Tropical Storm Alex bears down on the Yucatan; extreme heat for Africa and Russia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:12 PM GMT on June 26, 2010

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The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season of 2010 is here. Tropical Storm Alex formed last might from an African tropical wave that plowed through the Caribbean this week. Alex's formation location is a typical one for June tropical storms, and the formation date of June 25 is also a fairly typical date for the first storm of the season to form (we average about one June named storm every two years in the Atlantic.) Heavy rainfall will ramp up through the day in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, as Alex continues to intensify, and flooding from these heavy rains will be the main concern from Alex today and Sunday. Satellite loops show that Alex's heavy thunderstorm are growing in intensity and areal coverage at a respectable pace. There is an upper-level high pressure system a few hundred miles west of Alex, and the clockwise flow air around this high is bringing upper-level winds out of the northwest of about 10 knots over the storm, contributing to the 10 knots of wind shear observed in this morning's wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin's CIMSS group. Sea Surface Temperatures are very warm, 29 - 30°C, and dry air is not a problem for Alex. We currently don't have a Hurricane Hunter aircraft in the storm, so we will have to wait until 2pm this afternoon to get an updated estimate of Alex's surface winds. The latest satellite estimates of Alex's winds at 8am EDT put the storm's strongest winds at 40 mph.


Figure 1. Satellite image of the tropics at 9am EDT Saturday 6/26/10. Image credit: GOES Science Project.

Forecast for Alex
As I discussed in last night's post, an examination of the nineteen tropical cyclones that have formed in the Western Caribbean and hit the Yucatan Peninsula over the past twenty years reveals that 8 went on to make a second Gulf Coast landfall in Mexico, 5 hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, and 6 died after hitting the Yucatan. The ones that died all took a more southerly path across the Yucatan, spending more time over land than Alex will. Alex is large enough and moving far enough north across the Yucatan that passage over the peninsula will not kill it. So, will Alex follow the path climatology says is more likely, and make a second landfall along the Mexican Gulf Coast?


Figure 2. Forecast swath of tropical storm force winds (34 - 63 knots, green colors) and hurricane force winds (yellow and orange colors) as predicted by this morning's 2am EDT run of the HWRF model. Image credit: Morris Bender, NOAA GFDL team.

The key question remains how Alex will react to the trough of low pressure expected to swing down over the Eastern U.S. on Monday. Some of yesterday's model runs predicted that this trough would be strong enough to pull Alex northwards through the oil slick region into the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. However, the models that were predicting this (the GFS, GFDL, and HWRF models) are all backing off on that prediction. It now appears likely that Alex will cross the Yucatan, emerge into the Gulf of Mexico, then slow down as the trough to its north weakens the steering currents in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. By Tuesday, the influence of the trough will wane, high pressure will build in, and Alex will resume a west-northwest, or possibly a due west or west-southwest motion, towards the Texas/Mexico border region. Based on the current trends in the models, Alex's tropical storm force winds are likely to stay well south of the oil slick region (Figure 2.) I put the odds of Alex bringing tropical storm-force winds to the oil slick region at 10%. The most significant impact Alex will likely have on the oil slick region is to bring 2 - 4 foot swells that may wash oil over some of the containment booms. These swells will reach the oil slick region on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Continued intensification of Alex is likely today, up until landfall. It is a good thing the storm waited until last night to get organized; had it formed a day earlier, it could have easily been a hurricane in the Western Caribbean today. Once Alex emerges back into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, it will likely take the storm at least 24 hours to get re-organized, particularly since the total ocean heat content is low for the 100-mile-wide stretch of water on the west side of the Yucatan Peninsula. Once Alex moves more than 100 miles from the Yucatan, total heat content of the ocean increases substantially, and Alex will have the opportunity to intensify significantly. Steering currents will be weak in the Gulf next week, and it appears that Alex will have time to intensify into a hurricane before making its second landfall along the South Texas/northern Mexico coast. Wind shear is expected to be light, and dry air not a significant impediment. Most of the models are calling for landfall on Wednesday, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this delayed until Thursday. I give Alex a 60% chance of becoming a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico next week.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A tropical wave (Invest 94L) is a few hundred miles northeast of the northernmost Lesser Antilles Islands. This wave is producing a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity, and is passing beneath a trough of low pressure that is generating 30 - 40 knots of wind shear, and is not a threat to develop today. However, by Monday, the storm will be in a region of much lower wind shear, and NHC is giving the storm a 10% chance of developing into a tropical depression by Monday morning. None of the models currently develop 94L, but Bermuda should keep and eye on this system, as it will pass very close to the island on Tuesday.

Extreme heat wave in Africa and Asia continues to set all-time high temperature records
A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity and areal covered continues to smash all-time high temperatures Asia and Africa. As I reported earlier this week, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Chad, Niger, Pakistan, and Myanmar have all set new records for their hottest temperatures of all time over the past six weeks. The remarkable heat continued over Africa and Asia late this week. The Asian portion of Russia recorded its highest temperate in history yesterday, when the mercury hit 42.3°C (108.1°F) at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China. The previous record was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at nearby Aksha on July 21, 2004. (The record for European Russia is 43.8°C--110.8°F--set on August 6, 1940, at Alexandrov Gaj near the border with Kazakhstan.) Also, on Thursday, Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed.

We've now had eight countries in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, that have beaten their all-time hottest temperature record during the past two months. This includes Asia's hottest temperature of all-time, the astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) mark set on May 26 in Pakistan. All of these records are unofficial, and will need to be certified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). According to Chris Burt, author of Extreme Weather, the only year which can compare is 2003, when six countries (the UK, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) all broke their all-time heat records during that year's notorious summer heat wave. Fortunately, the residents of the countries affected by this summer's heat wave in Asia and Africa are more adapted to extreme high temperatures, and we are not seeing the kind of death tolls experienced during the 2003 European heat wave (30,000 killed.) This week's heat wave in Africa and the Middle East is partially a consequence of the fact that Earth has now seen three straight months with its warmest temperatures on record, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. It will be interesting to see if the demise of El Niño in May will keep June from becoming the globe's fourth straight warmest month on record.

Wind and ocean current forecast for the BP oil disaster
East to southeast winds of 5 - 15 knots will blow in the northern Gulf of Mexico today through Wednesday, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. The resulting weak ocean currents should push the oil to the west and northwest onto portions of the Louisiana and Alabama coasts, according to the latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana. I would expect Mississippi to have its most serious threat of oil yet early next week as these winds continue. The long range outlook shows a continuation of east to southeast winds along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast.

Resources for the BP oil disaster
Map of oil spill location from the NOAA Satellite Services Division
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA's interactive mapping tool to overlay wind and ocean current forecasts, oil locations, etc.
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

Wunderground's severe weather expert Dr. Rob Carver will likely be posting at least one update on Alex this weekend. My next update will be Sunday morning.

Jeff Masters

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1849. xcool
I SEE NW IMIMO
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
uhmm i see GFS and not sure next land will be Mexico coast
Member Since: July 21, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 552
Quoting KoritheMan:


Yeah, that was very concerning to me as well. I'm very grateful that that did not materialize.

Deepwater Horizon sure picked a fine time to explode, didn't it? :/


It's the worst timing and it's just starting. -winces- I foresee a lot of heartache in the near future not just from humans but the environment itself and animals. I just hope whatever 2010 season has in store for us, please keep the storms away from the GOM. For this I would take a bullet any day to avoid that happening. Them and Haiti. God it's like mother nature needs to give some people a break.
1845. centex
It has gone more west today than we thought it would. It could also go more NW when it starts that expected motion.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:01L_2010_5day.gif
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1843. USSINS
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Quoting Jeff9641:


That could be the beginnings of Bonnie.


So Bonnie would be the reincarnated offshoot of Alex in this case. Are you sure it wouldn't just be extratropical/hybrid after entering into the Gulf Stream?
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Looks like ALEX is touching the EPAC now and hopefully he has his "eyeballs" on it. Photobucket
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1840. xcool


Trough
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting srada:


Two weeks of no electricity after floyd..the humidity is awful..there is nothing exciting "post" hurricanes..


I agree. My favorite part about a hurricane is before and during the storm. The preparation and the waiting is the best part for me, actually, not even the storm itself.

But come post-storm... It's like hell on earth.
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I know this is a off from the tropics chat we are having now but can someone help me find rain chances for july 4th?
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If you remember I clung to the ECMWF for days before insisting that Friday was the day for development and I never waivered

ECMWF has been dead on with this system
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting jaevortex:


You know. Yesterday I text my aunt (who also went through Andrew with me and we respect mother nature) about pre-alex. Her response was "It's not even gonna hit us."I told her listen to what you're saying. "Us, just the fact that it's going to be headed towards the gulf is sad. It's us as in the US. It made my skin crawl when I saw those first model runs initially on the depression that was Alex. O1L or how we all so see it, OiL. No pun intended.


Yeah, that was very concerning to me as well. I'm very grateful that that did not materialize.

Deepwater Horizon sure picked a fine time to explode, didn't it? :/
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1835. WAHA
Quoting IKE:


Lurking. They'll be back soon in the 2010 season.

I am not a lurker! I am a floridian!
1833. SeALWx
Quoting MississippiWx:


Apparently, there is a 190% chance it's going to hit somewhere...

Yeah or the center will landfall at 1.9 places simultaneously.
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Some models actually bring Alex into the Pacific...

Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 2835
Quoting GBguy88:


My family and I sat in the house when Ivan peeled the roof off. When you come through something like that with your family and friends in good health, it's hard to complain about being a little hot or having to take a cold shower. It's a little disheartening to see people so bummed about materials when there's so much more at stake. Maybe it's just me.


You complain about the little things because you can - the bigger things are too much.

Like Gamma said - the aftermath is awful, worrying about your business, how are you going to pay employees, are you going to have enough money for repairs, how long will is it going to take, surviving another day.

I have been through Andrew, bunch of little ones, and then Katrina, Rita, Wilma. Probably more fatalistic than most. So yea -- I'll complain about no electric, but there is a whole lot more behind that.

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Good Afternoon

Blog Updated

Tropical Storm Alex bears down on Belize; his forecast
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
when I looked at satellite the first time a few minutes ago, my first thought was, NEXT! this thing is going to Tampico.
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9685
1827. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
been trackin sine 730 this morning gonna take a break for a while be back around in a bit
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Quoting IKE:
18Z GFS @ 72 hours. Watch...I'll get flooding rains off of Alex in a few days....



There is something real suspicious about that moisture near Florida in association with Alex, real suspicious...
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1825. srada
Quoting KoritheMan:


I feel you on this. I was without it for five days following Gustav, and I was one of the lucky ones. Ugh.


Two weeks of no electricity after floyd..the humidity is awful..there is nothing exciting "post" hurricanes..
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Quoting SeALWx:

Hmmm...I've always seen percentages a little differently. Like portions of a whole. Like the pieces shouldn't equal almost twice what you have to divide up.


Apparently, there is a 190% chance it's going to hit somewhere...
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
Quoting KoritheMan:


Yeah, I don't think any of us really want that. Well, at least one half of us. I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but I'd imagine that half of us, the weather enthusiast side, desires to see a storm hit us, but the other side, the human side, wishes the opposite.


You know. Yesterday I text my aunt (who also went through Andrew with me and we respect mother nature) about pre-alex. Her response was "It's not even gonna hit us."I told her listen to what you're saying. "Us, just the fact that it's going to be headed towards the gulf is sad. It's us as in the US. It made my skin crawl when I saw those first model runs initially on the depression that was Alex. O1L or how we all so see it, OiL. No pun intended.
1822. IKE
Quoting MississippiWx:


They're gone, but all of the Texas people are here doing it now. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.


LOL.
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Alex even gonna make it to the Gulf lol thing is buried deep down there,
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9685
1820. IKE
18Z GFS @ 72 hours. Watch...I'll get flooding rains off of Alex in a few days....

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Quoting IKE:


Lurking. They'll be back soon in the 2010 season.


They're gone, but all of the Texas people are here doing it now. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10284
1818. SeALWx
Quoting reedzone:
The CMC and NAM, some ensembles are showing a stronger trough. StormW, Levi indicated that the trough looks deeper on the water vapor image. I give Texas a 40% of getting hit, Northern Mexico 70%, southern Mexico 60%, Alex dieing in the Yucatan? 20%

Hmmm...I've always seen percentages a little differently. Like portions of a whole. Like the pieces shouldn't equal almost twice what you have to divide up.
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1817. GBguy88
Quoting Jeff9641:


Try leaking walls no shingles on roof and a tree fallen on my car. 2004 in Orlando all you saw were blue roofs after Charley. Charley did lots of damage here the others as well but Charley really did it.


My family and I sat in the house when Ivan peeled the roof off. When you come through something like that with your family and friends in good health, it's hard to complain about being a little hot or having to take a cold shower. It's a little disheartening to see people so bummed about materials when there's so much more at stake. Maybe it's just me.
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Quoting RitaEvac:
where all the Florida folks at thought the big trough was coming down to sweep it up their way?


You mean Jeff.....
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1815. IKE
Quoting RitaEvac:
where all the Florida folks at thought the big trough was coming down to sweep it up their way?


Lurking. They'll be back soon in the 2010 season.
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Quoting KoritheMan:
One thing's for sure... I'm going to start paying very close attention to the ECMWF from now on. It nailed both Alex's genesis as well as its landfall location days in advance.


Agree. First blush was a Looziana landfall but it called the genesis like you said, so gold in my book.
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That is an interesting genesis right there. Watch that one close over the next week.

Quoting MrstormX:
Not sure if this has already been discussed, but the GFDL is spinning up another tropical cyclone near South Carolina in association with moisture from Alex. Real interesting thing, that could play out given the amount of moisture Alex currently has associated with it.

The breakaway:


The storm:
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Found a report from Belize on Stormcaribe.com


"- Another Update from Caye Caulker...
By Barry Beer
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2010 15:49:47 -0600
Another quick update:
- here on Caye Caulker the wind is picking up again, presently from the North at 18 mph with gusts to 28 mph and increasing
- barometer is still falling at 1000.6
- people have been pulling their boats out of the water all day
- all the stores are closing at 5 pm and word on the street is that the big winds will be here in an hour
- the fire truck has been going up & down the streets with the siren on making sure that everyone knows about the storm
- we're ready here!
Barry Beer
Caye Caulker Weather"
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Quoting jaevortex:


I agree, except I went through Andrew. I also blogged about my experience, was 16 at the time.. since then I've been fascinated with hurricanes. I wouldn't wish any storm made it in to the GOM.


Yeah, I don't think any of us really want that. Well, at least one half of us. I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but I'd imagine that half of us, the weather enthusiast side, desires to see a storm hit us, but the other side, the human side, wishes the opposite.
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got to go, my work week is about over...and today was a very slow day.. which makes it very long..

will check in later tonight and tomorrow morning.
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1809. IKE
Quoting mcluvincane:
Well were are all those early models taking in north. Models are crap. Hell I can tell u where its going after the fact. Same as human forecasting. I myself just watch radar and if it has a Chance to effect me then I will act accordingly. U could Drive urself crazy with all the maybe's and mights.


True ....that some of the models were way off a few days out...but, that's normal with models.

I quit worrying personally...about being affected by Alex after reading the NHC's thoughts...along with Bastardi...and StormW.

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where all the Florida folks at thought the big trough was coming down to sweep it up their way?
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 9685
One thing's for sure... I'm going to start paying very close attention to the ECMWF from now on. It nailed both Alex's genesis as well as its landfall location days in advance.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Okay, well almost every weather enthusiast. :P

But I seriously think some of you guys need to remember this. The majority of us got interested in meteorology due to some sort of significant (or seemingly significant) meteorological phenomena. And because of that, we will occasionally desire to see more of the same.

My interest started with Isidore. To this day, I still love sitting outside watching a moderate tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane.

Do I wish harm on anyone? No. In fact, I was feeling sickly about Alex possibly affecting the oil spill. But the possibility was there... for awhile.


I agree, except I went through Andrew. I also blogged about my experience, was 16 at the time.. since then I've been fascinated with hurricanes. I wouldn't wish any storm made it in to the GOM.
1805. msphar
Glad too see the blog air clearing a bit after two major Invests leading to one named storm. any more excitement and I would have to refill my nitro prescription. It'd be nice to have a couple of quiet days heading into the holiday.
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After Wilma we got lucky, a very cold front moved thru with the storm...that is the only reason SE Florida did not go nuts with so many without power for 14 days...it really did not start getting hot until about 3-5 days later.

It was actually COLD in the first 3 days after Wilma...we had to wear sweats and jackets!
so it was ok no a/c then..

but some of those other storms without power...hot and humid.. for days.. not good!
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Hey Flood!

Good to see you too

I agree about the part without electricity -- its a pain. I don't do so well in the heat without ac.
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1802. WAHA
Hi all, I just made a new blog post on Tropical storm Alex. Click here to see.
Okay kids...I cut my training class loose and it's time to roll

BBL

Play nice!
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1800. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)


01L/TS/A
MARK
17.2N/88.4W
(OVERLAND)
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1799. tkeith
Quoting Tazmanian:
ok all could we may be get back too are name storms and poor 94L thats not geting any love at all
It may be time for a group hug Taz :)
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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