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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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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ROBTX09:
ecmwf at 72 hrs shows two lows in the gom
It's hard to see, but I think one of the lows is in the pacific as it is now.
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Quoting aimetti:
im surprised no one called 99L a fish yet

Jason will be here later guaranteeing 100% fish
Member Since: June 16, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 117
Quoting IKE:
Latest ECMWF through Sept. 13th...Link


The model doesnt show a break or weakness in the ridge past 120 hrs...even on this model thats gotta be some kind of indicator that Gaston could move more west. Im doubting that northward turn at the end of the model run but again its really really out there time wise.
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Quoting ROBTX09:
ecmwf at 72 hrs shows two lows in the gom
Yeah I just noticed that too. The GFS is also on board on developing a tropical cyclone in the BOC in the next 3 days. It appears to me that it is 95E what is being developed by these models. I guess that it will begin northward motion and end up in the BOC.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
#530. great pictures.

Yes, funny, but true. after every wind storm you can always find the gas station awnings torn down!
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538. IKE
Models on Gaston...Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting aimetti:
im surprised no one called 99L a fish yet


I wonder if right now there is someone on a Mauritanian weather blog proclaiming that 99L is looking to rapidly intensify into an Annular Category 5 hurricane and is gonna hit Nouakchott!!!
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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!!



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529, That is exactly what I thought.
They had to offer him a great amount of money just to do the hurricane updates when systems are threatening(because he is not there when there are not systems out there)..

or he was ready to get back in front of the camera again.. and again, they paid him a great deal of money to be in front of "their" cameras instead of someone else's cameras..
they really needed him...

Yes he had done a lot of documentaries and wrote books and talks at seminars, etc...
but been really missing him on TV when we have a disaster on the way.
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Great great waves today!!!

Earl really really came through. Light NE winds provided perfect conditions. It really doesnt get any better then that on Long Island!!!

I am expecting top winds sustained 25 gusts to 40 here and maybe some heavy rain, it looks like a toss up whether the large rain shield get this far west. We have had a couple showers so far but that's it.
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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.



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Quoting seflagamma:


Getting Brian Norcross on TWC has brought them back some "weather cred" ... I have no idea how a "not so good now but use to be" weather station could get someone like Brian Norcross to joing them for tropical updates. They had become such a joke over the past few years.

Like you, I've from SE Fla and while I was in Broward instead of Dade, I was up all night with Brian during Andrew.. that was incredible..
Probably the first hurricane that was really covered on TV thru out the entire storm even after the power went off...with the anchors in the "safe room" at the studio on a generator...

he saved a lot of lives that night and calmed a lot of people down. A night I will never forget.


Hey Gamma: I wondered the same thing. If you google Brian Norcross you will see that he has been involved all this time with the weather, just at an administrative level, with some live appearances. I thought one of two things, either they offered him a large sum of money, or he was anxious to be more in the middle of things, with so much hurricane activity going on.
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Quoting aimetti:
im surprised no one called 99L a fish yet


shhhhhh...
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 9922
527. beell
Quoting StormW:
99L
LMAO


Yeah, I sure don't get that one, Storm.
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Quoting A4Guy:


Why "LMAO" Storm - do you think that 99L will track westward?


What LMAO stands for???
Member Since: April 29, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 136
525. IKE
Latest ECMWF through Sept. 13th...Link
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
im surprised no one called 99L a fish yet
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Quoting A4Guy:


I live in SoFla...and I miss Bryan Norcross terribly. I am glad he is on TWC now!


I still remember hiding in the bathroom the night of hurricane Andrew listening to Brian Norcross. It would have been so much worse to be sitting there just wondering what was happening, it was scary enough as it was. During the worst of the storm, we could actually feel the concrete foundation vibrating (we were sitting on the floor in a small bathroom)

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On the potential ridging pattern from NCEP's discussion yesterday afternoon:

TROPICAL DISCUSSION - INTERNATIONAL DESKS
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
102 PM EDT THU SEP 02 2010

FARTHER EAST...AT UPPER LEVELS...A STRONG SUBTROPICAL RIDGE CONTINUES TO BUILD ACROSS THE WESTERN ATLANTIC. THIS IS TO ENVELOP THE NORTHERN CARIBBEAN ISLANDS EARLY IN THE CYCLE...AND THROUGH 36 HRS IT IS TO AMPLIFY ACROSS CUBA TO THE YUCATAN/GULF OF MEXICO.LATER IN THE CYCLE IT WILL BECOME NARROW AND ELONGATED...AS IT WILL ERODE UNDER PRESSURE FROM AN AMPLIFYING POLAR TROUGH OVER
NORTH AMERICA. THE CORRESPONDING MID LEVEL RIDGE FOLLOWS A SIMILAR EVOLUTION...AMPLIFYING ACROSS CUBA TO THE NORTHWEST CARIBBEAN TO
THEN BEGINNING TO WEAKEN UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE AMPLIFYING POLAR TROUGH PATTERN OVER NORTH AMERICA. AS THE AXIS AMPLIFIES ACROSS
THE BAHAMAS/CUBA...A MID LEVEL CAP WILL ESTABLISH...WHICH WILL BECOME PARTICULARLY STRONG ACROSS EASTERN AND CENTRAL PORTIONS OF
CUBA BY 48-72 HRS.

IN RESPONSE TO THE BUILDING SUBTROPICAL RIDGE...A TUTT IS DIGGING ACROSS THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC AND IT WILL EXPAND INTO THE EASTERN
CARIBBEAN ISLES BY 30-36 HRS...WITH A CLOSED/CUT OFF LOW TO THEN FORM NEAR 20N 60W THROUGH 42-48 HRS. THIS LOW IS FORECAST TO
RETROGRESS TO THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN BY 60-72 HRS...TO MEANDER SOUTH OF PUERTO RICO/NORTH OF VENEZUELA.
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521. A4Guy
Quoting StormW:
99L
LMAO


Why "LMAO" Storm - do you think that 99L will track westward?
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99L, pressure down 1mb, winds remain at 30mph:

AL, 99, 2010090318, , BEST, 0, 149N, 191W, 25, 1006, DB,

Same goes for ex-Gaston. Pressure down 1mb and winds remain at 30mph.

AL, 09, 2010090318, , BEST, 0, 149N, 419W, 25, 1008, LO,
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting zoomiami:
Few other notes on Earl: TWC with Brian Norcross is great. Easy explanations of what is occurring, actually defining what type of damage and weather to expect given the different scenarios. Wonder how that flies with Jim Cantore?

During one of his spots yesterday he talked about how the hurricanes spread out in diameter as they go further, taking advantage of the extra spin as they move closer to the poles. This was a new fact to me, and made a lot of sense.

Also stated that expansion of the windshield is part of what brings the intensity down as it moves northward (together with colder waters etc)



Getting Brian Norcross on TWC has brought them back some "weather cred" ... I have no idea how a "not so good now but use to be" weather station could get someone like Brian Norcross to joing them for tropical updates. They had become such a joke over the past few years.

Like you, I'me from SE Fla and while I was in Broward instead of Dade, I was up all night with Brian during Andrew.. that was incredible..
Probably the first hurricane that was really covered on TV thru out the entire storm even after the power went off...with the anchors in the "safe room" at the studio on a generator...

he saved a lot of lives that night and calmed a lot of people down. A night I will never forget.
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Drakeon-

Is ex Gaston gonna hook back to the west after making that forecast turn to the north at or near the antilles? Is the high going to build back in?
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Quoting StormW:
99L
LMAO
LOL, I don't understand what's the reasoning behind that.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
With some of those 99L models, we have the rare opportunity to call someone a Morocco-caster.
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512. A4Guy
Quoting zoomiami:
Few other notes on Earl: TWC with Brian Norcross is great. Easy explanations of what is occurring, actually defining what type of damage and weather to expect given the different scenarios. Wonder how that flies with Jim Cantore?

During one of his spots yesterday he talked about how the hurricanes spread out in diameter as they go further, taking advantage of the extra spin as the move closer to the poles. This was a new fact to me, and made a lot of sense.

Also stated that expansion of the windshield is part of what brings the intensity down as it moves northward (together with colder waters etc)



I live in SoFla...and I miss Bryan Norcross terribly. I am glad he is on TWC now!
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Looking at PSU ewall, the remnants of Gaston develope on the GFS model and track westward and then turns quickly north over Puerto Rico. Now I know this is nearly 10 days out and anything could happen but I cant see any weaknesses in the ridge at that point of turning. Again I know its still pretty far out there and the ridge seems very strong but I guess reliability that far out goes out the window?
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#502, TDogg......Are you bored? ROFL!
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Quoting beell:


YW, gamma. It is an unusual 1,000 mile long feature.


Yes, thanks for that explanation. Looks like the Alien bursting out that guy's chest. Very strange. lol
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Few other notes on Earl: TWC with Brian Norcross is great. Easy explanations of what is occurring, actually defining what type of damage and weather to expect given the different scenarios. Wonder how that flies with Jim Cantore?

During one of his spots yesterday he talked about how the hurricanes spread out in diameter as they go further, taking advantage of the extra spin as they move closer to the poles. This was a new fact to me, and made a lot of sense.

Also stated that expansion of the windshield is part of what brings the intensity down as it moves northward (together with colder waters etc)

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Gaston as of 17:45z

SAB: 1.0
TAFB: 1.5
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
502. TDogg
So I was having a little fun with Orcasystem's alibi page. What do you folks think of this one:

I blew my forecast because the stratospheric orographic discontinuity was miscalculated or overlooked.

Since I don't know when to leave well enough alone, I'll complete the paragraph with my own take:

This in turn, made my xylophobic hologram of the gravitational effect of the moon and Venus on the track of Earl completely useless. In short, the flux capacitor broke.

Weather comment: It's nice in Charleston today!


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501. beell
Quoting seflagamma:


Beel, so that is what is happening.
Thanks! I did not know.


YW, gamma. It is an unusual 1,000 mile long feature.
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Models forecast for the TUTT cell northeast of the Lesser Antilles to advect westward over the Greater Antilles and for upper level ridge to build in from the Tropical Atlantic as Ex-Gaston heads westward or west-northwestward.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29886
Quoting JFLORIDA:
Usually earthquakes are given higher numbers from instruments closer. Ive seen that happen often. That city will have major structural damage even if things didn't collapse.

Its a nice city:



I hope they are all OK.


Is this city sitting in a crater? It looks like the remnants of old volcanic activity.
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498. HCW
X Gaston.....

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Quoting JFLORIDA:
465

Yes your welcome. 7 is right around where really horrible things can start to happen, even in modern construction.


WOW. I hope there aren't any deaths. I didn't know they were on a fault line.
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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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