TS Karl strikes Yucatan; Igor, Julia at Cat. 4
Tropical Storm Karl was making its way ashore in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula Wednesday morning, spinning with top winds at 65 mph and bringing torrential rains to the region. Far to the east, Cat. 4 Hurricanes Igor and Julia continued to roil the Atlantic, with the greatest danger in tiny Bermuda.
Here's a satellite view of the entire basin, showing all three storms.
Karl's center was last situated just off Chetumal, Mexico, and is likely on shore by this writing. Tropical Storm Warnings were posted for the east coast of ther Yucatan, with Watches up for parts of coastal Belize.
Karl was expected to move inland and weaken, with 3 to 5 inches of rain forecast for the region. The storm is predicted to re-strengthen after moving off the peninsula into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, reaching hurricane strength before making a second landfall on the Mexican Gulf Coast.
Igor (forecast track on the left, below) was located this morning about 1,000 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving to the west northwest at 10 mph. Top sustained winds were estimated at 145 mpg. Those winds were already affecting the Leeward Islands with large swells, and the same conditions are expected in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, creating dangerous surf and rip currents.
Rising surf and rip currents are forecast for the U.S. Atlantic Coast this weekend.
Bermuda (top, middle of Igor's track) is following Igor closely, although any Hurricane Watches aren't likely until Thursday. At least one cruise ship has elected to bypass the island because of the threat. Two other ships have tweaked their port calls in the Northern Leewards because of sea conditions.
Farther east, Hurricane Julia (storm track on the right on map) reached Cat. 4 strength overnight, with top winds at 135 mph. It remains a threat only to shipping and fish.
Does this seem like a busy, intense season yet? Consider these stats, from Jeff Masters' blog on Weather Underground:
1. Julia is the strongest hurricane to form so far east in the Atlantic.
2. Earl was the fourth-strongest to venture so far north.
3. This season marks only the second time two Cat. 4 hurricanes have spun in the Atlantic simultaneously. The first time was in September 1926.
4. Julia is the fourth Cat. 4 storm this season. Only two seasons have had five Cat. 4s: 2005 and 1999.