Tropical Storm Karen Forms in the Gulf of Mexico

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:09 PM GMT on October 03, 2013

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Hurricane Watches are flying along the U.S. Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Karen heads north-northwest into the Gulf of Mexico. Karen, the eleventh named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, formed about 8 am EDT Thursday in the Southeast Gulf of Mexico. It's not often that one sees a new storm start out with 60 mph sustained winds, but that's what an Air Force hurricane hunter plane found this morning near 7:30 am EDT, when they sampled the northern portion of the storm. A ship located about 50 miles northeast of the northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula measured sustained winds of 51 mph near the same time. Satellite loops show that Karen is a medium-sized storm with an area of very intense thunderstorms along its northern and eastern flanks. Wind shear has risen since Wednesday, and is now a moderately high 20 knots, thanks to strong upper-level winds out of the west-southwest. These strong winds are keeping any heavy thunderstorms from developing on the west side of Karen's center of circulation, by driving dry air that is over the Yucatan Peninsula and Western Gulf of Mexico into Karen's core. As a result, Karen has a lopsided comma-shape on satellite imagery. Karen has a strong upper-level outflow channel to its north that is helping ventilate the storm, though, and ocean temperatures are a very warm 29°C (84°F). Between 7 am and 9:30 am EDT the Hurricane Hunters made three passes though the center of Karen, and the central pressure stayed roughly constant at 1004 mb, so Karen is not undergoing much change.


Figure 1. Odds of receiving more than 4" of rain over a five-day period beginning at 2 am EDT Thursday October 3, 2013, as predicted by the experimental GFDL ensemble model.

Forecast for Karen
Wind shear will steadily increase as the storm heads north-northwest, and shear will reach a high 25 knots by Saturday morning as Karen closes in on the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to the latest SHIPS model forecast. The atmosphere will grow drier as Karen moves into the Northern Gulf of Mexico, and the drier air combined with increasing wind shear will retard development, making only slow intensification likely through Friday. A trough of low pressure and an associated cold front will be moving through Louisiana on Saturday, and the associated upper-level westerly winds will be able to turn Karen more to the northeast as it approaches the coast on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The higher shear at that time should be able to induce weakening, and the 8 am EDT Thursday wind probability forecast from NHC gave a 28% chance Karen will be a hurricane at 2 am EDT Saturday, down from 44% on Friday afternoon. Most of the models predict landfall will occur along the western Florida Panhandle Saturday afternoon or evening. The usually reliable European model has Karen making landfall over Eastern Louisiana, though. If Karen does follow this more westerly path, the storm will be weaker, since there is more dry air and higher wind shear to the west. Since almost all of Karen's heavy thunderstorms will be displaced to the east by high wind shear, there will be relatively low rainfall totals of 1 - 3" to the immediate west of where the center makes landfall. Much higher rainfall totals of 4 - 8" can be expected to the east. To judge the possibilities of receiving tropical storm-force winds at your location, I recommend using the NHC wind probability forecast. The highest odds of tropical storm-force winds (45 - 55%) are along the coast from Buras, Louisiana, to Pensacola, Florida.

I'll have a new post this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting 232. sunlinepr:


LOL... Another 2013 tease? I guess we'll see.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36664
Why has no one noticed or commented on the last few frames of satellite imagery that looks like a majority of convection and high cloud tops have literally vanished showing an exposed LLC?
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GFS makes a 100 mile move westward in the latest 12Z run so far.
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Quoting C0astalAlabama:


Must be a link between an online port and the apps that take that and rebroadcast. As mentioned, I am only trying the software rebroadcasts, not a dedicated radio (or my boat radio).

So radio is broadcasting, just not online I suppose... Odd.


I have just tried my Radio app and I can get the Shreveport WX Radio. Maybe it's your app and where they get the broadcast from.
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NAM also says LA storm.Good news for Florida.
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Quoting 262. MississippiWx:
This one is going to be tricky.



POTD so far. :)
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Quoting C0astalAlabama:
Someone may have mentioned this already, but I noticed that my NOAA Weather radio broadcasts on my weather apps aren't working...went to the NOAA site, and it had some warnings that some features are down due to the Government Shutdown.

Might be a story the news media picks up on, having a tropical storm in the gulf within the next day without NOAA weather radio broadcasts.

http://governmentshutdown.noaa.gov/?url=http://ww w.wunderground.com/wxradio/

I can't get streaming anywhere, on laptop or iphone. Maybe a dedicated radio is still receiving it?


Go to this page and find the WX Radio you want to listen to. Click Listen URL and it should open and play. I have no problem
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GFS brings it down to 984mb on this run.
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SunlinePR
The way the season has performed, we can't doubt any final result... Either it ends up as a hurricane or it dissipates or stays weak.... For the good, with the exception of BOC storms most of the season had vanishing systems... The thing is that Still, no solid explanation for this behaviour has been established...


Quite a synopsis of what may happen with Karen, hurricane or dissipates, either way, no big news in that statement of yours. and 230. HurricaneCamille 10:31 AM CDT on October 03, 2013 +0
Just another garbage storm.

weak, pathetic mess.

season was a disgrace

Wow, apparently, you hoped for a massive hurricane to kill and destroy some place in the world. Really, the season was a disgrace, to whom?
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ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL
TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT THU OCT 3 2013

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL
DEPRESSION JERRY...LOCATED OVER THE CENTRAL ATLANTIC.

1. DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATES
THAT THE AREA OF LOW PRESSURE LOCATED OVER THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF
MEXICO HAS BECOME A TROPICAL STORM AND IS PRODUCING WINDS OF UP TO
60 MPH IN THE EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO. A SPECIAL
ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED WITHIN THE NEXT HOUR...AND HURRICANE AND
TROPICAL STORM WATCHES WILL BE ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF THE NORTHERN
GULF COAST. THIS SYSTEM HAS A HIGH CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND A HIGH
CHANCE...NEAR 100 PERCENT...OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING
THE NEXT 5 DAYS AS IT MOVES NORTH-NORTHWESTWARD.

ADDITIONALLY...LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS COULD AFFECT PORTIONS OF CUBA AND
THE YUCATAN PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. AN AIR FORCE
RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS CURRENTLY INVESTIGATING THE
SYSTEM. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS SYSTEM CAN BE FOUND IN HIGH
SEAS FORECASTS ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

HIGH SEAS FORECASTS ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CAN BE
FOUND UNDER AWIPS HEADER NFDHSFAT1 AND WMO HEADER FZNT01 KWBC.

FIVE-DAY FORMATION PROBABILITIES ARE EXPERIMENTAL IN 2013. COMMENTS
ON THE EXPERIMENTAL FORECASTS CAN BE PROVIDED AT...

HTTP://WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/SURVEY/NWS-SURVEY.PHP?COD E=ETWO

FORECASTER BRENNAN

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36664
NAM has it beating the front to the LA coast, but MUCH weaker.
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Quoting 254. Patrap:
The NOAA Alert System is NOT affected as the New Orleans NOAA Station is constantly Updating the Advisories and forecasts.

With Tone at times as well.


Must be a link between an online port and the apps that take that and rebroadcast. As mentioned, I am only trying the software rebroadcasts, not a dedicated radio (or my boat radio).

So radio is broadcasting, just not online I suppose... Odd.
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Quoting 253. hurricanehanna:


looks like it shifted ever so slightly west...
yes all folks need to stay alert
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36664
Hurricane Preparation 2013....
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127371
Hard right turn just before landfall. This one is going to be tricky.

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Yeah, it does look like it's low level center is becoming exposed. Probably in a couple of hours you'll see this better.
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Quoting 255. MississippiWx:
12z GFS coming in well to the west of previous runs.



As a strong TS or low end hurricane.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 165
Little 984 for ya...
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12z GFS holding strong with the idea of a sub-990 storm approaching the US coast.
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Quoting 207. LAbonbon:


FEMA's non-emergency stuff is shut down. I truly doubt their disaster response sector is, though.



You would be correct. FEMA's Incident Management Assistance Teams as well as the Region IV and V "War Rooms" and are almost certainly all up and running. At least some of the legion of bureaucrats that trade paper all day in FEMA HQ the Regional Offices and ponder the intricacies of theoretical approaches to emergency management are sitting at home today.

My step dad is a GS-15 (some kind of programmatic safety inspector for a particular aircraft) with the FAA and he has been furloughed.
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Quoting 234. flsky:
Where are you located?


30 miles south of Champaign, IL. Town of Tuscola.
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12z GFS coming in well to the west of previous runs.

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The NOAA Alert System is NOT affected as the New Orleans NOAA Station is constantly Updating the Advisories and forecasts.

With Tone at times as well.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127371
Quoting 247. LargoFl:


looks like it shifted ever so slightly west...
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3481
Make sure your hurricane kit includes:





Flashlights & extra bulbs
Battery-operated radio
Battery-operated lanterns
Batteries (in different sizes!)
Matches
First aid kit
Duct tape
Rain gear
Clock (wind-up or battery-powered)
Plastic garbage bags
Fire extinguisher
Scissors
Can Opener
Clean clothes
Extra blankets
Heavy gloves

Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36664
Someone may have mentioned this already, but I noticed that my NOAA Weather radio broadcasts on my weather apps aren't working...went to the NOAA site, and it had some warnings that some features are down due to the Government Shutdown.

Might be a story the news media picks up on, having a tropical storm in the gulf within the next day without NOAA weather radio broadcasts.

http://governmentshutdown.noaa.gov/?url=http://ww w.wunderground.com/wxradio/

I can't get streaming anywhere, on laptop or iphone. Maybe a dedicated radio is still receiving it?
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Quoting 241. moonlightcowboy:


Weren't the latest winds reported at 65mph? Not far too go to cane status, very possible still, despite environmental conditions. Will it stay that way? Doubtful considering the inhibiting elements. But who said a TS was not dangerous in and of itself? Intensity will be gauged on how vigorous the circulation remains, remains or improves around the center. It does not appear to have substantially weakened yet despite the dry air. It's trying to spin up, and still can, even filtering and churning out the dry air. Easy? Course not. It will struggle, but a cane is definitely possible, albeit maybe short-lived.


The GFS likes for it to become its strongest in the Central Gulf, so it's definitely possible. Structure is going to have to improve IMO though.
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Quoting 213. ricderr:
concerning fema


If you are applying for disaster assistance you can still do so on DisasterAssistance.gov as it remains fully operational. Click on “Apply Now” to register electronically for FEMA Individual Assistance and please follow all online instructions to apply for individual forms of disaster assistance. Due to a lapse in federal funding, portions of some government websites linked to or from DisasterAssistance.gov may not be updated and some non-disaster assistance transactions submitted via those websites may not be processed or responded to until after funding is enacted.


Thanks, I saw that. Odd thing about fema.gov is that they talk about website operations during the shutdown, not about actual operations.
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Quoting 237. HurricaneCamille:


Absolutely pitiful.


The way the season has performed, we can't doubt any final result... Either it ends up as a hurricane or it dissipates or stays weak.... For the good, with the exception of BOC storms most of the season had vanishing systems... The thing is that Still, no solid explanation for this behaviour has been established...
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36664
CANCUN, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO




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Quoting 231. Patrap:
ESL by LSU


Thank You
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36664
Quoting FOREX:


So the worst is past now?


No.. Tricky forecast could still intensify into a moderate cane 75-80mph but i expect weakening as it makes landfall in gulfcoast. At this time heavy rainfall appears main threat but regardless of forecast you should prepare for worst hope for best.
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Tropical Storm Karen's outer Northern Rain Bands have reached the Louisiana Coastal region below Venice @ the Mouth of the River.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127371
Quoting 192. MississippiWx:


Wind shear becomes west to east once the system starts moving northeast. It won't be moving in tandem. The current look of this system will be the basic trend. Sheared convection to the east with dry stable air being injected on the west side. I still doubt this becomes a hurricane, but I could be wrong.





Weren't the latest winds reported at 65mph? Not far too go to cane status, very possible still, despite environmental conditions. Will it stay that way? Doubtful considering the inhibiting elements. But who said a TS was not dangerous in and of itself? Intensity will be gauged on how vigorous the circulation remains, remains or improves around the center. It does not appear to have substantially weakened yet despite the dry air. It's trying to spin up, and still can, even filtering and churning out the dry air. Easy? Course not. It will struggle, but a cane is definitely possible, albeit maybe short-lived.
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Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
Quoting 222. stormhawg:


FEMA is NOT completely closed. They and HHS have essential personnel working during the shut down. There will be an activation of personnel in the next 24hrs for staging purposes.

I'm part of a Federal DMAT first out in October and we have already been placed on watch...


That's pretty definitive. Good to know. Thanks for the info.
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Quoting 232. sunlinepr:


Absolutely pitiful.
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Quoting 230. HurricaneCamille:
Just another garbage storm.

weak, pathetic mess.

season was a disgrace


I rather have No damaging storm then having a storm that hits you and ruins a lot stuff around you.. Just sayin!
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 36664
234. flsky
Where are you located?
Quoting 151. ILwthrfan:
Finally got a decent shower this morning 0.30", bringing my previous 9 week cumulative total to right at 0.90". Need more but it's a start.



I noticed Karen seems to be decoupled at the lower and mid levels.
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Gonnnna be nice, tomorrow morning...!

*central eastern gulf

Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2639
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9690
ESL by LSU
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127371
Just another garbage storm.

weak, pathetic mess.

season was a disgrace
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Quoting 222. stormhawg:


FEMA is NOT completely closed. They and HHS have essential personnel working during the shut down. There will be an activation of personnel in the next 24hrs for staging purposes.

I'm part of a Federal DMAT first out in October and we have already been placed on watch...


gotcha
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Based on the NHC forecast point and visible satellite the center is partially exposed.
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Quoting LAbonbon:


FEMA's non-emergency stuff is shut down. I truly doubt their disaster response sector is, though.

Ah, yes, time for FB and Twitter rumors of all sorts and descriptions to start. FEMA is indeed open. The only ones furloughed have been been long range "analyst" types that we can live without...for a long time. :-)
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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.