Heavy Rainfall from Hurricane Karl

Heavy Rainfall from Hurricane Karl

At noon Central Daylight Time on September 17, 2010, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported that Hurricane Karl had made landfall about 10 miles (15 kilometers) north of Mexico’s port city of Veracruz. A Category 3 hurricane, Karl had maximum sustained winds of 115 miles (185 kilometers) per hour. The Los Angeles Times reported that high winds toppled trees and billboards along the coast, but for many residents, the storm’s worst hazard was rain.

This color-coded image shows rainfall amounts in southern Mexico and Central America from September 14 to 18. The heaviest rainfall amounts—300 millimeters or nearly 12 inches—appear in dark blue. The lightest amounts—50 millimeters or less than 2 inches—appear in light green. A storm track is superimposed on the rainfall amounts, and the track’s color shows Karl’s intensity at each location. Pink indicates a tropical depression and dark purple indicates a Category 3 storm.

High rainfall amounts occurred along Karl’s entire path, but especially heavy rain occurred over the coast of Mexico, immediately south of the storm track. Even before Karl approached, southern Mexico was already contending with one of its wettest seasons on record. Floods and landslides resulting from Hurricane Karl only added to the hardship. On September 22, 2010, the BBC reported that the number of deaths attributable to Karl had risen to 15.

This image is based on data from the Multisatellite Precipitation Analysis produced at Goddard Space Flight Center, which estimates rainfall by combining measurements from many satellites and calibrating them using rainfall measurements from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite.

  1. References

  2. BBC. (2010, September 22). Tropical storm brings fresh flood misery to Mexico. Accessed September 23, 2010.
  3. Ellingwood, K. (2010, September 18). Hurricane Karl batters Mexico’s gulf coast. Los Angels Times. Accessed September 23, 2010.
  4. National Hurricane Center. (2010, September 18). Hurricane Karl Advisory Archive. Accessed September 23, 2010.
  5. Unisys Weather. (2010, September 18). Hurricane Karl. Accessed September 23, 2010.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    September 14 - 18, 2010
  • Visualization Date:

    September 23, 2010
  • Sensor(s):

    TRMM - MPA
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration