August 30, 2010: Hurricane Earl Update

Notes:

– As I mentioned yesterday, for the next few days, the updates will focus on Hurricane Earl, with some updates on the ongoing heat wave. The poll for Earl is still open until Wednesday on whether Earl will directly affect the NYC area or not, please vote in the poll if you have not voted yet.

– The 5-Day Forecast was updated today for Friday, but please note that it is a low confidence forecast. While I did not update Saturday’s forecast today (I will update it tomorrow), Saturday will bring cooler temperatures to the area, with upper 70s to lower 80s possible, with Sunday even cooler.

Heat Wave Update:

Today is another hot day across the area, with high temperatures generally in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Tomorrow will be hotter than today though, as temperatures warm up to the lower to mid 90s inland, mid to upper 90s for the immediate NYC area, and with a SW wind, Long Island and S CT reach the upper 80s to lower 90s with a few mid 90s possible. Wednesday will have similar temperatures, with Thursday slightly cooling down.

Hurricane Earl: Almost A Category 4 Hurricane

Earl’s Current Observations: Earl is currently a strong Category 3 hurricane, with sustained winds near 125 mph and minimum pressure near 955 mb. Earl is generally moving west northwest at 14 mph, even though it constantly switches back and forth from a northwest to a due west motion. Earl is located northeast of Puerto Rico, and its center should stay to the north of Puerto Rico.

Earl’s Intensity Forecast: Earl is currently rapidly intensifying, and while it is a category 3 as of NHC’s 2 PM update, it will likely be a category 4 update by 5 or 8 PM. Earl has a very favorable environment ahead of it, and will continue to intensify rapidly. I currently expect Earl to peak as a strong Category 4 hurricane (sustained winds 145-155 mph). While the following scenario is not shown at this time, it is possible that Earl continues to rapidly intensify and may become a weak category 5 hurricane, however this is unlikely at this time and is not reflected in the forecast map.

By Friday, when Earl should be ESE of Long Island, it should start turning extra-tropical as Earl will be interacting with the cold front, as well as cooler SSTs. Earl is likely to be extra-tropical by the time it is near Nova Scotia.

Earl’s Track Forecast: Earl is currently moving west northwest and is just northeast of Puerto Rico, and even though it is slightly north of where I expected it to be at this time, it will keep moving WNW for the short term before moving more northwest due to ridging to Earl’s east. Earl is then going to approach a cold front to its west on Thursday and should turn more north, then start to recurve NNE, but the big question at this time is how far west Earl ends up at that time, as that will indicate how much of an impact Earl will have on the NYC area. If Earl is near or just east of Cape Hatteras, NC, it could bring tropical storm conditions for Long Island, otherwise Long Island should see light rain and some winds but the worst of Earl will stay to the east.

The models continued to trend west, with this morning’s 00z GFS run bringing heavy rain and strong winds to Long Island with some rain for NYC and NE NJ. The GFS has adjusted eastwards since then, but it has yet to lock on a specific track for Earl. Most of the models have shifted west, and while I am keeping my forecast track for this time frame near yesterday’s forecast, it is possible that the track may have to be adjusted further west tomorrow. Cape Cod and eastern NC are likely to have the biggest impact from Earl at this time, with heavy rain and hurricane conditions possible, with Earl also likely to move over Nova Scotia as an extra-tropical storm. For now, I am thinking Long Island could see moderate rain and windy conditions with light rain for NYC, but this will likely change as details become clearer. Stay tuned for more details about Hurricane Earl.

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