04 July 2014

Arthur was strongest U.S. landfall in six years

At 9pm EDT last night, Arthur was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, the first since Sandy in 2012.  Then shortly after 11pm EDT last night,  it made landfall on Cape Lookout, NC with 100mph winds and a 976mb central pressure.  It was the strongest landfalling hurricane on the U.S. since Ike in 2008.  It was also the earliest North Carolina hurricane landfall on record.  And as I've mentioned before, the last three seasons with a hurricane formation so early in the season were 2012, 2010, and 1995; all extremely active years (may just be a coincidence, but interesting nonetheless!).

Category 2 Hurricane Arthur at landfall on Cape Lookout.  Image is from 10:58pm EDT on July 3.  Landfall is defined as the center crossing the coastline.  (College of DuPage)
As of this morning at 8am EDT, the storm has maintained intensity and maximum sustained winds remain 100mph and the pressure has fallen to 973mb.  As of this writing, it is centered 100 miles due east of Virginia Beach and moving northeast at 23mph.

Visible satellite image from 8:30am EDT on July 4. (NASA)
Little has changed with the forecast... it will pass by the northeast coast today, making a close encounter with Cape Cod late tonight as a Category 1 hurricane followed by a second landfall on Nova Scotia on Saturday morning as it transitions to an extratropical cyclone.  See the NHC website for the latest track forecast as well as watches and warnings.

Eastern MA and eastern ME can expect heavy rain and tropical storm force winds as Arthur passes by, and coastal areas will experience heavier surf but storm surge should not be a big problem.

Finally, I wanted to share some buoy and C-MAN station observations that experienced near-direct hits on Thursday night by Arthur.  These plots show five days of observations of surface wind speed (blue) and wind gust (red) as well as surface pressure (green). All of the locations were inside the eye, though not perfectly in the center.

Buoy 40136: Onslow Bay Outer

Station BFTN7: Beaufort

C-MAN CLKN7: Cape Lookout

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