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 StormJunkie:


Not moving in much closer, but still moving in a little with most runs. Landfall had been right around 372-384 yesterday I though...But I could easily be confused after the past four days...lol
A bit of a collective hangover.
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
I like to get my information from as many sources as possible and then formulate my own plan of action.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket?

By the way, the NHC is still a government agency, and we know how government can.....oh well I won't go any further!


True, both the NHC and local Emergency Management are governmental entities - and if I said that part didn't give me the willies I'd be lying. lol

I know it's kind of putting all your eggs in one basket and all, but at least in that case, I know who made the basket. Just have to figure out if that's a good or bad thing. ;-)
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Quoting LeMoyne:
Atmoaggie - soz was fixing AC then lost first try at post re 643 and prev wind map

643 pic looks like Igor recently - wind map was at 1800 - I was looking at North Atlantic - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop at 1800 (early frame now) - not sure abt yr pic but on GOES Rainbow Igor got rounder in the red a little after 1800
???
That other pic I posted was supposedly only 30 minutes old when I posted it.

this one looks much more like what you are saying
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
Who's Scotty?

You, sir, lead a sheltered life. (or are very young) lol
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794. txjac
Quoting bdafinsfan:
I'm from Bermuda, born and raised. Longtime lurker (4 years or so), finally just created an account tonight so I could post some stuff.

Born here in 1971, was here for Emily in 1987 and Fabian in 2003. Getting ready for Igor, we're in for a bit of a blow.

Will probably post some pictures tomorrow if I can figure out how to do that...


Stay safe!
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Quoting CalTex:
AllBoardedUp:

Were you around for Ike? I lived in CA at the time, but my nephew lived in Victoria, and I watched nervously as Ike took aim on this city and then slowly kept edging his way northward.
Yes, we evacuated to Dripping Springs, 15 miles west of Austin. The bayou near my house came out of its banks. The water got up to our garage door but did not make it in the house. The eye came directly over Hitchcock. My younger brother stayed here with the volunteer fire department and kept us update. He called during the calm of the eye.

My father-in-law in Galveston got 32" of water in his house. He did have flood insurance and finally got back in his house a year and a half later.

If the storm would have hit around Matagorda Bay, then I probably would have had about 3 to 4 feet in my house.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Please show some consideration, there are youngins on this blog.

Oh, Come ON!!!!
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Quoting KoritheMan:


You're right. My bad. I will edit that post.


Thanks!
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789. G8GT
How very "Darwinian" of you.

Reminds me of that old movie, "War Games", when Dr. Falken told the Mathew Broderick that "Every once in a while, Mother Nature just gives up and starts over..probably with the bees, this time"

While poetic, it lacks a certain something...like faith in fellow people. While it takes all types, all types do not have to be jerks.

The good people should not have to suffer for the errant ways of the juvenile and emotionally stunted.

Perhaps it is they who should have been administratively "culled" from the herd?


Quoting Neapolitan:
Wunderground is an extremely popular website (as of this moment, #124 in the US, #492 in the world, 2.2 million page views per day, and so on, and so forth), and this blog is doubtless one of the most popular pages on the site. As such, it's going to naturally draw all types of people. That's good: there are a lot of smart, helpful, polite, adult people on these pages. That's bad: there are a lot of trolls and bored kids who stop by to disrupt the party, drawn by the bright lights and big crowds.

That's a fact of life.

Here's another fact of life: any healthy community organism--which this blog's members certainly comprise--goes through occasional paroxysms during which many people leave, sometimes en masse. Such turnovers seem painful when they happen, but they're necessary for the organism to thrive. Consider it like turning over the soil in a farm field every year; if done properly, the organism will continue to thrive. That's all; nothing more, nothing less.
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788. JLPR2
Quoting KoritheMan:


It isn't like you to go to bed this early, mate.

Good night, though!


Oh yes I will, at least today. XD
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:


I think Igor will strengthen tonight and at least part of tomorrow for one last peak. And then starting Sunday, slow decline.


Agreed... Igor is still a super-sized storm.
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I'd love to discuss Igor, but what more is there to say? Have been watching him for days, have saved many images, know it's going to hit Bermuda, and absolutely nothing that can be done about it. Many prayers sent in that direction...
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
Quoting bdafinsfan:
I'm from Bermuda, born and raised. Longtime lurker (4 years or so), finally just created an account tonight so I could post some stuff.

Born here in 1971, was here for Emily in 1987 and Fabian in 2003. Getting ready for Igor, we're in for a bit of a blow.

Will probably post some pictures tomorrow if I can figure out how to do that...

Be careful...Just hope Igor doesn't live up to his name up there.
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Quoting JLPR2:
here we go, our next players:
45L:

46L:


I must say 45L looks much more likely than 46L. XD 45L is the one currently shaded by the yellow crayon from the NHC.

Also, hello all, just this post from me today.
Night! :)


It isn't like you to go to bed this early, mate.

Good night, though!
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Perfect! Humor without bloodshed!

+100

No, Sammy. You are much appreciated as well. Thanks!
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Wunderground is an extremely popular website (as of this moment, #124 in the US, #492 in the world, 2.2 million page views per day, and so on, and so forth), and this blog is doubtless one of the most popular pages on the site. As such, it's going to naturally draw all types of people. That's good: there are a lot of smart, helpful, polite, adult people on these pages. That's bad: there are a lot of trolls and bored kids who stop by to disrupt the party, drawn by the bright lights and big crowds.

That's a fact of life.

Here's another fact of life: any healthy community organism--which this blog's members certainly comprise--goes through occasional paroxysms during which many people leave, sometimes en masse. Such turnovers seem painful when they happen, but they're necessary for the organism to thrive. Consider it like turning over the soil in a farm field every year; if done properly, the organism will continue to thrive. That's all; nothing more, nothing less.
Well said.
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Quoting txjac:
Do we have anyone that posts on this blog that is from Bermuda?


There were a couple of them on last night. Unfortunately, as always, I don't remember their names.
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779. JLPR2
here we go, our next players:
45L:

46L:


I must say 45L looks much more likely than 46L. XD 45L is the one currently shaded by the yellow crayon from the NHC.

Also, hello all, just this post from me today.
Night! :)
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Please show some consideration, there are youngins on this blog.


You're right. My bad. I will edit that post.
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Good Evening all.
From reading back a couple of pages, I gather there is nothing going on in the Tropics, weatherwise?
How very strange....
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I'm from Bermuda, born and raised. Longtime lurker (4 years or so), finally just created an account tonight so I could post some stuff.

Born here in 1971, was here for Emily in 1987 and Fabian in 2003. Getting ready for Igor, we're in for a bit of a blow.

Will probably post some pictures tomorrow if I can figure out how to do that...
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Igor. Here it comes.
Just might be your 19th nervous breakdown.
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
lol The alphabet behind the name remind of an old joke on the meaning a BS., MS. and PhD.

BS degree = bulls**t
MS degree = more of the same
PhD = piled higher and deeper

I stopped at the BS part!


Is there one for JD?
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Quoting KoritheMan:


A
A

I'll be pretty damn surprised if the CONUS avoids a hurricane strike this year. The last time we had as many as 8 hurricanes in a season (what we're likely to achieve this year, and possibly surpass) and didn't see a hurricane landfall in the US was in 2001.


Please show some consideration, there are youngins on this blog.
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Quoting KanKunKid:


I can't stay safe, I am an adventurer. It's not who I am. But, thanks for acknowledging my post. It was a typical TS and folks around here aren't frightened by them. Even Wilma in all her glory didn't scare the locals, so my efforts to be a "boy scout" were met with much skeptiscism and borderline derision. In the end, as usual, they were right and nothing happened of note.
Dammit. Not really. I loved that computer.


What is your instrument of choice when you entertain in a hurricane such as karl that went into Mexico at 1pm or so
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Wunderground is an extremely popular website (as of this moment, #124 in the US, #492 in the world, 2.2 million page views per day, and so on, and so forth), and this blog is doubtless one of the most popular pages on the site. As such, it's going to naturally draw all types of people. That's good: there are a lot of smart, helpful, polite, adult people on these pages. That's bad: there are a lot of trolls and bored kids who stop by to disrupt the party, drawn by the bright lights and big crowds.

That's a fact of life.

Here's another fact of life: any healthy community organism--which this blog's members certainly comprise--goes through occasional paroxysms during which many people leave, sometimes en masse. Such turnovers seem painful when they happen, but they're necessary for the organism to thrive. Consider it like turning over the soil in a farm field every year; if done properly, the organism will continue to thrive. That's all; nothing more, nothing less.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
Since Were all Bored...

POLL TIME:

1.When Will We Have Lisa?

A)September 18-24
B)September 25-30
C)October 1-5
D) October 6-12

2.When Will We Get Our First CONUS Hurricane Landfall?

A)Late September
B) Early October
C) Late October/Early November.
D) Never


A
A

I'll be pretty darn surprised if the CONUS avoids a hurricane strike this year. The last time we had as many as at least 8 hurricanes in a season (what we're likely to achieve this year, and possibly surpass) and didn't see a hurricane landfall in the US was in 2001.
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AllBoardedUp:

Were you around for Ike? I lived in CA at the time, but my nephew lived in Victoria, and I watched nervously as Ike took aim on this city and then slowly kept edging his way northward.
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
Quoting flsky:

Sorry, no. It disappeared this morning.


No it's still up.
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Quoting CalTex:


I think someone else already gave the answer, but it's 1900Galveston or Galveston1900, I forget which. I live in Victoria and am keeping one eye open at all times these days for incoming flak (and hurricanes...lol.)
I hear ya!
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Quoting txjac:
Do we have anyone that posts on this blog that is from Bermuda?


BDAwx is. I'm sure he'll show up soon.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Did you notice how half of the blog's recent pages are about future storms forecast by models or OT stuff? It's surprising to see the lack of interest for Igor.


I know. I'd rather focus on the here and now anyway.
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758. txjac
Do we have anyone that posts on this blog that is from Bermuda?
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Quoting PanhandleChuck:
Still A LOT of energy out there.

Agreed, and not to be ignored.
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Bermuda Public Forecast

Issued at 4:30 pm - Friday, September 17, 2010

Hurricane Warning

Headline -
Hurricane Warning issued...

Public Synopsis -
Hurricane Igor is expected to be a direct hit, with closest passage on early Monday morning. Tropical storm force winds develop Saturday night then increase to hurricane force Sunday evening. Wind speed and direction will be dependent on subtle track changes that are likely over the next few days. Heavy rain and thunder are likely as Igor passes.

Tonight -
Mostly cloudy becoming overcast with 1 or 2 showers... Winds east-northeasterly moderate to strong, increasing strong overnight... Low near 24°C/76°F.

Saturday -
Cloudy with occasional squally showers, risk thunder ... Winds east-northeasterly strong, gradually increasing strong to gale force gusts storm force overnight... High near 28°C/83°F.

Sunday -
Cloudy, frequent rain, showers, risk thunder, heavy at times... Winds easterly gale force gusts to storm force, increasing north-northeasterly hurricane force gusts hurricane force evening, then backing west-northwesterly storm force to hurricane force with gusts to hurricane force near dawn... Low near 24°C/75°F, high near 28°C/83°F.

Monday -
Cloudy, rain, showers, risk thunder early, gradually easing ... Winds west-northwesterly gale force to storm force gusts to hurricane force, backing westerly strong gusts gale force late afternoon, then veering north-northwesterly moderate to strong overnight... Low near 24°C/76°F, high near 28°C/82°F.
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Quoting KanKunKid:


Well sir, the grieving process has been a difficult one seeing as Whiskey (my preferred psychological crutch) is in such short supply, but dark rum and the older (and much more preferred) formula of Coca cola has been of much comfort during these stressful times, and although I miss my Toshiba and the secrets in its hard drive, I am comforted by the fact that I can always get another computer with a sata drive and begin anew. A toast to those who have served us well but have left us!

***clink***
Agreed. Eloquently put.
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
It's all good! Are you the person on here a couple of nights ago who is attending Texas A&M and majoring in meteorology? I'm located in Hitchcock, across the bay from Galveston Island.


I think someone else already gave the answer, but it's 1900Galveston or Galveston1900, I forget which. I live in Victoria and am keeping one eye open at all times these days for incoming flak (and hurricanes...lol.)
Member Since: September 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 138
Still A LOT of energy out there.

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Quoting atmoaggie:
And staying out...as in not really moving closer, in time, with each run. (this is what we call "hinting" at a system).

Good Evening, SJ.


Not moving in much closer, but still moving in a little with most runs. Landfall had been right around 372-384 yesterday I though...But I could easily be confused after the past four days...lol
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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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