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: 399 - 349

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 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:
Quoting IKE:


Could be.


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


I think it shows Alex decoupling into two parts: one sinking southwest and the other hitting the Florida Panhandle before riding up the Gulf Stream into Nova Scotia, possibly extratropical.


Yeah, I'm just a huge noob, but it sure looked like Alex split in two to me. I'm glad someone else saw it, because I was thinking "Man, I just don't get this stuff!"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
395. hercj
Quoting Patrap:


Curious as to no G-4 tasking as of yet.

That Return MAC flight coincidentally was Sept 6th 1983.,Like 3 Days after the Russian's Blew the KAL 747 out the Sky in the Pacific.

When we went wheels up from Kadena and turned east N east over the Pacific..a F-16 from Kadena came up on each wing and cloaked us for 20-30 Minutes then peeled off.

Was a good feeling knowing the Boyz werent playing.

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
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanislander:


My recommendation is to upgrade yourself to First Class. After being pampered with a multi course meal on fine china you can choose a good movie from dozens on tap from your own personal library and when that is done a beautiful flight attendant will fold down your flat sleeper bed, make it up with fine linen and you will sleep like a lamb until breakfast.

For breakfast expect another sumptous meal after which you will barely have time to brush your teeth before landing.

Once off the plane you won't be able to wait to get back on another flight.
If you're gonna travel...travel in style.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Funkadelic:
Looks like we are going to have a low coming off Africa and moving west due to the high. May have to watch this next week, any thoughts?


agreed, the wave looks very impressive over land and does have some model support
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
sammywammybamy, if yhu can, try to sleep. It will help the time pass. I would also recommend just getting up and walking around every couple of hours if you are unable to sleep. You'll find that you become a little cramped sitting in one spot for so long. As far as safety goes, I feel safter on those flights than I do driving to work every morning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
you guys no me i been on this blog from day 1 i started blogng here in 2005
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TexasHurricane:


As far south as this is going I don't think that would happen. This showing a possible cat. 2 around the middle of the TX cost...


Hey Tex. Where's those models from?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
My old boss who had to fly to Europe and Asia all the time finally hit upon a way to prevent jet lag from affecting him when meeting with people overseas. He planned his flights to get to his destination a half day early, kept himself awake (yes, stay away from alcohol, drink water!) and then slept the jet lag off at the hotel. By planning his arrival time just so, when he woke up his body was adjusted to "local time" and he was much more effective negotiating deals.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TexasHurricane:
Is there still a trough coming that could still possibly lift this thing northward or is that out now?



That is what I want to know but cant seem to get info. But I truly think we will have a better guide once it is in the gulf .
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sammywammybamy:



Does Bynedril work?


My recommendation is to upgrade yourself to First Class. After being pampered with a multi course meal on fine china you can choose a good movie from dozens on tap from your own personal library and when that is done a beautiful flight attendant will fold down your flat sleeper bed, make it up with fine linen and you will sleep like a lamb until breakfast.

For breakfast expect another sumptous meal after which you will barely have time to brush your teeth before landing.

Once off the plane you won't be able to wait to get back on another flight.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Going to Mexico - blessing in disguise. Don't wish this upon anyone but I think this storm is going to be a massive rainmaker and alot of flooding. Time to just sit back and watch....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
382. IKE
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


I think it shows Alex decoupling into two parts: one sinking southwest and the other hitting the Florida Panhandle before riding up the Gulf Stream into Nova Scotia, possibly extratropical.


Could be.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
OH WELL NEXT

???????????
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting turtlehurricane:
Here's my morning forecast: http://hurricanewarning1.com/

Recon data should be interesting, they're entering the Caribbean now.




AOI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Quoting IKE:
GFS does show another low next Wednesday along the northern GOM. May just be convective feedback..maybe not though....



I think it shows Alex decoupling into two parts: one sinking southwest and the other hitting the Florida Panhandle before riding up the Gulf Stream into Nova Scotia, possibly extratropical.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:



noted some time i this cant help it


LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
www.hurricanecity.com/closeup
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Why Did Wunderground even give him the Power to Ban People. When he should be Banned.
He has no more Power than anyone else in here
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sammywammybamy:



Does Bynedril work?


Sammy how old are you?

And for sleeping - 2 dramamine usually work better - my son doesn't like to fly - so I tease him about his dramamine induced coma
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Is there still a trough coming that could still possibly lift this thing northward or is that out now?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
373. IKE
At 108 hours...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


you need to quit with these kinds of statements


If I had just started blogging and didn't know who Taz was, he would be on my ignore list.

Sarcasm just doesn't really come through well on the interwebz. At least I hope it's sarcasm.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Torgen:
I saw this morning where Alex was sucking energy out of Darby, and causing Darby to move NE. Could Alex actually EAT Darby, and would that strengthen or weaken Alex?


CMC 00z depicts this scenario, and sends Alex into northern Mexico. If Darby made it intact into the Atlantic as a tropical depression would it be called TD Darby or TD Two?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


you need to quit with these kinds of statements



noted some time i this cant help it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's my morning forecast: http://hurricanewarning1.com/

Recon data should be interesting, they're entering the Caribbean now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Hurricanes101:


you need to quit with these kinds of statements


Give him two hours and he'll be calling it another Andrew again. ;) Just pay him no nevermind, he's having his fun.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
366. IKE
GFS does show another low next Wednesday along the northern GOM. May just be convective feedback..maybe not though....

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hercj:

That Oki to Anch is a hell of a haul Pat. I have flown that to damn many times. Speaking of flying I dont understand why the GIV hasnt been but up to help these models. I in once again my admitted ignorance of tropical forecasting still think the GIV is the best tool in the shed especially with something like this fickle thing.


Curious as to no G-4 tasking as of yet.

That Return MAC flight coincidentally was Sept 6th 1983.,Like 3 Days after the Russian's Blew the KAL 747 out the Sky in the Pacific.

When we went wheels up from Kadena and turned east N east over the Pacific..a F-16 from Kadena came up on each wing and cloaked us for 20-30 Minutes then peeled off.

Was a good feeling knowing the Boyz werent playing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sammywammybamy:
Anyone have Tips for Someone whos Scared of Flighting Internationaly Over the Atlantic for 9 Hours at night?

Take a 2 sleeping tablets just before you board. don't drink alcohol, drink water.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TexasHurricane:


As far south as this is going I don't think that would happen. This showing a possible cat. 2 around the middle of the TX cost...


Those two models showing that scenario look like Ike.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
OH WELL NEXT


you need to quit with these kinds of statements
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
I saw this morning where Alex was sucking energy out of Darby, and causing Darby to move NE. Could Alex actually EAT Darby, and would that strengthen or weaken Alex?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I favor CMC/LGEM through the first 48 hours, but after that it seems off, suddenly lifts Alex up to Texas, where it landfalls as a Category One cane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


As far south as this is going I don't think that would happen. This showing a possible cat. 2 around the middle of the TX cost...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
OH WELL NEXT
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
355. IKE
12Z GFS through 78 hours....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txag91met:
West is best...sorry Drakeon...ECMWF nailed this.


ECMWF did a very good job so far on this. Short term movement on Thurs-Fri WSW made this more a Mexico system...but nothing is written in stone yet. First landfall..then exit point. 3rd strength of system, of trough, model output, other data. By 00Z Monday runs we will have a good idea.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
353. hercj
Quoting Patrap:
I've crossed the Atlantic by US Navy Vessel and the Pacific by a MAC 747 Built in 71, Sept 82.
Okinawa to Anchorage.

Its much safer flying than Driving and almost as safe as Blogging.


That Oki to Anch is a hell of a haul Pat. I have flown that to damn many times. Speaking of flying I dont understand why the GIV hasnt been but up to help these models. I in once again my admitted ignorance of tropical forecasting still think the GIV is the best tool in the shed especially with something like this fickle thing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I haven't seen convection this strong in a tropical storm in a long time.



I don't like the looks of this...more flooding for Guatemala.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
West is best...sorry Drakeon...ECMWF nailed this.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
350. IKE
341...that sounds about right on Alex.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 399 - 349

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
26 °F
Overcast

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

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