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 CoffinWood:


I remember the Donna videos were posted in yesterday's blog by SSIG (StSimonsIslandGuyGA), so hopefully that helps you find them.


I have Hurricane Donna videos posted HERE
if you're looking for Hurricane Donna related videos. I have about 12 other videos I've yet to post...looking for any footage in particular?
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Quoting WunderBlogAdmin:
Please stay on topic. Material which is off topic, or meant to drive the discussion in that direction will be removed.


this was issued earlier today
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Quoting txjac:



Thanks for the update CRS ...I'm still waiting to hear from coworkers in Veracruz. Havent heard back from them since earlier this morning
Sorry to hear that. Best wishes.
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Season total ACE thus far

01L (Alex): 6.7825
03L (Bonnie): 0.3675
04L (Colin): 1.9450
06L (Danielle): 21.7950
07L (Earl): 27.7750
08L (Fiona): 2.9400
09L (Gaston): 0.3675
10L (Hermine): 1.2725
11L (Igor): 33.7200
12L (Julia): 12.1175
13L (Karl): 5.8000
---------------------------------------
Total: 114.8825
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Quoting JamesSA:


Well, probably like the frosts in Alaska, this time of year it is so variable that you can't depend on what is "normal" to happen anyway.

This time of year we would normally have our first one or expect it soon, followed by others infrequently until winter.


Yeah, makes sense.
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Quoting NHCaddict:


I'm sorry, I'm a newbie and can't find the videos. They were posted to the blog on the 15th, I think. Maybe.

Donna was mentioned again, after I was all grown up, this time in reference to Charley in 2004. Charley whipped through downtown Orlando, while I was on the side of town that got the tornadoes--Taking care of my mother in law who was practically thrown out of the hospital the day before Charley arrived.

~shiver~


I remember the Donna videos were posted in yesterday's blog by SSIG (StSimonsIslandGuyGA), so hopefully that helps you find them.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
For those that were talking about Igor's wind radii a bit ago, these plots have an analyzed radius for 34, 50, and 64 knots. I *think* it is the radii in the CIRA satellite analysis and not the official NHC numbers, though.



EDIT: This is actually showing more TS force diameter NW to SE, not the usual NE to SW. 540 vs. 455 (this is in nm, I *think*)

Will be interesting to see what changes as he gains latitude. Usually results in a broader system.


Igor plumped up and got a bit rounder after 1800 and pulled away from 20N a bit. Max speed is in caption as kt so knots it is.
Eye was oblong E-W and incomplete on South side according to CIMSS-MIMIC at this time as well.
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Quoting Levi32:


Lol yeah. I know how the gulf shuts down as the pattern switches to winter down there, but since I do not live there I don't know the actual number of cold fronts that one would usually expect, just like you wouldn't know how many frosts we generally expect here in Alaska before our first snow.


Well, probably like the frosts in Alaska, this time of year it is so variable that you can't depend on what is "normal" to happen anyway.

This time of year we would normally have our first one or expect it soon, followed by others infrequently until winter.
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Good Evening, all. Another intriguing day in the world of tropical weather, aye?
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532. txjac
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Karl kills 2 in Mexico, weakens to tropical storm
By MIGUEL ANGEL HERNANDEZ (AP) – 22 minutes ago
VERACRUZ, Mexico — Hurricane Karl smashed into Mexico's Gulf Coast on Friday, killing at least two people and forcing the country to shut down its only nuclear power plant and its central Gulf Coast oil platforms.
As the storm pushed inland, a landslide buried a house in the town of Nexticapan, killing a 61-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl and injuring two other people, said Aru Becerra, a spokeswoman for Civil Protection in Puebla state.
Karl weakened rapidly into a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph (115 kph) as it slogged across central Mexico. It was on track to pass south of Mexico City, where the skies darkened and rain started falling Friday evening.



Thanks for the update CRS ...I'm still waiting to hear from coworkers in Veracruz. Havent heard back from them since earlier this morning
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531. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)


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530. mbjjm
tommorrow this time tropical storm conditions to start in Bermuda
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Quoting pcola57:


It's not the same link but i used to used that cam before...it's a good one too..in fact up until a couple of days ago i was able to get on there but i'm afraid too many people overloaded it when i was there too...this one is comparable but has less of a skyward view...more of an inlet and surrounding area shot..pretty good really as you get both the tide/wave view and land mass view..should be interesting to watch...the buildings look pretty rock solid to me..


Glad of the solid buildings too. I watched a live cam from Bermuda last year but have forgotten which storm was approaching at the time. Any window into these storms is interesting. The more we can see what is actually happening the more we can learn. Remote cams attached to buildings is the best option. But not always possible. Just want to say while I like watching I would never want anyone to put themselves in harms way so that I can.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
Wilma had a AC of 39.0



so if Igor can hold on for a few more days he could pass that

I think he's at about 31 or so.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5625
Karl kills 2 in Mexico, weakens to tropical storm

Link

By MIGUEL ANGEL HERNANDEZ (AP) %u2013 22 minutes ago
VERACRUZ, Mexico %u2014 Hurricane Karl smashed into Mexico's Gulf Coast on Friday, killing at least two people and forcing the country to shut down its only nuclear power plant and its central Gulf Coast oil platforms.
As the storm pushed inland, a landslide buried a house in the town of Nexticapan, killing a 61-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl and injuring two other people, said Aru Becerra, a spokeswoman for Civil Protection in Puebla state.
Karl weakened rapidly into a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph (115 kph) as it slogged across central Mexico. It was on track to pass south of Mexico City, where the skies darkened and rain started falling Friday evening.
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Quoting AtHomeInTX:


I'd have to dig back to find it but there have been a couple of things from NWS, HPC, etc. lately discussing the models and their disagreements on trough and ridge placement coming up. They seemed aggravated by it as well. Because of the potential open corridor for tropical systems into the U.S. So the models are confused as the rest of us.


We need to watch the Northern Gulf carefully from Sept. 28th thru 30th. GFS has been very insistent about a TS developing in the Eastern Caribbean, then moving South of Cuba into the Gulf as a possible major hurricane between Sept. 28th thru 30th.

I know GFS keeps moving the storm around from Florida to Northern Mexico, but it is very consistent about there being a major hurricane somewhere in the Northern Gulf regardless.

Starting next Friday... I'm going to keep a close eye on that tropical storm that may be forming. Where ever it goes, we in Southeast Texas need to be prepared just in case.
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Wilma had a AC of 39.0



so if Igor can hold on for a few more days he could pass that
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517. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #27
TYPHOON FANAPI (T1011)
9:00 AM JST September 18 2010
================================

SUBJECT: Category Four Typhoon In Sea South Of Okinawa

At 0:00 AM UTC, Typhoon Fanapi (945 hPa) located at 23.4N 126.1E has 10 minute sustained winds of 85 knots with gusts of 120 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving west at 6 knots

Dvorak Intensity: T5.5

Storm Force Winds
=================
80 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
180 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=======================
24 HRS: 24.1N 121.9E - 85 knots (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
48 HRS: 24.1N 118.1E - 55 knots (CAT 2/Severe Tropical Storm)
72 HRS: 24.2N 113.8E - Tropical Depression
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My tidbit for the blog, copied from a couple of pages back.

Currently we are at
11 Tropical Storms
6 Hurricanes
5 Majors

At this time in 2005 there were
15 Tropical Storms
8 Hurricanes
4 Majors

At this time in 1995
13 Tropical Storms
7 Hurricanes
3 Majors
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Quoting JamesSA:
Levi,

This is typically about the time of year when we can start getting cold fronts coming through central and south Texas. It is also typical around here that weather patterns have wide variances, so we won't necessarily get a front when we think it is time for one on any given year.

Besides cooling the water, the high that builds in behind them shuts of tropical activity even if the waters are still somewhat warm.

Then there are sneaky late storms like Ida last year in the second week of November that make it into the Gulf even after things turn cold. We had a vigorous cold low over the Western Gulf, yet Ida managed to slide up into the Eastern Gulf at the same time and cause a little havoc. I was on a cruise ship in the Western Gulf at the time and everyone was seasick, lol!


Lol yeah. I know how the gulf shuts down as the pattern switches to winter down there, but since I do not live there I don't know the actual number of cold fronts that one would usually expect, just like you wouldn't know how many frosts we generally expect here in Alaska before our first snow.
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ooops forgot the link

Link
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Someone mentioned a possible 94L in the gulf. Can someone elaborate?
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506. Skyepony (Mod)
Rainfall last 12hrs.
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Levi,

This is typically about the time of year when we can start getting cold fronts coming through central and south Texas. It is also typical around here that weather patterns have wide variances, so we won't necessarily get a front when we think it is time for one on any given year.

Besides cooling the water, the high that builds in behind them shuts of tropical activity even if the waters are still somewhat warm.

Then there are sneaky late storms like Ida last year in the second week of November that make it into the Gulf even after things turn cold. We had a vigorous cold low over the Western Gulf, yet Ida managed to slide up into the Eastern Gulf at the same time and cause a little havoc. I was on a cruise ship in the Western Gulf at the time and everyone was seasick, lol!
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It's just amazing how the rain bands of Karl have delivered strong downpours to NE Mexico and S.Texas. As of now, we're experiencing flash flood problems. And the worse might be coming within the next two days. Local meteorologists are calling for a law pressure area developing in front of Tamaulipas coast and moving westward slowly during the weekend.
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Bermuda Public ForecastIssued At: 4:30 pm Friday, September 17, 2010Hi : 28°C / 83°F
Lo : 24°C / 76°F Public Synopsis:Click here for detailed forecast (printable). 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. This evening
Mostly Cloudy, chance of showers Tonight
Overcast, chance of showers Saturday morning
Overcast, showers Saturday afternoon
Overcast, showers Saturday Hi 28 / 83 Lo 24 / 76 Overcast, showers Sunday Hi 28 / 83 Lo 24 / 75 Overcast, rain or showers Monday Hi 28 / 82 Lo 24 / 76 Overcast, rain or showers Tuesday
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Quoting hurricanejunky:


Keep them coming! You're on our front page and I just listened to today's...great job yet again!


Thanks =)
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Quoting Neapolitan:
26 days ago, the seasonal storm count stood at 3-1-0, and ACE was barely over nine. In those 26 days since, we've gone 8-5-5, and gathered nearly 106 ACE units. That is, quite literally, an entire average season's worth of ACE, nearly an entire average year's worth of both tropical cyclones and hurricanes, and double an average season's worth of major hurricanes. And, in case I need to remind you, we're only a week beyond the climatological peak, waters are at near-record high temps (especially in the western Caribbean, where they remain untouched), and atmospheric conditions are still more than primed for major action.

Read more here

ACE by Year
ACE by Year

How much ACE did Wilma have? Also, could Igor exceed it?
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5625
500. mbjjm
I don think Igor will be as bad to Bermuda as Hurricane Fabian
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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.