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 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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496. IKE
Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Ex-Gaston is headed towards some moderate sheer at the moment which is why I think NHC is at 50% .....He would have to really get a groove on in the short term in order to come back to TD status before then, or, get through the sheer intact and get it's act together closer to the Antilles in a few days IMO.


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
That pic of Christ Church NZ makes me wanna hit the slopes! I always feel that way when I see snowcapped peaks!
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Quoting Drakoen:
Gaston probably be a threat for the northern to central Lesser Antilles.


Sure looks that way...

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Quoting IKE:
Next Thursday on the latest ECMWF run....



168 hrs...



We get the point.
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The HWRF is seeing it the same as me, for now. @126 hrs. For what it's worth LOL.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23990
Quoting beell:


30-40 knots of NE shear will blow anyone's dress up!


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

Wow that is a big gaping hole in the middle of the atlantic. Is the trough that is sending Earl up the east coast responsible for that?


I noticed on the GFS run from earlier that there were trofs going by the east coast at a pretty regular rate. At least that is what it looked like to me, would need verification from one of our more seasoned weather gurus!
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488. HCW
18Z 99L model runs from the NHC... Not sure if I agree with these

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Fiona is dead dead dead dead...LLC is trying to fire a little convection but its being stripped to the sw while the mid and upper parts have already seperated and gone sw...Only devine intervention can bring this one back I'm thinkin'.
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...
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Gaston probably be a threat for the northern to central Lesser Antilles.
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Gaston making his comeback. Wow.
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483. beell
Quoting seflagamma:
Fiona's swirl is running from her skirt.
looks like her skirt is trying to catch up to the COC but the COC is running to fast! LOL


30-40 knots of NE shear will blow anyone's dress up!
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482. IKE
Quoting wayfaringstranger:


Yeah, gotta amen to that. Hello my friend Ike.


Hello....92.8 degrees outside.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting StormPro:

Amen to that IKE...


Yeah, gotta amen to that. Hello my friend Ike.
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Ex-Gaston is headed towards some moderate sheer at the moment which is why I think NHC is at 50% .....He would have to really get a groove on in the short term in order to come back to TD status before then, or, get through the sheer intact and get it's act together closer to the Antilles in a few days IMO.
No is not :/
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HWRF @ 126 hrs....

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Quoting InTheCone:
Gfdl 12z @ 126 hrs.,


Will be interested to see where it goes after that.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Quoting weatherwart:
What the heck is Fiona doing?

Link

Yeah, thats strange behaviour.
And looking at that loop, with the HighLevel winds applied--- Gaston would seem to be under the influence of upper-level steering that will take him NE of the Northern Leewards. Could be a Earlish kind of track??
Especially if he becomes any stronger....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23990
475. IKE
Next Thursday on the latest ECMWF run....



168 hrs...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:
ECMWF @ 120 hours...


Wow that is a big gaping hole in the middle of the atlantic. Is the trough that is sending Earl up the east coast responsible for that?
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
Gfdl 12z @ 126 hrs.,

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Quoting JFLORIDA:
"Extremely violent" 7.4 quake rocks Christchurch

Power and water have been cut to parts of Christchurch after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck about 30km west of the city at 4.35am today.

He said the chimney from his next door neighbour's house had fallen and smashed through the windscreen of a car.





Students are gathering in the main carpark of Canterbury University after being buffeted by the 7.4 magnitude earthquake which hit Christchurch at 4.30am today, followed by a series of aftershocks.
A student reported that there were no injuries he could see and the University buildings appeared to have not sustained major damage.


The USGS put it at around 7.0.
That is a massive difference between a 7.4 and a 7.0... I wonder why the huge difference??
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Fiona's swirl is running from her skirt.
looks like her skirt is trying to catch up to the COC but the COC is running to fast! LOL
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Quoting zoomiami:
Instead of complaining that "too" much was made of Earl, I think everyone should be thankful that worst case scenario didn't happen. But you can bet if it had, these same people would be all up in arms about "the experts" not being forceful enough.

Ten years ago, we would prepare for a storm as if it were going to hit at full strength (whatever was forecast). 9 times out of 10, it didn't happen. You put your stuff away, thanked the weather gods, and got back to work. None of this Monday morning quarterbacking, should have done this, should have done that. I blame it on the "want it right now" crowd. There are also those who find it impossible to take personal responsibility for what they do, and have made everyone else their keeper.

Moral: quit b*>* over something that didn't happen and be happy!


I enjoyed this comment so I gave it a "+" you are spot on zoo, it is a shame some live in a who is right or wrong society, the NHC put up the warnings and watches and gave warning of what could happen, next time those areas might not be as lucky as the intensity forecast might be lower but turn out greater.
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Quoting pilotguy1:


I'd say it's way early to even guess. The guys with a zillion charts and models might think they have a clue, however I think it's too early to tell.

sorry bout that earlier, just was mocking some of the Florida westcasters.
Member Since: August 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 5628
#462, That is New Zealand isn't it?
Looks bad. thanks.
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Ex-Gaston is headed towards some moderate sheer at the moment which is why I think NHC is at 50% .....He would have to really get a groove on in the short term in order to come back to TD status before then, or, get through the sheer intact and get it's act together closer to the Antilles in a few days IMO.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8763
Quoting Drakoen:


lol in college and don't know the alphabet. Yea, forgot about that one.

LOL...no issue Drak...thanks for your views on stuff here
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Hey there everybody. Looks like Gaston is still hanging on.
JSL Color Loop
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458. IKE
ECMWF @ 120 hours...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting weatherwart:
What the heck is Fiona doing?

Link


that is strange. thanks for the link.
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Quoting TampaTom:


Hermine, non?

I must have missed Hermine forming and disappearing...seen that a few times here
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
Nice swirl, but seems the dry air is not allowing the thunderstorms to persist.
Convection has persisted for a couple of hours and no lower level outflow boundaries have been noted...yet.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
HurricaneEarl's heading had turned []ward to degrees [] of orthNorthast
from its previous heading of 11.3degrees east of NorthNorthEast
H.Earl's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was 19.7mph(~31.7km/h)

02Sep . 06pmGMT - - 31.7n75.2w - - 125mph - - 943mb - - NHC.Adv.#33A
02Sep . 09pmGMT - - 32.5n75.2w - - 115mph - - 947mb - - #34
03Sep . 12amGMT - - 33.0n74.7w - - 110mph - - 948mb - - #34A
03Sep . 03amGMT - - 33.8n74.4w - - 105mph - - 951mb - - #35
03Sep . 06amGMT - - 34.6n74.3w - - 105mph - - 955mb - - #35A
03Sep . 09amGMT - - 35.3n74.0w - - 105mph - - 955mb - - #36
03Sep . 12pmGMT - - 36.2n73.6w - - 105mph - - 955mb - - #36A
03Sep . 03pmGMT - - 36.8n73.1w - - - 85mph - - 961mb - - #37
03Sep . 06pmGMT - - 37.5n72.5w - - - 80mph - - 961mb - - #37A

Copy&paste 31.7n75.2w, 32.5n75.2w, 33.0n74.7w, 33.8n74.4w, 34.6n74.3w-35.3n74.0w, 35.3n74.0w-36.2n73.6w, 36.2n73.6w-36.8n73.1w, 36.8n73.1w-37.5n72.5w, yqb, 37.5n72.5w-44.02n66.2w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~28hours from now to Yarmouth,NovaScotia
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Quoting StormPro:

No "H" storm?


lol in college and don't know the alphabet. Yea, forgot about that one.
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Gaston is going to go to carib and recurve. Probably will reach big islands then turn north and out stage right.
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Quoting StormPro:

No "H" storm?


Hermine, non?
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Center of Earl now visible on the NWS Weather Radar out of Upton, NY.
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449. IKE
Latest ECMWF @ 96 hours...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting IKE:
12Z NOGAPS run...Link


Hmm. Regenerates Gaston, sets it up for recurvature just past 60W where it turns due N. 99L kinda develops and then fizzles while going WSW. New wave off of Africa late in the run emerges and goes NW or NNW from the CV Islands.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting Drakoen:
Gaston and Igor on the UKMET 12z forecast:


No "H" storm?
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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.