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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2905. warmreflections
6:12 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Acorna:

*raises hand* I'm in Jax myself. That was the last thing I wanted to read too. :(


I did hear from my friend. She's staying put!! But I still hope he avoids you.
Member Since: December 6, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 24
2904. xcool
6:07 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
newwwwwwwwwww blog blog
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
2903. philliesrock
6:06 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
The ECMWF is almost exactly the same as 12z. No changes at all to report.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 65 Comments: 3197
2902. texascoastres
6:06 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Dr. Carver's posted a new update!
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2901. TampaFLUSA
6:06 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
NEW Blog
Member Since: June 21, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 1657
2900. Halyn
6:06 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Ya'll .. this has been an interesting day .. but is time for me to bring my day to a close. Keep the vigil, guys .. will check in the morning and expect ya'll will have found a solution to the Problem with Earl .. :) G'night .. :)
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2899. xcool
6:06 AM GMT on September 02, 2010


Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
2898. xcool
6:05 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
2897. Zeec94
6:04 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Zeec94:


12Z makes landfall
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2896. Zeec94
6:04 AM GMT on September 02, 2010

12Z
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2895. superweatherman
6:00 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
AND THEN... 12CLOCK NEWS.... NEVER MIND... EARLY WILL NOT HIT THE STATE OF ____....AND INSTEAD IT WILL RIDE THE EAST COST 50 MILES OF THE COST AND BY TONIGHT IT WILL BE RACING NORTH EAST AWAY FROM THE US....
Member Since: July 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 307
2894. nwFLstormstalker
5:58 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
based on sat estimates, i imagine earl has a 6-8 hour window ahead of him to turn true north, otherwise he will probably be to far west to avoid land and will then make an outer banks landfall.

what a beautiful storm. came home tonight and saw a satellite image with the perfect eye and my jaw dropped.
Member Since: August 24, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 51
2893. Zeec94
5:56 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Halyn:
>

Orca .. how much more West can he get in those 4 hours .. approx. ??


At this speed, he could be close enough that when he reaches the OBX, he could be farther inland than first expected.
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2892. xcool
5:56 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
2891. Halyn
5:55 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
>
Quoting Orcasystems:


It should turn North in about 4 hours.


Orca .. how much more West can he get in those 4 hours .. approx. ??
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2890. philliesrock
5:55 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
ECMWF looks pretty much the same as 12z through 30.
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 65 Comments: 3197
2889. superweatherman
5:54 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
My crystal ball says that all the major news station tomorrow morning will have Earl as:
BREAKING NEWS (EARL WILL HIT AS A ___ STORM IN THE STATE OF ____ AND WILL RIDE ALL THOUGHT THE EAST COST. POSSIBLE BEING TO WORST STORM IN EAST COST HISTORY.)... or something like that.
Member Since: July 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 307
2888. katadman
5:53 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting reedzone:
So far, Earl is following the NHC very nicely!


Actually, Reed, the NHC has been following Earl. Since the beginning.
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1081
2887. Zeec94
5:53 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Alockwr21:
Will be very interesting to see how long Earl goes NW and if he continues this track before the 5am advisory. Could be a decent size move to the port side. How many hours ago was he supposed to be heading north??

Don't mind that question, but how many days ago was he suppose to start the NW trend but kept going WNW. That's what got us into this problem. Earl is a problems child. He just wants attention. Maybe if we send like 12 HH planes filled to the max with people, he will leave us alone...maybe?
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2886. xcool
5:53 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
texascoastres :)
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2885. leo305
5:52 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
mhm new blog
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2884. Orcasystems
5:52 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Alockwr21:
Will be very interesting to see how long Earl goes NW and if he continues this track before the 5am advisory. Could be a decent size move to the port side. How many hours ago was he supposed to be heading north??


It should turn North in about 4 hours.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2883. VAbeachhurricanes
5:52 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
NHC has been taking their dandy old time with these advisories lately haha
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2881. Manshar
5:51 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
@ post 2843.... if you know your abbreviations, MA is Mass. ME is Maine. The arows are pointing at both. And it isn't CN for Connecticut...it is CT.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 13
2880. jscs
5:51 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
I remember very distinctly, five years ago on Aug 28 living in New Orleans it was the 2am update that got me packing my bags for a sunrise evacuation.

I hope this 2am update doesn't create the same type of last minute great concern.
Member Since: February 14, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 141
2879. Alockwr21
5:51 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Will be very interesting to see how long Earl goes NW and if he continues this track before the 5am advisory. Could be a decent size move to the port side. How many hours ago was he supposed to be heading north??
Member Since: September 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 725
2878. texascoastres
5:50 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
xcool, ya I can do that, way over 21 and on vacation for the next five days. Play nice with the older folks!
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2877. Ryuujin
5:50 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Dunkman:
Crazy SFMR for the NW eyewall...hurry up HHs I need to see the NE quad!
Considering that's the "weak" side of a hurricane.. sheesh. Earl is a freaking monster.
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2876. xcool
5:50 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
btwntx08 we all doom
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2875. Dunkman
5:49 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Crazy SFMR for the NW eyewall...hurry up HHs I need to see the NE quad!
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2874. LAlurker
5:49 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Halyn:



What did you do with Vermont .. right up there next to New Hampshire .. looked for it on the map

Vermont became the 14th state in 1791
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2873. snowboy
5:49 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Unbelievable. Both the surface pressure and the track..
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2871. Alockwr21
5:48 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting superweatherman:
That's to big.


maybe just an 1/8th of it then :)
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2869. superweatherman
5:47 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Alockwr21:


...and NC
That's to big.
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2868. Zeec94
5:47 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Looks like the HH is heading WNW now...every time those update, it scares me that he gets farther and farther away from the models and closer to the 75 Parallel and the coast.
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2867. VAbeachhurricanes
5:47 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Alockwr21:


I'm thinkin he meant "No S***"


yeah i know haha
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2866. katadman
5:47 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Orcasystems:
Time: 05:29:00Z
Coordinates: 28.4333N 74.3W
Acft. Static Air Press: 696.1 mb (~ 20.56 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 2,540 meters (~ 8,333 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: 926.5 mb (~ 27.36 inHg)


Wow! I mean, just wow!
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2865. leo305
5:46 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Fiona most certainly isnt moving NW at 20
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2864. silverstripes
5:46 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
NW Quad

Time: 05:32:00Z
Coordinates: 28.5667N 74.45W
Acft. Static Air Press: 695.0 mb (~ 20.52 inHg)
Acft. Geopotential Hgt: 2,645 meters (~ 8,678 feet)
Extrap. Sfc. Press: -
D-value: -
Flt. Lvl. Wind (30s): From 54 at 99 knots (From the NE at ~ 113.8 mph)
Air Temp: 10.7C* (~ 51.3F*)
Dew Pt: -*
Peak (10s) Flt. Lvl. Wind: 113 knots (~ 129.9 mph)
SFMR Peak (10s) Sfc. Wind: 111 knots (~ 127.6 mph)
SFMR Rain Rate: 19 mm/hr (~ 0.75 in/hr)
(*) Denotes suspect data
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 595
2863. superweatherman
5:46 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Alockwr21:


I'm thinkin he meant "No S***"

LOL.. Man that mad my night we are arguing about a MAP.
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2862. philliesrock
5:45 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
ECMWF has initialized!
Member Since: June 29, 2006 Posts: 65 Comments: 3197
2861. LightningCharmer
5:45 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:

North South?
Quoting Orcasystems:


Yes, ok, that was it :)
Fore/Aft?
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
2860. Alockwr21
5:45 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting superweatherman:
Let me correct myself... the Original 13 Colonies. LOL...

EARL may swallow DE,NJ,CT,RI,NH and even possible MA.LOL


...and NC
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2859. Alockwr21
5:45 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting superweatherman:
Let me correct myself... the Original 13 Colonies. LOL...

EARL may swallow DE,NJ,CT,RI,NH and even possible MA.LOL


...and NC
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2858. xcool
5:44 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
yoyo rob
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
2857. Orcasystems
5:44 AM GMT on September 02, 2010


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI


TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
2856. Alockwr21
5:44 AM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


North South?


I'm thinkin he meant "No S***"
Member Since: September 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 725

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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.