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: 677 - 627

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

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Earl is proving to be one interesting character...

I hope he and Danielle weren't setting the stage for the season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting DestinJeff:
12Z Surface pressure contours:



00Z:
Whats that show us?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormJunkie:
Good morning all

So who broke the SFWMD page?
Taz...

:)
Member Since: November 1, 2004 Posts: 25 Comments: 8926
Its becoming cloudy here in SE NC..Earl is approaching..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15300
Quoting IKE:
1215 visible...still east of 75W....


So Ike & all others the rule of thumb here is if he gets past 75W then...?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Must've been ages since Georgia's got within spitting distance of a major hurricane.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Good morning all

So who broke the SFWMD page?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NEXRAD Radar
Wilmington, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CoopsWife:


Mmm, mostly it makes me feel better, but the L&M's ship is moored on the N side of the pier... we've got nearly 60 in port, can't imagine ADM Harvey leaving that many billions of dollars of assets in port if he didn't have a whole lot of faith in the weather guessers.

Still, that 20-25 miles west of the oceanfront can make a HUGE difference in wind.
In my thinkin there would be severe consequences for the brass if Cat4 made a direct hit on them with all those sittin ducks in harbor...heads would roll.
Member Since: November 1, 2004 Posts: 25 Comments: 8926
Quoting Jeff9641:
Gaston maybe a major problem for the GOM and FL. People along the gulf coast and SE US really need to watch this system over the next several days as we may be looking at a potentially Wilma type storm sitting in the Caribbean moving north.

Models? Also I wouldn't lose sleep on him yet, even by tuesday the storm hasn't crossed the islands. Still you bring up a good point, time to start reviewing your hurricane prep. kit if you have not already done so.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
To the person asking about the horses in NC, Shackleford has them as well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting breald:


Oh wow. Is he planing on following Earl up the coast?


Playing it by ear, but prolly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:
74.4..Will he make it past 75.O? Its getting close..


The NHC at 8am has it at 74.8 west.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
661. IKE
1215 visible...still east of 75W....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
74.4..Will he make it past 75.O? Its getting close..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15300
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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!


Oh wow. Is he planing on following Earl up the coast?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
http://www.frf.usace.army.mil/

Good link to bookmark for later today. It's a camera mounted at a naval pier just north of Duck, NC.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting reedzone:
Even if Earl started a northward movement, doesnt change the track at all, it could head north for a while, then recurve.. It's all about how fast he moves and how quickly the trough gets to the coastline, it's moving quite slowly through the midwest.
Correct, that would be better for OBX but worse for SNE. The further east he is without being influenced by the trough, the further north he will be.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Morning Folks.....Lets hope that the current short-term trend on the loops continues with Earl but a very large storm nonetheless. On a related note, having been in South Florida for Andrew and being familiar with Brian Norcross, he did a great job with his presentations on TWC last evening; actually much better than some of the other folks on there.....Only thing I did not like was the deep dark hair coloring. Like him better with the old natural salt and pepper look but then again Andrew was 18 years ago............. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The trough is slow, and weakenings due to Earls interaction.. Look at the water vapor...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
EARL Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting surfmom:
Link



The hallmark of the Corolla area and Carova Beach, the wild horses of the Northern Outer Banks are perhaps better known than the Currituck Beach Lighthouse or the Whalehead Club.

These are the descendants of Spanish Mustangs which survived early shipwrecks. Historical research records the horses here as early as 1523.

Today, with the increasing development in their habitat, they are under the pressure of encroachment of their range --particularly from vehicle traffic. However, there are several programs being implemented to protect them


Beautiful!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oz is checking into his motel on Hatteras Island right now. He's gonna stay there tonight. They made him sign a waiver!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting tkeith:
That would actually make me feel better if I lived near there. Not sayin that it cant or wont sneak up on them but the Navy takes care of ships for a livin.


Mmm, mostly it makes me feel better, but the L&M's ship is moored on the N side of the pier... we've got nearly 60 in port, can't imagine ADM Harvey leaving that many billions of dollars of assets in port if he didn't have a whole lot of faith in the weather guessers.

Still, that 20-25 miles west of the oceanfront can make a HUGE difference in wind.
Member Since: June 19, 2006 Posts: 63 Comments: 4175
Quoting twhcracker:


my horses have been thru two. Ivan was the worst. It did not hit us but when it made landfall we had 8 tornadoes in 8 minutes. As soon as it was safe i went to check my horses. all fences were down and they were huddled up in the middle of the pasture, butts together, facing out like spokes in a wheel so they could observe all directions. They were standing in two feet deep of rubbled limbs and debris. for a couple of months afterward on a ride they would jump if a twig snapped. I actually observed them in Dennis when bands came thru. It wasnt so bad just real hard rain and wind. They would stand butts to the rain and wind and would not go under shelter at all. they clearly wanted to be able to run if need be and not be confined.
Animals are very intelligent when it comes to storms. During Ivan we had about 30 chickens in a coop. We left the door open but they wouldn't come out. Somehow they managed to stay safe and we only lost one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Even if Earl started a northward movement, doesnt change the track at all, it could head north for a while, then recurve.. It's all about how fast he moves and how quickly the trough gets to the coastline, it's moving quite slowly through the midwest.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:
Steering layer for Earl. Starting 12 hours PREVIOUS, each frame jumps 3 hours time...to the present layer.



The arrows in the high point it towards the OBX & that stubborn trough is moving inch by inch an hour!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning

Earl looks to be on a 350 degree heading and will likely intersect the 75 W longitude line soon.
This is going to be a close one for the OBX and even if the eye stays offshore the onshore flow from a CAT 4 passing nearby will still be a severe event.

I hope those who were on the barrier islands got out when they could.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MZT:
The extreme northern area, near Virginia. It's not an island... an isthmus.


I wish I knew how to post an image here. I visited the Outer Banks last year and it's simply beautiful.

I can't even begin to imagine the devastation Earl will bring to the area. No matter how beautiful Earl looks in all the images posted here on this blog, our prayers should go to all the people this beautiful hurricane will effect.

I hope mother nature will make Earl turn very sharply very soon!

Stay safe!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Link



The hallmark of the Corolla area and Carova Beach, the wild horses of the Northern Outer Banks are perhaps better known than the Currituck Beach Lighthouse or the Whalehead Club.

These are the descendants of Spanish Mustangs which survived early shipwrecks. Historical research records the horses here as early as 1523.

Today, with the increasing development in their habitat, they are under the pressure of encroachment of their range --particularly from vehicle traffic. However, there are several programs being implemented to protect them
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting barotropic:

Yes, wouldn't want to get positive at all now would we?


Positive is ok but what does that help to think it is a actual turn if it is just a wobble??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting h0db:


No, Chincoteague ponies are not Banker horses:
The Banker horse is a breed of feral domestic horse (Equus ferus caballus) living on the islands of North Carolina's Outer Banks. It is small, hardy, and has a docile temperament. Descended from domesticated Spanish horses and possibly brought to the Americas in the 16th century, the ancestral foundation bloodstock may have become feral after surviving shipwrecks or being abandoned on the islands by one of the exploratory expeditions led by Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón or Sir Richard Grenville. Populations are found on Ocracoke Island, Shackleford Banks, Currituck Banks, and in the Rachel Carson Estuarine Sanctuary.



Cool. Thanks. I was not aware they had wild ponies down there. Now I have learned something today.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
banker horses interestingly are dna confirmed relatives of the florida cracker horse, which were floridas wild horses left by the spaniards. i suspect the bankers will be a lot smarter with earl than many coastal human inhabitants! but i feel sorry for them. they are endangered as it is.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting P451:
Steering layer for Earl. Starting 12 hours PREVIOUS, each frame jumps 3 hours time...to the present layer.


That High looks like its building north and westward
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
631. IKE
Quoting barotropic:


For the last couple of hours he is moving nearly due North. Go to floater and put up Lat/Lon lines and have a look..........


Exactly. Maybe it changes back NNW...I hope not.

It stays parallel with the 75W line the last 2-3 hours...Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting reedzone:
That north turn is evident, probably a wobble...

Yes, wouldn't want to get positive at all now would we?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Most likely by the 11am advisory we will know if a turn more towards the North has taken place. For now there is still a westward heading & the due North movement is a wobble until we see consistency. I like to use the term fickle in this case.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is going to be close. Good morning everyone.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
07L/MH/E/C4
MARK
30.11N/74.90W
nearing coast
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53841

Viewing: 677 - 627

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

Mostly Cloudy
82 °F
Mostly Cloudy