Hurricane warnings for North Carolina for Category 3 Earl

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 03:21 PM GMT em 01 de Setembro de 2010

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Hurricane warnings are flying for the coast of North Carolina, as Hurricane Earl chugs to the northwest at 17 mph. Earl has weakened some over the past day, thanks to an eyewall replacement cycle and some dry air that got wrapped into the core of the storm. Earl's eye made a direct hit on NOAA buoy 41046 at 4am EDT this morning. The buoy recorded a surface pressure of 943 mb, exactly what the Hurricane Hunters were estimating. The buoy measured winds in the eyewall of 76 mph, gusting to 96 mph. The peak winds of Earl were stronger than this, though, since the buoy only reported measurements once per hour, which is not a fine enough resolution to see the peak winds. The buoy is also located at a height of 5 meters, which is less than the standard ten meter height used to do wind measurements, so an additional upward adjustment needs to be made. Peak waves at the buoy were a remarkable 49 feet.

A recent microwave "radar in space" image (Figure 2) shows that dry air has spiraled into the core of Earl, knocking a gap into the southern eyewall. The latest 9am EDT report from the Hurricane Hunters confirmed that the southwest portion of the eyewall was missing. Top winds seen by the Hurricane Hunters were only Category 2 strength, and Earl may be weaker than the stated 125 mph winds in the 11am NHC advisory.


Figure 1. Image of Hurricane Earl taken by astronaut Douglas Wheelock aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010.

>
Figure 2. Microwave "radar in space" image of Hurricane Earl taken at 6:45am EDT Wednesday, September 1, 2010. The southern portion of Earl's eyewall was missing, thanks to a slug of dry air (blue colors) that had spiraled into Earl's core.

Intensity forecast for Earl
Recent satellite loops show that upper level outflow is good to the north and east of Earl, but is poor on the southwest side. The latest SHIPS model forecast shows that this is because upper level winds out of the southwest are creating 15 - 20 knots of wind shear on Earl's southwest side. The winds are from a trough of low pressure to Earl's west. This trough is forecast to weaken and move to the west away from Earl, which should reduce the shear to 10 - 15 knots by Thursday morning. If true, the relaxation in shear may give Earl enough time to mix out the dry air it ingested and regain its previous 135 mph Category 4 intensity. Water vapor satellite loops, though, show there is still plenty of dry air on Earl's west side that could potentially wrap into the storm if there is enough wind shear to drive it into Earl's circulation. Ocean temperatures are still very high, a near-record 29.5 - 30°C, and very warm waters extend to great depth, resulting in a total ocean heat content favorable for intensification. It is likely Earl will be a Category 2 or 3 hurricane at its closest approach to North Carolina Thursday night and Friday morning, with a small chance it will be at Category 4 strength. By Friday night, when Earl will be making its closest approach to New England, wind shear will rise to a high 20 - 30 knots and ocean temperatures will plunge to 20°C, resulting in considerable weakening. Earl will still probably be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane on Friday night, when it could potentially make landfall in Massachusetts. Earl is more likely to be a strong tropical storm or weak Category 1 hurricane on Saturday morning, when it could potentially make landfall in Maine or Nova Scotia, Canada.

Impact of Earl on North Carolina
The latest set of computer models runs from 2am EDT (6Z) this morning are very similar to the previous set of runs. The NOGAPS model brings Earl closest to the coast, predicting the west eyewall of the the hurricane will hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina near 2am Friday. If this track verifies, a period of 40+ mph winds will affect coastal North Carolina for a period of 12 - 18 hours beginning at about 6pm EDT Thursday night. Earl's expected radius of hurricane-force winds of 60 miles to the west will bring hurricane conditions as far west as Morehead City and Elizabeth City in North Carolina. Earl's radius of tropical storm-force winds to the west, over land, will probably be about 150 miles, so locations from Wilmington to Norfolk could see sustained winds of 40 mph in this worst-case model scenario. Storm surge would not be significant along the North Carolina coast facing the open ocean, since winds would be offshore. However, a significant storm surge of 3 - 6 feet could occur in Pamlico Sound, due to strong west to north winds. Coastal Highway 12 out of the Outer Banks would likely be blocked by sand and debris or washed out, resulting in a multi-day period where everyone on the Outer Banks would be stranded. Is is possible that the NOGAPS scenario is not the worst case, and that Earl will strike farther west, resulting in the Outer Banks getting the fearsome maximum winds of the storm's right front quadrant. However, it is more likely that Earl will pass just offshore, resulting in North Carolina receiving the weaker west side winds. Since Earl's forward speed will be about 20 mph at that time, the winds on the hurricane's west side will be about 40 mph less than the right front quadrant on the east side. The NHC wind probability forecast is calling for a 23% chance of hurricane-force winds on Cape Hatteras, 7% for Morehead City, and 3% for Norfolk, Virginia.

Impact of Earl on New England
The NOGAPS model brings Earl closest to the coast of New England, predicting the west eyewall of the the hurricane will pass over Nantucket at about 2am Saturday morning, and the tip of Cape Cod a few hours later. If this track verifies, 40+ mph winds would affect southeastern Massachusetts for a period of 6 - 12 hours beginning at about 8pm EDT Friday night. Earl should be a weaker Category 1 or 2 hurricane then, with hurricane-force winds extending 30 miles to the left of its track. Hurricane conditions would then affect the eastern tip of Long Island, coastal Rhode Island, and Southeast Massachusetts. Earl's radius of tropical storm-force winds to the north, over land, will probably be about 150 miles, so locations from Central Long Island to southern Boston would experience sustained winds of 40 mph in this worst-case model scenario. A storm surge of 3 - 5 feet might occur in Long Island Sound, and 2 - 3 feet along the south coast of Long Island. A deviation to the left, with a direct hit on eastern Long Island and Providence, Rhode Island, would probably be a $10 billion disaster, as the hurricane would hit a heavily populated area and drive a drive a 5 - 10 foot storm surge up Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Bay. The odds of this occurring are around 5%, according to the latest NHC wind probability forecast. The forecast is calling for a 25% chance of hurricane-force winds on Nantucket, 8% in Providence, 6% in Boston, and 18% in Hyannis. Keep in mind that the average error in position for a 3-day NHC forecast is 185 miles, which is about how far offshore Earl is predicted to be from New England early Saturday morning.

Impact of Earl on Canada/Maine
Late morning Saturday, Earl is expected to make landfall somewhere between the Maine/New Brunswick border and central Nova Scotia. At that time, Earl should be a strong tropical storm or weak Category 1 hurricane. This won't be another Hurricane Juan, the 2003 Category 2 hurricane which made a direct hit on Halifax, Nova Scotia, causing over $200 million in damage. Earl's impact is likely to be closer to 2008's Hurricane Kyle, which hit near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds. Kyle produced a storm surge of 2.6 feet, and did $9 million in damage to Canada. The NHC wind probability forecast is calling for a 29% chance of hurricane-force winds in Yarmouth, 24% in Halifax, and 17% in Eastport, Maine.

Beach erosion
Regardless of Earl's exact track, the U.S. East Coast can expect a long period of high waves beginning on Thursday. Significant beach erosion and dangerous rip currents will be the rule, due to waves that will reach 10 - 15 feet in offshore waters. Beach erosion damage in the mid-Atlantic states will likely run into the millions, but will probably not be as bad as that suffered during Nor'easter Ida in November of 2009. That storm (the remains of Hurricane Ida that developed into a Nor'easter) remained off the coast for several days, resulting in a long-duration pounding of the shore that caused $300 million in damage--$180 million in New Jersey alone.

Record ocean temperatures off the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Coast
The period May - July was the hottest such 3-month period in history for the Northeast and Southeast U.S., according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Most of the hurricane-prone states along the coast, including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina had their hottest May - July in the 116-year record. These record air temperatures led to record ocean temperatures, according to an analysis I did of monthly average 5x5 degree SST data available from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre.. The region of ocean bounded by 35N - 40N, 75W - 70W, which goes from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to Central New Jersey, had the warmest July ocean temperatures since records began in 1875--a remarkable 2.12°C (3.8°F) above average. The year 2008 was a distant second place, with temperatures 1.5°C (2.7°F) above average. The ocean region off the Southeast U.S. coast, bounded by 30N - 35N, 80W - 75W, from the Georgia-Florida border to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, had its 4th warmest July ocean temperatures on record. Temperatures were 0.8°C (1.4°F) above average, which fell short of the record 1.1°C anomaly of 1944. The August numbers are not available yet, but will probably show a similar story.

All this warm water off the East Coast means it is much easier for a major hurricane to make landfall in the mid-Atlantic or Northeast U.S. Usually, ocean temperatures fall below the 26.5°C threshold needed to support a hurricane as soon as a storm pushes north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. This year, those temperatures extend all the way to the New Jersey coast (Figure 3.) Such warm ocean temperatures increase the odds of a major hurricane making it to the mid-Atlantic or New England coasts. Since record keeping began in 1851, there have been only 15 major hurricane in U.S. coastal waters north of the North Carolina/Virgina border--about one per decade. The last such storm was Hurricane Alex of August 6, 2004.


Figure 3. Water surface temperatures from AVHRR satellite data for the 6-day period ending August 31, 2010. Ocean temperatures of 26.5°C, capable of supporting a hurricane, stretched almost to Long Island, New York. Image credit: Ocean Remote Sensing Group, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Fiona
Tropical Storm Fiona last night showed us why hurricane forecasting is such a difficult job. The storm made an unexpected slow-down in forward speed. This slow-down resulted in less wind shear affecting Fiona than expected, since the storm is farther from the upper-level outflow of Hurricane Earl. The wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin CIMSS group shows just a moderate 10 - 20 knots of shear affecting Fiona, which is low enough that the storm has been able to organize into a respectable 60 mph tropical storm. Martinique radar shows that the outer bands from Fiona are bringing heavy rain squalls to the same islands of the northern Lesser Antilles that were affected by Earl. Our wundermap shows that winds in the islands are all below 20 mph, but winds will increase to 30 - 40 mph later today as Fiona draws closer. Satellite loops show that heavy thunderstorm activity has decreased some in recent hours. This may be due to the fact that Fiona is currently crossing the cold water wake of Earl.

Forecast for Fiona
In the short term, moderate wind shear and dry air should keep Fiona from attaining hurricane status, though we do have several models that predict it could become a Category 1 hurricane. Fiona is likely to come close enough to Bermuda on Saturday or Sunday to pose a threat to that island, though it is possible high wind shear from Earl could kill the storm by then. The long term fate of Fiona remains unclear, with some models calling for dissipation this weekend, and other models calling for Fiona to be left behind by Earl to wander over the ocean near Bermuda early next week.


Figure 4. Morning radar image of Fiona from the Martinique radar. Image credit: Meteo France.

TD 9
Invest 98L gained enough heavy thunderstorm activity to be classified as Tropical Depression Nine this morning. This wil probably be Tropical Storm Gaston by tomorrow morning. The latest SHIPS model forecast predicts shear will remain moderate, 10 - 15 knots, for the next five days, and TD 9 could be a Category 1 hurricane five days from now, as predicted by the GFDL model. The storm will likely pose a threat to the northern Lesser Antilles Islands by Tuesday.

Next post
I'll have an update this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Best advice for evacuating Charlestonians: leave early...
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Quoting heavyweatherwatcher:
He's currently pretty well on track. The turn isn't forecast until 75W/30N. If he misses that turn, then sweatbeads are well in order... in the mean time, caution, observation, preparation are in order from NC/SC border to ME... Not turning yet is not yet a problem... the increase of forward speed adds to Earl's momentum which could delay or "round" his turn. No one on this blog can authoritatively tell anyone where Earl will or won't hit... The area of concern is large, but concern should't be panic... panic causes errors in judgement and action...


So true! No panic here. Uneasy, but no panic. Earl is a very large storm, nothing to play with.
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Fiona's cone of uncertainty will widen in the next advisory.
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1316. myrtle1
thank you
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1315. Dunkman
Quoting leo305:
GFDL has earl moving a little faster and hitting the NC coast, and going through long island/Boston

it also has fiona turning towards florida as a TS..

So the assumption is that if earl speeds up, it may leave fiona behind..

that's if GFDL is correct, how accurate is that model anyway ?


Where do you see the GFDL hitting NC? I see the GFDI hitting NC, but they aren't the same model, and the GFDL is a whole lot more accurate (like I don't trust the GFDI at all.)
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I am not a pro by any means but if it doesn't turn with in the next 12 hr. or slow down considerably Earl will make landfall somewhere in the US. Its just my opinion and very well could be wrong. I think that would put him roughly at 76w and 29n in 12 hrs at current speed and direction.
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HH registered a 53kt surface wind in Fiona. That, combined with the slight decline in central pressure, should be enough to set the next advisory at 55kts. The little lady has pluck.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


I would pronounce it "gus-DAHN".



Wow, where are YOU from?
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Quoting wolfnuke:
I work for NC Highway Patrol and not quite a state of emergency yet, but the governor has suspended some transportation laws in order to expedite the recovery effort.

Link


Of course in the time between posting and when it showed up our phones lit up with the notifications of being in a state of emergency. Oh the joys of being the State Warning Point during a hurricane...
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jajajaja everyones are saying that td9 is now gaston but how do you all know?
any links please? muchas thank yous. =)
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Quoting flbeachgirl:
I'm in Jax Beach and it's getting a little uncomfortable having Earl get so close without making that promised north turn. How much longer does he have to make that turn without us feeling the heat?


I'm in PVB, and we will be fine - even though it looks like he is just off the coast, he will not make a sharp left turn into Florida - at the speed and direction he is going, he is heading north of us...
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1305. ussual
Quoting ncweatherenthus:


I can speak for NC here. There was a plan put in place after Hurricane Floyd triggered the traffic jams in the mass exodus from the coast, but they've since scrapped those plans claiming their outdated. Which may be the case but I wouldn't have scrapped the best route out of southeastern NC. That's where most of the people are anyway.


Same here in Charleston, SC after the great Floyd debacle here they made massive changes and state police have even practiced reversing the interstate so that all lanes flow out.
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1304. ussual
Quoting ncweatherenthus:


I can speak for NC here. There was a plan put in place after Hurricane Floyd triggered the traffic jams in the mass exodus from the coast, but they've since scrapped those plans claiming their outdated. Which may be the case but I wouldn't have scrapped the best route out of southeastern NC. That's where most of the people are anyway.


Same here in Charleston, SC after the great Floyd debacle here they made massive changes and state police have even practiced reversing the interstate so that all lanes flow out.
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others can speak with far more expertise...but Myrtle Beach might want to at least keep an eye out...
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1302. breald
Quoting NOLALawyer:


Like GAS TAWN....with a Cajun accent. :-D


oui,oui. It is a French name.
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Fiona still has some tricks up her sleeve...


THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED A SPECIAL WEATHER
STATEMENT EFFECTIVE UNTIL 530 PM AST FOR PEOPLE IN THE FOLLOWING
MUNICIPALITIES
IN PUERTO RICO
HORMIGUEROS...MARICAO...MOCA...SABANA GRANDE...SAN GERMAN...SAN
SEBASTIAN...AGUADA...LAS MARIAS...GUANICA...CABO ROJO...
MAYAGUEZ...RINCON...LAJAS AND ANASCO

INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS
ANASCO...CABO ROJO...GUANICA...HORMIGUEROS...LA PLAYA...LAJAS...
LUYANDO...MAYAGUEZ...SABANA GRANDE...SAN GERMAN AND PUERTO REAL

AT 3:25 PM AST...VISIBLE IMAGERY INDICATED AN ARC CLOUD MOVING
NORTHEAST AROUND 40 MPH. RESIDENTS IN SOUTHWEST PUERTO RICO CAN
EXPECT A BRIEF SHOWER WITH A SHARP WIND SHIFT AND WIND GUSTS UP TO
45 MPH.
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Quoting LouisianaWoman:




Imagine 100 people per hour thinking the same thing as you. Suddenly, that backroad that worked so great before is suddenly congested with top speeds of 15 mph. See, here in Louisiana, there's a gazillion backroads. At any given exit on highways and interstates--you can get to'em. But here's the thing--people in this day in age have a GPS in their vehicles. I had to evacuate my family for Hurricane Katrina out of Chalmette. A drive that typically takes 2 1/2 hours...took 10. 3 of which was spent on the interstate getting me outside of the New Orleans city limits. Another 4 hours was spent getting me from outside of New Orleans to Morgan City, La. When we got to Morgan City (which is 45 minutes away from my house) it took us an additional 3 hours to get home. Those 3 hours were spent on a backroad. My point being is, if you're waiting to evacuate, don't. Save yourself the headache. Do it now, instead of later.


AMEN it took me 3 hours to get from Houma to Morgan City, usually a 20 minute drive. 12 Hours to get to Houston.
Member Since: Julho 29, 2005 Posts: 21 Comments: 794
Afternoon all!

98L has become Tropical Storm Gaston I see.
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1298. leo305
GFDL has earl moving a little faster and hitting the NC coast, and going through long island/Boston

it also has fiona turning towards florida as a TS..

So the assumption is that if earl speeds up, it may leave fiona behind..

that's if GFDL is correct, how accurate is that model anyway ?
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1297. Patrap
18z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Earl
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)




Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)



Member Since: Julho 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
1296. ncstorm
Quoting ncweatherenthus:


I can speak for NC here. There was a plan put in place after Hurricane Floyd triggered the traffic jams in the mass exodus from the coast, but they've since scrapped those plans claiming their outdated. Which may be the case but I wouldn't have scrapped the best route out of southeastern NC. That's where most of the people are anyway.


You have I-40 to leave to head to Raleigh and on points therafter and you have I 74 which they just built last year which takes you into Charlotte or you can take 17N to VA but that is only two lane road at points..
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Eye looks like it's wobbling a bit, but it's right on track.

Link
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Quoting Chapelhill:

You have absolutely nothing to worry about even if he never does turn.


Why would you say that....thats what they told the People in Port Charlotte in 2004 for Charley....

BEST ADVICE - be prepared. You Should be OK - But be prepared in case.
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For our Canadian Friends:

New Brunswick Emergency Measures Office:
http://www.gnb.ca/cnb/emo-omu/index-e.asp

Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Office:
http://emo.gov.ns.ca/

Prince Edward Island Emergency Measures Office:
http://www.gov.pe.ca/jps/index.php3?number=20720&lang=E
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Stay safe NS33. With any luck, Earl will have some of the wind out of his sails by then!
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He's currently pretty well on track. The turn isn't forecast until 75W/30N. If he misses that turn, then sweatbeads are well in order... in the mean time, caution, observation, preparation are in order from NC/SC border to ME... Not turning yet is not yet a problem... the increase of forward speed adds to Earl's momentum which could delay or "round" his turn. No one on this blog can authoritatively tell anyone where Earl will or won't hit... The area of concern is large, but concern should't be panic... panic causes errors in judgement and action...
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Its French

Gah-stohn


So then it has a nasal N jajajajaja
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1289. Patrap
Well if yer a Trooper in NC I'd get a new radio

NC declares state of emergency ahead of Earl

RALEIGH, N.C. North Carolina's governor has declared a state of emergency as evacuation of the coast ahead of Hurricane Earl continues.

Member Since: Julho 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting BobinTampa:


yeah, it's downtown and pretty close to everything.

You in Pittsburgh? I love that town. When USF played at Penn State a few years back, I flew into Pittsburgh and caught a Friday night Pirates game (GREAT stadium) before heading to Happy Vally.

Heading up that way to catch USF at W Virginia this year.


No, Miami now. Originally from Pgh though. I would give anything to go back. I love it too. That should be a good game in Morgantown. The Pirates stadium is nice but it is too bad the Pirates are an embarrassment to the city.
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1287. HCW
18Z Earl runs from the NHC

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Quoting xcool:


CHECK OUT GASTON


Xcool, please give me the link to that site.
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Quoting xcool:


CHECK OUT GASTON

WOW! That is all I have to say...WOW!
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1284. RJT185
Quoting BobinTampa:


yeah, it's downtown and pretty close to everything.

You in Pittsburgh? I love that town. When USF played at Penn State a few years back, I flew into Pittsburgh and caught a Friday night Pirates game (GREAT stadium) before heading to Happy Vally.

Heading up that way to catch USF at W Virginia this year.


Small world. I went to Penn State, live in Pittsburgh, and was scheduled to go down to Kill Devil Kills, NC this Friday.

Hurricane Earl's Degree's of Separation Game. lol
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T.D.9 looks like a storm already.I dont understand why some computer models unrecognize the system.
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Quoting CoopsWife:


thanks,all. Yes, planning on an early to bed night. We are 10-11 miles from oceanfront, 2 iles south of the Chesapeake Bay, across the street from an inlet on the West branch of the Lynnhaven River, and I have a creek bog 20+ feet down the hill from the house. 20 feet elevation - about 120 feet with a tape measure, LOL.

Those who say back roads are an issue - probably other places, but here almost no one uses them, even at rush hour. It's bizarre, it is. A few weeks ago I made this run in reverse - I64 had a pretty standard bumper to bumper 4 hour backup instead of 90 minutes, so I took the 'back roads' and was home in 2 hours and saw about 15 cars the whole way.

If you are in an area that occasionally evacuates, I highly suggest getting a gazetteer for your region - with that you can even find your way on the gravel roads, LOL and it usually shows elevation so you don't wind up in a creek bottom.




Imagine 100 people per hour thinking the same thing as you. Suddenly, that backroad that worked so great before is suddenly congested with top speeds of 15 mph. See, here in Louisiana, there's a gazillion backroads. At any given exit on highways and interstates--you can get to'em. But here's the thing--people in this day in age have a GPS in their vehicles. I had to evacuate my family for Hurricane Katrina out of Chalmette. A drive that typically takes 2 1/2 hours...took 10. 3 of which was spent on the interstate getting me outside of the New Orleans city limits. Another 4 hours was spent getting me from outside of New Orleans to Morgan City, La. When we got to Morgan City (which is 45 minutes away from my house) it took us an additional 3 hours to get home. Those 3 hours were spent on a backroad. My point being is, if you're waiting to evacuate, don't. Save yourself the headache. Do it now, instead of later.
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what does that mean?
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


I would pronounce it "gus-DAHN".


Its French

Gah-stohn
Member Since: Março 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
1279. CJ5
09 looks a lot better than Fiona right now. It has become more compact and is showing some nice outflow banding already. A TS designation should follow soon. This may be the CV storm to watch to date.
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Thanks Patrap - the info is for someone I know in MA.
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1277. angiest
Quoting HCW:
18Z Fiona model runs from the NHC



Now that is some spread!
Member Since: Agosto 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting angiest:


Fiona is kinda hard to see in there.

Yup. The GFS has her dissipating.
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Fiona's vorticy maxima has been getting more compact during the day, as the distance it Earl increases.

15z



18z

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1274. xcool


CHECK OUT GASTON
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Quoting HurricaneGeek:
Is GASTON said like...

gasten, gastOn? Thanks.


Like GAS TAWN....with a Cajun accent. :-D
Member Since: Setembro 3, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 520

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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