As meteorologists watch Hurricane Earl, communities in North Carolina and Massachusetts prepare for possible evacuations if conditions warrant, although forecasts now suggest that Nova Scotia will bear the brunt of its landfall.
Coastal regions should only have to deal with strong wind and heavy rain as the category four storm makes its way northward, but middle Atlantic states could take a beating should the storm change course. Regardless, North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras and Massachusetts’ Cape Cod and Nantucket are at risk of severe weather that could force residents from their homes for safety.
Weather experts say that the continued weather pattern driving the hurricane could be up to 200 off, emphasizing the danger of relying on computer models. When more than 1,000 miles away from Cape Hatteras, Hurricane Earl was traveling northward at a rate of about 14 miles per hour. Maximum winds at that point were 135 mph and the National Hurricane Center issued warnings to all middle Atlantic coastal regions.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) heavily criticized for its efforts during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, has advised people to be prepared to evacuate, although the agency itself does not order evacuations. The concern is that people will discard any notion of impending danger based on computer models only to be caught off guard should predictions be wrong.
At this point in time, some private weather agencies say that the U.S. has about a 10% chance of experiencing winds of hurricane strength, but winds of less strength between 40 and 60 miles per hour are very likely.
Cape Hatteras was hit by a category 2 storm, Isabel, in 2003 causing more than a dozen deaths and billions of dollars of damage to personal and public property. In the aftermath of that storm, it was revealed that only about half of the residents’ property was insured.
Experts say that Hurricane Earl will hit land at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on September 4, with high power winds, although they are not certain as to whether the storm will be at hurricane strength when it arrives. Analysts say that warm water temperatures in the region potentially will strengthen the storm until it finally weakens over land.
In other weather news, the storm that preceded Earl, Tropical Storm Danielle, has weakened off the Atlantic coast. The next tropical storm, Fiona, is forming in the Atlantic right now. Although it is currently a weak storm, weather experts believe that Fiona may cause problems for the island of Bermuda.
Sullivan, Brian K., and Alex Morales. "`Powerful' Hurricane Earl Spurs Evacuation Alerts Along U.S. East Coast." Bloomberg. August 31, 2010. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-31/hurricane-earl-puts-u-s-east-coast-on-evacuation-alert-should-path-shift.html (accessed August 31, 2010).