HURRICANE EARL, Tropical Storms FIONA, and Gaston 9/2/2010 6:30 pm

Colleagues, EAST Coast Brace yourself for Squally weather (or if you prefer, "Stormy Weather"). Tropical Storm force winds and rain are to be expected.

FORECAST: Forecasts remain essentially unchanged. HURRICANE EARL is now a dangerous major category 3 Hurricane with winds of 115 mph, located about 100 miles south of the outer banks of North Caroline, moving north at 18 mph to the east . The outer banks of North Carolina will experience hurricane force winds, heavy rain, rip tides, storm surge 7-10 feet. Tropical Storm force winds will extend further inland. HURRICANE EARL will start to weaken but remain a hurricane most of the way up the east coast. Manchester by-the-Sea, Mass will experience near, but less than Tropical Storm force winds. By Saturday afternoon, the storm will be in Canada.

Tropical Storm FIONA has winds of 50 mph, located 700 miles east of Miami, moving NNW at 17 mph. FIONA will likely end up going close to Bermuda as Tropical Storm. NO threat to the US.

Tropical Storm GASTON is still 1000 east of the Leeward Island. But, it is on a more southerly track, which if it continues could lead to a landfall in the Gulf in 2 or 3 weeks. That is a long forecast to make. I will look more closely at this weekend after Earl is past most of the US.

Off the coast of Africa, another storm begins to brew, keeping us a bit ahead of the climatology for number of storms by about a week.

DISCUSSION: It looks like the eye of EARL will just miss land. It will be a close call, and perhaps a distinction without meaning. The Outer Banks of North Carolina will be hit by hurricane force winds, and all up the East coast should anticipate strong Tropical Storm force winds. Right now, it looks the trough will barely arrive just in time to keep it off shore. HURRICANE EARL will weaken after North Carolina as it encounters cooler seas, more shear and dryer air as it begins its transition to an extra-tropical system. All bad news for a hurricane but it will remain a force to be reckoned with all the way up the east coast.

There are about 3 systems remaining to come off Africa. We will probably slip down into to closer to an average rather than an active season, unless something changes in the next month.

NEXT FORECAST: Friday morning

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