Earl maintaining Category 4 strength; hurricane watches for North Carolina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 21:44 GMT le 31 août 2010

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Hurricane watches are now posted for coastal North Carolina, as Hurricane Earl continues towards the west-northwest at 13 mph with little change in strength. Currently, the outer reaches of the storm are affecting the Turks and Caicos Islands, and NOAA's Wavewatch III model is predicting 15 - 20 foot waves are affecting these islands. Early this morning, waves at buoy 41043 offshore of Puerto Rico reached 31 feet. Winds at Providenciales in the Turks were only 20 - 25 mph this afternoon, though Cockburn Town and Balfour Town in the extreme eastern Turks may be seeing winds near tropical storm force--40 mph.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Earl.

Intensity forecast for Earl
Recent visible satellite loops show that the southwest side of Earl is getting eaten into by wind shear and dry air. The storm is no longer as symmetrical as 24 hours ago, and the spiral band on Earl's west side has been destroyed by dry air. Wind shear as diagnosed by the latest SHIPS model forecast shows a moderate 10 - 20 knots of wind shear, due to upper level winds out of the southwest from a trough of low pressure to Earl's west. This moderate shear is predicted to continue through Friday. Water vapor satellite loops show some moderately dry air to Earl's southwest, and very dry air to the northwest. Once Earl works its way farther to the northwest, it is possible that the persistent moderate wind shear will be able to drive this dry air deep enough into Earl's west side to significantly disrupt it. However, none of the models is predicting this, and Earl is probably large and strong enough to fend off this sort of assault. I give a 30% chance that a major dry air intrusion will significantly disrupt Earl between now and Thursday, weakening it to a Category 2 hurricane. Ocean temperatures are a near-record 29.5 - 30°C, and very warm waters extend to great depth, resulting in a total ocean heat content favorable for intensification. Earl is undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, which may diminish its winds by 10 - 20 mph for a day or so. There is no evidence that Earl has weakened, though, based on the latest pressure of 940 mb from the Hurricane Hunters. It is likely Earl will be a major Category 3 or 4 hurricane at its closest approach to North Carolina Thursday night and Friday morning. By Friday night, when Earl will be making its closest approach to New England, wind shear will rise to a high 20 - 30 knots and ocean temperatures will plunge to 20°C, resulting in considerable weakening. Earl will still probably be a Category 2 hurricane on Friday night, when it could potentially make landfall in Massachusetts. Earl is more likely to be a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday morning, when it could potentially make landfall in Maine or Nova Scotia, Canada.

Track forecast for Earl
The latest set of computer models runs from 8am EDT (12Z) are pretty unified in taking Earl 100 - 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina, then 150 - 300 miles off the coast of Southeast Massachusetts, then into Nova Scotia. The high degree of model unity gives confidence that this is the correct solution, but it is good to keep in mind that the average error in a 48-hour NHC forecast is about 125 miles. It is likely that Earl will bring a 15-hour period of heavy rain and tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph to North Carolina's Outer Banks, beginning on Thursday evening. NHC is giving Cape Hatteras a 15% chance of receiving hurricane force winds. By Friday evening, Southeast Massachusetts can expect a 6 - 8 hour period of heavy rain and tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph. NHC is giving Nantucket a 13% chance of receiving hurricane force winds. These odds are 5% for Boston, 6% for Providence, 8% for Eastport, Maine, and 14% for Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The main determinant of whether Earl hits the U.S. or not is a strong trough of low pressure predicted to move off the U.S. East Coast Friday. This trough, if it develops as predicted, should be strong enough to recurve Earl out to sea. Keep in mind that the average error in position for a 3-day NHC forecast is 185 miles.

Regardless of Earl's exact track, the U.S. East Coast can expect a long period of high waves beginning on Thursday. Significant beach erosion and dangerous rip currents will be the rule, due to waves that will reach 10 - 15 feet in offshore waters. Waves from Hurricane Danielle killed two swimmers in the U.S. over the weekend and forced hundreds of water rescues along the U.S. East Coast. Earl's waves will be worse, and will likely cause millions of dollars in beach erosion damage.

Next update
Dr. Rob Carver is planning an update late tonight, and I'll have a full update in the morning.

Jeff Masters

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Maybe I'm just seeing things, but it looks as if Fiona's starting to get swallowed up on the latest satellite loop, kind of like what Wilma did to Alpha back in 2005. He was a much weaker tropical storm, and Wilma was a massive major hurricane.
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Quoting Greyelf:

Here ya go.
ROFLMAO, thank you! Love the flies, BTW.
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1469. bassis
Quoting lennykat4:
Link

If it's not been posted yet- here is the tide schedule for the ocean side of Cape Hatteras, NC.



Thanks for the link. I shall be checking this when it gets closer to Portsmouth nh
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Looks like Earl is moving faster than the trough, and is closer to NC, too.
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1467. GetReal



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---
Member Since: 10 septembre 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10589
1465. MZT
Quoting Beachfoxx:
North Carolina officials late Tuesday announced the first evacuation would be Ocracoke Island beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday. Tourists would be ordered to leave the barrier island accessible only by ferries, but those who live there year-round have the option to stay.


I cannot fathom staying on a N.C. barrier island with anything bigger than CAT1 coming. Those islands have almost NO relief. They are literally "built on sand" and are ready to wash away whenever mother nature decides to reshuffle the landscape.
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Quoting songman77:
Anyone have info on how fast the trough is moving across the midwest?


Not very fast, per PSU

Link
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Good night everyone!
Member Since: 2 septembre 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting Beachfoxx:
North Carolina officials late Tuesday announced the first evacuation would be Ocracoke Island beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday. Tourists would be ordered to leave the barrier island accessible only by ferries, but those who live there year-round have the option to stay. There are an estimated 5,000 tourists on the island and 800 year-round residents.


Remind you of any other place where they let the local residents make uninformed decisions?
Member Since: 1 octobre 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Quoting capesanblas:
Cue DestinJeff impersonation.


Doom, we are all Doomed come Friday. Details on Wed's night 11 PM news.


Enjoyed the blog read tonight folks, - sincerely did. Lots of good post - thanks.
Have a nice night.
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Quoting songman77:
Anyone have info on how fast the trough is moving across the midwest?



I don't know, but we've been talkin' 'bout that danged trough now for 14 days. Seems it hasn't moved all that much! ;P And, Earl gets closer and closer!
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1459. JP2010
Earl wave height's & Buoy 41046 just north of the center of Earl should pass very close to this Bouy over the next six hours
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Quoting songman77:
Anyone have info on how fast the trough is moving across the midwest?


Doesn't look like it's moving very fast?? IMO, but I'm just a lurker!
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Quoting 2COOL:
I sat with people on what was left, foundation only, from that surge in Pensacola at Warrington from Ivan. I saw what happened in Biloxi two days after Katrina, from 3 miles inland to the beach. It's hard to know what to say, remember just sitting in silence.


You talking about Navy Point? I was AMAZED at that. Water had to go over the island, around the Navy Base,take a left turn, go through a roughly 100 yard wide inlet, then demolish houses another half mile away.
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1456. Greyelf
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
Horse looks to be sleeping Legs in the air, perhaps? LOL

Here ya go.
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Evacs begin.
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Here's an image of Earl as a category 4 hurricane as seen from outer space.



Source: Hurricane Earl photographed by astronaut Douglas H Wheelock from outer space.
Member Since: 2 septembre 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Link

If it's not been posted yet- here is the tide schedule for the ocean side of Cape Hatteras, NC.

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1440. MiamiHurricanes09 3:24 AM GMT on September 01, 2010

WOW - I had lunch there on my last cruise!
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Anyone have info on how fast the trough is moving across the midwest?
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Cue DestinJeff impersonation.


Doom, we are all Doomed come Friday. Details on Wed's night 11 PM news.


Enjoyed the blog read tonight folks, - sincerely did. Lots of good post - thanks.
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1449. amd
Quoting 1900hurricane:
Earl is starting to look alot better. Just needs to improve the outflow to the S and SW side.



Earl is trying very hard to keep the dry air out of the core before shear lessens. Not quite sure if that is going to happen. Tonight will be interesting to see if dry air penetrates the core of Earl, leading to substantial weakening, or if Earl is able to maintain intensity.
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North Carolina officials late Tuesday announced the first evacuation would be Ocracoke Island beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday. Tourists would be ordered to leave the barrier island accessible only by ferries, but those who live there year-round have the option to stay. There are an estimated 5,000 tourists on the island and 800 year-round residents.
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B/W IR


We need this trough to get amplified and scoot on over to Myrtle town, get Earl on outta here!


LINK
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Night Everyone! Peace
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Quoting will40:


yea i remember that also. Someone even said they believed it was photoshoped
It wasn't 'shopped but I wouldn't have wanted to have been in it. Folks had it built extra sturdy. But guess what they also had enough sense to get gone. That is if I've got the story right.
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Quoting canehater1:


What also happens, particularly in the right front quadrant is you have huge,battering wind driven waves on top of the surge..this is what took out I-10 bridge during Ivan and ditto for
I-10 bridge in New Orleans east during Katrina.


And Bay St. Louis and Biloxi
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1443. 2COOL
I sat with people on what was left, foundation only, from that surge in Pensacola at Warrington from Ivan. I saw what happened in Biloxi two days after Katrina, from 3 miles inland to the beach. It's hard to know what to say, remember just sitting in silence.
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1442. NJ2S
what can i expect in queens...nassau county by howard beach?
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1441. beell
Bolivar_Hawkeyemedia

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Some images of Earl's aftermath.


Picture of a fallen tree San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 31 August 2010, after hurricane 'Earl' passed by the island. The tropical storm left 200.000 people without power. EPA/Thais Llorca.


Detail of the damages on a restaurant in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Lesser Antilles, on 31 August 2010. Hurricane 'Earl', a category four on the Saffir-Simpson scale, is moving away from the islands of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico, but is threatening to hit the US Eastern shores, according to the US National Hurricane Center. EPA/GROMYKO WILSON.


Detail of the damages on a truck and a house in Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Lesser Antilles, on 31 August 2010. Hurricane 'Earl', a category four on the Saffir-Simpson scale, is moving away from the islands of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico, but is threatening to hit the US Eastern shores, according to the US National Hurricane Center. EPA/GROMYKO WILSON.
Member Since: 2 septembre 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
1439. will40
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Hey you PAY one way or nother. I get out of seeing pop up adds etc. Page loads quicker. Worth $10 to this cheepscape country boy.


yes and we get longer radar scans also
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Stop already
Horse looks to be sleeping Legs in the air, perhaps? LOL
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I know how much water Katrina pushed into Mobile Bay, and that is a fair distance from where the eye made landfall, of course, Katrina was a huge storm. Storm surge scares me the most. What is the old saying, hide from the wind, run from the water?
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1436. Relix
000
FXCA62 TJSJ 010057 AAA
AFDSJU

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
857 PM AST TUE AUG 31 2010

.UPDATE...NEW 00Z SOUNDING SUGGEST SUBSIDENCE IN THE4 WAKE OF
HURRICANE EARL POSSIBLY EVIDENCED BY THE WARMING THAT HAS
OCCURRED FROM THE SURFACE TO ABOUT 600 MB. ALSO THE AIR COLUMN IS
MUCH DRIER AND PRECIPITABLE WATER HAS DROPPED FROM 2.39 INCHES IN
THE 12Z RUN TO 1.94 INCHES NOW. FIONA HAS SENT OFF A POCKET OF
CONVECTION TO THE NORTHWEST INTO THE CIRCULATION OF EARL BUT
APPEARS TO HAVE LEFT A REMNANT WHOSE CENTER IS DUE EAST OF
DOMINICA. THIS CENTER APPEARS TO BE MOVING WEST. IF THIS IS SO...THE
CONVECTION ASSOCIATED WITH FIONA MAY BE SLOWING DOWN WHILE MOVING
DUE WEST. IF CURRENT MOVEMENT PERSISTS THE LEADING EDGE OF THE
CONVECTION COULD ARRIVE IN THE LEEWARD ISLANDS BEFORE
SUNRISE...BUT IT HAS SHOWN SIGNS OF SLOWING. CURRENT OVERNIGHT
FORECAST APPEARS TO BE HOLDING SO WILL NOT UPDATE ZONES AT THIS
TIME.
Member Since: 3 août 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2639
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
The big picture:


thanx for the big pic. is it possible that fiona might split, the northern half absorbed by earl and a eye jump to the south?
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This tells me that I will feel some very strong winds here in Plymouth.MA
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1433. Grenada
Quoting flstormhog:


Remember it well. Fatalities in PCB,Calhoun/Liberty County and a tornado that hit the prison across from the Marianna Airport. It was amazing to watch the train of tornado's come off the GOM onto land. Looked like a video game.


It was pretty horrendous when it passed our way.
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Earl is starting to look alot better. Just needs to improve the outflow to the S and SW side.

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Quoting MZT:
When I see blog stretch I downvote the comment and hide it. Blog stetch is not the problem it was a few years ago now that we have some simple self moderation available.


Stop already
Member Since: 1 octobre 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
I helped set up a relief station in Waveland after 'K', in Kmart parking lot 3 miles inland. Day after we got there they took bodies off the Kmart roof. Incredible storm surge.
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Quoting will40:


but you dont have to be a paying member to post images
Hey you PAY one way or nother. I get out of seeing pop up adds etc. Page loads quicker. Worth $10 to this cheepscape country boy.
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well goodnight everyone.
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Cajun,

They dont evacuate us cause of wind, its cause no matter how good of a fisherman you are you cant swim! And if anyone is in a plcae that can flood in a storm should get the hll out of dodge!!!
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1426. MZT
When I see blog stretch I downvote the comment and hide it. Blog stretch is not the problem it was a few years ago, now that we have some simple self moderation available.
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1425. leo305
Earl looks very bad on infared.. at least compared to how it was a couple of hours ago..

the significant DRY AIR around it really is choking it..

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Quoting jason2010xxxx:
i got bad feeling about invest 98L ITS GO A GOOD SPIN TO IT ITS OLNY NEED SOME T.STORMS WITH IT.


i'm watching him too
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Quoting RuBRNded:


lol, all the homes I inspected in the area were 100% submerged except for 1 that was a two story on 16 foot stilts, high water mark was in the 2nd floor (3 stories up).


What also happens, particularly in the right front quadrant is you have huge,battering wind driven waves on top of the surge..this is what took out I-10 bridge during Ivan and ditto for
I-10 bridge in New Orleans east during Katrina.
Member Since: 8 septembre 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 984
"The track has been wobbling as is typical of intense hurricanes but the mean motion over the past 6 hours is about 310/13"

And what fun their wobbling is, tests one's resistance to the post comment button.
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Heard that they had announced them, but wasn't paying attention... I think it was CNN.
Quoting truecajun:


do you think they are going to have mandatory evacuations for some of the east coasters due to surge?
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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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