Update: Hurricane Earl will Remain as a Cat 4 Hurricane
By By Meghan Evans, Meteorologist
August 31, 2010, 8:45:37 AM EDT
August 31, 10:00 am EDT
Based on the latest information from the Hurricane Hunters and Satellite images, AccuWeather.com Meteorologists are now predicting hurricane Earl will remain as a Category 4 hurricane. Hurricane Earl remains a very dangerous hurricane and all interests along the East coast of the U.S. should monitor the latest information on AccuWeather.com.
For the latest on Hurricane Earl and the impacts on the East coast.
Related to the Story: Earl to Rattle Atlantic Seaboard Earl on a Path to Batter Outer Banks, Cape Cod Earl to Threaten Nova Scotia, Newfoundland How Northeast Should Prepare for Hurricane Earl Southeast Radar Southeast Satellite 2010 Hurricane Center
August 31, 6:00 am EDT
Major Hurricane Earl is expected to continue to gain even more strength today, perhaps reaching Category 5 status by tonight. This will make Earl the first Category 5 hurricane to develop in the Atlantic basin since 2007.
The last Category 5 hurricane to develop in the Atlantic basin was Hurricane Felix in September of 2007. The hurricane made landfall along the Nicaragua and Honduras border on Sept. 4.
The last Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the United States was Andrew, which came ashore near Homestead, Fla., on August 24, 1992.
Strength and Impacts of Earl Through Early This Week
While churning over warm open waters of the Atlantic in an environment of weak wind shear, Earl will strengthen more today into tonight. The hurricane is expected to reach Category 5 strength by tonight and could remain a Category 5 storm as it continues to approach the southeast coast of the United States through midweek.
Parts of the Dominican Republic, located on the island of Hispaniola, will be brushed by outer bands of heavy rain and gusty winds today into tonight.
Fortunately, Haiti, which is another nation that shares the island of Hispaniola, will be spared the brunt of rainfall and winds. The country has been ravaged by many tropical systems in the past and more recently the deadly and major earthquake that struck on January 12, 2010.
As the hurricane tracks just north of the Turks and Caicos islands early on Wednesday, hurricane conditions will lash these islands. Battering waves, damaging winds and flooding rain will likely be delivered.
The eastern islands of the Bahamas could get hammered by tropical storm conditions as Earl passes by well to the east.
Potential Impacts to the East Coast
A direct landfall in the United States is not expected, but major Hurricane Earl will still rattle the Atlantic Seaboard.
Dangerous surf and rip currents will ramp back up across the East Coast, especially from the east coast of Florida to the Carolinas by Tuesday.
As the hurricane moves east of North Carolina by late Thursday, waves could reach 15 feet on the Outer Banks, perhaps causing significant beach erosion and coastal flooding.
The potential impacts of rainfall are much more uncertain at this time and will depend on the exact track of the hurricane. The Outer Banks of North Carolina may get hit by heavy rain as well as extreme southeastern Virginia and the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula.
By Friday and Friday night, the hurricane will be passing to the east of the mid-Atlantic Coast and southern New England, possibly spreading rain and high winds from eastern parts of Long Island to southeastern Massachusetts.
Residents and business interests of the East Coast are urged to keep a close eye on Earl. Keep checking back for the latest on this major hurricane and expected impacts.
Meteorologist Mark Paquette contributed content to this story
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