Karl makes landfall near Veracruz; Igor slightly weaker

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

Share this Blog
5
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1598 - 1548

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45Blog Index

1597. dmaddox
CMC valid Sept. 24 @ 18z:

CMC valid Sept. 28 @ 00z:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1595. CalTex
Quoting david276:
Everytime i look at everything, and westcast. The storm turns. So

West casting igor.

all she wrote.


Same here...lol.
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
Anyone see this?

150 miles north of the eye and already getting 34 ft. significant wave heights!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CalTex:


Yesterday morning, Igor's tropical storm force winds extended outward 290 miles, this morning they extend outward 345 miles as of the 5AM advisory. That makes him huge!

Last year someone explained the phenomenon by comparing it to a figure skater in a spin. Arms out, slower speed, arms in, higher speed, with otherwise no change in position or effort expended.


Huh, that's strange. In the Public Advisory it does say 345 miles, but in the Marine Advisory it's only 300 miles at the furthest (NE quadrant).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Everytime i look at everything, and westcast. The storm turns. So

West casting igor.

all she wrote.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1591. CalTex
Quoting FlyingScotsman:


Wow, that comes up with a 5.48, among the highest ever! And, if I'm not mistaken, the wind radii are down slightly from last night.


Yesterday morning, Igor's tropical storm force winds extended outward 290 miles, this morning they extend outward 345 miles as of the 5AM advisory. That makes him huge!

Last year someone explained the phenomenon by comparing it to a figure skater in a spin. Arms out, slower speed, arms in, higher speed, with otherwise no change in position or effort expended.
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Nice post


Thanks for your reply. It can be a moonscape out here at times.








Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have been reading about models that predict the formation of a storm in the Caribbean in the next week or so. How accurate are these models at predicting the development of a storm? I think it's called a GFS? Sound right?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Nice post



Thanks Nola.



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting warmreflections:
I have a small request for those who post these awesome graphics. Would you please provide a caption, or brief explanation for those of us who have no clue :) I love to see them, but have no idea what I'm looking at.

Thanks so much!!!

Betty


The best thing to do is to quote one of the comments with the graphics.

By quoting it, the coding'll come up. That should show you how to do it.

Failing that, read this: How to Post an Image

---

Now, that I re-read it I understand... it's early, forgive me.

The animated image above shows a microwave image of Igor - basically a good way of seeing how the eyewall is formed, evolves or weakens depending on the life of the storm.

The image below that is just a false colour image of Igor.

The IKE (Integrated Kinetic Energy) image of Igor is a way of showing Igor's large windfield and the amount of energy that Igor is espousing.

'Tropical cyclone damage potential, as currently defined by the Saffir-Simpson scale and the maximum sustained surface wind speed in the storm, fails to consider the area impact of winds likely to force surge and waves or cause particular levels of damage. Integrated kinetic energy represents a framework that captures the physical process of ocean surface stress forcing waves and surge while also taking into account structural wind loading and the spatial coverage of the wind.'

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hhunter:


joe bastardi has a scale that takes into account pressure and wind speed. some storms are so massive that a low pressure does not correspond to a normal wind speed that is the case here. but don't doubt the power of a system of this size with this pressure to push water..


Which has been more or less ridiculed as it has little or no validity in determining the power or activity of a season whatsoever.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1584. dmaddox
Quoting Cotillion:


Igor, IKE.
thx
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting warmreflections:
I have a small request for those who post these awesome graphics. Would you please provide a caption, or brief explanation for those of us who have no clue :) I love to see them, but have no idea what I'm looking at.

Thanks so much!!!

Betty


ditto that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Igor, IKE.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1581. dmaddox
Quoting Legion:


Here is the Integrated Kinetic Energy calculator:

Link

147.973
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1580. Hhunter
Quoting dmaddox:
i believe that has a lot to do with it but i can't physically explain it very well


joe bastardi has a scale that takes into account pressure and wind speed. some storms are so massive that a low pressure does not correspond to a normal wind speed that is the case here. but don't doubt the power of a system of this size with this pressure to push water..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have a small request for those who post these awesome graphics. Would you please provide a caption, or brief explanation for those of us who have no clue :) I love to see them, but have no idea what I'm looking at.

Thanks so much!!!

Betty
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Legion:


Here is the Integrated Kinetic Energy calculator

Link



Wow, that comes up with a 5.48, among the highest ever! And, if I'm not mistaken, the wind radii are down slightly from last night.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Might be to do with it the winds taking longer to wind down, but also with a bigger storm the gradient is going to be not so conducive to higher wind speeds. The high isn't *that* strong, either.

Take Felix - on the whole, he wasn't that huge of a storm and had a strong B/A high that year. That allowed him to clock 175mph winds despite a pressure reading of 'only' 929mb.

Igor may be focusing more on expanding his windfield (like Ike did) than clocking up higher windspeeds (of course, storms do tend to get larger as they go up in latitude - beta effect?).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1574. dmaddox
Quoting stormstricken:
I'm one of the readers who's been around since at least Katrina, if not before, but never posts. This is all about learning and information for me.

On Igor, it's hard to believe pressure has dropped all the way down to 939 Mb, with no corresponding increase in windspeed, especially when I look at the storm's history and compare the prior windspeeds and corresponding pressures.

Question: Has Igor's size become so incredibly massive that it simple takes far longer for the storm's windspeed to corespond to this drop in pressure?

Thanks!


look at this..hurricane charley had a pressure of 941mb and max winds of 150mph and it was a TINY high end Cat. 4 Hurricane!! Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting stormstricken:
I'm one of the readers who's been around since at least Katrina, if not before, but never posts. This is all about learning and information for me.

On Igor, it's hard to believe pressure has dropped all the way down to 939 Mb, with no corresponding increase in windspeed, especially when I look at the storm's history and compare the prior windspeeds and corresponding pressures.

Question: Has Igor's size become so incredibly massive that it simple takes far longer for the storm's windspeed to corespond to this drop in pressure?

Thanks!




Yeah, exactly the same thing happened with Hurricane Ike...it was really weird, and neither the Doc nor the NHC knew exactly what to make of it. Now that it's happening again, maybe they'll be able to start piecing together what's causing such an anomalous wind speed/wind radius/pressure relationship.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1571. dmaddox
Quoting stormstricken:
I'm one of the readers who's been around since at least Katrina, if not before, but never posts. This is all about learning and information for me.

On Igor, it's hard to believe pressure has dropped all the way down to 939 Mb, with no corresponding increase in windspeed, especially when I look at the storm's history and compare the prior windspeeds and corresponding pressures.

Question: Has Igor's size become so incredibly massive that it simple takes far longer for the storm's windspeed to corespond to this drop in pressure?

Thanks!


i believe that has a lot to do with it but i can't physically explain it very well
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Does anyone have IKE numbers for Igor? They must be really high, but I don't know where to find that info.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The image already has to be animated.

Otherwise, you just use the same mechanism that adds a still image.

Though, too many animated images tends to slow the page down a fair bit - bear it in mind.



Igor under the bonnet. Or hood?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm one of the readers who's been around since at least Katrina, if not before, but never posts. This is all about learning and information for me.

On Igor, it's hard to believe pressure has dropped all the way down to 939 Mb, with no corresponding increase in windspeed, especially when I look at the storm's history and compare the prior windspeeds and corresponding pressures.

Question: Has Igor's size become so incredibly massive that it simple takes far longer for the storm's windspeed to corespond to this drop in pressure?

Thanks!


Quoting dmaddox:
Igor has 939mb pressure on latest recon vortex data message... will prob be back up to a Cat. 3 shortly here on the next advisory from NHC within the next 15 minutes or so...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Why is it that when we have a mammoth hurricane in the middle of the Atlantic (one of the largest ever) headed for Bermuda, 2/3 of the blog is taken up with ridiculous bickering over blog politics? If you really want to talk about it, why don't you set up another Wunderblog just for that purpose.

From the Admin notice:
"When using Dr. Masters' blog, please refrain from posting material not relevant to the discussion of tropical weather, or the topic of the blog entry itself. Please do not engage in personal attacks or bickering."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have wanted to post here many times. Mainly to pose a question or two. But, I'm shy by nature, and the hyperbole becomes distracting.

I really like the in-depth discussion, but it's as if I need to bring a special toy, and sit at the right table... no critique intended. I have an advanced degree in geography(liberals arts etc) bah!, and a life-long sailor, so my interest in any weather, is in my blood. But I'm just learning about "tropical" systems. I'm old enough to know nothing, so that's good. I do know that our spoken language does not translate into technical explanation easily (in any language). Hence, the misunderstandings when there are interpretations of models. As I said, I know very little about atmo science, but the few courses I've taken, and my general science background, have given me a firm idea of the scientific method. My Dad gave me a microscope when I was young,...changed my world.


Chins up Wunderground. all will be well :>)



I live on a barrier island West Central Gulf Coast during winter, and in the upper Plains over summer. The cold fronts are awesome as they come through, and the Prairie thunderstorms can be wicked.

Let's keep this blog alive with any weather chat. Now, we obviously have our focus.

Cosmic prayers go out to those in harm's way.

I would not want to be in a boat in Igor's path.

Will I be banned if I don't post something noteworthy now? I don't have a map. How do I get one?

Sorry for boring you.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1562. CalTex
Yeah, but I saw a comment earlier that his wind field probably ties for the largest ever in the Atlantic. It's grown from 290 to 345 in the last day and that's got to have taken some of the oomph out of his winds. His pressure is in the cat 4 range according to wiki.

[edited, can't remember if it was Isabel or
Frances who also had wind field of 345]
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
1561. markot
who said it would be quiet...new disturbance is brewing and another is coming off africa in a couple of days....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Karl goes byebye.

Julia down to 60mph.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1558. dmaddox
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Yep...I wouldn't be a bit surprised! He's on an upswing
i eat crow.. STILL cat 2... wow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1557. dmaddox
...LARGE HURRICANE IGOR EXPECTED TO APPROACH BERMUDA ON SUNDAY...
...CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE THIS EVENING...


SUMMARY OF 500 AM AST...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...25.1N 62.8W
ABOUT 510 MI...825 KM SSE OF BERMUDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...110 MPH...175 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 13 MPH...20 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...939 MB...27.73 INCHES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
carib season starts now or asap.. not in two weeks lol. as soon as some storms get far enough towards south america .
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1554. CalTex
1550. dmaddox 8:22 AM GMT on September 18, 2010

How do you add an animated image? I finally got the hang of the regular one.
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
1552. CalTex
This graphic details Igor rainfall as he was passing near the leeward islands as of September 15th. Three days later, he hasn't moved far and is now moving north of Puerto Rico.

http://cdn.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/hires/nasas3dlooki.jpg
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
1551. dmaddox
Igor has 939mb pressure on latest recon vortex data message... will prob be back up to a Cat. 3 shortly here on the next advisory from NHC within the next 15 minutes or so...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1550. dmaddox
fanapi:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1549. CalTex
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Yep...I think that's a big part. He's definitely got some pretty high SST's ahead of him along with some relatively favorable TCHP's in his path too.



Huh, it looks like he's skirting the border between the lower and higher TCHP. An accident or him not wanting to die an early death?
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138

Viewing: 1598 - 1548

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
73 °F
Overcast