14 August 2004

Charley makes 3rd landfall, Danielle and Earl trekking westward...

After Charley's landfall at Charlotte Harbor yesterday afternoon, it continued inland across the FL peninsula, hitting Orlando and Daytona Beach head-on, as a CAT2 and CAT1, respectively.  Then the resilient hurricane crossed over the Gulf Stream and headed for South Carolina. The forward speed increased to the point where intensification was hindered, and it hit Myrtle Beach, SC around noon EDT today.  As of this writing, the center is 70 miles south of Norfolk, VA and heading toward it at 26kts.

Current intensity is 60kts and 1000mb, finally dropping the mighty Charley down to a Tropical Storm.  The forecast track takes it over DE, NJ, then eastern New England, as a weakening TS then TD.  NJ and eastern PA can expect the worst weather in the early morning hours on Sunday.

Yesterday, Charley was responsible for 8 reported tornadoes in FL, and another 7 today in FL and NC.  The town of Punta Gorda which sits right on Charlotte Harbor was hardest hit, and as Florida Governor Bush said, "Our worst fears have come true... it's hard to describe seeing an entire community flattened".  The death toll is 15, but that number rises every hour as more bodies are found in the rubble.  At least 2 million people in FL are without power.

TS Danielle continues to get better organized, with spiral bands and deep convection wrapping around the core.  As of 21Z today, the storm is located at 13.7N 28.7W and moving WNW at 13kts.  Intensity is 55kts and 994mb.  It is very close to being upgraded to a hurricane, which could happen later tonight or Sunday morning.  As of now, all guidance indicates that Danielle will not be a threat to land; recurving into the open ocean by about 45W.

At 21Z today, TD5 was upgraded to TS Earl, the 5th named storm of the season.  The 1006mb Low is at 10.8N 54.5W and heading WNW at 21kts. Maximum sustained winds are 35kts.  Earl could become the 4th hurricane on Monday (after Danielle makes the 3rd), and DOES pose a threat to land.  The forecast track is very similar to Charley's... crossing the Lesser Antilles midday Sunday, Jamaica on midday Tuesday, then western Cuba midday Thursday.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for Trinidad, Tobago, and the Windward Islands.  Gulf residents should be paying very close attention to Earl as it will be a key player in the Gulf at the end of the week.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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