Tropical storms & hurricanes continue to drive across the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Earl peaked with winds at 145 mph (a category 4 hurricane) while it was churning to the southeast of Florida over the Gulf Stream. As Earl pushed to the north and northeast, it began to run into somewhat cooler waters, causing max winds to decrease to 115 mph by Thursday evening. No less, Earl is anticipated to make landfall at least once or twice along the Mid-Atlantic & New England coast. The center of circulation will likely stay just to the east of Cape Hatteras Thursday night, however hurricane force winds over 75 mph will likely overspread the barrier islands. Unlike some storms of years past, Earl is not going to stall to a crawl along the coast. Instead it will continue to track north/northeast, impacting Cape Cod in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island Friday Night. By this point, Earl will likely be in the range of a strong category 1 hurricane (winds 74-95 mph). Last but not least, Earl is forecast to get very close to the Maine coast Saturday morning, before leaping into Nova Scotia. Here's the latest forecast track info on Earl from the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Fiona will not leave a lasting imprint on the U.S. due mainly to the fact that the cold front that pushed through the Badger State will be heading for the east coast Saturday & Sunday. Not only is this guiding Earl out to the northeast but also giving directions to Fiona to stay out over the western Atlantic. Bermuda may be impacted no less, but fortunately it doesn't appear Fiona will be much stronger than a tropical storm as it goes through. Check out the graphic below for the latest forecast track info. on Fiona.
Then here is Gaston which is staying on a more westerly track through the Atlantic. There are a lot of question marks with Gaston as to how strong it will be in the days ahead (staying as a depression or flourishing into a hurricane). I have a feeling that as we work into Monday thru Wednesday, Gaston may be causing havoc in the Lesser Antilles. Time will tell if it does get better organized as it approaches. Regardless, this time of year, even if a tropical wave doesn't look too impressive heading into the Caribbean Sea, it can quickly turn into a tropical storm or hurricane with favorable low wind sheer and balmy ocean water temps that are running in the mid 80s to near 90. Keep tabs on what the forecast for Gaston is by referencing the forecast map below.
Back in North Central Wisconsin, a cold front drove through the region Thursday night, ushering in notably cooler air. Temperatures Friday and Saturday will likely not make it much above 60 degrees and the brisk northwesterly winds will add to the feel of fall in the air. The nice thing about September is most shots of cool air don't hang around too long. Considering this is the Labor Day holiday weekend, sunshine will be common Saturday and Sunday, while clouds will start to increase for Monday with a chance of showers or storms later in the day. Highs for the last couple days of the holiday weekend will be in the 70s. I'm certainly not ready for overnight lows in the 30s yet, and certainly the plants outside are likely in the same boat. At least there will be a bit more rain down the road, although not nearly as much in one shot as the storms on Thursday.
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