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: 1448 - 1398

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

Quoting BahaHurican:
Anyway, guys, the toothpicks I've been usingto hold up my eyelids are so soggy now they are drooping.... I need to head off to bed. Will look in during the day tomorrow, preferably a.m. to see if Igor going to a) expand b) strengthen.

G'nite ya'll.
Later, thanks for your time!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1444. DirtDan
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Think Igor is trying to decide if he wants to establish another eye amist all his heavy convection & cool cloud tops immediately east of his now-existing waning eye.





Igor is one helluva HUGE storm.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good night Baha, it was great to have you around tonight!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1441. xcool


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1412. Very well said BH. This community was just not a good fit for what he expected from it.

Like you said though, there is no keeping the blog down. As if 1, 10, 100 users could shut the blog down by leaving...It would never happen (Well I guess 1 could, and that would be Dr M)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Anyway, guys, the toothpicks I've been usingto hold up my eyelids are so soggy now they are drooping.... I need to head off to bed. Will look in during the day tomorrow, preferably a.m. to see if Igor going to a) expand b) strengthen.

G'nite ya'll.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Getting set for the eventual transition to extratropical? Or just revving up for another run at cat 4?

And the seagulls were.... oh '06ish?

Yeah you guys think I'm a newby ..which I am technically...but I have been comeing to this site since before it was an open blog. It was jsut Dr. Masters posting his blog. I never signed up cause I was just not that interested in the blogging part but I started reading what people had to say and was intrigued. Finally decided to dive in...Wow! Talk about bad timing!....but it is a fun blog with many smart people, things are bound to swing back around.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
HurricaneIgor's heading had turned northward to (5.5degrees west of) NorthWest
from its previous heading of (9.6degrees north of) WestNorthWest
H.Igor's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~11mph(~17.6km/h)

17Sep 06amGMT - - 22.2n59.2w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - NHC.Adv.#36A
17Sep 09amGMT - - 22.4n59.4w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - #37
17Sep 12pmGMT - - 22.7n59.8w - - 120mph - - 940mb - - #37A
17Sep 03pmGMT - - 23.1n60.1w - - 120mph - - 945mb - - #38
17Sep 06pmGMT - - 23.4n60.7w - - 115mph - - 946mb - - #38A
17Sep 09pmGMT - - 23.7n61.1w - - 105mph - - 947mb - - #39
18Sep 12amGMT - - 24.2n61.3w - - 105mph - - 947mb - - #39A
18Sep 03amGMT - - 24.6n62.0w - - 110mph - - 947mb - - #40
18Sep 06amGMT - - 24.9n62.4w - - 110mph - - 942mb - - #40A

Copy&paste 22.2n59.2w, 22.4n59.4w, 22.7n59.8w, 23.1n60.1w, 23.4n60.7w-23.7n61.1w, 23.7n61.1w-24.2n61.3w, 24.2n61.3w-24.6n62.0w, 24.6n62.0w-24.9n62.4w, 24.9n62.4w, jax, myr, bda into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 24*hours
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Sure hope Veracruz is hanging in there. I LOVE that place. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed all wknd tuning back into the news listening for reports of damage, etc. Hoping it for best. Karl really got his act together immediately once he emerged of Yukutan. So eerily reminiscent of Charlie!
Sure hope the news from Mexico City is not bad flooding and numerous deaths..... lots of potential for tragedy there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 1900hurricane:

Haha, how long ago was that blog reference? It had to be a while ago, maybe within my first year of blogging or so. There certainly have been some interesting times on this blog for sure!

Check out the latest MW pass on Igor, showing much of the same as before.



If that is a new eyewall (an there is a good possibility that it is), then... well... it'll be big.
Getting set for the eventual transition to extratropical? Or just revving up for another run at cat 4?

And the seagulls were.... oh '06ish?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1428. CalTex
Quoting BahaHurican:
There should be a link on the right hand side of the blog at the top explaining how to post a blog AND add pictures. That's the best way to learn how. IMO


Thanks so much. I've searched for a link like that, but just missed it. Umm, seems like it should be in bigger type or somewhere else or something. But, now I've read it and got it, I think...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1427. xcool
Latest ECMWF come out soon
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Hope he keeps fading instead of reintensifying.


Same. He could weaken some with these constant EWRC's. Problem is, as he does that, his already massive wind field will continue to expand. Either way, Bermuda is in for a rough ride.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


Not necessarily. Fabian was pretty bad. But I do think it will potentially rival it.
Hope he keeps fading instead of reintensifying.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
I second that...very smart dude!...and nice.
Thirded. A most welcome poster.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Later Pot!...So worse than Fabian ..in your opinion?


Not necessarily. Fabian was pretty bad. But I do think it will potentially rival it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Dr Ryan a very knowledgeable, friendly and patient expert, who I wish had more time to spend here.
I second that...very smart dude!...and nice.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1417. xcool
Possible southern Caribbean development: Both the GFS (not
shown) and the ECMWF deterministic forecasts (image 17) suggest
the potential for some development in the south Caribbean Sea
starting ~F072 in the GFS and ~F108 in the ECMWF. A spaghetti
plot of low-level circulation values for each member of the
ECMWF ensemble (image 15) also indicates the increasing
potential for pouch development with time, especially by F096
(0000 UTC 21 Sep) and F120 (0000 UTC 22 Sep


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
G'nite night shift. Y'all restore my faith in the humanity of this blog. LOL!

Sweet dreams.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1413. xcool
KerryInNOLA yes
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormJunkie:


.......As an example, futuremet has been here for a couple years now. He was always sharp; and I would say that in his two year...He has certainly surpassed my knowledge on the subject. Kudos. Not only that, but whereas it took you & me five years to evolve our understanding and methods for accepting the blog for what it is...He has also made serious progress in that regard in just two years. Kudos to you fm!
This is what I'm sayin'... we have some FANTASTIC young talent here. I'm convinced if we could get about 10-12 of our 17 - 27 yr old bloggers together in a working group, a BUNCH of our forecasting challenges would be overcome. They are a varied and lively group with many positive contributions ahead of them. Hopefully we get to see them all working in some meaningful aspect of meteorology as they finish school.

This is not to swell somebody's head or denigrate others who didn't come readily to mind [or like me, are just too OLD to fit that category :o)]. It's to reemphasise that no ONE blogger makes this blog as useful and successful as it is. Consider; even the "all-knowing [snicker] NHC has a TEAM of forecasters - if only to cover the different shifts!

Which reminds me... kudos to young Canglialosi, who seems to be settling in quite well after a rather "exciting" start.... lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


It could be the worst storm for the island nation since Fabian in 2003, by the way things are looking.

Good night, pottery. Sleep well.
Later Pot!...So worse than Fabian ..in your opinion?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1409. pottery
Quoting KoritheMan:


It could be the worst storm for the island nation since Fabian in 2003, by the way things are looking.

Good night, pottery. Sleep well.

Yep. Thanks.
Good night/morning all.
Stay safe.

Hugs, Amy!!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23990
1408. NRAamy
Nighty-nite
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Oooow! The good stuff!
No disrespect intended.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1406. JRRP
see you later
Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:
But now it's late.
Bed is calling........

Hoping that Igor loses some punch before long, and gives Bermuda a little respite...
Looks serious there.


It could be the worst storm for the island nation since Fabian in 2003, by the way things are looking.

Good night, pottery. Sleep well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1404. pottery
But now it's late.
Bed is calling........

Hoping that Igor loses some punch before long, and gives Bermuda a little respite...
Looks serious there.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23990
1403. xcool
I need ECMWF model support
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting fatlady99:

As well as diction...
LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting futuremet:


Link


Thank you very much Futuremet! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL112010
200 AM AST SAT SEP 18 2010

...LARGE HURRICANE IGOR CONTINUES NORTHWESTWARD...


SUMMARY OF 200 AM AST...0600 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...24.9N 62.4W
ABOUT 530 MI...855 KM SSE OF BERMUDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...110 MPH...175 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 315 DEGREES AT 13 MPH...20 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...942 MB...27.82 INCHES
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1448 - 1398

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.