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September 1, 2010

Hurricane Watch posted for Md., Del. coast

The National Hurricane Center has posted a Hurricane Watch for the Maryland and Delaware coastal counties. That means hurricane conditions - winds of 74 mph or higher - are possible there within 48 hours.

Forecasters have also issued Hurricane Warnings for the Outer Banks, from Surf City, N.C. north to the Virginia border. The warning means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours.

The Hurricane Watch extends from the North Carolina/Virginia border north to Cape Henlopen in Delaware.

Hurricane Earl was located 725 miles south southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. It was moving toward the continues to track northwest at 17 mph. Top sustaiend winds were estimated at 125 mph, making this a "major" Category 3 hurricane. The Hurricane Center said:


Posted by Frank Roylance at 11:18 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Hurricanes


Reminds me of Hurricance Gloria in 1986, same size storm, same track, same weather features to the east and west of the hurricane. One wobble 75 miles west from the forecast track and Maryland could get a hefty dose of rain as far west as Washington County, would you agree?

FR: I agree with all except the year. Gloria was in 1985.

Look at the track of Gloria in 1985, Earl is a mirror image, both in strength, size, and track. if the latest models prove correct, Earl wll track about 50-75 miles further west then Gloria did.

The National Hurricane Center is biting their nails too, Earl is now at 73 degrees west, 4 more degrees west and this storm is going inland near Wilmington, NC. Secondly, if it holds a NW heading at the current speed it will be at 76 west at this time tomorrow, (that is 2 degrees west of the furthest west any model was predicting this morning). If that front stalls ever so slightly this beast could rocket due north once it rounds the ridge (before turning NE) and Maryland could be in for a wild Friday evening...

They say bad things come in 3's. Blizzards, 100+ degree heat, and now the hurricane. Does anyone doubt this one won't make a beeline for MD?

I am in Essex. Should we be concerned about a storm surge/

FR: The weather service said today they expect a 1- to 3-foot surge in the bay at high tides Thursday afternoon and early Friday morning. But this is not Isabel. Earl is tracking off the coast. The big worries for the Chesapeake come when these storms track west of the bay, driving water up the Chesapeake, as Isabel did in 2003. That is not expected to happen this time. You can expect a big "blowout" low tide on Friday afternoon as winds push water down the bay in the storm's wake.

I would like Frank's take on this. Earl is now at 73.3W, 26.3N headng NW. The NHC is stating it could stay on the NW heading for another 24-36 hours, doing the math, that equates to 204 miles west and 204 miles north at its present speed of 17mph which puts the hurricane at 77.3W and 30.3N in 24 hours, well west of their cone and model projections and yet the forecast discussion doesn't put Earl any further west then 75.4W. This makes no sense.

FR: It's a worry, but remember Earl is still east of the Bahamas, and is expected to turn "gradually" north on Thursday, putting the center of the track very close to Hatteras by late Thursday, early Friday. By then, they think, it will be veering NNE. There should be time for all this, and most of the models keep the storm offshore (one clips NC before turning to sea). But it would take a very small change of course or speed to bring us a peck of trouble. That's why this stuff is so much fun, right?

In Baltimore city, do we need to be concerned about possible flash flooding, like we had three weeks ago?

Will a "blow out" low tide improve chances of locating an umbrella blown off a pier on Harris Creek during the thunderstorm/tornado watch 2 weeks ago?

FR: Sure. No telling what treasures you may find out there. But don't get stuck in the mud looking. Send the retrievers.

Thanks Frank for the insight. I do think the The National Hurricane Center is being a bit cocky at the Press Conferences. Here is my take, Earl is now at 74.7 west and still moving NNW, it gained a whole degree west overnight. If that hurricane moves just 0.7 degrees further west it will be further west then any of their models predicted. Hence, if it travels another degree or two west, (76.5-77) then the east coast is in for a very damaging situation and personally, the director of the NHC is putting to much faith in the model guidance. Just look at Ernesto in 2006, every model had it going into the gulf, it went north and hit Florida's eastern shore. Lesson learned, they are not accounting for a Black Swan, if Earl wobbles just 50-75 miles west, then we better batten down the hatches in eastern MD. By 5pm today we should know, if Earl is at 32-33 north, 76+ west and still moving NNW, our weather on Friday will not be sunny as currently forecast--this is a nail biter and by the way, for weaher buffs Earl is now tied for the strongest east coast (north of 30N hurricane on record).

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About Frank Roylance
This site is the Maryland Weather archive. The current Maryland Weather blog can be found here.
Frank Roylance is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun. He came to Baltimore from New Bedford, Mass. in 1980 to join the old Evening Sun. He moved to the morning Sun when the papers merged in 1992, and has spent most of his time since covering science, including astronomy and the weather. One of The Baltimore Sun's first online Web logs, the Weather Blog debuted in October 2004. In June 2006 Frank also began writing comments on local weather and stargazing for The Baltimore Sun's print Weather Page. Frank also answers readers’ weather queries for the newspaper and the blog. Frank Roylance retired in October 2011. Maryland Weather is now being updated by members of The Baltimore Sun staff

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