August 31, 2010
Heavy Traffic On Hurricane Highway
Hurricane Earl, now a powerful Category 4 storm, barreled toward the U.S. coast early Tuesday after battering tiny islands across the northeastern Caribbean with heavy rain and winds that damaged homes and toppled power lines.
Earl is forecast to potentially brush the U.S. East Coast late Thursday, before curving back out to sea, possibly swiping New England or far-eastern Canada. The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned coastal residents from North Carolina to Maine to watch the storm closely.
"Any small shift in the track could dramatically alter whether it makes landfall or whether it remains over the open ocean," said Wallace Hogsett, a meteorologist at the center. "I can't urge enough to just stay tuned."
The hurricane was moving west-northwest on a curving track that the National Hurricane Center said would take it near Cape Hatteras, N.C., on Thursday and Friday. A direct hit could not be ruled out, and Earl was expected to bring drenching rain, dangerous seas and surf and gusting wind to the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to New England and Canada, said Alex Sosnowski, a senior meteorologist for private forecaster AccuWeather.
On its current path, Earl posed no threat to the Gulf of Mexico, where major U.S. oil and gas installations are located. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Earl's approach ought to serve as a reminder for Atlantic coastal states to update their evacuation plans.
"It wouldn't take much to have the storm come ashore somewhere on the coast," Fugate said. "The message is for everyone to pay attention."
Close on Earl's heels, Tropical Storm Fiona formed Monday afternoon in the open Atlantic. The storm, with maximum winds of 40 mph, was projected to pass just north of the Leeward Islands by Wednesday and stay farther out in the Atlantic than Earl's northward path. Fiona wasn't expected to reach hurricane strength over the next several days.
Behind Fiona another broad area of low pressure is waiting in the wings about 400 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. If this system develops into a tropical cyclone it will be named Gaston.
Posted by AG-ER Team at 8/31/2010