The strongest storm of the Atlantic hurricane season so far is exploding with intensity today.
Hurricane Earl packs winds of 145 mph as it turns north for a brush with the Outer Banks of North Carolina tonight. Earl is at or near peak intensity today as it rides over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.
Earl is a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale.
Here are the Thursday AM stats on Earl from NHC:
HURRICANE EARL INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 32A
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072010
800 AM EDT THU SEP 02 2010
...INTENSE HURRICANE EARL CONTINUES ON A NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD
TRACK...EXPECTED TO PASS NEAR THE OUTER BANKS TONIGHT...
SUMMARY OF 800 AM EDT...1200 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 355 MI...575 KM S OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 820 MI...1315 KM SSW OF NANTUCKET MASSACHUSETTS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...145 MPH...230 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNW OR 330 DEGREES AT 18 MPH...30 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...932 MB...27.52 INCHES
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 145 MPH...230 KM/HR...WITH
HIGHER GUSTS. EARL IS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE
SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE. A GRADUAL WEAKENING IS
EXPECTED TO START LATER TODAY...BUT EARL IS EXPECTED TO BE A MAJOR
HURRICANE WHEN IT PASSES NEAR THE OUTER BANKS.
The eye of Earl is expected to pass just east the Outer Banks late tonight. Hurricane force winds extend out 90 miles from Earl's center, and tropical storm force winds extend about 130 miles from Earl.
Regardless of the exact path of Earl's potentially devastating eyewall, the size of Earl will bring hurricane force winds and dangerous storm surge to the Outer Banks overnight tonight.
Cape Cod Next?
Earl's track has been shifted slightly to the west after about 24 hours. That brings the possibility of a direct hit or very near miss on Cape Cod into play Friday night into Saturday morning.
September chill blows in:
Get set for the coldest air mass in nearly 3 months.
Temperatures are in the 40s and upper 30s in Saskatchewan this morning. That chill air mass will spill in behind a cold front tonight.
Friday will bring blustery northwest winds and temperatures that will struggle to climb out of the 60s.
The Fairgrounds picked up .68" of rain this morning, making this likely the wettes day of the Fair in 2010. Look for a mix of clouds and sun today, with a few more pop up showers possible.
The weather will mellow for the Labor Day weekend with more sun and highs climbing back into the 70s. After a dry Saturday and Sunday, the next chance of showers will move this way on Labor Day.