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 caneswatch:


Get well Miami! Unlike me, you don't have to fly on a plane with the flu with two little kids kicking the back of your seat.
Lol, thanks. Did ya' see the Canes game last night on ESPN3? It was pretty funny (Canes shut out FAMU, the score was Miami: 45 FAMU: 0), hopefully it got our confidence up for next Saturday when we head over to OSU.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21109
Didn't see much out of earl here in richmond, saw a few light rain bands, had a 25 mph gust out of one of these bands but thats it.
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Quoting katadman:
What a September we have in store!


It sure looks that way...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting Vince2005:
The new tropical wave off the coast of Africa, has a 20% chance of development.


2. LOCATE A TROPICAL WAVE BETWEEN THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA AND THE
CAPE VERDE ISLANDS IS Producing A LARGE AREA OF SHOWERS AND
Thunderstorms. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR MARGINALLY
CONDUCIVE FOR SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD NEAR 10 MPH. THERE IS A LOW
... 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF THIS SYSTEM ... TROPICAL CYCLONE BECOMING A
DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

Besides this new tropical wave is invest 99 L.

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_al992010.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201009031431
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 99, 2010, DB, O, 2010090312, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , AL992010
AL, 99, 2010090218, , BEST, 0, 123N, 175W, 25, 1007, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2010090300, , BEST, 0, 130N, 179W, 25, 1007, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2010090306, , BEST, 0, 137N, 183W, 25, 1007, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2010090312, , BEST, 0, 143N, 186W, 25, 1007, DB, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 200, 25, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,





we no
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Cantore probably had a hollywood style fan next to him to maintain the viewer ratings...
Member Since: January 6, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 217
Models shifted slightly to east.

I'm still thinking south'east' shore NS landfall.
Models tend to 'bend' right during hurricane accelerations to the NE.
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41. IKE
Quoting rwdobson:


Meanwhile, my mom's house in Montgomery, 100+ miles inland, was damaged by Opal's winds that were (I think) still hurricane force...


That's why when you run from one you go in a direction it isn't going to.

Yeah...I know someone that lives in Montgomery that got hammered from Opal too.
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Quoting ConchHondros:
Got sucked into watching Oz last night and then logged on to his chat...I used to think he was just nuts...but in reality he is a classless idiot with childish followers. I hope this blog never sinks to the depths I witnessed last night on Oz's site.


I was spared the debacle myself, but I've heard some pretty sad things...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Thank you!


Get well Miami! Unlike me, you don't have to fly on a plane with the flu with two little kids kicking the back of your seat.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angiest:


The difference between the official recording station and an unofficial one.


He has to or he don't get paid!!! LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The new tropical wave off the coast of Africa, has a 20% chance of development.


2. LOCATE A TROPICAL WAVE BETWEEN THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA AND THE
CAPE VERDE ISLANDS IS Producing A LARGE AREA OF SHOWERS AND
Thunderstorms. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR MARGINALLY
CONDUCIVE FOR SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS AS IT MOVES WESTWARD NEAR 10 MPH. THERE IS A LOW
... 20 PERCENT CHANCE OF THIS SYSTEM ... TROPICAL CYCLONE BECOMING A
DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

Besides this new tropical wave is invest 99 L.

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_al992010.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201009031431
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 99, 2010, DB, O, 2010090312, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , AL992010
AL, 99, 2010090218, , BEST, 0, 123N, 175W, 25, 1007, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2010090300, , BEST, 0, 130N, 179W, 25, 1007, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2010090306, , BEST, 0, 137N, 183W, 25, 1007, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 99, 2010090312, , BEST, 0, 143N, 186W, 25, 1007, DB, 34, NEQ, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1011, 200, 25, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, INVEST, S,

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
At some time in the future I would like to see a blog post discussing hurricane models and how unbelievable accurate almost all of them have been. For at least 2 weeks already they have been predicting Danielle, Earl and Fiona trajectories with relatively low error. In some cases accurate predictions were made even before the storm was named. Why is that? Are this year's weather conditions so consistent that error is reduced or is it that models have improved (better algorithms or better processing systems)?
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Quoting ConchHondros:
Got sucked into watching Oz last night and then logged on to his chat...I used to think he was just nuts...but in reality he is a classless idiot with childish followers. I hope this blog never sinks to the depths I witnessed last night on Oz's site.


Didn't waste my time. Glad I didn't. What Did he do that got you so riled up??
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Quoting IKE:
I went about 100 miles east of where Opal made landfall and the winds were 30-40 mph.
I can run far enough away from a hurricane.


Meanwhile, my mom's house in Montgomery, 100+ miles inland, was damaged by Opal's winds that were (I think) still hurricane force...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI

AOI


TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting leo305:


Canotore reported hurricane force gusts ..


So did a spotter in Edmond, Oklahoma last night. Wichita Falls, Tx too.
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Quoting rwdobson:
"sustained winds at Cape Hatteras never reached tropical storm force--top winds there were just 36 mph"

To me, this is absolutely stunning. I expected E to stay just offshore, but I never would have predicted that Hatteras would get no sustained TS winds.


Yeah, surprises me too. Earl was obviously losing some of his punch as he approached the Outer Banks. I'm sure they see worse conditions from a typical developing Nor'easter. I don't believe Cantore.
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Quoting leo305:


Canotore reported hurricane force gusts ..

That is not an offical ob haha. It is a no brainer why they didnt see the winds...as i told you all the eye would stay off shore and the west side of the storm is always far weaker than the east side. Just some wind and rain.
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Quoting MahFL:
Earl was a big let down, not even TS sustained winds on Hatteras.
Wow really?! So you want a cat 4 or 5 to hit?
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27. IKE
Quoting rwdobson:
"sustained winds at Cape Hatteras never reached tropical storm force--top winds there were just 36 mph"

To me, this is absolutely stunning. I expected E to stay just offshore, but I never would have predicted that Hatteras would get no sustained TS winds.


And it was only 75 miles east of Cape Hatteras.

Just goes to show if you can get at least 100 miles from the center(preferably west of), you'll be okay.

I went about 100 miles east of where Opal made landfall and the winds were 30-40 mph.
I can run far enough away from a hurricane.
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What a September we have in store!
Member Since: September 7, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1081
Earl was a big let down, not even TS sustained winds on Hatteras.
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Good morning everyone. Just a quick post for now.

Gaston is showing clear signs of regeneration and the low center is no longer exposed. In addition, the thunderstorm activity has been improving steadily although not dramatically. In the last two hours we have seen the pace of development pick up some and importantly I have not seen any outflow boundaries with the convection that is there. This tells me that Gaston will likely continue to build slowly and given that this is going on during the heat of the day his chances of being reclassified seem to me to be above the 40% given by the NHC. I agree with Jeff Masters that 60% is probably a better estimate.

I still consider this system a potentially serious threat for the Caribbean that bears close monitoring in the days ahead. I expect Gaston to be at least a TD by 55W and possibly a TS.
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Quoting leo305:


Canotore reported hurricane force gusts ..


The difference between the official recording station and an unofficial one.
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Thx Doc...
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Quoting angiest:


Most people don't realize just how bad flu is. Get well soon!
Thank you!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21109
Quoting rwdobson:
"sustained winds at Cape Hatteras never reached tropical storm force--top winds there were just 36 mph"

To me, this is absolutely stunning. I expected E to stay just offshore, but I never would have predicted that Hatteras would get no sustained TS winds.


Canotore reported hurricane force gusts ..
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
*Cough, cough*

Ughhh, this flu is terrible. Anyways, I see we have 99L. I checked out the global models along with the statistical and dynamical envelope and I still don't get why they shoot 99L northward in such a hurry. Even the ECMWF shows that solution. I guess they've latched on to something that I have yet to see.


Most people don't realize just how bad flu is. Get well soon!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"sustained winds at Cape Hatteras never reached tropical storm force--top winds there were just 36 mph"

To me, this is absolutely stunning. I expected E to stay just offshore, but I never would have predicted that Hatteras would get no sustained TS winds.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks for the update.
I think someone posted last night saying that Mr Gassy will be at 101mph in 84 or 102 hrs showed it on one of the models. I know they change but I thought I would just tell ya what someone said last night. We might need to watch it. Ya never know.
sheri
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All this Earl hype...now CAT 1...although a large one.

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You know, Earl, still looks pretty good on the sat maps... still a nice lcoking circulation.

Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 298 Comments: 40891
Thanks Dr. Jeff, that should answer the Gaston questions.
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12. Skyepony (Mod)
Thanks for the update!


Model accuracy for Gaston in NM.. AVNI lead with 34.. gfs ensemble 2nd with 37nm error in the last 24 hrs, 63 over 48hrs. OFCL forecast a tight showing with 50, LGEM 52. LBAR 64, BamD 74, UKMET 81, GFDL 91, MM5E & XTRP 100, HWRF 137, CMC 156, NOGAPS 176
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.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 CARIBBEAN. 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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Got sucked into watching Oz last night and then logged on to his chat...I used to think he was just nuts...but in reality he is a classless idiot with childish followers. I hope this blog never sinks to the depths I witnessed last night on Oz's site.
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Great update thanks.
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Thanks Dr. M!!
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*Cough, cough*

Ughhh, this flu is terrible. Anyways, I see we have 99L. I checked out the global models along with the statistical and dynamical envelope and I still don't get why they shoot 99L northward in such a hurry. Even the ECMWF shows that solution. I guess they've latched on to something that I have yet to see.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21109
I think they should put Gaston back on the map as a TD anyway.....they should never had just "poofed" him to begin with.

He looks better than TS Fiona...
jmo
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 298 Comments: 40891
I live in Florida, so I know Hurricanes are not fun.
BUT,,seeing Cantore out there in the dark, wind and rain in his face, not being able to see,,now that is funny..
what is your point Jim??? the weather is bad???
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Nice clean new blog.

Thanks for the update as we watch Earl!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 298 Comments: 40891
thnx
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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.