Tropical Storm Alex's Yucatan Landfall

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:52 AM GMT on June 27, 2010

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Update: Here's the 500AM EDT radar image from Belize. Alex's eye is roughly 150 km NW of the radar.


This Animated loop shows the development of Alex's eye. The page for Belize's radar is here.

The 500AM EDT forecast is a bit different than the previous forecast. Essentially, it looks like the area of high pressure in the northern Gulf of Mexico will weaken due to a trough over the eastern US. This will weaken the steering currents and slow's Alex's motion over the Gulf of Mexico. The reduced storm motion will give Alex more time to intensify in a a warm SST/weak shear environment. The current forecast calls for Alex to become a category 2 storm before making landfall north of Tampico, MX late Wed. night/early Thursday morning.

The $64,000 question is "Will the ridge continue to weaken, allowing Alex to move north and continue intensification?" The 12Z global model runs will have more accurate forecasts than the the 6Z runs thanks to the presence of radiosonde data, so hopefully they'll provide an answer. It's still my opinion that Alex will not directly impact the oil spill recovery efforts, but I can't say that the chances of it doing so are getting smaller now.

This is Dr. Rob Carver, filling in for Jeff during the late shift. Tropical Storm Alex is currently moving over the Yucatan peninsula. Alex's intensity has dropped to 50 knots in the latest advisory with further weakening expected as the storm moves over land. After Alex moves into the Gulf of Mexico, intensification is expected because of warm sea-surface temperatures and weak vertical wind shear. An area of high pressure in the northern Gulf of Mexico will guide Alex into a WNW-NW track. The 200AM EDT forecast calls for Alex to intensify into a category 1 hurricane before making landfall just north of Tampico, MX.

In my judgement, the chances of Alex moving northwards and directly interfering with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill recovery efforts are small and getting smaller with time. I agree with Jeff's assessment that Alex will generate 2+ foot swells that would interfere with skimming operations

Currently, the main threat from Alex is flooding due to heavy rains. NHC is forecasting rainfall amounts from 4 to 8 inches with higher amounts over mountainous terrain, causing flooding and possibly mudslides.


Fig. 1Forecast of 24-hour accumulated precipitation from TS Alex.

Alex's Belizean Landfall
Jeff saved this radar image of Alex making landfall.

Fig. 2Base reflectivity at 2315Z 26 June 2010 at Philip Goldson Airport

There isn't much storm structure apparent in the reflectivity data, just widespread areas of showers. Data from a nearby PWS shows that the peak windspeed was 43 mph. You can clearly see the circulation move past the station with changes in the wind direction and speed. You can also see when the rainbands passed over the station.

Invest 94L
Invest 94L is still out there, but it's not looking healthy. It's currently in an area unfavorable for tropical cyclogenesis and NHC thinks it has a 0% chance of becoming a tropical storm in the next two days. Current forecast models have 94L moving northwards and making a pass by Bermuda.

If things don't change significantly, Jeff is thinking about taking Sunday off. However, rest assured that if Alex starts charging towards the US, Jeff or I will put up a new entry. In any event, I'm planning on posting an update sometime late Sunday evening.

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Upper-level conditions on the GFS start to become a little less than perfect at landfall, but still very good ventilation over the western gulf for this thing to ramp up.

12z GFS 200mb 120 hours:

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26616
Quoting GetReal:
Please remember that if Alex does manage to come on shore anywhere north of Brownsville as a hurricane, with the current large circulation, this is still very bad news for the states dealing with the oil in the GOM.

The will be strong and consistent 25 to 40 mph wind offshore, from the south and southeast pushing that GUNK towards onto the beaches and into marshes...


EXCELLENT point, GR. Thanks.
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749. 7544
look at the bands of alex is feeding the blob to the south of him hmmm
Link

lot of conv there too
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Quoting taco2me61:
Hey Levi really what else bothers me from that pic you posted is the energy that Alex left behind in the western carribean.... Could that energy produce another Low and bring it up towards the Gulf or just be a cut off Low or Tropical Wave????

Taco :o)


Mornin Taco!
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okay...question. i live between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La. with a storm this size, if it happened to end up in Houston/Galveston, would it still affect us this far away? i guess the question is....how far away can this storm hit and still affect BR, La.? also, what is that big blob of convection south of Belize?
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Quoting RecordSeason:
732:

Watch and learn friend.

Size matters.

NOLA IS going to get some very bad weather out of this if it continues with any northerly component whatsoever.

No way does Alex successfully spin up to a hurricane and maintain all of it's areal size. This isn't a CV storm with 15 days to build angular momentum...coalescence is the only way it becomes a cat 2. Otherwise, it will be a weaker huge system, like now.

Not getting both out of Alex in only a few days, IMHO.
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Quoting Levi32:


I'm currently sticking with my forecast from yesterday morning calling for a landfall in northern Mexico near 25N.


I think MX is a safe bet too.
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Still dont by the GFS track wise...

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Please remember that if Alex does manage to come on shore anywhere north of Brownsville as a hurricane, with the current large circulation, this is still very bad news for the states dealing with the oil in the GOM.

The will be strong and consistent 25 to 40 mph wind offshore, from the south and southeast pushing that GUNK towards onto the beaches and into marshes...
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8858
I am just amazed that on June 27th we are talking about a pretty strong and large storm possibly impacting the US

definitely a sign of things to come
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7592
Quoting atmoaggie:
Yep, some westward jogs, but, back to the N gom TX coast for GFS.

A *little* further west than before, but about the same dynamics in play.



That would be rough for HGX interests.


Yup...this is the strongest the GFS has portrayed the storm thus far, as well, with a closed 996mb isobar.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26616
Quoting BahaHurican:
I don't see the reasoning behind the proposed NOLA landfall myself. I could see something SW of Corpus as relatively logical.
I doubt the trough will be strong enough to take Alex to NOLA, but rather like you said, central Texas.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21178
Quoting sammywammybamy:



Its Not Even Going to Go Near NOLA.

Your a Wishcaster Troll and Therefore you are my First Adition this Year to the "SWB SUPER IGNORED LOST". Congrats

Is not only what one says, but how it is said.

A collection of our roommates could learn that...
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I don't see the reasoning behind the proposed NOLA landfall myself. I could see something SW of Corpus as relatively logical.
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Quoting taco2me61:
Hey Levi really what else bothers me from that pic you posted is the energy that Alex left behind in the western carribean.... Could that energy produce another Low and bring it up towards the Gulf or just be a cut off Low or Tropical Wave????

Taco :o)


It looks like an area of divergence from Alex's outflow TUTT over the central Caribbean, with thunderstorms being enhanced by the monsoon trough lying in the area. I don't really see a threat for development.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26616
Yep, some westward jogs, but, back to the N gom TX coast for GFS.

A *little* further west than before, but about the same dynamics in play.



That would be rough for HGX interests.
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Quoting Levi32:
The 12z GFS also shows a stronger storm than either the 00z or the 06z.
Finally a model with common sense. When you think about it, Alex could become a hurricane with 36 hours if when it emerges its COC is well-defined, which it seems like it is.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21178
Quoting atmoaggie:

And at 96 takes a step to S TX.


What a fickle creature....06z had it in the exact same spot at that valid time, though. Interested to see if there is any left shift on this run.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26616
GFS at 126 hours brings it North

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/12/images/gfs_ten_126m.gif

-Snowlover123


Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Models are still split on the track of Alex. Who knows, maybe the outer circulation will be torn up by shear, to have portions drift northeast over the Gulf Stream, to develop into STS Bonnie. In this scenario, the main LLC of Alex drifts into the BOC, into a strong upper-level anticyclone, and remains at a small size like Marco did after crossing the Yucatan and emerging from 96L. When that happens, the storm could strengthen into a category three, albeit a very compact one, and make landfall on the Mexico-Texas border. Although this is only a partially serious scenario, it's an interesting one to consider.

The GFS ensemble models predicted a sharp turn to the NW and N, making landfall near Galveston. This would cause Alex to affect Southern Ontario.



The shear tendency map is very interesting. It shows 94L surrounded by a "doughnut" of shear. This means that part of the center is in low and declining shear, while the shear surrounding that is very high and for the most part increasing.

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Quoting Jeff9641:


I wouldn't rule it out.

Of course not...(getting there, though).
But you sounded pretty sure, which I find moreso. (for the lack of nice words to use there)
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The 12z GFS also shows a stronger storm than either the 00z or the 06z.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26616
Quoting Levi32:


LOL....Darby isn't even big enough to do the Fujiwara. Look at that....so funny.

Hey Levi really what else bothers me from that pic you posted is the energy that Alex left behind in the western carribean.... Could that energy produce another Low and bring it up towards the Gulf or just be a cut off Low or Tropical Wave????

Taco :o)
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Quoting atmoaggie:

72 to 84 hours, nearly stationary with jogs to the west and NW....

GFS peels away from the northern solution, we'll have to pretty much discount it until it stabilizes on a solution for a few cycles consecutively, and go with the ones with a stable answer.


Lol, even later than that at 90 hours, GFS continues Alex to the North.
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Quoting Levi32:
NNW motion resumes on the GFS between 72 and 90 hours.


And at 96 takes a step to S TX.
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This storm has many interesting possibilities but if it doesn't change direction pretty soon it may be over with by tomorrow morning.
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Quoting Levi32:
NNW motion resumes on the GFS between 72 and 90 hours.



Is that Darby trying to cross intot he Carribean?
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Quoting USSINS:



Levi, see what you think of this in your loop, too - look at the outflow seem to pile up along the northern Mexico coastline. Indicative of the approaching front, possible change in steering?


That's from a TUTT-ish trough over the northern GOM that is impinging upon the northern edge of Alex's upper high. This will be lifting out over the next couple days allowing the upper anticyclone to expand northward again, and since it is a TUTT-ish feature it does not represent a steering influence on the system.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26616
Quoting Jeff9641:
NOLA is gonna take a beating from Alex I believe as they will be in the right quadrant.

Gee, are you sure?
I think that notion is loco and the conviction expressed, moreso.
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Quoting Levi32:


LOL....Darby isn't even big enough to do the Fujiwara. Look at that....so funny.

Looks like Alex has already sucked all the "juice" out of Darby and is getting ready to discard the skin and seed.... lol
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NNW motion resumes on the GFS between 72 and 90 hours.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26616
COC should be emerged by 2 pm.
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Quoting Levi32:


I see what you mean....guess we'll see.

72 to 84 hours, nearly stationary with jogs to the west and NW....

GFS peels away from the northern solution, we'll have to pretty much discount it until it stabilizes on a solution for a few cycles consecutively, and go with the ones with a stable answer.
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GfS still bringing it to the North.

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/carib/gfs/12/images/gfs_ten_090m.gif

Still moving in a northerly direction here.
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
GFS is not as good as the ECMWF in the tropics south of 20N.Once you get to about 20-25N the GFS usually does alittle better than the ECMWF but really they both do well. There are always differences in the 2 main models that we use. Just like any model. Right now the ECMWF has the best idea.. but by the 0Z runs tonight or tomorrows 12Z we will know @ some certainty what Alex might do and also the tropical-nontropical low formation in the NE GOM or SE U.S. for later this week if it will occur.
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1673
Quoting BahaHurican:
Is Darby too far away for a Fujiwara effect?


LOL....Darby isn't even big enough to do the Fujiwara. Look at that....so funny.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26616
707. Ighuc
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Quoting Patrap:
Dat lil Coc is losing its Mojo..

and keep a wary eye to the Larger Envelope and how it ejects later this afternoon off the xtreme Nw Yuc.


Was curious about that myself... Could be redefined in that area IF everything falls into place
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Quoting Jeff9641:
NOLA is gonna take a beating from Alex I believe as they will be in the right quadrant.


It's heading for Tampa! Tampa, I tell you! ;)
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Quoting Levi32:
Yup rapid-scan visible loop is revealing now that I was right about Alex's center. That little pin-prick that has looked like the center is now diving SW, and the actual, broader center of circulation is becoming more evident and is moving WNW on schedule. Often over land you will see this where the very defined center from landfall starts to rotate around inside of a broader center, much like an inner eye sometimes rotates around an outer eye during an eyewall replacement cycle.



Levi, see what you think of this in your loop, too - look at the outflow seem to pile up along the northern Mexico coastline. Indicative of the approaching front, possible change in steering?
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Update on Alex
Link
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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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