Tropical Storm Karen

Preliminary Report
Tropical Storm Karen
28 November - 04 December 1989


Tropical Storm Allison (TS)
Tropical Storm Barry (TS)
Hurricane Chantal (1)
Hurricane Dean (2)
Hurricane Erin (2)
Hurricane Felix (1)
Hurricane Gabrielle (4)
Hurricane Hugo (5)
Tropical Storm Iris (TS)
Hurricane Jerry (1)
Tropical Storm Karen (TS)

a. Synoptic History

On 13 November a rather active westward moving tropical wave emerged from the northwest coast of Africa, as detected on Meteosat images and rawinsonde data. The wave encountered a hostile environment throughout the tropical Atlantic and it was not until 24 November near Jamaica, where under the influence of a persistent upper level anticyclone, the convection became concentrated. A broad low level circulation gradually developed during the following days as the wave drifted westward. NHC satellite analysts as well as reconnaissance aircraft confirmed that a circulation center had developed and on 28 November the weather system became the 15th tropical depression of the 1989 Atlantic season.

The depression moved very slowly toward the north northwest and north reaching tropical storm intensity early on 30 November near the Isle of Youth, Cuba. Karen continued the present trend of November tropical cyclones. Based on the past 100 years there has been an average of 0.4 tropical storms and hurricanes per year in November. However, during the decade of the 1980's the average has increased to 0.8.

A strong high pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico forced Karen to move south and southwest during 1-3 December. An Air Force plane was unable to locate a circulation center at 0600 UTC on the 4th and the last advisory was then issued. A low level swirl, the remnant of Karen, was tracked on satellite images over Nicaragua for the next 2 days.

b. Meteorological Statistics

Gerona on the Isle of Youth reported sustained winds of 48 mph with gusts to 60 mph during passing squalls on 30 November. Mimimum reported pressure by an aircraft was 1000 mb.

1. Rainfall Data

Karen was a wet storm which dumped more than 15 inches of rain on the Isle of Youth and between 10 to 15 inches of rain over portions of western Cuba.

2. Tornadoes

A tornado was reported in the town of La Reforma on the Isle of Youth.

c. Casualty and Damage Statistics

There were no reported deaths caused by Tropical Storm Karen. On the other hand, crops and numerous houses were damaged in western Cuba due to the torrential rains. Thousands of people were evacuated due to the threat of floods.

Maximum Intensity For Tropical Storm Karen
28 November - 04 December, 1989

Position Pressure
Wind Speed
Lat. (°N) Lon. (°W)
30/1800 20.5 83.1 1000 60 Tropical Storm