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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Quoting Chucktown:


If that is something that comes from Cape Verde, it will be a lot more developed than that by the time it reaches the Caribbean. Like 1900 Hurricane says (post 303), it just may be something that forms out of the ITCZ or something monsoonal like Karl.


I know I agree about where it develops it, was just saying that it appears the system by the CV Islands develops first
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I hope a trough does not come and swing down otherwise South Florida and SW Florida better lookout
Member Since: July 12, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1133
Quoting Chucktown:


If that is something that comes from Cape Verde, it will be a lot more developed than that by the time it reaches the Caribbean. Like 1900 Hurricane says (post 303), it just may be something that forms out of the ITCZ or something monsoonal like Karl.
Beell alluded to the same thing earlier this mornin. I think he said to watch around 15N.

If it's gonna verify it should be an Area of Interest by this weekend.
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333. IKE
300 hour 12Z GFS accomplishes 2 things....(1)happy times for some Florida wishcasters and...(2)gets rid of JFV because his electricity will be lost...

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting CosmicEvents:
I have. I inquired about it last night in detail...unfortunately no response. But I asked a trained met that I know and he said that though some models are hinting at it...he doubts that it will happen. Oh, and did I say that this met is the kindest, ge..........oh, forget it.


It would be kool to see because its so rare. Nobody wants to believe itys a possibility because it would affect the forecast track.
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For those of you who are interested, Karl developed a very well defined and tight core before moving ashore. As little as another day over the jet fuel may have been the difference between a strong tropical storm and possibly a major hurricane!

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Quoting rossclick:



1.. I can put up with it now, i just -, ignore, and move on

The private postings of emails was ridiculous.. I only lurked then and didnt have an account (though i mainly lurk now too). Emails were posted, and some well respected people were almost tarnished


Oh, it was a scene man! None the less, some very good friendships were still formed in those early days. And many of us that use to not get a long so well, or play so nice together now respect each other. It's been a fun ride thus far, and I have no intentions of jumping off.

And then throw in 'Tunnels" & "WRITTEN IN STONE". I wish I could get an unmodified copy of the archives. Talk about a made for Hollywood drama... :)
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
I remember back when I joined this form 4 years ago... and the conversations would be so full of meat... I have learned so much on this forum however I have not learned much recently on the forum because of all of the problems we have with trolls... I still think there should be a private forum for just those people that pay the $10 to be able to post... others can read it just we can post to keep the conversations civil
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Quoting Prgal:


LOL, no worries. I just didnt get it :-)
I doubt if Dewey did either :)
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Quoting FLdewey:

He's the builder.
Yes we can.
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Quoting saltwaterconch:
With two major hurricanes in relative close proximity I'm surprised nobody has talked about the fujiwhara effect
I have. They're close, and forecast to get closer(900 nm). I inquired about it last night in detail...unfortunately no response. But I asked a trained met that I know and he said that though some models are hinting at it...he doubts that it will happen. Oh, and did I say that this met is the kindest, ge..........oh, forget it.
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322. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
"INDAY" has intensified into a Storm as it continues to move in a northwestward direction.

At 10:00 PM PhST, Tropical Storm Inday (Fanapi) located at 21.1°N 127.4°E or 530 km east of Basco, Batanes has 10 minute sustained winds of 35 knots with gusts of 45 knots.

Additional Information
=======================
This weather disturbance is still far to affect any part of the country.

However, the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone will continue to affect Luzon and Visayas and bring scattered rain showers and thunderstorms over these areas.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin alert to be issued at 11 AM tomorrow.
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Quoting LakelandNana:

Thank you 1900hurricane!

You're welcome. :)
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


looks to me like Lisa forms out by the CV Islands, and that the system that forms in the Caribbean is Matthew


If that is something that comes from Cape Verde, it will be a lot more developed than that by the time it reaches the Caribbean. Like 1900 Hurricane says (post 303), it just may be something that forms out of the ITCZ or something monsoonal like Karl.
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Quoting palmasdelrio:
I just read that Igor was at 155 mph last night. How is it determined that it was 155 and not 156 so that it would have been a cat 5 storm?


While that's true, the actuality is 160mph. For storms that far into the Atlantic, NHC rely a lot on Dvorak estimates. I haven't looked back, but I didn't ever see one hitting 7.0. If it did (and held it), it would have been upgraded.

It was very close, but probably just short. However, due to the margin, it is possible it could be revised in the post-storm analysis.
Member Since: August 23, 2008 Posts: 7 Comments: 5300
317. unf97
Good day everyone!

Hurricane Igor now sitting on 20 degrees latitude.
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316. Prgal
Quoting DestinJeff:


Sorry. I kind of co-op'd your post about "wannabes" and redirected the point of it to a completely disassociated topic. Namely, mine and Dewey's ongoing battle of who is Johhny and who is Ed.

Sorry, Srada started it though.


LOL, no worries. I just didnt get it :-)
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Quoting notverylikely:


I'm not the one who publicly committed to 'chasing' hurricanes. It's not my credibility on the line...


Regardless, still takes funding and they have to pick and choose. I suspect if you were willing to pay for all the trips he would be more than happy to go.
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Quoting Chucktown:
According to the 12Z GFS at 168 hrs, Lisa looks like she develops from a wave in the eastern Caribbean and not from any disturbance coming off Africa. If it was the one coming off Africa right now, there is no way it makes it to the Caribbean in 7 days.

I would tend to agree, that is what the model is saying.
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313. Prgal
Quoting PcolaDan:


A joke about FLDewey being a wannabe.


Ohh, ok. Thank you! I didnt get it when he wrote it.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Yes, it appears to be the same storm the long-range GFS is showing between runs. It's a long way out, but it'll be something to keep an eye on in a week or so to see if it develops or not.

Thank you 1900hurricane!
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Quoting notverylikely:


Not going to Bermuda for Igor or Tampico for Karl, huh??? So you guys are just thunderstorm chasers...not really hurricane chasers. Got it!!


it cost money to get to these places.
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Quoting StormJunkie:


The blog has changed...No one posts private emails any more, what used to be flat out violent attacks and other crazy drama that would make you insane has turned to, for the most part, well thought out posts of differing opinions and statements of fact. Just because it's not all peaches and cream doesn't make a bad place. I'm telling y'all, if this stuff is so disturbing you would have freaked to see the stuff that went on 4-5 years ago.



+1.. I can put up with it now, i just -, ignore, and move on

The private postings of emails was ridiculous.. I only lurked then and didnt have an account (though i mainly lurk now too). Emails were posted, and some well respected people were almost tarnished
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308. Prgal
Quoting StormJunkie:


The blog has changed...No one posts private emails any more, what used to be flat out violent attacks and other crazy drama that would make you insane has turned to, for the most part, well thought out posts of differing opinions and statements of fact. Just because it's not all peaches and cream doesn't make a bad place. I'm telling y'all, if this stuff is so disturbing you would have freaked to see the stuff that went on 4-5 years ago.


I know what you mean, I have been around since 2006. My opinion is that there is no respect. I think that people will always have differences but apparently we have forgotten the meaning of the word "tolerance" in this blog. And yeah, it bothers me a bit.
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Quoting Prgal:


I am still waiting for your answer. What do you mean by that?


A joke about FLDewey being a wannabe.
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Quoting weld:
Looks like the the season has peaked with eleven storms. Possibly have one or two more. The season looks to be slightly above average at best. This will give insurance companies a reason to raise rate like they need one.


Thats a bold statement saying only one or two more storms... Especially with models hinting at a couple storms in the next 2 weeks.
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Quoting Chucktown:
According to the 12Z GFS at 168 hrs, Lisa looks like she develops from a wave in the eastern Caribbean and not from any disturbance coming off Africa. If it was the one coming off Africa right now, there is no way it makes it to the Caribbean in 7 days.

Maybe it's from an ITCZ disturbance like Karl?
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With two major hurricanes in relative close proximity I'm surprised nobody has talked about the fujiwhara effect
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I just read that Igor was at 155 mph last night. How is it determined that it was 155 and not 156 so that it would have been a cat 5 storm?
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Quoting Chucktown:
According to the 12Z GFS at 168 hrs, Lisa looks like she develops from a wave in the eastern Caribbean and not from any disturbance coming off Africa. If it was the one coming off Africa right now, there is no way it makes it to the Caribbean in 7 days.


looks to me like Lisa forms out by the CV Islands, and that the system that forms in the Caribbean is Matthew
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Quoting notverylikely:


Not going to Bermuda for Igor or Tampico for Karl, huh??? So you guys are just thunderstorm chasers...not really hurricane chasers. Got it!!


Fork out the cash, I'm sure they would be happy to oblige you then.
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Its amazing how track patterns develop from season to season. This year is the year of fish storms and Tampico Mexico storms. Karl will be the 3rd storm this year to hit Tampico Mexico. Also, if the GFS long range forecast is correct, soon to be Lisa may hit Tampico as well.
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Quoting LakelandNana:
Now that I have recovered from my blog wound, is it safe to repeat my original question?

The models indicate a storm near TX/LA on or near Sept.26, is that the same storm indicated yesterday on the GFS run that was near SWFL?

Yes, it appears to be the same storm the long-range GFS is showing between runs. It's a long way out, but it'll be something to keep an eye on in a week or so to see if it develops or not.
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Quoting Prgal:


I agree with you 100% and its a shame that this blog has changed so much. Well, its not really the blog, its the bloggers. I appreciate Storm's imput and will continue to read his synopsis daily. Its sad to see so many "wannabes" here.


The blog has changed...No one posts private emails any more, what used to be flat out violent attacks and other crazy drama that would make you insane has turned to, for the most part, well thought out posts of differing opinions and statements of fact. Just because it's not all peaches and cream doesn't make a bad place. I'm telling y'all, if this stuff is so disturbing you would have freaked to see the stuff that went on 4-5 years ago.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
According to the 12Z GFS at 168 hrs, Lisa looks like she develops from a wave in the eastern Caribbean and not from any disturbance coming off Africa. If it was the one coming off Africa right now, there is no way it makes it to the Caribbean in 7 days.
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286. weld
Looks like the the season has peaked with eleven storms. Possibly have one or two more. The season looks to be slightly above average at best. This will give insurance companies a reason to raise rate like they need one.
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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.