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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Another plane enroute.
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www.portlight.org

Tropical Storm Karen aiming for the Gulf coast.




We are watching and reaching out to stakeholder groups, who are beginning to look at shelter and transportation access issues in the Watch areas along the Northern Gulf Coast.


At 1PM CDT Tropical Storm KAREN

...KAREN EXPECTED TO APPROACH THE NORTHERN GULF COAST ON SATURDAY...

1:00 PM CDT Thu Oct 3
Location: 22.9°N 88.2°W
Moving: NNW at 12 mph
Min pressure: 1004 mb
Max sustained: 65 mph






Here is the latest impact information for Tropical Storm Karen. Biggest impacts for the local area will be across extreme SE LA and coastal MS. Look for winds 35-45 mph with some hurricane force gusts possible in the hurricane watch area, 2-4 inches of rain with locally higher amounts possible, and tides 2-4 ft in the TS Watch area (including Lake Pontchartrain) and 4-6 ft in the Hurricane Watch area. Highest tides will be along east and southeast facing shores. Winds will be higher over the coastal waters - in the 40-50 kt range with higher gusts -and seas will rise up to 15 ft.


If and when shelters open in the watch areas,...


Anyone with shelter issues can contact Paul Timmons, "Presslord" thru wu mail or the FB link,or by post here in the Portlight wunderblog.


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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127636
Quoting 608. MississippiWx:
The GFDL continues the westward swing in the models today.


Right...the front/trough effects will be a little delayed the way it's looking on the SAT. Looking more like a SC to SE Louisiana landfall but probably fairly dry.
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Thanks Pat..

I like this one.

Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2688
Not to step on any toes but a TS is not inanimate since it is spinning etc.




yeah...but you have to give him props for utilizing a 5 syllable word....boy must be good at scrabble
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NBC News
FEMA begins to recall employees idled by the three-day-old government shutdown as the Gulf Coast braces for potentially damaging tropical storm Karen, the White House says. More: http://nbcnews.to/1dY4cGr
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thank you doda!
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It looks like some of the models are catching on to the observation made yesterday that the front is hanging up over NW Texas and will not arrive in timeto cause a more NE turn near the coast

aye laddie....here in the badlands of texas forecast has given us an extra day of cold as the front will linger......takes tampa out of the picture i'm afraid...but may i still say


tampa wants her cat 5 karen and all should hunker down...hunker down


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Quoting 609. ricderr:
Try not to anthropomorphize inanimate objects; they don't like it.


dayum...and "it" spelled it right to boot.......can i get a rimshot?


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618. yoboi
what is the ACE for Karen???
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Quoting 606. DrMickey:

Try not to anthropomorphize inanimate objects; they don't like it.
Not to step on any toes but a TS is not inanimate since it is spinning etc.
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click for loop..
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2688
Quoting 608. MississippiWx:
The GFDL continues the westward swing in the models today.



It looks like some of the models are catching on to the observation made yesterday that the front is hanging up over NW Texas and will not arrive in timeto cause a more NE turn near the coast.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8806
I think the GFS intensifys Karen due to her movement more NE and into the convection.thus dropping the pressures and increasing the winds. This depends alot on her direction along with the upper wind flow direction. Her moving Saturday NE or even ENE at wobbles will help her...but there still will be some shear as the upper winds will be moving faster than her pace as she approaches the panhandle.
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Well, STS and I got put into time out. Penance has been served by both of us.

Apologies if anyone may misconstrued our discussion as anything personal, it was not intended that way. I have already made that clear to STS.

A simple disagreement on what was and has been forecast - and what will and will not happen with Karen, that's all.
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Quoting 604. Bluestorm5:
I saw this coming because GFS isn't doing that great with Houston in WxChallenge


Tell 'em, Kyle.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160
611. LafLA
Quoting 605. ricderr:
We might have to kick the under 18 crowd out if karen gets a bit more naked.....ta da da boom!


she is nekkid already
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This is not about "us"; it's about a threatening tropical storm in the Gulf that is going to make landfall/affect "people" at some point. Please keep that in perspective.

No one on here is going to win a Nobel Prize for tropical forecasting in the foreseeable future.
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8826
Try not to anthropomorphize inanimate objects; they don't like it.


dayum...and "it" spelled it right to boot.......can i get a rimshot?
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The GFDL continues the westward swing in the models today.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160
That's three seasons in a row that we've had storms that failed to ramp up as expected. I'm not convinced that all the 'usual suspects' suppressing factors, such as shear, dry air etc are to blame.

I've a feeling the recent change in jet stream activity may be behind it.
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Quoting 602. Naga5000:
I'm betting Recon finds a slightly weaker Karen. Although the SW shear and dry air has hurt her, she is trying to fire convection on the NE side of the COC. She's fighting, but like many others have said, it's wait and see at this point.

Try not to anthropomorphize inanimate objects; they don't like it.
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We might have to kick the under 18 crowd out if karen gets a bit more naked.....ta da da boom!
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Quoting 582. MississippiWx:
Ohhh the GFS huggers. Lol.
I saw this coming because GFS isn't doing that great with Houston in WxChallenge
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Quoting 601. txjac:


It's a Miley year!


Are the storms twerking too?
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I'm betting Recon finds a slightly weaker Karen. Although the SW shear and dry air has hurt her, she is trying to fire convection on the NE side of the COC. She's fighting, but like many others have said, it's wait and see at this point.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 3289
601. txjac
Quoting 561. Xyrus2000:
I think 2013 is the year of the exhibitionist. How many storms have we had this year that took all their clothes off and became nekid swirls?

Karen been around for less than a day and she's already taking her clothes off as well. Maybe the storms are trying to tell us something, or maybe this is their "Woodstock" year. ;)


It's a Miley year!
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Quoting 593. Patrap:


I stay ready 24/7/365

Hurlo is coming soon.


The Few, The Proud, The Patrapians...

Good to know...
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..
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598. SLU
If this were a boxing match, the WPAC would knockout the Atlantic with one single blow.

WPAC




Atlantic
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Quoting 554. scottsvb:
StormTrackerScott doesn't need to be banned but he needs to learn to not overdue things and scare people and making false posts
It is a bit tiring when a person's forecasts are always super-optimistic as far as intensity and genesis or all too often paints storms coming in their own direction, but it is an open forum for varying thoughts to be expressed so they have every right to speak their minds.

However is it somewhat tasteless, IMO, to be known for a 'broken record' forecasting style of optimism to then take one of the few instances of that forecast being partially correct and acting like the next best thing to sliced baked goods.

This is also a recurring theme. Forgetting the busts, but passing out crows when you think you're right...

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Some reds beginning to reappear near the center.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8806
Quoting 588. CaneHunter031472:


It looks like a drop of water in the middle of the desert. The final result I'm sure will be similar.


That thunderstorm Karen brought over from the Atlnatic last night was full of water. Overdflowed the pool, filled up some empty buckets I had outside.

If that is how wet and sloppy Karen is, look out Northern Gulf Coast.
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I am so disappointed, I just wanted a legit storm to track, this is busting big time LMAO
Member Since: July 31, 2013 Posts: 0 Comments: 925
Quoting 587. Dakster:
Patrap. Where's Hurlo. I think we need him.

Are you getting ready yourself?



I stay ready 24/7/365

Hurlo is coming soon.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127636
Quoting 584. GetReal:


Karen seems to be trying to fire off some new convection north and east, near the COC.
Don't worry Karen,their just jealous that's all.
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Quoting 579. Patrap:

Diurnal Minimal, plus a little sheer ?
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Quoting 458. ncstorm:
the 12z CMC takes Karen into western LA then swings it back east and also has two more TC in the long range..




The model is also showing the storm that the GFS had in the MDR.
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Product: Air Force High Density (HDOB) Message (URNT15 KNHC)
Transmitted: 3rd day of the month at 18:00Z
Date: October 3, 2013
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 306)
Storm Number: 12
Storm Name: Karen (flight in the North Atlantic basin)

Mission Number: 3

Observation Number: 12

18:00:30Z 23.583N 89.050W 959.4 mb
(~ 28.33 inHg) 449 meters
(~ 1,473 feet) 1010.1 mb
(~ 29.83 inHg) - From 87° at 29 knots
(From the E at ~ 33.3 mph) 21.5°C
(~ 70.7°F) 19.1°C
(~ 66.4°F) 31 knots
(~ 35.6 mph) 32 knots
(~ 36.8 mph) 1 mm/hr
(~ 0.04 in/hr) 29.9 knots (~ 34.4 mph)
103.2%
Time Coordinates Aircraft
Static Air Pressure Aircraft
Geopotential Height Extrapolated
Surface Pressure D-value Flight Level Wind (30 sec. Avg.) Air Temp. Dew Point Peak (10 sec. Avg.)
Flight Level Wind SFMR
Peak (10s Avg.) Sfc. Wind SFMR
Rain Rate Estimated Surface Wind (30 sec. Avg.)
Using Estimated Reduction Factor Peak Wind at Flight Level to
Est. Surface Reduction Factor

HDOB Observations

Independent Calculations from Tropical Atlantic

At 17:51:00Z (first observation), the observation was 418 miles (673 km) to the S (175°) from New Orleans, LA, USA.

At 18:00:30Z (last observation), the observation was 446 miles (718 km) to the S (172°) from New Orleans, LA, USA.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127636
Quoting 550. StormGoddess:
Karen weakening
 photo Karen10-03-2013_zps864e191a.jpg


It looks like a drop of water in the middle of the desert. The final result I'm sure will be similar.
Member Since: August 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 169
Patrap. Where's Hurlo. I think we need him.

Are you getting ready yourself?

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586. SLU
Quoting 578. SLU:


I said so since this morning

If anything, the next recon might find Karen weaker.



... without deep core convection, the winds will not be conveyed to the surface effectively thus weakening the system's intensity.

What a horrible looking storm. smh

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Quoting 572. MississippiWx:


Not me. I've been the cynic for sometime now. ;-)


Agree
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Karen seems to be trying to fire off some new convection north and east, near the COC.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8806
Ohhh the GFS huggers. Lol.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10160
581. HCW
Good info just posted by KMOB NWS

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Quoting 530. Patrap:


Pretty much NW. Will be interesting to see if she reaches the 90. That would mean SE La. for sure. She is pulling away from the TS's so she will be on her own in a pretty windy dry air mass which will mean a downgrade as she goes.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127636
578. SLU
Quoting 535. CybrTeddy:
This isn't a threat to intensify for the next 12 hours. Right now, it's going to remain a 65mph TS.


I said so since this morning

If anything, the next recon might find Karen weaker.

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Quoting 569. Drakoen:
GFS seems to think things will get better convectively with Karen so we will see



Starting this evening infact as Karens pulls further away from the Yucatan.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 4 Comments: 2336

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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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