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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Good Morning All

I see the beat goes on and on and on....
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Quoting will40:


i am affriad that there are so many nut heads on here that they love to feed them makes the ignore feature useless.


Hi Will. Hope I'm not on your ignore. Haven't been on much because of the bickering. My ignore doesn't work. And I can't make a blog either. :(
Just wanted you to know glad it looks like Igor will miss the east coast. And so far so good here. And thanks.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
Is it still okay to posts GFS images here?



You'll probably be attacked for downcasting. That's what happens to Ike.
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Quoting WeatherMum:
San Diego 1858 hurricane.


I seem to remember something about a storm back in the 1930's too.
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Morning PSL...The + Posse must be working...I can see your posts now :)
LMAO Hey SJ. Been lurking all morning, not signed in. Another interesting session.
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231. srada
Quoting PcolaDan:
The infatuation with bob is at the very least, .....disturbing.
He may want to get a restraining order.


+1
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229. srada
Quoting DestinJeff:
Hey Srada, would you like to revisit your assesment of mine and Dewey's inputs to the blog?

Little less combustible. And more fun.


I will say the Sir Mix a Lot remix was actually funny..its getting there..still not a fan though
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Quoting CloudGatherer:

The caveat is that GFS is a little like economists predicting seven of the last three recessions. It does a superb job of developing storms - often, too good a job. Think of it as setting the upper boundary on the range of potential activity. It will often be the model that gives first warning of brewing trouble, but much of the trouble it predicts will never come to pass.


The key is that GFS has been pretty consistent developing this system. (multiple runs over several days). That is a pretty good indication, based on recent history, that something may, in fact, form. Ignore tracks and intensities, those will vary too much this far out. But the formation of the system seems more likely as time goes on.
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Quoting angiest:


I would think no. Assuming steering set up to move one that far north, the California Current is cold and would kill a storm trying to go there. Remnants of a hurricane are a different matter, however. I'm sure that has happened.


There has only been one storm that I know of that has affected San Diego as a hurricane: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1858_San_Diego_hurricane

However, I remember reading about a couple Tropical Depressions/Storms that affected the area. Many storms have brought rain to the area, as indicated by this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_California_hurricanes
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San Diego 1858 hurricane.

editing to add. "half my post went missing when i hit submit. Adding it back in - that's just a quick google search. I have not climbed through the files to check it. I don't have time to do that. But it's a place to start if someone wants to>"
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The infatuation with bob is at the very least, .....disturbing.
He may want to get a restraining order.
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Quoting StormJunkie:


Ok, that may be over doing it just a little...But Bob is a great forecaster, and has a met degree. His videos are very well done and informative.

You are correct. You'll have to excuse me, but I watched "The Manchurian Candidate" last night and my brain is not only washed..it's been dry-cleaned. Thus the earier tongue-in-cheek reference.
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Morning PSL...The + Posse must be working...I can see your posts now :)
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Igor is strengthening again... the raw t numbers back up to 6.4

UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 15 SEP 2010 Time : 151500 UTC
Lat : 19:40:05 N Lon : 54:58:45 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
5.9 / 951.8mb/112.4kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
5.9 6.4 6.4

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +1.4mb

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 20 km

Center Temp : +7.7C Cloud Region Temp : -69.6C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : ON

****************************************************
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
Sorry, not sure where the bold came from. I didn't intend it.
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Quoting kshipre1:
storm,

can you please give me your WU email address? thanks


Go to his blog and you will see where it says "Contact his blog's author".
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Quoting sarahjola:
wow! thanks for the info. as usual your answer is very informative and appreciated

The caveat is that GFS is a little like economists predicting seven of the last three recessions. It does a superb job of developing storms - often, too good a job. Think of it as setting the upper boundary on the range of potential activity. It will often be the model that gives first warning of brewing trouble, but much of the trouble it predicts will never come to pass.
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214. srada
Quoting OctoberToRemember:
Hi, Ike.


A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an online community. In its earliest usage, a sockpuppet was a false identity through which a member of an Internet community speaks with or about himself or herself, pretending to be a different person,[1] like a ventriloquist manipulating a hand puppet.

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Quoting tacoman:
WELL IKE IF HE DOESNT HE SHOULD ...HE MAY BE ABLE TO TEACH THOSE GUYS AT THE NHC A FEW THINGS...

Please take off your caps lock, you're yelling, thank you!
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Quoting Kristina40:


I have to agree. It's like day care for drunk people with Tourettes.


+100
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Quoting OctoberToRemember:


You see? No storm in the GOM.


Run isn't far enough along yet.
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Quoting CloudGatherer:

Please? Honestly, Storm. If you want to respond to your critics, then at least do us all the favor of mounting a defense, or some semblance of an argument. Tell us that you made a mistake; or that you do your best, but weather is complicated and unpredictable; or that you were actually right, and have been misinterpreted. I, for one, would be fascinated to read an in-depth response, particularly because your forecasts very rarely revisit past predictions that don't pan out.

But your single-word responses are growing increasingly grating - they offer no contribution to the conversation, and only condescension to your interlocutors. If you don't find it worth your while to respond, why not hold your peace, and rise above the fray entirely?
I got an idea...Read his blog and ask questions there. As for StormW you have been a great teacher & show a great deal of information with reasoning incl at numerous times on this blog and always on your blog. However and I believe this blog has come to a point where numerous people are hiding away because how shall we say......"what does it say about a person who argues with the mindless"...Anway, StormW Keep up the great work and service you provide. I appreciate you!
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
BOB is Weatherguy03. And he is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life. You can click on his name(Weatherguy03) to watch his video blog.


Ok, that may be over doing it just a little...But Bob is a great forecaster, and has a met degree. His videos are very well done and informative.

As for "trolls"...I don't understand why people make well thought out and stated comments, and yet because it is of a differing opinion; they are labeled trolls. apocalypse (or however he spells it) is a troll. Not these other posters that have the ability to observe and form their own opinion. Even the comedians aren't trolls. I think they are vital part of this community.
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Quoting leo305: Good afternoon, all. Leo, got to give you some props. As far as I can tell you were the first, and perhaps only, one to call Julia's RI correctly. Kudos.
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Hey Storm as far as I'm concerned you have paid your dues.There will all ways be someone who thinks they know a little bit more than the other.Thanks for all the info that you give us novice weather bloggers.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Long, all day vis loop, sunrise to sunset of Igor. Most of it SRSO. VERY LARGE FILE.
http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/100913_g15_igor_vis_anim.gif


That is gorgeous, thank you.
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Quoting ConsejoBelize:


Yea, we call it "Paradise Tax". This storm, however, is nothing like it could have been. I shiver to think what we would be facing had he organized a day or two earlier.

I agree - God is good. In Belize City on the coast we are just experiencing constant light to moderate rain. Not expecting much more.
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Igor is re-organizing his central core:
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Quoting headshaker:
The trolls have ruined this blog. Ultimately guys like StormW will cease to post here, why bother with the aggravation?

Thanks to all who have contributed over these years in a positive and productive manner. As for the others, get a life. Oh, and you win, I'm out. Godspeed.


I have to agree. It's like day care for drunk people with Tourettes.
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Quoting IKE:
Weatherguy03...I don't think he works for the NHC.


He would have to put up a lot of disclaimers if he did.
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thanks!
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The trolls have ruined this blog. Ultimately guys like StormW will cease to post here, why bother with the aggravation?

Thanks to all who have contributed over these years in a positive and productive manner. As for the others, get a life. Oh, and you win, I'm out. Godspeed.
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Turn off your caps lock.
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193. IKE
Weatherguy03...I don't think he works for the NHC.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
It's like a chatroom mosh-pit in here lately.


except not as funny!

Mornin Doug!
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Quoting wanabwetherman:
Would someone be so kind as to tell me if and when a hurricane has hit San Diego. Please include a link to the info. Thanks in advance!

Tropical systems rarely make it that far north. I believe it has happened a few times over 100 yrs.
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storm,

can you please give me your WU email address? thanks
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Quoting angiest:


GFS has forecast the formation of Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Igor, and Julia, as much as two weeks in advance. I do not know how many of the others it has forecast. I am not sold on any particular track, but it has been showing the formation of a storm in the Caribbean and moving into the Gulf quite frequently over the last half week.
wow! thanks for the info. as usual your answer is very informative and appreciated
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Quoting wanabwetherman:
Would someone be so kind as to tell me if and when a hurricane has hit San Diego. Please include a link to the info. Thanks in advance!


I would think no. Assuming steering set up to move one that far north, the California Current is cold and would kill a storm trying to go there. Remnants of a hurricane are a different matter, however. I'm sure that has happened.
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Quoting aislinnpaps:
What a shame that the trolls are beginning to take over the blog. They don't deserve replies, arguements or being quoted. Serious people need to just ignore them, pay them no heed and not even defend people against them. That's what they want you to do.


i am affriad that there are so many nut heads on here that they love to feed them makes the ignore feature useless.
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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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