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: 1249 - 1199

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 TexasHurricane:


Is it going more south?

gotta be more north. do a extreme close up on visible.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1248. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Recon likely leaving Alex...


It's in there for another 80 minutes before it's scheduled to depart.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26698
Quoting StormW:
LOL! Who knows...could work!

Insert Forest Gump drawl: My Dear Departed Dad always said, "It's bad luck to be superstitious."
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Shifting? Yes.

Dying? No.


Is it going more south?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Recon likely leaving Alex...
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1243. jpsb
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Yes, at about 320 degrees
Jog? New track? Damn Java links not working for me. Guess I need to update my Java.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1262
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
What is the european model showing???What a storm smacking into the usa??
Hour?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


You mean June?


I can see how u got confused lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:
18Z Run

STATISTICAL MODELS



DYNAMIC MODELS

Models trending a bit further south but keep it in the BOC nonetheless.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting sarahjola:
it looks as though it is shifting and dieing. i am very close up on visible and i can definitely see a northern shift or big jog if you will in the last few frames. its just my opinion and i am probably wrong. so don't get mad at me for it:) i will admit now that i know close to nothing about these storms and just enjoy watching them. you all are way more educated than me in this area. but that is what i think i see. please feel free to educate me:)


I see the shift as well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
it looks as though it is shifting and dieing. i am very close up on visible and i can definitely see a northern shift or big jog if you will in the last few frames. its just my opinion and i am probably wrong. so don't get mad at me for it:) i will admit now that i know close to nothing about these storms and just enjoy watching them. you all are way more educated than me in this area. but that is what i think i see. please feel free to educate me:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


You mean June?


Hes saying that it is a nice looking TS even for july, when its still hard to get things going.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1234. jpsb
Quoting kmanislander:


Have you been to Belize City ?. I have and when you drive along the coast your eyes are level with the sea. There will be low lying flooding for sure with this and the offshore water is very shallow for a mile or two out which will result in surge even from this storm.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this push 5 feet of surge with it.
5 feet easy I think, large storm, perfect angle of attack, yes 5 feet for sure (at high tide).
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1262
1233. WxLogic
Quoting wxgeek723:


June...


Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


You mean June?


Thanks for the correction. I meant to say June. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Nice Prediction!


Thanks, went through and looked at the models, maps, and stuff.. This is what it appears to me right now, not leaving Texas out of the equation. I believe, like with every TS that passes through the Yucatan, the center could reform a bit north and the trough could lift it northwest for a bit, then as the high builds, it steers westward into Northern Mexico/TX borderline. The CMC track is not out of the question, I find it a bit more sensable then other models.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


And on a northwest heading, I might add.

Yes, at about 320 degrees
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrstormX:
When you consider the recon pattern, I suspect that the storm is int

Lets give it a try lol
Quoting MrstormX:
When you consider the recon pattern, I suspect that the storm is int

Lets give it a try lol

Ok. LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WxLogic:
Quite a Tropical Storm for July...



June...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

It depends on how big a threat it poses.


Ok then I guess it's settled.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


LOL! Who knows...could work!

LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When Gaston made landfall in SC and stalled over us there were widespread flood problems here, did they evacuate us before hand no. They weren't prepared yes, but if they expected it to happen, would they put evacuations into place? NO!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


And on a northwest heading, I might add.
I was about to say.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1221. WxLogic
Quite a Tropical Storm for June...



LOL Correction...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1220. Torgen
Quoting mtyspider:
Ufff Honduras is cleared!!! from alex now belize and usa it's your problem now.


We love you too! lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When you consider the recon pattern, I suspect that the storm is int
Quoting StormGoddess:

I've got an idea. Reverse psychology for ALEX. First, we don't rip it (in other words he then probably gets weaker). Then if he makes it to EPAC, we rip it there.


Lets give it a try lol
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting tropicfreak:


I am talking about the government putting in mandatory evacuations. I always thought that they put in mandatory evacuations if a major hurricane was posing a threat.

It depends on how big a threat it poses.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1216. Levi32
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

According to google earth ruler the center has moved about 15 miles since the last fix.


And on a northwest heading, I might add.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26698
Quoting kmanislander:


Have you been to Belize City ?. I have and when you drive along the coast your eyes are level with the sea. There will be low lying flooding for sure with this and the offshore water is very shallow for a mile or two out which will result in surge even from this storm.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this push 5 feet of surge with it.


add 6 or more inches of rain and you have an ugly scenario
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


And that looks like real trouble....maybe a US hit. Active season starting it appears!


1-1-0
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1212. amd
looks like the core is quickly organizing as it approaches land. A 5 degree celsius difference in temperature between the core and the outside air is significant.

Also, a 996 mb pressure with some SFMR winds near 65 mph suggests that Alex will be a 60 mph storm at least at the 5 p.m. advisory.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrstormX:


If we don't RIP it then it will die, if we do then it will live. We choose

I've got an idea. Reverse psychology for ALEX. First, we don't rip it (in other words he then probably gets weaker). Then if he makes it to EPAC, we rip it there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Down to 996mb. Core is starting to warm....they found 5C warmer temperatures at the center than outside the center.

000
URNT12 KNHC 261919
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 26/19:08:30Z
B. 17 deg 19 min N
087 deg 28 min W
C. 925 mb 655 m
D. 56 kt
E. 182 deg 29 nm
F. 237 deg 52 kt
G. 181 deg 26 nm
H. EXTRAP 996 mb
I. 19 C / 755 m
J. 24 C / 764 m

K. 22 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 9
O. 0.02 / 4 nm
P. AF302 0301A ALEX OB 09
MAX FL WIND 52 KT S QUAD 18:59:50Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB
;

According to google earth ruler the center has moved about 15 miles since the last fix.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1209. will45
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:
When you ignore a user, does it ignore their IP adress? I've noticed that a lot of names I've never saw before I cant see, unless someone quotes them...

No it just ignores that handle
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherwatcher12:

Incorrect, they have to evacuate low-lying and flood prone areas and even tropical storm winds can be damaging.


I am talking about the government putting in mandatory evacuations. I always thought that they put in mandatory evacuations if a major hurricane was posing a threat.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Tropical Storm Arthur (2008) flooding in Belize:



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Pressure now down to 996mb according to latest vortex.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
My official forecast for Tropical Storm Alex, I find it quite reasonable..

Photobucket
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ufff Honduras is cleared!!! from alex now belize and usa it's your problem now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
With the pretty intense winds and pressure reading being reported by recon Alex just might stay as a tropical storm while over the Yucatan. The NHC suggests that Alex should only be over land for 12 hours, so you never know.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 26/1500Z 17.3N 86.1W 40 KT
12HR VT 27/0000Z 17.7N 87.5W 50 KT
24HR VT 27/1200Z 19.0N 89.1W 30 KT...INLAND
36HR VT 28/0000Z 20.5N 91.0W 30 KT...OVER WATER

48HR VT 28/1200Z 22.0N 92.5W 40 KT
72HR VT 29/1200Z 23.0N 94.0W 55 KT
96HR VT 30/1200Z 23.5N 96.0W 65 KT
120HR VT 01/1200Z 24.0N 98.5W 25 KT...INLAND
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1199. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting ElConando:


It can reorganize again sir.
its not going were you think it is some will stay and cross cen america and a piece will go north up and out over the yuc
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1249 - 1199

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
28 °F
Overcast