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 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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I guess both! Threat AND treat!

What does OHC mean? This time I checked Storm's list of acronyms before asking! ;)
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Why do they use "..." instead of commas?
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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


Not sure what you mean but these particular discussions are very detailed and actually "walk" you through what the models are forecasting with very specific details while NHC-NOAA discussions are more brief...Of course, NHC/NOAA have their hands full during H-Season and a more public consumption product while these folks (the International Desk at NCEP) can focus on the Caribean issues for this particular product........?
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Quoting seflagamma:


I was 50 miles to the north and will never forget that night watching my sliding glass windows pump in and out from presure and watching all those tranfusion boxes bursting in the night making that greenish blue lightening... I always thought that was lightening and in a hurricane it had that special color... I had no idea back then it was transformers exploding! LOL
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.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Below are the 12z GFS ensembles at 132 hours. Notice Gaston in the eastern Caribbean, but check out the spread out subtropical ridge across the entire subtropical Atlantic. I assume that this guy is headed west.

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


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


Overuse of amplify.
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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

They quit using the word "SPURIOUS"? LOL
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Hopefully not too far west that way he won't be able to feed off of the crazy OHC.
Another Wilma this year!
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StormW, when do you think GASTON will be renamed a TD?

Thanks
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584. IKE
Quoting wayfaringstranger:


I dont get it...why a northward turn with no weakness or trof? All models showing a strong ridge across the ATL?


I found this in the 8-14 day prognostic discussion just issued....

"""8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR SEP 11 - 17 2010

FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD, THERE IS GENERALLY GOOD AGREEMENT BETWEEN ENSEMBLE
MEAN SOLUTIONS ACROSS THE PACIFIC-NORTH AMERICA DOMAIN. THE PREDICTED LONG-WAVE
PATTERN CONTINUES TO FEATURE A TROUGH NEAR THE WEST COAST, AND WEAK RIDGING
OVER THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN STATES. MOST ENSEMBLE RUNS ANTICIPATE LOW
AMPLITUDE FLOW OVER ALASKA. THE WEEK 2 OPERATIONAL 00Z GFS RUN DEPICTS
SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCES FROM THE ENSEMBLE MEAN SOLUTIONS. THIS SINGLE GFS RUN
FORECASTS A MORE ZONALLY ORIENTED TROUGH ACROSS ALASKA, A WEST COAST TROUGH
DISPLACED INLAND OVER THE GREAT BASIN, AND A TROUGH ALONG THE EASTERN SEABOARD.
THE SINGLE 06Z GFS DEPICTION IS SIMILAR TO THE 00Z GFS ONE, THOUGH THE TROUGH
ANTICIPATED ALONG THE EASTERN SEABOARD IS SHIFTED EASTWARD 10-15 DEGREES
LONGITUDE OVER THE ATLANTIC. THE OFFICIAL 500-HPA BLENDED HEIGHT PROG, WHICH IS
MORE HEAVILY WEIGHTED TOWARD THE GFS SUPER-ENSEMBLE MEAN AND THE ECMWF ENSEMBLE
MEAN, SMOOTHS OUT THIS TROUGH, WITH THE AXIS PREDICTED NEAR 60W-65W, OR ABOUT
THE SAME LONGITUDE AS NOVA SCOTIA.

SPAGHETTI MAPS FROM THE ENSEMBLE MEANS (GFS, EUROPEAN AND CANADIAN) SHOW FAIRLY
TIGHT CLUSTERING OF ENSEMBLE MEMBERS OVER THE CONUS, INDICATING MORE
CONFIDENCE. OVER THE UPSTREAM REGION OF THE NORTH PACIFIC HOWEVER, THERE IS
VERY LITTLE AGREEMENT BETWEEN ENSEMBLE MEMBERS, AS IS FREQUENTLY THE CASE.

THE OFFICIAL 500-HPA BLENDED HEIGHT PROG SHOWS A BREAK IN THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE
BETWEEN 60W AND 75W LONGITUDE, SUGGESTING A POTENTIAL RE-CURVATURE ZONE FOR
FUTURE TROPICAL CYCLONES. WITH THIS EXPECTED BREAK IN THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE,
AND THE HEIGHTENED TROPICAL ACTIVITY OVER THE ATLANTIC, INTERESTS IN BERMUDA
ARE ENCOURAGED TO FREQUENTLY MONITOR THE LATEST WEATHER INFORMATION."""
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Even the NHC previously said it could be pushed wsw for a period of time. I still see him entering the Caribbean although I don't know how far west he would get once he does.
Hopefully not too far west that way he won't be able to feed off of the crazy OHC.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Jeff9641:
Sorry I don't know why the double post above.
.

Thought there was an echo in here... LOL
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that is what is strange. can you or someone explain this to me? I thought the pattern change coming up was for almost recurvatures due to a building high pressure system

if anything, i would have expected Gaston to move west.

more troughs coming?
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Quoting PcolaDan:
Google "cape cod web cam" and there are some good links to cams that could very interesting as the day progresses

Most of them are out of order.
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Quoting Relix:


Yeah but he's not going to curve north. It's impossible. In fact that puts the NE islands at a risk. Add to that that the High should push it WSW. After that it's possible.
Even the NHC previously said it could be pushed wsw for a period of time. I still see him entering the Caribbean although I don't know how far west he would get once he does.
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ok, so I am confused. what is everyone's in here general consensus of where Gaston is going? does anyone think florida is in the picture?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ouch! Check out the usually conservative LGEM on ex-Gaston. It has it as a category 3 moving right through the central Lesser Antilles...and towards the west into the Caribbean. If you can't orient yourself, here's an image with the coordinates.

AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 12, 152N, 433W, 27, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 24, 154N, 447W, 30, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 36, 153N, 466W, 35, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 48, 154N, 492W, 42, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 60, 152N, 514W, 49, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 72, 150N, 535W, 57, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 84, 149N, 558W, 69, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 96, 150N, 584W, 83, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 108, 149N, 609W, 97, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 120, 149N, 633W, 110, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,



I was noticing this but past 120 hrs see post 522. Looks like at the end of most model runs that Gaston turns abrupt north over Puerto Rico. Now I dont want to rant because model guidance is just that...but it does look feasible at the moment.
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Quoting BLee2333:
If something can manage to get into the carib and stay south of Cuba, we're in for a treat!

Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential:



26C isotherm reaches well below 125m in places... Lots of soup to stir up!!




Treat or threat? Hard to get something down there and no one get a spanking.
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Quoting angiest:


LGEM has been quite bullish on Gaston.
So have most of the models. Almost all of them called for Gaston to intensify and be at least a strong tropical storm by now.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ouch! Check out the usually conservative LGEM on ex-Gaston. It has it as a category 3 moving right through the central Lesser Antilles...and towards the west into the Caribbean. If you can't orient yourself, here's an image with the coordinates.

AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 12, 152N, 433W, 27, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 24, 154N, 447W, 30, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 36, 153N, 466W, 35, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 48, 154N, 492W, 42, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 60, 152N, 514W, 49, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 72, 150N, 535W, 57, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 84, 149N, 558W, 69, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 96, 150N, 584W, 83, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 108, 149N, 609W, 97, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 120, 149N, 633W, 110, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,



LGEM has been quite bullish on Gaston.
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Google "cape cod web cam" and there are some good links to cams that could very interesting as the day progresses
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Quoting TDogg:


Exactly right. When a tropical system is out there, I'm like Wally in Dilbert...they can FORGET about getting work out of me. It's the Friday before a holiday weekend and somebody in their infinite wisdom left ME in charge. Of course, upper management got their weekend started early this afternoon. Oh well, one hour to go!
Been there before, LOL. Hang in there.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
565. Relix
Quoting RecordSeason:
548:

Initial conditions are different than previously expected.

He has reformed nearly a degree north of previous expected, and is also highly elongated towards the north.


Yeah but he's not going to curve north. It's impossible. In fact that puts the NE islands at a risk. Add to that that the High should push it WSW. After that it's possible.
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Quoting TDogg:


Exactly right. When a tropical system is out there, I'm like Wally in Dilbert...they can FORGET about getting work out of me. It's the Friday before a holiday weekend and somebody in their infinite wisdom left ME in charge. Of course, upper management got their weekend started early this afternoon. Oh well, one hour to go!



LOL I understand, I'm "in charge" at work too! covering for a few other leaders who are out on vacation!
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Ouch! Check out the usually conservative LGEM on ex-Gaston. It has it as a category 3 moving right through the central Lesser Antilles...and towards the west into the Caribbean. If you can't orient yourself, here's an image with the coordinates.

AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 12, 152N, 433W, 27, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 24, 154N, 447W, 30, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 36, 153N, 466W, 35, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 48, 154N, 492W, 42, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 60, 152N, 514W, 49, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 72, 150N, 535W, 57, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 84, 149N, 558W, 69, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 96, 150N, 584W, 83, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 108, 149N, 609W, 97, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,
AL, 09, 2010090318, 03, LGEM, 120, 149N, 633W, 110, 0, , 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
A few more shots from around Nags Head and mainland Dare County after the storm.

















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Quoting tatoprweather:


What LMAO stands for???


laugh my @ss off!!!
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Quoting TDogg:


Exactly right. When a tropical system is out there, I'm like Wally in Dilbert...they can FORGET about getting work out of me. It's the Friday before a holiday weekend and somebody in their infinite wisdom left ME in charge. Of course, upper management got their weekend started early this afternoon. Oh well, one hour to go!


Ha! I'm like Dilbert in Dilbert...lamenting my cubical environment. At least I will be doing some field work next week.
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Quoting Floridaweathergirl:
I remember Andrew too. I lived in Aventura and we were asked to evacuate and we went to Kendall and it ended up doing damage there and nothing big where we lived.


A lot of people evacuated TO south Dade because the storm was coming in to Broward and north Dade...and one of those last minute jogs to the south made a big difference that night...

South Dade was destroyed .... if it had come in on the original "forcast line" north Miami and Ft Lauderdale would have been destroyed...
which was much more populated and had more urban areas and businesses...

I was 50 miles to the north and will never forget that night watching my sliding glass windows pump in and out from presure and watching all those tranfusion boxes bursting in the night making that greenish blue lightening... I always thought that was lightening and in a hurricane it had that special color... I had no idea back then it was transformers exploding! LOL
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I totally discounted the BOC because the center of my AOI is closer to or over the Pacific. Figured that would be dominate anything trying to form in the SW GOM.
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554. IKE
Quoting wayfaringstranger:


I dont get it...why a northward turn with no weakness or trof? All models showing a strong ridge across the ATL?


May have something to do with post 522.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting OBXNCWEATHER:
I dunno if I'm doing this right... lol... but (hopefully) here are a couple of shots of the obligatory "gas station canopy collapse" after Hurricane Earl.



And Oz told the cop he was in a safe spot. Anyone check underneath see if he's there?
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Wow, another typhoon headed for north korea. This one is a slow mover too.

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549. TDogg
Quoting seflagamma:
#502, TDogg......Are you bored? ROFL!


Exactly right. When a tropical system is out there, I'm like Wally in Dilbert...they can FORGET about getting work out of me. It's the Friday before a holiday weekend and somebody in their infinite wisdom left ME in charge. Of course, upper management got their weekend started early this afternoon. Oh well, one hour to go!
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Quoting IKE:
Models on Gaston...Link


I dont get it...why a northward turn with no weakness or trof? All models showing a strong ridge across the ATL?
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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.