Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hurricane Earl Likely To Pass Near VA Friday

Major Hurricane Earl is still on track to skirt the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine Thursday through Saturday. Impacts in the Commonwealth will most likely be rough surf, rip currents, and coastal flooding, both in the Bay and on the Atlantic shore. Friday as the hurricane moves just east of us, and as an upper trough approaches from the west, we will be under a tight pressure gradient, likely leading to blustery conditions on Friday (especially east of I-95). Far eastern Virginia closer to the Bay has the best chance for rainfall out of Earl, but it appears most of us in central Virginia will miss out on any rain from the tropical system unless the system's center tracks along the coast. Right now, it looks like the center of Earl will remain about 150-200 miles east of Virginia Beach on Friday morning.
Earl should be weakening as it passes by Virginia's coast, because the ocean waters in the Mid-Atlantic are cooler. The curve to the northeast is expected because of that approaching trough I mentioned. This trough and associated surface cold front will move through Virginia late Friday into early Saturday, helping sweep Earl away from the U.S., but not before Earl rakes New England with a nasty nor'easter-like experience. Cape Cod could be slammed with tropical storm force winds late Friday and early Saturday as Earl races northeastward toward Canada's Gulf of St Lawrence.

To the east of Earl in the Atlantic is Tropical Storm Fiona, which is struggling as a weak tropical storm right now with maximum sustained winds of just 40 mph.
Some shear is preventing better organization of the system. Most data indicates the path of Fiona will be similar to Danielle's, likely not threatening the U.S. coast, and never reaching hurricane strength.

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