Hurricane Earl has transformed from a Danielle wannabe - following the same track and pattern - to looking like a potentially much more powerful beast. The good news is the intensity, holding a more southerly track and continuing to move over warmer water has allowed Earl to generate wind speeds of 135mph and category four status, no doubt generating some serious swell (23ft on the latest, nearest, buoy readings) and this power is forecast to continue. The bad news is the current track pretty much puts the storm running on a destructive path through the Caribbean before running north on a track that takes it far too close for comfort for the coastal US.
For many locations it's going to be hard to find a window to make the most of this one and the possibility of destructive landfall can't be discounted - in fact for Nova Scotia a (potentially) slightly mellow version of the current storm is shown to hit you on most of the current model predictions and there's a small but real potential (10-30%) of destructive landfall around NC and further north or at least a close brush with the coast. Where Hurricane Isabel marched straight inland in 2003 this storm does look set not to do the same, but Isabel topped out at about 100mph as she hit the coast and the NHCs latest data suggests Earl could still be a major hurricane with wind speeds of up to 120mph at this stage.
Latest model data suggests that in this scenario we're looking at swell in the 20ft region for NC and still a 10ft+ range further north if the storm moves as forecast. Strong winds predicted along most of the coast as the storm passes, although we'd expect a very strong NW onshore to rapidly move to a more NE offshore as the storm tracks overhead which might just make for surfable conditions under perfect circumstances.
The exception, at the moment at least, is Florida. Right now the models are suggesting swell for Thursday in the sort of range we saw for Bill last year with relatively benign winds. Always room for caution with the numbers on something as changable as a Tropical Storm but your outlook looks good with latest swell models forecasting for a peak around 12ft@15seconds and with a retreating but still solid swell and even better winds for Friday.
On Earls tail is Tropical Storm Fiona, not looking anything like as potent just now we'll keep you updated.
Last but not least the latest the image below shows the continuing activity off the West coast of Africa - looks like more potential little tiny baby storms lining up for their chance at a run across the Atlantic.....
Check back for updates as we have them.