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

Share this Blog
5
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1699 - 1649

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75Blog Index

Quoting KoritheMan:


Every weather enthusiast wants a storm to hit them. They'd never admit to it publicly, though.


Man, I've had mine...if I have another coming someone else can take my turn
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1697. beell
Quoting btwntx08:
have u guys see the trough digging in az as storm mention i believe the ecmwf may not nail this eventhough its real good


The trough that would have tugged Alex N is a shortwave in the zonal flow across the northern half of the US. Amplified by the vortex over eastern Canada. The trough out west morphs into a cut-off shortwave. Weakening over the desert SW and should not be a factor.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Many people who wish for a hurricane to pay them a visit have probably never been through a major storm before. I can guarantee, after one good taste, they won't wishcast again.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ECMWF is one heck of a model. We'll have to see if that latches onto that beastly african wave.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1694. IKE
Quoting Jeff9641:
Mets in Orlando think computer models may get shifted south again.


Further south then the new advisory?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


I'm amazed at the people that want to get hit...are they new, or something?


Every weather enthusiast wants a storm to hit them. They'd never admit to it publicly, though.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1673. MScasinojunkie 9:19 PM GMT on June 26, 2010
What happened to 94L?


still there
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like we make it through June with no US landfalling storm.....wish we could get a depression here in Savannah though.....man are we dry.....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1689. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting IKE:


It's always been that way since I've been on here.

I'll admit I have a thrill to see a tropical system UNTIL it gets about 48 hours from affecting me and then I want no part of it. Don't need it.

Life is easier this evening without the worry of Alex.
yes god is good
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1688. IKE
Quoting GlobalWarming:
Ike, thoughts on the latest ECM long range tropical activity? Thanks, :).


A lot more worries with systems soon.

ECMWF is the best model I've seen on here. It does jump around some on long range tracks, but when it zeroes in it usually stays with it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


They've just about all given up in here, on being affected by Alex.


lol! That is why the "10 post per second" has calmed down a little.

geeze, I can finally keep up with this blog in the past 30 mins!

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Floodman:


I'm amazed at the people that want to get hit...are they new, or something?


No, the wishcasting scumbags have been around for years. They get off on death and destruction on American soil under the guise of "interest in tropical development," which of course explains why this blog is really active ONLY when something has the potential to threaten the U.S. -- there's been more posting about 92L, which never materialized, than two major hurricanes (one a Cat-5) in the EPac combined, because one had a chance to hit the U.S. and the others didn't.

Shameful. And altogether predictable.

inb4 wishcasting apologists telling us they only want to warn us because the NHC won't do it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MScasinojunkie:
What happened to 94L?


Ummm, still out there?

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1683. Patrap
ALEX and 94L MSFC www.hurricanecity.com/closeup
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
92L is long gone
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I can hear James Taylor singing now....


Way down here you need a reason to move
Feel a fool running your stateside games
Lose your load, leave your mind behind, Baby James

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so simple I just got to go
The sun's so hot I forgot to go home
Guess I'll have to go now

"Americano" got the sleepy eye
But his body's still shaking like a live wire
Sleepy "Señorita" with the eyes on fire

Oh, Mexico
It sounds so sweet with the sun sinking low
Moon's so bright like to light up the night
Make everything all right

Baby's hungry and the money's all gone
The folks back home don't want to talk on the phone
She gets a long letter, sends back a postcard; times are hard

Oh, down in Mexico
I never really been so I don't really know
Oh, Mexico
I guess I'll have to go

Oh, Mexico
I never really been but I'd sure like to go
Oh, Mexico
I guess I'll have to go now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1679. hydrus
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1678. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1676. IKE
Quoting Floodman:


I'm amazed at the people that want to get hit...are they new, or something?


It's always been that way since I've been on here.

I'll admit I have a thrill to see a tropical system UNTIL it gets about 48 hours from affecting me and then I want no part of it. Don't need it.

Life is easier this evening without the worry of Alex.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1675. srada
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
You just want the system to come to where you live.


LOL!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I've been using the FSU experimental site for model imagery of CMC, GFDL, NGP, etc. Doesn't show the ECMWF.

Suggestions for a model-run site?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
What happened to 94L?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
sorry guys alex will not affect the gulf coast maybe next time
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting SirCane:
It's staying South and that's a good thing. Why do some of you want to disturb the oil clean up? Come on!


No one wants to disturb the oil spill. At least I hope not.

But I've not seen that implied here. At all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TS Alex was the result of the merger between 92L (ICTZ disturbance) and the wave behind it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1668. Patrap
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


They've just about all given up in here, on being affected by Alex.


I'm amazed at the people that want to get hit...are they new, or something?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1665. IKE
Weakening Flag : ON

Good. Die Alex....head on at a speed fast enough to not cause serious flooding.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1663. IKE
Quoting SirCane:
It's staying South and that's a good thing. Why do some of you want to disturb the oil clean up? Come on!


They've just about all given up in here, on being affected by Alex.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txag91met:
GFS has been a joke for years...the new upgrade is going to help some. ECMWF upgrade has even proven to be better in the tropics. Remember the GFDL/WRF use the GFS for boundary conditions...I have been saying for years for the NHC to run the GFDL/HWRF off of the ECMWF.
MEXICO...


I'm assuming it will be able to head into the Southern Gulf still.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 26 JUN 2010 Time : 201500 UTC
Lat : 17:16:37 N Lon : 87:40:39 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.8 / 991.9mb/ 61.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.5 4.0 4.4

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +2.1mb

Center Temp : -79.1C Cloud Region Temp : -78.8C

Scene Type : UNIFORM CDO CLOUD REGION

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.5T/hour
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF
Member Since: May 16, 2009 Posts: 1 Comments: 1231
1659. SirCane
It's staying South and that's a good thing. Why do some of you want to disturb the oil clean up? Come on!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txag91met:
I have been on the southern route this whole time...ECMWF going to nail it again.


ECMWF was the first to develop Alex too.. now its developing a low of the East Coast and has been since 93L was at yellow 3 days ago.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WTNT41 KNHC 262033
TROPICAL STORM ALEX DISCUSSION NUMBER 5



THE STORM IS BETTER ORGANIZED AND THE HURRICANE HUNTER PLANE
PROVIDED A GOOD FIX...THE INITIAL MOTION IS MORE RELIABLE AND IT IS
ESTIMATED AT 280 DEGREES AT 10 KNOTS. A STRONG SUBTROPICAL RIDGE
EXTENDING FROM THE BAHAMAS ACROSS THE GULF OF MEXICO IS EXPECTED TO
TO KEEP ALEX ON A GENERAL WEST-TO WEST-NORTHWEST TRACK OVER THE
SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO THROUGH THE FORECAST PERIOD. A DECREASE IN
FORWARD SPEED IS ANTICIPATED WHILE ALEX IS LOCATED IN THE SOUTHERN
GULF OF MEXICO AS THE STEERING CURRENTS WEAKEN A LITTLE BIT. THE
CONFIDENCE IN THE FORECAST IS HIGH BECAUSE MOST OF THE DYNAMICAL
MODELS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT AND HAVE SHIFTED FARTHER SOUTH JOINING
THE RELIABLE ECMWF
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6069
Quoting extreme236:


At least the new version of it doesn't do that.
GFS has been a joke for years...the new upgrade is going to help some. ECMWF upgrade has even proven to be better in the tropics. Remember the GFDL/WRF use the GFS for boundary conditions...I have been saying for years for the NHC to run the GFDL/HWRF off of the ECMWF.
Quoting ElConando:


So what does that mean exactly for Alex's future?

MEXICO...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1654. IKE
Quoting helove2trac:
will someone please answer me are any models showing a possible storm hittin the central gulf coast july4th


I haven't seen any. GFS has a low over the NE GOM coast in a few days...around June 30th. May just be the GFS having convective feedback issues.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
996 milibars
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The GFS was showing no developement when NAM was.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txag91met:
I have been on the southern route this whole time...ECMWF going to nail it again.


So what does that mean exactly for Alex's future?
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3784
will someone please answer me are any models showing a possible storm hittin the central gulf coast july4th
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1699 - 1649

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Overcast
44 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron