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: 449 - 399

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

449. Skyepony (Mod)
Alex maybe crazy rain for Central America, looks to be training in mountain areas.
last 24hrs..

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Where can i get steering maps from?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
WOW! I would watch that one closely, real closely.


This is the system that GFS develops on the 29th. The former Nigeria-Togo-Benin system in the Gulf of Guinea is now a CV wave.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hercj:

I had a BN back in the day from Nawlins who came out of LSU and since I came out of Texas A&M he and I made a hell of pair in the bars in Subic Bay and Perth Freemantle. Oh man those were the days.


Jarheads in Bars in the 80's ?

Say it isnt so..

I know dis place in Tromso,..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Copy then paste 28.7n88.4w, TAM, MOB, PBI, SAL, 16.5N83.5W, 16.6N83.7W, 16.7N84.4W, 16.5N84.5W, 16.9N84.9W, 17.0N85.3W-17.3N86.1W into the GreatCircleMapper.
The red line shows the heading based on the last two positions.
Scrolling below the map shows TSAlex was heading 291.4degreesWSW
and moved a distance of ~57miles* (~91.7kilometres) over three 3hours;
ie TropicalStormAlex's center traveled at a rate of ~19mph (30.6kph).

* A bit less if calculated for a perfectly spherical Earth -- 56.33miles -- but the Earth is actually an oblate spheroid (a "squashed ball"). And the site uses the official navigational template before rounding.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Right now, at the moment, that's the way I'm reading the forecast steering layers maps. Gotta see if there is any change when the new run posts tonight.
Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
441. jpsb
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Interestingly, both GFDL and HWRF show an "offshoot" system of Alex developing and moving out of the Gulf. However, the GFDL for Darby shows Alex hitting Louisiana, and the HWRF for Darby shows Alex stalling in the Gulf.


Does not appears as thou the models have a good handle on Alex yet. Understandable since Alex is kindof dis-com-bol-ulated still.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TexasHurricane:
Homeless - you have wumail.


Thanks Tex. I WU-ed back. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
439. hercj
Quoting Patrap:


I bet,..LOL


I was that Crazy Baker from Nawlins..

I had a BN back in the day from Nawlins who came out of LSU and since I came out of Texas A&M he and I made a hell of pair in the bars in Subic Bay and Perth Freemantle. Oh man those were the days.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Hey Storm, Is the building high going to be stronger than the troughs influence and is this why the models are in agreement now on the track of Alex?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting szqrn1:
:( no answer guys?


Hang tight and watch the NHC Plots and Updates.

Mon the solution will be a lot better known
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Landcane:
WOW! I would watch that one closely, real closely.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21150
StormW - Just a commendation from a long time lurker. If it wasn't for yours, drak's, patrap's, posts this place would be a nuthouse:) Your guidance is unmatched here, well maybe the good Dr. could give you a run for your money, but your's is consistantly spot on. If it wern't for you and your patience we would be left up to the "OMG I think it's gunna hit my house" crowd. So good show sir! And thanks!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
:( no answer guys?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
WU crashed the recon site:


Our site is experiencing high server load. Please try to reduce the frequency
of using our Google Earth product. Don't refresh constantly. Thanks.
When this site is slow, please try Hurricane Hunter Recon
My host says that our site should start to work better shortly
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
All day Friday everyone thought this was a Gulf storm...you guys need to pay attention to the mean steering current and the strength of the ridge to the north. ECMWF nailed it.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
428. unf97
Quoting IKE:
GFS does show another low next Wednesday along the northern GOM. May just be convective feedback..maybe not though....




And I took note of GFS showing a 1012 mb Low out in the Tropical Atlantic. Something maybe to watch next week if that materializes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hercj:

I always knew there was something I liked about you. LOL. Semper Fi. My current ride is a lot more comfortable though Pat. G-550


I bet,..LOL


I was that Crazy Baker from Nawlins..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:




storm - Is there a possibility of a trough picking Alex up and bringing it more northward or are you going with the Mexico landfall?

Saw something earlier showing a possible cat.2 hitting the middle TX coast. Just wondering what your thoughts were on that.

Thanks in advance.
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Interestingly, both GFDL and HWRF show an "offshoot" system of Alex developing and moving out of the Gulf. However, the GFDL for Darby shows Alex hitting Louisiana, and the HWRF for Darby shows Alex stalling in the Gulf.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Recon approaching Alex.. going through the straights.. already getting this.
27.3 knots (~ 31.4 mph)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
421. JRRP
Quoting extreme236:


Still showing that African wave developing I see.

yeah

this is from 06z
see you later
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey, who was it that predicted the first named storm on June 25th?
Member Since: June 3, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 321
418. hercj
Quoting Patrap:


Semper Fi.

Air Wing..80-86

San Diego 3rd Btl.

Plt 3070

I always knew there was something I liked about you. LOL. Semper Fi. My current ride is a lot more comfortable though Pat. G-550
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
it's gonna be a long season....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


Landcane:


WOW!!! GFS develops part of this wave. Could this be the same system that I saw emerging southwest of Nigeria a few days ago (that I thought looked like a TS)? Anyone have a loop?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Homeless - you have wumail.
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


As I stated earlier, Alex is a WPAC type system due to how it developed and its shear size

at times, the bands of one storm can form another in the WPAC; sounds crazy but Alex is a crazy storm lol


We'll have plenty of crazy storms this season, as I stated back during the winter. We need to watch especially for storms riding up the Gulf Stream.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hercj:

It got me home. I'm a Marine however. It was a fine old bomb dropper.


Semper Fi.

Air Wing..80-86

San Diego 3rd Btl.

Plt 3070

MCAS Beaufort..VMFA 312

Mag-13 El Toro,..,Cherry Point MCAS 3rd LAAMB
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting extreme236:


Still showing that African wave developing I see.


Landcane:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


From what I can tell, the "white" area of the CDO is TEN times the area of Belize.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
407. hercj
Quoting Patrap:


A6 a tough Bird for the Naval Aviator..workhorse.

It got me home. I'm a Marine however. It was a fine old bomb dropper.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
oh made Alex and wunder land mad last night
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
probably y'all have discussed this but I am gonna ask and really hope for a quick easy answer as I just finished a 12 hour shift (nurse) in the craziest ER in Las Vegas.....and gotta go to sleep soon so i can do the same thing another 4 nights...(dealing with drunken fools)....

will this storm have an affect on the oil spill movement and what might that be?

(yes I am in the dessert but kids and grandchild in Gulfport, Ms . and I am flying there on 7-1)

... thanks for info
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


CMC also shows this offshoot emerging in the Gulf Stream. NOGAPS shows a storm trailing Alex developing from its feeding bands. So what we have could be a mixed blessing: if Alex hits Mexico there's a chance it will be reincarnated.


As I stated earlier, Alex is a WPAC type system due to how it developed and its shear size

at times, the bands of one storm can form another in the WPAC; sounds crazy but Alex is a crazy storm lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
nevere mine what i have said
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hercj:

Oh boy you bring back the days. Flat belly had hair and flying A6 Intruders off the deck of 6 different Carriers. Oh those were the days. lol


A6 a tough Bird for the Naval Aviator..workhorse.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
GFS does show another low next Wednesday along the northern GOM. May just be convective feedback..maybe not though....



Still showing that African wave developing I see.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RickWPB:
San Pedro Town Ambergris Caye, Belize weather info:

Link

We just got back from San Pedro last week.. Keep safe!! I know how nasty even small storms can be for you there!
~If you see the Guatemalan women (Zoila with the glasses)that sell their fabrics on the beach Please say Hola from Cati in Cozumel..I hope they will be well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 449 - 399

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

Mostly Cloudy
77 °F
Mostly Cloudy