Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hurricane Karl (2010)

Storm Active: September 14-18
Late on September 9, a low pressure system formed to the east of the northeastern coast of South America. The low stalled near the Windward Islands, and crossed into the Caribbean on September 10. The low produced a lot of disorganized shower and thunderstorm activity which brought stormy conditions to much of the Caribbean over the next few days as it moved west, but little of this convection showed evidence of any circulation. However, on September 14, a closed circulation became evident from an aircraft reconnaissance mission sent to investigate the system, and a small pocket of tropical storm force winds allowed the low to skip depression status and become Tropical Storm Karl.

Karl lost most of its convection during the night, but still strengthened slightly, before a burst of convection near the center caused the cyclone to intensify to 65 mph winds early on September 15 just before landfall in the southeast Yucatan Peninsula. Since Karl made landfall near the Mexican border, portions of both Mexico and Belize were struck by tropical storm force conditions. Karl weakened over land to a minimal tropical storm, but reemerged over the Bay of Campache by early on September 16. Karl immediately began a strengthening trend over water, and the system quickly intensified into a hurricane later on September 16. An eye feature developed over the next day, and Karl rapidly intensified into a major hurricane, reaching its major hurricane peak intensity if 120 mph winds and a pressure of 956 mb on early on September 17, before weakening slightly just before landfall in Veracruz, Mexico with maximum winds of 115 mph.

Karl quickly began to weaken over land, losing its major hurricane status quickly later on September 17. Karl was ripped apart by the mountainous regions of central Mexico as it moved southwest inland, but these same mountainous regions caused a large amount of flooding over the affected area. 22 fatalities and $3.9 billion in damage are direct effects of the cyclone.

Hurricane Karl before striking the Mexican coast.

Track of Karl.

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