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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1748. IKE
Opal in her prime....

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1747. bird72
Quoting surfmom:
Cot., East coast of Florida getting swell, but the strong east winds are making big chop & rip

Karl - so far nada here SWFL - but I'm watching the buoy's might get a pulse that makes it across the gulf - prob. won't be more then 1-2. Technically should see it around this evening tomorrow EARLY..but these east winds can flatten it.

SurfReport SWFL/AuraSurf/Micah Weaver - surfers perspective
If Igor was firing back 15ft swells from the farthest corner of the gulf I guess we may see a 1ft groundswell late Saturday into Sunday. That swell has a pretty small fetch and a lot of east wind and a continental shelf going against it so don't expect very much at all but keep and eye on the cams. Maybe longboardable. It will take a long time to show up on the buoys and a long time to show at the beach and it will be small. EC blowin up but choppy, check thewavecaster.com for details. PR firing this am with 10ft barrels at La Pared on comoestaeso.com. Rinconsurfreport.com showing a nice wrap all the way onto the west coast of PR.


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.
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Quoting InTheCone:


LOL!!



My Dad lived in near Destin at the time and the storm surge from Opal went over the top of his house, completely wiped it out!


I'm so sorry about your Dad's house! Opal was another "surprise" storm. I had interests far inland in Alabama that were whipped by Opal.
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Orange...
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Good Morning!
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5725
000
ABNT20 KNHC 181145
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT SAT SEP 18 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON HURRICANE
IGOR...LOCATED ABOUT 475 MILES SOUTH OF BERMUDA...AND ON TROPICAL
STORM JULIA...LOCATED ABOUT 1525 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE
AZORES. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER HAS WRITTEN THE LAST
ADVISORY ON TROPICAL DEPRESSION KARL...LOCATED INLAND OVER MEXICO
ABOUT 105 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF VERACRUZ.

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD LOW
PRESSURE AREA LOCATED A COUPLE HUNDRED MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE
VERDE ISLANDS HAS BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED DURING THE LAST SEVERAL
HOURS. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR SOMEWHAT CONDUCIVE FOR
ADDITIONAL GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OF THIS DISTURBANCE DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS AS IT MOVES SLOWLY WEST-NORTHWESTWARD. THERE IS A
MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN/KIMBERLAIN



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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 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
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1741. IKE
Quoting surfmom:
Yup - I'm concerned that's the visitor we want to slam the door on -


You might get some waves to surf!
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1740. dmaddox
WOW! this would NOT be good for Bermuda! :/
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1739. surfmom
Oopps looking at the wrong map
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Quoting NOLA2005:


Thanks for the answer. I do watch Levi, but I guess I didn't catch that. As for being driven nuts, I'm halfway there, anyway! ;)

but not cashews


LOL!!

Quoting IKE:
Invest time coming up within minutes.

This was Opal in 1995 as it emerged off of the Yucatan...before heading for the Florida panhandle....



My Dad lived in near Destin at the time and the storm surge from Opal went over the top of his house, completely wiped it out!
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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!
I'm a little puzzled by the term monsoonal. Does that mean the system will develop right next to a shoreline?
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1734. IKE
Invest time coming up within minutes.

This was Opal in 1995 as it emerged off of the Yucatan...before heading for the Florida panhandle....

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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!


Thanks for the answer. I do watch Levi, but I guess I didn't catch that. As for being driven nuts, I'm halfway there, anyway! ;)

but not cashews
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1732. CalTex

New tracking information out, with Bermuda exactly down the middle of the track.


http://icons-pe.wunderground.com/data/images/at201011.gif
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94L should arrive soon.

Magic 30%.
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000
ABNT20 KNHC 181145
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT SAT SEP 18 2010

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON HURRICANE
IGOR...LOCATED ABOUT 475 MILES SOUTH OF BERMUDA...AND ON TROPICAL
STORM JULIA...LOCATED ABOUT 1525 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE
AZORES. THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER HAS WRITTEN THE LAST
ADVISORY ON TROPICAL DEPRESSION KARL...LOCATED INLAND OVER MEXICO
ABOUT 105 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF VERACRUZ.

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH A BROAD LOW
PRESSURE AREA LOCATED A COUPLE HUNDRED MILES SOUTHWEST OF THE CAPE
VERDE ISLANDS HAS BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED DURING THE LAST SEVERAL
HOURS. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS APPEAR SOMEWHAT CONDUCIVE FOR
ADDITIONAL GRADUAL DEVELOPMENT OF THIS DISTURBANCE DURING THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS AS IT MOVES SLOWLY WEST-NORTHWESTWARD. THERE IS A
MEDIUM CHANCE...30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL
CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BEVEN/KIMBERLAIN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.


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!
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1728. IKE
5:00 AM AST Sat Sep 18
Location: 25.1°N 62.8°W
Max sustained: 110 mph
Moving: NW at 13 mph
Min pressure: 939 mb
....................................

...LARGE HURRICANE IGOR EXPECTED TO APPROACH BERMUDA ON SUNDAY... ...CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO DETERIORATE THIS EVENING...
8:00 AM AST Sat Sep 18
Location: 25.6°N 63.2°W
Max sustained: 110 mph
Moving: NW at 13 mph
Min pressure: 939 mb
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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.
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1726. IKE
Quoting NOLA2005:


IKE, do you think that's the one we don't want to see in the Gulf?


That one looks headed to the north ATL.
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Quoting IKE:
System west/SW of the Cape Verdes should be the next invest...possibly a named system. Lisa.

May get invest this morning.


IKE, do you think that's the one we don't want to see in the Gulf?
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1724. bassis
Link

Not on air yet, but a live cam from bermuda
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Quoting dmaddox:
look at this! wow! Link


WOW!!!.....What a monster!!
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1722. IKE
System west/SW of the Cape Verdes should be the next invest...possibly a named system. Lisa.

May get invest this morning.
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1721. dmaddox
look at this! wow! Link
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Look for the east Atlantic AOI (currently at 20%) to go up today; vorticity and convection are increasing with PGI45L each passing hour.

To the southeast of that, a new swirl is just coming off of Africa. Satellite presentation shows a bit of swirl, and it's low enough that it'll need to be watched.

Farther west, the Great African Wave Train of 2010 does appear to be slowing down, as expected, but there are a few more to come. We'll have to wait and see.

Of course, much closer to home, vorticity and convection are slightly elevated in the GOM off of the Texas/Mexico border. This batch of energy, an offshoot of the now-defunct Karl, will need to be watched closely for the next few days to be sure nothing comes of it.

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE

Tropical weather-related image
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1719. surfmom
Cot., East coast of Florida getting swell, but the strong east winds are making big chop & rip

Karl - so far nada here SWFL - but I'm watching the buoy's might get a pulse that makes it across the gulf - prob. won't be more then 1-2. Technically should see it around this evening tomorrow EARLY..but these east winds can flatten it.

SurfReport SWFL/AuraSurf/Micah Weaver - surfers perspective
If Igor was firing back 15ft swells from the farthest corner of the gulf I guess we may see a 1ft groundswell late Saturday into Sunday. That swell has a pretty small fetch and a lot of east wind and a continental shelf going against it so don't expect very much at all but keep and eye on the cams. Maybe longboardable. It will take a long time to show up on the buoys and a long time to show at the beach and it will be small. EC blowin up but choppy, check thewavecaster.com for details. PR firing this am with 10ft barrels at La Pared on comoestaeso.com. Rinconsurfreport.com showing a nice wrap all the way onto the west coast of PR.
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1708.

WHAT? arrrgghh - just got the crick out of my neck from Earl, dang it!


Ok - really out of here. I'll fret over models in a few days if it shows up again.

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Quoting IKE:


Yeah...I've looked at that....

10 days...



Unfortunately, I just don't see how we are going to get away without something using all that available energy down there. Really putting a cramp in my downcasting...Err!
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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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Sorry, having a battle with the computer this morning, it needs more coffee!!.. Here's the image...

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1713. dmaddox
this looks ominous: Link
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Back later to check on Igor's progress to the North - right now I need to make sure all that food on the sideboard gets eaten by the slowly wakening teen horde.

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1711. IKE
Quoting InTheCone:


Yeah...I've looked at that....

10 days...

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1710. dmaddox
this looks ominous:
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1709. surfmom
ummmm IKE - you're giving me a jumpstart AWAKE this morning - Post1669 woke me faster then x-strength coffee this morning

Not liking that nasty zit pustule looking L in the Gulf at ALL!
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1708. IKE
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?


That looks like something that would head up the east coast.
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Quoting weatherwart:


I know, right? What a great profession. ;)


Absolutely....except when it is COLD!!
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Quoting IKE:


I think when there was Igor, Julia and Karl, that was the absolute peak of this season. Looks to possibly slow down after Igor.

CMC and NOGAPS still develop systems, in the western Caribbean or GOM in the next 5-6 days, but the GFS and ECMWF don't.

This is the ECMWF 00z run from Ralieghwx, don't know if it means much, but it shows a western carrib. system...
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Quoting traumaboyy:


Right....my cutoff is 45 degrees where I gotta put on some more clothes.......so below 45 is FREEZING in my unusual world.....Don't forget I wear pajamas and bedroom slippers to work!!!


I know, right? What a great profession. ;)
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Quoting IKE:


Seems to keep delaying a system developing. Seems to show it starting up around 240 hours, which seems like what it was showing 2-3 days ago.

I think something will develop in the western Caribbean, but it won't get going until the last few days of September.

Where it goes is impossible to know. If some want to say...a "pattern change" is happening, that's fine, but I don't see how anyone can predict where troughs and cold fronts and high pressure will be that far out, especially heading into October.

It's hard to see a system heading into Mexico and southern Texas, heading into October. Climatology goes against it.


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?
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1703. IKE
Quoting InTheCone:


Morning Ike,
Yeah, I've noticed that as well, at one point it was developing this system as early as 9/20 and now it just keeps pushing it back with each run.  I wish I could say that it was just the gfs being nutsy, but there are a bunch of models seeing something in that area now:(
Levi mentioned yesterday that it might be monsoonal, as we have seen several times this year,


I think when there was Igor, Julia and Karl, that was the absolute peak of this season. Looks to possibly slow down after Igor.

CMC and NOGAPS still develop systems, in the western Caribbean or GOM in the next 5-6 days, but the GFS and ECMWF don't.
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Quoting traumaboyy:


nothing should suprise this year......mornin cotillion!!


Morning! Nope, it shouldn't. Been a record breaker.

---

Mornin' Surfie. I guess both Karl and Igor were sufficiently far away enough to not give any swell?
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Quoting weatherwart:


Thank you. Eh, we're supposed to have a warm winter. No sleet or snow in Florida this year.


Right....my cutoff is 45 degrees where I gotta put on some more clothes.......so below 45 is FREEZING in my unusual world.....Don't forget I wear pajamas and bedroom slippers to work!!!
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Quoting IKE:


Seems to keep delaying a system developing. Seems to show it starting up around 240 hours, which seems like what it was showing 2-3 days ago.

I think something will develop in the western Caribbean, but it won't get going until the last few days of September.

Where it goes is impossible to know. If some want to say...a "pattern change" is happening, that's fine, but I don't see how anyone can predict where troughs and cold fronts and high pressure will be that far out, especially heading into October.

It's hard to see a system heading into Mexico and southern Texas, heading into October. Climatology goes against it.


Yeah, it does. I found it more curious that the GFS seems to discount it being a tropical wave. Maybe it's out to lunch - it is the non-radiosonde run, after all.

Normally you'd just say track and intensity will be wrong, but the idea of a storm forming is correct - usually the way with the long GFS model runs. However, the delay and the curious mode/area of cyclogenesis does give pause.

And that image, Neapolitan, is just screaming out for innuendo...
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Quoting dmaddox:
1st rain band moving in..bermuda radar loop: Link
Wow, already!!  That storm is HUGE!  God Bless all the folks in Bermuda, it's going to be a long ride, thank goodness they have great building codes there.
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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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