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Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 09/ 1/2010

Earl: Storm warning up for VA/MD/DE beaches

By Capital Weather Gang

Hurricane Earl re-strengthens to Category 4

* Tropical Storm Warning for VA/MD/DE coast | PM forecast update *
* Morning Hurricane Earl update | Hurricane Tracking Center *
* Warmest summer on record | The t'storm and the Battle of Oxen Hill *

Forecast track and "cone of uncertainty" from the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. forecast advisory.

Hurricane Earl has again become better organized this afternoon and evening on its path toward the East Coast of the U.S. Earl is expected to fluctuate in intensity over the next 12 hours or so, with some potential additional strengthening possible in the short term. Gradual weakening thereafter is expected as the storm accelerates and swings up the East Coast. Winds now sustained near 135 mph are expected to remain above Category 3 intensity as Earl approaches the NC Outer Banks.

A Tropical Storm warning is now posted for the VA/MD/DE beaches, where the timing of worst impacts would be late Thursday into Friday. The forecast track of the storm did shift slightly west in the latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) update, but not far enough to change most thoughts on the storm. However, the odds of seeing tropical storm force winds of 39 mph+ at nearby beaches has grown slightly (now about a 50-60% chance according to NHC).

By Friday afternoon and evening, Earl should be headed out of the broader region though it likely continues to impact some coastal areas to the northeast into Friday night.

By Capital Weather Gang  | September 1, 2010; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Next: Impressive Earl intensifying, turning up coast


Do the wild ponies on the Outer Banks and Assateague Island swim to shore when a hurricane threatens? Or do they hunker down on the barrier islands and ride it out?

Gaston could be ugly for the Caribbean, especially Haiti, if it continues chugging westward. The last thing Haiti needs is to even be sideswiped by a hurricane.

Re: Hermine, well, it's too early to say, but it looks like Fiona, at least, may swim with the fishes.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | September 1, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Are there thoughts of closings?

Posted by: Bious | September 1, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

JerryFloyd1, I'm heading down to Assateague this weekend...I hope. Maybe I can answer first hand! I'm thinking they ride it out. I always thought the swim was part of a roundup/auction.

Posted by: SPS1 | September 1, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

@JerryFloyd1 - I think depending on the side of Assateague (MD vs VA), they will likely round up the ponies and put them into large pens to keep them together. I believe there are also shelters around where they may round them into since they live on state park / wildlife refuge land.

In the sequel to Misty of Chincoteague, there was a hurricane and the ponies had to weather it out on their own... and there was devastation to Assateague and many pony deaths - not sure if that was based on any fact at all but hopefully those folks have learned from it!

-A bit of an Assateague pony enthusiast. :)

Posted by: CuseFan07 | September 1, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Earl looks really powerful tonight, not sure how long this strengthening episode will last -- prob not terribly long, but it's cranking now.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | September 1, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Cusefan07 and SPS1, re: the information about the ponies. Will be interestered in SPS1's report.

Hurricanes are not, of course, the only powerful storms that blast those barrier islands so hopefully there are survival mechanisms the ponies have learned, like taking shelter in groves of trees on the bay/sound side of the islands (because I'm also wondering about the Outer Banks, which also have wild ponies).

Assateague is a remarkable place; I've read that live oak grows there but have never seen any in my trips there.

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | September 1, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm still amazed that basically, everyone west of 95 won't be getting a drop of rain, and literally, if we didn't have the technology we have, know that a hurricane was roaring by in the Atlantic. That is the case, yes?

Posted by: weathergrrl | September 1, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I think you're doing everyone a grave disservice by not looking beyond the cone of possibility. Earl is strengthening in a big way and will most probably hit cat 5 soon.

It might be a good idea to recommend folks pick up yards, pool areas, etc. and batten down the hatches. 40 mph winds around the DC metro area can do some damage with power outages and downed limbs.

This isn't a non-event in the metro area. If the high doesn't hold, Earl takes a jog west, it could get messy around here. And we all know about messy - just look at the results of the thunderstorms this summer.

Posted by: maui6347 | September 1, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Relax, maui6347. Take a few deep breaths...

Posted by: SWester2010 | September 1, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

how will the airports be affected by the storm? best time to fly? easier to takeoff or land during a storm like that?

Posted by: adamgoersnet | September 1, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

The weather channel says the steering mechanisms are pushing the models further to the west. Will it go into the Chesapeake Bay? That's a little too close to comfort. Isn't DC only 30 miles from Annapolis? Will we feel the wind? I've never been in a storm like this and I'm growing more and more concerned. After 3 blizzards last winter I'm starting to think that the weather here is more dramatic than what I had imagined before moving from Nevada. Can someone help answer my questions? Thank you.

Posted by: tsqnova | September 1, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Even if we get the outer bands, tsqnova, this storm is moving through so quickly that I doubt we'll see more than a few drops in D.C.

Being from Florida, I find a scrape from a storm like this nothing to get excited about. But a direct hit would be a problem, yes.

Posted by: SWester2010 | September 1, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

@tsqnova and @maui6347

Current trends in the storm's motion and model projections make us continue to believe this storm will not significantly impact the DC metro area but likely the beaches. The model guidance has been consistent in keeping the storm offshore and in its 11 p.m. discussion, the National Hurricane Center states: "THE MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS FORECAST HAS NUDGED EASTWARD [i.e. away from the coast] ABOUT 20 N MI ON THIS CYCLE"

While we are urging our readers to remain vigilant since the storm will be a close call, we see nothing to merit sounding alarm bells.

Lastly, we have a new post with the latest information. Click here.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | September 1, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

My husband and sons are in a tent at Assateague tonight. Rangers say everyone has to be off the island by noon tomorrow. SPS1, check before you head out!

Posted by: ebmomma | September 2, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

I think this heat is cranking it up!

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | September 2, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

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