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 tkeith:
especially if someone quotes it...lol


Haha, +1
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Quoting tacoman:
bordonaro its surely getting better organized by the feeder bands to the north...i dont see any dry air its moved out this does bare watching it could develop quickly with the warm sst down there...interesting to say the least..
just had a line of rain come over-looks like we have another rainmaker here
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Quoting tacoman:
bordonaro its surely getting better organized by the feeder bands to the north...i dont see any dry air its moved out this does bare watching it could develop quickly with the warm sst down there...interesting to say the least..

This season is BIZARRE, we had Karl go from a friendly lil' TS w/40MPH winds to a CAT 3 in about 24 hrs.

The NHC should watch this area of weather off of MX, things can change real fast is this insane hyperactive 2010 ATL Hurricane Season !!
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Quoting bermuda1023:


there is sometimes maybe 1 nail, but its limestone slate. My own house has it and didn't come off in hurricane Fabian. Now adays they have 'SKB' roof which is fully attached and everything and suppose to hold a cat 4 i believe


That SKB-devised system is pretty amazing, and it's being looked at here in the states as a viable roofing alternative in hurricane-prone areas. (That's "viable" as in "strong yet affordable".) One of my larger clients is a roofing contractor, and they've looked at the SKB system, which is flat Bermuda concrete tile covered by four layers of waterproofing/windproofing, effectively turning a roof into a monolithic unit. IOW, the entire roof would have to come off at once; there'd be no more of that tile-by-tile destruction we've seen in recent storms here in the states.
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2092. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125606
Quoting Inactivity:
Anyone? thoughts on this?




has a good ch of becomeing some it all so has a goood ch of becomeing 95L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114054
2088. Patrap
GOM IR Loop de' Loop



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125606
Quoting IKE:





I was in college when Opal blew up in '95 and remember Cantore saying that everyone was being distracted by the O.J. Simpson verdict..
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2086. tkeith
Quoting Tazmanian:



a link would be better next time we did not need too see a post that long
especially if someone quotes it...lol
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2084. JRRP
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Anyone? thoughts on this?

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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
WTNT01 KNGU 180901
WARNING ATCN MIL 11L NAT 100918082426

2010091806 11L IGOR 041 03 300 10 SATL 060
T000 248N 0625W 095 R064 090 NE QD 060 SE QD 050 SW QD 070 NW QD R050 155 NE QD 110 SE QD 130 SW QD 130 NW QD R034 300 NE QD 210 SE QD 200 SW QD 240 NW QD
T012 262N 0641W 100 R064 090 NE QD 060 SE QD 050 SW QD 070 NW QD R050 155 NE QD 110 SE QD 130 SW QD 130 NW QD R034 300 NE QD 210 SE QD 200 SW QD 240 NW QD
T024 278N 0651W 105 R064 090 NE QD 060 SE QD 050 SW QD 070 NW QD R050 155 NE QD 120 SE QD 130 SW QD 130 NW QD R034 300 NE QD 210 SE QD 200 SW QD 240 NW QD
T036 299N 0653W 100 R064 090 NE QD 060 SE QD 050 SW QD 070 NW QD R050 155 NE QD 130 SE QD 120 SW QD 130 NW QD R034 300 NE QD 230 SE QD 210 SW QD 240 NW QD
T048 322N 0647W 095 R050 155 NE QD 140 SE QD 120 SW QD 130 NW QD R034 300 NE QD 250 SE QD 210 SW QD 240 NW QD
T072 385N 0585W 080 R050 140 NE QD 130 SE QD 120 SW QD 110 NW QD R034 300 NE QD 300 SE QD 270 SW QD 250 NW QD
T096 475N 0465W 065
T120 515N 0395W 055
AMP
NNNN
SUBJ: HURRICANE IGOR (11L) WARNING NR 041
1. HURRICANE IGOR (11L) WARNING NR 041
03 ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONES IN ATLANTIC
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS BASED ON ONE-MINUTE AVERAGE
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
WARNING POSITION:
180600Z --- NEAR 24.8N 62.5W
MOVEMENT PAST SIX HOURS - 300 DEGREES AT 10 KTS
POSITION ACCURATE TO WITHIN 060 NM
POSITION BASED ON CENTER LOCATED BY SATELLITE
PRESENT WIND DISTRIBUTION:
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 095 KT, GUSTS 115 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 090 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
060 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
050 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
070 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 155 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
110 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
130 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
130 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 300 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
210 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
200 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
240 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
REPEAT POSIT: 24.8N 62.5W
---
FORECASTS:
12 HRS, VALID AT:
181800Z --- 26.2N 64.1W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 100 KT, GUSTS 120 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 090 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
060 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
050 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
070 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 155 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
110 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
130 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
130 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 300 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
210 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
200 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
240 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 24 HR POSIT: 330 DEG/ 09 KTS
---
24 HRS, VALID AT:
190600Z --- 27.8N 65.1W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 105 KT, GUSTS 130 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 090 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
060 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
050 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
070 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 155 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
120 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
130 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
130 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 300 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
210 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
200 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
240 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 36 HR POSIT: 355 DEG/ 11 KTS
---
36 HRS, VALID AT:
191800Z --- 29.9N 65.3W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 100 KT, GUSTS 120 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 090 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
060 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
050 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
070 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 155 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
130 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
120 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
130 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 300 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
230 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
210 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
240 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 48 HR POSIT: 010 DEG/ 12 KTS
---
EXTENDED OUTLOOK:
48 HRS, VALID AT:
200600Z --- 32.2N 64.7W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 095 KT, GUSTS 115 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 155 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
140 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
120 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
130 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 300 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
250 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
210 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
240 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 72 HR POSIT: 035 DEG/ 20 KTS
---
72 HRS, VALID AT:
210600Z --- 38.5N 58.5W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 080 KT, GUSTS 100 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 140 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
130 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
120 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
110 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 300 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
300 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
270 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
250 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 96 HR POSIT: 040 DEG/ 31 KTS
---
LONG RANGE OUTLOOK:
NOTE...ERRORS FOR TRACK HAVE AVERAGED NEAR 250 NM
ON DAY 4 AND 350 NM ON DAY 5... AND FOR INTENSITY
NEAR 20 KT EACH DAY.
---
96 HRS, VALID AT:
220600Z --- 47.5N 46.5W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 065 KT, GUSTS 080 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
VECTOR TO 120 HR POSIT: 045 DEG/ 15 KTS
---
120 HRS, VALID AT:
230600Z --- 51.5N 39.5W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 055 KT, GUSTS 065 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
REMARKS:
180900Z POSITION NEAR 25.1N 62.8W. OR APPROX 1010NM SE OF
NORFOLK. 12FT SEAS: 600NM NE, 540NM SE, 480NM SW, 600NM NW.
NEXT WARNINGS AT 181501Z, 182101Z, 190301Z AND 190901Z.
FOR SIX-HOURLY UPDATES.//
BT
#0001
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a link would be better next time we did not need too see a post that long
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114054
2080. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
x
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2079. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
xxx
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
2010 Storms
All Active Year


Atlantic
94L.INVEST
13L.KARL
12L.JULIA
11L.IGOR

East Pacific

Central Pacific

West Pacific
90W.INVEST
12W.FANAPI

Indian Ocean

Southern Hemisphere


Invest 94? Where's that?
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With Hermine, and mess left in gulf from Karl, we are gonna float away
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2075. WxLogic
12Z NAM Starting to show moisture surges in the Carib.
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If this develops, there will be a big problem!!
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Quoting Prgal:


Your welcome! Looks breezy in Bermuda.


Just a little -- one more link that I found

Link
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
Continential shelf relief map of FL. Notice how the northwest coast has generally a gradual slope; while the coast of Miami drops off very fast & has a very steep slope.



I always thought that the coast of where I live (PBC) wasn't that steep. I think that since Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Ike caused surge way beyond their respective Categories benchmarks, the NHC should revise the them to help Gulf Coast residents.
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Quoting btwntx08:
theres hardly vorticity with that some and the closest vorticity is inland
Link

I suspect you are talking about the unsettled area in the western area of the GOM. I agree with you. And that small amount of vorticity s over land that is drifting to the west.. Not only that, it is very elongated north to south from s. Central Texas to N. Mexico. Lots of rain, but very little chance for tropical. storm development
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Quoting tkeith:
I'm gettin the munchies just readin these posts...


rofl... would you guys please stop with the talk of food and munchies...
making me want to get up and go get something from the break room...
and I really do not need those calories! LOL
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2068. hydrus
Quoting cat5hurricane:
A coastline with a shallow shelf is always going to be much more prone to the impacts of a hurricane's storm surge than a coastline marked by a steep shelf
The GEM still has a good size storm for the Gulf of Mexico . Link
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2067. Prgal
Wow, just read that there is another person missing because of the surge. This time its in St. Croix, USVI.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
Continential shelf relief map of FL. Notice how the northwest coast has generally a gradual slope; while the coast of Miami drops off very fast & has a very steep slope.



I always thought that is why SE Coast does not have very large storm surges, our shore it way too deep.
I wish our beaches has a shallow slope like the entire west coast and the central and northeast coasts of Florida have.

We don't have good waves for surfers for that reason also.

thanks for that graphic.

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2064. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
xx
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Bermuda radar showing some heavier bands 160 km SE of the islands:

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE

Tropical weather-related image
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Quoting Floodman:


Ahhh...coffee and hash...reminds me of my old band days...


Yeah only these days the hash is potatoes and veggies...
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2061. IKE
Quoting washingtonian115:
There was a special on storm stories about 4 years ago years talking about Opal being a late season monster.and how it rapidly intensifyed bringing with it a 15 foot storm surge.


It was awful here...fortunately it weakened before land-falling near Fort Walton Beach,FL.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:
Continential shelf relief map of FL. Notice how the northwest coast has generally a gradual slope; while the coast of Miami drops off very fast & has a very steep slope.

That lack of shelf is exactly why Miami will probably never have a 30+ foot surge. 20 foot, maybe, for a worst case scenario.

The deeper water, there, allows more of the surge waters to "escape" along the coast (rather than over it) than in places with a shallow shelf.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
2059. Prgal
Quoting PanhandleChuck:


Thanks PRgal


Your welcome! Looks breezy in Bermuda.
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Quoting IKE:


I jumped in my Oldsmobile, with my doberman pincher and got the heck out of here for that one.
There was a special on storm stories about 4 years ago years talking about Opal being a late season monster.and how it rapidly intensifyed bringing with it a 15 foot storm surge.
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2056. tkeith
Quoting Floodman:


Yeah, hard to keep that kind lit...LOL
I'm gettin the munchies just readin these posts...
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2055. hydrus
Quite a bit of heavy rain left over from Karl. (like they need more).
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Quoting Prgal:
Another cam from Bermuda: Link


Thanks PRgal
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Quoting pottery:

Did not know it was as high as that.
But are you saying that the older bldgs have no fixings between roof and wall?
What is the roof made of?


there is sometimes maybe 1 nail, but its limestone slate. My own house has it and didn't come off in hurricane Fabian. Now adays they have 'SKB' roof which is fully attached and everything and suppose to hold a cat 4 i believe
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Quoting tkeith:
LOL...


How you doing this morning, brother?
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2048. BDADUDE
Quoting Skyepony:


A few of the BAM models are beginning to figure Igor could failed to be completely swept off by the front & then get caught under the next ridge. Perhaps it's because the front is becoming kinda flat. Brings confidence down on the forecast a little but I wouldn't stop preparing in Bermuda yet. Igor is a big force.
Are you saying that we wont get this hit, cool. I hope you are right.
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About JeffMasters

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