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 xcool:


cmc.ngp-different storms.this not Pouch PGI46L


Isee mulitple storms out in the atlantic.Season still in session folks.
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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.

It will be interesting (understatement) to see how it develops.
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1296. JRRP
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1295. pottery
Quoting NRAamy:
Pott, stressed? And you're just a NON-husband!

;)

Yeah, it's terrible....
But I do have some good sausages, bacon, 'real' eggs, and home-cooked bread for the mid-morning, planned.
That should ease my stress a little....

(want some? about 10 oclock. after you help move some heavy branches that came down today....)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24033
1294. 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....
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1292. texcane
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Not that I disagree with his oppinions, its the dismissive attitude toward people interested in his oppinion and his agression toward people who question his posts. He changed over the years and comes across as quite bitter now...I don't know why. I think Tampa Bob said it best.


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.
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Quoting xcool:


cmc.ngp-different storms.this not Pouch PGI46L



Do you have the count of GFS hit Texas Vs Florida?
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Quoting xcool:


cmc.ngp-different storms.this not Pouch PGI46L


Thanks xcool.
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1289. angiest
Quoting fatlady99:


I just looked... YEOW! That's the first time I saw that run, and I'll be following your blog for sure. Thanks for putting it up. (glad I brought those extra shorts along...)


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.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
1286. Seawall
Filled all the gas cans today, and started the genny; have 18 gallons on hand. Just in case...
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1283. robj144
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Hey you tooare speaking my language. The chaotic nature of weather makes modeling it the equivilent of moding a roulette wheel (still on the french theme). I think there are theoretical limits to weather forecasting and that even with advances in computing and modeling we will reach a forecasting "wall".


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.
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Quoting angiest:


Follow my blog. I won't catch every run. But I intend to track GFS' forecast for this storm, and that includes capturing the cyclogenesis and landfall frames. This storm has appeared in almost every GFS run for the last week.


I just looked... YEOW! That's the first time I saw that run, and I'll be following your blog for sure. Thanks for putting it up. (glad I brought those extra shorts along...)
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Morning Night Shift....Coffee is ready!!
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Evening Baha, and good to see you :)

I don't concur with all of it, but certainly most of it. Well stated and you make some very good points.
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.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21487
1279. xcool


cmc.ngp-different storms.this not Pouch PGI46L


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1277. NRAamy
Pott, stressed? And you're just a NON-husband!

;)
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Quoting StormJunkie:


Not even worth playing at this point. Maybe in a 5 days or so ;)

Evening Adrian, good to see you around.

THEN 4
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Come to think of it, I haven't seen her in awhile. She disappeared shortly after suggesting the bloggers here start a donation to fund Levi a vacation to Florida, since he's never been outside Alaska.

Needless to say, that didn't go over very well with the people here, despite her genuine, heartfelt intention.

I tend to side with the majority (the bloggers who were vehemently opposed to the idea) in this case.

Still, she was certainly a decent blogger.
Thanks Kman.I was wondering where they went.Maybe admin permantly banned her from the blogs(just like other good bloggers).But I think their was a big fight between her,and another blogger that was inpersonating someone I think ?.I'm not to sure.
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Quoting superweatherman:
Lets play the vote game? The GFS Storm will hit?
1. Texas
2. Louisiana
3. Florida
4. It will stop showing development by next week.


Not even worth playing at this point. Maybe in a 5 days or so ;)

Evening Adrian, good to see you around.
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1272. angiest
Quoting StormJunkie:


Maybe, I'm still debating this one with myself. Really wish we could look at the archived runs. Anyone else have thoughts?


Follow my blog. I won't catch every run. But I intend to track GFS' forecast for this storm, and that includes capturing the cyclogenesis and landfall frames. This storm has appeared in almost every GFS run for the last week.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
1271. pottery
Quoting NRAamy:
Pott, non-wives don't cook either....

I think it's cold cereal for the both of us.....
BAH!!
This relationship is Stressed.
heheheheh
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24033
1270. Seawall
And then, you turn around and see this...
From Rita
[url=http://www.freeimagehosting.net/][img=http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/ae6d5bb056.jpg][ /url]
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Quoting robj144:


Their nonlinear systems... no one can predict their path a week ahead of time. Last night, quite a few were ignoring an obvious wobble and saying it was moving due west, which went against the NHC prediction which, of course, was spot on. Yes, the models at 3+ days should be taken with a grain of salt, but even those predictions have been very good from the NHC this year.
Hey you tooare speaking my language. The chaotic nature of weather makes modeling it the equivilent of moding a roulette wheel (still on the french theme). I think there are theoretical limits to weather forecasting and that even with advances in computing and modeling we will reach a forecasting "wall".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1267. NRAamy
Pott, non-wives don't cook either....

I think it's cold cereal for the both of us.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Lets play the vote game? The GFS Storm will hit?
1. Texas
2. Louisiana
3. Florida
4. It will stop showing development by next week.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angiest:


I first noticed the Carribean/Gulf storm last weekend, with cyclogenesis happening around the 24th-26th. Cyclogenesis is still happening inhe same timeframe.


Maybe, I'm still debating this one with myself. Really wish we could look at the archived runs. Anyone else have thoughts?
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Quoting angiest:


Thank you. All right, this is all the rest I will say about it, as I really must be getting to bed. The median survival age for CF is the US is currently about 37 years. Assuming that doesn't change (which hopefully it will increase substantially), I will be 66 when my daughter reaches that age. That means, with the current state of medicine, I still stand a good chance of burying her. That is something difficult for a parent to come to terms with (and it is necessary to come to terms with that quickly). That said, who wouldn't take any opportunity to educate people about a little-known and poorly understood condition?

Yeah, that was totally off-topic, but if it educates one person, then the consequences are worth it.


I agree. Thank you for sharing.
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Quoting StormJunkie:


Evening fm, good to see you.

True, but it has been showing this system for 5+ days now I think. So it should have been getting closer by now. Someone mentioned that earlier and I wasn't convinced, but that was I only thought about the past few runs and not the past five days worth of runs.


You may be right. The GFS is extremely inaccurate in long range storm tracking. The ECMWF and the CMC provide more reliable forecasts. The CMC will be out in 20 minutes.
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Quoting futuremet:


Keep in mind that there is only a 24 hour difference between today's and yesterday's 00z run. Thus, you will barely notice the difference.


With all the octane to our south its worth keeping tabs on.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
Hmm does anyone know what happend to a blogger name BaltimoreBirds?.The person keeps sending me Wumail insted of posting on the blog.Did they get banned from the blog?.After this question is anwsered that's it for me.


Come to think of it, I haven't seen her in awhile. She disappeared shortly after suggesting the bloggers here start a donation to fund Levi a vacation to Florida, since he's never been outside Alaska.

Needless to say, that didn't go over very well with the people here, despite her genuine, heartfelt intention.

I tend to side with the majority (the bloggers who were vehemently opposed to the idea) in this case.

Still, she was certainly a decent blogger.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1258. pottery
Quoting NRAamy:
Pott!! Thank God! A friendly face.....now, where's my dinner, non-husband?????


;)


I'd settle for an early breakfast.....

You cookin'??
If so, I accept.
(non-Husbands NEVER cook LOL)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24033
1257. robj144
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.


Their nonlinear systems... no one can predict their path a week ahead of time. Last night, quite a few were ignoring an obvious wobble and saying it was moving due west, which went against the NHC prediction which, of course, was spot on. Yes, the models at 3+ days should be taken with a grain of salt, but even those predictions have been very good from the NHC this year.
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1255. angiest
Quoting StormJunkie:


Evening fm, good to see you.

True, but it has been showing this system for 5+ days now I think. So it should have been getting closer by now. Someone mentioned that earlier and I wasn't convinced, but that was I only thought about the past few runs and not the past five days worth of runs.


I first noticed the Carribean/Gulf storm last weekend, with cyclogenesis happening around the 24th-26th. Cyclogenesis is still happening inhe same timeframe.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Well said, I took the family down to "El Vaquero" for our favorite mexican food dinner and talked with the owners about the storm striking Veracruz. They are from the Pacific side but were very worried about the impacts of Karl on their country.
Agreed, the track seems very problematic re: flooding. A significant number of fate's will be tied to good fortune. Hopefully, as many as possible will escape death.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
1253. angiest
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.


Earl really didn't impact the Islands, just as the NHC forecast....

All right, good night.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting futuremet:


Keep in mind that there is only a 24 hour difference between today's and yesterday's 00z run. Thus, you will barely notice the difference.


Evening fm, good to see you.

True, but it has been showing this system for 5+ days now I think. So it should have been getting closer by now. Someone mentioned that earlier and I wasn't convinced, but that was I only thought about the past few runs and not the past five days worth of runs.
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Hmm does anyone know what happend to a blogger name BaltimoreBirds?.The person keeps sending me Wumail insted of posting on the blog.Did they get banned from the blog?.After this question is anwsered that's it for me.
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1250. pottery
Quoting robj144:


I have to disagree a little. In a technical field or scientific field you really need a degree to make any headway whatsoever. Yes, once you start delving into your job, experience helps quite a bit.

By the way, where's everyone that said Igor was changing course to the west last night? The NHC has been doing an excellent job with the models this year and I would not doubt them in the future.

Not a good idea to doubt the NHC ever.
In spite of what is said on here sometimes, they have the very best of everything to make sense of the Information available.
Compared to them, everyone else is "guessing" to a degree..

Of course, some "guesses" may indeed come to pass, and the NHC may be in error in some forecasts.
But this is what the prediction of weather is all about.
It is totally dynamic and is changing all the time...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24033
1249. Seawall
Quoting Seawall:

For those that crave the wish of any storm, and I once did, the morning after is rather sobering, as evidenced in my yard...
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1248. flsky
Quoting futuremet:


Keep in mind that there is only a 24 hour difference between today's and yesterday's 00z run. Thus, you will barely notice the difference.

Thanks goodness you're posting again. You've been sorely missed.
Member Since: October 24, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1914

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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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