East Coast gets ready for Hurricane Earl

Sep 02, 2010

Capital Weather Gang hurricane expert Greg Postel will be online Thursday, Sept. 2, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss Hurricane Earl, which returns to a category 4 storm, as mid-Atlantic beaches brace for heavy rain and strong winds expected by early Friday.

Hi guys !

Hurricane Earl is chugging along as expected.  From the satellite presentation, it seems to be undergoing a slight weakening trend.  However, we can't confirm that until the recon data shows it.    Internally (invisible to the satellite pictures),  Earl may be holding his own.  Gotta wait.  Track wise ... it's looking right now the core will stay east of the Outer Banks.  Let's hope so.

Lot's to answer, so let's get to it.


Quick one for ya: I was planning on driving out to Ocean City, Md.,  early Saturday morning. I assume it'll all be back to normal by then (normal for a three-day weekend, I know), right?

Weather will be fine, with cool WNW winds.  but the beaches may be roughed up a bit

Any chance Saturday picnics will be wet here in D.C.?

very little chance.   Breezy and cool with scattered cumulus clouds (unrelated to Earl) behind the cold front.

A fall like feel.

What's the likely impact of Earl on the Eastern Shore? I'm particularly interested in Salisbury, since that's where I live. Thanks!

For Salisbury ... Maybe some rain showers with low-end tropical storm force gusts during the day on Friday.  Rapidly improving Friday night.

Will D.C. get rain from Earl?

unlikely.  The western side of Earl will be quite weaker, and less exxpansive than the eastern side.  I doubt DC will see more than cirrus outriders and a north breeze.

Being from Boston, I was struck by the scale of devastation last winter along roads in the Washington area in terms of tree damage from the ice and snow. It was an unusually heavy snow season for the area and many trees were not able to handle it. I wonder if Earl's winds will be less damaging in terms of damage from trees because many of the weaker trees were already "pruned" or taken out by the snow last winter.

that may be so.  but I'm really not a tree expert :)

wind impacts may be different than the crushing impact of wet snow.  i.e., it may not matter.

Just a thought.

Saturday and Sunday will have highs around 80... bad weekend to go to the pool... will there be enough wind to get the kites up in the air for the kids... or will there be too much of Earl hanging around?

may not even be that warm.  pretty strong cold front.

yes, there will be enough wind, and not too much.

And it won't have anything to do with earl (technically it will have *something* to do with him, but for practical puposes, it's safe to say it'll be a non-earl, post cold front breeze).

I keep seeing Web sites blaring that Earl is bearing down on the Carolinas with monstrous winds and ruinous rain...then I check weather.com and the 10 day forecast for Charleston, S.C., is sunny, pleasant, no rain, and delightful temps. Who do I believe? Thank you.

Believe the Capital Weather Gang !

(shameless plug)


but, yes, South Carolina will escape with sunny skies and light breezes (maybe some brief showers near Myrtle Beach today).  big waves, though.

Outer Banks of NC will be hardest hit.  I think the core of Earl (hurricane force sustained winds) will stay offshore.  But, I expect tropical storm conditions there late tonight and early tomorrow morning, with huge waves, some storm surge, and coastal flooding.

I was thinking of going to MA (south coast) on Saturday and spending a long weekend plus. Would I be better putting this off? I do want to get some beach time in.

Earl should have bypassed the region by Sat.

but it will be breezy and cool, with roughed up beaches.

good luck


What is most recent forecast for Earl on Delmarva, especially Rehoboth, Lewes? Is it a good idea to get there this evening before rain hits tomorrow morning?

if you have to go, I'd either leave 2nite or on Saturday.

On Friday, you'll probably get brushed with tropical storm force wind gusts in rain squalls ... assuming the model guidance for Earl is correct.  And it has been great so far.

Not so much worried about winds for Friday night but what about the coastal flooding warnings affecting Chincoteague Island

could be significant wave action, with several feet of surge possible.

I realize this is hard to tell for sure, but when can we expect to see real autumn weather in the D.C. area? With temperatures climbing back into the 80s or higher next week, it seems like this is an endless summer, but not in the good way. Is there any way to tell (or educatedly guess) at when fall will get started for real?

yes, we can make an educated prediction.  With the execption for a quick cold front every now and then, the data suggests it will be a warm September for you.   I'm pretty sure more 90s are coming.

I'm supposed to fly into Dulles from Europe on Saturday, arriving around 2:30 p.m. - what's the likelihood that my flight will be delayed or canceled due to the storm?

Dulles weather will be fine.  a bit breeezy (unrelated to Earl), though.   Weather delays may filter in from remote locations.  just have to wait and see.

Why are many in the media reporting that Earl is "bearing down on the Carolinas"? I am staring at the ocean right now under sunny warm skies. Waves are slightly larger than normal but Earl has never threatened the middle South Carolina coast or even the Northern South Carolina coast. The only area threatened is the Outer Banks of N.C. which stick way out into the Atlantic. Inaccurate reporting is bad enough but why are these reports so general? I realize you don't speak for the entire media but thanks for taking my question...and complaint.

I can see the confusion, yes.  that's why you should always tune in to the CAPITAL WEATHER GANG

(yet another shameless plug)


SC weather will be fine, so you're right, it would be better to headline differently.  I have been in many, many landfalls, and have found that the storm rarely matched the hype (from the media, not the National Hurricane Center - they have been great). 

In this case, however, it will be a close call for the Outer Banks, so they should stay tuned.

Is it still tracking to NE? I live in Portsmouth N.H. and am wondering how hard we'll be hit

pretty early to tell what the radar will look like by then, but rain squalls with tropical storm force wind gusts are possible.

Typically when you get a strong cold front, you get rain. Why aren't we getting any rain from the cold front--because of Earl? Thanks.

this front will be a thinly stretched-out boundary by the time it gets to you, with little forcing for ascent (upward motion, and rain).  Not because of Earl. 

How do hurricanes effect local seafood production and agriculture on the Delmarva?

ahhh ... I really don't know.

Are you saying it's best to avoid Rehoboth/Lewes this weekend?

no, not at all.   It really depends on one thing:

is it worth it for you ?

Hi, I'm scheduled to fly to Europe Friday evening. Would you imagine overseas flights from Dulles would be affected? I'm hoping we can just fly around Earl.

maybe ... there could be delays along the east coast.


Please tell me we will get some rain soon. I am getting tired of watering the vegetables all the time.

ok:   you'll get some rain soon  :)


i don't believe it, though.  

I am concerned about flooding and storm surges.

I doubt these will be a significant problem for you there.

I'm surprised the National Weather service is calling for only "minor to moderate" beach erosion on the Delaware coast, if they are expecting tropical storm force winds. What kind of wave heights are they expecting, and when might they peak?

well, I thing the answer lies in the fact that the East Coast of the United States will very likely be on the left side of Earl, which shouldn't bring the kind of surge that the right side would if it were to make a direct hit.

So we have a decent grip on Earl but what can you tell us about Gaston and what could be Hermine? Obviously we have no idea where they could land (if at all) but do they seem to be in a good area to develop further?

Gaston, yes.

Hermine has not been born yet.  But, yes, the tropical atlantic is indeed primed and ready to go.

Thanks for your expertise...How far inland would you have to be to escape high wind and drenching rain? We're heading up to New Hampshire tomorrow and trying to figure out the best route.

sorry, but I'm not sure what you equate to as high wind.

Travel conditions will be good on Sat.  Could you wait ?  if not, the later you leave Friday, the better, because Earl will be running away from you.


hope that helps

What about the water conditions at Ocean City for the weekend? I've heard there are serious rip tides around there.

I imagine by Sunday the surf should have calmed down.

How late can we get to the airport for this flight? (haha) The latest track I saw showed Earl hitting New England Saturday morning. Do you think those westerly winds keep it offshore enough for flights to continue?

depends on residual delays (if any) all across the U.S.

but the weather by Saturday 1pm should be just fine for the flight (a bit windy behind the cold front - not Earl), if it leaves on time.

What do you think the weather will be like driving north to New England tomorrow leaving early?

iffy.  the closer you get to the coast, windy rain showers are more likely.  But ...

the later you leave Friday, the better.  Even just 8 hours or so.

It'll be ok.

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Greg Postel
Greg Postel is a hurricane expert with the Capital Weather Gang.
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