Weakening Earl to remain offshore North Carolina
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 *
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.
| September 2, 2010; 11:00 PM ET
Categories: Tropical Weather
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