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

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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

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Julia needs some serious help after Tuesday's explosiveness. She can only watch w/ envy as Igor & Karl thrive. too bad so sad
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 6939
Quoting hydrus:
You had 65kts of wind for 30 minutes...Can you tell me from what direction? My guess is out of the east.
Correct...eye was just north of us...
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3234. angiest
Quoting watercayman:
Looks like 00 & 06Z GFS have dropped that Carib storm for end of next week. Is that what I'm seeing? (or is that wishful thinking on my part?)


No I still see one. It bounces off of Central America and then heads up toward the AL/FL coast.
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3233. tacoman
angiest very good observation thats exactly what the high did...mexico is in the cross fires ...pray for those poor women and children they will need it.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
Looks like our little boy karls growing up to be a man,eye becoming apparent on sat,,...
Second that.
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 6939
Looks like our little boy karls growing up to be a man,eye becoming apparent on sat,,...
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The Igoreye - looking very circular & clearing out:

Link
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 6939
3228. hydrus
Quoting FloatingCity:
40 miles north of Cuidad del Carmen
You had 65kts of wind for 30 minutes...Can you tell me from what direction? My guess is out of the east.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21744
Looks like 00 & 06Z GFS have dropped that Carib storm for end of next week. Is that what I'm seeing? (or is that wishful thinking on my part?)
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Quoting kajunn66:


Another Ex-Lurker here. I have been enjoying and relying on this blog for years now. Stormw and several others are a great resource for Tropical Weather. They can give insight and info that the NHC can't provide due to political BS. Storm I hope you stay, you will be missed by many.


Couldn't have said it better myself. EXACTLY what I was about to post.
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Unlike Julia, at least Karl's got his head on straight
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 6939
3224. Prgal
Quoting tacoman:
well if anyone is interested bob weatherguy03 is the best when it comes to hurricane information...he is a good man and he tells it like it is...so no need to worry bob is here to stay even when the going gets tough...bob wont run and hide he will give you all the info you need to stay safe...im so glad we have bob...


Please dont start.
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3222. angiest
Steering just updated:


Looks like the Gulf high may have strengthened and backed to the west.

Note that this steering layer is not appropriate for Igor!
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3221. hydrus
Quoting islander101010:
couple days ago gfs had karl in the s boc not moving about ten yrs ago a cyclone got in there got stuck for almost a wk made life miserable for those folks
Roxanne did a number on them in 95 too.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21744
3220. Vero1
.
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Quoting hydrus:
Where exactly are you located?
40 miles north of Cuidad del Carmen
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3218. hydrus
Quoting FloatingCity:
As i stated earlier, we had 65kts for 30 minutes @0430h...actually on the surface as thats where we are located.
Where exactly are you located?
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21744
Quoting scott39:
Maybe Karl slowing down and strengthing faster than forecasted, has something to do with It. IMO
couple days ago gfs had karl in the s boc not moving about ten yrs ago a cyclone got in there got stuck for almost a wk made life miserable for those folks
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3215. hydrus
Quoting tacoman:
let me be perfectly clear guys karl will not recurve back into the gom...a huge very strong high pressure is over the nand nw gom and is going to keep karl well south of the northern gom and texas coast...mexico is in for a rude awakening this storm will be approaching cat 3 status when it slams into mexico between veracruz and tampico..this is a very dangerous life threatening situation for mexico and they should start to take precautions ASAP..the high is going to protect the gulf coast from getting this very strong storm..i would not be surprised to see karl a strong 3 when it hits mexico late friday or saturday...nothing for texas or any part of the gom to worry about this ...we are in the clear gang...
I agree....This is some serious business headed there way....
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21744
Quoting cat5hurricane:
agreed
As i stated earlier, we had 65kts for 30 minutes @0430h...actually on the surface as thats where we are located.
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TROPICAL STORM KARL SPECIAL ADVISORY NUMBER 8
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL132010
730 AM CDT THU SEP 16 2010

...HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT FINDS KARL STRONGER AND SOUTH OF THE
PREVIOUS FORECAST TRACK...


SUMMARY OF 730 AM CDT...1230 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...19.7N 92.2W
ABOUT 110 MI...180 KM W OF CAMPECHE MEXICO
ABOUT 350 MI...560 KM ESE OF TUXPAN MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH...100 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 285 DEGREES AT 9 MPH...15 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...987 MB...29.15 INCHES
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StormW, if you do decide to go please add me as well to the list, this blog will definitely be the lesser... Appreciate you Chief :-)
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Quoting NOLAKat:
So, I just discovered that Storm W is leaving. WTH? I am having difficulty putting into words the disappointment, anger, and frustration that the "trolls" have caused the blog this year. I feel as though it has been a struggle since the begining of this season, and I'm not sure why this year they have been so plentiful. Storm- I don't blame you for leaving. I'm sure many will follow shortly, myself included. However, I have no idea where to get good reliable information now as I have relied on this site/blog for years. I know that there will be more storms to track shortly, and I won't know who's info to trust. I'm am so saddened by all of this.
Quoting naplesdoppler:


Ok, I had to come out of lurk mode for this one, I never comment but this couldn't be ignored. Storm your knowledge is greatly appreciated here and it will be a real loss to many of us if this is true. You are the one we turn to for reliable information, please ignore these jerks who give you a hard time, they obviously are lacking in other areas. Hope we get to see you around still.


Another Ex-Lurker here. I have been enjoying and relying on this blog for years now. Stormw and several others are a great resource for Tropical Weather. They can give insight and info that the NHC can't provide due to political BS. Storm I hope you stay, you will be missed by many.
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Quoting stillwaiting:
....61kts surface winds,should be a cane by 5pm,maybe right to cat Status by the imo
agreed
Member Since: August 17, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 6939
3206. angiest
Karl may just gain a little more latitude at this strength. Still probably south of the border, though.
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Port of Track





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3204. hydrus
I am thankful Karl is not heading north...Just look at all of that moisture and warm water it would be moving into...A Cat-5 would have been a real possibility.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21744
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Recon suggest that Karl's either very close to hurricane status or already is one.
....61kts surface winds,should be a cane by 5pm,maybe right to cat Status by the imo
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Plus 1, Liked the hand clap and the point of the post :-)
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3200. Bonedog
THIS SPECIAL
ADVISORY IS BEING ISSUED TO SHIFT THE FIRST 36-48 HR OF THE
FORECAST TRACK SOUTHWARD AND TO SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE THE
INTENSITY FORECAST.


duhdum.... duhdum.... duhdum.... dunnnannaa!! dumdumdudmudm.....


BOC. You go inside the BOC?

Karl goes in the water, BOC is the water. TCHP in the water. BOC TCHP.

Farewell and adieu to you, fair Mexican ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Mexico. For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston. And so nevermore shall we see you again.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 7418
Quoting P451:



Very bottom of the page. CONTACT link or SUPPORT link should get you there.


Tnanks
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3198. XLR8
Quoting pottery:
Good Morning all.
This Blog is a valuable, informative place to find Real Time weather information.
This Blog is a place to find Good Information, Explanations, and Forecasts on current weather patterns and systems.
This Blog is frequented by all manner of people, from rank amateurs like me, to Specialists in the Science of Meteorology.

I cannot for the life of me understand why it is, that people here get so completely Frazzled and Worked-up, when the occasional post is critical of them, off topic, humourous or sarcastic.

Do we expect ONLY the constant posting of Images and Graphs and CORRECT INFORMATION all the time?
Apart from being boring, dull, and mundane, that would be impossible.

The fact that there are people who enter this room to create trouble is perfectly understandable.
The fact that WE the Members (paying or not) encourage them in many ways ,(by our attitude and responses to them mostly) is THE PROBLEM.

I do hope that as a Community, we can see-off the Stupidness of the last few days...........


Amen!! +100
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3197. scott39
Quoting FSUCOOPman:
What is going on with several models recurving Karl back into the BOC? Last night 18z Ukmet had some weird loop back into the GOM, and now I see a couple more sending him right back into the BOC. I asked this last night and no one seemed to think it's possible, but the models have to be grabbing onto something, right? That makes the Ukmet, GFDL\NGFDL, and HWRF that have all picked up on this in the past 12 hours or so.

Link
Maybe Karl slowing down and strengthing faster than forecasted, has something to do with It. IMO
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Quoting pottery:


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Morning Pottery; eloquent and accurate as always...
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Moving NE...
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Pottery, you echo my sentiments exactly with one exception. While the community at large is responsible for the actions of those that reside within, this place does have admins, and they should have employed the ban hammer hard and fast. I'm sorry, but there is no other way to keep things civil. I'm done. Have a good day all.
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For me It's all a matter of adjusting our alarms to be less sensitive..... Ignore bad posts, consider good ones, do your research, learn from those with experience, teach those who are new, and enjoy the blog.....
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What is going on with several models recurving Karl back into the BOC? Last night 18z Ukmet had some weird loop back into the GOM, and now I see a couple more sending him right back into the BOC. I asked this last night and no one seemed to think it's possible, but the models have to be grabbing onto something, right? That makes the Ukmet, GFDL\NGFDL, and HWRF that have all picked up on this in the past 12 hours or so.

Link
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3186. scott39
p451- Kool Loop
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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