Tropical Cyclone Report
Tropical Storm Carlos
26 - 27 June 2003
Miles B. Lawrence
National Hurricane Center
4 August 2003
Carlos made landfall near Puerto
Escondido, Mexico with sustained wind speeds estimated at 55
a. Synoptic History
Carlos formed from a tropical wave
that moved off of the coast of Africa on 14 June. The wave was
almost indiscernible on satellite imagery during its eight-day
crossing of the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. On 23
June, however, it developed into an identifiable area of disturbed
weather south of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Drifting northwestward,
the convection was sufficiently well-organized to assign tropical
depression status early on 26 June. This was the third tropical
cyclone of the eastern Pacific season. The "best track" chart of
the tropical cyclone's path is given in Figure 1, and the wind and
pressure histories are shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3,
best track positions and intensities are listed in Table 1.
Still embedded in weak steering
currents, the depression drifted slowly and erratically northward
and strengthened. It became Tropical Storm Carlos at 1200 UTC on 26
June, while centered about 90 n mi southwest of Puerto Angel,
Mexico. Continuing slowly northward, Carlos strengthened to an
estimated 55-kt tropical storm before its center reached the coast
of Mexico about 50 n mi west of Puerto Escondido early on the next
Carlos quickly weakened below
tropical storm intensity on the 27th as its circulation
encountered the high terrain of Mexico. The depression began a slow
westward drift on the 27th, in response to weak steering
from a deep-layer-mean ridge over Mexico. It drifted west to
west-southwestward, moving back over the eastern Pacific waters for
about 24 hours and then dissipated early on the 29th.
b. Meteorological Statistics
Observations in Carlos (Figure 2 and Figure 3)
include satellite-based subjective Dvorak technique intensity
estimates from the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB),
the Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) and the U. S. Air Force Weather
Agency (AFWA). The estimate of 55-knot wind speeds at landfall was
based primarily on the appearance of an eye-type feature on
microwave imagery late on the afternoon before landfall (Figure 4)
and also on the appearance of a similar feature on radar images
from the Puerto Angel radar.
Ship reports of winds of tropical
storm force associated with Carlos are given in Table 2, which
lists three ships that came within about 50 nautical miles of the
center of the tropical cyclone as it was approaching the coast and
c. Casualty and Damage Statistics
No deaths were reported. According
to the Associated Press, there were no reports of serious damage,
but 44 sparsely populated coastal communities in the state of
Oaxaca sustained some flooding, including downed power lines and
d. Forecast and Warning Critique
Carlos was a tropical cyclone for
only 36 h, resulting in a small number of verifications and none
beyond 36 hours. Average official track errors (with the number of
cases in parentheses) were 79 (5), 157 (3), and 224 (1) n mi for
the 12-, 24-, and 36-h forecasts,
These errors are considerably larger
than the average official track errors for the 10-yr period
1993-2002 (39, 72, and 103 n mi, respectively). These large errors
were the result of several west-northwestward track forecasts with
forward speeds in the 10-knot range on the 26th. These forecasts
compare with the slow northward drift that actually occurred. The
cyclone did eventually turn toward the west-northwest, about 24 h
later than forecast by either the guidance models or the official
Average official intensity errors
were 12 (5), 12 (3), and 10 (1) knots for the 12, 24, and 36 hour
forecasts, respectively. For comparison, the average official
intensity errors over the 10-yr period 1993-2002 are 6, 11, and 15
Table 3 lists the watches and
warnings associated with Carlos.
All forecast verifications in this report include the depression stage of
the cyclone. National Hurricane Center verifications presented in these
reports prior to 2003 did not include the depression stage.
Table 1: Best
track data for Tropical Storm Carlos, 26-27 June
|26 / 0600||14.1||97.8||1006||30||"
|26 / 1200||14.7||97.8||1003||35||tropical
|26 / 1800||15.0||97.3||998||45||"
|27 / 0000||15.7||97.6||996||55||"
|27 / 0600||16.3||98.1||999||45||"
|27 / 1200||16.5||98.6||1001||30||tropical
|27 / 1800||16.7||99.3||1005||25||remnant low
|28 / 0000||16.6||99.9||1008||25||"
|28 / 0600||16.4||100.6||1008||25||"
|28 / 1200||16.1||101.2||1008||25||"
|28 / 1800||15.7||101.8||1008||25||"
|29 / 0000||dissipated
|27 / 0000||15.7||97.6||996||55||minimum pressure
|27 / 0300||16.0||97.8||996||55||landfall 50 n mi west of Puerto Escondido
Table 2: Selected
ship reports with winds of at least 34 kt for Tropical Storm
Carlos, 26-27 June 2003.
|Ship Name or Call Sign||Date/Time (UTC)||Lat.|
|Wind dir/speed (deg/kt)||Pressure (mb)
|V7AM9||26 / 1800||15.2||97.3||060 / 40 ||1005.8
|H9TA||26 / 2100||14.7||97.1||200 / 37 ||1001.0
|NEPP||27 / 0000||15.1||97.8||270 / 35 ||1006.0
Table 3: Watch and warning
summary for Tropical Storm Carlos.
|26/0300||tropical storm warning in
effect||Acapulco to Punta San
|26/2100||tropical storm warning
discontinued||Salina Cruz to Punta
|26/2100||tropical storm warning in
|27/0900||tropical storm warning
discontinued||Puerto Angel to Salina
Best track positions
for Tropical Storm Carlos, 26-27 June 2003.
observations and best track maximum
sustained surface wind speed curve for Tropical Storm
observations and best track minimum central
pressure curve for Tropical Storm Carlos.
Microwave image of
Tropical Storm Carlos at 0220 UTC, 27 June 2003, showing the
eye-type feature at the coast of Mexico (courtesy of Fleet
Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, U.S. Navy, Monterey,