Earl now a Category 4 hurricane, threatens the U.S. East Coast

by Artemis on August 31, 2010

The Atlantic tropical storm season has kicked off with a vengeance. There are three named storms in the Atlantic right now; Danielle which reached Category 3 but never threatened land, Earl (more about him later) and Fiona who is a few days off becoming a hurricane. Both Danielle and Earl have blown up to become extremely powerful storms very quickly due to the warm waters in the Atlantic.

Hurricane Earl is currently a Category 4, extremely powerful hurricane, with sustained winds of 135mph. On it’s current forecast path Earl should skirt the Caribbean and Bahamas and head straight for the east coast before turning to the northeast and running along the U.S. coastline as it gradually weakens (see the National Hurricane Center forecast path below).

Hurricane Earl forecast path

Hurricane Earl forecast path

If Earl follows that exact path then the U.S. east coast will just experience some tropical storm force winds and heavy seas. If that track changes or if Earl decides to track slightly more to the west then a direct hit on the U.S. coastline is inevitable.

Earl is a large hurricane; its hurricane force winds extend 70 miles from the eye of the storm, tropical storm force winds extend 200 miles from the center. That means even a brush with the coastline could bring losses with it and a storm surge associated with such a large storm could be devastating.

The hurricane season is quickly accelerating and turning into an active one. Make sure you keep up to speed with storms as they form on our Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season page.

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