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 tatoprweather:


Is Gaston still headed to the northern islands?


that's the expectation! Leewards
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Flood are you being a trouble maker today?
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.LONG TERM...
SFC RIDGE WILL REESTABLISH ACROSS THE SOUTHEASTERN
US BY THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK. THIS WILL ALLOW RETURN FLOW TO
COMMENCE BRINGING DEEPER LLVL MOISTURE BACK INTO THE REGION.
SHOWER AND THUNDERSTORM CHCS WILL CREEP BACK INTO THE FORECAST
AREA THROUGH THE WEEK...MAINLY AROUND THE WESTERN PERIPHERY OF THE
DEVELOPING UPPER RIDGE WHICH SHOULD DEVELOP ACROSS THE
SOUTHEASTERN STATES. OTHERWISE...STILL LOTS OF UNCERTAINTY
REGARDING THE EVOLUTION AND EVENTUAL PATH OF THE REMNANTS OF
GASTON WITH SEVERAL MODELS CONTINUING TO BRING THE FEATURE
WESTWARD INTO THE CARIBBEAN DURING THE WEEK.

From latest N.O. fcst discussion...seems every body keepin an eye on G.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Here's the 18z dynamical model envelope below.

I agree with the northern portion of the guidance through 46W. After that I agree with the center of the guideline through 54W. And finally I agree with the southern portion of the guidance through the end of the plots.



In other words maybe a slight tug across Puerto Rico then more of a west heading?
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Quoting NCWatch:
Wish the blog could stay this way all the time, civilized, informative and sprinkled with humor.


This is, for the most part, how it used to be...with some exceptions. Now this is the exception, rather than the rule...
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742. Relix
Yeah 16N NE Carib entry sounds good for me, at that point and depending on strength it could move a bit more northerly so 17N is a possibility. I would say PR should receive either a direct impact or a very close brush with direct effects. There's no way to escape this one I think.
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Quoting kmanislander:


I have a friend whose name is spelt the same way. We pronuunce it Gas-tonne. Probably the West Indian inflection LOL


Someone suggested "gu stahn" the other day...I was most unkind to him
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Here's the 18z dynamical model envelope below.

I agree with the northern portion of the guidance through 46W. After that I agree with the center of the guidance through 54W. And finally I agree with the southern portion of the guidance through the end of the plots.



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


I have a friend whose name is spelt the same way. We pronuunce it Gas-tonne. Probably the West Indian inflection LOL


This is how I would say it.
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Now I am beginning to wonder with the remnant of Gaston starting to "fire"... what the chances of us having just one day without an active named storm in the Atlantic are for the for the next couple of weeks? Well known fact is that it has been very active over the last two weeks... but, what will the next two weeks hold? I am thinking there will not be one single day in the next two weeks without an active named storm though.
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Quoting kmanislander:


Yes, he is back. The track over the past 24 hrs has been a drift to the WNW in response to the trough off to the NE and weak steering.

The flow will soon bring the system back to a Westerly heading and the forecast steering actually pushes him back to the WSW around the 48 hr time frame for an entry into the Caribbean near 16 N.



So what are your thoughts on Gaston recurving or going GOM or going more of a w nw track towards Miami? I have seen models all show these possibilities with the GFS favoring a recurve.
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Quoting WeatherfanPR:
Accuweather is forecasting very windy weather with 72mph gusts on thursday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Hmmm...can you say Gaston?
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Wish the blog could stay this way all the time, civilized, informative and sprinkled with humor.
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734. xcool
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL, the proper pronunciation is quite complicated. At first I called it gas-tin, but then I found out it was ga-STAWN.


I have a friend whose name is spelt the same way. We pronuunce it Gas-tonne. Probably the West Indian inflection LOL
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732. xcool
WHXX01 KWBC 031850
CHGHUR
TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1850 UTC FRI SEP 3 2010

DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.
PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE
AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.

ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR

DISTURBANCE GASTON (AL092010) 20100903 1800 UTC

...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...
100903 1800 100904 0600 100904 1800 100905 0600

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMS 14.9N 41.9W 15.4N 43.5W 15.9N 45.5W 16.1N 47.8W
BAMD 14.9N 41.9W 15.7N 43.5W 16.3N 45.4W 16.5N 47.7W
BAMM 14.9N 41.9W 15.4N 43.2W 15.8N 44.8W 15.7N 46.7W
LBAR 14.9N 41.9W 15.7N 43.3W 16.7N 45.1W 17.7N 47.3W
SHIP 25KTS 29KTS 36KTS 44KTS
DSHP 25KTS 29KTS 36KTS 44KTS

...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...
100905 1800 100906 1800 100907 1800 100908 1800

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMS 16.2N 50.4W 15.7N 55.9W 15.1N 60.6W 15.6N 63.1W
BAMD 16.3N 50.3W 15.1N 56.4W 14.0N 62.5W 13.2N 66.5W
BAMM 15.4N 48.7W 14.1N 53.5W 13.9N 57.8W 15.7N 60.7W
LBAR 18.6N 49.9W 19.6N 55.3W 19.5N 60.6W 18.9N 65.0W
SHIP 52KTS 69KTS 83KTS 97KTS
DSHP 52KTS 69KTS 83KTS 97KTS

...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 14.9N LONCUR = 41.9W DIRCUR = 300DEG SPDCUR = 7KT
LATM12 = 14.1N LONM12 = 40.6W DIRM12 = 299DEG SPDM12 = 7KT
LATM24 = 13.5N LONM24 = 39.5W
WNDCUR = 25KT RMAXWD = 60NM WNDM12 = 25KT
CENPRS = 1008MB OUTPRS = 1011MB OUTRAD = 210NM SDEPTH = S
RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM

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Quoting wayfaringstranger:
Got some drier air to the nw of Gaston but Gaston is appearing to organize.


Is Gaston still headed to the northern islands?
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Quoting kmanislander:


Yes, he is back. The track over the past 24 hrs has been a drift to the WNW in response to the trough off to the NE and weak steering.

The flow will soon bring the system back to a Westerly heading and the forecast steering actually pushes him back to the WSW around the 48 hr time frame for an entry into the Caribbean near 16 N.



That's what I was thinking...fairly close to the opriginal track estimates; a little further north, certainly, but with an entry into the NE Carib...will this one run the Mona passage, do you think?
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Quoting Felix2007:


In that case the weather channel pronounces it wrong. They say ga-stone lol
LOL, the proper pronunciation is quite complicated. At first I called it gas-tin, but then I found out it was ga-STAWN.
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Accuweather is forecasting very windy weather with 72mph gusts on thursday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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Quoting Floodman:
Gaston looks to have started his recovery; he's already crossed 15N and he looks a bit more robust:



Yes, he is back. The track over the past 24 hrs has been a drift to the WNW in response to the trough off to the NE and weak steering.

The flow will soon bring the system back to a Westerly heading and the forecast steering actually pushes him back to the WSW around the 48 hr time frame for an entry into the Caribbean near 16 N.

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yes. Gaston: ga-STAWN.


In that case the weather channel pronounces it wrong. They say ga-stone lol
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yes. Gaston: ga-STAWN.


I pronounce it Gas(as in the word gas)-stone.
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Quoting seflagamma:
thanks for that Wilma graphic.. look at that..

it went from TD/TS/Cat1 directly to Cat4 then next dot is Cat5! I remember all of us watching that in stunned amazment ...thinking after Katrina and Rita and their explosions we had seen the worse and then Wilma does this and shatters all the records .


She was a scary one, most especially for October 24th...
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Are we on a jasoncoolman vacation? Where is this fella?
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Did we ever figure out how to pronounce Gaston?
Yes. Gaston: ga-STAWN.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


I was joking.

Yes you were and LMAO!!!
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Quoting DestinJeff:


I was joking.


I kinda figured...
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Quoting Floodman:
word to ya muthah
what he said lol
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Got some drier air to the nw of Gaston but Gaston is appearing to organize.
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thanks for that Wilma graphic.. look at that..

it went from TD/TS/Cat1 directly to Cat4 then next dot is Cat5! I remember all of us watching that in stunned amazment ...thinking after Katrina and Rita and their explosions we had seen the worse and then Wilma does this and shatters all the records .
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 302 Comments: 40956
Quoting Floodman:


I don't know, Rita was pretty "tight" and she went pretty much left across the GOM...we won't even talk about Dean and Felix


...In most cases anyways! LOL
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Quoting ecflweatherfan:
Hurricanes are like screws... Righty tightey, Lefty loosey. In other words, the tighter the circulation (e.g. the stronger the storm), the more it's path bends to the right. The looser the circulation (e.g. the weaker the storm), the more it stays left. In my observances anyways.


I don't know, Rita was pretty "tight" and she went pretty much left across the GOM...we won't even talk about Dean and Felix
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Looking like convection along with anticyclone positioned above on Gaston. May skip TD and go to TS?
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Hurricanes are like screws... Righty tightey, Lefty loosey. In other words, the tighter the circulation (e.g. the stronger the storm), the more it's path bends to the right. The looser the circulation (e.g. the weaker the storm), the more it stays left. In my observances anyways.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


sure it was. as a cat 1 at about 40N


Okay, smartA$$...I meant in the area of the Puerto Rico trench...not, necessarily off the coast of New Jersey
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Quoting Floodman:


Wilma was NEVER north of Puerto Rico:

How dare you show that lol.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


sure it was. as a cat 1 at about 40N

LMAO!!!
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Quoting kwgirl:
I remember when I was a kid, and an eye passed over Key West, my Mom sent me to Royal Castle on my bike to pick up some hambergers. There was no electricity, and I remember a long line with the RC being filled up with smoke from their grill. I remember worrying that I wouldn't make it home in time before the back side hit, but I did. They used to tell us how long it would take for the eye to pass. I guess the storms move faster now?


WOW that would not happen today.. no store would open during the eye of a storm to grill burgers for customers... seems like "eyes" use to last longer and be larger...that was scary!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 302 Comments: 40956
Quoting TheDawnAwakening:
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma all hit the same current, called the loop current. However during the spring of 2005 a big giant loop current eddy broke off the main current and located itself over east/central GOM. Wilma later that year in October exploded rapidly over the warmest waters and deepest waters of the tropical Atlantic. Technically, the deepest waters are just north of Puerto Rico associated with the Puerto Rico trench, but the Caribbean waters are very warm and very deep. These three category five hurricanes and Emily as well all exploded over this loop current.


Wilma was NEVER north of Puerto Rico:

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Quoting wayfaringstranger:
internet options, tools, change your security settings to enable cookies.
Quoting Floodman:


From an internet standpoint, cookies are small files left onyour machine with, typically, webpage data (login, etc.).

They can be used to track your movements, however...I prefer an RFID chip administered with a rifle, but cookies are effective as well
okay thanks.Wasn't to sure.
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Quoting beell:


Upper level trough with a surface reflection. S of a frontal boundary. Shows at 500mb and 700mb also.

Either way, I bet we get a blob alert!
LOL, it's what we live for.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Gaston trying to pull a Rocky Balboa....

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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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