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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Quoting futuremet:
Care to elaborate a little?
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1347. NRAamy
Pott, I thought the same thing.....


;)
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Quoting pottery:

Gruesome idea LOL

Well, at least they won't make little flaggers that way..
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Quoting southernbell72:
without sounding dumbfounded, what is a conus landfall


A landfall along the contiguous United States.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 583 Comments: 20802
Quoting CaptnDan142:


After some of the comments / innuendo used to describe the interaction between Igor and Julia today, I would say you are pretty safe with that remark. ;-)
Good...I'm still a little ! shy.
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1343. pottery
Quoting fatlady99:

One hopes. Either that or they are flagging silently by themselves.... in private....

Gruesome idea LOL
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24379
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Always challenge the status quo...you ar right the NHC does better than anyone with there predictions. But what was Igors predicted path a week ago? What about Karl a week ago. A two or three day spot-on solution is great but should not be perceived as victory.
Actually they've been pretty good with Igor, especially IMO in comparison with Earl. I think that's because they were much closer to being correct with the INTENSITY forecast for Igor [hey, EVERYBODY knew Igor would be a bad one lol] so westward track and change of direction to NW was a bit closer to what was actually seen.

But I agree with ur essential point; now is no time to "rest on laurels". Let's get down to under 100 mile discrepencies at day 5 before we start bragging....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22312
Does the CMC only go to 144 hours?
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1340. robj144
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.


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.
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1339. xcool


look at last nights cmc new storms
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baha excellent post.I don't like when some peole litterally worship other bloggers,and ignore all the rest.Everyone contributes to this blog.Some of the experts at times *cuagh* MH09 have ignored my questions and have skipped over to anwser others.So that just goes to show that some of the even well knowlegable bloggers arn't perfect.W456 was a good blogger,and will be missed by some of us.storm will be missed as well,but life goes on and so will this blog.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17074
1336. 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?
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
I got a french press to make coffee when I'm camping. Three things the French got right...New Orleans, Coffee, Beignets!......Oh and kissing...Can I say that?


After some of the comments / innuendo used to describe the interaction between Igor and Julia today, I would say you are pretty safe with that remark. ;-)
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Quoting robj144:


That's what I'm saying, the more accurate the model and the more accurate the data, will allow more accurate longer term runs. You can always improve the accuracy with technology.
That's where we disagree. Chaos theory says that we will never achieve the accuracy in the data to have a perfect model.
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1331. robj144
Quoting southernbell72:
without sounding dumbfounded, what is a conus landfall


CONtinental US... the lower 48.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Morning! Great to see ya!


Hey Kori...looks like business booming in tropics.....also looks like an interesting day here in the blog!!
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Houses in south Florida are built outta cinder block now and have all kinds of hurricane proofing done. It will be interesting to see how little is damaged of a major cat hits someplace like Ft Myers
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Quoting NRAamy:
Is it safe in here yet?
Hey, amy.... u know, at least your OT posts were mostly amiable.... lol and tongue in cheek.... lol

Quoting WatchingThisOne:


Ouch! I'm glad that one is a long ways out, and I hope it goes away in subsequent runs.

Climatic patterns notwithstanding (troughs rolling off CONUS and taking things north) ... I worry that we are going to nailed with a bridging ridge that takes something into eastern FL or the gulf coast. Lets all hope that the troughs keep coming.
Historically, I assume the "bridging ridge" has been responsible for many a nasty October landfall.

BTW, given current SSTs, I wouldn't start ruling out the possibility of at least one more major CV storm just yet.... forget who was mentioning this earlier this evening, but seems logical.

Quoting fatlady99:

We're friendlies!!!! That said.. someone stole the coffee pot.
That wasn't a theft... that was traumab setting it up for us over again... u know it was making those "hard water" noises the last few cycles....

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22312
without sounding dumbfounded, what is a conus landfall
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Krycek1984:
Makes you wonder...if they can build homes that withstand such strong hurricanes in Bermuda, why not here?!?!?!?

I don't live in FL, but I'd hate to see how all those homes that cropped up since 2004 during the boom stand up to a hurricane.
Since I do live in FL, and watched a fair number of them go up, I feel confident they'll be fine. Certainly better than many older homes. As was quoted earlier: "It ain't the wind, it's what the wind bloooows". Ron White.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
1323. pottery
Quoting Krycek1984:
Makes you wonder...if they can build homes that withstand such strong hurricanes in Bermuda, why not here?!?!?!?

I don't live in FL, but I'd hate to see how all those homes that cropped up since 2004 during the boom stand up to a hurricane.

You get what you pay for....
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24379
Quoting 1900hurricane:

Wow, the NOGAPS develops every singe puff of cloud out there, plus more (dare I say a flock of seagulls?)!

Anyone remember that reference?
I ran, I ran so far away....but not far enough to get away from that reference!
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1321. robj144
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Nice! I like what I'm reading. What about the data that is entered in the models. There are theoretical and physical limits to there accuracey so a perfect model is ruined by data that is "only" accurate to the third decimal point.


That's what I'm saying, the more accurate the model and the more accurate the data, will allow more accurate longer term runs. You can always improve the accuracy with technology.
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1320. JRRP
CMC
Link
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Quoting traumaboyy:
Morning Night Shift....Coffee is ready!!


Morning! Great to see ya!
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 583 Comments: 20802
1318. xcool
1900hurricane gfs develops PGI46L just like ngp
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Quoting robj144:


The simplest non-linear system to model is a double pendulum. Just one pendulum at the end of another one. If you actually make one or simulate with a code (easy to do), two almost identical starting will evolve to two completely different solutions over time. However, the better you nail the initial conditions (starting point) the more accurately you can predict its evolution. So as the technology improves in forecasting, we still should be able to improve the accuracy over longer and longer time periods.
Nice! I like what I'm reading. What about the data that is entered in the models. There are theoretical and physical limits to there accuracey so a perfect model is ruined by data that is "only" accurate to the third decimal point.
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1316. xcool


144 hrs cmc new storm
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Quoting xcool:


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

Wow, the NOGAPS develops every singe puff of cloud out there, plus more (dare I say a flock of seagulls?)!

Anyone remember that reference?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1314. pottery
Quoting BahaHurican:
SJ, u and I have been around this blog for quite a while, and we've seen 'em come and go. Some of the pple who don't post here anymore could run rings around some of the pple who are here now. Some of the new collegiate bloggers we have today have practically grown up in the blog. I don't the blog is going to die if one blogger disappears for a while. What about Weather456? This guy is a really decent forecaster PLUS he's located in the E. Antilles where we need the front line posting. IMO he's as good in his own way as some of the others whose names get called all the time. How come nobody's leaving the blog because HE stopped posting????? [which reminds me.... need to check in his blog 2night to see if he's posted anything recently.....]

Maybe we need to show respect to ALL the bloggers, not just the "old" ones, not just the ones who sound knowledgeable. I'd also LOVE to have all the "ego-massaging" that goes on here "Oh, BloggerX, you are soooo wonderful, soooo much better than all those other bloggers .....[in breathless ingenue tone of voice]" ..... "You're the BEST, BloggerX!!!" and so on, just DISAPPEAR..... IMO it promotes both egomania and jealousy. Instead, respect everybody, give credit where it is due, and don't assume anyone is ALWAYS right or wrong. [I hold up witness #1, Jasoniscoolxxxxxxx, who may annoy the ... heebeejeebees.... out of some bloggers, but who as also been fairly on target with those "fish" videos of his....lol]

But then it took me almost 5 years of blogging here to fully understand this.

That's a good post.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24379
Quoting xcool:


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

does that show 3 storms?
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Quoting xcool:


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


Is that 5 TC's?
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Makes you wonder...if they can build homes that withstand such strong hurricanes in Bermuda, why not here?!?!?!?

I don't live in FL, but I'd hate to see how all those homes that cropped up since 2004 during the boom stand up to a hurricane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1310. pottery
Quoting NRAamy:
Look, spud.....I don't cook....especially for non-husbands.....and I can see an island from my living room, so that ain't gonna cut it.....

Pott knows his duties....

LOLOL
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24379
1309. xcool


SW Jamaica
is now Pouch PGI46L shows by image ^^^
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Quoting NRAamy:
Look, spud.....I don't cook....especially for non-husbands.....and I can see an island from my living room, so that ain't gonna cut it.....

Pott knows his duties....
...Yes Ma'am....;)
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Thanks SJ...
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1306. NRAamy
Now, Pott....my first name is not Manuela, and my last name ain't Labor.....


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Quoting traumaboyy:


Huh.....Did I go to the wrong room again??

Oh....sorry....coffee pot....you got it maam!!


SNORT! OK, I guess that did sound a bit 'off'. LOL!!!
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Quoting traumaboyy:
Morning Night Shift....Coffee is ready!!
Ah, coffee.....
.
.
.
.
.
WAIDaminit..... is it too LATE for coffee, or too EARLY?????

lol

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22312
Quoting angiest:


In 18 hours GFS went from TX/MX border area to Florida. It has gone through NOLA at least once, and Houston at least once.

You can add Tampa to the list. It's gone to there a couple of time too.
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1300. CalTex
The death throes of Julia

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/carb/flash-bd.html
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
Quoting texcane:


Believe me when I say I understand. It's just that this whole episode has, IMO, not only brought out some true colors of people that I never would have expected, but also has seemingly just gotten completely out of control with the level of absolutely rude commentary that really just shouldn't have a place here. Last I checked this was a weather blog and not a bashing people blog. Truly, I am all for debates. And on a platform like this in front of many many people there is some modicum of respect that is expected of the community at large. IMO, when thoughts and potential comments begin to exceed those basic parameters, just put it in an email and send it privately. Berating and insulting anyone on here publicly is just out of line and unnecessary. It ruins the flow and we have all seen the results. It derails the purpose of the blog znd polarizes everyone.
Well said!
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Quoting xcool:


cmc.ngp-different storms.this not Pouch PGI46L


Isee mulitple storms out in the atlantic.Season still in session folks.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 17074

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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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