Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:09 PM GMT on September 15, 2013
Dangerous Hurricane Ingrid weakened Sunday morning, and is barely a hurricane, but the storm's heavy rains remain a major threat to Eastern Mexico. Sunday morning wind data from the Hurricane Hunters showed the highest surface winds in Ingrid were just below hurricane force, and it appears that upper-level outflow from Tropical Storm Manuel to its west may have increased wind shear over Ingrid, causing weakening. Ingrid is still embedded in a very moist environment with high ocean temperatures, making re-intensification likely if the wind shear drops, which appears likely, as Manual weakens after making landfall on Sunday afternoon. Satellite loops show that Ingrid is a relatively small storm, and has changed little in size today. The storm's heaviest rains were offshore Sunday morning, as seen on Mexican radar. Flooding from Hurricane Ingrid has already killed two people in Mexico, and Tropical Storm Manuel's floods have killed three people, according to CNN.
Ingrid is the second hurricane of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, and the hurricane's peak intensity of 85 mph winds on Saturday tied it with Hurricane Humberto as the strongest hurricane of the 2013 season so far. Ingrid's intensification into a hurricane on September 14 came eighteen days later than the usual appearance of the Atlantic's second hurricane of the season, which is August 28.
Figure 1. Rainfall for the 24-hour period ending at 8 am EDT September 14, 2013. Rainfall amounts in excess of five inches (red colors) affected portions of Mexico. Image credit: Conagua.
Forecast for Ingrid
All of the models predict that a ridge of high pressure building in to Ingrid's north will force the storm nearly due west into the coast of Mexico on Monday. The soils along the Mexican Gulf Coast in the state of Veracruz where Ingrid will be dumping its heaviest rains are already saturated from the rains of Tropical Depression Eight and Tropical Storm Fernand, and the expected 10 - 15 inches of rain, with isolated amounts of up to 25", will cause extremely dangerous flash flooding and mudslides. On the other side of Mexico, Tropical Storm Manuel will be making landfall on Sunday afternoon, and will bring similar prodigious amounts of rainfall.
Figure 2. Ingrid's rainfall amounts may rival those of Hurricane Alex, which struck Mexico north of Tampico as a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds in 2010. Extremely heavy rains of up to 35" fell mainly on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo, particularly near Monterrey, where rainfall amounts were historic. The hurricane left 51 people dead or missing in Eastern Mexico, and damage was $1.8 billion. Flooding along the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo was the worst seen since 1960. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.
Ingrid's impact on Texas
In South Texas, Ingrid has already brought a storm surge of one foot to South Padre Island, where a coastal flood warning has been posted. Large swells up to seven feet high are causing dangerous surf, and the South Texas coast will receive a severe battering from waves expected to reach twelve feet high by Monday. No flash flood watches are posted for South Texas as present, but 2 - 4" of rain may cause some isolated flooding problems. Radar-estimated rainfall from the Brownsville radar shows that some areas north of the city have received 3" of rain, and coastal areas of Mexico 100 miles south of the border have received 5 - 10".
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