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 angiest:


Well, she didn't cross the loop current to do that, correct? ;)

j/k

I knew I left her out.

not the one that Katrina and Rite went across in the GOM...
she hit her own "hot spot" in the NW Caribbean and exploded..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
#630 HurricaneGeek, you are in WestPalmBeach, yes, you got a good taste of Wilma also!

eye probably went over your area also as it headed NE

we were on the "edge" of the eye not smack in the center....
and when the back side started "rolling across the 'glades from the west" I had never seen anything so scary looking..
I started screaming to everyone..
"get back in your house the other side is coming!"
and it is true, the "back side" was much worse than the front side...

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It would have been much worse for S FL (and better for Mexico) had Wilma split the uprights between Mexico and Cuba.
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Forget the WNW track. Building ridge will push him back down and hold him there...
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Convections seems to be rebuilding somewhat in the center of earl?
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Quoting wayfaringstranger:
easily....example Katrina and the infamous loop current


A closer and more extreme example would be Hurricane Felix.
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Link

Check this out... the upwelling that occurred with Danielle (near 60deg W) and Earl (near/along 75W) denoted by the lighter shades of gray (that are not moving). These storms are incredible works of nature!
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Quoting seflagamma:


and Wilma a few weeks after Rita...

record breaking TD to Cat5 time spand... and lowest pressure to date..


Well, she didn't cross the loop current to do that, correct? ;)

j/k

I knew I left her out.
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NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
319 PM AST FRI SEP 3 2010

LATE NEXT
WEEK...THE TROPICAL WAVE...THE REMNANTS OF TROPICAL STORM GASTON
ARE GETTING MUCH BETTER ORGANIZED THIS AFTERNOON. IF THIS TREND
CONTINUES...A TROPICAL DEPRESSION COULD RE-FORM DURING THE NEXT 24
TO 48 HOURS. WITH THE LABOR DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND AHEAD... RESIDENTS
AND VISITOR IN PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS SHOULD
CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM. STAY TUNED FOR
FURTHER INFORMATION.
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Quoting TDogg:


Very. At work, and things are beyond slow.


Same here. All the managers are long gone.
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635. TDogg
Quoting seflagamma:
#502, TDogg......Are you bored? ROFL!


Very. At work, and things are beyond slow.
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Quoting angiest:
LOL, we need a definitive answer. I have seen (and/or used) the following acronyms for the Euro model used here: EMCWF, ECMWF, and ECWMF.


European
Center
(for)
Medium-Range
Weather
Forecasts.

That is, ECMWF
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lmao norcross is amazing

"there's EFG and probably H, and by the way the computer models have the IJKL systems over africa and coming off as a train"

lmao
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Quoting hydrus:
The Caribbean is like a champagne bottle with the cork in to tight.


And rather soundly shaken
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
Quoting seflagamma:


I've only been "in the eye" of two storms,
Irene and Wilma...and both were very evident of being in the EYE, especially Wilma...

All the others went below me above me around me, or side swipped me and been affected but only two time had the eye over my head..

Irene was only a Cat 1 but did bring so much rain and knocked out power.. in 7" of water in garage in the dark trying to put motor equipment up higher out of the water...
When the large eye came thru is was so calm and even some stars were out for a while..

Wilma was something else... tree blew over across the drive way as front end came thru.. took pic of it during eye... then after the backside came thru.. went out and the downed tree had been lifted and laid down the opposite direction..... got pic of that too!

Wilma destroyed my landscape and privacy fence and screens to patio...but house stayed secure...


I don 't remember lightening in Wilma at all and it was a "morning" storm.


During Wilma I literally say a speed limit sign get thrown into the air and landed about 100 feet away. It was in one of those down drafts where you have the huge gust of like 120 mph or something it was bien loco!
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Looks to me that Gaston is moving toward the WNW at this hour.
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1590
If I remember Opal correctly, she was a minimal hurricane nearly staitonary in the central GOM when we went to bed, and woke up to a big one heading right down our throats! Forget 36Hrs or anything!
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Quoting angiest:


And Rita a few weeks later.


and Wilma a few weeks after Rita...

record breaking TD to Cat5 time spand... and lowest pressure to date..
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we will probably get a category 5 storm this month somewhere near land because of the tcph map i just looked at it and we can have that happen
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Quoting wayfaringstranger:
easily....example Katrina and the infamous loop current


And Rita a few weeks later.
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LOL, we need a definitive answer. I have seen (and/or used) the following acronyms for the Euro model used here: EMCWF, ECMWF, and ECWMF.
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LGEM is scary as I mapped this out.. Not perfect to the pixel but you get the general idea:

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Quoting StormW:


Speaking of this...what do you all noitce? I've noticed it most of the time with the NWS or NOAA
When did "retrogress" become a word? Guess I should have looked it up first. My bad.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting Jeff9641:
TD to cat 5 developement in NW Caribbean could happen over a 36 time frame given the heat content.
easily....example Katrina and the infamous loop current
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Quoting ecflweatherfan:


Just a little information, and not saying that it means anything in the longer term... but, On this day in 1999, Melbourne, Florida had a record high temperature of 95 degrees. Less than 2 weeks later, we, in Central Florida, were looking into the eye of Hurricane Floyd as it drew nearer as a monster Category 4 (which caused the largest peacetime evacuation in US history). It turned north and hit NC. Lo and behold, today's high temperature (so far) in Melbourne, Florida has been 95 degrees and we have an entity that was named Gaston located in the same general area as "Floyd" back then. Strange the coincidence. Hmmm???? Just sayin'. Hopefully this is another case where history does not repeat itself.


truely scary
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
I know from other sources that lightning has and does occur in hurricanes, but I've never witnessed it. This despite the fact I've been in the eye multiple times at night.


I've only been "in the eye" of two storms,
Irene and Wilma...and both were very evident of being in the EYE, especially Wilma...

All the others went below me above me around me, or side swipped me and been affected but only two time had the eye over my head..

Irene was only a Cat 1 but did bring so much rain and knocked out power.. in 7" of water in garage in the dark trying to put motor equipment up higher out of the water...
When the large eye came thru is was so calm and even some stars were out for a while..

Wilma was something else... tree blew over across the drive way as front end came thru.. took pic of it during eye... then after the backside came thru.. went out and the downed tree had been lifted and laid down the opposite direction..... got pic of that too!

Wilma destroyed my landscape and privacy fence and screens to patio...but house stayed secure...


I don 't remember lightening in Wilma at all and it was a "morning" storm.
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Quoting StormW:


No...most of the agencies are GFS happy...as in it's ALWAYS gospel

12Z
EMCWF on the left says no recurvature...GFS on right shows the break in the ridge.


Well thats gotta have some ECMWF fans torn between fish and non fish
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Good Afternoon!
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Quoting hydrus:
Hurricane Earl is as large as the low associated with the trough...
But thank God for the trough. I know I chewed my knuckles bloody waiting for it to show up.
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Hmmmm...something on page 12 keeps my phishing filter from loading it.
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Quoting pilotguy1:


Pure speculation.


AKA "Forecasting"
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Quoting Jeff9641:
TD to cat 5 developement in NW Caribbean could happen over a 36 time frame given the heat content.
The Caribbean is like a champagne bottle with the cork in to tight.
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Just a little information, and not saying that it means anything in the longer term... but, On this day in 1999, Melbourne, Florida had a record high temperature of 95 degrees. Less than 2 weeks later, we, in Central Florida, were looking into the eye of Hurricane Floyd as it drew nearer as a monster Category 4 (which caused the largest peacetime evacuation in US history). It turned north and hit NC. Lo and behold, today's high temperature (so far) in Melbourne, Florida has been 95 degrees and we have an entity that was named Gaston located in the same general area as "Floyd" back then. Strange the coincidence. Hmmm???? Just sayin'. Hopefully this is another case where history does not repeat itself.
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
I know from other sources that lightning has and does occur in hurricanes, but I've never witnessed it. This despite the fact I've been in the eye multiple times at night.
Hurricane Earl is as large as the low associated with the trough...
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ocean heat content.


True. Or... Over Hyped Cyclone , depending on the context.
e.g.
Bonnie, a 40 mph TS was an OHC that didn't do much despite being in an area of a lot of OHC.

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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Quoting StormW:


Speaking of this...what do you all noitce? I've noticed it most of the time with the NWS or NOAA


Ok I am going with C global warming
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Quoting StormW:


No...most of the agencies are GFS happy...as in it's ALWAYS gospel

12Z
EMCWF on the left says no recurvature...GFS on right shows the break in the ridge.



But, I think they did use some form of amplify three times in one sentence, and that is just bad!
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Quoting StormW:


No...most of the agencies are GFS happy...as in it's ALWAYS gospel

EMCWF on the left says no recurvature...GFS on right shows the break in the ridge.



I was looking for something like that but somehow missed it.

FWIW, NWS HGX typically leans more Euro and NAM, though they respect GFS.
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Quoting BLee2333:
I guess both! Threat AND treat!

What does OHC mean? This time I checked Storm's list of acronyms before asking! ;)
Ocean heat content.
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Quoting P451:


:)


In the past I didn't want to put people on ignore but rather decide not to reply. Then once I singled out a few obvious purposeful instigators I put them on. Recently I've grown more towards putting others on. It just makes the experience here better. I think I'm up to 20 names but I bet 15 are permanently banned anyways... so maybe about 5 regulars are on my "if I dont see em I cant argue with them and get all ticked off" list.



and those "5" regulars are probably the same person with various email addresses.
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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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