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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The blog has problems tonight...Wunderground is going to be empty soon. Its a chain reaction...

Storm leaves -> Other people leave -> Other people leave

And so on...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting angiest:


Now now, if you don't have a degree in something then you can't do something even semi-pro. It's only a hobby. Degrees are all important.
I have a 4 year degree and I don't think its worth the paper its printed on.

Sometimes, in some occupations, experience can and does substitute for education.

You still didn't answer my question.
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Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
Recon just found a 939 pressure in Igor...


It was 947 as of the last advisory. :(
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Quoting pcola57:



Now if I'm reading that chart correctly,
33 Mile Error for 12hr cone isn't too shabby.
If I'm not please let me know nrtiwlnvragn.
Thanks



You are correct, the average forecast error for the 12 hour forecast is 33.8 nautical miles. At the 12 hour point the cone radii is 36 nautical miles. More impressive is the 120 hour error of 151 nautical miles where the cone radii for 120 hours is 285 nautical miles.
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Quoting xcool:
washingtonian115 yea
Levi stated a month ago that the pattern for late september,and early october would be similar to 2004/05.And well...you all know the rest of the story.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15709
Recon just found a 939 pressure in Igor...
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Robert, that was not the point of the comment. I think you misunderstood the "laugh"...He does not have a met degree; while a knowledgeable one, he is a hobbyist like many of us. The last forecaster hobbyist I remember to create a "forecast center" was StormTop....Creating your own personal "forecast center" has struck me as a very odd thing for any hobbyist to do.


I understand its a hobby, but the more professional sounding the name, the better sense of trust your customer's will have. Wouldn't you rather get your weather info from "The National Hurricane Center" than "Avila's Weather Clubhouse"?

Its funny though, how the NHC can put out a forecast that says a storm will turn N by the time it gets to 50W.....and when the storm is at 65W and still moving WNW, people will STILL insist the NHC is right on their forecast? NO ONE is right 100% of the time. You don't believe me? Why do you think things are such a mess in Wash DC? Because both sides think they're 100% right and the other side is 100% wrong.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2010: 11/6/5
2009: 6/2/2
2008: 10/5/3
2007: 8/3/2
2006: 8/4/2
2005: 16/8/4

2004: 11/7/4
2003: 9/5/2
2002: 10/1/0
2001: 7/3/1
2000: 8/4/1

Bold - Seasons ahead of us in terms of Named Storms

Italic - Seasons tied with 2010

*All activity is up to this date*
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Quoting angiest:


Now now, if you don't have a degree in something then you can't do something even semi-pro. It's only a hobby. Degrees are all important.

That is incorrect...you can enlist in the military and become a forecaster and they do not have degrees. They are amazing forecasters and many have very long careers in weather and when they retire many places hire then to continue weather because of their experience without degrees.
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1036. pottery
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
You take Clams!?

Dont know 'bout him, but...
As long as they are cooked, with lots of Garlic, Yeah!
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
1034. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Philippines Atmospherical Geophysical Astronomical Services and Administration
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #7
TYPHOON INDAY (FANAPI)
11:00 AM PhST September 18 2010
=============================================

Typhoon "INDAY" has gained more strength as it continues to move west northwestward.

At 10:00 AM PhST, Typhoon Inday (Fanapi) located at 23.8°N 125.8°E or 510 km northeast of Basco, Batanes has 10 minute sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts of 100 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west northwest at 6 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 PM today.
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Quoting CalTex:


But that just creates a link, it doesn't add the image to the blog, at least when I've tried it.


The button the the right of Link should say Image. Click it for a popup, then paste the URL of the image there as you would for a link.
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Quoting beell:


Nice work, nrt! Thanks. Looks like they struggled a bit early on.
You got one with the actual error (if any) for cone diam/forecast hr?



Not sure what your question is. At the top of the spreadsheet is the cone radii for each forecast hour and below that the actual error for each forecast.
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Quoting CalTex:


But that just creates a link, it doesn't add the image to the blog, at least when I've tried it.


There should be an image button. Right click on the image you want to post. Copy "Image location" or bring up the properties of the image and copy the location from there. Hit the image button. Paste the image location in there. Hit ok and that's should be it.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 15472
1030. will40
Quoting CalTex:


But that just creates a link, it doesn't add the image to the blog, at least when I've tried it.


what browser are you using?
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Quoting pottery:

Sez Who???


DOH! My bad. :)
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1026. xcool
washingtonian115 yea
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15603
Quoting xcool:


E;P;O come


That means trouble for the u.s
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 15709
Quoting Portlight:
pottery....we want to be sure you don't feel left out....please know that we can accept whatever it is y'all use for money down in the islands, too...
You take Clams!?
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BMMuda
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
Wish you the best and that would be that Igor downgrades to a lower Cat and that it passes far to the east so that only minor effects would be felt.....

Quoting JP2010:
I'm in Bermuda now on the south shore the waves and swells are large and thunder pound waves already are running about 10-15 foot high outer reef. The water is already pushing its way to back of some of the resort structures.
People are slowing boarding up some lines at gas stations not to bad. The locals are very calm but very concerned after they remember Fabian about five years ago.
I have chased a number of hurricanes over the years. When you see waves already this big days before it make landfall regardless of its intensity thing are going to get much worse. IE wave height swells 40-50 foot range. IE Cat-2 hurricane but more like a cat 4 storm surge!!
The storm has a 250 mi radius from the center of TS winds so Bermuda will have 36 hours of TS winds and about 12 hour of Hurricane force winds.

I will try to have live stream up later Saturday and Sunday if we have power and internet.
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9648
1021. CalTex
Quoting flsky:

Hit the link button and just add the url.


But that just creates a link, it doesn't add the image to the blog, at least when I've tried it.
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I am relativly new to the blog, but i do really appreciate your excellent knowledgebase when it comes to tropical weather.Without that this year when we got a visit from Earl at least i knew what we could expect a couple days in advance.Lucky for us here in Halifax, Earl lost alot of power fighting through the dry air and windshear plus a ewrc or 2.If those environmental conditions weren't present to impeed that storm we could have been looking a cat 2 storm or so, at this time of year here to get a storm of that size would have put us back into the stone age for over a month.Instead we got off with only minor damage and 1 loss of life.I just hope you guys can settle your differnces and try to help 1 another,today some of those folks in mexico probably didn't fair to well in some of the rural communities, and even though Igor lost alot of its power Bermuda is not out of the woods yet by any means.Next week or so there may be another system getting into the GOM so the gulf coast region is poteintally at risk.Just try to think of those people for a moment, and all the pain a suffering they are and will experience.Then just keep that thought to try better to help prepare people at least if they may be placed in harms way.The first time i ever saw a large storm on a infared sat loop was Hurricane Andrew,now being i weather enthusiast i thought it was really cool to see the eye because it was something ive never experienced before. However after looking at the aftermath it left in places like homestead my thoughts of amazement went to numbness and sorrow to see entire sub divisions completely deystroyed and left in huge piles of rubble.How those people even survived that is well beyond my comprehension.Tropical weather is not a exact science YET, but keep working hard at your studies, because when you do get your met degree and people heed your warnings and listen to your messages are usually the first lives that are saved indirectly.Then people like myself will do our part during the aftermath and lend a hand to help "mrs. smith who lost her home rebuild 1 board, brick, drywall at a time until its done.
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Next buoy is coming up. This might make it close to Igor's center. 12 hours maybe?

Link
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1017. pcola57
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
NHC track forecast error for Igor. On average all forecast hours are within the "cone".

Link



Now if I'm reading that chart correctly,
33 Mile Error for 12hr cone isn't too shabby.
If I'm not please let me know nrtiwlnvragn.
Thanks

Member Since: August 13, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 6650
1016. pottery
Quoting PcolaDan:


You know they don't use rum as money any more, right? :)

Sez Who???
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
Quoting RobertM320:


Does anyone have the current ACE?
Season total ACE thus far

Storm Type ACE (104 kt2)
01L (Alex) Operational 6.7825
03L (Bonnie) Operational 0.3675
04L (Colin) Operational 1.9450
06L (Danielle) Operational 21.7950
07L (Earl) Operational 27.7750
08L (Fiona) Operational 2.9400
09L (Gaston) Operational 0.3675
10L (Hermine) Operational 1.2725
11L (Igor) Operational 34.6225
12L (Julia) Operational 12.4775
13L (Karl) Operational 5.8000
Total 116.145
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Quoting RobertM320:


Does anyone have the current ACE?


As of 11 PM, it's 116.145
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1010. pottery
Quoting Portlight:
pottery....we want to be sure you don't feel left out....please know that we can accept whatever it is y'all use for money down in the islands, too...

But I already sent you a bag of Sea-Shells....

LOL
Truth is, I give to the needy down here, whatever I can. And do some community stuff as well.

You guys are Fantastic, and I Admire what you are doing for sure.
Keep Strong, Press.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 23080
Quoting Neapolitan:
Interesting comparative note: in the past seven days alone, we've gathered as much ACE as the entire 2009 season, and in just the past five days, we've gathered as much ACE as all of 1997. (more in my blog)

2010 ACE by Day
ACE by Day


Does anyone have the current ACE?
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1008. beell
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
NHC track forecast error for Igor. On average all forecast hours are within the "cone".

Link


Nice work, nrt! Thanks. Looks like they struggled a bit early on.
You got one with the actual error (if any) for cone diam/forecast hr?

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Quoting PcolaDan:


You know they don't use rum as money any more, right? :)

oh...well......nevermind...
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1006. 7544
gee people cant read he didnt mean dr m he meant his own drs scechhhhh

is igor wobling west again ?
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Quoting washingtonian115:
The question I want to ask for anyone that lives on a island is where do you go if the intire island is below sa level,and flat?.
This is impossible, since if the island was entirely below sea level, it wouldn't be an island anymore....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20730
Pretty decent structure. I wouldn't say it is any stronger than what the NHC has it currently though.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Igor...funny how some names just seem to fit the person....in this case "the cane"....he's just one bad boy!!
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1001. DDR
Quoting pottery:

Did not realise you were in St.Benedict. That's Good.
I can see that, clearly from my house. Due north.
But from your vantage point, all you will see of me is Trees!
On a ridge, almost in line with the towers on Tortuga Hills.
Chickland Village.

P.S. when the oceans rise, YOU will be fine up there... LOL

LoL
yup im high up,200 foot up
I'll show you a pic just now
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1000. bassis
Great bloggers+ Great info= Great blog

It's all here for us to glean a little more knowledge from.
"IGOR HAS MADE A TROCHOIDAL WOBBLE" was stated in the 11pm and I actually have a basic idea what that meant. WHY?

I'm still here and hoping the rest stay here also

Check back in the morning
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I can't stand no more, I go.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.