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Tracking Earl will be a nail-biter this week
Submitted by Tim Buckley on Mon, 08/30/2010 - 11:08am.
Near miss, cutting it close, Hurricane heartburn, whatever you want to call it -- Earl will make it a stressful week up and down the East Coast. We continue to track the storm, which is now a Major Hurricane as it plows through the Caribbean. But how will it impact us here in southeastern North Carolina? Well - we think we're going to be dodging a bullet on this one, just barely.
The system is impressive, and has begun to develop an eye this Monday morning as it's become better organzied. From here, it will actually continue to strengthen as it moves over open waters north of the Caribbean with temperatures over 85°F. Perhaps as strong as a category 4 storm as it creeps closer toward North Carolina.
The question of course is will the storm make landfall on the East Coast? At this point, that answer appears to be no - at least officially. It looks as if the storm will be a Category 3 or 4 storm as it passes 150 miles or so to the east of the Outer Banks, and closer to 300 miles east of Wilmington, on Thursday and Friday. This is a "near miss" for North Carolina. Even though it's technically a "miss", that doesn't mean that the Outer Banks still won't be spared tropical storm or even minimal hurricane conditions as the storm passes offshore. My thoughts are, just because the eye of a storm does not come ashore, doesn't mean you haven't been hit by the storm.
Looking at how the models are lining up, there's at least some comfort in their relative consensus. Each one at this point is "buying in" on the curve to the north, taking it almost parallel to the coast. That would mean southeastern North Carolina is spared the direct effects from the system. Most likely only seeing very high surf and rip currents as well as perhaps some outer rain bands with gusty (20-30 mph) winds. There are a few reasons for why we think this forecast track makes sense. The first is the sub-tropical ridge.
This large area of high pressure in the Atlantic is what steered Danielle to the north last week. Now, it's built itself a bit farther to the west. It appears that Earl will travel along that perifery as well. There's also an upper-level trough digging into the Northeast mid-week which will help to 'kick' the storm out to sea, away from New England.
With all that being said, these factors still need to come together to keep Earl on it's current track. As of right now, it looks like we will be spared the worst - although it's too soon to sound the "all clear" just yet.
If you haven't already, now is the perfect time to finish up any Hurricane Preparations and readiness plans for the 2010 Hurricane Season. It looks to be a very active couple of weeks as we head into the peak toward mid-September.
Make sure to keep on checking back to the blog as well as Hurricanes 101 for updates on the storm tracks and forecasts.
Enjoy the sunshine!
By: Tim Buckley