WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)

Earl: Buoy Reports 49-Foot Waves, 101 MPH Winds

By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
9/01/2010, 9:29:15 AM

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Hurricane Earl's southwestern eyewall moved directly over Buoy #41046 overnight, causing the buoy to read 48.6-foot waves (before stopping reporting*) and wind gusts to 101 mph. Winds calmed considerably and the pressure dropped to 27.82" (942 mb) as the edge of the eye moved over the buoy briefly.


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The peak wind gust of 101 mph was from this image (data) which shows the maximum gust of 88 knots during the hour, instead of the maximum gust at the time of the observation.


It's rare to get an actual surface meteorological sampling from the stronger parts of a hurricane with no land to weaken it. Eyewall hits on buoys are rare, though it's likely the winds would have been even stronger if it were on the Northeast side. Prior to this, the biggest waves I had ever witnessed live from buoy readings were 47 feet with Hurricane Katrina.


*The buoy either stopped transmitting due to damage from the waves, or the data was cut off by quality control algorithms when over 50 feet.

Jesse Ferrell


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WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)