Karl makes landfall near Veracruz; Igor slightly weaker

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:29 PM GMT on September 17, 2010

Share this Blog
5
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1998 - 1948

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45Blog Index

1995. bird72
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Those are graphs depicting the location and intensity of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). What it is basically, is a large "wave" of upward motion that propagates eastward through the tropical oceans of the Earth. Upward motion induces increased rainfall, which in turn promotes an increased amount of tropical cyclone activity, when the upward motion is in a particular basin. Downward motion, is the complete opposite. Downward motion induces lesser amounts of rainfall, and so, make the development of tropical cyclone a little more difficult.

On that graph IKE showed you, the greens depict upward motion, and the oranges and browns depict downward motion.


That could change the stearing pattern is some way?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1994. IKE
Quoting bird72:

I live in P.R. how that could impact us?


Yes.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
!?!?!

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EDIS-89DP3D?OpenDocument

Haiti: Storm surge warning issued for north coast

The Haitian Red Cross has warned communities living along the country's north coast of a potentially dangerous storm surge over the coming days.
...
According to the DPC, the storm surge could be as high as 14 feet (four metres) %u2013 potentially affecting thousands of people who live along the coast. The surge is the result of water being pushed South and South West by Hurricane Igor, which is now heading north up the United States' Atlantic Coast.

atmo: Uhh, I hope that's bullsh.. The storm surge modeler in me says it is. 2 - 4 feet, yeah, maybe. 14 feet?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1992. tkeith
Thanks Neapolitan.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1990. IKE
Quoting StormJunkie:


Watch your six Ike!


Glad I have a dependable vehicle.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting tkeith:
anyone have slosh models for for Bermuda from Igores surge?



NOAA doesn't currently cover Bermuda with its SLOSH model:

CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE

Tropical weather-related image
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1988. bird72
Quoting IKE:


Upward motion in the Atlantic basin enhancing tropical development. As upward as I've seen all season in the western Caribbean. Combine that with how this season has played out so far and what the GFS and ECMWF are hinting at in 10 days and it could be Trouble...for the GOM/Caribbean.

I live in P.R. how that could impact us?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Folks, what is this area of disturbed weather off of the Mexican coast. Do we have a spare HH aircraft to fly into this?????

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting OneDrop:
Africa


Lmao
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:
By the way, it has been brought to my attention that there are whispers of me having left the blog; no such luck, kids...rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.

So how is everyone this morning? MH09?


Glad to hear it Flood, I'll mail you back later, have some coffee and hash issues I need to attend to.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tacoman:
no its to close to land and it cant move out into the gom the high is just to strong...it will probably give texas some much needed rain fall...


Why can't we seem to get any rainfall, dang bermuda and midatlantic high hurts us along the midatlantic.LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Believe me, now that systems begin to develop in the western Caribbean and SW Atlantic, you're going to see loads of different types of tracks. Systems like Rita, Wilma, Ida, Beta, etc are known to prowl in October and November.


Thanks 09 for the reminder and you are so right.
It is easy to be "flip" and say they are "all going out to sea or hitting Mexico" they have all pretty much done that so far...but the season is not over yet...


Hi everyone, Good morning to you and Happy Saturday.
yes, at my desk at work...0h well...

It appears Burmuda is going to get a long windy spell of rain Sunday. So happy they are prepared and have strong buildings.


Foodman will not be leaving anytime soon.
like the rest of us, he is addicted to this place!
:o)

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting bird72:

Can you explain that?, thank you
Those are graphs depicting the location and intensity of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). What it is basically, is a large "wave" of upward motion that propagates eastward through the tropical oceans of the Earth. Upward motion induces increased rainfall, which in turn promotes an increased amount of tropical cyclone activity, when the upward motion is in a particular basin. Downward motion, is the complete opposite. Downward motion induces lesser amounts of rainfall, and so, make the development of tropical cyclone a little more difficult.

On that graph IKE showed you, the greens depict upward motion, and the oranges and browns depict downward motion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


Upward motion in the Atlantic basin enhancing tropical development. As upward as I've seen all season. Combine that with how this season has played out so far and what the GFS and ECMWF are hinting at in 10 days and it could be Trouble...for the GOM/Caribbean.


Watch your six Ike!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This was isabel exactly 7 years ago.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1978. IKE
Quoting bird72:

Can you explain that?, thank you


Upward motion in the Atlantic basin enhancing tropical development. As upward as I've seen all season in the western Caribbean. Combine that with how this season has played out so far and what the GFS and ECMWF are hinting at in 10 days and it could be Trouble...for the GOM/Caribbean.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting reedzone:


Earl was an exception. It hit Canada.


What I meant there was no Us landfall, except for bonnie yet that was a bust. Other than that other storms kept taking the same tracks on top of each other. By the end of the season, we would probably have a lot of lines moving through the western GOM, making landfall in the same place, and the ones that curve "out" to sea.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Storm surge depiction. Igor might only be a 110mph cat 2, but his enormous wind field (TS force winds extend out to 345mi from the center) will make his surge a signicant concern



Absolutely. Although Bermuda can handle a surge better than the CONUS, I would imagine the surge will still have a pretty significant impact.

Post 1930. Modified. I keep forgetting that you can post the sound clips, but you can't post anything after them. That's the way the post was supposed to look.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Spiritsailboat:
Greetings, greatly appreciate the content of Weather Underground, Jeff Masters blog and comments (that adhere to rules of the road).

That said--a question: What can be said about possibilities of steering currents once this year shifts back to storms originating in the Yucatan. I'm in the Virgins so that is my concern...no Omar's!

Thanks.


Well, first off, storms don't typically originate on the Yucatan Peninsula; we are shifting into the time of the year where we see a good deal of overlap between long track CV systems and locally developed systems in the Carib and cut-off lows in the GOM. This is, by any stretch of the imagination, the most dangerous part of the season. As for the steering, it's as changeable as the shear can be; the mean can give a fair idea of what to expect over the short-term (7 days or a little better) but don't bet the farm on anything much further out than that
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1971. help4u
Ike that mjo forcast is the worst i have ever seen,i will say it now amajor cane in gulf before end of month!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1970. bird72
Quoting IKE:
Look out now....



and....


Can you explain that?, thank you
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1969. tkeith
anyone have slosh models for for Bermuda from Igores surge?

Quoting cat5hurricane:
Storm surge depiction. Igor might only be a 110mph cat 2, but his enormous wind field (TS force winds extend out to 345mi from the center) will make his surge a signicant concern

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1968. dader
Quoting reedzone:
Any comments on the new BAMM runs for Igor??




The BAMM models look like a repeat of mean Jeanne
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


And turn out to sea, just like nearly every other storm did this season. That or do the usual crossing the yucatan, and hitting mexico.
Believe me, now that systems begin to develop in the western Caribbean and SW Atlantic, you're going to see loads of different types of tracks. Systems like Rita, Wilma, Ida, Beta, etc are known to prowl in October and November.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


And turn out to sea, just like nearly every other storm did this season. That or do the usual crossing the yucatan, and hitting mexico.


Earl was an exception. It hit Canada.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
There's quite a cluster of storms in the far western GOM, right off the lower to middle Texas coast and on down to Mexico. I wonder if something could spin up from that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1962. OneDrop
Quoting jasoniscoolman2010x:
wow where did invest 94L COME FROM.

Africa
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1961. dader
Quoting btwntx08:
1911. MiamiHurricanes09 2:19 PM GMT on September 18, 2010
This is interesting. The 00z CMC develops 3 cyclones during the next 144 hours, and then one more after 144 hours. What is interesting though is, not only does it develop 94L into a cyclone, it also develops another tropical wave right behind it. The CMC also develops a hurricane that originates from the SW Caribbean, it then move towards the NW, clips the Yucatan, and heads toward southern/central Texas. If you look at the longer range 00z CMC it also develops that hurricane that the GFS has been consistent on in the Caribbean. Long story short, a trof picks it up, it clips western Cuba, and hits southern Florida as a hurricane before heading on out to sea.

lol the cmc isnt done yet wow also that last one sounds close to a wilma type track as she went over sw fl and then lifted ne from there


Well the only thing simliar about that track would be its movement. The CMC run doesnt look like Wilma at all to me.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Greetings, greatly appreciate the content of Weather Underground, Jeff Masters blog and comments (that adhere to rules of the road).

That said--a question: What can be said about possibilities of steering currents once this year shifts back to storms originating in the Yucatan. I'm in the Virgins so that is my concern...no Omar's!

Thanks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Igor's wind field reminds me of hurricane isabel when it came ashore around 7 years ago today (I think.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tropicfreak:


And turn out to sea, just like nearly every other storm did this season. That or do the usual crossing the yucatan, and hitting mexico.
Which, is completely dependent upon development...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
94L's 850mb vorticity is slowing getting stronger and better defined on the CIMSS product. It does remains quite broad and elongated, but should be able to work on those things throughout the next few days.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


Ahh, you know...the usual crazy stuff...
Hi Jerry.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
94L continues to get better organized. I think it's likely that it'll become our next tropical depression.



And turn out to sea, just like nearly every other storm did this season. That or do the usual crossing the yucatan, and hitting mexico.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yeah, I heard it from a few yesterday evening, I doubted it though.

I'm doing great Flood, how's it been for ya'?


Ahh, you know...the usual crazy stuff...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1952. Hhunter
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Bermuda will prolly be just visible at the top of this product at next update.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txjac:
Will this be Igor's 4th eyewall replacement cycle? Does anyone know the most that any hurricane has gone through? Thanks
I think Allen, he fluctuated between Category 3 and 5 a lot.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1949. IKE
Look out now....



and....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Oh yeah, you're right. Lol, would be nice if it went out to 252 hours.


Yeah. Wouldn't be incredibly accurate of course but I'm still curious to see.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1998 - 1948

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45Blog Index

Top of Page

About

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

Local Weather

Overcast
56 °F
Overcast