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


Get your point, but no comment...Wait, I just commented. That's sort of like pulling a Favre huh?

It's time to laugh a little folks.

Julia's hurtin...

Another victim... like Fiona and Earl.
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Quoting tropicfreak:
At around 11 years ago today hurricane floyd made landfall.
Actually that happened last week 11 years ago...
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
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
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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...
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An eye has redeveloped with Igor. Now let's see if it can maintain it. The eye does appear to be quite ragged at the moment, let's see if it can get better defined but also warm.

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986. flsky
Quoting CalTex:
How do I embed an image? Thanks.

Hit the link button and just add the url.
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984. 7544
Quoting aspectre:
HurricaneIgor's heading had turned westward to (9.6degrees north of) WestNorthWest
from its previous heading of (2.4degrees north of) NorthNorthWest
H.Igor's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~17.3mph(~27.9km/h)

16Sep 03amGMT - - 22.0n58.7w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - NHC.Adv.#36
16Sep 06amGMT - - 22.2n59.2w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - #36A
17Sep 09amGMT - - 22.4n59.4w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - #37
17Sep 12pmGMT - - 22.7n59.8w - - 120mph - - 940mb - - #37A

17Sep 03pmGMT - - 23.1n60.1w - - 120mph - - 945mb - - #38
17Sep 06pmGMT - - 23.4n60.7w - - 115mph - - 946mb - - #38A
17Sep 09pmGMT - - 23.7n61.1w - - 105mph - - 947mb - - #39
18Sep 12amGMT - - 24.2n61.3w - - 105mph - - 947mb - - #39A
17Sep 03amGMT - - 24.6n62.0w - - 110mph - - 947mb - - #40

Copy&paste 22.0n58.7w, 22.2n59.2w, 22.4n59.4w, 22.7n59.8w, 23.1n60.1w-23.4n60.7w, 23.4n60.7w-23.7n61.1w, 23.7n61.1w-24.2n61.3w, 24.2n61.3w-24.6n62.0w, nbw, bda into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 24hours


guess some of us were right igor moved west and still is lol
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983. bwat
Quoting Portlight:
Good wishes and prayers are every bit as important as money...also...pleas tell your friends...enemies, too, for that matter...please feel free to forward our info far and wide...and...Thanks!!!!!
Done, and Done! You guys rock! I'm gone for tonight. I leave with this. We may fall, but with a good friend to extend a hand, we can stand tall again. Peace, Bwat.
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980. ch2os
Texascoastres post 955

Thank you.
+1000
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How do I embed an image? Thanks.
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138


Too big to fit in the 1 km zoom image anymore....
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
Quoting Txwxchaser:
I pray that when "the playa" this season shows up for his/her game....that our "A" team also shows up to keep us informed. Alot of hurt feelings it seems and many are on "self imposed" injured reserve. It's time for everyone to put the Weather back in WU. I fear it's only a matter of time before the CONUS faces a real and very dangerous legitimate threat. I for one always appreciate the wx related info given by all...some better than others...but it's all our personal choice what we do with it. I, for one ignore some of it, laugh at some of it, use some of it, but most always appreciate those that are sincere in their quest to contribute to this blog. The ones who come here just to stir the pot...well again...that's a personal choice. Have a great evening all!! To those I recognize and respect, I thank you. Prayers to those in Mexico whose lives are now forever changed by Karl and those in Bermuda who are in for a very long weekend..........
Well put. Many here have compassion for those in harm's way. Personal interaction is a major part of the WU community. I give you Portlight, as an example. The bonds made here, extend far beyond the banter of the blog. The human spirit is alive and well here.
Member Since: July 23, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 12414
Quoting DDR:

LoL
I'm quiet surprised myself,this is my second year/second rainy season up here in St Benedict.Last year was below average,i need some more years to work out an average.
We all know this country has infrastuctural nightmares

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
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24870
973. Halyn
Grrrrrr .. messed up the quote .. but 956 has it right ....
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Quoting StormJunkie:
939. Very well stated. Communication is oh so important, and yet such a tough thing to truly master.

949... to you for comic relief in a oh so nonchalant way.
see post 967 for correction...I posted the first post so fast that it wasn't what I meant to say.
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Good evening, all. Been down with bad back for the past couple of days. I'd wanted to track Igor from start to end and I've missed out. Oh well.

Looks like he's expected to make a pretty direct hit on Bermuda, yes? I just hope Igor doesn't wind up again and hit as a major by Sunday. Does it look like that's the scenario?
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Good wishes and prayers are every bit as important as money...also...pleas tell your friends...enemies, too, for that matter...please feel free to forward our info far and wide...and...Thanks!!!!!
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Quoting hunkerdown:
hell, some would have him half way to Hawaii by now, with all that, er, ahhh, never mind...


edit for content correction
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966. bwat
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

that wont happen because there really is only about one or two people let that can actually talk weather properly and use something besides a model that they do not verify first.
Agree, but I will say 4. Storm, Levi, Drak, BTWNTX(he really nailed Karls' intesity).
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NHC track forecast error for Igor. On average all forecast hours are within the "cone".

Link
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HurricaneIgor's heading had turned westward to (9.6degrees north of) WestNorthWest
from its previous heading of (2.4degrees north of) NorthNorthWest
H.Igor's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~17.3mph(~27.9km/h)

16Sep 03amGMT - - 22.0n58.7w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - NHC.Adv.#36
17Sep 06amGMT - - 22.2n59.2w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - #36A
17Sep 09amGMT - - 22.4n59.4w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - #37
17Sep 12pmGMT - - 22.7n59.8w - - 120mph - - 940mb - - #37A
17Sep 03pmGMT - - 23.1n60.1w - - 120mph - - 945mb - - #38
17Sep 06pmGMT - - 23.4n60.7w - - 115mph - - 946mb - - #38A
17Sep 09pmGMT - - 23.7n61.1w - - 105mph - - 947mb - - #39
18Sep 12amGMT - - 24.2n61.3w - - 105mph - - 947mb - - #39A
18Sep 03amGMT - - 24.6n62.0w - - 110mph - - 947mb - - #40

Copy&paste 22.0n58.7w, 22.2n59.2w, 22.4n59.4w, 22.7n59.8w, 23.1n60.1w-23.4n60.7w, 23.4n60.7w-23.7n61.1w, 23.7n61.1w-24.2n61.3w, 24.2n61.3w-24.6n62.0w, nbw, bda into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 24hours
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I think igor could make it back up to CAT 4 before its all set and done
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Igor is likely to become a Major Hurricane again tomorrow.



it'll be a 3 at 2am

kinda looks like one now, tho...
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952. bwat
Quoting Portlight:


Hurricane Karl is coming ashore in Mexico right now. Hurricane Igor is about to pound Bermuda. We are prepared to render assistance in both areas as need dictates.

As usual, we will focus on the needs of unserved, under served and forgotten people...and the needs of people with disabilities.

Your contribution will be used to defray deployment expenses, such as fuel...and to purchase food and water in support of our mobile kitchen resources.

We understand that it is difficult to envision the devastation of a natural disaster before it strikes. But, to the extent you can, please try to imagine it.

Your help will be critical. So please consider supporting our efforts with your thoughts, prayers and, of course, financial contribution.

Contributions can be made using the PayPal button above.

Thank you for your faith in our efforts!!!!

Link
This is an awesome cause. I am in a situation with a new wife, child, home, and can not give. Anyone that can should! With that being said I would like to let portlight know that I am willing to help with anything, other than monetary, that I can. If there is ever anything I can do to help, please let me know!
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Quoting StormJunkie:
Shouldn't he be in Fla by now...With all the "west" movement he's been doing :) The NHC has done a pretty damn good job thus far this season.





The track has been generally good, however, Igor remains almost a day behind schedule. He was originally supposed to be in his present location around 18-20 hours ago, based on eyeballing the graphics archive images. I haven't done a more rigid analysis yet.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Quoting StormJunkie:
Shouldn't he be in Fla by now...With all the "west" movement he's been doing :) The NHC has done a pretty damn good job thus far this season.



hell, some would have him half way to Miami by now, with all that, er, ahhh, never mind...
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948. DDR
Quoting pottery:

Hi!!
I heard that there was a prob with the highway, but dont know the details.
No maintenance for years, will do that...
I know that you have had more rain than me, but did not know it was so much.
You still floating??? LOL !

LoL
I'm quiet surprised myself,this is my second year/second rainy season up here in St Benedict.Last year was below average,i need some more years to work out an average.
We all know this country has infrastructural nightmares
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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