Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hurricane Earl Strengthens - Nears Leeward Islands

The above radar image was taken at approximately 4pm Central Time (CDT), and shows the well defined "eye" of Hurricane Earl located about 150 miles East of Barbuda.  (If you'd like to bookmark the radar site for future reference, go here).  Earl was moving West at 14 mph...with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

On its present track...tropical storm force winds will overspread the Leeward Islands later this evening, with hurricane force winds to follow late tonight and Monday.  As of 4pm CDT...Hurricane force winds extended outward for about 45 miles from the center.  Tropical Storm force winds extended outward for about 175 miles from the center.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius and the British Virgin Islands.

Earl is expected to take more of a turn toward the Northwest later on Monday and Tuesday, and is forecast to reach "major" hurricane strength (maximum sustained winds in excess of 110 mph) during the same time period.  

In the longer range, all of the major computer forecast models continue to show Earl being turned more toward the North by late Wednesday or early Thursday, roughly midway between Florida & Bermuda.  The same models then take Earl Northward from that point, eventually showing the system absorbed by a trough of low pressure exiting the U.S. Coast of New England late this week or early this weekend.

Composite map showing computer forecast model tracks of
Hurricane Earl through 9-1-10.

GFS Model forecast showing Hurricane Earl well East of the
North Carolina coast, valid 7am CDT Thursday, 9-2-10.
(Note purple circle denoting location of Earl on upper 2
panels of the image).

GFS Model forecast showing Hurricane Earl absorbed by an
upper-level trough of low pressure East of Cape Cod.
Valid 7pm CDT Friday, 9-3-10.  (Note purple circle denoting
location of Earl on upper 2 panels of the image).

Unless something dramatic changes insofar as the forecast track of Earl is concerned, it would appear that the Southeast U.S. can breathe a sigh of relief at this point.  However, anyone from North Carolina on northward along the East Coast should remain alert and closely monitor the forecast track of Earl this coming week.

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