Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hurricane Earl: Storm Chase Recap!

September 2–3, 2010 – Chatham, Massachusetts, Cape Cod

Well, I am back from chasing Hurricane Earl in Chatham, Massachusetts on the far southeast tip of Cape Cod. Despite Earl's weakened state, having made its closest approach as a strong tropical storm, the experience was unforgettable!

I began tracking Earl the moment it emerged from the west coast of Africa into the Atlantic Ocean as a well-defined tropical wave which became Tropical Depression #7 on August 25, and later that day became Tropical Storm Earl. Fighting shear and the outflow from major Hurricane Danielle, Earl was slow to get its act together, but as it approached the northern Leeward Islands on August 29, it was game on!

Earl became a monster category 4 hurricane on August 30 and fluctuated in intensity while remaining a major hurricane as it moved northwestward towards the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. Earl weakened to a category 2 hurricane as it neared the North Carolina coast and further weakened to a strong tropical storm as it neared Cape Cod and surrounding islands.

Earl's forecast sure was tricky, but ya know... I have give it up for the computer models! They handled this storm extremely well, maintaining convergence for days on a "just offshore" scenario. Many folks speculated that Earl could or would make landfall on the North Carolina coast or Cape Cod (or even Long Island), but the evidence available showed otherwise. I am not a professional forecaster, but I do have common sense to believe scientific evidence, and it is that evidence that eventually made this forecast pan out as expected.

I want to 'shout out' to my good friend Greg Nordstrom who called the scenario that panned out well in advance of it doing so. Greg maintained the offshore path in his forecasts for a good week prior to it taking place and he even nailed the mileage the center of circulation would track in it's closest approach to the U.S. coastline. I also need to shout out to Greg in thanking him for staying in touch with me while on my chase, providing constant updates on Earl's current location and intensity at the time. His input helped put me in the closest position on the Cape to witness the 'worst' (or 'best') of the storm in a mindful, safe manner.

That said, here's a video and
some photos that I captured during the chase...

I hope you all enjoyed this recap and footage. Before I conclude I'd like to highlight a couple of my 'personal highs' of the chase...

While on the beach in Chatham I stumbled upon (okay, I admit there was a bit of stalking involved) The Weather's Channel's Paul Goodloe who was kind enough to speak with me for a bit and even took took the time to suggest some great places to ride out the storm. His advice was great and as you saw above – we captured some great shots!

I was also granted a surprise interview with CBS News' Randall Pinkston who was was being followed by a cameraman filming their own coverage of the storm. Randall nicely asked what I was doing there, riding out the storm!? I explained I was chasing Earl and within seconds I had a camera on me and a microphone pointed towards my face... and the result this interview!

Well there you have it! I look forward to bringing you even more from a bigger, stronger storm in weeks to come!

Return to home