Karl makes landfall near Veracruz; Igor slightly weaker

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:29 PM GMT on September 17, 2010

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Hurricane Karl made landfall on the Mexican coast ten miles north of Veracruz at 1pm EDT today as a Category 3 hurricane with 115 mph winds. Veracruz was on the weak (left) side of Karl's eyewall, and did not receive hurricane force winds, except perhaps at the extreme northern edge of the city. Winds at the Veracruz Airport, located on the west side of the city, peaked at sustained speeds of 46 mph, gusting to 58 mph, at 11:54am local time. Radar out of Alvarado shows that Karl has kept its eyewall intact well inland, even as the storm moves into the high mountains east of Mexico City. Karl was the first major hurricane on record in the Bay of Campeche--the region of the Gulf of Mexico bounded by the Yucatan Peninsula on the east. There were two other major hurricanes that grazed the northern edge of the Bay of Campeche, Hurricane Hilda of 1955 and Hurricane Charley of 1951, but Karl is by far the farthest south a major hurricane has been in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane records go back to 1851, but Karl is a small storm and could have gotten missed as being a major hurricane before the age of aircraft reconnaissance (1945).


Figure 1. Tracks of all major hurricanes since 1851 near Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Karl is most southerly storm on record in the Gulf of Mexico. Image credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center.

With Karl's ascension to major hurricane status, we are now ahead of the pace of the terrible hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 for number of major hurricanes so early in the year. In 2005, the fifth major hurricane (Rita) did not occur until September 21, and in 2004, the fifth major hurricane (Karl) arrived on September 19. Wunderblogger Cotillion has put together a nice page showing all the seasons with five or more major hurricanes. The last time we had five major hurricanes earlier in the season was in 1961, when the fifth major hurricane (Esther) arrived on September 13. This morning we continue to have three simultaneous hurricanes, Hurricanes Igor, Julia, and Karl. This is a rare phenomena, having occurred only eight previous years since 1851. The last time we had three simultaneous hurricanes in the Atlantic was in 1998. That year also had four simultaneous hurricanes--Georges, Ivan, Jeanne and Karl--for a brief time on September 25. There has been just one other case of four simultaneous Atlantic hurricanes, on August 22, 1893. The year 2005 came within six hours of having three hurricanes at the same time, but the official data base constructed after the season was over indicates that the three hurricanes did not exist simultaneously.

Also remarkable this year is that are seeing major hurricanes in rare or unprecedented locations. Julia was the strongest hurricane on record so far east, Karl was the strongest hurricane so far south in the Gulf of Mexico, and Earl was the 4th strongest Atlantic hurricane so far north. This unusual major hurricane activity is likely due, in part, to the record Atlantic sea surface temperatures this year.


Figure 2. Hurricane Karl as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite at 12:20 pm CDT on Thursday, September 16, 2010. Image credit: NASA.


Figure 3. Radar image of Karl at landfall in Mexico. Image credit: Mexican Weather Service.

Impact of Karl on Mexico
Given that the Bay of Campeche coast has never experienced a hurricane as strong as Karl, its impact is likely to cause major damage to a 50-mile wide coastal area beginning ten miles north of Veracruz. Fortunately, the coast is not heavily populated there, and is not particularly low-lying, so the 12 - 15 foot storm surge will not be the major concern from Karl. The main concern will be flooding from Karl's torrential rains. The region has been hit by three Category 2 hurricanes over the past 55 years, and two of these storms caused flooding that killed hundreds. The strongest hurricanes in history to affect the region were Item in 1950, with 110 mph winds, Janet in 1955, with 100 mph winds, and Diana of 1990, with 100 mph winds. Flooding from Janet killed over 800 people in Mexico. and flooding from Diana killed at least 139 people. Karl's high winds are also a major concern, and these winds are likely to extensive damage.

Igor
The Hurricane Hunters just left Hurricane Igor, and found that the hurricane has continued to slowly weaken. On their last pass through the eye of Igor at 1:49 pm EDT, an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft found a central pressure of 947 mb. The eyewall was missing a chunk on its southwest side. Top winds at the surface as seen by their SFMR instrument were barely Category 1 strength, 76 mph, though the aircraft did see 117 mph winds at 10,000 feet, which suggests the surface winds were probably of Category 2 strength, 105 mph.


Figure 4. Hurricane Igor as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite at 10:50 am EDT on Thursday, September 16, 2010. Image credit: NASA.

Igor's impact on Bermuda
Hurricane warnings are now flying for Bermuda, and tropical storm force winds will arrive at the island late Saturday night. Igor is a huge storm, and tropical storm force winds extend out 290 miles to the north of its center. As the hurricane moves north, it will expand in size, as it takes advantage of the extra spin available at higher latitudes due to Earth's rotation. By Saturday night, Igor's tropical storm force winds are expected to extend outwards 320 miles from the center. Igor will be moving at about 11 - 13 mph during the final 24 hours of its approach to Bermuda, so the island can expect a period of 39+ mph tropical storm force winds to begin near midnight Saturday night--a full 24 hours before the core of Igor arrives. Igor will speed up to about 15 mph as it passes the island near midnight Sunday night, and Bermuda's battering by tropical storm force winds will not be as long as Igor moves away, perhaps 10 hours long. Hurricane force winds will probably extend out about 70 miles from the center when the core of Igor reaches Bermuda, and the island can expect to be pounded by hurricane force winds for up to 6 - 8 hours. In all, Bermuda is likely to suffer a remarkably long 36-hour period of tropical storm force winds, with the potential for many hours of hurricane force winds. Long duration poundings like this are very stressful for buildings, and there is the potential for significant damage on Bermuda. However, buildings in Bermuda are some of the best-constructed in the world, and if Igor weakens to Category 2 strength, as appears likely, damage on the island may be just a few million dollars. According to AIR Worldwide, "Homes in Bermuda are typically one or two stories and constructed of 'Bermuda Stone,' a locally quarried limestone, or of concrete blocks. Roofs are commonly made of limestone slate tiles cemented together. Commercial buildings, typically of reinforced concrete construction, rarely exceed six stories. In both residential and commercial buildings, window openings are generally small and window shutters are common. These features make Bermuda's building stock quite resistant to winds, and homes are designed to withstand sustained winds of 110 mph and gusts of up to 150 mph."

Bermuda's hurricane history
Igor is similar in strength and projected track to Hurricane Fabian of 2003. Fabian hit Bermuda as a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. It was the most damaging hurricane ever to hit the island, with $355 million in damage. Fabian's storm surge killed four people crossing a causeway on the island. These were the first hurricane deaths on Bermuda since 1926. The most powerful hurricane on record to strike Bermuda was the Category 4 Havana-Bermuda Hurricane, which hit on October 22, 1926, with 135 mph winds. The hurricane sank two British warships, claiming 88 lives, but no one was killed on the island. The deadliest hurricane to affect the island occurred on September 12, 1839, when a Category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds and an 11-foot storm surge hit, tearing off the roofs of hundreds of buildings and wrecking several ships. An estimated 100 people were killed (source: Encyclopedia of Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Cyclones, by David Longshore.)

Elsewhere in the tropics
A tropical wave off the coast of Africa, a few hundred miles south of the Cape Verdes Islands, is disorganized, but has the potential for some slow development over the next few days. The NOGAPS model develops this wave into a tropical depression 4 - 5 days from now. NHC is giving the wave a 10% of developing into a tropical depression by Sunday.

I'll have a new post on Saturday.

Jeff Masters

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1798. dmaddox
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
AL, 94, 2010091812, 128N, 267W, 25, DB
new Invest!??
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Well, I gotta go, but I'll be back this p.m.

Ya'll have a good one.

To my peeps in BDA, u guys stay safe! I hope u get all ur preps done in time and keep power for as long as possible. [50 hours is a looooog time......]
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Quoting InTheCone:


I think we'll have to wait awhile as it is only 4:45 a.m. in AK, unless he's still up!


OK, forgot about where he lives, thanks
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AL, 94, 2010091812, 128N, 267W, 25, DB
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AL 94 2010091812 BEST 0 128N 267W 25 0 DB
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Quoting Hernando44:
Levi: Will you please explain what "monsoonal in origin" means.


I think we'll have to wait awhile as it is only 4:45 a.m. in AK, unless he's still up!
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1791. tkeith
Quoting donna1960ruled:
The following comment may violate community ( communist) standards:

I believe that the new Cape Verde system will change its precip from rain to lidocaine, which is a topical anasthetic, making it the First Topical Storm in History!!!!
YAY!!!!!
it could help with your topical depression...worth a try :)
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Quoting RecordSeason:
Igor is truly a monster hurricane. It's core rain shield is about 50% larger in radius than Ike.

Here is Bermuda radar

Bermuda Radar

As you can see, a few broken, outlying rain bands pass near Bermuda, and then on the extreme southern edge of the radar you can see the leading edge of the core rain shield already approaching.

Based on where the eye of Igor is, this means the core rain shield is around 330 miles in radius, or 660 miles in diameter.

At the present rate of motion, Bermuda will experience tropical storm conditions and torrential rains almost non-stop for around 50 hours for the case of a direct landfall or eye-wall strike.

If the storm speeds up some this number will come down a bit, but it would need to move 20mph to get the number down around 30hrs duration. Currently, it is only moving 12mph.

Radar looks ominous.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5618
Quoting CoopsWife:
Ah, yes - I noticed the winds of war stirring the past few days, but was quite surprised to see so many battlefield casualties on the night shift. I guess the heat potential got a bit too high and we had some redistribution.

Well, Cotillion - if you think it's really safe, feel free to wander over to the sideboard. As it's a weekend, I went all out on the fryup, LOL.

Not quite sure what to make of the wind/pressure differential on Igor. My reading of the discussion makes me think those flight level winds are just taking longer to mix down because of the wind field size.

Wow, did u read the NHC forecast discussion before u post...e...d.... nah, u couldn't have... u posted an hour before they did.... good call!

Quoting dmaddox:
live webcam of bermuda:
Thanks. I was looking for this link in my faves; couldn't find it.

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AL, 11, 2010091812, , BEST, 0, 256N, 632W, 95, 939, HU, 64, NEQ, 90, 60, 50, 70, 1009, 410, 45, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, IGOR, D,

Same as before.

No 94L yet.
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wanders over to the sideboard, thank you CoopsWife.

I'm not going to do any nail-biting over something ten days out. It's too far away and nothing is showing yet. If you're prepared and have plans set, you don't need to be. Impending doom forecasts ten days out are not good when there are newbies coming here.

Bermuda is a beautiful island. I hope they all stay well and are safe.
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Levi: Will you please explain what "monsoonal in origin" means.
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Quoting donna1960ruled:
Why are any comments banned? Even in Russia, on Dr Geoff Masterchev's blog about blizzards, no comments are banned.

Im getting really tropically depressed.


lol
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5618
Quoting dmaddox:
yup.. i believe that was taken a few days ago when he was Cat. 4...
Quoting dmaddox:
the YouTube video that is.. the Satellite picture is current....

I was talking about the satellite image...But he looks big on the video as well.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5618
Quoting NOLA2005:


Thanks Sailing, I'll go back and look for what you've pointed out. To the/my untrained eye, sometimes it's hard to pick out what you need to see!

Welcome. There also may be some effect/enhancement/crossover from the Pacific side.
So you may want to look at the models from the Pacific. Someone mentioned a kelvin wave coming through but mostly it looks like the tail end of everything for the next week ends up down there to form a low which becomes the Storm in the 200HR+ GFS
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1779. mnborn
Quoting IKE:


Just have to see how it all plays out. Climatology favored area.
get real! 1/4 of that oil evaporated. It was LIGHT crude, not heavy like exxon valdese. Also the gulf is warm, allowing microorganisms to EAT the oil...
Don't trust everything you hear on the news, maam.
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Quoting donna1960ruled:


How could Storm be banned....Sheeesh!!!

What the hell is going on here? Next thing you know, Dr. Masters will be banned. Too bad, because I liked Dr. Master's analysis.


I was kinda wondering the same thing..I look away for minute and everything goes crazy in here....someone want to "mail" me and let me in on the scoop.

And could someone tell Mother Nature to bring me a couple of rain showers...I am 10" short here on the Upper Texas Coast and me and my water bill need some relief...
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1777. dmaddox
Quoting Cotillion:
AL, 12, 2010091812, , BEST, 0, 282N, 506W, 45, 998, TS, 34, NEQ, 150, 120, 60, 90, 1010, 125, 30, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, JULIA, D,

Julia'll be sleeping with the fishes very soon.
that means Igor will be the only game in town until Julia's little sis Lisa forms....
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1776. dmaddox
Quoting dmaddox:
yup.. i believe that was taken a few days ago when he was Cat. 4...
the YouTube video that is.. the Satellite picture is current....
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AL, 12, 2010091812, , BEST, 0, 282N, 506W, 45, 998, TS, 34, NEQ, 150, 120, 60, 90, 1010, 125, 30, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, JULIA, D,

Julia'll be sleeping with the fishes very soon.
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1774. dmaddox
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Man that guy is huge!
yup.. i believe that was taken a few days ago when he was Cat. 4...
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1773. WxLogic
ECMWF now joining GFS at possible development towards the end of next week. I guess we'll see how things look by 12Z and future runs.

GFS has been showing consistency and now is ECMWF turn.

Not sure why CMC and NOGAPS are still trying to develop energy from the Colombian low, but will sure bares to be watched if moisture starts to increase across the S Carib surging northward.
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Quoting dmaddox:

Man that guy is huge!
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5618
1770. dmaddox
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It was forcasted that Igor would turn before hitting the United States. I have to say, the models that predict hurricane tracks have improved throughout the years. My hat goes off to Dr. Jeff Masters and forcasters at the National Hurricance Center.
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Looks like it will be victory at sea here in ecfl with a nice long period ground swell and strong ene winds.
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1767. WxLogic
Good Morning...
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1766. dmaddox
Quoting surfmom:
1751 - OMG - sheesh a candle & prayer seems so insignificant next to that picture.... Definitely need some Divine Intervention - no way I can watch this hit......I'm too sensitive....
i posted another.. its huge :/
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1765. dmaddox
edit:
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
Good Morning!
Quoting sporteguy03:


GGEM had a system near FL 240 hours out Link
Getting hard to ignore it every run on GFS, seems that something will develop end of Sept/Early Oct. Where it goes who knows?

There are ALWAYS pattern changes. Especially as the season change and the CONUS is now heading quickly into Fall. That means stronger frontal systems bringing down large high pressure system as well as stalled fronts. While waves will still come off Africa the best odds of storm are soon going to be stalled front and disturbances caused by the interaction of larger air masses over the GOM as well as the fact that the large high pressure systems will keep any storm the forms south south but also block the eastern US.
The storm tracks from here on out will be really dependent on the timing of frontal systems.

Also looks like the AB ridge will stay split by the trough for a bit so any CV storm that forms earlier should get pulled up into the mid Atlantic but a southern storm will march into the Carib and GOM
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1763. surfmom
Quoting IKE:


Bermuda took a hit a few years ago. I remember watching the airport observations and the winds near or above 100 mph.
*smile* you guys are better at this then me - plus the opportunity to see the "science" in real time is soooo fascinating - I'll admit that.... I start thinking of the Mom's with babies, all the critters... etc. etc. & get emotional rather then "clinical"
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Morning everyone.

The 8 a.m. discussion is one of the more detailed and specific ones I've seen in a while, I guess because the expectation of landfall is now there....

THE LONG-TERM
INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 310/11. IGOR IS SITUATED SOUTH OF A
MID-LEVEL RIDGE EXTENDING ALONG 35N...AND THIS RIDGE IS FORECAST BY
ALL OF THE MODELS TO WEAKEN AS A SHORTWAVE TROUGH PROGRESSES EAST
OFF THE U.S. EAST COAST IN THE NEXT DAY OR SO. IGOR WILL TURN
NORTHWARD INTO THE WEAKNESS ALONG 65W ON SUNDAY AND PASS VERY NEAR
BERMUDA BEFORE TURNING NORTHEASTWARD ON MONDAY AHEAD OF ANOTHER
SHORTWAVE TROUGH MOVING OFF THE COAST OF NORTH AMERICA.

Also fascinating is that even if Igor continued on a 310 heading and hit NC instead of Bermuda, it's so big Bermuda will still experience tropical storm force winds as it passed..... that's one helluva storm.....



Finally, it looks like the latest invest is headed towards Lisa status. Is this going to be our last CV storm?
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1761. surfmom
Quoting IKE:


Just have to see how it all plays out. Climatology favored area.
indeed Ike -- Mother Nature has her poker face on
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1760. IKE
Quoting surfmom:
1751 - OMG - sheesh a candle & prayer seems so insignificant next to that picture.... Definitely need some Divine Intervention - no way I can watch this hit......I'm too sensitive....


Bermuda took a hit a few years ago. I remember watching the airport observations and the winds near or above 100 mph.
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Quoting sailingallover:

I think it comes from the end of a series of troughs and cold fronts pushed south by the Low that is going to form from whats left of Igor and julia and the trough that picks them up.
Here you can see the start at the very tail end.. going to earlier models you can watch that trough being pushed down all the way from the Mid north atlantic. Basically keep an eye on the trough left by Igor which will be extended by the High pressure area pulled down behind him over the CONUS


Thanks Sailing, I'll go back and look for what you've pointed out. To the/my untrained eye, sometimes it's hard to pick out what you need to see!
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1758. surfmom
1751 - OMG - sheesh a candle & prayer seems so insignificant next to that picture.... Definitely need some Divine Intervention - no way I can watch this hit......I'm too sensitive....
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Quoting bird72:


Huge waves across all P.R. north coast. A young woman who was watching the heavy surf, was swept by a wave, and is gone, this happened in Arecibo. The people ignore the danger of this event. This could be the first death caused by Igor.
'Beautiful place and very sad to here. Some people just want to get closer and closer for the great photograph or experience like wanting a photo next to a crocodile. Let's hope there are no repeats in Bermuda or elsewhere.
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1756. IKE
Quoting surfmom:
*giggle* yeah, but you know I prefer them guilt free.....after the OIL gusher disaster, I'm concerned for even more concerned for the folks of the Panhandle...... A washover is bad enough (Opal) mix that with all the OIL carpeting the belly of the gulf and the situation is very bad!!! If the oil & dispersant get washed up from the storm action - insurance companies consider that a HAZMAT situation & will not pay for clean-up or anything : (

Ecologically - LA, Mississippi, and the Panhandle could suffer again & even more Toxic damage to their shoreline..though getting the carpet of oil off the floor of the Gulf maybe better for the Gulf.....not sure any one really knows...we've never had this problem before



Just have to see how it all plays out. Climatology favored area.
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Quoting sailingallover:

Alex formed from a wave that we all watched for day crossing the Caribbean but didn't spin up until he interacted with the Low that is often formed in the far SW Caribbean. Not sure if that low can be considered monsoonal as the landmass of Central america is not really large enough I don't think.
Appears to me the Low is formed in early and late season from stalled fronts that make it that far south. It has been absent since the early season.


I just remember that there was alot of discussion at the time about Alex being a more monsoonal type storm. You would know better than I, and you are correct about the formation of the storms in that area.

I will have to ask Levi about his take on Alex and the monsoonal development, he was the one who mentioned it yesterday.
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1754. surfmom
Quoting IKE:


You might get some waves to surf!
*giggle* yeah, but you know I prefer them guilt free.....after the OIL gusher disaster, I'm concerned for even more concerned for the folks of the Panhandle...... A washover is bad enough (Opal) mix that with all the OIL carpeting the belly of the gulf and the situation is very bad!!! If the oil & dispersant get washed up from the storm action - insurance companies consider that a HAZMAT situation & will not pay for clean-up or anything : (

Ecologically - LA, Mississippi, and the Panhandle could suffer again & even more Toxic damage to their shoreline..though getting the carpet of oil off the floor of the Gulf maybe better for the Gulf.....not sure any one really knows...we've never had this problem before

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Quoting NOLA2005:
Ok, then seems like one we have to possibly worry about kinda springs out of nowhere. Looking at ncep runs, I honestly am having trouble pinpointing it's start point.

I think it comes from the tail end of a series of troughs and cold fronts pushed south by the Low that is going to form from whats left of Igor and julia and the trough that picks them up.
Here you can see the start at the very tail end.. going to earlier models you can watch that trough being pushed down all the way from the Mid north atlantic. Basically keep an eye on the trough left by Igor which will be extended by the large High pressure area pulled down behind him over the CONUS.
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The Western Gulf is not looking good. Levi said something about this being a possibility the other day. Lots of Moisture left over from Karl and very warm SST's..

It doesn't take much out there and needs to be watched.
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1751. dmaddox
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Quoting InTheCone:


Levi mentioned yesterday that it will probably be monsoonal in origin, sort of like Alex. That also means it will probably be slow to spin up and drive us all nuts while we watch.

Personally, I just hope it doesn't happen!

Alex formed from a wave that we all watched for day crossing the Caribbean but didn't spin up until he interacted with the Low that is often formed in the far SW Caribbean. Not sure if that low can be considered monsoonal as the landmass of Central america is not really large enough I don't think.
Appears to me the Low is formed in early and late season from stalled fronts that make it that far south. It has been absent since the early season.
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Quoting NOLA2005:
For those interested, here's the links for the Bermuda Sun Link, a Bermuda radio station Link, and Bermuda Weather Service webcam Link
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1748. IKE
Opal in her prime....

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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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