Thursday, September 2, 2010

Earl to Batter the NC OBX

Hurricane Earl as of 11pm EDT -

Latest from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) :

"MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 140 MPH...220
KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  EARL IS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON
THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE.  SOME FLUCTUATIONS IN
INTENSITY ARE LIKELY TONIGHT AND THURSDAY...BUT A GRADUAL WEAKENING
TREND IS ANTICIPATED THEREAFTER.

EARL IS A LARGE HURRICANE.  HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 90 MILES...150 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE
WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES...370 KM.

THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE ESTIMATED FROM NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER
AIRCRAFT OBSERVATIONS IS 932 MB...27.52 INCHES."

 What you need to know:

1. Earl is BIG and POWERFUL, Period. 
2. The Outer Banks of NC and the Delmarva Peninsula are the most vulnerable and likely areas to receive moderate to severe damage.
3. If you live on the Outer Banks - evacuate - but you're prob not reading my blog anyways. If you are planning on visiting soon - don't pack the car yet.
4. Wind damage is not the main concern - flooding and surf/beach erosion from the massive waves will be the major impact, and will be evident up the whole of the East Coast
5. Any deviation, east or west, of the expected track will have serious consequences - good news if Earl moves slightly east, much worse if west.
6. Good news - Earl is only 24 hours from the Outer Banks and forecast model consensus is pretty consistent keeping Earl's powerful winds offshore, hopefully it stays that way.
Also, Earl should weaken as it approaches.
7. Bad News - although not likely to be a direct hit/landfall, Earl will most likely cause permanent and drastic changes to the OBX and unprotected areas of the Delmarva Peninsula.

My General Forecast/Thoughts/Rehash :
   Starting Thursday afternoon into the overnight, conditions will deteriorate along the SC/NC/VA coast. The NC OBX will without a doubt sustain the heaviest damage - road(s) washed out,
Islands disconnected/cutoff when new inlets are cut by the enormous waves, etc. Generally think winds will be nominal, especially considering Earl is a cat 4, but wind gusts up to 100mph
likely if Earl passes where expected. Houses - even those deemed "Hurricane Proof" and survivors of past storms - gone. Earl is generating swells of 45-50ft near the center! Granted, the NE quadrant
where the worst waves and winds are will be to the east, but the speed and size will compensate instead. Other East Coast islands, peninsulas, etc will feel the wrath, but Earl should be weakening and heading N/NE and pulling away from the coast. Bottom Line - severe damage will occur but the areas will be limited - the potential is/was there for much worse.