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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1276. breald
Hurricane warnings up for southeastern MA.

To quote our senior chief "OUCH"
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1275. tkeith
Quoting hydrus:
Hades posts all tropical weather occurring around the world. I assure you that the people here that study tropical meteorology appreciate ALL his posts. Whether there is a hurricane approaching the U.S. or not.
WU is world wide and the good Doc M has many readers of this blog in that part of the world.

HGW is always on the watch for them, including the service men and women stationed in the Pacific.
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Quoting IKE:
EARL PROBABLY HAS ALREADY
REACHED ITS PEAK INTENSITY AND IT SHOULD SOON BEGIN TO WEAKEN
GRADUALLY AS THE SHEAR INCREASES.


yeah to a major 3...and this isnt good news either...

"THERE HAS BEEN NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE STRUCTURE OF EARL
DURING THE PAST FEW HOURS. HOWEVER..MICROWAVE INAGERY SUGGEST THAT
AN EYEWALL REPLACEMENT COULD OCCUR SOON...IN WHICH CASE THE WIND
FIELD WOULD BECOME LARGER"
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Quoting MahFL:
"THERE HAS BEEN NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE STRUCTURE OF EARL
DURING THE PAST FEW HOURS. HOWEVER..MICROWAVE INAGERY SUGGEST THAT
AN EYEWALL REPLACEMENT COULD OCCUR SOON...IN WHICH CASE THE WIND
FIELD WOULD BECOME LARGER"

Oh crap.

That is stunning!
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Quoting IKE:
He moved .8N and .0W. He's moving due north. Now start turning NNE Earl...please.
lets all hope for ne
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Quoting IKE:
He moved .8N and .0W. He's moving due north. Now start turning NNE Earl...please.


We need that push from the west....half of Earl's system is ready to impact OBX...a turn right would be very welcome, think push push push.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 383
Quoting KanKunKid:


-- Half of Earl is east of 75W.


The center of Earl is just east of 75W...movement in the last several hours has been almost due north...
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.
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Winds have lessened a touch.
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1265. ncstorm
Earl from my front door in Wilmington, NC

Link
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Oh man, Earl moved west then .8 N and now heading west some more....its like a stair step
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1262. MahFL
"THERE HAS BEEN NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE STRUCTURE OF EARL
DURING THE PAST FEW HOURS. HOWEVER..MICROWAVE INAGERY SUGGEST THAT
AN EYEWALL REPLACEMENT COULD OCCUR SOON...IN WHICH CASE THE WIND
FIELD WOULD BECOME LARGER"

Oh crap.
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Quoting IKE:
He moved .8N and .0W. He's moving due north. Now start turning NNE Earl...please.


Whew!!! Glad to see its official now!! Now everyone can start rooting for an east wobble here and there in the upcoming hours.
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Quoting aasmith26:


No, they're being stubborn. ;-)


I think they are waiting for the HH to finish their run. They still haven't made it to the eye yet.
Link
Member Since: June 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 760
1259. hydrus
Quoting aasmith26:


I don't think we're concerned about pacific storms at this point.
Hades posts all tropical weather occurring around the world. I assure you that the people here that study tropical meteorology appreciate ALL his posts. Whether there is a hurricane approaching the U.S. or not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
AT 02/1200Z CENTER WAS LOCATED NEAR 30.1N 74.8W

HURRICANE CENTER LOCATED NEAR 30.9N 74.8W AT 02/1500Z

FORECAST VALID 03/0000Z 33.5N 75.0W

FORECAST VALID 03/1200Z 36.5N 73.5W

FORECAST VALID 04/0000Z 40.0N 70.8W

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1257. IKE
EARL PROBABLY HAS ALREADY
REACHED ITS PEAK INTENSITY AND IT SHOULD SOON BEGIN TO WEAKEN
GRADUALLY AS THE SHEAR INCREASES.
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Quoting LADobeLady:


This is the last thing we need on this blog right now. If you want to talk about weather bimbos do it on your own blog.


When you all where talking about not leaving dogs and animals behind. during Hurricane Ivan we left Satsuma and headed toward Miss and we had our dogs and cats, they where Ray Ray,Prissy,Sugarbutt,Lil Man,Burger,and Kiwi our cat with 12 kittens that was a interesting ride and then the only hotel we found at 3am didn't want animals so we had to sneak everyone of them in the room.When we went to leave we poked our head out and found out we wasn't the only ones doing that. But we love our babies also there was 8 people. We took the dually and my monte carlo SS. Like I said very interesting. And all the dogs where Boxers except burger. I hope i don't get in trouble for posting this.
sheri
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Quoting aasmith26:


No, they're being stubborn. ;-)


I think they are waiting for the HH to finish their run. They still haven't made it to the eye yet.

http://tropicalatlantic.com/recon/URNT15/KNHC/
Member Since: June 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 760
Quoting texascoastres:
TampaTom
I agree no it shouldn't but reality is it does. I live on the gulf coast and dont need to be told to evac. My preps and plans are done. I just hope they are not needed. not trying to offend anyone. What ever means it takes to keep people safe and informed.


Gotcha... A healthy respect for these babies is definitely in order...
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1252. Engine2
I'm not sure I understand what will push this east if the trough is forecasted not to be in play? Is it because he is strong and wants to move poleward?
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EWRC would be interesting...weaken it, but spread the winds out to more of the coast....
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1250. tkeith
Quoting jason2010xxxx:
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FROM NEW HAVEN CONNECTICUT
TO WEST OF WESTPORT...INCLUDING BLOCK ISLAND.

It's headed your way Jason...
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Quoting IKE:
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

....................................

...DANGEROUS HURRICANE EARL HEADING FOR THE OUTER BANKS OF NORTH CAROLINA...HURRICANE WARNINGS ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF MASSACHUSETTS...
11:00 AM EDT Thu Sep 2
Location: 30.9°N 74.8°W
Max sustained: 140 mph
Moving: N at 18 mph
Min pressure: 932 mb


Ike, I know I give you heck sometimes (all in good fun) but now I really wish you and that darn ECMQWF was right...
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Each wobble with a more westerly component has been preceded by a flattening or loss of some convection on the West side of the system. If there is another West left in Earl it is likely to occur in the next three hours of movement. The loss of convection can allow some dry intrusion but the core of the storm has consistently repelled these from the eye region. Earlier today MIMIC found a doubled eye wall in Earl so it is not out of the question that another EWRC has begun.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 383
Movement North @ 355 degrees!, just heard it on TWC.
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Jeff I see it, 75W is splitting the eye per latest SAT imagery. That tells me it is still heading a tiny bit W of N. Come on TROF!!!!
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TampaTom
I agree no it shouldn't but reality is it does. I live on the gulf coast and dont need to be told to evac. My preps and plans are done. I just hope they are not needed. not trying to offend anyone. What ever means it takes to keep people safe and informed.
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1242. IKE
1445 IR of Earl...still east of 75...

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1240. angiest
Quoting Taylor2004:
I am new to the blog, however have been following your site for couple years now. First let me start by saying, "Good Luck" to those in the path of this historic storm. We here in Martin County, ie South Fla have dodged an epic event. However from reading all the blogs, I can see we are not out of the woods yet. I have been thru Gloria in 85, Bob in 91, Francis 04, Jeanne 04, Wilma 05, TS Fay 09. How far past Nov 1st is 2010 season projected to go?


The season ends on November 30th. It could well extend into December and conceivably be one of those rare seasons that don't end until January.
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1239. Relix
AS ANTICIPATED...EARL HAS BEGUN TO MOVE NORTHWARD OR 355 DEGREES AT
16 KNOTS. SINCE THE STEERING PATTERN HAS NOT CHANGED...EARL IS
FORECAST TO CONTINUE NORTHWARD TODAY. IN ABOUT 24 HOURS...THE
HURRICANE SHOULD BE ENCOUNTERING THE BASE OF THE MID-LATITUDE
WESTERLIES AND EARL SHOULD THEN TURN MORE TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST
AND NORTHEAST WITH AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED. THIS SHARP TURN
HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY INDICATED FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS IN THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST AND BY THE TIGHTLY CLUSTERED TRACK GUIDANCE.
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Quoting GTcooliebai:
Has the 11am advisory come out yet?


No, they're being stubborn. ;-)
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1237. hydrus
Earl still tracking slightly west of due north. If you put the grid up, you Link .can run a loop and see the track nicely...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
AS ANTICIPATED...EARL HAS BEGUN TO MOVE NORTHWARD OR 355 DEGREES AT
16 KNOTS. SINCE THE STEERING PATTERN HAS NOT CHANGED...EARL IS
FORECAST TO CONTINUE NORTHWARD TODAY. IN ABOUT 24 HOURS...THE
HURRICANE SHOULD BE ENCOUNTERING THE BASE OF THE MID-LATITUDE
WESTERLIES AND EARL SHOULD THEN TURN MORE TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST
AND NORTHEAST WITH AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED. THIS SHARP TURN
HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY INDICATED FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS IN THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST AND BY THE TIGHTLY CLUSTERED TRACK GUIDANCE.


Looks like good news.
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1235. hydrus
Earl still tracking slightly west of due north. If you put the grid up, you Linkcan run a loop and see the track nicely...
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Has the 11am advisory come out yet?
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Quoting HadesGodWyvern:


https://152.80.49.110/tcweb/dynamic/products/tc10/EPAC/94E.INVEST/ssmi/ir1kmcolor/20100902.1430.goe s-11.ircolor.94E.INVEST.30kts.1003mb.18.2N.107.6W.100pc.jpg

yup 30 knots all it needs is given Tropical Depression 10-E name from the NHC


I don't think we're concerned about pacific storms at this point.
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Quoting Barkeep1967:



I figured that was coming I am in Illinois and the southern part of the front is still not through here yet.


And I'm in the northern part of Illinois and have received almost 2" of rain today. ie, it aint moving east real fast and we're getting trained. Not seriously, but it illustrates the point, that the East coast (and my basement) needs it to start moving east a bit faster...
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1231. IKE
He moved .8N and .0W. He's moving due north. Now start turning NNE Earl...please.
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1229. JeffM
000
WTNT32 KNHC 021139
TCPAT2
BULLETIN
HURRICANE EARL INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 32A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072010
800 AM EDT THU SEP 02 2010

...INTENSE HURRICANE EARL CONTINUES ON A NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD
TRACK...EXPECTED TO PASS NEAR THE OUTER BANKS TONIGHT...


SUMMARY OF 800 AM EDT...1200 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...30.1N 74.8W
ABOUT 355 MI...575 KM S OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 820 MI...1315 KM SSW OF NANTUCKET MASSACHUSETTS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...145 MPH...230 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNW OR 330 DEGREES AT 18 MPH...30 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...932 MB...27.52 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* BOGUE INLET NORTH CAROLINA NORTHEASTWARD TO THE NORTH
CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER INCLUDING THE PAMLICO AND ALBEMARLE
SOUNDS.

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* NORTH OF THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER TO CAPE HENLOPEN
DELAWARE.
* WESTPORT TO PLYMOUTH MASSACHUSETTS...INCLUDING MARTHAS
VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* CAPE FEAR TO WEST OF BOGUE INLET NORTH CAROLINA.
* NORTH OF THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER TO SANDY HOOK NEW
JERSEY...INCLUDING DELAWARE BAY SOUTH OF SLAUGHTER BEACH AND THE
CHESAPEAKE BAY SOUTH OF NEW POINT COMFORT.
* THE COAST OF LONG ISLAND NEW YORK FROM FIRE ISLAND INLET NORTHWARD
AND EASTWARD TO PORT JEFFERSON HARBOR.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* SANDY HOOK NEW JERSEY TO WOODS HOLE MASSACHUSETTS...INCLUDING
BLOCK ISLAND AND LONG ISLAND SOUND.
* THE COAST OF LONG ISLAND NEW YORK WEST OF FIRE ISLAND INLET AND
PORT JEFFERSON HARBOR.
* NORTH OF PLYMOUTH MASSACHUSETTS TO EASTPORT MAINE.
* THE COAST OF NOVA SCOTIA FROM PORT MAITLAND TO MEDWAY HARBOUR.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 800 AM EDT...1200 UTC...THE EYE OF HURRICANE EARL WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 30.1 NORTH...LONGITUDE 74.8 WEST. EARL IS MOVING
TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST NEAR 18 MPH...30 KM/HR BUT A TURN TOWARD
THE NORTH IS EXPECTED SOON. A TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHEAST AND
AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED ON FRIDAY. ON THE
FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF EARL WILL PASS NEAR THE NORTH
CAROLINA OUTER BANKS TONIGHT...AND BE VERY NEAR SOUTHEASTERN NEW
ENGLAND FRIDAY NIGHT.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 145 MPH...230 KM/HR...WITH
HIGHER GUSTS. EARL IS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE
SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE. A GRADUAL WEAKENING IS
EXPECTED TO START LATER TODAY...BUT EARL IS EXPECTED TO BE A MAJOR
HURRICANE WHEN IT PASSES NEAR THE OUTER BANKS.

HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 90 MILES...150 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230
MILES...370 KM.

THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE ESTIMATED FROM THE HURRICANE HUNTER
DATA IS 932 MB...27.52 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WINDS...TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE NORTH
CAROLINA COAST WITHIN THE WARNING AREA BY THIS AFTERNOON. EVEN IF
THE CENTER OF EARL REMAINS OFFSHORE...HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ARE
EXPECTED TO OCCUR ON THE OUTER BANKS BY THURSDAY NIGHT.
TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS WILL LIKELY REACH THE COAST FROM
VIRGINIA NORTHWARD TO NEW JERSEY BY LATE THURSDAY NIGHT OR EARLY
FRIDAY.

STORM SURGE...A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS
MUCH AS 3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL WITHIN THE HURRICANE WARNING
AREA AND THE LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY. ELSEWHERE WITHIN THE TROPICAL
STORM WARNING AREA...STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH
AS 1 TO 3 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL. NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL
BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.

RAINFALL...ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED
MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 6 INCHES...ARE EXPECTED OVER PORTIONS OF EASTERN
NORTH CAROLINA INCLUDING THE OUTER BANKS. ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 2
INCHES ARE POSSIBLE FARTHER TO THE NORTH ALONG THE IMMEDIATE
MID-ATLANTIC COAST.

SURF...LARGE SWELLS FROM EARL WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT THE BAHAMAS
AND THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES THROUGH FRIDAY. THESE
SWELLS WILL LIKELY CAUSE DANGEROUS SURF CONDITIONS AND RIP
CURRENTS.


NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...1100 AM EDT.

$$
FORECASTER AVILA
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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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