Major Hurricane Earl – Tuesday 11 AM

THE EYE HAS BECOME OBSCURED ON VISIBLE IMAGES AND THIS IS REFLECTED IN A DECREASE IN THE DVORAK NUMBERS AND IN AN INCREASE IN THE PRESSURE TO 939 MB. THIS APPARENT WEAKENING IS MOST LIKELY RELATED TO AN ONGOING EYEWALL REPLACEMENT CYCLE AS INDICATED BY THE DOUBLE EYE STRUCTURE OBSERVED ON MICROWAVE DATA AT 1035 UTC. HOWEVER…AN AVERAGE OF THE FLIGHT-LEVEL WINDS AND SFMR DATA FROM THE AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE PLANE STILL SUPPORTS AN INITIAL INTENSITY OF 115 KNOTS. NO CHANGE IN INTENSITY IS EXPECTED TODAY BUT THERE IS A CHANCE FOR EARL TO STRENGTHEN A LITTLE DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS IF THE OUTER EYEWALL SHRINKS. DESPITE THE FLUCTUATIONS IN INTENSITY… EARL MOST LIKELY WILL RETAIN CATEGORY FOUR STATUS FOR THE NEXT 48 HOURS. A GRADUAL WEAKENING SHOULD BEGIN THEREAFTER AS THE SHEAR INCREASES.

EARL HAS CONTINUED TO WOBBLE DURING THE PAST FEW HOURS BUT THE AVERAGE MOTION IS TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST OR 300 DEGREES AT 12 KNOTS. EARL HAS BEEN STEERED BY THE FLOW AROUND A SUBTROPICAL RIDGE EXTENDING FROM THE EASTERN UNITED STATES EASTWARD ACROSS THE ATLANTIC. THIS PATTERN WILL KEEP EARL ON A GENERAL WEST-NORTHWEST TO NORTHWEST TRACK DURING THE NEXT 24 TO 48 HOURS. THEREAFTER…THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE WILL MOVE EAST AND EARL WILL LIKELY TURN NORTH AND
NORTHEAST BETWEEN THE RIDGE AND MID-LEVEL TROUGH OVER THE EASTERN UNITED STATES. THIS IS THE SCENARIO PROVIDED BY MOST OF THE DYNAMICAL MODELS. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST HAS SHIFTED A LITTLE TO THE WEST BEFORE 48 HOURS AND IS ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE GUIDANCE ENVELOPE.

GIVEN THE TRACK AND THE LARGE AREA OF TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS…A HURRICANE WATCH WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED FOR A PORTION OF THE MID-ATLANTIC COAST LATER TODAY. INTERESTS FROM THE CAROLINAS NORTHWARD TO NEW ENGLAND SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF EARL. THERE IS STILL CONSIDERABLE UNCERTAINTY AS TO HOW CLOSE THE HURRICANE WILL COME TO THE U.S. EAST COAST.

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WVUA Meteorologist Richard Scott

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