Late Night Thoughts on Earl and Fiona

By: Dr. Rob Carver , 9:28 AM GMT on August 31, 2010

I'm going on evening blog duty Tuesday night to help Jeff M. with Earl as he makes his approach towards the East Coast. For me at least, it's really hard to discuss a meteorological situation cold. I need to develop situational awareness and get a feel for how the models are doing. So, time to practice.

So far, Earl's behaving like your arch-typical Cape Verde hurricane. He's big, strong (Cat 4), and headed for the US after doing some damage to the Caribbean. Our tropical page can fill you in on the details. He also looks pretty on the satellite. Right now, Earl's poised to recurve out to see on a path that will graze the Outer Banks of North Carolina and possibly also swing by Cape Cod.

Tropical Storm Fiona isn't as impressive as it's big brother. She just doesn't look that good on satellite. The key to Fiona's evolution is how it interacts with Earl. If Fiona stays too close, Earl's outflow will interfere. Also, if it stays too close, it will effectively follow the same track and thus go over churned up cool water. Which isn't good for Fiona.

Model Uncertainty
From west to east, here are how the global models handle Earl. The ECMWF forecasts a direct hit on the Outer Banks and then Earl approaches the eastern tip of Long Island. the GFS has Earl brushing the Outer Banks before going out to sea. The Canadian GEM keeps Earl out to sea before a rather strange kink to hit the Maritime Provinces. The 00Z NOGAPS is weird, Earl is on path to hit Wilmington, then it disappears. In all the global forecasts, Fiona disappears. The 00Z HWRF keeps Earl at sea, and keeps Fiona alive as a TD. The NAM pushes Earl into the Outer Banks, and has Fiona making landfall in Bermuda as a tropical storm.

Bottom line
Earl is a dangerous hurricane that has the potential to cause damage somewhere along the East Coast. People living from the Carolinas to New England should review their hurricane preparations and keep an eye on this storm.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About rcarver

Rob is the Research and Development Scientist for Weather Underground. He has a Ph.D. in meteorology from Penn State University.

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