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 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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Quoting IKE:


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


I thought stormtop and stormkat were completely different people.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Dry in the east...moist in the west...such has been the theme, and it's a dangerous one because when storms like Gaston get held down until they reach 50W-60W, and then are given the opportunity to take off, they are also given the opportunity to come farther west. The SW Atlantic Basin should be lighting up more this month, and we'll start seeing some stuff besides just Cape Verde train cars rolling off.

700mb Relative Humidity for August 1st - August 30th, 2010:

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144. 900MB
East Hampton, NY around 11am. Awaiting Tropical Storm Earl :)Waves were 10-15 feet. Beach in for a major pounding
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Credit where credit is due... earls track from the first Vortex fix to the latest.... pretty well follows the NHC


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142. IKE
Quoting StormSurgeon:


apocalyps, fallinstorms, katrinakat, and a few other handles. I think they're all one in the same. Post outlandish comments just to rile folks up.


stormtop....stormkat...debbykat....and a few others.
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Quoting jasblt:
So it seems this blog has turned into a bunch of "I was right you were wrong" comments. So I'll add my 2 cents. The way I remember it and the way the tracking maps from the NHC had these past few storms, they seem to be way off, Showed them recurving way before they actually did. NHC changed their tracking every update until they got it right, doesn't take a college degree to do that. As I recall, Storm was pretty much right on, Dr. Jeff pretty close, and NHC...Way off. But, thats just my 2 cents.


Agree, 100000%.
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Quoting seflagamma:


I did not know he was katty5 also!

I guess if you have enough handles and make different predictions with each different handle.. one of them could eventually be right!
Thanks Ike!


apocalyps, fallinstorms, katrinakat, and a few other handles. I think they're all one in the same. Post outlandish comments just to rile folks up.
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Quoting Levi32:


Hey guys :)

Yesterday was fairly easy with mostly introductory stuff. Today is a full day of classes. So far so good, but I haven't had to face Calculus yet lol.


Calculus? Calculus is when math got interesting. Now, linear algebra... there's one that needs to be taken in an applied math class..
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when will all these troughs stop? I thought the pattern of a strong building High was coming. strange

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Quoting SunnyDaysFla:
Hi Levi---how was the 1st day of classes?
Quoting StormW:


Hey Levi!

How's classes?


Hey guys :)

Yesterday was fairly easy with mostly introductory stuff. Today is a full day of classes. So far so good, but I haven't had to face Calculus yet lol.
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Nice inflow being established by ex-Gaston especially near the SE quadrant.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting IKE:


It's him. Same writing style. I've seen him with at least 5-6 different handles.


I think it was stormkat, bc she got banned too.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting catastropheadjuster:


There's no call for all this. Your just wrong. We don't wish no harm on no one. We don't wish these hurricanes to hit anywhere. You need to read a book. The models where calling for a brush on OBX not us. So go learn how to read Models. And get a life. Moron.
sheri


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.
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Dr. Masters - I've never posted here before, but I have read your entries and the replies. Thanks for the information. I live in Central Florida and pay close attention during hurricane season and have learned so much reading your blogs. So, again, thanks! Have a good holiday weekend everybody!
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So it seems this blog has turned into a bunch of "I was right you were wrong" comments. So I'll add my 2 cents. The way I remember it and the way the tracking maps from the NHC had these past few storms, they seem to be way off, Showed them recurving way before they actually did. NHC changed their tracking every update until they got it right, doesn't take a college degree to do that. As I recall, Storm was pretty much right on, Dr. Jeff pretty close, and NHC...Way off. But, thats just my 2 cents.
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Quoting Levi32:


It looks like there's going to be a break, but one has to wonder, if Gaston ends up in the Caribbean, how far north will he really be pulled? The trough looks fairly quick and he could easily get caught and pulled westward, but a little hard to tell at this point. The pattern still favors more west, but the troughs running through make it a timing battle to see who gets the green light for the west road, and who gets stopped and pulled north.


Gee, timing, how many times have we heard that lately. :)
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Quoting StormW:


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

Gilbert springs to mind.
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Hi Levi---how was the 1st day of classes?
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please don't tell me that's Gaston. yikes!!
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Quoting StormW:


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

LINK



It looks like there's going to be a break, but one has to wonder, if Gaston ends up in the Caribbean, how far north will he really be pulled? The trough looks fairly quick and he could easily get caught and pulled westward, but a little hard to tell at this point. The pattern still favors more west, but the troughs running through make it a timing battle to see who gets the green light for the west road, and who gets stopped and pulled north.
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123. 900MB
Quoting SQUAWK:


OK, I don't get it. What does the "Word" thing mean?? I have missed something.


Just showing my age. "Word" is a saying generally meant to convey that you agree with what someone just said.
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Quoting IKE:


It's him. Same writing style. I've seen him with at least 5-6 different handles.


At least he has apparently stopped making his posts look "official."
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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 tkeith:
I'm kinda old and not up to snuff on a lot of slang Squawk, but I think it means "right on brotha" or somthin like that :)

LOL glad I wasn't the only one that had no idea what that mean.
Thanks TK!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 299 Comments: 40920
Quoting catastropheadjuster:


There's no call for all this. Your just wrong. We don't wish no harm on no one. We don't wish these hurricanes to hit anywhere. You need to read a book. The models where calling for a brush on OBX not us. So go learn how to read Models. And get a life. Moron.
sheri


Reported.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
118. IKE
Quoting seflagamma:


I did not know he was katty5 also!

I guess if you have enough handles and make different predictions with each different handle.. one of them could eventually be right!
Thanks Ike!


It's him. Same writing style. I've seen him with at least 5-6 different handles.
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Quoting tkeith:
I'm kinda old and not up to snuff on a lot of slang Squawk, but I think it means "right on brotha" or somthin like that :)


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.
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Quoting StormW:


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



We are all doom.
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112 - Funny, they said not to retransmit. ;)
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112. Skyepony (Mod)
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 3rd day of the month at 15:58Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 308)
Storm Number & Year: 07L in 2010
Storm Name: Earl (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 16
Observation Number: 15
A. Time of Center Fix: 3rd day of the month at 15:35:10Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 36°54'N 72°53'W (36.9N 72.8833W)
B. Center Fix Location: 166 miles (268 km) to the ENE (69°) from Kill Devil Hills, NC, USA.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,773m (9,098ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 51kts (~ 58.7mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 56 nautical miles (64 statute miles) to the NE (51°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 143° at 80kts (From the SE at ~ 92.1mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 75 nautical miles (86 statute miles) to the NE (52°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 962mb (28.41 inHg) - Extrapolated
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 11°C (52°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,043m (9,984ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 16°C (61°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,049m (10,003ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 9°C (48°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 91kts (~ 104.7mph) in the east quadrant at 14:53:30Z
Sea Level Pressure Extrapolation From: 700mb
Displacement of Sfc. Center From Flt. Lvl. Center: Surface center is 11 nautical miles (13 statute miles) to the SW (224°) from the flight level center
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
PRELIMINARY, DO NOT RETRANSMIT
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Quoting SQUAWK:


OK, I don't get it. What does the "Word" thing mean?? I have missed something.
I'm kinda old and not up to snuff on a lot of slang Squawk, but I think it means "right on brotha" or somthin like that :)
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Hi, we were cloudy this morning, then sun as first band went over, then it got dark and we had a bit of a downpour; now it's stopped and getting lighter again. We'll see how this continues.
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Quoting StormW:


Adrian, ya see that orange blob/bullseye in the E. Cariibean? Guess who?

Any thoughts on what G might do if that verifies?
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Quoting IKE:


Then he had this forecast for Earl under a different screen name....

" Quoting katty5:
well if you cant handle the truth then you should not be n here...earl will do catastrophic damage to the n carlina coast it will be the worse they ever seen...there is a killer about to knock at your front door and the calvary isnt coming to help.."


I did not know he was katty5 also!

I guess if you have enough handles and make different predictions with each different handle.. one of them could eventually be right!
Thanks Ike!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 299 Comments: 40920
Morning all.

As expected, the big dry air mass north of Earl weakened him to a Cat 2 east of Hatteras and he was unable to maintain a core, despite the scary strengthening east of the Bahamas. Although he is a Cat 1 now, he could still be a pretty bad storm for Cape Cod and the surrounding areas, so people should by no means let their guard down. It's nothing they haven't seen before, but it is still wise to be careful.
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Quoting 900MB:


Word!


OK, I don't get it. What does the "Word" thing mean?? I have missed something.
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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.


Well, the behaviour described is illegal in many, if not all, states. Regardless of if he was drunk.
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102. IKE
Quoting seflagamma:
Where is StormTop (what ever his handle these days?)... he was dead set Earl was coming to S Fla and then into GOM....and of course heading for NO... :o)


Then he had this forecast for Earl under a different screen name....

" Quoting katty5:
well if you cant handle the truth then you should not be n here...earl will do catastrophic damage to the n carlina coast it will be the worse they ever seen...there is a killer about to knock at your front door and the calvary isnt coming to help.."
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Link

8-14 day 500mb chart from CPC...looks pretty re-curvy to me. Below normal heighs in Atlantic, big weakness near Bermuda...
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Quoting hurricane23:


Right now i'd say no. This stubborn western Atlantic trough may recurve just about everything. Here's youre updated 12z plots for gaston.


Hey "killer," good to see you.
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Quoting 900MB:


Track was spot on, intensity, huge miss!

I guess Bastardi had the worst prediction- yesterday he was talking about a chance to make it to Cat 5 as he was pushing the influence of the Gulf Stream and saw the eye falling apart as an EWRC, when, in fact, it was simply falling apart. Anyway, much learned on this one. Left with the feeling that the NHC was throwing darts at the intensity levels. All the same, thankful for the fact that this storm hit the skids before it hit NE.


Track was spot on starting around the 30th. It wasn't good before then.
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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.
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Quoting ElConando:


I would favor a more Southern solution with Gaston. Still if development reoccurs there will still be threats to land weather it re curves or continues west into the Caribbean.


Obviously iam talking as far an eastcoast threat. Puerto rico,haiti may wanna keep closer tabs on this developing system as its very close to being a TD once again. Intensity models still calling for intensification into well developed cyclone.
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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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