Earl spares North Carolina, heads for New England

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:07 PM GMT on September 03, 2010

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Hurricane Earl sideswiped North Carolina's Outer Banks early this morning, passing just 75 miles east of Cape Hatteras. Special weather statements indicate that the only road out of the barrier island chain, Highway 12, is closed. Pounding waves over 15 feet high, on top of a storm surge of 2 - 3 feet, pushed water over the highway in multiple locations. Earl's winds also piled up huge waves offshore--waves peaked at 28 feet at the Diamond Shoals buoy, and at 31 feet at a buoy 150 nm offshore of Cape Hatteras. Peak wind gusts from Earl were 74 mph at 12:30am at Oregon Inlet, and 70 mph at Nags Head and Manteo. Sustained winds of 47 mph were recorded at Oregon Inlet, but sustained winds at Cape Hatteras never reached tropical storm force--top winds there were just 36 mph, with gusts to 62 mph. Radar estimated rainfall (Figure 2) for Earl from the Cape Hatteras, North Carolina radar shows that 3 - 4 inches of rain fell across much of the Outer Banks. Overall, aside from some significant beach erosion, Earl spared North Carolina.


Figure 1. MODIS image of Earl taken at 11:29am EDT September 2, 2010, by NASA's Terra satellite. At the time, Earl was a Category 3 hurricane with top winds of 125 mph. The storm had a somewhat lopsided shape, due to wind shear from the southwest affecting the storm. Image credit: NASA.

Earl is now headed to the north-northeast at 18 mph. Conditions will steadily improve today over North Carolina, but deteriorate over New England. Earl's outer rain bands have now reached New York's Long Island, as seen on long range Dover radar. Satellite imagery shows that Earl is no longer the impressive hurricane it once was. The eye is no longer visible, and the hurricane appears lopsided, due upper level winds out of the southwest that are creating a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear. The latest 10:02am EDT eye report from the Hurricane Hunters showed that Earl continues to weaken, with a central pressure up to 961 mb. Top surface winds measured via their SFMR instrument were just 76 mph--barely Category 1 strength.


Figure 2. Radar estimated rainfall for Earl from the Cape Hatteras, North Carolina radar shows that 3 - 4 inches of rain fell across much of the Outer Banks.

Forecast for Earl
The latest set of model runs from 2am EDT (6Z) this morning show little change to Earl's track. Earl is expected to pass 20 - 50 miles southeast of Nantucket and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at about 2am Saturday. The latest SHIPS model forecast of wind shear also shows no surprises. Wind shear will remain moderate, 10 - 20 knots today, then increase to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, on Saturday. Ocean temperatures will plunge to 20°C early Saturday morning, resulting in considerable weakening. Earl will still probably be a weak Category 1 hurricane early Saturday morning, when it will make its closest approach to New England. Earl is more likely to be a strong tropical storm early Saturday afternoon, when it is expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, Canada.


Figure 3. Wind field analysis of Hurricane Earl from 9:30am EDT Friday, September 3, 2010. Note the 15 mph asymmetry in Earl's wind field, caused by the storm's forward motion of 18 mph to the north-northeast at the time. The highest contour had top winds of 75 kt (87 mph) surrounding the "+" on the east side of Earl--the strong right front quadrant of the storm. However, winds on the left (west) side were just 65 knots (74 mph.) The asymmetry was greater--about 20 mph--at 6:30 am EDT this morning. Image credit: NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division.

Impact of Earl on New England
The latest track forecasts still keep Earl's eye barely offshore of New England, with the center passing 20 - 60 miles southeast of Nantucket and the extreme eastern tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The 11am NHC intensity forecast calls for Earl to have top winds of 75 mph at 2am Saturday, when the storm is expected to be at its closest to Massachusetts. Earl will be moving northeastward near 25 mph at that time, meaning that we will see a large difference in the winds between the weak and strong sides of this fast-moving hurricane. This difference is likely to be about 15 - 20 mph, based on the wind distribution around Earl's eye seen so far this morning. Winds analyzed on the experimental H*Wind product put out by NOAA's Hurricane Research Division at 9:30am this morning (Figure 3) showed that the winds on the weak left side of the storm were about 15 mph less than the winds in the powerful right front quadrant. Assuming Earl maintains this structure for the next day, we can expect the hurricane will have top winds of 75 mph on its strong southeast side over water when it whips by Southeast Massachusetts early Saturday morning, and winds of 55 - 60 mph in its northwest eyewall, closest to Massachusetts. If Cape Cod and Nantucket barely miss Earl's northwest eyewall, as currently forecast, top winds in those locations might only reach 45 - 50 mph. The latest NHC wind probability forecast from 11am this morning gives Nantucket a 12% chance of receiving sustained hurricane force winds of 74+ mph, and Hyannis on Cape Cod a 3% chance.

The highest storm surge from Earl is likely to be on the south side of Cape Cod Bay, due to the northeast winds that will be piling up water in the bay. NHC is giving a 10% chance that a storm surge of 3 - 5 feet will occur in Cape Cod Bay, but it is more likely that the surge will be 2 - 3 feet. The extreme western portion of Long Island Sound at New York City could see a storm surge bringing water levels 1 - 2 feet above ground level.


Figure 4. NHC is giving a 10% chance that the storm surge will reach heights of 3 - 5 feet in southern Cape Cod Bay. Image credit: National Hurricane Center.

Impact of Earl on Canada
Winds will begin to rise on the southwest coast of Nova Scotia late Friday night and early Saturday morning. By late morning Saturday, Earl is expected to make landfall somewhere between the Maine/New Brunswick border and central Nova Scotia. At that time, Earl will probably be a strong tropical storm with 55 - 60 mph winds. Earl will be moving at a very rapid 25 - 30 mph when it arrives in Canada, and regions on the right side of the eye can expect winds 15 - 20 mph greater than on the left side, due to the fast forward motion of the hurricane. Earl's impact is likely to be less than 2008's Hurricane Kyle, the last hurricane to hit Nova Scotia. Kyle hit near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. Kyle produced a storm surge of 2.6 feet, and did $9 million in damage to Canada. The 11am EDT NHC wind probability forecast is calling for a 15% chance of hurricane-force winds in Yarmouth, and 3% in Halifax.

Fiona
There is not much to Tropical Storm Fiona, which satellite loops show to be a naked swirl of low clouds with just one diminishing spot of heavy thunderstorms on the southwest side of the circulation. High wind shear from Earl should continue to affect Fiona over the next two days, and be able to destroy the storm by Saturday.


Figure 5. Morning satellite image of Gaston's remains (left) and the latest tropical wave to move off of Africa (right).

Gaston may regenerate
Tropical storm Gaston lost its battle with dry air yesterday, degenerating into a disorganized low pressure area. Recent satellite imagery shows that Gaston's remains have developed a broad surface circulation again, and a few heavy thunderstorms have begun to appear. The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts shear will remain low to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, for the next five days, so it is possible Gaston could regenerate. The large amount of dry air surrounding Gaston's remains seen on water vapor satellite loops will continue to be a major impediment to development. NHC is giving Gaston a 40% chance of regenerating into a tropical depression by Sunday. I'd put these odds a little higher, at 60%. The GFS model develops Gaston and predicts it will move though the Lesser Antilles on Wednesday. The NOGAPS and Canadian models also indicate Gaston will re-develop, but move the storm slower and show it near the northern Lesser Antilles seven days from now.

New tropical wave
A large tropical off the coast of Africa is moving westward at about 10 mph, and has the potential to develop into a tropical depression next week. NHC is giving the wave a 10% chance of developing by Sunday afternoon. Wind shear is currently too high, 20 - 30 knots, for the wave to develop. However, once the wave reaches a point a few hundred miles from the Cape Verdes Islands two days from now, wind shear will drop and development will be more likely.

Next post
I'll have an update late this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

Earl meets Surf City Pier (travelingangel2003)
First of pics ( I have taken 400 today) going to go back tonight.
Earl meets Surf City Pier
Hurricane Earl's Swells Reach The Rhode Island Coast@ Newport # 11 (RIWXPhoto)
Hurricane Earl's Swells Reach The Rhode Island Coast@ Newport # 11

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Quoting SQUAWK:


OMG!!! It has a religious connotation to it?? Wow, I have missed a bunch!!! I do see your point though. Thanks.
lol, word... (nothing religious to it)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Nice inflow being established by ex-Gaston especially near the SE quadrant.



Cat 4 by Sunday..
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Quoting Levi32:


Yes I'm attending UAF in Fairbanks, Alaska. And actually I'm a bit behind the rest of the honors students here, who are mostly going into Calc III in their freshman year. I would be there myself because I passed Calc I two and a half years ago, but it didn't count for college credit so I had to retake it this summer. But regardless, I'm a little behind the honors pack in math :S



Physics, Calc, English, and Political Economy for humanities requirement.

My major is Physics because they don't have Meteorology and I can't go to the lower 48. Hopefully I can get in on the Atmospheric Science Department they have here.


Personally... after taking Cal, that anyone who progresses into Level II & III, although incredibly smart... is not playing with a full deck and is into mental S&M.
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Quoting kshipre1:
Hey Levi. What's up? I do not understand what you mean regarding the pic of the SST's you depicted.

if temps gradually come down, does that no suppress tropical activity? Or, are you saying that having all the heat in once place like the southern atlantic inhibits tropical development? thanks


South Atlantic means south of the equator. If the water is cold there it doesn't matter because that's not where our hurricanes are. If it's cold to the south that focuses the heat in the tropical North Atlantic which is where our hurricanes are, and that is favorable for activity in our basin.
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Quoting angiest:


Well, the behaviour described is illegal in many, if not all, states. Regardless of if he was drunk.



True. Although the biblical adage comes to mind.

"Let he who is without sin cast the 1st stone."
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Quoting raggpr:


Ok,but your concentration is? For example im studying civil engineering


Yeah I added that after the fact lol sorry.

"My major is Physics because they don't have Meteorology and I can't go to the lower 48. Hopefully I can get in on the Atmospheric Science Department they have here."
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Quoting tornadodude:


+1

agreed, he was no where near getting drunk or anything. he was parked in a permanent location for the night and took a sip of scotch.

now if any of you can honestly say that you have never done anything "questionable," then I applaud you. (and don't believe you)

He has a passion for storms and has a passion to bringing the experience to us. Brian (OZ) is a friend of mine, and yes I will defend him.

He is a smart guy. Yeah, you can be smart and drive into a hurricane. Id do it in a heartbeat. Does that make me stupid? no. It makes me adventurous. If I want to learn more about these storms by witnessing it first hand, then I will do it. I see no harm.

I just ask that y'all give him a break. He does what he is passionate about. How many of you can go out and do what you dreamed about doing as a youth like he does?



it's called a "death wish"

back to the tropics...
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12z GFS shows more recurving. Again, it's a small trough and a quick one, but still a ways off. There are still more than enough models arguing for no recurvature to be concerned.

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Quoting Levi32:


Yes I'm attending UAF in Fairbanks, Alaska. And actually I'm a bit behind the rest of the honors students here, who are mostly going into Calc III in their freshman year. I would be there myself because I passed Calc I two and a half years ago, but it didn't count for college credit so I had to retake it this summer. But regardless, I'm a little behind the honors pack in math.



Physics, Calc, English, and Political Economy for humanities requirement.


Ok,but your concentration is? For example im studying civil engineering
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186. IKE
228 hour 12Z GFS...watch out Bermuda!

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Hey Levi. What's up? I do not understand what you mean regarding the pic of the SST's you depicted.

if temps gradually come down, does that no suppress tropical activity? Or, are you saying that having all the heat in once place like the southern atlantic inhibits tropical development? thanks
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saw this on another wx board, heck the person may be on here too thought it rang somewhat true.

1. Posting an SST map showing that things are warmer than average near NJ and NY won't make a storm fall apart any less rapidly.

2. The NHC is very good at what they do--better than you at least.

3. Default position is always recurve--if this were a courtroom the burden of proof would be on those hyping landfall.

4. More can be learned from reading the board than posting the NAM and NOGAPS.

5. The west side of northward moving TC's are not the place to be if you want to see real action.

6. The gulf stream is overrated.
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Wow things have changed since the olden days when I was in college. No credit for algebra, it was considered "remedial". Pre-calc for a quarter then calcI and II for the first year.
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Quoting 900MB:
East Hampton, NY around 11am. Awaiting Tropical Storm Earl :)Waves were 10-15 feet. Beach in for a major pounding


I got friends in Sag Harbor!
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Well As MH09 pointed out, Gaston is getting better organized. I still think he is going the Caribbean route.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
Quoting 900MB:


Giving NHC full credit on track. Thought we could dissect why the intensity was so off for future reference. Still over 28 degree waters, and through didn't quite do damage we were expecting, however, i think the amount of dry air that was pinched between Earl and through may have benn its undoing.

Wind shear from the trough to the west and the drier air over the Mid Atlantic region put a damper on Earl a lot earlier than expected and thankfully so..
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Kind of think about someone in a religious service jumping up and saying "now that's the Word of the lord". Sort of like sayint "true"


OMG!!! It has a religious connotation to it?? Wow, I have missed a bunch!!! I do see your point though. Thanks.
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Quoting GainesvilleGator:
Levi, going to college is Alaska or somewhere else?

I am a UF graduate from 1989 (BS Managment). I took Algebra I & II my 1st year in College. If you are taking Calculus your first year then you are pretty smart.


Yes I'm attending UAF in Fairbanks, Alaska. And actually I'm a bit behind the rest of the honors students here, who are mostly going into Calc III in their freshman year. I would be there myself because I passed Calc I two and a half years ago, but it didn't count for college credit so I had to retake it this summer. But regardless, I'm a little behind the honors pack in math :S

Quoting raggpr:


Hey Levi we are about the same with math! I just passed calculus I, I still need to pass Calculus II, Calculus III and Differential EQ. Calculus boy it definetely was a big fight for me but the key for sucess BELIEVE ME IS PRACTICE EVERY DAY. Do all the exercises of the book. Study from 30 mins to one hour daily and you will do fine. What are you studying?


Physics, Calc, English, and Political Economy for humanities requirement.

My major is Physics because they don't have Meteorology and I can't go to the lower 48. Hopefully I can get in on the Atmospheric Science Department they have here.
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Storm,

can you please teach me how to read the two maps you posted in respect to the ridge? thanks
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


I've lost track of them all.
who cares
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sorry for this dumb question but where is Gaston in these maps?
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Good Synopsis StormW, thanks.
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Levi, going to college is Alaska or somewhere else?

I am a UF graduate from 1989 (BS Managment). I took Algebra I & II my 1st year in College. If you are taking Calculus your first year then you are pretty smart.
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Quoting SQUAWK:


Thanks Keith. I am a lot older than you so I miss a bunch of this stuff. LOL Got to admit that it really doesn't make any sense to me.
Kind of think about someone in a religious service jumping up and saying "now that's the Word of the lord". Sort of like sayint "true"
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Quoting Levi32:


Lol, well, I'm not the greatest math mind, so Calculus does get me nervous about my grade. I've never pulled worse than a B in Calc, but no better either, and the worst is still ahead of me in Calc III and Diff EQ lol.


Hey Levi we are about the same with math! I just passed calculus I, I still need to pass Calculus II, Calculus III and Differential EQ. Calculus boy it definetely was a big fight for me but the key for sucess BELIEVE ME IS PRACTICE EVERY DAY. Do all the exercises of the book. Study from 30 mins to one hour daily and you will do fine. What are you studying?
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SSTs in the tropical South Atlantic have been above normal all year so far but have been gradually coming down during the hurricane season, and are now near normal. This is not yet ideal, but the cooler they are, the better focused the heat is in the tropical North Atlantic. This is one factor that is coming into a more favorable position right at the heart of the season.

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Quoting Levi32:


Lol, well, I'm not the greatest math mind, so Calculus does get me nervous about my grade. I've never pulled worse than a B in Calc, but no better either, and the worst is still ahead of me in Calc III and Diff EQ lol.


And you must get through linear algebra before diff eq.
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166. 900MB
Quoting Orcasystems:
Credit where credit is due... earls track from the first Vortex fix to the latest.... pretty well follows the NHC




Giving NHC full credit on track. Thought we could dissect why the intensity was so off for future reference. Still over 28 degree waters, and through didn't quite do damage we were expecting, however, i think the amount of dry air that was pinched between Earl and through may have benn its undoing.
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Quoting Levi32:


Lol, well, I'm not the greatest math mind, so Calculus does get me nervous about my grade. I've never pulled worse than a B in Calc, but no better either, and the worst is still ahead of me in Calc III and Diff EQ lol.


I was never great at math and stunk at algebra. But calculus was totally different.

diff eq isn't so bad (depending on the teacher, I dropped it the first time around due to a bad professor). It is partial diff eq that is the monster
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Say what want about Oz but the fact is he loves these storms and was chasing and documenting the landfalls a long time before the web made it possible to take viewers along. A sip of scotch. He wasn't drunk by a long shot.


+1

agreed, he was no where near getting drunk or anything. he was parked in a permanent location for the night and took a sip of scotch. now if any of you can honestly say that you have never done anything "questionable," then I applaud you. (and don't believe you) He has a passion for storms and has a passion to bringing the experience to us. Brian (OZ) is a friend of mine, and yes I will defend him. He is a smart guy. Yeah, you can be smart and drive into a hurricane. Id do it in a heartbeat. Does that make me stupid? no. It makes me adventurous. If I want to learn more about these storms by witnessing it first hand, then I will do it. I see no harm. I just ask that y'all give him a break. He does what he is passionate about. How many of you can go out and do what you dreamed about doing as a youth like he does?
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Quoting tropicfreak:


I thought stormtop and stormkat were completely different people.


Even if they are, they're still copykats.....pun intended.........
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Quoting angiest:


Calculus? Calculus is when math got interesting. Now, linear algebra... there's one that needs to be taken in an applied math class..


Lol, well, I'm not the greatest math mind, so Calculus does get me nervous about my grade. I've never pulled worse than a B in Calc, but no better either, and the worst is still ahead of me in Calc III and Diff EQ lol.
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Quoting Ribbitman:
I am a new member as of 15 min ago.I have been vewing for 3-4 yrs now this site and read and learn from the best Mr STORMW and the good Dr Masters.I am in Louisiana,took a hit on the nose from Rita and others so I know what these stomrs are all about.I promise not to get in the way,may post a little,I more so will be reading and learning .Glad to finally be on board.


Welcome from another LA lurker/member
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Quoting StormW:


Adrian, ya see that orange blob/bull'seye in the E. Caribbean? Guess who?

LINK



Way wut? that's my name, Adrian
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Credit where credit is due... earls track from the first Vortex fix to the latest.... pretty well follows the NHC


Yep, they get bashed a lot but, they get it right more often than not. Naysayers, etc. pound their chests when NHC is even slightly off, but never own up when they are on top of things.
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Quoting StormW:


Well, if the upper pattern forecast doesn't change, combined with this, well....



Just about says it all StormW. Gaston is destined to be a category five hurricane in the eastern Caribbean Sea.
Member Since: October 21, 2008 Posts: 248 Comments: 3970
UPDATE...ONLY ISOLATED SHOWERS WERE DETECTED DURING THE LATE
MORNING HOURS ACROSS THE SURROUNDING COASTAL WATERS...WITH
MINIMAL SHOWER ACTIVITY OBSERVED OVER LAND AREAS. LATEST
SATELLITE IMAGERY AND MIMIC-TPW FROM CIMSS SHOWED THAT THE
PREVAILING DRIER AIR MASS WILL CONTINUE ACROSS THE NORTH EASTERN
CARIBBEAN DURING THE NEXT FEW DAYS. LATEST TPW PRODUCTS INDICATED
PRECIPITABLE WATER VALUES WELL BELOW 2.0 INCHES FOR THIS
AFTERNOON...TONIGHT AND FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. HOWEVER...STILL
EXPECT ENOUGH MOISTURE AROUND EACH DAY TO COMBINE WITH LOCAL
EFFECTS AND VENTILATION PROVIDED FROM A TUTT LOW NORTHEAST OF THE
REGION...TO PRODUCE SOME CLOUDINESS...SCATTERED SHOWERS AND
ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS OVER PARTS OF THE LOCAL AREA EACH
AFTERNOON. SAHARAN AIR LAYER (SAL) WILL MOVE INTO THE FA BY THIS
AFTERNOON AND SHOULD LINGER ACROSS THE LOCAL ISLANDS THROUGH THE
UPCOMING WEEKEND. CLOUDINESS...SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL
INCREASE ACROSS THE FA LATE DURING THE UPCOMING WEEK AS THE
REMNANTS OF TROPICAL STORMS GASTON APPROACH TO THE REGION. THIS
SYSTEM HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR RE-DEVELOPMENT INTO A TROPICAL
CYCLONE BEFORE ENTERING THE HEBERT BOX. WHILE THE EXACT
TIMING...TRACK AND INTENSITY ALL REMAIN UNCERTAIN AT THIS
TIME...LOCAL RESIDENTS AND TOURISTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PAY CLOSE
ATTENTION TO THIS SYSTEM DURING THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND...AS IT HAS
THE POTENTIAL TO IMPACT THE LOCAL ISLANDS BY THE MIDDLE OF NEXT
WEEK. NOT CHANGES WERE DONE TO THE PREVIOUS FORECAST
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Quoting tropicfreak:


I thought stormtop and stormkat were completely different people.
whoever it he/she is...im sure they are very happy you still waste time and blog space talking about them...

just saying
Member Since: October 10, 2009 Posts: 27 Comments: 4456
Quoting IKE:


stormtop....stormkat...debbykat....and a few others.


I've lost track of them all.
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Quoting benirica:


Why get so mad at this? Many people on this blog would overhype every wobble and call for mahem, usually at some point close to where they live.
The truth of the matter is that many people here WANT a hurricane or storm to hit their area and will twist the data a way to make themselves believe it is as they want. And I say make themselves believe it because nobody else does, everyone else of these people are busy convincing themselves its going to hit THEM instead.


I'm sorry just sometimes it just rubs me the wrong way. It blows my mind that some folks want a hurricane with all the devastation. It just doesn't make sense. But sorry everyone for my little rant. I do want to commend the folks on this blog for yesterday there where so many folks looking out for all the people on the East Coast and trying to get them to leave. It's really awsome how this blog looks out for so many people and are there for all the questions. This world still has a lot of love.
sheri
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Hello everyone.

Thankfully, Earl has weakened and is staying about 100 miles off the Mid Atlantic coast..Looks like a breezy day on the coast, with winds staying below TS force for the most part..Battering waves will be a problem, with coastal flooding..

New England may see strong TS winds for a time tonight, with pounding surf and some heavy rains, but all in all Earl is being king to the US..
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Quoting StormW:


With a zonal flow coming off the east coast? And with the MJO coming back here?


Well, there is that...as I said, I'm basing it mostly on the big split in the ridge.
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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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