Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Hurricane Earl -- Tuesday Morning Update
Hurricane Earl is maintaining its strength as a major storm in the Atlantic this morning as it moves west-northwest of Puerto Rico. Powerful storms like Earl often see some small fluctuations in strength, and that is what we expect to see over the coming days with this hurricane.
Earl will remain a very powerful storm as it closes in on the east coast of the United States. Fortunately, most computer models and our latest forecast continue to keep the storm just off the Carolina coastline with its closest approach coming late Thursday night and early Friday morning.
This track would keep Earl's strongest winds and heaviest rains over the Atlantic Ocean. We must monitor the storms track closely over the next couple of days, as it is still possible it may track just west of the current forecast. If a westerly track occurs, the impact of Earl on our coast could be significant.
At this point the most likely scenario is for the storm to just stay off the coast with the Outer Banks feeling the biggest effects from Earl. By late Thursday night and early Friday, tropical storm force winds and locally heavy rain from the outer bands of the storm should move across the Outer Banks. Beach erosion and some wash over of Highway 12 is possible.
The Crystal Coast area (around Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, and Emerald Isle) may also see some of the outer rain bands with tropical storm force wind gusts. Down the coast in the Cape Fear region (Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle), the effects of Earl should be minimal. Lighter rain may move through some of the immediate coast in this region with occasional wind gusts to 30 or 35mph.
On this track, inland area across North Carolina including the Triangle and Sandhills may not see a drop of rain with only clouds and a light breeze Thursday night.
Again, it is very important to note conditions could change dramatically if the storm moves just a little to the west. The forecast is still subject to change. Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina for updates through the week.
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist