Category 4 Earl Approaches the East Coast

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

Share this Blog
3
+

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.

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 727 - 677

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29Blog Index

727. Bordonaro
12:53 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Just stopping in for a few minutes. I was up till 3AM this morning, watching Earl.

This is going to be a real nail-biter for the NC to NS region, people in Cape Hatteras, NC and Nantucket Island/Cape Cod, MA need to be ready for a possible direct hi.

My prayers for safety goes out for folks in the possible affected area up & down the Eastern Seaboard.
Member Since: August 25, 2009 Posts: 20 Comments: 6785
725. Patrap
12:53 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting SiestaCpl:


This floater is 30 minutes behind the RAMSDIS Tropical Floter which runs until 12:15UTC and shows a further closing on the 75W line. The West eyewall is now on that mark.


Im aware of that fact..and the NOAA Floaters take time to process.

Radar is Key now.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
724. MahFL
12:53 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Eyewall touching 75 west now. Eye seems to be enlarging, an EWRC ?
Member Since: June 9, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 3448
723. SiestaCpl
12:52 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Good loop..shows continuing Westward movement taking it to the 75W mark.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 383
722. barotropic
12:52 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting reedzone:


No, Earl can still impact the Northeast even if he turned north, it's all on how fast the trough gets to him, which it's going very slow and Earl is still speeding.


I am curious are you located along the east coast?
Member Since: August 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 652
721. UnobtrusiveTroll10
12:52 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Paptrap, others: Any reason at this point to believe the cone of uncertainty (track forecast) will be changing?
Member Since: August 10, 2008 Posts: 3 Comments: 39
719. Patrap
12:52 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
The water rise along the coast will be ocurring this afternoon if not already. The time for ACTION in the WARNED area is NOW.

Do not delay and hope for a weaker system,,the surge and water rise is coming...

Dont be there when it arrives or you will be stranded,,with no means of shelter unless your lucky.

This is a catastropjic Hurricane.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
718. Cotillion
12:51 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
AL, 07, 2010090212, , BEST, 0, 301N, 748W, 120, 932, HU, 64, NEQ, 80, 70, 40, 40, 1008, 200, 15, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, EARL, D,

AL, 08, 2010090212, , BEST, 0, 237N, 654W, 45, 1002, TS, 34, NEQ, 100, 100, 0, 0, 1013, 120, 35, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, FIONA, S,

AL, 09, 2010090212, , BEST, 0, 139N, 386W, 30, 1008, TD, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1012, 200, 45, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, GASTON, S,

Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
717. JAC737
12:51 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
The most important thing we had (besides gas and a generator) after IKE was cash. ATM's don't work when there's no power.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 52
716. hydrus
12:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting DestinJeff:
I think there is a moderate risk that the easterly component in Earl's fwd motion does not kick in until very near or beyond the OBX.

Check out the CMC if you have time. It is interesting..........Link
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20896
715. SiestaCpl
12:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Patrap:
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop


This floater is 30 minutes behind the RAMSDIS Tropical Floter which runs until 12:15UTC and shows a further closing on the 75W line. The West eyewall is now on that mark.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 383
714. aasmith26
12:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Visible

Starting to infiltrate some clouds here in SE VA. Wow I'm starting to get nervous :-O!
Member Since: June 30, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 229
713. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53446
711. Patrap
12:49 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting yonzabam:


Earl is currently 400 miles from Cape Hatteras and moving at 18 mph. At that speed it would be there in 22 hours.


Thats a myth..thats when the eye crosses that point ,,by that time half the Storm is Onshore with the Powerful Impact front quads.
So cut that down by 60%
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
709. breald
12:48 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
off to get some supplies, toilet paper, dog food, batteries for the radio and alcohol. BBL.
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 38 Comments: 5303
708. yonzabam
12:47 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting h0db:
When is Earl likely to make landfall (or closest approach) to the Hatteras area and what is his intensity likely to be? I have a house on Colington Island and the flood tables are kind of tricky depending on intensity and surge.


Earl is currently 400 miles from Cape Hatteras and moving at 18 mph. At that speed it would be there in 22 hours.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2918
706. ILwatcher
12:46 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Good morning, folks. Been reading along for a couple days. Seems like a good time to poke my head back in for a bit.
Member Since: September 12, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 1644
705. Patrap
12:46 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
704. hydrus
12:45 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting pottery:
'mornin'....
Good morning Pott..The LinkGEM model does away with Fiona completely. Looks like Earl is going to hit the Outer Banks.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 20896
702. Patrap
12:45 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
New Floater Rainbow image

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
This is a Catastrophic Storm.

Those on the outer Banks should realize whats going to occur.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
point of no return would be 31 75 if he makes it may be starting a turn a couple of hrs will tell
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53446
Quoting tkeith:
If Oz crashes at your place Breald...NO TALKIN POLITICS!!...lol

(that may be worse than the storm)

:)


LOL!! Don't worry.
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 38 Comments: 5303
Certainly..the Radar beam is looking up as to the horizon.

Were not at our first rodeo here,,
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
07L/MH/E/C4
MARK
30.25N/74.75W

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53446
NHC has Earl right on 75W at 8am EDT.


Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2918
693. IKE
I think it needs to get close to 74W to keep the outer banks from a significant hit. Impressive looking storm...still.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
8:00 AM EDT Thu Sep 2
Location: 30.1°N 74.8°W
Max sustained: 145 mph
Moving: NNW at 18 mph
Min pressure: 932 mb

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
Quoting breald:


If hew needs a place to crash here I can supply him with a couch..LOL.
If Oz crashes at your place Breald...NO TALKIN POLITICS!!...lol

(that may be worse than the storm)

:)
Member Since: November 1, 2004 Posts: 25 Comments: 8924
GOES-East 4 km IR4 Floater 2 Tropical RAMSDIS shows Western eye wall of Earl is now on 75 W and crossing it on the following frame.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 383
688. h0db
Quoting h0db:
When is Earl likely to make landfall (or closest approach) to the Hatteras area and what is his intensity likely to be? I have a house on Colington Island and the flood tables are kind of tricky depending on intensity and surge.


I'm glad you asked that:

"HURRICANE EARL IS FORECAST TO TRACK JUST OFFSHORE OF THE NORTH CAROLINA COAST...MAKING ITS CLOSEST APPROACH NEAR CAPE HATTERAS AROUND 2 AM TONIGHT.

... and high tide is right around 3 AM--2.5 ft:

"Breaking waves will peak later tonight into early Friday at 12 to 18 feet. Storm surge values will also peak at that time around 2 to 4 feet. The surge coupled with high wave run up will cause significant beach erosion and overwash. Sections of Highway 12 along the Outer Banks will be affected starting tonight. It is possible Hatteras Island could be breached in narrow locations north of Buxton. High tide around 3 am Friday morning will be
particularly dangerous."

"Soundside storm surges of 3 to 5 feet are possible early Friday morning through Friday afternoon with 3 to 5 feet expected south of Oregon Inlet to Ocracoke and 1 to 3 feet of inundation expected north of Oregon Inlet. Portions of Highway 12 will likely be inundated."
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 88
Really weakened overnight!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Radar is the tell tale now..IF we see more of him..hes closing to the coast.IF we see less or the static movement,,dats a good thing.

So those who need to get need to,as the window is closing to Impacts this afternoon and tonight.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803
anyone wanna tell me why my pressure is actually rising?? The high isnt strengthening is it?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tkeith:
Taz...

:)


lol tkeith, good to see you...He's always up to mischief isn't he?

Ughh, got to head to accounting class. See y'all later. Hopefully Earl will make that Eward motion before long...Would make a big difference for the OBX.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
To be clear, Earl is a form taking up space not a point. His eye width alone takes up a half degree of more. if he hits only 75.5 his eye wall structure on the West will make a long grinding run up the majority of the Outer Banks. Little or no population lives on the South end (angling SW from the Hatteras light house) as it is dominated by a National Park area. The upper end of the OBX are lined with vacation homes, apartments and small town centers. If Earl makes those coordinates (which he will with his current movement even with it's Northerly current component let alone any wobble West) he will be directly in line with those heavily built-up areas on the Northern half of the Banks. By the way the Floater used in the links so far is a full half hour behind others which showed a turn with a Westward component in its next frames after the North most frames. This is way to close to call yet.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 383
Quoting PensacolaDoug:


Playing it by ear, but prolly.


If hew needs a place to crash here I can supply him with a couch..LOL.
Member Since: May 28, 2008 Posts: 38 Comments: 5303
679. IKE
Quoting GTcooliebai:

So Ike & all others the rule of thumb here is if he gets past 75W then...?


Then it's closer to NC and a more severe hit.

Yes...I'm rooting for it to start turning NNE. I'm wish-casting it away from the lower 48.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:

So Ike & all others the rule of thumb here is if he gets past 75W then...?


No, Earl can still impact the Northeast even if he turned north, it's all on how fast the trough gets to him, which it's going very slow and Earl is still speeding.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7360
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127803

Viewing: 727 - 677

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
66 °F
Overcast