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As you can probably tell by my name, I've been tracking Earl even before the National Hurricane Center started issuing advisories on it. As it got close to the Antilles, I got nervous for the people down there, who are virtually helpless when a big storm threatens. Now, I'm nervous for the folks on the East Coast and in Canada. Keep reading...

I'm nervous for those who intentionally ignore evacuation orders and ride out the storm, either through ignorance or foolishness. This doesn't just go for Earl, but for any big storm. I'm going to talk directly to you folks: why do you do it? Do you think you're invincible? Do you think that the storm will be "just a little wind?" Do you think that when it's gone, life will resume back to normal the second the skies turn blue?

Wrong. Dead fucking wrong.

You're not only putting yourself and those around you in danger, but you're also putting the lives of first responders in peril as well. Think about this scenario. You decide to ride out the storm, thinking it won't be too bad. You're a few miles from the nearest water supply, and you think you'll be fine. You've got food for a few days and you're in a three story house. Well, the hurricane jogs a little to the west that night and slams you dead on with 130 MPH winds. Your roof blows off, the windows in your house are shattered, and if you're lucky, you have a few walls left standing. The storm surge makes it to your house (as the land is relatively flat), and you're under 5 feet of water. Your food and emergency supplies were on the bottom floor, which is also under 5 feet of water. You're cut off from the world: no power, no water, no phones, no food, no supplies, no roof, and no help. First responders won't come around until the storm is gone (why should they risk their lives because you were too stupid to leave?), and chances are, it'll take them a day or two to get to you. Tell me...was riding out the storm a good idea? No. More than likely, we'll see you on CNN in three days screaming and hollering at everyone else, instead of taking responsibility for your stupidity. I'm nervous, because I know you're out there, and I know you'll do just this.

I'm nervous for the folks who actually cannot leave, either due to financial, medical or other logistical issues. Emergency shelters can only hold so many people, and some people won't even make it to these. I'm nervous for the same reasons as above -- these helpless citizens will potentially be without food, water, shelter or anything else necessary to survive for possibly a few days. In their vulnerable state, they'll be less likely to survive than the idiots who rode it it out.  I'm nervous, because I know that these people are out there, and I know it won't end well for many of them.

I'm nervous for the pets that have to be left behind, either due to space or emergency shelter rules. If anything I mentioned above happens to the house, they're even more vulnerable, or they could go missing altogether. I'm nervous for all the pooties, woozles, and other cute furry creatures who won't be able to take care of themselves after the storm relents.

I'm nervous for all of the people who will potentially lose all of their worldly possessions -- everything they've saved and worked for their whole lives. I'm nervous for the people too poor to rebuild or relocate.

I'm nervous, because no matter what happens, every hurricane has these same people, with the same ending. It never seems to change.

If you're given an evacuation order, heed it! Don't think it can't happen to you -- that's the surest way you'll wind up with the short end of the stick when it does, in fact, happen to you.

If you know someone who cannot evacuate themselves, and they need to, please, by all means, help them. Take them in for a few days, drive them to a shelter, do anything. Lives might depend on it.

I know that Earl probably won't make a direct landfall in the US (but is expected to make a landfall near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in Canada on Saturday morning), but it will come close enough to seriously screw things up for a while. Those who lived through Tropical Storm Allison (among many others) know that the intensity of a storm doesn't matter -- the NC/VA/MD/DE coast will see at least tropical storm force wind and a hell of a lot of rain. Remember, a little is all it takes to screw stuff up.

This is the 2PM EDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Click the image for a larger, updated version of the graphic:

UPDATE

My heart just sank. Earl is a Category 4 storm again with 135 MPH winds. Watches and warnings have been extended. The new NHC track has Earl almost making landfall on the Outer Banks of NC. Keep in mind that this can change at any time over the next few days, but this is not what we want to see.

These directly from the NHC:

A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR... * BOGUE INLET NORTH CAROLINA NORTHEASTWARD TO THE NORTH
CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER INCLUDING THE PAMLICO AND ALBEMARLE
SOUNDS.

A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR... * NORTH OF THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER TO CAPE HENLOPEN
DELAWARE. * WOODS HOLE TO SAGAMORE BEACH MASSACHUSETTS...INCLUDING MARTHAS
VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR... * FROM CAPE FEAR TO WEST OF BOGUE INLET NORTH CAROLINA. * FROM THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER TO SANDY HOOK NEW
JERSEY...INCLUDING DELAWARE BAY SOUTH OF SLAUGHTER BEACH AND THE
CHESAPEAKE BAY SOUTH OF NEW POINT COMFORT.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR... * SANDY HOOK NEW JERSEY TO WOODS HOLE MASSACHUSETTS...INCLUDING
BLOCK ISLAND AND LONG ISLAND SOUND. * NORTH OF SAGAMORE BEACH TO THE MOUTH OF THE MERRIMACK RIVER
MASSACHUSETTS.

I've updated the above image to reflect the new watches and warnings.

--------------------------------------------------
Update x2

Strange request, but could whoever controls the Liveblog account please email me at the address listed in my profile? Thanks! :)

--------------------------------------------------
Update x3

Earl is a little stronger, now with 140 MPH winds. From the NHC:

...THE CORE OF THE HURRICANE WILL APPROACH THE
NORTH CAROLINA COAST BY LATE THURSDAY...AND MOVE NEAR OR OVER THE
OUTER BANKS OF NORTH CAROLINA THURSDAY NIGHT.  THE CENTER IS
EXPECTED TO PASS NEAR OR OFFSHORE OF THE DELMARVA PENINSULA ON
FRIDAY.

EARL IS A LARGE HURRICANE.  HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP
TO 90 MILES...150 KM...FROM THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE
WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230 MILES...370 KM.

Here are some links for more information:

National Hurricane Center
Canadian Hurricane Center
National Weather Service
Storm Prediction Center
Environment Canada
FEMA
Public Safety Canada
American Red Cross
Canadian Red Cross
Salvation Army
Keeping Track Of The Storm -- Link Library

Originally posted to El Blogo de Weatherdudeo on Wed Sep 01, 2010 at 12:45 PM PDT.

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