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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348. txjac
Wow, thanks Calico ...nice explanation. Much appreciated
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2518
#335 Levi32

Your explanation seems to make a lot of sense. You think they just thought it was too complicated for the general public? LOL
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What are the steering currents looking like in the GOM? Will any of that Karl spinoff moisture make its way toward South Florida??
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Quoting Tazmanian:
i did not see any thing higher then 6.2


2010SEP17 151500 6.2 944.3/ +1.5 /119.8
Geez, Taz.... I didn't recognise u without ur little Tazmanian devil avatar.... cool pic!
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343. xcool
WHAT NEXT?

The long-term models are fairly consistent in developing some sort of tropical system in the Caribbean Sea during the next week or so which could track north into the Gulf of Mexico (this morning's GFS model, for example, brings a hurricane toward the Texas coast in 13 days). I would not be too alarmed yet and there's virtually no reliability in long-term forecasts.

Here's a relevant blurb from ImpactWeather's tropical discussion this morning:

With the high pressure which has been over the south-central U.S. shifting to the East U.S. Coast late next week, any storm approaching the Gulf of Mexico will no longer be blocked and shunted westward into Mexico as was the case with Karl. It is too early to determine where this possible hurricane will track across the Gulf, but it could make landfall just about anywhere from Texas to Florida.

Texas will be under threat at least until we get our first strong front. And when might that be?

Normally it comes by the first day of fall -- Sept. 23 this year. But that doesn't appear likely this month. According to Fred Schmude, of ImpactWeather, the main reason for the delay has to do with the orientation of the jet stream, which is the primary driving mechanism for shifting cold fronts across the continents.

Typically, Fred said, the jet stream has to have at least somewhat of a north to south component this time of the year to allow colder air masses a better chance to driving southward toward the Gulf Coast. So far this September the main jet stream has been oriented from west to east, which has kept the cooler air bottled up across the northern half of the U.S.




This pattern probably won't change for another seven to 10 days, he said, keeping the chances of a real front low.

Houston might see a weak cold front by next weekend -- and that's just a maybe -- while the first real front of fall may be delayed until ... wait for it ... the first week of October. Yikes.
by SCI guy
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Quoting GeauxGirl:
Levi, will that surface low head west with Karl? Or could it be picked up and pushed back east by a trough. I'm begging for rain in south MS.
Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:
If that occurs, which way do you think it would move?


I'm afraid it won't be coming your way GeauxGirl. It may take its time getting inland but it will be moving gradually WNW or eventually northwest into Texas and Mexico.
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Quoting Cotillion:
Raw T#, Taz, not the combined/current T#.

Igor:
2010SEP15 001500 6.6 933.8/ 1.6 /129.6 6.6 7.0 7.0 NO LIMIT OFF OFF 13.64 -74.19 EYE 27 IR 40.40 18.86 53.39 COMBO

Karl:
2010SEP17 061500 5.9 951.8/ 1.4 /112.4 5.9 5.9 6.9 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF -0.56 -75.04 EYE 11 IR 43.90 19.65 94.97 COMBO
2010SEP17 064500 5.9 951.8/ 1.4 /112.4 5.9 5.9 6.9 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF -3.86 -75.89 EYE 12 IR 43.90 19.65 95.04 COMBO
2010SEP17 071500 5.9 951.8/ 1.4 /112.4 5.9 5.9 7.0 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF -2.76 -76.24 EYE -99 IR 43.90 19.65 95.10 COMBO




then Karl may be upgrade later
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Quoting txjac:
Since the blog is quieter now can someone please take a minute to explain what makes up this "T" number? I dont kno what ADT stands for so I'm at a loss

Thanks in advance

try this: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/H1.html
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Quoting txjac:
Since the blog is quieter now can someone please take a minute to explain what makes up this "T" number? I dont kno what ADT stands for so I'm at a loss

Thanks in advance



http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic2/misc/adt/info.html


The Advanced Dvorak Technique (ADT) utilizes longwave-infrared, temperature measurements from geostationary satellites to estimate tropical cyclone (TC) intensity. The ADT is based upon the operational Dvorak Technique developed by Vern Dvorak of NOAA over 30 years ago. This step-by-step technique relies upon the user to determine a primary cloud pattern and measure various TC cloud top parameters in order to derive an initial intensity estimate. Various rules regarding TC development and intensity change over time are employed to guide the user in the scene selection process and govern the rate in intensity change over a given time period.
 
The Dvorak Technique continues to be the standard method for estimating TC intensity where aircraft reconnaissance is not available (all tropical regions outside the North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea), however it has several important limitations and flaws. The primary issue centers upon the inherent subjectivity of the storm center selection and scene type determination proceedures. Secondly, learning the Dvorak Technique and its regional nuances and adjustments can take a significant time to master. Finally, the technique was developed more or less empirically by Dvorak and his colleagues, without the aid of computer analysis, to determine statistical relationships between various environmental parameters and intensity.
 
The ADT (and its predecessors the ODT and AODT) sought to alleviate many of the limitations found within the Dvorak Technique and previous objective algorithms based upon methods outlined by Dvorak. The ADT currently utilizes an objective storm center determination scheme and cloud pattern determination logic to remove the subjectivity aspect from the intensity estimation process. It also can be applied to all phases of the TC lifecycle; something that previous objective schemes could not do. Finally, the ADT makes use of statistical analysis results obtained from a 10 year sample of North Atlantic storms, along with a significant sample of West and East Pacific storms, covering the entire spectrum of TC intensities to derive a regression-based intensity value estimate for various phases of the TC lifecycle.
 
The ADT is a powerful but easy-to-use TC intensity estimation guidance tool possessing an accuracy on par with estimates obtained by experienced TC forecasters using the Dvorak Technique.
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338. xcool
Igor claims his first victim in Puerto Rico
Girl drowns when she was taken away by the seas. Used to surf in that beach, and I know how trocky it gets with an 8 fot swell. Imagine with Igor's swells
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337. txjac
blsealevel,

Could you please explain why you posted the wind charts at the two levels? Does this indicate that another storm could form? Or are you showing how unorganized the area is?

Thanks
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2518
Quoting dmaddox:
KARL MADE LANDFALL JUST NORTH-NORTHWEST OF VERACRUZ MEXICO AT
ABOUT 1630Z. BEFORE LANDFALL...THE CENTRAL PRESSURE RAPIDLY ROSE
FROM 957 MB TO 976 MB OVER A 4.5 HOUR PERIOD FOR REASONS THAT ARE
NOT READILY APPARENT.
DESPITE THIS...THE AIRCRAFT-REPORTED WINDS
SUPPORTED MAJOR HURRICANE INTENSITY UNTIL LANDFALL.


Lol. The reason is that a hurricane moving southwest often finds it very difficult to intensify, the reason being that a hurricane moving southwest is usually on the side of a mid-upper high that promotes subsidence in the area of the hurricane. The area of greatest ventilation has always been northeast of Karl, and he was moving into a steadily more unfavorable area relative to conditions aloft as he approached landfall. That, coupled with proximity to land, caused the rapid weakening, and was not unexpected.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Karl is headed to the Pacific



Looks like the convection is moving faster than the CoC. Wonder if he'll survive the portage.
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Karl is headed to the Pacific


a little raggedy,but we'll see what's left when he hits that water
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Raw T#, Taz, not the combined/current T#.

Igor:
2010SEP15 001500 6.6 933.8/ 1.6 /129.6 6.6 7.0 7.0 NO LIMIT OFF OFF 13.64 -74.19 EYE 27 IR 40.40 18.86 53.39 COMBO

Karl:
2010SEP17 061500 5.9 951.8/ 1.4 /112.4 5.9 5.9 6.9 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF -0.56 -75.04 EYE 11 IR 43.90 19.65 94.97 COMBO
2010SEP17 064500 5.9 951.8/ 1.4 /112.4 5.9 5.9 6.9 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF -3.86 -75.89 EYE 12 IR 43.90 19.65 95.04 COMBO
2010SEP17 071500 5.9 951.8/ 1.4 /112.4 5.9 5.9 7.0 1.7T/6hr OFF OFF -2.76 -76.24 EYE -99 IR 43.90 19.65 95.10 COMBO
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Low Level Winds



Upper Level Winds



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Quoting txjac:
Since the blog is quieter now can someone please take a minute to explain what makes up this "T" number? I dont kno what ADT stands for so I'm at a loss

Thanks in advance



it tells you how powerfull the storm is
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Quoting txjac:
Since the blog is quieter now can someone please take a minute to explain what makes up this "T" number? I dont kno what ADT stands for so I'm at a loss

Thanks in advance


Advanced Dvorak Technique. The 'T#' in this would just stand for Technique, I believe.

It's a way of measuring intensity from satellite imagery.
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i did not see any thing higher then 6.2


2010SEP17 151500 6.2 944.3/ +1.5 /119.8
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327. txjac
Since the blog is quieter now can someone please take a minute to explain what makes up this "T" number? I dont kno what ADT stands for so I'm at a loss

Thanks in advance
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2518
I doubt Igor'll be revised, actually.

Alex might be, but my initial feelings are that he won't be, either.

Did you know on the ADT, Karl held a ADT Raw T# rating of 6.9 twice and a 7.0 once?

Igor on the other hand, only broke that once in his whole life - hitting 7.0 once. (Never higher)
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Karl is headed to the Pacific

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323. beell
Quoting BahaHurican:
Don't forget our recent Alma / Arthur from 2008. Alma formed in the EPac in late May, crossed into the ATL and became Arthur...


And TD 11E, crossing into the Gulf of Mexico-Hermine!
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Quoting CajunTexan:
Here's a question from a beginner:


I understand about troughs and ridges (That one will force a Cane around it while the other creates a weak spot for a Cane to go through). However, how do you spot a trough and a ridge on a weather map?


In simple terms, a trough is generally associated with low pressure desiginated with an "L" on a weather map. A ridge is genarally associated with high pressure designated with an "H". See Will's map (post 300) for isobar patterns associated with each.
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The shallow steering layer has shifted. If Igor was weak...

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Quoting Cotillion:
Yes, storms can cross over Central America and be named on the other side.

Can even be quite strong.

Cesar went into Douglas in the East Pacific, Douglas becoming a Category Four hurricane.

Conversely, the Texas Hurricane of 1949 started with a tropical storm just south of Guatemala in the East Pacific, crossing Central America and intensified into a Category Four hurricane in the Gulf prior to landfall.
Don't forget our recent Alma / Arthur from 2008. Alma formed in the EPac in late May, crossed into the ATL and became Arthur...
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I believe in post-season, we'll see Alex become a Category 3 hurricane.

I also believe we'll see Igor become a Category 5
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316. DDR
good evening
35mm or 1.37 inch of rain today in Trinidad

From the met office

Tonight:
Light rain and the overnight thundershower.

Tomorrow:
Cloudy with showers and thundershowers becoming
settled by late afternoon.
THE REMAINDER OF THE LESSER ANTILLIES
Partly cloudy with isolated showers and the chance
of the daytime thundershower.
Gusty winds,street and flash flooding may occur
in heavy showers and thundershowers.

Temperature Units:Celsius

Piarco Crown Point
TODAY'S MAX TEMP. 32 32
Tomorrow MAX. TEMP. 32 30

Tomorrow MIN. TEMP. 24 25

Heat Index: 38 35

Rainfall(mm) 2pm to 2pm.: 34.9 mm
Cumulative for Piarco: 263.7 mm
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Quoting hydrus:
I just typed a good, long post and lost it. I do not have time to type it over. But you said the same thing basically. Even November might have a couple of storms. the Bermuda high is forecast to be very strong and over the eastern U.S., keeping fronts and shear at bay for a while. I predict two storms in the Gulf For October. Not even counting any September storms.
Would not be surprised by two in the Nrn Gulf, though BOC will likely stay a "hot spot" for a while more as well....

I'm not at all liking the shape of the high towards the end of this month and the beginning of next month. StormW was mentioning a shift in the synoptic pattern over the next little while, and unfortunately it's making it look like the "busy" US season wasn't misforecast so much as just... late.... :o(

I'd really LOVE to be wrong about this one, since a lot of the possible paths for US landfalls at this time of year include a prior landfall in the Antilles, Yucatan or Bahamas....
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Yes, storms can cross over Central America and be named on the other side.

Can even be quite strong.

Cesar went into Douglas in the East Pacific, Douglas becoming a Category Four hurricane.

Conversely, the Texas Hurricane of 1949 started with a tropical storm just south of Guatemala in the East Pacific, crossing Central America and intensified into a Category Four hurricane in the Gulf prior to landfall.
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Quoting wxvoyeur:


What kind of map are you looking at?


A trough is generally the area between high pressure areas.
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
hydrus, do you have a link to that image you posted in #246? Thanks
Here ya go..Link
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Do enjoy your little ditties, CajunTexan.
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Quoting P451:


If he did it would be minimal followed by more slow weakening.

He also continues to pose almost zero threat to anyone other than Bermuda and the north atlantic shipping lanes.

P451, my paranoia re: any TC S of 30N and E of 70W is well documented in this blog.... lol I'm well aware my locale is not w/in the forecast zone; I just wish Igor would get gone, is all, before that high changes its mind.....

Quoting loessiowa:
My first post here, and I have a question for you smart folks. Well, sortof two related questions:
1., is it possible for a tropical system to cross the Central American land mass and emerge on the pacific side to reorganize and reach tropical storm or greater strength, and
2. Has it ever happened?

I guess it could work the other way too, Pacific to Gulf, but it seems more likely to me to go east to west.

Thanks from this guy from tornado alley.
Both are possible and have happened. Most recent well known one that I recall off the bat is Hurricane Cesar in the Caribbean which became another hurricane in the EPac... and of course many TCs from the EPac basin are formed from Twaves that originated of the WAfrican coast... in fact IMO one reason why the season here has been so slow is that all the AEWs have been developing into long-range CV storms instead of crossing Central America...

Welcome to the blog, BTW....
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Quoting CajunTexan:
Here's a question from a beginner:


I understand about troughs and ridges (That one will force a Cane around it while the other creates a weak spot for a Cane to go through). However, how do you spot a trough and a ridge on a weather map?


What kind of map are you looking at?
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Quoting BahaHurican:
several good points in here.... however, like "regular" seasons, I think we're likely to see a vigorous secondary peak in October, and I expect we'll see another 4 storms associated with that [from about 10 - 30 Oct, maybe?] Given the lack of activity in the CAR up to this point, I've a feeling that whatever does eventually get to hurricane status there is going to get real bad real fast. [Not like THAT would be a surprise.... lol] But two more major storms before the end of the season seem quite possible.

As to Julia, wasn't this the storm that was forecast to head north relatively early and never get much beyond cat 1? Weak cat 2 is what I recall they were thinking. There was a lot more of a forecast error there than with Igor, at any rate....
I just typed a good, long post and lost it. I do not have time to type it over. But you said the same thing basically. Even November might have a couple of storms. the Bermuda high is forecast to be very strong and over the eastern U.S., keeping fronts and shear at bay for a while. I predict two storms in the Gulf For October. Not even counting any September storms.
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Quoting loessiowa:
My first post here, and I have a question for you smart folks. Well, sortof two related questions:
1., is it possible for a tropical system to cross the Central American land mass and emerge on the pacific side to reorganize and reach tropical storm or greater strength, and
2. Has it ever happened?

I guess it could work the other way too, Pacific to Gulf, but it seems more likely to me to go east to west.

Thanks from this guy from tornado alley.


the last Gulf storm that went into Texas i belive came from West to East dont think it was even a hurricane at that time till it made it into the gulf
so yes it is possiable for one to go from East to West in that area and still be able to form.
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Quoting Rainman32:
Already got 3 coasts (both sides of Yucatan), going for 4!



Picky picky LOL

(was hoping no one would pick up on that)
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Quoting Tazmanian:
this may be come 94L





I can't find anything about that that was not posted here. Doesn't surprise me the locals haven't mentioned it. Just would be nice to know what's going on. :(
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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.