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: 1427 - 1377

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

1427. kwgirl
5:53 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting RecordSeason:
OMG...

That makes me suspect terrorism.

All these years and no major U.S. rig disasters, and now suddenly two rigs explode within the same year?

That's BS...

It's right off Grand Isle too.
OR it could be GW which is causing the methane in the ground to be released. Just a thought. Hope it isn't terrorism.
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
1426. kwgirl
5:47 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting NEwatcher:


I am in SE Mass and having a hard time getting the WX guys up here to commit to anything but the Cape. Should I drain the pool a little?
You are not supposed to drain pools. They pop out of ground if you let too much out.
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
1425. nocaneindy
4:34 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
NEW BLOG
Member Since: September 21, 2007 Posts: 34 Comments: 515
1424. texascoastres
4:20 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
ok blog just got too quiet
Member Since: June 28, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 156
1423. StormJunkie
4:19 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
See a couple models are trying to do some interesting things with Fiona...Think she's telling Earl "You don't own me"
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
1422. 34chip
4:16 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
34chip 3:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting StormsAreCool:



Well, that's gay. Just what we need. :(
As someone that is Gay. I do not fine that funny!!


putting on your shirt might keep the rest of us from laughing too
Driving and taking a picture make you look stupied!
Member Since: July 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 199
1418. TheMom
4:03 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Am I missing the 1100 still or is still not up figured it would be on here as soon as it posted.
Member Since: August 3, 2006 Posts: 5 Comments: 672
1417. TallyMike
4:02 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Kristina40:


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

Link to story
http://www.wafb.com/Global/story.asp?S=13089364
Member Since: July 13, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 70
1416. VoodooRue
3:59 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting jazzygal:
Another oil rig explosion in the Gulf south of Grand Isle per WWl Radio. Dozens hurt.


According to CNN, 13 people were on board. All but one have been accounted for.
Member Since: October 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 43
1414. barbadosjulie
3:56 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Hey guys, whats going on with Gaston? Is it the dry air? Will should he still make the forcasted turn?
Member Since: August 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 378
1413. StormsAreCool
3:56 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting RJT185:



well that's insensitive, which is exactly what we don't need.


How is that insensitive? I'm saying it's a bad thing and we don't need it.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 133
1412. oracle28
3:55 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting ConchHondros:
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.


I thought due north was zero degrees, not 360, am I mistaken?
Member Since: July 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 596
1411. mikatnight
3:52 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Workers donned their "gumby suits", Coast Guard plucking them out of water now.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
1410. snowboy
3:52 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting notabubba:

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.


They're just calling it as they see it. I'm an hour west of Buffalo, and we have brilliant sunshine and it's HOT - the long advertised trough is nowhere to be seen..
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2547
1408. 34chip
3:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting StormsAreCool:



Well, that's gay. Just what we need. :(
As someone that is Gay. I do not fine that funny!!
Member Since: July 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 199
1407. 34chip
3:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting StormsAreCool:



Well, that's gay. Just what we need. :(
As someone that is Gay. I do not fine that funny!!
Member Since: July 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 199
1406. 34chip
3:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting StormsAreCool:



Well, that's gay. Just what we need. :(
As someone that is Gay. I do not fine that funny!!
Member Since: July 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 199
1405. hurricanehanna
3:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
new blog gang
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3480
1404. AustinTXWeather
3:50 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting mikatnight:
OIL RIG EXPLODES IN GOM

Just saw that too -- busy news day out in the waters, on many levels.
Member Since: September 13, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 241
1403. nweatherlover
3:49 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting aasmith26:


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


http://www.wafb.com/Global/story.asp?S=13089364
Member Since: August 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
1402. nweatherlover
3:49 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting aasmith26:


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


http://www.wafb.com/Global/story.asp?S=13089364
Member Since: August 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 42
1401. RJT185
3:49 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting StormsAreCool:



Well, that's gay. Just what we need. :(



well that's insensitive, which is exactly what we don't need.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 252
1400. catastropheadjuster
3:49 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Kristina40:


I already posted a link to it and it is all over the news right now.


yes I see and my son called me back and let me know what was going on.
sheri
Member Since: August 24, 2006 Posts: 21 Comments: 3648
1399. snotly
3:48 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
It is South of Vermillion Parish. See nola.com

Thank God its only 450 feet down, if anyone was looking for a silver lining
Member Since: August 27, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 682
1398. midgulfmom
3:47 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
1394 Gumbogirl..mirror your thoughts. Definitely things to seriously consider esp. with children and the elderly.
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
1397. mikatnight
3:46 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
OIL RIG EXPLODES IN GOM
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
1395. midgulfmom
3:44 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Mcluvincane...You are baiting/fishing with that Fox comment..LOL.
Member Since: July 9, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1110
1394. gumbogrrl
3:43 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting midgulfmom:
Thanks for the update Gumbogirl. Glad to hear they have been rescued. And no reports of Oil. Ugh! Yes back to Earl....


Yes. Unfortunately, we live with incidents like these on the rigs. Seems like they happen far too often. But, it appears that this was not one of the super rigs and not anything like what we experienced back in May. My prayers are with those of the remaining person yet to be found...I just want to make sure people here on this forum don't think another BP oil spill just occurred b/c that is not the case.

Anyone waiting to evacuate for Earl, just get out of his way. Why do you want to live through tornadoes, your roof possibly being torn off or a tree falling on your home? Not to mention if you have children and you are near the coast, they are going to be traumatized from this thing...not to mention yourself! Have mercy on yourself, your pets, your children and just leave if you are on the NC coast and nearby areas!!
Member Since: November 20, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 7
1393. katadman
3:42 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting gumbogrrl:


!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.


A person still missing after the explosion and it's "okay"?
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1081
1392. 900MB
3:41 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
If that is an EWRC looks like it will wobble it west by .5deg
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 643
1390. mojofearless
3:40 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting texascoastres:
The storms are bad enough without the not knowing if family members that stayed are ok. Yah, 30 hrs in evac traffic really stinks but so does the horror of wathcing this from a safe distance and not being able to communicate with the ones that chose to stay and may or maynot be there when you get back!


That reminds me - during a disaster it's easier to get through using texts than it is to call when the phone lines jam up or go down. I'm sure you know this, Texas - but for anyone from the east coast... learned this from experience.
Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 172
1389. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
3:40 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
DOCS GOT A NEW PAGE UP
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 165 Comments: 52404
1388. Bonedog
3:40 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Vermilion 380 all accounted for.

Rig fully engulfed in flames
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
1386. NEwatcher
3:40 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
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.


I am in SE Mass and having a hard time getting the WX guys up here to commit to anything but the Cape. Should I drain the pool a little?
Member Since: June 10, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 19
1385. 900MB
3:39 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting jazzygal:


It is South of Vermillion Parish. See nola.com


Hopefully the blowout preventer works on this one!!!!
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 643
1384. Kristina40
3:39 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting catastropheadjuster:


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


I already posted a link to it and it is all over the news right now.
Member Since: June 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 760
1383. sailfish01
3:39 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
GRAND ISLE, LA (WAFB) - WWL-TV in New Orleans has confirmed the Coast Guard is responding to a rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dozens are reported injured.

According to the Coast Guard, it happened 80 miles south of Grand Isle.

Rescue choppers from New Orleans and Houston are responding.

The injured will be taken to hospitals in various coastal areas from Houston to the Louisiana/Mississippi border area.

Member Since: October 20, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 96
1382. SiestaCpl
3:39 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Quoting Floodman:


IF it continues noirth, yes, it has to graze, 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?


One disturbing thought is what if the trough fails and falls apart as the NWS Buffalo discussion suggested. That could allow a more Northerly component AFTER OBX and change the track to one with less recurve/S-curve. This could change the route of Earl and threaten more of VA and areas directly North. Will the AB High ridge pull back and itself allow a more Easterly movement for Earl without that Trough pushing through?
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 372
1381. wagnernc
3:39 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Bonedog @1360: Do you have a link to that map? Thanks in advance!
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 13
1380. TampaSpin
3:38 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Earl might be getting to the outerbanks to fast...this may not be good.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
1379. katadman
3:38 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
Normally, I try to avoid engaging in conjecture but it would seem that the absence of a new blog update by the good Dr. would indicate a change in the track forecast based on the trough's weakness.
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1081
1378. h0db
3:38 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
new blog from Dr. Masters

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html
Member Since: September 5, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 88
1377. WindynEYW
3:37 PM GMT on September 02, 2010
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

Member Since: September 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 331

Viewing: 1427 - 1377

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.