gaston heads into the gulf.

Def a chance...I think South Fl is not out of the question either. Some models hint it to be an east coast storm but still too far out. I dont like to go past 72-96 hours. We will know more in about 48 hours.
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Evening everyone!

Looks like Earl may be turning north!!
(Hopefully)
Link
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281. xcool


xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15624
Quoting Jeff9641:


I believe Gaston heads into the gulf.


Agreed, but he could still pass north of the islands and enter it that way.
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all bans and ignores have been tem. removed till after MAJOR HURRICANE EARL HAS PASSED
my blog page information is there for all to read

KOTG

link to my blog page
Link
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting uptxcoast:


I went through Alicia at the same location. Ponderosa Forest. Alicia was nastier than Ike as far as winds in that area of Houston.
I totally agree with you I also went through Alicia in Galveston but was in League City for Ike. I can still hear Alicia's winds. LOL
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May I ask those that are having an argument to take it else where? You both have understandable points but now may not be the best time to fight it out. There are some of us in here from the EC and are but a few hours from a major storm and people are trying to get information and the argument just creates a sideshow that distracts. Thank you, and I am not trying to down anyone or anything like that.
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Fox News just ran acroos the bottom of screen THE DIRECTOR OF THE NHC STRONGLY BELIEVES THAT EARL WILL VEER TO THE EAST AND NOT MAKE A MAJOR IMPACT.
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It needs to be going in a certain direction for a certain amount of time before it can be classified as going in "__ direction"
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Gaston, a caribbean cruiser
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Quoting osuwxguynew:
Definitely a jog due north. Is this the beginning of a trend or a wobble? COULD be terrific news! :-)

CoD Visible Loop

Yes, finally, he definitely went north on that run for sure! :))
Water Vapor Loop
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266. LSU79
Quoting Jeff9641:
Gaston in the Caribbean? Boy FL and the GOM better watch this one.
I was just sitting here and wondering what the looong range models are showing for Gaston and the GOM. Anyone have any ideas?
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Does anyone have any idea about what the worst might be for the beach at NC/SC border? Winds? Storm surge? Thanks!
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Quoting twooks:
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/eaus/flash-rb.html

Maybe I fail, but still looks NW overall to me.
It is..we have many "wobblewatchers" here, but if this thing was fixing to go over my house, I'd wobble-watch, too. Earl is strong and stair-stepping. Go trough, go!
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 2337
Quoting twooks:
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/eaus/flash-rb.html

Maybe I fail, but still looks NW overall to me.


The SSD site runs a bit behind (anywhere from 30 minutes to just over an hour)
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Quoting Barkeep1967:


So by giving a definitive answer like that you have no problem with the people that stay and die because you were wrong. like I said highly irresponsible.

First off this a blog so it is not an ireresponsible post. If people are using the info on here to make their decisions they are very wrong for that. Also I never said people should stay. If there is any risk they should leave and yes there is always the unknown factor but you give your best edcuated forecast. Even in Katrina in MS...it was people within 10 miles or water that had bad damage (water being the Gulf or any of the bayous, rivers etc.). If you have tall dying trees over your house then eyes 90kt wind could make it fall on your house.
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Quoting PuntaGordaPete:


I hear this bit about "caught off guard" repeatedly, but it is not true. Everyone I know spent days getting ready for Charley. Yes, the final track was a bit of a surprise, but frankly there isn't a lot more prep that can be done for a Cat 4. Windows were shuttered, boats were secured, and many people evacuated. That still didn't stop the roofs from coming off and the mobile homes from being demolished.


Really?? I know that I have a good friend that is was a reporter down there and called me the morning of Charley to make sure I checked on my best friend in St. Pete. That was at 7 a.m. At 11 a.m. my friend called me to see if I had talked to my friend in Charlotte and I told her yah first thing in the morning and she said since then? No...she said you might want to because they just took a direct hit from Charley. TOTALLY UNEXPECTED.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


A ton of people in that area won't leave. They never do.


My advice for people who are willing to take it is... watch the birds and do what they do.

If all the birds in your area have gone, so should you be. If you walk outside and everything is quiet, squirrels are hiding and birds are gone, animals are nervous... then you are in a bad spot. Consider evacuating inland.

If, on the other hand, birds are flocking to your area or if they are staying put in the trees and ponds... then they probably sense that the storm won't be too bad in your area.

The birds were a great indicator before Hurricanes Rita and Ike.
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Quoting warmreflections:
I love all the input here on this blog. I'm a major lurker :)

A month ago hubby and I were planning to spend the middle of next week on Top Sail Island, NC. We contacted the condo owners, but didn't hear back from them. I guess this is a good thing. Back in 1999 my sister was there right between Dennis and Floyd.

I'm really worried that "our" beach will be really negatively affected by Earl, and anymore that come this way.

Everyone down that way, keep safe!


I lived at Wrightsville Beach, NC for 1 year and got so tired of dodging hurricanes that we moved 5 miles inland........it's not for me!
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Quoting PuntaGordaPete:


I hear this bit about "caught off guard" repeatedly, but it is not true. Everyone I know spent days getting ready for Charley. Yes, the final track was a bit of a surprise, but frankly there isn't a lot more prep that can be done for a Cat 4. Windows were shuttered, boats were secured, and many people evacuated. That still didn't stop the roofs from coming off and the mobile homes from being demolished.


I think you could compare his "off guard" too your "bit of surprise", it is just semantics...

But riddle me this... where was Charley supposed to go after exited the eastern coast of Florida? Where did he end up?

I think you can call that... "caught off guard".
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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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