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: 1848 - 1798

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

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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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..




Or maybe we're just that warm.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Not seen that before (when the cyclone was still alive, yes, but not identifying the remnants).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


Nah, Pat's a good guy. He definitely wouldn't mind.


He is a very good guy, and Mrs. Pat, too!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


Nah, Pat's a good guy. He definitely wouldn't mind.


Oh, and do you mean "neighbors" in a literal sense, or...?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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..


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NOLA2005:


He won't mind, we're neighbors :)


Nah, Pat's a good guy. He definitely wouldn't mind.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Morning fellow wunder bloggers,yes a kelvin wave is forecast to move from the pacific and thru the southern carib,that,the mjo coming back.into the region,should be enough to get tc development from a columbian heat low in a week or so imo......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


lol


He won't mind, we're neighbors :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:
Cotillion- he's still here some, stays busy running RainmanWeather.com. Wanna buy a weather station? hahaha I am falling over them.

Prayers up for Bermuda. They must be some strong people.


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:

All over the place! A very accurate forecast for an undeveloped storm! :)
Would have thought it would have been tighter though but then these are the stat models. Wait to see what the Dynamic models if they develop it at all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NOLA2005:
Alrighty, Dat's it for me... ;)

(I sound like Pat)!


lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Alrighty, Dat's it for me... ;)

(I sound like Pat)!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1834. WxLogic
Quoting cirrocumulus:
WxLogic: Did you see the latest NGP and GFS model runs and how low pressure energy from the powerful Igor may initiate a storm in the warm Caribbean?


Sure did... CMC and NGP do it sooner in ~6 days. While GFS does it ~10 days just like ECMWF is starting to hint too at developing also a piece of energy from the Colombian Low.

For now it will be just a matter of waiting and watching for a moister increase in the S Carib. that could signal the beginning of all this madness.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The post-mortem on Karl:

ACE: 5.8
HDP: 4.48
Initial TWO: 5PM EDT 2010/09/14
Final TWO: 5PM EDT 2010/09/17
TWOs as TS: 7 (42 HOURS / 1.75 DAYS)
TWOs as HU: 6 (36 HOURS / 1.5 DAYS)
TWOs as MH: 2 (12 HOURS / 0.5 DAYS)
Total TWOs: 13 (78 hours / 3.25 days)

(And I imagine we'll be writing Julia's later today. Poor girl...)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1831. dmaddox
Quoting blsealevel:
94L

lookin good...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WxLogic: Did you see the latest NGP and GFS model runs and how low pressure energy from the powerful Igor may initiate a storm in the warm Caribbean?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1829. dmaddox
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Here is the "guide" for decoding the information in the various files:

ATCF TROPICAL CYCLONE DATABASE
thank you SO much!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dmaddox:
thank you! not used to all this "behind the scenes" stuff! ;)


Here is the "guide" for decoding the information in the various files:

ATCF TROPICAL CYCLONE DATABASE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1826. aquak9
Cotillion- he's still here some, stays busy running RainmanWeather.com. Wanna buy a weather station? hahaha I am falling over them.

Prayers up for Bermuda. They must be some strong people.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
94L

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1824. WxLogic
Those in TX don't worry about the cloudiness as it has no chance of developing into anything. You can even see the possible VORT that could have potentially become something already in the SE TX Coast:


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


94L is the orange circle:


thanks, just checked weather.gov and saw it! just waking up here--I apologize for jumping the gun with my question.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1822. dmaddox
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


It is part of the Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecast (ATCF) system, whose main directory is here. All of the files are comma delimited flat files, so no HTML interface. The info I posted is from the tcweb subdirectory. Additional subdirectories:
afst - NHC Official Track and Intensity
aid_public - All of the model data that you see on the various websites in the spaghetti format
fix - Contains the TAFB and SAB Dvorak estimates along with other "fix location" data
stext - Contains the SHIPS text output
thank you! not used to all this "behind the scenes" stuff! ;)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dmaddox:
where do i find this info at please!?? thank you so much!


It is part of the Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecast (ATCF) system, whose main directory is here. All of the files are comma delimited flat files, so no HTML interface. The info I posted is from the tcweb subdirectory. Additional subdirectories:
afst - NHC Official Track and Intensity
aid_public - All of the model data that you see on the various websites in the spaghetti format
fix - Contains the TAFB and SAB Dvorak estimates along with other "fix location" data
stext - Contains the SHIPS text output
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cctxshirl:

Is 94L off the S. TX Gulf Coast? I'm looking right now, but just logged on. Thanks in advance.


94L is the orange circle:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxLogic:


There we go... yet I expect 94L to slowly drift W to WNW for a while. Steering current not conductive at this time for a quick displacement.

If it develops most likely will be sucked into Igor/Julia trough. Looks like it goes all the way to the ITCZ
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dmaddox:
just came off Africa.. lol :)

Thanks--just went to weather.gov and checked it out--just having first cup o java--need to wake up before asking dumb questions.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.


Good morning Aqua!

Yeah, I got a comment from him - it was good to see him again, it's been a while (probably not since the first few days of Portlight, I think?)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1816. dmaddox
Quoting cctxshirl:

Is 94L off the S. TX Gulf Coast? I'm looking right now, but just logged on. Thanks in advance.
just came off Africa.. lol :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1815. dmaddox
1008mb pressure and Lat/Lon thats all i can make out.. lol 25kt wind?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Here ya go.


Thanks!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sailingallover:

Welcome. There also may be some effect/enhancement/crossover from the Pacific side.
So you may want to look at the models from the Pacific. Someone mentioned a kelvin wave coming through but mostly it looks like the tail end of everything for the next week ends up down there to form a low which becomes the Storm in the 200HR+ GFS


A couple of days ago, I did hear somebody mention a kelvin wave. I've never heard of it until then, and you are mentioning it, too. It's hard for me to imagine the Pacific having an effect like that on the Gulf!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1812. 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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Yes we do. The first model runs should be out within the half hour.

Is 94L off the S. TX Gulf Coast? I'm looking right now, but just logged on. Thanks in advance.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1810. dmaddox
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Here ya go.
i dont know how to read it and understand what all that stuff and numbers mean!? :/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
WHXX01 KWBC 181252
CHGHUR
TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1252 UTC SAT SEP 18 2010

DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.
PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE
AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.

ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR

DISTURBANCE INVEST (AL942010) 20100918 1200 UTC

...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...
100918 1200 100919 0000 100919 1200 100920 0000

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMS 12.8N 26.7W 13.7N 28.2W 14.8N 29.6W 15.8N 30.8W
BAMD 12.8N 26.7W 13.5N 28.3W 14.3N 29.5W 15.4N 30.1W
BAMM 12.8N 26.7W 13.6N 28.0W 14.4N 29.4W 15.5N 30.5W
LBAR 12.8N 26.7W 13.3N 27.8W 14.3N 28.9W 15.5N 29.6W
SHIP 25KTS 30KTS 35KTS 41KTS
DSHP 25KTS 30KTS 35KTS 41KTS

...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...
100920 1200 100921 1200 100922 1200 100923 1200

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMS 17.1N 32.0W 18.9N 33.7W 19.8N 36.5W 20.5N 40.4W
BAMD 16.5N 30.2W 18.4N 29.5W 19.4N 26.7W 21.3N 23.7W
BAMM 16.6N 31.1W 18.5N 31.4W 19.7N 30.7W 20.2N 30.8W
LBAR 16.8N 30.1W 19.6N 31.0W 22.9N 30.8W 26.2N 29.2W
SHIP 46KTS 53KTS 47KTS 39KTS
DSHP 46KTS 53KTS 47KTS 39KTS

...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 12.8N LONCUR = 26.7W DIRCUR = 290DEG SPDCUR = 5KT
LATM12 = 12.3N LONM12 = 25.7W DIRM12 = 287DEG SPDM12 = 5KT
LATM24 = 12.1N LONM24 = 24.6W
WNDCUR = 25KT RMAXWD = 60NM WNDM12 = 20KT
CENPRS = 1008MB OUTPRS = 1011MB OUTRAD = 135NM SDEPTH = D
RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM

$$
NNNN
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxLogic:


There we go... yet I expect 94L to slowly drift W to WNW for a while. Steering current not conductive at this time for a quick displacement.


Ya, don't expect it to be going anywhere in a hurry. Models a few days ago had it moving NE, now a slow motion W, WNW as you stated. Another system with lots of time for "discussion" on the blog.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KoritheMan:


I want to know as well.


Here ya go.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dmaddox:
where do i find this info at please!?? thank you so much!


I want to know as well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1805. dmaddox
IGOR:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1804. dmaddox
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
AL 94 2010091812 BEST 0 128N 267W 25 0 DB
where do i find this info at please!?? thank you so much!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting dmaddox:
new Invest!??


Yes we do. The first model runs should be out within the half hour.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1801. dmaddox
Quoting WxLogic:


There we go... yet I expect 94L to slowly drift W to WNW for a while. Steering current not conductive at this time for a quick displacement.
sweet!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1800. WxLogic
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
AL 94 2010091812 BEST 0 128N 267W 25 0 DB


There we go... yet I expect 94L to slowly drift W to WNW for a while. Steering current not conductive at this time for a quick displacement.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It's here now, though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1798. dmaddox
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
AL, 94, 2010091812, 128N, 267W, 25, DB
new Invest!??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1848 - 1798

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.