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 Hurricanes101:


we have only had 7 named storms so far

and no season will ever catch 2005, so strike that one

we can easily pass both 2004 and 2008; as well as; getting close to 1995


A season will catch 2005, just not for another 50-60 years when AMO+ rolls around again. History says so.

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Fiona looks like a strong open wave now
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114072
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.
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Quoting xcool:


LOOK AT Gaston




Gaston is taking the same course as Earl??
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How many millibars high is earl being steered by?
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Quoting txwxnut2:
Jim Cantore was just ranting on TWC because not enough people are taking Earl seriously.


It looks like a lot of people are just sitting around waiting to decide tomorrow, and they don't realize how big Earl is or how fast Earl is going to be moving NW by morning.



Then when they get family members killed or loss of property, they are gonna blame TWC, NHC and the media for allegedly "not informing them".

There are a lot of houses behind Jim Cantore that show no evidence of preparations at all. No boards/shutters, and stuff just sitting around in the yard...a few dozen yards off the water...

This happens everywhere. Then they will blame the government when they don't have supplies. I have news for people like this - IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENTS RESPONSIBILITY TO PREPARE FOR A STORM - IT IS THEIRS!!! I don't feel sorry for people who have the information and don't act on it. Their choice - then there are the IDIOTS who expect first responders to come to them in the heart of the storm. drives me freakin crazy.


exactly..

its so sad.. and retarded... you know how many people would have had there lives not taken had they listened to the orders when katrina was going to hit?
Member Since: April 17, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1753
Quoting atmoaggie:
Dayum. Dec 2001 to now completely silent?


It must be a record!
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Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

Only a non Met and non forecast would say there is no way to know. You look at the facts and make a forecast and decision. That is my decision and my forecast. I think the eye will get close to the shore but the NE quad will not go over land.



wrong read the error range. 100-150 miles. There is absolutely no possible way you can say this storm is not coming ashore 100%. Do I think it is ? no. Can it ? you better believe it.
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148. xcool



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Quoting breald:


When I lived in Raleigh, hurricane Fran was like that for me. I could hear the trees breaking but couldn't see a darn thing.


Yep, and transformers popping all night long. It was chaos there with so many trees down everywhere! I remember crabtree valley mall being completed flooded..
Member Since: September 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 725
Quoting ussual:
Those that worry weather or not to get out of the way, if you have never been through a hurricane before and you got a cat. 4 or better coming at you, you should probably move out of the way. Always remeber in the iddle of the storm if something goes wrong there is no help coming. Police/Fire/EMS "general"(always exceptions) stay in house til the worst is over. You don't wanna try in drive in heavy winds either. So if you are not sure you house will hold up then move.
When I lived in Se NC a long time ago, I went to a red cross meeting because I lived on a barrier island. They said One maybe ok at cat 1 . Anything higher than that , The red cross said "If you stay you can put your head between your legs and kiss your butt good bye"... I about fell out when they said that. LOL
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Good evening, folks. Good to see Doc and other posters raising alert possibilities for levels of swells and surge, despite hit or miss. BRAVO!
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


we have only had 7 named storms so far

and no season will ever catch 2005, so strike that one

we can easily pass both 2004 and 2008; as well as; getting close to 1995


i guess the real question is do we really want to?
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143. NJ2S
the CNN anch
Quoting RecordSeason:
Jim Cantore was just ranting on TWC because not enough people are taking Earl seriously.


It looks like a lot of people are just sitting around waiting to decide tomorrow, and they don't realize how big Earl is or how fast Earl is going to be moving NW by morning.



Then when they get family members killed or loss of property, they are gonna blame TWC, NHC and the media for allegedly "not informing them".

There are a lot of houses behind Jim Cantore that show no evidence of preparations at all. No boards/shutters, and stuff just sitting around in the yard...a few dozen yards off the water...


the CNN anchor in NC just went on a rant also as ppl were partying in the background.
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142. xcool
btwntx08 who
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I would suggest that if you are worried about staying or going, take a little trip west for a few days. If Earl sticks to the forecast then you will have a nice labor day vacation. With all the water that Earl is pushing best not to take any chances. The potential storm surge from Earl is frightening and if he is just a few miles off it could be a real disaster for a lot of people. Look at the folks who died on Boliver during IKE. The peninsula was wiped clean. So my best advice is If in Doubt, bug out!!!!
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Jim Cantore was just ranting on TWC because not enough people are taking Earl seriously.


It looks like a lot of people are just sitting around waiting to decide tomorrow, and they don't realize how big Earl is or how fast Earl is going to be moving NW by morning.



Then when they get family members killed or loss of property, they are gonna blame TWC, NHC and the media for allegedly "not informing them".

There are a lot of houses behind Jim Cantore that show no evidence of preparations at all. No boards/shutters, and stuff just sitting around in the yard...a few dozen yards off the water...

This happens everywhere. Then they will blame the government when they don't have supplies. I have news for people like this - IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENTS RESPONSIBILITY TO PREPARE FOR A STORM - IT IS THEIRS!!! I don't feel sorry for people who have the information and don't act on it. Their choice - then there are the IDIOTS who expect first responders to come to them in the heart of the storm. drives me freakin crazy.
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Quoting breald:


When I lived in Raleigh, hurricane Fran was like that for me. I could hear the trees breaking but couldn't see a darn thing.


The main thing was the wind and then the eventual flooding, we had 1-2 foot of water in the downstairs part of our condo.
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138. redUK
Quoting SkulDouggery:
Where is the NNW movement people are referring to?


It's been *almost* due north for the past hour:

http://wwwghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/GOES/goeseastconusir.html

put lat/lon on and animate...

Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 53
Quoting EtexJC:


sorry trying to type on the phone(predictive text).

storms-hurricanes-major
in 2005 28-15-7
in 2007 15-6-2
in 2008 16-8-5
in 2010 9-3-2


we have only had 7 named storms so far

and no season will ever catch 2005, so strike that one

we can easily pass both 2004 and 2008; as well as; getting close to 1995
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Quoting gdbob:
Flyng back home to Norfolk from Hawaii tomorrow around noon. Do you think airport will still be open.


Yes, definitely. TS/Hurricane conditions not expected until tomm night, fri early am.
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Quoting Barkeep1967:



A really irresponsible post. no way to know where this is going.

Oh yea and I wpent 20 years of my life there and know the effects and how thigns are built to handle this. the outerbanks will get rocked like always but in reality the first 3-5 miles inland are the most affected. Second off I said over 10 days ago earl would dip under the first trough and take this track. Why would I change what I say now? So many said fish storm from the beginning.
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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!

Dayum. Dec 2001 to now completely silent?

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


I know...has a hurricane EVER made landfall in the middle of the day? haha...They should just name every storm "drunk ex-girlfriend"


Now, that's funny.

Katrina hit early morning. We got Gustave during the day as well here in Baton Rouge.
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132. gdbob
Flyng back home to Norfolk from Hawaii tomorrow around noon. Do you think airport will still be open.
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Have a friend saying that they have dropped the TS warning at Cape Henlopen? Hmmm...
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Quoting Brennen:
I asked this in the other blog and the new blog came out: Is the trough moving as fast as it supposed to? If not is it faster or slower?


The current WV loop shows the 500 mb trough axis still in the NE-ern Rockies...and you can see that the leading edge of the associated westerlies are moving through the Great Lakes and midwest. The trough has not been moving very fast and needs to dig at least another 500 miles to the SE to impart a NNE-erly motion to Earl by Thursday night. Being that Earl will likely be near the NC coastline in the next 36 hours...the trough would have to move at about 15 mph for it to reach the area in time to keep Earl offshore. Right now I'd estimate that is the exact speed of the trough...so it is going to be extremely close.
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128. 7544
nnw i got it thanks
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Quoting EtexJC:


Alicia in '83 was like that for me, and i was just 7 when it hit at 2-3am in the morning


When I lived in Raleigh, hurricane Fran was like that for me. I could hear the trees breaking but couldn't see a darn thing.
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Quoting MagicSpork:


I know...has a hurricane EVER made landfall in the middle of the day? haha...They should just name every storm "drunk ex-girlfriend"


Storms for some reason like landfalls at Night, Ike, Katrina, Andrew and countless other major landfalls but there have been some, Dolly, Gustav, Charley for example.
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Those that worry weather or not to get out of the way, if you have never been through a hurricane before and you got a cat. 4 or better coming at you, you should probably move out of the way. Always remeber in the iddle of the storm if something goes wrong there is no help coming. Police/Fire/EMS "general"(always exceptions) stay in house til the worst is over. You don't wanna try in drive in heavy winds either. So if you are not sure you house will hold up then move.
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My parents have a condo on West hampton Beach Long Island...I hope the angle of the coast line keeps it far enough offshore to not affect it too much.
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Quoting Dakster:
I second Aqua K9, ATMO...

Very good post...

--

I always respond with, if you have to ask - then leave.

I realize not everyone can afford this option, so to those I say to prepare as well as you can and try to get to a friends house that is better able to handle the storm. (maybe yours is and people should come to you?)

As ATMO stated, I know my area, my house, etc... If YOU don't, ask your neighbors that have lived there for awhile or check with your Office of emergency management. . (Most of my neighbors are now new and as such ask me since I went through 2004/2005 here)

I would never make a decision to stay based on someone here saying it was safe to do so...
I lived in S. FL during all of those storms, I told them I know nothing and for them to turn on the TV to listen to local authorities. I told them its not my job to save their butt, its theirs. That worked everytime.
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Quoting Barkeep1967:



A really irresponsible post. no way to know where this is going.

Only a non Met and non forecast would say there is no way to know. You look at the facts and make a forecast and decision. That is my decision and my forecast. I think the eye will get close to the shore but the NE quad will not go over land.
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Where is the NNW movement people are referring to?
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Quoting breald:
What really stinks are these night hurricanes/tropical storms. They are bad enough but much scarier at night.


Alicia in '83 was like that for me, and i was just 7 when it hit at 2-3am in the morning
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I don't like either Earl or Gaston.....they seem like they mean serious game.Who made the atlantic angry?
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Everyone from NC to NS should be keeping an eye on the storm. I remind everyone about Charley...
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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!

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113. xcool



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I second Aqua K9, ATMO...

Very good post...

--

I always respond with, if you have to ask - then leave.

I realize not everyone can afford this option, so to those I say to prepare as well as you can and try to get to a friends house that is better able to handle the storm. (maybe yours is and people should come to you?)

As ATMO stated, I know my area, my house, etc... If YOU don't, ask your neighbors that have lived there for awhile or check with your Office of emergency management. . (Most of my neighbors are now new and as such ask me since I went through 2004/2005 here)

I would never make a decision to stay based on someone here saying it was safe to do so...
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110. xcool


LOOK AT Gaston


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Just a query from an interested observer:

How close does this Midwest trough have to be before it will force the North and then Northeast motion of Earl that is being forecasted?

I ask only because Environment Canada appears to be forecasting on their GEM/Canadian model that the cold front (which I presume is the leading edge of the trough) will be over Southern Ontario around 2 pm on Friday.
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Dont forget Earl is gonna weaken the closer to shore she gets. Not gonna see a cat 4 up there
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I am in brunswick county in nc and i hope it does start that turn soon.If it don't,then we might get more than what the local weather stations are saying.
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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.