Category 4 Earl Approaches the East Coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:49 AM GMT on September 02, 2010

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Hi, Dr. Rob Carver with your evening blog update. It's a busy night in the tropics with category 4 Hurricane Earl and Tropical Storms Fiona and Gaston in the Atlantic. We'll focus on Earl tonight.

Earl
As of 11PM EDT, Earl is a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 140 mph and faster gusts. From the advisory, Earl is located at 27.8 N, 73.8 W, 520 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC. On average, Earl is currently moving north-northwest at 18 mph. Data from hurricane hunter flights show that Earl's pressure has fallen, the minimum central pressure is now 932 mb. Looking at Figure 1, an estimate of rainfall rates (think radar in space), we see a complete eyewall, with an especiallly vigorous thunderstorm cluster in the northwest quadrant. These


Fig. 1 Estimated rainfall-rate of Earl taken at 9PM EDT 1 September 2010. Image courtesy of the Naval Research Lab

Earl is still a large storm. Hurricane force winds extend 90 miles from the storm center and tropical storm force winds can be found 230 miles away. 12 foot seas extend at least 210 nmi from the center in all directions and may reach out to 450 nmi in the northeast quadrant of the storm. The most recent estimate (930PM EDT) of Earl's integrated kinetic energy is 91 TJ, with a wind impact of 3.1 out of 6 and a storm surge impact of 4.7 out of 6. Like Dr. Masters said earlier today, if the right front quadrant of Earl stays out to sea, the storm surge may not be as significant as this rating indicates.

Track Forecast
NHC has not really altered their track forecast for this update. Thanks to the subtropical high, Earl will continue turning toward the north as it moves around the subtropical high. When the trough in the jet stream comes out on Thursday, Earl will accelerate quickly to the northeast. The timing of the trough's arrival will determine Earl's impact on the East Coast. If the trough comes out quickly, Earl will stay at sea. If the trough is late in arriving, it could move Earl across the East Coast.

That said, the current forecast still holds that Earl's center will stay out to sea, but with Earl's center passing near the Outer Banks late Thursday night, then passing the Delmarva peninsula Friday morning before flying past Cape Cod Friday night and crossing over Canada's Nova Scotia Saturday. There is also a small possibility (less than 10%) that Earl could pass directly over the Outer Banks and/or the Delmarva peninsula. However, with a storm of Earl's size, the center does not have to pass overhead to cause damage. Please keep this in mind when considering your hurricane preparations.

Winds Forecast
Earl's size and track will produce tropical-storm force winds somewhere along the East Coast this weekend, and there is a 28% chance of hurricane-force winds along the Outer Banks. NHC puts out a very useful wind probability forecast. The highlights are that Cape Hatteras, NC has a 28% chance of hurricane-force winds and a 91% chance of tropical-storm (TS) force winds. A wide swath of 30+% probabilities covers the East Coast from Virginia to New England. Cities with a greater than 40% chance of TS winds include Norfolk, Ocean City, Providence, Boston, and Nantucket. Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada has a 62% chance of TS force winds.

Earl is expected to maintain its current intensity until it meets the trough and starts moving northeastwards. The shear from the trough will start weakening it. It will likely go by Cape Cod as a fast-moving category 2 hurricane. When it goes over Nova Scotia, it will likely still be a tropical storm.
Current Watches and Warnings

Hurricane warnings are valid for the coast from Bogue Inlet, NC to the NC/VA border. Hurricane watches in effect from the NC/VA border to Cape Henlopen, DE and from Woods Hole, MA to Sagamore Beach, MA. Tropical storm warnings and watches cover much of the coast in between the NC/VA border and Woods Hole, MA. For the latest information on watches and warnings for Earl, visit our Tropical Alerts page.

Impacts
The primary threats from Earl are going to be storm surge, surf, and wind. Since Earl is forecast to gain speed after meeting the trough, flooding from rain should not be a large problem. From a broad perspective, storm surges are expected to be 3-5 feet above the tidal level, with large breaking waves at the coast. Beach erosion along the Delmarva peninsula and Outer Banks (8-10 foot breaking waves) could be significant. For more localized info, check out NWS's Hurricane Local Statements or our severe weather page.

What to do
People living in areas covered by the watches and warnings should be working through their hurricane preparation plans now. You have less than 24 hours to complete your preparations if you are in the Outer Banks and less than 48 hours in New England. Be sure to listen to local media for statements from emergency management agencies and the local NWS.

Fiona
All watches and warnings for Fiona were discontinued by the 5:00 PM EDT forecast. Fiona is forecast to curve northward without affecting land and dissipate in 4 days.

Gaston
Once Earl moves past Nova Scotia, this is the storm to watch in the tropical Atlantic. While it is far out at sea (more than 6 days to affect land), some computer models suggest Gaston could affect the Bahamas or the Caribbean. Statistical intensity forecast models (LGEM and SHIPS) rapidly intensify Gaston, but the dynamical models (HWRF, GFDL) do not. This storm will be worth watching over the next week or so.

Aerial Reconnaissance
The skies around Earl are going to be very busy Thursday according to the Tropical Cyclone Plan of the Day. There will be 3 flights from the Hurricane Hunters. NCAR and NOAA's Gulfstream's will be flying around Earl. HRD's WP-3D's will be flying research missions every 12 hours. NASA is sending several aircchraft as part of their Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) mission. Their Global Hawk UAV will be flying for at least 24 hours. NASA's DC-8 has a six-hour mission scheduled. Finally, a WB-57 (one of the planes I supported during 2001's CRYSTAL-FACE) will also be flying high above Earl with microwave remote sensing gear. NASA has a nice list of the airborne instruments.


Fig. 2 Photo of Earl's eyewall taken from NASA's DC-8 Image Credit: NASA/Jane Peterson. (Full size image)

Next update
Dr. Jeff Masters will have an update Thursday morning. Dr. Masters, myself, Shaun Tanner, and myself will be participating in a special Hurricane Haven Thursday afternoon to discuss Earl's imminent approach. Dr. Masters will have the finalized details in his blog update.

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906 - me too
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Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1918
Quoting FLdewey:
Pets

The best way to protect your family from the effects of a disaster is to have a disaster plan. If you are a pet owner, that plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.

In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe place for them, is likely to result in their being injured, lost, or worse. So prepare now for the day when you and your pets may have to leave your home. The Red Cross recommends the following:

Have a Safe Place To Take Your Pets

Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters. Service animals which assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find shelter for your animals in the midst of an evacuation, so plan ahead.


And as I stated earlier, some local shelters do allow pets. In Florida, many do, but you must be preregistered and must show your pet is up-to-date on vaccines. Check with your local emergency management office for pet-friendly shelters.
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 884
Quoting RickWPB:
Looks the front is digging in a little faster than yesterday. I think (& hope) it will arrive soon enough to keep Earl east of the coast line.

Eastern U. S. - WV Loop
Link


ok, so what are the odds here?
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Also to keep in mind. We arent talking about elastic palm trees like in the gulf shores, we're talking pines and maples up the NE coast. Not down playing Katrina repectively. But people act as if she were an Andrew in strength, far from it.
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Quoting gwhite713:


AT landfall is the key, and she was a "3" at landfall.By most standards Katrina wasn't a monster when she made landfall, she just made landfall in a very inconvieniant place. Money says when Earl crosses the outter banks, they will see much higher winds than MS,AL or LA saw at landfall with Katrina. Katrina was bad, no doubt, but imagine if she was packing cat 4 winds sustained when she hit. Thats what the outter banks are looking at.


Katrina was a cat 3 at the time the eye crossed, but I believe I read that it is thought some areas got cat 4 winds prior to that time.
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921. Relix
Well after the slip up back there (my bad didn't catch it until someone pointed it to me)....

Earl seems to be on track with NHC's track. Perhaps a little west.

It also seems Fiona will survive and hit Bermudas, while Gaston is looking bad at the moment but as soon as he's out of that area he will have the power forecast.
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Also if you as parents decide not to leave at least find someplace safe for your children. At there Aunts,Grandparents somewhere other than with you if you stay. don't put your children in harms way just because you wanna stay. Think about your babies.
sheri
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A 30 Ft record storm surge from K was the demon..A storm dont wind down Like a drunken Sailor..the Momentum takes time.

K sent hurricane force winds to Hattiesburg and other places. Get a grip on reality.

A Major is a Major and Size Matters..
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Quoting gwhite713:


Katrina was a cat 3 medium range when it hit land. This is is a 4. central pressure slightly lower by a mb or two,dosent necessarily mean more powerful. She didnt have the winds Early does.

Katrina did her worst damage through her surge. She weakened as she approached the coast, but she was so enormous and her hurricane-force winds spread over such a vast area that her surge was catastrophic.

Earl is sustaining higher winds and lower pressures. But the worst surges come in the northeast quadrant of a storm, as its counter-clockwise rotation piles the water up against the fixed shoreline. We're not going to see that with Earl along the NC coast. And barring a fairly dramatic shift in its track, we're unlikely to see it in New England, either. It's the biggest threat this storm poses - if its track were to shift far enough due north to bring it ashore over southern New England, with - say - Providence or Fall River falling in its northeast quadrant, it could be truly devastating. But it's also one of the least likely outcomes.

Earl is going to do his damage with wind and rain, and battering waves. And it's quite likely, even on its forecast track, to be a devastating storm. But it's no Katrina, as of yet.

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Quoting katty5:
where is the feed to oz broadcasting live from nc...


Go to my blog and to the website posted.
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Quoting katty5:
n carolina all the way to nova scotia will have catostrophic damage from earl ...this will be the storm of the century..its already stronger and larger then katrina...


Last time I checked 175mph with 902mbs ≯ 145 with 932mbs.



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In other news, have you ever seen a slower mover across the ATL recently than Gaston. I mean i've seen some go 12-13 mph but 9?
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896. FLdewey 8:40 AM CDT on September 02, 2010

Good job Dewey!
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Quoting ncstorm:


Thanks Angiest and everyone else! I feel we are in much more than we are being promised which isnt good..just a feeling I have..I also want to say to everyone that this blog for the past couple of days has been so informative ..Props to the WU Crew!!


It is worth remembering that powerful storms like Earl don't really have a weak side. The west side may be nominally weaker, but having seen the damage Ike caused in Katy, with his eye having made its closes approach a good 30-50 miles to our EAST, don't count on being in the good side.
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Quoting OBXgirl:


As one of the 5000, Thanks for caring.



Hopefully you are smart enough to get out.
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Quoting Ryuujin:
Everyone... I'm still on my iPad, so icant check the loops. Is Earl still headed NW/NNW?


you are one of the few i know that still hasnt jailbroken your pad.....
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Quoting IKE:




AT landfall is the key, and she was a "3" at landfall.By most standards Katrina wasn't a monster when she made landfall, she just made landfall in a very inconvieniant place. Money says when Earl crosses the outter banks, they will see much higher winds than MS,AL or LA saw at landfall with Katrina. Katrina was bad, no doubt, but imagine if she was packing cat 4 winds sustained when she hit. Thats what the outter banks are looking at.
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Use the Ipad for the NHC Site.


8:00 AM EDT Thu Sep 2
Location: 30.1N 74.8W
Max sustained: 145 mph
Moving: NNW at 18 mph
Min pressure: 932 mb
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AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI


TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting Relix:

Oh my god it was the word rocking? Geesh what the heck I didn't even know that could be foul language. Most of you are grown men today and kids who are browsing here have obviously read worse things. Please don't be ridiculous.


I think Earl is really rocking right now myself.
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


You said s**t. Just a slip up, don't worry about it.
That word is actually an acronym. It means "ship high in transit". Many years ago, ships would cargo manure for farming. If it became wet, it would give off methane and become an explosion hazard.
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Quoting cYcLoN1C86:
8 ball on Gaston? Well here is what I got. I see the system moving slowly to the west and sometime next week it should arrive near Puerto Rico. It is near Puerto Rico where the High is forecast to break down and Gaston should have no problem feeling the weakness and go out to sea. Still far away, but the setup just does not favor a long Journeyed CV storm to strike the US.


Maybe you haven't been looking at the models or listening to the NHC. There is no mention of Gaston moving to sea...But you are entitled to YOUR opinion!
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Quoting TheDawnAwakening:


Not sure I agree with you or know what you mean.

I was thinking exactly the same thing but I'm so rusty I don't know if I'm processing correctly.
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Everyone... I'm still on my iPad, so icant check the loops. Is Earl still headed NW/NNW?
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Quoting angiest:


I don't think it is as large as Katrina, and is certainly not more powerful. Katrina's minimum central pressure was roughly 30mb lower.


Earl is much smaller than Katrina. When Katrina was in her full glory, she took up the entire Gulf of Mexico. Trust me, I live in New Orleans and won't ever forget that satellite image on the tv screen. Earl is indeed a monster, though! Don't let his smaller size fool you! Evacuate if you anywhere near his crosshairs!
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Quoting Relix:


Where was the foul language in that post? Nowhere.
Quoting Relix:


Where was the foul language in that post? Nowhere.


I dunno somebody on this blog.........is pretty extreme. I read it and never thought anything. I am shocked LOL.....
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Oz is checking into his motel on Hatteras Island right now. He's gonna stay there tonight. They made him sign a waiver!
,can you send me the address of his livestream,i can't access it on the extremeblog,because im using a droid phone,thanks-paul
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mms://wblivesurfgd.sageisland.com/eilivesurf

Live web cam from Bogue Inlet Pier
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889. Relix
OMG! I NOTICED THE FOUL WORD NOW! Wow wow wow wow I am sorry! It was a slip up! My bad! XD!
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888. h0db
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Just be Thankful this is Hitting the Outer Banks (Only 5,000 People) Not Miami or New york (5 Millon +)


The summer population of the Outer Banks is 350,000. The permanent residents number about 35,000. Evacuation is no trivial thing--there is only one road off from Kitty Hawk south, and it's 2 lanes most of the way. Doubt the ferries across the sound are going to be running after a few more hours.
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 88
Quoting ncstorm:


Yeah our local news said we should start getting the first rainbands by 10 this morning and TS winds should start about 2pm today..they didnt cancel school here so kids will be coming home in TS winds when they get out today..


Thanks Angiest and everyone else! I feel we are in much more than we are being promised which isnt good..just a feeling I have..I also want to say to everyone that this blog for the past couple of days has been so informative ..Props to the WU Crew!!
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Looks the trough is digging in a little faster than yesterday. I think (& hope) it will arrive soon enough to keep Earl east of the coast line.

Eastern U. S. - WV Loop
Link
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i have a dog named earl. I just realized i left the weather channel on when i left. I hope he aint psycho when i get home from wondering why people keep calling his name!
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884. Relix
Quoting angiest:


FWIW, I didn't report it, just made a mental note that it would get removed for that. :)


I know it wasn't you. But the political correctness really gets to me. Didn't even intend to use the word as a foul word, didn't even know what meaning it had. Remember I am not from mainland USA I am from PR so some words may not have the same meaning to me. Oh well, onwards to tropic chats.
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Quoting IKE:
From the 4am advisory...

EYE DIAMETER 25 NM
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 125 KT WITH GUSTS TO 150 KT.
64 KT....... 80NE 70SE 40SW 60NW.
50 KT.......120NE 120SE 90SW 100NW.
34 KT.......200NE 180SE 120SW 180NW.

Yeah. Well, that was the prediction. But a hunter just measured 34 knot winds 200 nm SSW of the center. So that 120 SW estimate? Just a little bit understated.
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880. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
oh i see...
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879. IKE
Quoting gwhite713:
TWC just said Vermont could be seeing tropical storm force winds, and on into NY State. crazy. This storm is more powerful than Katrina, and larger. People inland my want to think about securing things around the yard..


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My thoughts and prayers are with all who are in Earl's path. As a Mississippi Gulf Coast resident, I know the anxious feeling you all have. One of our local forecasters here commented on the similarity in the "look" of Earl and Katrina. We can only hope that the turn to the NE happens sooner than later.
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Quoting cYcLoN1C86:
8 ball on Gaston? Well here is what I got. I see the system moving slowly to the west and sometime next week it should arrive near Puerto Rico. It is near Puerto Rico where the High is forecast to break down and Gaston should have no problem feeling the weakness and go out to sea. Still far away, but the setup just does not favor a long Journeyed CV storm to strike the US.


I like your 8 ball
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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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