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 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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I remember driving through Homestead about 9 months after Andrew. A Fuddruckers had just opened being the first restaurant in the area. I saw a mall destroyed and the shops running from trailer homes in the parking lot. And huge piles of debris.. I can't even imagine what that night was like.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


It's hopefully the start of a turn. If so, it's possible this could go well east of OBX. Let's hope!


It's really early :-\... nonetheless I and a few million other people would be happy as well. Tired of worrying and worrying :(
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I think it's just getting bigger and stair stepping at this point. I see a wobble left, then a wobble north, etc.
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Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

No not as long as your customer understands the limitations of the forecast. you are giving your best educated guess on what is going to happen. I grew up in that area and been there storms on the east coast and here in the gulf. The west side of the storm is the weakest. Some people will have to replace shingles and deal with a long power outage. i would prepare for that. If you live within 5 miles of the beach or water then I would be very concerned and leave. If you were farther inland I would ride it out without a concern. Again this is a blog and my opinion. If you have a problem with what I say then you shoudl have a problem with about 80% of the stuff posted on here.


but you are stating your opinion as a FACT from your view point.. when we can't say it's a fact at all.. considering the situation at hand..
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting aasmith26:
hmm...whats up with the due north the last few frames?


It's hopefully the start of a turn. If so, it's possible this could go well east of OBX. Let's hope!
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Looks impressive whats behind Gaston comming off the African coast, any word on its future?

Link
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http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/eaus/flash-rb.html

Maybe I fail, but still looks NW overall to me.
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I posted some incorrect links earlier for my camera live for Fiona and my YouTube videos of Earl here in St. Maarten.

Correct links = http://bit.ly/awV004

and

http://bit.ly/brGbDO
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Quoting leo305:


well someone saying it WILL do something is absurd.. because today a forecast is never 100% NEVER.

saying it will not hit land, and then it hits land would end up destroying a person's credibility. Saying it may or may not hit land wouldn't.. forecasting is different from other things.

No not as long as your customer understands the limitations of the forecast. you are giving your best educated guess on what is going to happen. I grew up in that area and been there storms on the east coast and here in the gulf. The west side of the storm is the weakest. Some people will have to replace shingles and deal with a long power outage. i would prepare for that. If you live within 5 miles of the beach or water then I would be very concerned and leave. If you were farther inland I would ride it out without a concern. Again this is a blog and my opinion. If you have a problem with what I say then you shoudl have a problem with about 80% of the stuff posted on here.
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hmm...whats up with the due north the last few frames?
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Quoting warmreflections:


I live in Tornado country and most of the bad storms we get come after dark. Believe me, if they put us under a tornado watch, I don't go to bed until the system passes to the east of us.


Tornadoes must be hard in the dark because they can just pop up without much warning.
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What Hugo did to Charleston,SC
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Quoting CocoaLove:


My home was in Cutler Ridge, a few blocks from the mall. The neighborhood looked like a war-zone for months afterward. It took years before I could drive into the area. I still shake when I think about the devastation.

Ugh.

People should evacuate. Don't play with these storms. It's not worth it.


They had just finished a new Home Depot there to... and it was supposed to open the day Andrew went through... needless to say... it was destroyed.

Also, the amazing thing to me about these storms is the power and the gentleness of the wind. There are pictures of 2x4s/2x6s blown halfway through palm trees, intact. There are alos pictures of stairs leading to where a house used to be, but the potted plants on the porch weren't moved. Just amazing.
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I hope the local news for the affected area is showing before and after pictures of what storm Surge can do...Ike, Katrina, Rita...Remember those pictures that showed neighborhoods before the storm and the picture of one little house standing afterwords? A picture is worth a 1000 words...
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Being in south Florida, and being in quite a few hurricanes, don't put "ALL" of your trust in the tracks...(ie).. Up until the last few hours Charley was destined to go to Tampa, then the hurricane decided to go against the odds and take a sharp right hand turn... Many were caught off guard in the Sanibel Island vicinity.
What I am saying is , don't think you are out of the woods just because you are not in the cone...Keep an eye out on the TV until it has passed you..Just my opinion from past experience. Good luck and be safe.


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.
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Definitely looks like a big "jog" to the North, or its the beginning of THE TURN!
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Quoting EtexJC:


Where were you from? At the time i was at FM1960 and IH45


I was living in Texas City, pretty much right on the coast, but we were at my grandma's apartment in La Marque, which is right next to my hometown.

Yeah dad, nice evacuation plan there...
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Quoting CaneWarning:


If someone makes a decision to stay or leave based on his one post then they are crazy.


Just an example. If somebody listens to one post and stays it is Darwin at work.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
Its Been only 5 years since the 2004-2005 Seasons and People in South Florida Have already forgot about what had happend....
Not all, my neighbors and I haven't forgotten. Hard to forget being w/o power for 8 days after Frances, and then seeing Jeanne bearing down on us.
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230. redUK
Quoting btwntx08:
nnw was a wobble sry


Are you sorry because you are wrong?

Don't scare people.

Earl's gone almost due north for 90mins now.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 53
Quoting wdrjunky:


Charley was not a Night hurricane. It entered in the morning and exited early morning off the next day.


Thats what I stated..
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Definitely a jog due north. Is this the beginning of a trend or a wobble? COULD be terrific news! :-)

CoD Visible Loop
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227. xcool


soon as getting rigth by Caribbean kaboom blow upp
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Quoting CocoaLove:


My home was in Cutler Ridge, a few blocks from the mall. The neighborhood looked like a war-zone for months afterward. It took years before I could drive into the area. I still shake when I think about the devastation.

Ugh.

People should evacuate. Don't play with these storms. It's not worth it.
I remember when McDonalds had the military stationed there.
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Quoting ncstorm:


well its funny the media (or Jim Cantore) is sitting here raving about people not leaving..TWC as of yesterday was still running Storm Stories instead of weather reporting so thats calling the pot black and the local media is downplaying the effects as well..

Agreed, and where will Cantore be when the storm hits? Right in the middle of it!
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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.


If someone makes a decision to stay or leave based on his one post then they are crazy.
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Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

Statements like yours get people fired at my job. I say will or wont because those are the answer people want. I am an all or nothing forecaster. Those are the forecasters that get respect from nonweather people making serious decisions even if a forecast is missed. You can not make a decision on it might or might not happen.


well someone saying it WILL do something is absurd.. because today a forecast is never 100% NEVER.

saying it will not hit land, and then it hits land would end up destroying a person's credibility. Saying it may or may not hit land in a situation like this wouldn't.. forecasting is different from other things.

Because going by your word, if everyone thought, its not going to hit, and nobody prepares and a MAJOR HURRICANE hits, despite the forecaster's word, whats ganna happen then?
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting sammywammybamy:
Alex
Bonnie
Colin
Danielle
Earl
Fiona
Gaston

Hermine
Igor
Julia
Karl
Lisa
Matthew
Nicole
Otto
Paula
Richard
Shary
Tomas
Virginie
Walter

Named Storm/Hurricane/Major Hurricane/Cat 5
2005: 28/15/7/4
2010 so far: 7/3/2/0
2010 my prediction: 20-25/12-16/6-8/2-4
sep 2010: 5-6/3-5/2-3/1-2
oct 2010: 4-6/3-4/1-2/1-2
nov 2010: 3-4/2-3/1/0
dec 2010: 1-2/1/0/0

Simply put, I think there will be less named storms than 05 and less Hurricanes, but possibly more Majors and a similar amount of cat 5s, because of how warm the SSTs are.
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Quoting TexasGulf:
The Weather Channel said a few minutes ago that the mayor of Cape Hatteras will call for a mandatory evacuation of Cape Hatteras for all residents and visitors in a short while.

Residents should make plans and get gas now, because the order will probably go out by 7:00PM EST.


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

Statements like yours get people fired at my job. I say will or wont because those are the answer people want. I am an all or nothing forecaster. Those are the forecasters that get respect from nonweather people making serious decisions even if a forecast is missed. You can not make a decision on it might or might not happen.


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.
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000
WTNT44 KNHC 012042
TCDAT4
TROPICAL STORM GASTON DISCUSSION NUMBER 2
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092010
500 PM AST WED SEP 01 2010

THUNDERSTORMS HAVE CONSOLIDATED NEAR THE CENTER OF THE CYCLONE THIS
AFTERNOON...WITH AN INTENSE CONVECTIVE BAND IN THE WESTERN
SEMICIRCLE. SATELLITE INTENSITY ESTIMATES FROM TAFB AND SAB ARE 45
KT AND 30 KT...RESPECTIVELY...WITH AMSU ESTIMATES FROM CIRA AND CSU
INDICATING 50 KT AND 37 KT. OVERALL THIS SYSTEM APPEARS BETTER
ORGANIZED THAN SIX HOURS AGO...AND A BLEND OF THESE DATA GIVES AN
INITIAL INTENSITY OF 35 KT...MAKING GASTON THE SEVENTH NAMED STORM
OF THE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON.

THERE IS STILL A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF DRY AIR TO THE WEST AND NORTH
OF THE TROPICAL STORM...WHICH MAY HINDER STRENGTHENING. HOWEVER...
ALL OF THE GLOBAL MODELS SHOW THAT A RELATIVELY LIGHT SHEAR
ENVIRONMENT WILL BE PRESENT NEAR GASTON FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS.
THE GUIDANCE NOW INDICATES CONSIDERABLY MORE INTENSIFICATION OF
GASTON...WITH THE NORMALLY CONSERVATIVE LGEM SHOWING THIS SYSTEM
BECOMING A MAJOR HURRICANE BY THE END OF THE PERIOD. THE NHC
FORECAST IS RAISED FROM THE PREVIOUS ONE...BUT REMAINS LOWER THAN
THE MODEL CONSENSUS.

AN AMSR-E PASS AT 1613 UTC HELPED WITH THE INITIAL POSITION AND
MOTION...WHICH IS A BIT SLOWER THAN BEFORE AT 280/13. A SUBTROPICAL
RIDGE TO THE NORTH OF GASTON IS FORECAST TO WEAKEN SOON AS A
MID-LATITUDE TROUGH PASSES BY...WHICH WOULD CAUSE THE STORM TO SLOW
DOWN. THIS RIDGE SHOULD REBUILD IN A FEW DAYS AND STEER THE
TROPICAL STORM AT AN INCREASINGLY FASTER RATE TO THE WEST OR WEST-
NORTHWEST. GLOBAL MODELS HAVE COME INTO SOMEWHAT BETTER AGREEMENT
NOW THAT MOST OF THEM ARE INITIALIZING THE STORM...BUT THERE ARE
STILL SOME SIGNIFICANT SPEED DIFFERENCES. THE NHC FORECAST IS
FASTER THAN ALL OF THE GUIDANCE IN THE SHORT TERM AS IT SEEMS LIKE
THE MODELS ARE GENERALLY SHOWING TOO MUCH INTERACTION BETWEEN THE
ITCZ AND GASTON. THE NEW FORECAST DOES END UP CLOSE TO THE PREVIOUS
ONE BY DAY 5...AND IS NEAR A BLEND OF THE GFS/UKMET/HWRF/GFDL
MODELS.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 01/2100Z 12.9N 37.0W 35 KT
12HR VT 02/0600Z 13.1N 38.3W 40 KT
24HR VT 02/1800Z 13.4N 39.9W 40 KT
36HR VT 03/0600Z 13.7N 41.2W 45 KT
48HR VT 03/1800Z 14.0N 42.5W 50 KT
72HR VT 04/1800Z 15.0N 45.5W 55 KT
96HR VT 05/1800Z 15.5N 50.0W 65 KT
120HR VT 06/1800Z 16.5N 54.5W 75 KT

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE



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I remember seeing that very large boat in someone's back yard in Cutler Ridge
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Quoting breald:
What really stinks are these night hurricanes/tropical storms. They are bad enough but much scarier at night.


I live in Tornado country and most of the bad storms we get come after dark. Believe me, if they put us under a tornado watch, I don't go to bed until the system passes to the east of us.
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Is there a model archive of the models that wu displays on the tropical page if some one could post a link it would be much appreciated thanks in advance.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
07L/MH/E/C4
MARK NEAR
27N/73W
I put my cursor on the beginning frame and Earl rolled NW.
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Quoting CocoaLove:


My home was in Cutler Ridge, a few blocks from the mall. The neighborhood looked like a war-zone for months afterward. It took years before I could drive into the area. I still shake when I think about the devastation.

Ugh.

People should evacuate. Don't play with these storms. It's not worth it.


I was just down the street from you and our home was destroyed with us in it.
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Quoting Alockwr21:
Not looking good at all for us here in eastern,NC.. Last/Only major I was in was Fran in 96'.


I sure keep telling myself "Oh, it'll stay offshore like they've predicted"

But every time they release the new tracks they inch that forcast a smidge left, closer to home. I told the hubby I have a bad feeling about ol' Earl, and he said "Geez, you must want a hurricane to hit us"

The next few days will be interesting, to say the least.
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#201 re. Fiona discussion.

I love the use of the word 'dishevelled'

These forecasters really have been breaking out the thesauri (thesauruses) this year.
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The Weather Channel said a few minutes ago that the mayor of Cape Hatteras will call for a mandatory evacuation of Cape Hatteras for all residents and visitors in a short while.

Residents should make plans and get gas now, because the order will probably go out by 7:00PM EST.
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Quoting bluehaze27:


While the eye went over Homestead, the Strongest winds were over Perrine and Cutler Ridge because they had the Northern Eye wall and over 175 mph sustaine due to the NE quadrant and the forward speed of 20 mph.


My home was in Cutler Ridge, a few blocks from the mall. The neighborhood looked like a war-zone for months afterward. It took years before I could drive into the area. I still shake when I think about the devastation.

Ugh.

People should evacuate. Don't play with these storms. It's not worth it.
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sammy.I strongly disagree....We still talk about it frequently, and remember Francis, Jeanne, and Wilma
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does anyone know many millibars high is earl being steered by?is it 850 mb?
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Quoting redUK:
Why are my comments blocked! I;ve only made a handful of posts and they've all been reasonable. :(


77. is yours, and it's not blocked.
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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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