August 29, 2010: Tracking Heat Wave, Hurricane Earl

Blog Notes:

– The poll for Earl remains open until Wednesday, please continue to vote your thoughts in the poll on whether it directly affects the area or not.

– The 5-Day Forecast page was updated tonight, but the Day 5 (Friday) forecast was not updated, more details on that are below.

– As Earl continues to threaten the area, for the next few days, the updates will focus on the heat wave and Earl, and less on the longer range.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

Tomorrow should be another sunny, dry and hot day across the area, with high temperatures in the lower 90s inland, and in the mid 90s for the immediate NYC area. With a NW wind, Long Island and S CT will reach the lower 90s.

Tuesday – Thursday: Hottest Days Of The Heat Wave

On Tuesday, despite the warmest 850 mb temperatures shifting to the SW of the area, temperatures are likely to only get warmer, with high temperatures reaching the lower to mid 90s inland, mid to upper 90s for the immediate NYC area, and with a west wind, Long Island and S CT will reach the lower to locally mid 90s. Wednesday and Thursday will have similar temperatures for the western and central parts of the area, but with a SW wind, Long Island and S CT will reach the upper 80s to lower 90s, with a few mid 90s possible for western Long Island.

Friday, however, has a very low confidence level due to Earl, and at this time solutions range from dry conditions, to scattered storms from the cold front, or heavy rain and wind directly related to Earl. Due to this, the Friday (Day 5) forecast was not updated today, but it will likely be updated tomorrow.

Hurricane Earl: Forecast Map And Discussion

Earl’s Current Observations: Earl is currently a weak Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds at 75 mph, and minimum pressure at 978 mb. Earl is moving west northwest at 15 mph, and is approaching the northernmost Leeward Islands.

Earl’s Intensity: Earl has intensified to a hurricane early today, and is currently steadily intensifying. Earl has a very favorable environment ahead of it, and if Earl does not suddenly weaken, rapid intensification is a good possibility. From yesterday, it appeared that a Category 4 hurricane became a possibility, and if nothing disrupts Earl’s intensification, it could reach Category 4 (130 to 155 mph) intensity as early as Tuesday. It is expected to maintain Category 4 or upper-end category 3 intensity until at least Friday or Saturday, when it should be close to Cape Cod, as it should begin extra-tropical transition. Earl is likely to become extra-tropical by the time it reaches the Nova Scotia area.

Earl’s Short Term Track: Earl has consistently been moving further south than expected by the models, and as a result, Earl is now likely to directly affect the northernmost Leeward Islands, with Puerto Rico and northern Hispaniola possibly seeing tropical storm conditions. The latest models continue to shift south and west with Earl’s track, now showing a near miss for eastern North Carolina and Cape Cod. Earl continues to move west northwest, and it is expected to continue on this path for the next day or so. Afterwards, Earl will start turning more northwest with ridging to its east, while a cold front starts to approach from its west.

Earl’s Long Term Track: By Thursday, the question is how far west Earl ends up, as that will show where Earl is going to end up. After Thursday, Earl will interact with the cold front to its west and start to transition into an extra-tropical storm, but until then, it will likely be a major hurricane at this time, so if it affect the East Coast, we are not talking about a tropical storm with some heavy rain and wind, but a major hurricane. At this time, I am leaning towards a track offshore but close to the coast, with Earl passing not too far east of Cape Hatteras before starting to recurve, then passing not too far SE of Cape Cod, with Nova Scotia potentially in Earl’s path. If Earl ends up further west on Thursday, which would put it right near Cape Hatteras, Earl would recurve further west, with the coast up to Cape Cod seeing direct effects from Earl.

There is still relatively low confidence on where Earl exactly ends up, being why Friday’s forecast for the area has a very low confidence level, but residents along the East Coast from North Carolina to Cape Cod need to closely monitor Earl and where it ends up, as any slight westward trend could put these places in Earl’s path, and whether it directly affects the coast or not, Earl is still likely to have a significant impact on the beaches. More details will come on Earl over the next few days.

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