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Posted at 11:00 PM ET, 09/ 2/2010

Weakening Earl to remain offshore North Carolina

By Jason Samenow

Main impacts at nearby beaches to be rough surf

* Cooler weather coming: D.C. area forecast | BeachCast *
* Hurricane Tracking Center | Warmest summer on record *
* Earl Q&As for Mid-Atlantic & Northeast | Chat transcript *
* Coastal Flood Advisory for tidal Potomac and Chesapeake Bay *

Clouds: Latest Earl infrared satellite loop, courtesy Unisys. Click here to expand. Refresh page to update. See more maps on our Weather Wall

Hurricane Earl is struggling this evening as it tracks due north northeast at 18 mph offshore the North Carolina coast. It is currently about 115 miles south southeast of Cape Hatteras. Maximum sustained winds as of 11 p.m. are 105 mph, and Earl is now just a Category 2 hurricane (down two categories from this morning). As track guidance has consistently forecast for days, Earl will not make landfall as a hurricane in North Carolina and it's even questionable whether the Outer Banks will observe sustained hurricane force winds (odds are minimal according to the National Hurricane Center).

Radar imagery from Morehead, NC does show Earl's outer bands buffeting Outer Banks with periodic heavy rains. However, wind gusts were not terribly impressive. At 11 p.m., the strongest wind gust along the NC coast I was able to find was 39 mph at Cape Hatteras. Despite the fact a the worst case scenario (i.e. a Category 4 storm making landfall) is not materializing, conditions will worsen around the Outer Banks over the next several hours and a storm surge of 3-5 feet, 20 foot seas, and tropical storm force winds (with possibly hurricane force gusts) will cause coastal flooding and severe beach erosion.

Earl's weakening and offshore track is good news for VA/MD/DE beaches. The National Hurricane Center now projects essentially no chance of sustained hurricane force winds and just a 40 chance of sustained tropical storm force winds. Nonetheless, strong wave action, dangerous rip currents, heavy showers, and minor coastal flooding are likely late tonight through tomorrow morning.

We'll have additional updates in the morning.

By Jason Samenow  | September 2, 2010; 11:00 PM ET
Categories:  Tropical Weather  
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Next: Forecast: Earl passes by, then cooler air rushes in


Hatteras gusted to 52 now just after 11. But they're in pretty good bands right now and the eyewall looks to stay east. Will be interesting to see how much higher they can get.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

PERHAPS just another example of government mischief or accident?? My observations has Earl crossing 40 degrees latitude and 70 degrees longitude.. I.E. According to my calculations it will cross the intersection of 70 degrees longitude and 40 degrees N. latitude, well East of the "official" projected track... Here in Martha's Vineyard the POLICE have told business to close at 2:00 PM Friday and they have told US the roads will B closed too... Lotsa Luck keeping the locals from goin home tomorrow afternoon... Nice 2 think the people that brought you/us 911 [Chertoff & crew] are NOW in charge of STORM related preparations..!!!

Posted by: palacehomez | September 2, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

palacehomez, you should probably go back and read threads last night about underwarning. It's a tough call in the high pop areas... I'd almost always lean toward this type of scenario happening but once in a while (prob less often than we get big snowstorms -- not counting last yr!) it does not and it could be very bad.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Good news, for the most part. I am happy for the Outer Banks to escape massive impact. Earl moving to the NNE is really great... if it continues to behave this way, smaller impacts for Cape Cod, too!

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

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