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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Aerial view of the battlefield below:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaribBoy:
I see we have 94L. Well, probably another fish like julia ?
I doubt it...right now. Analysis from the PSU e-WALL forecasted steering currents suggests that yes, it may move off towards the NW for the first few days, but then the subtropical ridge strengthens and forces the cyclone to bend back westward.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1874. sarahjola 1:57 PM GMT on September 18, 2010
Quoting btwntx08:
geez lots of rain off the tx and mexico coasts
i was wondering about that myself. will it start to head out over the gulf or will it head into tx.? thanks in advance

well this stuff is suppose to move very slowly into tx in the coming days...thank goodness this wont move more in the gom cause it couldve wind something up anyways all this rain is just a heavy rain maker is all.
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Any comments on the new BAMM runs for Igor??


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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
94L continues to get better organized. I think it's likely that it'll become our next tropical depression.


Agreed. I'd even go so far as to call this proto-Lisa.
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1892. Patrap
IGOR

Viz




Dvorak

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Quoting sailingallover:
I have to say I am starting to think this map is not being regenerated or something as to not be accurate. It shows no change after Igor and Julia passed..




Don't be too surprised by a rapid bounce back in SSTs; Igor's backtrail should be somewhat cooler but the overall SSTs are so warm that it won't take long for the temps to regulate
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Igor's eye has collasped?

Good Saturday Morning to you Folks.
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Quoting txwxnut2:
It looks like we may have a near shore depression trying to form in the Gulf - Notice the upper high outflow across the system. I see a convergence/possible center about 80-90ish miles Southeast of Brownsville trying to form.


If one should form here, is the ridge still over TX/LA to keep it from getting going north into that area?
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I see we have 94L. Well, probably another fish like julia ?
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Quoting cirrocumulus:
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 says: "Not in my house."


What about flooding, storms surge, etc.?
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It looks like we may have a near shore depression trying to form in the Gulf - Notice the upper high outflow across the system. I see a convergence/possible center about 80-90ish miles Southeast of Brownsville trying to form.
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Igor seems to be winding down. It's possible he is only a Cat 1 when it gets near Bermuda. This situation could of been a lot worse. 94L will go further W most likely. The SAL will be giving it problems in the short term. This one won't be taking off fast like most of the CV storms this year. That could be bad news down the road sending it further W towards the islands and USA
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Quoting BDAwx:
Hey guys,
Bermuda is in a state of preparation similar to ants fleeing for shelter at the first drops of rain. the south shore has amazing waves that are only building and an overcast is building. Off to finish boarding up while the winds are still at 5mph...


Good Luck & Stay SAFE
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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 says: "Not in my house."

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94L continues to get better organized. I think it's likely that it'll become our next tropical depression.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1880. Patrap
IGOR Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop


TFP's are available.
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Quoting BDAwx:
Hey guys,
Bermuda is in a state of preparation similar to ants fleeing for shelter at the first drops of rain. the south shore has amazing waves that are only building and an overcast is building. Off to finish boarding up while the winds are still at 5mph...


I betcha it won't be long before the winds are up to 6 mph. Igor will be knocking on the door.
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1878. Patrap
IGOR

Rainbow

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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Just asking, Do you think Hermine be upgraded in any way at Post-Season?


Possibly...though I think so far two storms are prime for post-season analytic upgrades: Alex, and the still-thriving Igor. Igor especially: he had a very impressive satellite presentation, T-numbers and barometric pressure representative of a Cat 5, and satellite-measured winds that were only 1 mph short of the mark. FWIW, Igor's peak was at 00Z on the 15th.
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BDAwx..Good luck & stay safe, hoping Bermuda can get on the safer side & distance from Igors centre
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1875. Patrap
NEXRAD Radar
Brownsville, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI




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Quoting btwntx08:
geez lots of rain off the tx and mexico coasts
i was wondering about that myself. will it start to head out over the gulf or will it head into tx.? thanks in advance
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1873. Patrap
GOM IR Loop de' Loop

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1872. Patrap
R-O-C-K in da USA.
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1871. palmpt
Quoting leu2500:
TampaSpin - Ban is immaterial. Storm was fed up with what he was having to deal with here and left the blog, was closing his account.


Listen, folks, please let it go. I have been here about as long as anyone. Don't note the "member since"... I had to re-register when I changed jobs. I have been on since pre-Katrina. I liked Storm... but he was thin skinned. It is time to move on. There are plenty of excellent members who know there stuff here. But it is time for the soap opera to end. Back to Igor and the developing upward MJO and lower pressures that will haunt the Gulf in the next week or so. I am still in the camp that thinks this season will be one to remember beyond the current records. And if it is, get ready for the coastal insurance debate to ramp back up.
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HurricaneIgor's heading had turned northward to (9.1degrees north of) NorthWest
from its previous heading of (6.3degrees north of) WestNorthWest
H.Igor's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions was ~14.3mph(~23.1km/h)

17Sep 09amGMT - - 22.4n59.4w - - 125mph - - 935mb - - NHC.Adv.#37
17Sep 12pmGMT - - 22.7n59.8w - - 120mph - - 940mb - - #37A
17Sep 03pmGMT - - 23.1n60.1w - - 120mph - - 945mb - - #38
17Sep 06pmGMT - - 23.4n60.7w - - 115mph - - 946mb - - #38A
17Sep 09pmGMT - - 23.7n61.1w - - 105mph - - 947mb - - #39

18Sep 12amGMT - - 24.2n61.3w - - 105mph - - 947mb - - #39A
18Sep 03amGMT - - 24.6n62.0w - - 110mph - - 947mb - - #40
18Sep 06amGMT - - 24.9n62.4w - - 110mph - - 942mb - - #40A
18Sep 09amGMT - - 25.1n62.8w - - 110mph - - 939mb - - #41
18Sep 12pmGMT - - 25.6n63.2w - - 110mph - - 939mb - - #41A

Copy&paste 22.7n59.8w, 23.1n60.1w, 23.4n60.7w, 23.7n61.1w, 24.2n61.3w-24.6n62.0w, 24.6n62.0w-24.9n62.4w, 24.9n62.4w-25.1n62.8w, 25.1n62.8w-25.6n63.2w, jax, ilm, bda into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the last 12hours
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1869. txjac
Quoting BDAwx:
Hey guys,
Bermuda is in a state of preparation similar to ants fleeing for shelter at the first drops of rain. the south shore has amazing waves that are only building and an overcast is building. Off to finish boarding up while the winds are still at 5mph...


Good luck and resport back to us as you can ...you and the other members from Bermuda will be in my thoughts and prayers
Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 2568
geez lots of rain off the tx and mexico coasts
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1867. BDAwx
Hey guys,
Bermuda is in a state of preparation similar to ants fleeing for shelter at the first drops of rain. the south shore has amazing waves that are only building and an overcast is building. Off to finish boarding up while the winds are still at 5mph...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tacoman:
lmao i wish oz was going to bermuda it would be fun to see him in action...


He went last year. I forget the name of the storm. But internet access was limited and it was way expensive to fly, so until our budget gets a little higher were confining our chases to the USA.
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Quoting tacoman:
lmao i wish oz was going to bermuda it would be fun to see him in action...
...,have a feeling you'll see him chase again in the next 2 weeks imo
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1864. Melagoo
... Mighty IGOR looks like he's running out of steam ...

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Quoting NOLA2005:


yeah, about 4 blocks
Quoting KoritheMan:


Oh, and do you mean "neighbors" in a literal sense, or...?


Kori, I didn't mean for that to sound sarcastic! We are uptown nola neighbors, a few blocks apart. I was just happy to meet someone from this blog in RL. Pat and Mrs. Pat are very nice people, and my DH enjoyed meeting them, and now I am shutting up and running off to hit the Donate button on Portlight!
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Quoting RecordSeason:
Igor seems to be experiencing too much shear for any real intensification of winds.

In spite of it's deepened pressure since yesterday, I doubt it's winds come up much more.

Is recon flying into him today?
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Quoting Neapolitan:


Completely possible. Thirteen days ago, we hadn't yet seen Hermine, Igor, Julia, or Karl...and, of course, three of those were majors (and the other may have been had she not run out of time first).

Just asking, Do you think Hermine be upgraded in any way at Post-Season?
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Igor seems to be experiencing too much shear for any real intensification of winds.

In spite of it's deepened pressure since yesterday, I doubt it's winds come up much more.
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1854. Melagoo
are there any Bermudians logged in here now?
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

With 13 days left, I think we will cough up another major before the month is out.


Completely possible. Thirteen days ago, we hadn't yet seen Hermine, Igor, Julia, or Karl...and, of course, three of those were majors (and the other may have been had she not run out of time first).
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Quoting Cotillion:


Nice site! I think I used to have a basic one, long ago.

---

Now it'll be interesting to see if 2010 does produce another major, and if so, when. Only 2 seasons have ever produced 6 major hurricanes prior to October.

With 13 days left, I think we will cough up another major before the month is out.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Oh, and do you mean "neighbors" in a literal sense, or...?


yeah, about 4 blocks
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Quoting aquak9:
Good Morning WU-Survivors worldwide.

Dare I peek in, without getting whacked? Just want some nibbles offa the CoopsBreakfastBuffet.

Cotillion- good morning to you! you gave Rainman a good smile yesterday.

I'll go sit in the back in the old-folks section. Ya'll speak up now so I can hear ya.
Hey a young lady like you doesn't have to be crowdenup in here with the old geezers. Looks like they freed up some space in the other sections. Yep there's an empty chair or 2 back in this section but when you reach a certain age you kind of get used to it happening. Looks like it's going to be a pretty day here in central VA.
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1848. oakland
Quoting dmaddox:
i dont know how to read it and understand what all that stuff and numbers mean!? :/


Same here. My brain doesn't comprehend.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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