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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What really stinks are these night hurricanes/tropical storms. They are bad enough but much scarier at night.
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Not to over emphasize or repeat. 75 West is the key!!
Stay East of 75West Earl, please! Just 1 degree west of 75 is not good for the Eastern Seaboard. I am not throwing the panic button out there, but anyone from NC to Maine should watch Earl and where he stands in regard to that forcast point, because it is a difference maker by a 100-150 miles, which is a major shift, 75 West is time to think about your plans.....
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103. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Earl is the first hurricane I've seen in awhile that has a chance of being the famed "apocolypticane" I'm sure some of you have heard the TWC blabber about occasionally over the last few years. What this is, is a very strong hurricane that almost makes landfall in NC and follows the coast line NNE ward with the eye just off shore. It feeds off the gulfstream, maintains its intensity up to NYC, bringing major hurricane force winds to half the eastern seaboard. Incredibly small chance, but it is there.

I think they would rename the hurricane if this happened though, the name Earl doesn't seem aggressive enough :)
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101. papla
Prayers to all on the East Coast from a Katrina survivor! Be safe my friends. I wish this on NO ONE!


blockquote class='blogquote'>Quoting Hurricanes101:


+100000

I wish there were more posts like this on here

I mirror your sentiments
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100. xcool
fiona RIP
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting aquak9:
It's not Earl that's scaring me.

it's all these newbies and lurkers showing up, saying "should I leave? should I be worried?"

Jeeez Louise this is a friggin' Cat 4, a healthy one at that. It ain't something to make ya go hhmmmm.

And I really don't think I'm gonna get my point across to anyone.


+1

I know a lot of people in NC and they are caught in two minds having monitored the way the NHC has kept the official track forecast offshore. However, I really believe this storm is going to have a major impact along the NC coast unless the mid latitude trough currently aligned well back in the NE-ern Rockies picks up some speed.

It boils down to this...Earl is an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm that has the potential to make a direct or indirect hit along the NC shoreline as a major hurricane...if you live in an area under a hurricane warning, you should be making final preparations to evacuate if entirely possible.
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Quoting 7544:
earl is making his tail out of fiona i think shes done


If I am not mistaken, were they not some people on this blog who were making similar comments about Fiona being done yesterday?
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There are two NFL games scheduled in Florida on 9/12, one in Tampa and one in Jacksonville, plus who knows how many college games so we might see some shuffling going on...
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


that is a very broad statement

what do you mean by first half? do you mean end of August? That is exactly half of the season in terms of days and 6 named storms is above average

and what other years are you describing? the hyper-active ones? So we had less storms in the first half of the season than 1995 and 2005 and barely less than 2004 and 2008

wow this season is a bust *rolls eyes*


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
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Quoting atmoaggie:
No, really, we can tell that Richmond will not be able to tell there is a hurricane going on. My current forecast is that even Norfolk will get no more than 30 mph sustained winds. (go ahead, find obs that prove me wrong as Earl passes)

Here is the current state of the NHC forecast winds (reading in the 4 quadrants, interpolating over time, Holland model):


While those in doubt, very near the beach, need to be alert to emergency management, others really will likely see little to nothing from Earl.


As it currently stands I would agree. Hopefully it stays that way or moves eastward.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


I agree. Before long we'll have some young damsel in distress home alone and only 1 foot above sea level. If the account was opening within the past few days, then it is suspect.


Oh, yes.. I remember one of those from a couple of seasons ago.. China...something.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Repost:

Look, I see a disturbing number of queries in the way of should I stay or leave, will this place or that place be spared, etc.

This blog, though some do have real qualifications to answer the question, is not the place you should be with questions like those.

Even with the considerable experience and knowledge about hurricanes that we may collectively have on hand, we don't know the elevation of the land around you. We don't know the elevation of the floor of your residence. We don't know the elevation of the roads around you and/or if you would like to be on your own, with no emergency services for an extended period of time. [this could go on and on]

We can say that, outside of OBX, there haven't been any other evacuations called for (as far as I know). No one city or area, especially cities well inland, is under the threat of complete devastation from Earl. His damage will be in a pick and choose fashion. He will probably erode enough beach under a few houses to topple them (every NC cane does) and little else. But, some of the lower places from OBX to VA Beach *could* get some floodwaters.

If you still don't know if you should be where you are, it's high time to pay attention to what your local emergency managers are saying. They know your area. Expect that no one in a weather blog has the combination of skills, local knowledge, and trustworthiness that you really need and ignore those that tell you otherwise.


Common sense has to take over at some point. Listen to the local news they will tell you what is going on.
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Quoting HaboobsRsweet:
While Earl is a serious hurricane all affected areas will only see the west side so only people within 3 miles of the shoreline will see sig impact. Others will see lots of rain and some wind. Power outages expected.


This, perhaps, should be rethought.
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Why are my comments blocked! I;ve only made a handful of posts and they've all been reasonable. :(
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Good luck to all those close to Earl. Hope you all stay safe. I like storms, but don't wish anything bad on anyone.
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88. bwat
Quoting aquak9:
It's not Earl that's scaring me.

it's all these newbies and lurkers showing up, saying "should I leave? should I be worried?"

Jeeez Louise this is a friggin' Cat 4, a healthy one at that. It ain't something to make ya go hhmmmm.

And I really don't think I'm gonna get my point across to anyone.
This is true, I have livend in Perquimans County NC all my life, we have had a lot of canes strike the coast, bertha, fran, floyd, but we took a direct hit from the eye during Isabel, she was a Cat 1 at that time, and it was the worst damage we've seen. Point being that opened a lot of our eyes around here, if there is any chance at all, its better safe than sorry. You wont catch me unprepared with a Cat 4 lurkin off the coast!
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does look NNW but it may just be the way the eye is clearing out. NNW jog there
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Quoting Barkeep1967:



A really irresponsible post. no way to know where this is going.
No, really, we can tell that Richmond will not be able to tell there is a hurricane going on. My current forecast is that even Norfolk will get no more than 30 mph sustained winds. (go ahead, find obs that prove me wrong as Earl passes)

Here is the current state of the NHC forecast winds (reading in the 4 quadrants, interpolating over time, Holland model):


While those in doubt, very near the beach, need to be alert to emergency management, others really will likely see little to nothing from Earl.
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One of the worst feelings in the world is being awakened at 3:00 a.m. by a fire siren and a bullhorn telling you that there is a mandatory evacuation. That is what happened to me when I Gloria came through. I was home from college for the weekend and staying in Lewes, DE. It was terrifying!
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Quoting redUK:
Earl just took a big jog to the NNW, as seen on the NASA MSFC rapidfire imagery.



Link


Well, maybe this is the start of the "turn" they've been forecasting for days on end.
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Quoting FLdewey:

70% of them are fake accounts... happens every storm. ;-)


I agree. Before long we'll have some young damsel in distress home alone and only 1 foot above sea level. If the account was opening within the past few days, then it is suspect.
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80. 7544
earl is making his tail out of fiona i think shes done
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It's interesting to see that the media really isn't hyping this too much...or at least not yet. It's bizarre because they normally hype everything. If this thing gets ugly, there are going to be millions and millions of people caught unaware.

Oh man, did I just criticize the U.S. news media for NOT hyping something? *Insert Twilight Zone music here*
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Earl just took a big jog to the NNW, as seen on the NASA MSFC rapidfire imagery.



Link
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I live in western Mass. should I be concerened?

Bare in mind, from past hurricanes, my area did get hurricane force winds.
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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?
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100 miles is either gonna make or break the east coast
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Out for now; will have to make the call on whether to move my kid inland from New Haven to freinds in Philadephia tommorow just to be on the safe side.......God Bless & Stay Safe and don't take chances with your children and elderly if your live on/near the coast and your local authorities issue evacuation orders.
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Quoting HaboobsRsweet:
While Earl is a serious hurricane all affected areas will only see the west side so only people within 3 miles of the shoreline will see sig impact. Others will see lots of rain and some wind. Power outages expected. Now Gaston makes me nervous. The eye is going to go right over someone and the NE side will probably hit someone. Its still early but man Gaston seems like a name that could be retired.



A really irresponsible post. no way to know where this is going.
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69. bwat
For anyone who is living on the coast and is new to hurricanes, floodsmart.gov is a good site for seeing your risk of storm surge.
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post 47 needs to be reposted about every thirty minutes

thanks atmo♥
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Quoting Cotillion:
Best of luck to anyone in Earl's path.

Of course right now, Fiona is hitting the northernmost Lesser Antilles.

Gaston just has that.. name.

Looks like it'll approach the Outer Banks at night, too.



What about the I storm for this season...It has that name....
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Quoting Cotillion:
Best of luck to anyone in Earl's path.

Of course right now, Fiona is hitting the northernmost Lesser Antilles.

Gaston just has that.. name.

Looks like it'll approach the Outer Banks at night, too.




Gaston remind a lot Georges in 1998
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Well the Tampa met didn't say much about Earl. Just that is may turn or it may hit land. LOL
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hi 09 we have Gaston
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115437
62. 7544
look at the last few frames looks like earl wants to bend west i have a feeling there might be a very small jog soon to the wsw i dont know why
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Something else to consider. . . as well as OBX getting socked, the more west Earl goes before starting to recurve the more chance the rest of the EC, especially New Jersey and New York have of facing stronger winds. This could be get really bad.
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It's not Earl that's scaring me.

it's all these newbies and lurkers showing up, saying "should I leave? should I be worried?"

Jeeez Louise this is a friggin' Cat 4, a healthy one at that. It ain't something to make ya go hhmmmm.

And I really don't think I'm gonna get my point across to anyone.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


that is a very broad statement

what do you mean by first half? do you mean end of August? That is exactly half of the season in terms of days and 6 named storms is above average

and what other years are you describing? the hyper-active ones? So we had less storms in the first half of the season than 2005 and barely less than 2004 and 2008

wow this season is a bust *rolls eyes*


Sep 10th is the halfway point if you use the official season.
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42 - YEPPERS...

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Quoting weatherman12345:
you think this has the possibility to effect florida?
You're just going to get that "it's too far out" answer, but I can say with confidence that the pattern is undoubtedly changing, and sooner or later the S.E US will get a hit, whether it is from Gaston or another system. Point is, we'll find out soon enough.
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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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