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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Bad CMC, Bad CMC.



Yesterday we had around 50 mm of rain in a matter of few hours, so we had several landslides on the mountanious areas. And yet we're expecting this weekend around 100 mm more of rain in NE Mexico.

BAD CMC, BAD CMC.
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Any thoughts on the GOM blob?
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Bermuda webcam. As pcola57 said, "it's gettin' windy!".

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Anybody want a new avatar? Here's a beautiful image of Hurricane Igor's eye from the International Space Center. The image was taken on September 14, 2010 at 13:56 UTC.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL VIEW


Wow! that's an amazing picture at full resolution. I sure would like to fly into one of those...
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2191. MahFL
Lol I read on the Bermuda webcam it was being taken down due to the approach of Igor, I'd have thought that was the last thing you would do.......
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Offshore of S TX, Special Marine Warning:
SPECIAL MARINE WARNING
GMZ150-170-175-181615-
/O.NEW.KBRO.MA.W.0042.100918T1522Z-100918T1615Z/

BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SPECIAL MARINE WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BROWNSVILLE TX
1022 AM CDT SAT SEP 18 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BROWNSVILLE HAS ISSUED A

* SPECIAL MARINE WARNING FOR...
WATERS FROM PORT MANSFIELD TX TO THE RIO GRANDE RIVER FROM 20 TO 60
NM.
COASTAL WATERS FROM PORT MANSFIELD TX TO THE RIO GRANDE RIVER OUT
20 NM.
WATERS FROM BAFFIN BAY TO PORT MANSFIELD TX FROM 20 TO 60 NM.

* UNTIL 1115 AM CDT

* AT 1022 AM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
AN AREA OF STRONG THUNDERSTORM...WITH WIND GUSTS OF 34 KNOTS OR
GREATER...59 MILES EAST OF RIO GRANDE...MOVING NORTHWEST AT 15
KNOTS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

PLEASE REPORT WATERSPOUTS OR FUNNEL CLOUDS...WINDS OF 34 KNOTS OR
HIGHER...HAIL THE SIZE OF PENNIES OR LARGER...AND ANY VESSEL DAMAGE
TO YOUR NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BROWNSVILLE BY CALLING
956-504-1432.

&&

LAT...LON 2595 9661 2652 9712 2674 9628 2644 9621
2610 9617 2595 9617
TIME...MOT...LOC 1522Z 145DEG 15KT 2601 9623

$$
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Anybody want a new avatar? Here's a beautiful image of Hurricane Igor's eye from the International Space Center. The image was taken on September 14, 2010 at 13:56 UTC.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL VIEW
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2186. pcola57
Getting a little windy in Bermuda...cam link
Link
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2184. dmdhdms
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Anyway to put that map in motion you know?


Try this one...controls are at the bottom of the page, scroll down.

Link
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Quoting cctxshirl:
Victoria? You're getting rain right now aren't you? Yesterday and Thursday there were funnel clouds in Kingsville and CC area. Tides are really not high here like I thought they'd be with the storm south of us, however they were higher than normal, but not up to the dunes like they usually are with any storm south of us in the Gulf.
Yes-raining again, still? Seems like it hasn't stopped! lol
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Blog Update

Igor barrels towards Bermuda as a high-end category 2 hurricane

Thanks! Nice update :)
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Quoting weatherboyfsu:
Im so bored........... No action for Florida....


Obviously you don't have to pay for any damage yourself. Be careful what you wish for. I am eternally grateful for each year we don't get hit.
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2179. JRRP

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Victoria? You're getting rain right now aren't you? Yesterday and Thursday there were funnel clouds in Kingsville and CC area. Tides are really not high here like I thought they'd be with the storm south of us, however they were higher than normal, but not up to the dunes like they usually are with any storm south of us in the Gulf.
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I will believe it when I see it. A good ten inches of rain would be great for the central florida area.....



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2175. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #8
TYPHOON INDAY (FANAPI)
10:45 PM PhST September 18 2010
=============================================

Typhoon "INDAY" has maintained its strength as it approaches eastern Taiwan.

At 10:00 PM PhST, Typhoon Inday (Fanapi) located at 24.1°N 124.0°E or 430 km northeast of Basco, Batanes has 10 minute sustained winds of 85 knots with gusts of 105 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 7 knots.

Additional Information
=======================
This weather disturbance is still far to affect any part of the country.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin alert to be issued at 11 AM tomorrow.
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I see some turning...not what I wanted to see this morning....go Horns!
Link
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Quoting Neapolitan:


Don't think so; as I just posted, the current Destructive Potential Rating for Igor's surge and waves is 5.3 (on a scale of 0-6), so 14' is well within the realm of possibility.


In Haiti?
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Quoting cctxshirl:
TxScience you may be getting more rain soon--we have some very heavy rains and wind here in Rockport and Corpus.
Am just a little ways from you-Victoria area
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2169. 7544
morning all the new watch for igor is to see if he could do the loop de loop like the bams are showing and pull another jean

end of sept and all of oct fla needs to watch also for one or more stroms close to home remeber it only takes one and i say 70% for fla stay tunedd
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2168. alcomat
Quoting hydrus:
The GEM still has a good size storm for the Gulf of Mexico . Link
and what a surprise! look where it is going.can you say northern mexico/s.texas ? the pattern for the season...
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TxScience you may be getting more rain soon--we have some very heavy rains and wind here in Rockport and Corpus.
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Quoting hydrus:
After Igor splits, high pressure builds in quickly and low pressure all over the place south of 20 degrees....Link GFS.
....with the kelvin wave approaching the sepac/swcarib region its going to be interesting how many tc's end up advecting north out of that area and where the eastern boundries set up!!!
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What up Stormjunkie????
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Quoting hydrus:
The CMC has South Texas or there abouts being threatened with a strong hurricane. If you observe this model closely, you can plainly see that it could be a really bad situation..Link
With all the rain we've had in south texas, we'll need canoes to leave the house. Since Hermine until yesterday at our house, we've had 15 inches of rain.
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Im so bored........... No action for Florida....
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Quoting hydrus:
The CMC has South Texas or there abouts being threatened with a strong hurricane. If you observe this model closely, you can plainly see that it could be a really bad situation..Link


I sure hope this doesn't happen!
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Quoting txraysfan:
Welcome! I am new to here as well. I mostly read blog-very good info in here.


Welcome aboard to both of you. Been here five years, but still kind of fall in to the "newbie" category myself.

Bar should be lower for a newbie sound bite  The Office - Broke sound bitesBar should be lower for a newbie sound bite
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16311
Quoting hydrus:
The NCEP has FL getting hit pretty good and then Georgia...Link.


Tropical Depression at the way end of Sept-way begining of Oct.Appears to be a cat 1 at landfall(Even though this is 2 and a half weeks away:)
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Wonder if they are confusing wave height or swell with surge.


Don't think so; as I just posted, the current Destructive Potential Rating for Igor's surge and waves is 5.3 (on a scale of 0-6), so 14' is well within the realm of possibility.
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Wonder if they are confusing wave height or swell with surge.


Morning nrti. That's what I was was wondering too. Although I can see where a storm of Igors size and stature would be able to "pile" up some water, or essentially create a surge well away from the center.
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2153. hydrus
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Yep. Good observation.
The CMC has South Texas or there abouts being threatened with a strong hurricane. If you observe this model closely, you can plainly see that it could be a really bad situation..Link
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Quoting TXscienceguy:
Hi everyone, this is my first post to weather underground. I live southeast of Austin, TX and have been reading the blogs here for the past several weeks. I am a weather enthusiast (almost decided to become a meteorologist) but am now teaching physics and chemistry at a local highschool. My area has been pretty dry all summer and the 5 inches of rain we received from Hermine were a wecome relief from the dry summer. My backyard saw another .5 inches of rain yesterday from a stray thunderstorm that popped up from the moisture coming into south TX from the Karl circulation. We will take all we can get. I am watching with interest the blow-up of convection SE of brownsville this morning.
Welcome! I am new to here as well. I mostly read blog-very good info in here.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
its been removed as per demands from a simple mind i always thought this was jeff masters place but you know

as for what it means its complete info on storm from current info to future info and all the points its travel in between
please........keeper--keep posting your graphics and charts--i always look for them. if anyone else doesn't like it they can hide it! back to lurking!
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2149. tkeith
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
its been removed as per demands from a simple mind i always thought this was jeff masters place but you know

as for what it means its complete info on storm from current info to future info and all the points its travel in between
The entire track and intensity?
Member Since: November 1, 2004 Posts: 25 Comments: 8924
Quoting atmoaggie:
!?!?!

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EDIS-89DP3D?OpenDocument

Haiti: Storm surge warning issued for north coast

The Haitian Red Cross has warned communities living along the country's north coast of a potentially dangerous storm surge over the coming days.
...
According to the DPC, the storm surge could be as high as 14 feet (four metres) %u2013 potentially affecting thousands of people who live along the coast. The surge is the result of water being pushed South and South West by Hurricane Igor, which is now heading north up the United States' Atlantic Coast.

atmo: Uhh, I hope that's bullsh.. The storm surge modeler in me says it is. 2 - 4 feet, yeah, maybe. 14 feet?


Wonder if they are confusing wave height or swell with surge.
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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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