It has been almost eleven years since the last so-called “major” hurricane made landfall in the United States. That streak will continue to run strong as Karl passes by well to the east of the East Coast later this week. It won’t be Karl that breaks the streak. Instead, a trough will weaken the ridge over the Atlantic enough to induce a north then northeast turn, and a rather sharp turn at that, which will ultimately send Karl out in to the open Atlantic.
What Karl will do is send some wave action towards the East Coast, Bahamas and Puerto Rico. These waves will mean the surfing community will have a nice couple of days of long period swells moving in. I will know more about what to expect once Karl becomes a hurricane which should be later this week.
The only issue I see for the United States will be the aforementioned increase in wave action which could lead to rip currents and rough breaking wave action right at the shoreline. Swimmers just need to be cautious as this develops. Otherwise Karl will be yet another hurricane to pass comfortably by without making landfall in the U.S.
I am not quite sure that Bermuda goes unscathed as it will all come down to the angle of the turn and when the turn happens. Right now, some models take Karl very close to Bermuda this weekend, others are far enough away to keep hurricane conditions away. This is something we will need to watch closely since it looks like Karl will be intensifying as it turns out and this would mean more dramatic effects compared to a hurricane that has reached its peak. I will be watching this closely as the week progresses.
Meanwhile, the remnants of Julia are still milling around off the North Carolina coast with little overall impact or development right now. It is possible that some regeneration could occur as a front pushes in and adds more energy to the system. This could result in an increase in showers and thunderstorms along with locally gusty winds for parts of the NC Outer Banks and maybe SE Virginia tonight and tomorrow. Otherwise no major concerns from this system.
In the Pacific, another hurricane has developed off the Baja peninsula and is headed in that general direction. Fortunately, it looks as though it will weaken substantially as it moves north and turns towards land. However, the usual threat of heavy rain will be a problem and some of this moisture could make its way in to the southwest U.S. later in the week. I do not anticipate any flash flooding concerns but with tropical moisture you can never be too careful so just keep in mind that this system is out there if you have plans along the Baja this week.
Looking down the road, I see a continued period of a fairly active tropics coming up over the next week or so. Most of the global models are indicating more tropical wave action will move off of Africa and head west over the open Atlantic. One thing that is beginning to concern me a little is the fact that the seasonal shift back to the south of the path of these waves of energy will likely mean tracks closer to the Caribbean instead of north like we’re seeing with Karl. My point is that even though we are heading towards the end of the month, the hurricane season appears to have a long way to go. The very warm water, much of it warmer than normal by several degrees in some places, leads me to believe we will see the season remaining busy well in to October. Just keep your guard up and don’t write off the season just yet. I said in the opening paragraph that it won’t be Karl to break the streak of no major hurricanes for the USA. I am very confident of that statement. However, I am not confident in saying that we will escape the entire season with no major hurricane impacts for the U.S. coast. Hermine was a warning shot of what can be expected when stronger, more robust hurricanes come along. We might get by with nothing else of any consequence but in case we don’t, I urge everyone along the coast from not only the U.S. but elsewhere in the Caribbean to remain prepared and be ready in case our luck takes a turn for the worse.
I will post my daily video discussion here by early this afternoon followed by another blog update this evening.
M. Sudduth 11:55 AM ET Sept 19