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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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:
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
No sweat, Corona here.
Oooow! The good stuff!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1396. NRAamy
(shakes head)
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Quoting caneswatch:


Two models showing a hurricane (major?) hitting South Florida at the same time. This is not good.

And tomorrow it will be Texas
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PrivateIdaho:


You're just trying to confuse me!
No sweat, Corona here.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
LOL. Balance is losing.

As well as diction...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

She aint easy atall atall!


lol
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 550 Comments: 19773
Quoting traumaboyy:


Good morning maam....have been off a few days....yes definately looking buzy next couple weeks for sure!!


Yep looks that way. Hope you've enjoyed your days off. Speaking of which, I'm off again. BBIAB I hope. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Impress your boss sound bite  The Office - Dream Team sound bitesImpress your boss sound bite
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1388. xcool
caneswatch You Have to Remember,GFS model flip-flopping ON LOCATIONS ...
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
( how many Tecates have I had?)
LOL. Balance is losing.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
1386. pottery
Quoting KoritheMan:


That's what she said?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

She aint easy atall atall!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23869
Quoting OceanMoan:
fatlady99, if fldewey were in here tonight, I think he would have taken that comment and ran with it.

Glad to know I'm not the only unstable personality here....

Seriously, I hope all the little flaggers didn't run him off as well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
Ah, to achieve balance. Which will win out?


You're just trying to confuse me!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting chucktownsc:
Love following the storms...thanks for the info...I check the blog everyday...here and the NHC...
i somewhat hope we get a least 1 scare...sick, i know..but to get all the tourists gone!!


Hey, easy now, they pay our bills! I just wish we could get them to leave the cars in Columbia or something...lol
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Is there a free place to see the cmc ensembles or is it a pay site?


Link
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Trauma! Hey! Glad to see you! Either you were missing the last couple a nights or I was??? HMMM? Lol. Oh well. Gangs all here. Cept me. I'll be gone in a few, then back in a few, then...Anyway, CMC takes that one to Brownsville with another waiting in the wings...



Good morning maam....have been off a few days....yes definately looking buzy next couple weeks for sure!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
fatlady99, if fldewey were in here tonight, I think he would have taken that comment and ran with it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xcool:


SW Jamaica
is now Pouch PGI46L shows by image ^^^


6 storms at once is that the CMC? It's gotta be.
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1375. xcool
Link

GO HERE superweatherman
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
Quoting xcool:
cmc00z 240hrs taker Pouch PGI46L hits south fl... I'm not putting much faith in gfs or cmc just yet i just waitt.


Two models showing a hurricane (major?) hitting South Florida at the same time. This is not good.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting futuremet:


00z runs go up to 240hrs. Ensemble means go to up to 384hrs in both runs.


Is there a free place to see the cmc ensembles or is it a pay site?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting futuremet:


00z runs go up to 240hrs. Ensemble means go to up to 384hrs in both runs.

do you have a link?
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1371. pottery
Quoting NRAamy:
Just make sure you mop up the mess when yer done weeping, Pott....

Yes Dear...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23869
ty
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
That's where we disagree. Chaos theory says that we will never achieve the accuracy in the data to have a perfect model.
Ah, to achieve balance. Which will win out?
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
1367. xcool
washingtonian115 not cv storms.new storm come from Pacific head NW IN TO Caribbean Sea
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
Quoting robj144:


That's correct and so does the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. (I was thinking of just using an acronym there, HUP, just to confuse everyone like I'm constantly confused on this site, but thought I'd be a nice guy. :)) However, you can continually get close and closer to a perfect model thereby improving it.
LOL I avoided HUP all together...confusing jargon is the crutch of insecure people so I applaud your explanations of obscure nomenclature. I think you are right about the continued improvement but we will asimptoticly )ssp?) approach a point of accuracy that cannot be crossed. So in the future, we will get less bang for our buck (if you will).
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Quoting superweatherman:
Does the CMC only go to 144 hours?


00z runs go up to 240hrs. Ensemble means go to up to 384hrs in both runs.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1363. pottery
Quoting bermuda1023:


I live in Bermuda, the average house costs a few million to construct with the average house value at 1.6 million. However it may be expensive, we build it once and never again. The only issue we have is with the old roof's being just held on by gravity, the often semi come off

Did not know it was as high as that.
But are you saying that the older bldgs have no fixings between roof and wall?
What is the roof made of?
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23869
1361. xcool
cmc00z 240hrs taker Pouch PGI46L hits south fl... I'm not putting much faith in gfs or cmc just yet i just waitt.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
Quoting traumaboyy:
Morning Night Shift....Coffee is ready!!


Trauma! Hey! Glad to see you! Either you were missing the last couple a nights or I was??? HMMM? Lol. Oh well. Gangs all here. Cept me. I'll be gone in a few, then back in a few, then...Anyway, CMC takes that one to Brownsville with another waiting in the wings...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting xcool:


look at last nights cmc new storms
Looks like my prediction is not far off?.I mean the cape verde season does end october 15?.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16325
1358. NRAamy
Just make sure you mop up the mess when yer done weeping, Pott....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Love following the storms...thanks for the info...I check the blog everyday...here and the NHC...
i somewhat hope we get a least 1 scare...sick, i know..but to get all the tourists gone!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
because by next week upper Texas cost may have a TS.. can someone show the land fall on the CMC forecast
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1355. xcool
traumaboyy hey
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
National Weather Service confirms that two tornados, microburst hit New York City Thursday
The storm that churned through New York City spawned two destructive tornados and a fierce microburst with speeds up to 125 mph that barreled across a large swath of Brooklyn and Queens, authorities said Friday.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/09/17/2010-09-17_national_weather_service_confirms_that_two _tornadoes_touched_down_in_new_york_ci.html#ixzz0zrA5VKHw
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1353. pottery
Quoting NRAamy:
"you get what you pay for"......ain't that the truth! Maybe I need to rethink this whole non-husband thing......


Does indentured servitude sound better?

Ah! You are a Hard Lady!
Here I am, Worshiping you from a Great Distance, and you threaten to Trade me in, just so!
I weep tears of brine....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23869
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
Now you should really be banned for bringing them up. :)

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.
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Quoting xcool:


look at last nights cmc new storms


Hey XCOOL!!

You Got Mail!!
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Quoting traumaboyy:


Hey Kori...looks like business booming in tropics.....also looks like an interesting day here in the blog!!


Yep.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 550 Comments: 19773
Quoting pottery:

You get what you pay for....


I live in Bermuda, the average house costs a few million to construct with the average house value at 1.6 million. However it may be expensive, we build it once and never again. The only issue we have is with the old roof's being just held on by gravity, the often semi come off
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting futuremet:
Care to elaborate a little?
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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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