Earl maintaining Category 4 strength; hurricane watches for North Carolina

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:44 PM GMT on August 31, 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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Flood that is what happens when you be sleeping awhile and suddenly you awaken, natural response.
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Quoting DVG:
Is it possible for Fiona to push Earl?


Behind every man is a great woman...
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Quoting PcolaDan:


Don't know if I agree with that. Escambia Bay is a well protected harbor and got slammed at the north end by Ivan. Took out the interstate bridge. And you look at Google maps, just SW of Pensacola downtown you will see Bayou Grande. Just to the right of where you see the name Bayou Grande, on the north side, those houses washed away. These two places in particular shocked everyone here. How did surge get there???


You know if it wasn't so devestating its really amazing how a bridge can be taken off its pillers. Happened here after K
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895
Quoting DVG:
Is it possible for Fiona to push Earl?


No, if anything Early is likely to kill his sister.
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Quoting xcool:
Earl MOVED WNW NOW.
for how many miles? 1 or 3?
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Quoting xcool:
GTcooliebai .Gaston Hermine Igor .

Aye up to "I" name by the 16th.
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Quoting DVG:
Is it possible for Fiona to push Earl?


Drafting? Hmmm....that opens up a whole new sport....
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SSD is down, time to go to backup
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363. xcool
Earl MOVED WNW NOW.
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Quoting Autistic2:
So there is no releastic way for earl to move more west now, like into Fl. Correct?
I'm not a professional but I highly doubt it. One never knows tho, Earl may hit reverse or get a flat tire or something
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361. xcool
GTcooliebai .Gaston Hermine Igor .
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Just jumping in for a minute to say I'm really enjoying the "hurricane football"! You all are too funny..thanks for the laughs!
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Evening all

I see ssd is having some problems...
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The football icons have left the blog.
LOL

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Quoting Orcasystems:


High tide in Halifax.. no biggie.. well protected harbour. High tide in Bay of FUNDY... BIG BIG deal.


Don't know if I agree with that. Escambia Bay is a well protected harbor and got slammed at the north end by Ivan. Took out the interstate bridge. And you look at Google maps, just SW of Pensacola downtown you will see Bayou Grande. Just to the right of where you see the name Bayou Grande, on the north side, those houses washed away. These two places in particular shocked everyone here. How did surge get there???
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting xcool:


HA
WHAT?
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354. DVG
Is it possible for Fiona to push Earl?
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Oh boy!
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So there is no releastic way for earl to move more west now, like into Fl. Correct?
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Quoting xcool:


HA

Gaston?
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Quoting weatherwart:
Who wants to bet Cantore gets a personal foul (fowl), facemask, before the end of this season?


Don't know, but Nicole Mitchell makes a fine "tight end".....
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Quoting Flyairbird:
LMAO No trof you then....


Or...baby, when it's love, if it's not trof, it isn't fun.
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I think Fiona is sneaking up on Earl under cover of darkness.
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Quoting weatherwart:
Who wants to bet Cantore gets a personal foul (fowl), facemask, before the end of this season?

A chicken facemask now that would be something else.
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345. xcool
'
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Quoting bassis:


What are you? the trof nazi
LMAO No trof you then....
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342. xcool


HA
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Quoting bassis:


What are you? the trof nazi


yeah lol! "No Trof for you!"
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Quoting hunkerdown:
that would be a five yarder if it was "running into"...in her case I would say it is intentional so the call should be roughing the kicker, 15 yard penalty and first down Earl. She is borderline for getting an unsportsmanlike penalty for throwing a punch which would get her ejected.


You know what Lady Gaga says...and baby when it's love if it's not rough it isn't fun...
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Quoting weatherwart:
Who wants to bet Cantore gets a personal foul (fowl), facemask, before the end of this season?


No unnecessary roughness?
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Thanks so much for all ya'lls explanations with hurricane season-am newbie, and enjoying the learning of how these storms work. Be back later-rays game on!!!
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Roughing the SEAS, 15 yards
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Quoting Floodman:


Damn, take a breath, huh?


LMFAO!!
Member Since: August 18, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2265
Quoting tinkahbell:
Dear Earl,

I am not amused.

<3 Tink


good one Tink
Member Since: September 19, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 4110
Quoting KennyNebraska:
Earl is being drawn towards a ULL that is situated between MS & AL (see image and click to animate)



That trough that's supposed to move it out, will in due time, but the southern end of the trough is being defeated by the ULL. The northern portion is coming, but again, north of Tennesse and North Carolina.

This could mean that Earl will continue moving NW and get past 77W before it begins being influenced by the trough to the north of it, greatly increasing the chance of a landfall somewhere near the OBX.
By that image it slooks like those two features will be playing tiddily winks and then earl come right up the coast
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mind you...

I am NOT complaining,
but I certainly never thought
we would get to 7:30 Tuesday
evening here in the Turks and Caicos
without having our first tropical rain squall from Earl.
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D Jeff,

yea u right lol
Member Since: August 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 895

Fiona
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Quoting Floodman:


Damn, take a breath, huh?
lol, but the member really knows his stuff, plus I'd be hyper-ventilating if I lived there. And as the member said "I live on Cape Cod, MA"
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Quoting jason2010xxxx:


He Ate My Fiona ?
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Foul, illegal XTRP down field
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Who wants to bet Cantore gets a personal foul (fowl), facemask, before the end of this season?
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322. xcool
98L 30% 8PM JMO
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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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