Earl eyes New England after lashing N.C.
Conditions on VA/MD/DE shore improve this evening
updated at 11 a.m.
Hurricane Earl, with its eye well offshore, is making its way up the Atlantic coast, with its southern bands of rain lingering across northeastern N.C. and the Outer Banks a few more hours, and its northern rain bands now reaching southern New England. Earl has been nasty along parts of the N.C. coast, but far from historic with sustained winds failing to even reach hurricane force. The storm has steadily weakened, down to a Category 1 hurricane as of 11 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and higher gusts.
Showers and gusty winds last through much of the day, but nothing worse than sustained tropical-storm force winds (outside chance at a hurricane-force wind gust) and mostly minor flooding is expected. Currently, winds gusts are primarily in the 25-40 mph range, but should increase during the day. Conditions should rapidly improve this evening, leading into a nice but cool Labor Day Weekend at the beach. Note, the beaches themselves will probably be roughed up, with today's high surf and rip currents (stay out of the water today) possibly lingering into the weekend.
Keep reading for more on Earl's impact from North Carolina to New England...
Here's more on the MD/DE beaches from the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, Pa.:
AS HURRICANE EARL APPROACHES...SUSTAINED TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN. MAXIMUM WINDS ARE FORECAST TO BE IN THE 25 TO 35 MPH RANGE WITH GUSTS TO 45 MPH.
MINOR DAMAGE MAY OCCUR TO OLDER MOBILE HOMES. RESIDENTS SHOULD MOVE LOOSE ITEMS INDOORS...SUCH AS GARBAGE CANS AND OUTDOOR FURNITURE...AS THEY WILL BE BLOWN AROUND. NEWLY PLANTED OR YOUNG TREES AND SHRUBS MAY BE UPROOTED IF NOT SECURED PROPERLY. ISOLATED
POWER OUTAGES WILL BE POSSIBLE.
...STORM SURGE AND STORM TIDE...
THE IMPACT FROM COMBINED STORM SURGE AND TIDE WATERS IS EXPECTED TO BE MINOR TO LOCALLY MODERATE. THE STORM SURGE IS FORECAST TO RANGE FROM 1 TO 2 FEET...AND LOCALLY 3 FEET.
THE GREATEST IMPACT IS LIKELY TO OCCUR AROUND THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE THIS AFTERNOON. HIGH TIDE OCCURS BETWEEN 300 PM AND 500 PM.
HIGH SURF IS EXPECTED WITH MINOR TO MODERATE BEACH EROSION OCCURRING THROUGH TODAY.
For southeastern Va., including Virginia Beach and the lower Chesapeake Bay, the National Weather Service cautions:
MINOR COASTAL FLOODING IS EXPECTED ACROSS THE TIDEWATER REGION AND ALONG THE SOUTHERN CHESAPEAKE BAY...WITH STORM SURGE VALUES EXPECTED TO PEAK BETWEEN 1.5 AND 2 FEET.
THE ANTICIPATED STORM SURGE COMBINED WITH THE HIGH SURF WILL CAUSE SIGNIFICANT BEACH EROSION AND OVERWASH ISSUES ALONG THE MID ATLANTIC COAST...MOST NOTABLY FROM VIRGINIA BEACH SOUTH.
CWG's Andrew Freedman gives us the latest on what's in store for New England as Earl reaches there tonight into tomorrow...
On its current trajectory, the most significant impacts from Hurricane Earl will be confined to southeastern Mass., Rhode Island and eastern Long Island. Far southeastern Connecticut may get in on the act as well, but by and large the track the storm seems to be taking -- staying offshore of Nantucket Island by about 20 to 40 miles -- will spare much of metro Boston and Providence from strong tropical storm-force to hurricane-force winds and very heavy rain. Instead, most residents of coastal southern New England will experience a Nor'easter-type storm, with some windswept rains that may down trees and power lines here and there (especially on the outer Cape), but this doesn't look to be a storm that will go down in New England weather lore, like Hurricanes Gloria in 1985 and Bob in 1991, or the grandaddy of them all, the Great Hurricane of 1938, which killed hundreds.
The worst rain and winds will affect southeastern New England from late this evening through early morning Saturday, with clearing and breezy conditions taking hold by midday Saturday. The coastline of eastern Mass. may see tropical storm-force wind gusts and about one to two inches of rain. The further southeast you go, the greater the storm impacts are likely to be. On Cape Cod, wind gusts may reach close to hurricane force, and rainfall of two to four inches, with locally higher amounts, are possible. The storm will be moving so quickly, courtesy of the jet stream, that it won't have time to dump much more rain than that. The islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket will see the strongest winds and heaviest rains from Earl, with Category 1 hurricane-force wind gusts possible.
Of course, if the track of Earl shifts to the northwest by about 30 to 50 miles, then all of these areas would be in for more significant wind damage, but most computer models, as well as the latest satellite and radar trends, indicate that the storm is on a path that would take it to the southeast of Nantucket. A landfall on Nantucket, or even Cape Cod, is still possible, but is not the most likely scenario at this time.
The National Weather Service in Boston has indicated it is not particularly concerned about storm surge flooding, although high surf and rip currents are a major concern. Meteorologist Rob Carver of Weather Underground broke down the surge threat this way: "1-2 feet are expected along the NJ coast, with 3 feet possible in some locations. Eastern Long Island may have 2-4 feet surges along the Long Island Sound and Petonic and Gardines Bay."
As of earlier this morning, peak sustained winds along the N.C. coast were in the 45-60 mph range (tropical storm force) with gusts as high as around 75-80 mph, and maximum storm surges were around 2-3 feet resulting in ocean overwash.
3 to 5 inches of rain and significant flooding was reported in the Outer Banks with amounts decreasing to around 2 inches or less for much of mainland North Carolina. CWG's Greg Postel reports that the peak winds at Cape Hatteras were shortly before 3 a.m., sustained at 35 mph with a gust to 62 mph. More N.C. observations here.
Conditions are to rapidly improve -- with flood waters and overwash receding -- as Earl continues to move north and east away from the area into this afternoon.
Capital Weather Gang
| September 3, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
Categories: Tropical Weather
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