Weather! Still hot, still dry; where’s Earl going?
It’s September 1, which means several things. First, it marks my six-month anniversary at RVANews. It’s been a fantastic six months, and everyone there is great to work with — and I look forward to continuing for the next six! September 1 also marks the start of meteorological autumn. Unlike astronomical autumn, which begins September […]
It’s September 1, which means several things. First, it marks my six-month anniversary at RVANews. It’s been a fantastic six months, and everyone there is great to work with — and I look forward to continuing for the next six!
September 1 also marks the start of meteorological autumn. Unlike astronomical autumn, which begins September 23 on the Autumnal Equinox, meteorological autumn begins on the first of September and runs through November 30.
Of course, the big story this week is still Earl.
I’m having trouble inserting images this morning, so please bear with me.
As of 2am EDT, Earl still has maximum sustained winds of 135 miles per hour, which makes it a Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. It is located north of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and is moving to the north-northwest at 15 miles per hour.
The track of Earl has been shifting slightly westward over the last few days, but both the National Hurricane Center and a vast majority of the models are in agreement that the center of Earl will stay offshore. Earl is a large storm, and tropical storm-force winds extend out about 200 miles from the center of the storm in any direction, so even if he just grazes the North Carolina coast, a good portion of eastern North Carolina will see tropical storm like conditions. Right now, it’s looking like the period of closest approach will be overnight Thursday night into Friday morning. Earl is forecast to weaken slightly as it approaches the coast, but I still believe that the storm’s intensity will not be something that should be underestimated.
A hurricane watch — which means that tropical-storm force conditions are likely within 48 hours — is posted from the Virginia/North Carolina border southward to Surf City, North Carolina. Mandatory evacuations are in effect for tourists visiting Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see those evacuation orders extended to other islands today. Expect to see similar conditions across Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore as the storm moves northward.
A cold front approaching from the west will be the impetus for Earl to turn from the north to the northeast and follow the Atlantic coast, taking another close swipe at the Massachusetts coast, including Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, and then send Earl on a beeline toward Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in Canada.
Here’s the best part, though. Did you make weekend vacation plans for the Outer Banks or Hampton Roads this weekend? Don’t fret entirely, and think twice before you cancel your plans. If you’re able to travel on late Friday or Saturday, and depending on where your plans are and where Earl actually tracks, you may be able to keep your vacation plans! Obviously you’ll want to call ahead to confirm any arrangements you may have, but Earl should be well clear of the area by late Friday.
I’ll have a clearer picture of the exact track of Earl on Thursday, but I think it’s safe to say that aside from the occasional shower or wind gust, Richmond will mostly be spared Earl’s wrath.
In the meantime, we’re looking at more of the wonderful conditions we’ve seen so far this week. Wednesday will bring us mostly clear skies, with highs in the mid 90s. Overnight lows will fall into the upper 60s. A code orange air quality alert is in effect again for Wednesday. Children, the elderly, and those with heart or respiratory illness may wish to limit their time outside today.
Thursday is looking like more of the same, though slightly cooler. Mostly clear skies in the morning will lead to highs in the low 90s, with temperatures dropping again into the upper 60s overnight. Expect some cloudiness late as Earl approaches, but dry otherwise.
In addition to Earl, the buzzsaw that is the Richmond Flying Squirrels are coming back to town for their final homestand this weekend. I’ll have forecasts for them, and the Spiders and Cavaliers, as well as your latest Earl update on Friday.
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