We are tracking three systems in the Atlantic now, including newly formed Tropical Depression #9 in the far east Atlantic. TD 9 has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, but if it strengthens to 39 mph, it will be named Tropical Storm Gaston, a name many Virginians would like to forget. Here is the initial projected path of TD9, which will generally keep a westward motion as its three predecessors (Danielle, Earl, Fiona) did recently in this part of the open Atlantic.
Major Hurricane Earl is still on track to skirt the U.S. East Coast, coming within about 60 miles of the Outer Banks, and potentially within 140 miles of Virginia Beach Friday. From Cape Henry south to the North Carolina state line, waves are expected to be 10ft-12ft late Thursday night into Friday afternoon while the center of Earl passes just to the east. Tropical storm force winds are likely in the Outer Banks up to Virginia Beach after midnight Friday through early Friday afternoon. The speed range for this is 39mph-73mph sustained winds.
As for Richmond and areas along I-95, Friday should just be a windy day at about 15-25 mph. We will have a slight chance for some of the outer rain bands of Earl reaching us, but the best chances for rain will stick to the eastern Peninsulas along the Bay, and into Southeast Virginia near the coast.
Tropical Storm Fiona is stronger at 60 mph now, but Fiona appears that it will take a similar path to Danielle, passing near Bermuda and staying out to sea. However, the long-range track of this could shift and we will closely monitor it.