Karl hits the Yucatan; two simultaneous Cat 4s in the Atlantic for 2nd time in history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:37 PM GMT on September 15, 2010

Share this Blog
5
+

The Atlantic hurricane season of 2010 kicked into high gear this morning, with the landfall of Tropical Storm Karl in Mexico, and the simultaneous presence of two Category 4 hurricanes in the Atlantic, Igor and Julia. Tropical Storm Karl's formation yesterday marked the fifth earliest date that an eleventh named storm of the season has formed. The only years more active this early in the season were 2005, 1995, 1936 and 1933. This morning's unexpected intensification of Hurricane Julia into a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds has set a new record--Julia is now the strongest hurricane on record so far east. When one considers that earlier this year, Hurricane Earl became the fourth strongest hurricane so far north, it appears that this year's record SSTs have significantly expanded the area over which major hurricanes can exist over the Atlantic. This morning is just the second time in recorded history that two simultaneous Category 4 or stronger storms have occurred in the Atlantic. The only other occurrence was on 06 UTC September 16, 1926, when the Great Miami Hurricane and Hurricane Four were both Category 4 storms for a six-hour period. The were also two years, 1999 and 1958, when we missed having two simultaneous Category 4 hurricanes by six hours. Julia's ascension to Category 4 status makes it the 4th Category 4 storm of the year. Only two other seasons have had as many as five Category 4 or stronger storms (2005 and 1999), so 2010 ranks in 3rd place in this statistic. This year is also the earliest a fourth Category 4 or stronger storm has formed (though the fourth Category 4 of 1999, Hurricane Gert, formed just 3 hours later on today's date in 1999.) We've also had four Cat 4+ storms in just twenty days, which beats the previous record for shortest time span for four Cat 4+ storms to appear. The previous record was 1999, 24 days (thanks to Phil Klozbach of CSU for this stat.)


Figure 1. A rare double feature: two simultaneous Category 4 hurricanes in the Atlantic, for only the second time in recorded history.

Karl
Tropical Storm Karl made landfall as a strong tropical storm with 65 mph winds and a central pressure of 991 mb at 8:45am EDT this morning on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, just north of the Belize border. Karl took advantage of nearly ideal conditions for intensification, and in just fifteen hours intensified from a tropical disturbance to a strong tropical storm with 65 mph winds. Had Karl managed to get its act together just one day earlier, it could have been a major hurricane at landfall this morning. Fortunately, Karl has a relatively small area of strong winds--tropical storm force winds extend out just 45 miles from the center of the storm, and wind damage is not the main concern. Heavy rains are the main concern, and Belize radar shows heavy rain bands from Karl spreading ashore over northern Belize near the border with Mexico. Cancun radar shows that heavy rains are relatively limited, though, near the tourist havens of Cancun and Cozumel.


Figure 2. Radar image of Karl at landfall this morning near the northern Belize/Mexican border. Image credit: Belize National Meteorological Service.

Forecast for Karl
Karl will traverse the Yucatan Peninsula today and emerge into the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche Thursday morning as a much weakened tropical storm, with perhaps 40 - 45 mph top winds. Once in the Gulf, conditions for intensification are ideal, with wind shear is expected to be low, 5 - 10 knots, SSTs will be warm, 29°C - 30°C, and the atmosphere very moist. These conditions, combined with the topography of the surrounding coast which tends to enhance counter-clockwise flow, should allow Karl to intensify into a strong tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall between Tampico and Vercruz, Mexico on Saturday morning. However, since Karl is a small storm, it is possible that passage over the Yucatan will disrupt the storm enough so that it will be much weaker. The ridge of high pressure steering Karl westwards is quite strong, and it is very unlikely that the storm will turn northwest and hit Texas. NHC is giving Brownsville, Texas, an 10% chance of receiving tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph.

Igor
Hurricane Igor put on a burst of intensification last night to put it at its strongest yet, a top-end Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds. Igor has weakened slightly this morning, but remains a formidable presence in the Central Atlantic with its 145 mph winds. Igor continues to show the classic appearance of a major hurricane on satellite imagery, with a well-formed eye, symmetrical cloud pattern, plenty of low-level spiral bands, and solid upper-level outflow on all sides.


Figure 3. Hurricane Igor as captured at 18 UTC Tuesday September 14, 2010, from the International Space Station. Image credit: Douglas Wheelock, NASA.

Intensity forecast for Igor
Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is expected to remain low for the next 2 - 3 days. Waters are warm, 29°C, and will remain 29°C for the next 2 - 3 days. Igor is well armored against any intrusions of dry air for at least the next three days. These conditions should allow Igor to remain at major hurricane status for the next three days. The hurricane will probably undergo one of the usual eyewall replacement cycles intense hurricanes commonly have, where the eyewall collapses and a new eyewall forms from an outer spiral band. This will weaken the hurricane by 10 - 20 mph when it occurs, and may be responsible for the 10 mph weakening Igor experienced early this morning. Igor may regain its lost intensity over the next 36 hours. By Saturday morning, 36 hours before the core of Igor is expected to pass Bermuda's latitude, the trough of low pressure steering Igor northwestwards should bring moderate wind shear of 10 - 20 knots to the storm, weakening it. The SHIPS models predicts shear will rise to the high range, 20 - 30 knots, during the final 24 hours of the storm's approach to Bermuda. Igor will also be tracking over cooler 28°C waters during this period, and substantial weakening by perhaps 20 - 30 mph can be expected. Igor will still probably be at least a Category 2 hurricane on its closest pass by Bermuda on Sunday. NHC is giving Bermuda a 13% chance of experiencing hurricane force winds from Igor, but this probability is likely too low. The Bermuda Weather Service is calling for Category 1 or 2 hurricane conditions for the island on Sunday, with 20 - 25 foot waves in the offshore waters.

Track forecast for Igor
The track forecast for Igor remains unchanged. Igor has made its long-anticipated turn to the west-northwest, in response to the steering influence of a broad trough of low pressure moving across the Western Atlantic. This trough will steer Igor several hundred miles to the northeast of the Lesser Antilles, and high waves should be the only impact of Igor on the islands. Igor appears likely to be a threat to Bermuda, and that island can expect tropical storm force winds as early as Saturday. Igor will be moving at about 12 - 15 mph as it approaches Bermuda. Tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph will probably extend out about 250 miles to the north of Igor on Saturday, so Bermuda can expect 18 hours of tropical storm force winds before the core of Igor makes its closest pass. In all, Bermuda is likely to experience a very long pounding of 24 - 36 hours with winds in excess of tropical storm force.

The models have been in substantial agreement over multiple runs that Igor will miss the U.S. East Coast, and the danger to the U.S. will probably only come in the form of high waves. Large swells from Igor have arrived in the Northern Lesser Antilles Islands, and will spread westwards over the next few days, reaching the U.S. East Coast on Friday. By Saturday, much of the East Coast from northern Florida to Cape Cod Massachusetts can expect waves of 3 - 4 meters (10 - 13 feet), causing dangerous rip currents and significant beach erosion. These waves will continue through Sunday then gradually die down. The latest NOAA marine forecast for Cape Hatteras, North Carolina calls for 8 - 10 foot waves on Saturday, and 9 - 12 foot waves on Sunday.

Igor may pass very close to Newfoundland, Canada, but it is too early too assess the likelihood of this happening.

Julia
Hurricane Julia put on a remarkable and unexpected burst of intensification this morning to become the season's fourth Category 4 storm. Julia's 135 mph winds make it the strongest hurricane on record so far east; the previous record was held by the eighth storm of 1926 which was only a 120 mph Category 3 hurricane at Julia's current longitude. Julia's intensification was a surprise, since SSTs in the region are about 27.5°C, which is just 1°C above the threshold needed to sustain a Category 1 hurricane. Julia is headed northwest, out to sea, and it is unlikely that this storm will trouble any land areas. SSTs will steadily cool to 26.5°C today, and further intensification today is unlikely. Shear will be moderate, 10 - 20 knots, over Julia during the next two days, then rise sharply to 30 knots 3 - 5 days from now, as Julia moves within 1000 miles of Igor and begins to experience strong northwesterly winds from her big brother's upper level outflow. This should substantially weaken Julia.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The GFS and ECMWF models develop a new tropical depression a few hundred miles off the coast of Africa 3 - 6 days from now. The GFS also develops a tropical depression in the eastern Caribbean 6 - 7 days from now.

Portlight's 2-year anniversary
On September 14, 2008, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ike on Texas and Louisiana moved members of the wunderground community to put into action their own impromptu relief effort. From this humble beginning has grown a disaster-relief charity I have been proud to support--Portlight.org. We've been blessed this hurricane season with relatively few landfalling storms, so Portlight's new disaster relief trailer (Figure 4), financed with a $21,500 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, has yet to be deployed. With five weeks of peak hurricane season still to come, the new trailer may yet get a call to action. The mobile kitchen in the trailer will be able to feed several hundred people per day, and the trailer is equipped with portable ramps to help with shelter accessibility, as well as durable medical equipment to facilitate mobility and independence for survivors. The trailer is mobile, and Portlight is willing to load it up and fly it to Bermuda, if Igor ends up making a mess there!

The lack of landfalling storms has allowed Portlight to continue to concentrate their efforts on Haiti, where their assistance has been a tremendous boost for those most in need, the disabled. Portlight is working on constructing steel shelters out of shipping containers for homeless Haitians, as detailed in the Haitian Relief Recap blog post. Please visit the Portlight.org web site or the Portlight blog to learn more and donate. A few other items of note:

Portlight has been able to facilitate providing assistance to people with disabilities in Pakistan, where the worst natural disaster in their history has left 4 million homeless. While not directly involved in delivering relief, Portlight has been able to connect local Disabled People's Organizations with important sources of food, water, filtration systems, and medical equipment.

ABC News4 in Charleston broadcast a story about the Portlight relief trailer, and Portlight has also been featured on the Pacifica Radio Network.

Portlight launched a quarterly newsletter, The Portlight View, which can be seen on the newly redesigned website.


Figure 4. The new Portlight disaster relief trailer, funded by their $21,500 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation.

I'll have an update Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 2836 - 2786

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66Blog Index

2836. vince1
According to my calculations based on current locations, the storms are 1331 miles apart.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Igor:

5:00 AM AST Thu Sep 16
Location: 20.5°N 56.8°W
Max sustained: 145 mph
Moving: WNW at 7 mph
Min pressure: 929 mb

Julia:
5:00 AM AST Thu Sep 16
Location: 21.2°N 36.2°W
Max sustained: 105 mph
Moving: NW at 18 mph
Min pressure: 970 mb

Karl:
4:00 AM CDT Thu Sep 16
Location: 19.8°N 91.6°W
Max sustained: 50 mph
Moving: WNW at 13 mph
Min pressure: 1000 mb
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
Quoting CalTex:
2824. OracleDeAtlantis 8:42 AM GMT on September 16, 2010

Uh, I admit I'm new at this, but the 5AM advisory has Julia's location as 21.2N 36.2W, which agrees with the latest water vapor image I have. To get to 24N 40W (about 310NM) at 18 MPH will take her 16.72 hours, just about on schedule with the guidances at 11PM yesterday and the new one at 5AM.


That's not what I'm seeing. She's hooking faster west. If it's even six hours difference, the models will be completely different than they are now. But how, I have no idea.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CalTex:
I myself have no clue on what the results of the models are telling me, but is it bad for the gulf coast?


No, not anything now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2832. CalTex
2821. Herbertsbox 8:26 AM GMT on September 16, 2010

Your links aren't working, at least for me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:

I have no idea, but at best she's at least six hours ahead, and this is only if she slows down, which doesn't appear to be happening.
I don't know if she'll have any effect on Igor, but it's clear the models aren't allowing for the Fujiwhara effect, which may be occurring.


Within 900 miles, I think, which is looking reasonable. Plus, she seems to be starting to try to catch up to him now...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2830. CalTex
I myself have no clue on what the results of the models are telling me, but is it bad for the gulf coast?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2829. CalTex
2824. OracleDeAtlantis 8:42 AM GMT on September 16, 2010

Uh, I admit I'm new at this, but the 5AM advisory has Julia's location as 21.2N 36.2W, which agrees with the latest water vapor image I have. To get to 24N 40W (about 310NM) at 18 MPH will take her 16.72 hours, just about on schedule with the guidances at 11PM yesterday and the new one at 5AM.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
GFS 240 Link


ECMWF 240 Link


CMC 216



CMC 240



Can't tell where the CMC's originate at. But once again similarities with the models.


Ugh, I know. Both Storm and Levi have thrown that out for consideration.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NOLA2005:
Oracle, then what's the prognosis?

I have no idea, but at best she's at least six hours ahead, and this is only if she slows down, which doesn't appear to be happening.
I don't know if she'll have any effect on Igor, but it's clear the models aren't allowing for the Fujiwhara effect, which may be occurring.

If you think about it, they're probably incapable of doing that calculation very well, due to the many factors involved. This is not Earl and Fiona we are talking about. This is a much larger amount of energy.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oracle, then what's the prognosis?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GFS 240 Link


ECMWF 240 Link


CMC 216



CMC 240



Can't tell where the CMC's originate at. But once again similarities with the models.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Since this WV image is about an hour old, Julia will reach 40W between 10-12 hours ahead of schedule, according to the 11 PM NHC advisory.

That's no small difference folks




[Link]
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Herbertsbox:
This...
Link

This...

Link



HB - links don't work. Goes to NHC page not found.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Found this incredible loop of Igor: Link
Not recommended for slow connections.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This...
Link

This...

Link

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
All you have to do is look at the forecast track for Julia from 11 PM. She's not supposed to reach 40W until tomorrow night around 8 PM, and she'll be there 10 hours ahead of schedule at her current rate of speed. That is going to throw off these models, but how I have no idea. She is being sucked in towards Igor much faster than predicted.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I knew someone would mention the F-word! ;)
Been wondering about that too....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2818. CalTex
2817. OracleDeAtlantis 7:59 AM GMT on September 16, 2010

Hmmm, you and I may get minused for this, but watching the 72 hour loop, it sort of looks like Julia is starting to rotate "around" Igor. Probably just a fluke from the normal steering, which I don't understand.

xcool can you please help clarify?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It looks like Julia is coming in a little to the left of her latest forecast track. Is anyone else paying attention to this? Not to mention the acceleration, which appears well beyond what the models were predicting.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:

MODEL DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
235 AM EDT THU SEP 16 2010

...TROPICAL STORM KARL...

CONSULT LATEST TPC/NHC ADVISORIES AND DISCUSSIONS FOR FURTHER INFO
REGARDING T.S. KARL. NOTE THAT THE 00Z NAM SHOWS ONE OF THE MORE
SIGNIFICANT DEVIATIONS FROM REMAINING SOLNS AND THE TPC/NHC TRACK
FROM THE 03Z ADVISORY... TRACKING SLOWER AND NWD VERSUS THE
OFFICIAL FCST. GFS DEVIATIONS ALSO BECOME SIGNIFICANT AS BY FRI
IT STOPS MOVING THE SFC SYSTEM WWD IN CONTRAST TO THE CONTINUED
PROGRESSION DEPICTED IN THE TPC/NHC ADVISORY.


Hmmmm?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting carlos1993:
When was the last time Bermuda was affected by a major Hurricane?


2003:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xcool:


Something to keep an eye on gom & here come new storms PGI45L


Finally back again. 364 days a year my brats don't know I'm alive. Now the 20yo wants to dish when she comes in at 2 in the morning! SmileyCentral.com I'm just old.

Anyway, back to weather. Haven't slowed down enough to tell what the EURO is showing on that model run but I hope it doesn't deepen and that they don't hold on to that position as doggedly as they have to Karl's.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hi FL99!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2812. xcool
AL, 13, 2010091606, , BEST, 0, 197N, 912W, 45, 1000, TS, 34, NEQ, 15, 15, 60, 50, 1009, 120, 10, 0, 0, L
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
When was the last time Bermuda was affected by a major Hurricane?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting flasooner:


I'd like to add that Southeast Florida just experienced its second-coldest winter on record followed immediately (no spring this year) by its second-hottest summer on record.


Snow on the ground in city of nola 2 out of the last 5 yrs, and in metro area 3 of last 5 yrs. But this summer has been brutally hot.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2809. jonelu
Ok...so hes not stalled. I was at work...but it looks like a EWR cycle and NHC shows a slow down in their track. Models closer together and poor Bermuda looks in trouble. :-(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
By today, this season total ACE will go above 100.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Man, earlier this evening, Igor looked like he swallowed the moistue from all over the Atlantic, he put on waaay too many pounds, and now he looks like he's working it off... he could probably restrengthen, now that the eyewall replacement has finished, but not as epically as last time. And... he's been moving rather west-ish for the past while...

And Julia is weakening just as fast as she intensifyed... and now she looks like a tropical storm, maybe that's why Igor's so fat - he's eating his little sister. =P Gnarly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Gosh this thing "Igor" is getting big. It's expanding exponentially, almost.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2805. xcool
Julia, need dr
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Poor Julia, she looks in pretty bad shape as she moves over cooler waters.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2803. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Screwed up. Overwrote comment2852 on top of this earlier one.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
I'll post this now because A) it's interesting, and B) while it's not directly related to tropical weather, Dr. Masters will very likely cover it in tomorrow's blog entry.

NOAA today released their State of the Climate Global Analysis for August; among the highlights:

  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for August 2010 was the third warmest on record.
  • . . .


I'd like to add that Southeast Florida just experienced its second-coldest winter on record followed immediately (no spring this year) by its second-hottest summer on record.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2800. CalTex
2797. shakaka 7:16 AM GMT on September 16, 2010

I think Igor's eye has been at about the same latitude for much of the day (just north of 20N). But the waters are warmer on his southern side and the convection has been stronger there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2799. jonelu
Oh lord...is he stalling?....not alot of motion. I hope the whole ridge building behind theory doesnt come to fruition and send him NW
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2798. JLPR2
Well I'm off to bed, night all!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2797. shakaka
looks like the new eye formed quite a bit further north than where it had been for the past few hours
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2796. ackee
ECMWF Devlops PG145L same way devlop KARL in the westrn Carrbean while GFS devlops it in eastern carribean well base o fact eastern carrbean like a dead Zone most time when it comes storms formation I think Ecmwf may end up being right guess we see

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2795. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
2794. CalTex
The night shift is so restful. I can also keep up without having to sort through all the sniping. I use "show all" because you never know what lurker will come up with a gem...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2792. JLPR2
AL, 11, 2010091606, , BEST, 0, 203N, 565W, 125, 929, HU,

up to 144mph!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cheetaking:
Igor's really starting to re-fire the convection now: it's not only back to being fully-wrapped around the eye, it's a continuous line of pink.


It looks like it's about to swallow everything north of Martinique...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2790. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
It's amazing to me how strong Igor is, considering the proximity to the wake of Earl. That water is just blistering hot out there.

I also would love to see Igor absorb Julia. It would be so romantic.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2788. CalTex
2770. BreadandCircuses 6:48 AM GMT on September 16, 2010

Thanks. That is really great. The one thing I noticed is how good Julia looks at the end of that loop, and Karl appears to be exploding...dum da dum dum...look out Mexico.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2787. JLPR2
Quoting CalTex:
2735. JLPR2 6:29 AM GMT on September 16, 2010

Actually, you're right. I looked at the other loop and in 5 hours he hardly moved at all. It just looks like his SW tail is closer to the islands, but that can be deceptive I know.

What does this mean? Is he ready to give up the fight and turn or is he gearing up for another round?


We will have to wait and see what direction it ends up heading to, but with that trof closing in I hope it turn to the NW, sorry Bermuda! :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Igor's really starting to re-fire the convection now: it's not only back to being fully-wrapped around the eye, it's a continuous line of pink.



Also, it's currently sitting directly on top of the warmest-TCHP waters it will encounter during its entire lifespan. So it could be a very interesting day if that humongous outer eyewall can finish clearing out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 2836 - 2786

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.