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: 1036 - 986

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

1036. hydrus
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Did you make him mad, again?

Not exactly .... but I suspect that someone gave him [a little shot] of encouragement.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1034. BDAwx
Bermuda is around 21 square miles. I can't remember off the top of my head but Bermuda is between 15-25 miles from west to east. Our widest point from north to south is a little less than 1 mile - right on the border of Devonshire with Paget and Pembroke parishes (unless you count from north shore in Pembroke to south shore in Paget which is 2 miles. Bermuda is small. Igor is big.

Highest point on Bermuda is about 76m/230feet.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Karl won't have very much time at all to regenerate in the Bay of Campeche, it may never even get above 20N, it appears he'll take a path close to Hurricane Stan.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I looked back and it does appear that September 11, 1961 did in fact have the highest ACE.

2.335 from Betsy
6.915 from Carla
4.015 from Debbie
0.5325 from Esther

13.7975 total.


Nice findings.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It's been very consistent with the cyclogenesis of the disturbance, however the end track has varied greatly from run to run which can be anticipated considering it is 10+ days out. Just for "giggles and grins" here are the landfalls:

Here's the 12z run at 300 hours:


Now here's the 06z run at 348 hours:

Hi Miami. That 300 hour run does not look good for us. Would that be approaching through the straits?
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting aasmith26:


Want to compare that to the size of the storm? LMAO


Bermuda is 22 miles in length and 2 mile at it's widest
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:


Bermuda it this big (just looked on the map)

|-----------------------------|

Can't help you with Cantore.


LOL....+1
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Would Igor look like this, if it degraded before reaching Bermuda.....??

Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9874
I have to go to work now, take it easy everyone and share your opinions on Igor, Julia, and Karl, no matter how fishy, wishy, and too far west they are. It's a blog, you have free will to post anything on the topic.
Member Since: July 1, 2008 Posts: 13 Comments: 7416
I ahve a question for those learned in meterology on here. Clearly the season is active, and has produced multiple major hurricanes. My question deals with steering. We are now in the 2d half of the season. I live in NOLA (a multiple evacuee). Starting about now, we get dry fronts, cool fronts and cold fronts that seem to deflect any potential hurricanes in Oct and thereafter. Sure some slip through occasionally, but it seems most of our big hits are in Aug and early Sep. (Betsy, camille, Katrina, Gustav etc...) So the question is whether anyone is predicting a change in this pattern, or whether the steering going forward, at least for the northern GOM should be the same as in prior years for Oct and Nov. This is a great site by the way, with incredible information posted that you can't easily find anywhere else...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So much bickering today on the blog. If it doesn't stop I won't come to this blog anymore.

Is anyone concerned about this potential Gulf storm in 10 days. They had it hitting Mexico, then Galveston, then South Fla and it keeps jumping around. What does that mean?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Station 41044 - South Atlantic
21.5n 58.5 w

21 foot seas wind gust to 40
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aasmith26:


Want to compare that to the size of the storm? LMAO


|-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------- ...|

Well, you get the idea.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
And now I get to add another to MY list...anyone need a tissue? LOL

So, I asked earlier: what do you folks think about Levi's Tropical Tidbit? The bit about the ensemble models showing a split in Igor's forecast, basically...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1017. Ldog74
Quoting SQUAWK:


Don't think so, but I am not an expert.


The way I understood it was that the worst quadrant is whichever quadrant has winds blowing in the same direction as the storm is moving. This is so because if you have a storm moving WNW at 10 mph, the ENE portion of the storm will naturally have a 10mph wind speed advantage. Also important to take note of is how the coastline is set up. Obviously winds blowing out to sea will produce less storm surge than winds blowing to the coastline.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PcolaDan:


Bermuda it this big (just looked on the map)

|-----------------------------|

Can't help you with Cantore.


Want to compare that to the size of the storm? LMAO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


sarah,
last I checked...yes.
It's been very consistent with the cyclogenesis of the disturbance, however the end track has varied greatly from run to run which can be anticipated considering it is 10 days out. Just for "giggles and grins" (as you would say :)) here are the landfalls:

Here's the 12z run at 300 hours:


Now here's the 06z run at 348 hours:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
sigh:: so the in-fighting continues today...salutations all. prayers for bermuda, and hopes they can shoot some pepper spray at igor and coax him to their EAST....

i caught a post on monday in regards to the possibility of a developing TC in the Eastern Caribbean, following a track that reminded me eerily of a storm 5 years ago from which i still have nightmares....could anyone comment as to whether or not there has been any consistency in the models trending towards this scenario? busy working all day =)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:
Quoting Krycek1984:


Just because you are respected and generally well-liked in here does not mean you can put meaningless posts down with just a number in them, when everyone else is supposed to follow the board rules. That's arrogant. And no one cares how many people you have on ignore.


Sure I can...and I really could give 2 cents


Storm, I'm not trying to be a dick Buttkis here, But I'm on your side. I'm not sure of your educational background, I just know that you seem to have been the biggest source of knowledge of tropical systems on this blog for years.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
any stom chasers headed to bermuda?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting morebeachtime:
I have 2 questions. What is the size of Bermuda and is Jim Cantore going there?? Nobody likes to see him.


Bermuda it this big (just looked on the map)

|-----------------------------|

Can't help you with Cantore.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting sunlinepr:
Lonely Bermuda..



Let's put the fan in high and push Igor far east of.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WHEW!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


LOL...it beats having a major cane making landfall. Another week off of the calendar.


Yea, well, given a choice....... option 1.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting Krycek1984:


Oooo, I'm shaking in my boots, someone put me on the ignore list on an internet weather blog for telling the truth. Let me go cry a little in the corner and try to pick up the pieces. ::rolls eyes:: Some of you people with giant ignore lists are as bad as the trolls.

Once I had so many people on my ignore list that I was staring at a blank screen;) Only kidding, I've never touched the ignore button. If people here aren't informative at times at least they're entertaining. I've been on forums where there was probably 1-2 posts an hour (or longer). BORING!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have 2 questions. What is the size of Bermuda and is Jim Cantore going there?? Nobody likes to see him.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
Mobile,AL....

LONG TERM (SATURDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY)...A WEAK FRONTAL BOUNDARY
WILL DROP SOUTH INTO THE FCST AREA AND DISSIPATE OVER THE
WEEKEND...BUT LACK OF MOISTURE AND ANY REAL DYNAMICS WILL RESULT IN
LITTLE PCPN WITH THIS FEATURE. IT WILL BRING A REINFORCEMENT TO THE
DRIER AIR MASS IN PLACE OVER THE REGION...BUT NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES
IN TEMPERATURES EXPECTED. IF ANYTHING...AFTERNOON TEMPS MAY BE EVEN
WARMER THAN CURRENTLY ADVERTISED FOR EARLY NEXT WEEK AS LARGE UPPER
RIDGE BUILDS OVER THE REGION...PROVIDING COMPRESSIONAL HEATING AND
VERY LITTLE IN THE WAY OF CLOUDS/PCPN.
FOR NOW...WILL CALL FOR OVERNIGHT
LOWS IN THE LONG TERM PERIOD TO RANGE FROM THE MID/UPPER 60S OVER THE
INTERIOR...AND LOWER 70S CLOSER TO THE COAST.


Thanks IKE. Don't anticipate Grand Bay being any more comfortable yet either.
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
999. IKE
Quoting PcolaDan:


I now officially hate you again. :)


LOL...it beats having a major cane making landfall. Another week off of the calendar.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Igor is out of his cage, convection wise. It's been since hurricane Ike back in 2008, that I've seen one this impressive, visually.

Right now he's changing his clothes for the next act.

I have my new boogie board and short fins ready. If I'm not heard from again, I'll be in the belly of the beast.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
997. flsky
81
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey Storm....just wondering...i went on a little rant (sorta) last season....did I make your ignore list? Hoping not..hoping not..hoping not..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
Mobile,AL....

LONG TERM (SATURDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY)...A WEAK FRONTAL BOUNDARY
WILL DROP SOUTH INTO THE FCST AREA AND DISSIPATE OVER THE
WEEKEND...BUT LACK OF MOISTURE AND ANY REAL DYNAMICS WILL RESULT IN
LITTLE PCPN WITH THIS FEATURE. IT WILL BRING A REINFORCEMENT TO THE
DRIER AIR MASS IN PLACE OVER THE REGION...BUT NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES
IN TEMPERATURES EXPECTED. IF ANYTHING...AFTERNOON TEMPS MAY BE EVEN
WARMER THAN CURRENTLY ADVERTISED FOR EARLY NEXT WEEK AS LARGE UPPER
RIDGE BUILDS OVER THE REGION...PROVIDING COMPRESSIONAL HEATING AND
VERY LITTLE IN THE WAY OF CLOUDS/PCPN.
FOR NOW...WILL CALL FOR OVERNIGHT
LOWS IN THE LONG TERM PERIOD TO RANGE FROM THE MID/UPPER 60S OVER THE
INTERIOR...AND LOWER 70S CLOSER TO THE COAST.


I now officially hate you again. :)
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting asgolfr999:



Errr...see edit


I did after I posted. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SQUAWK:


Don't think so, but I am not an expert.



Errr...see edit
Member Since: August 18, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 314
on that 2045 frame it moved wnw
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Mainly trying to figure whether seasons like 1916 and 1926 - with high storm totals for their eras - and how that goes with the (likely primitive) ENSO data. Whether it was Nina, Nino, how strong etc.

If anyone knew and would be so nice to share.

(Onto the previous topic, my ignore list is actually zero...)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
StormW, you make me smile and laugh out loud!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1036 - 986

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.

Local Weather

Light Rain
52 °F
Light Rain Mist