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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Quoting jazzygal:


It is South of Vermillion Parish. See nola.com

http://www.wwltv.com/news/local/Coast-Guard-reporting-rig-explosion-south-of-Grand-Isle-102065593.h tml

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1376. lakeEFX
Quoting snowboy:
From the forecaster discussion for Buffalo, NY:

... The weak trough of low pressure will try to push into the ridge
today with little success. Hurricane Earl will continue to move up
the eastern Seaboard today around the western periphery of the
Atlantic sub-tropical ridge. Deep layer subsidence over much of the
Middle Atlantic States and New England from the persistent ridge...and
also from the upper tropospheric outflow from Earl will act to repel
and weaken the approaching trough...effectively dissipating it later
today and tonight...

Tonight the trough will continue to wash out...with the remnants
lifting back north away from the area in response to the approach of
hurricane Earl's upper level outflow.


Our forecast discussion didn't mention it dissipating, maybe they will in their update, but they have been saying that the trough won't move much because of Earl for the past four days.
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Thanks for the update Gumbogirl. Glad to hear they have been rescued. And no reports of Oil. Ugh! Yes back to Earl....
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Quoting butterflymcb:


link?? info?? oh no



http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/coast_guard_responding_to_rig.html#modg_smoref_face
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Quoting tazzer06:


it was on cnn just a minute ago


I just called my son he's on grand isle and he hasn't heard nothing about it yet. I'm not saying it didn't happen i just wanted to make sure he was k. He's gonna call me back aas soon as he finds out what's going on.
sheri
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1372. breald
Quoting aasmith26:


have found no evidence of this, anywhere on the web.


thanks.
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Flood whats the declination where Earl is?..my point is we keep hearing "due north"...well thats 360...if for example there is a neg 6deg dec then 360 would be the easterly movement...Right? cant google where I am, thanks.
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1370. ncstorm
Quoting leelee75k:
what is local media coverage like in the watch and warning areas? Are they doing non stop coverage like they do in South Florida? Mainstream media while giving it attention seems be awfully reserved, not the usual overhype you usually get.



only hour updates here..but activity hasnt started here yet..we have winds at 25 miles being reported from the beaches but no rain yet and they just announced that schools WILL be operating on a normal day tomorrow..I find that really irresponsible for them to say that when the storm hasnt even turned to the NE yet
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Quoting Dunkman:
Hmm the HH finds the center at 75.1 v. 74.8 in the latest advisory.


Visual shows the center at 74.8 or .9
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Quoting aasmith26:


have found no evidence of this, anywhere on the web.
This place is one of the quickest news sites out there. Just came up on ABC on line site.
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1366. dmdhdms
Quoting butterflymcb:


link?? info?? oh no


http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/coast_guard_responding_to_rig.html

A blurb from the NOLA.COM (Times Picayune) website.
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Quoting tazzer06:


it was on cnn just a minute ago


Thanks for the correction. ;-)
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Quoting Kristina40:


Oh God, no. Please tell me that is a mistake..

by WWLTV.com
wwltv.com
Posted on September 2, 2010 at 10:09 AM
Updated today at 10:23 AM
The Coast Guard is responding to a reported rig incident south of Vermillion Bay.
A Coast Guard spokesman said that 13 people were on the rig and that 12 have been accounted for at this time.
Rescue choppers from New Orleans and Houston responded to the scene
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1363. hydrus
Quoting mcluvincane:
Does anyone expect major damage for the outerbanks
They are up to snuff when it comes to big storms out there. My guess is there will be serious damage....I hope I eat crow tho.
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Quoting xkcd:
My grandmother is in Harwich, MA, south-mid Cape Cod, and I'm trying to decide whether to tell her to head off to the mainland tonight. I figure that if there's going to be an evacuation, she doesn't want to be on the highway Friday morning when everyone sees it coming and panics. She can drive herself, but she's inclined to stay -- she says that she sat through Bob just fine, and she's far enough inland to be safe from flooding. But she's in a small house in a tree-filled neighborhood by herself.

It looks like the winds are really concentrated to the east of the storm (as usual, though particularly so in this case) and the GFS has the mid-Cape experiencing mild TS-force winds at peak.

I'm going to call her in a few hours with my recommendation. She could head in to stay with relatives in Boston or get a hotel Thursday and Friday nights, but she doesn't really want to. Advice?
Tell her to go inland. Storms can be tricky. My 80 year old mom didn't want to evacuate for Katrina and she lived on the water. Her house was destroyed. I couldn't believe she thought she'd be alright. Took a lot of convincing to get her to go, I think because she didn't want to change her "routine". Best of Luck to you.
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Quoting aasmith26:


have found no evidence of this, anywhere on the web.


it was on cnn just a minute ago
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1360. Bonedog
Looks like the NRL cone might soon be the windfield LOL

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Quoting breald:


oh no.


!3 people on rig. 12 have been rescued. It is ok. You can go to http://www.wwltv.com/news/local/Coast-Guard-reporting-rig-explosion-south-of-Grand-Isle-102065593.ht ml

Now, back to Earl! Everyone in his crosshairs please evacuate! Talk of Eye Wall replacement on this blog...and I know from experience that is not a good thing.
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HurricaneEarl's heading had turned northward to due North
from its previous heading of 6.2degrees west of North
H.Earl's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was~18.3mph(~29.5km/h)

01Sep . 03pmGMT - - 25.1n72.1w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - NHC.Adv.#29
01Sep . 06pmGMT - - 25.7n72.7w - - 125mph - - 941mb - - #29A
H.Earl becomes Cat.4 again
01Sep . 09pmGMT - - 26.3n73.3w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30
02Sep . 12amGMT - - 27.2n73.5w - - 135mph - - 941mb - - #30A
02Sep . 03amGMT - - 27.8n73.8w - - 140mph - - 932mb - - #31
02Sep . 06amGMT - - 28.6n74.4w - - 140mph - - 932mb - - #31A
02Sep . 09amGMT - - 29.3n74.7w - - 145mph - - 928mb - - #32
02Sep . 12pmGMT - - 30.1n74.8w - - 145mph - - 932mb - - #32A
02Sep . 03pmGMT - - 30.9n74.8w - - 140mph - - 932mb - - #33

Copy&paste 25.1n72.1w, 25.7n72.7w, 26.3n73.3w, 27.2n73.5w, 27.8n73.8w-28.6n74.4w, 28.6n74.4w-29.3n74.7w, 29.3n74.7w-30.1n74.8w, 30.1n74.8w-30.9n74.8w, gso, 30.9n74.8w-39.0n74.8w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~30hours from now to Wildwood,NewJersy
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Quoting aasmith26:


have found no evidence of this, anywhere on the web.


Look harder, Link
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1355. hydrus
Quoting Floodman:


IF it continues noirth, yes, it has to grze, especially with an EWRC coing...the expansion of the wind field will cause some further interaction, but as for Cape Cod, that's a wait and see proposition...how far east will he tend as the trof moves into play?
Dang, if this is not a close one, I dont know what is.
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1354. MahFL
The eye just got really tight.
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Quoting Kristina40:


Oh God, no. Please tell me that is a mistake..


It is South of Vermillion Parish. See nola.com
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Does anyone expect major damage for the outerbanks
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Quoting jazzygal:
Another oil rig explosion in the Gulf south of Grand Isle per WWl Radio. Dozens hurt.


link?? info?? oh no
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Quoting jazzygal:
Another oil rig explosion in the Gulf south of Grand Isle per WWl Radio. Dozens hurt.


link?? info?? oh no
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Cape Cod and the Islands.
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Quoting aasmith26:


have found no evidence of this, anywhere on the web.


CNN just reported on it as well. It's true.
Member Since: August 18, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 162
Quoting snowboy:
From the forecaster discussion for Buffalo, NY:

... The weak trough of low pressure will try to push into the ridge
today with little success. Hurricane Earl will continue to move up
the eastern Seaboard today around the western periphery of the
Atlantic sub-tropical ridge. Deep layer subsidence over much of the
Middle Atlantic States and New England from the persistent ridge...and
also from the upper tropospheric outflow from Earl will act to repel
and weaken the approaching trough...effectively dissipating it later
today and tonight...

Tonight the trough will continue to wash out...with the remnants
lifting back north away from the area in response to the approach of
hurricane Earl's upper level outflow.

Longtime lurker here in RI, but Earl is rousing me from slumber. Bob dropped a 30" diameter black locust tree on my roof in '91 so really don't want his cousin Earl to visit. What's up with the Buffalo NWS office? Why do they perceive the motion and effectiveness of the trough so differently from NHC? And if Buffalo is accurate, doesn't this potentailly mean Earl is much further left of the forecast track by the time it gets to New England? Thanks all.
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you want hype?? Watch TWC,,they are really good at it.
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1345. MZT
Looking east from my office (umpteen floors up in Charlotte) it's still clear sky. Nothing building up yet, but I think that will be changing soon.
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1344. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
oil rig near Vermillion Bay..
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you want hype?? Watch TWC,,they are really good at it.
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Quoting Kristina40:


Oh God, no. Please tell me that is a mistake..


from NOLA.com

The Coast Guard is responding to a report of a rig on fire "and people in the water'' in the Gulf of Mexico south of Vermillion Bay, authorities said.

Petty Officer Casey Ranel said the rig is around 80 miles south of Vermillion Bay and that a helicopter earlier today reported that it was in fire "and that there was smoke and there were people in the water.''
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0
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Five helicopters, two airplanes and four boats are en route from Coast Guard stations in New Orleans and Houston, Ranel said.

She said the rig, Vermillion Oil Rig 380, is owned by Mariner Energy, but that details were scarce.
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Better safe than sorry, convince her to get out.
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1340. Dunkman
Hmm the HH finds the center at 75.1 v. 74.8 in the latest advisory.
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1339. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
07L/MH/E/C4
MARK
30.98N/74.99W
APPROACHING COAST

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Quoting breald:


oh no.


have found no evidence of this, anywhere on the web.
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1337. breald
Quoting jazzygal:
Another oil rig explosion in the Gulf south of Grand Isle per WWl Radio. Dozens hurt.


oh no.
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1336. Bonedog
I think Earl just has it in for the east coast.

If he doesnt move west he adds an EWRC to braoden his field. This is going to be nasty for everyone from OBX to Newfie Land

I wonder if Mother Nature just has a sick sense of humor =/

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Quoting jazzygal:
Another oil rig explosion in the Gulf south of Grand Isle per WWl Radio. Dozens hurt.


Oh my! Say it ain't so. :o Will check it out. Thanks for the headsup.
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1334. xkcd
My grandmother is in Harwich, MA, south-mid Cape Cod, and I'm trying to decide whether to tell her to head off to the mainland tonight. I figure that if there's going to be an evacuation, she doesn't want to be on the highway Friday morning when everyone sees it coming and panics. She can drive herself, but she's inclined to stay -- she says that she sat through Bob just fine, and she's far enough inland to be safe from flooding. But she's in a small house in a tree-filled neighborhood by herself.

It looks like the winds are really concentrated to the east of the storm (as usual, though particularly so in this case) and the GFS has the mid-Cape experiencing mild TS-force winds at peak.

I'm going to call her in a few hours with my recommendation. She could head in to stay with relatives in Boston or get a hotel Thursday and Friday nights, but she doesn't really want to. Advice?
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On the WU Wundermap satellite, its still moving just WEST of due North.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
940mb and well to PORT of track and not going North... thats bad.






Looks like about 348 to me. Not due North yet and certainly no Eastward trend.
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Quoting jazzygal:
Another oil rig explosion in the Gulf south of Grand Isle per WWl Radio. Dozens hurt.


Oh God, no. Please tell me that is a mistake..
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what is local media coverage like in the watch and warning areas? Are they doing non stop coverage like they do in South Florida? Mainstream media while giving it attention seems be awfully reserved, not the usual overhype you usually get.
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Quoting hydrus:
Morning Flood...I say it grazes the OBX, Direct hit on Cape Cod.


IF it continues noirth, yes, it has to grze, especially with an EWRC coing...the expansion of the wind field will cause some further interaction, but as for Cape Cod, that's a wait and see proposition...how far east will he tend as the trof moves into play?
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1327. will40
Hi well i got out of dodge they evacuated the island i live on. I am at a high school set up as a shelter on the mainland
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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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