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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Note the strength of this outer band from the NOLA Long Range.

Do the Math and see how far away it is from the CoC.

Thats a Big ol circulation gang.

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One things for sure, SSTs shouldn't be much of a problem.

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Quoting atmoaggie:

Thanks, nrt. By that, HWRF and NAM are the 2 best scorers in track error so far (if I am reading/comprehending right).


I guess if you are trying to "eyeball" all timeframes. I use the "Average Error (nm)" table.
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Quoting Levi32:


Possibly....the intensity guidance this morning is likely far too low. It won't take Alex 84 hours to reach hurricane status, in my opinion.



I agree 100%. After is re-emerges there is basically nothing stopping it from rapidly intensifying.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
I think this site operates better on safari than firefox besides the link, image, etc icons from appearing.


I like Safari as well, and that's kind of my point. Most web developers it seems only test on the the #1 and #2 browswers by market share, Explorer and Firefox. Opera use to and probably still has an an auto-refresh feature which is nice if one's not posting on this blog and tired of pressing F5.

Being in the web development business, we test on the top six browswers by market share for almost everything we do. There are positives and negatives of all the major browsers.

On the storm topic, is there any news regarding flooding and other damage in the Yucatan and surrounding areas? Flooding from rain is almost always the biggest killer in less developed areas which is often missed in mass media reporting.
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Quoting jpsb:
You thinking the CoC is going to make a big jump north? That sure would shake things up.


I try to observe and report my obs,,..thinking only gets in the way usually.

LOL
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Quoting GetReal:



Good observation Patrap... That action will sometimes cause a sudden lurch north as the old COC comes offshore, in the friction disappears.


Seen that too many times in my lil life..and never focus entirely on such a small coc with all the energy away from it.
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Quoting Levi32:


The ensembles are well known....the GFS and CMC ensemble means are generally more reliable than just their respective operational runs, and to see them agreeing so well with each other speaks to that possibility being there, but such a large disagreement with some reliable models like the ECMWF is striking. It's a big model war right now. Whichever set of models wins this fight will have bragging rights for quite a while.


Oh ok, so the page with GFS ensembles is just GFS runs in every way possible and they combine it all to make the GFS model on the "reliable" model page..
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Quoting Patrap:
Note the Change in Appearance as the Land friction holds the older Coc back a tad as the Larger envelope is swinging into the GOM proper.

Quoting GetReal:



Good observation Patrap... That action will sometimes cause a sudden lurch north as the old COC comes offshore, in the friction disappears.


Yeah we'll have to watch for that. The nearly due west short-term motion cannot be maintained for long with the steering currents the way they are ahead of it.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
543. jpsb
Quoting Patrap:
Note the Change in Appearance as the Land friction holds the older Coc back a tad as the Larger envelope is swinging into the GOM proper.

You thinking the CoC is going to make a big jump north? That sure would shake things up.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Like i said i think the biggest differene is intensity...The GFS and CMC both had a major Hurricane thus the big poleward movement...The other models are not as aggressive


Possibly....the intensity guidance this morning is likely far too low. It won't take Alex 84 hours to reach hurricane status, in my opinion.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Quoting Patrap:
Note the Change in Appearance as the Land friction holds the older Coc back a tad as the Larger envelope is swinging into the GOM proper.




Good observation Patrap... That action will sometimes cause a sudden lurch north as the old COC comes offshore, in the friction disappears.
Member Since: July 4, 2005 Posts: 204 Comments: 8898
Quoting Patrap:
This is a Bad scenario.

Bad Mojo iz afoot and things r changing aloft


What would the northern velocities cause PA, a reformation of the center farther north over the water correct?
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Quoting btwntx08:

ok but for us overhere we call it that lol


Lol
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This is a Bad scenario.

Bad Mojo iz afoot and things r changing aloft
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Note the Change in Appearance as the Land friction holds the older Coc back a tad as the Larger envelope is swinging into the GOM proper.

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Quoting Levi32:


The ensembles are well known....the GFS and CMC ensemble means are generally more reliable than just their respective operational runs, and to see them agreeing so well with each other speaks to that possibility being there, but such a large disagreement with some reliable models like the ECMWF is striking. It's a big model war right now. Whichever set of models wins this fight will have bragging rights for quite a while.


Like i said i think the biggest differene is intensity...The GFS and CMC both had a major Hurricane thus the big poleward movement...The other models are not as aggressive
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 22 Comments: 1352
The more the Yucatan damages the wasting CoC ..the better chance the Northern Velocities over water have to make a newer CoC far to the Land Based one which is winding down.

Lotsa energy and curvature already way ahead of that older CoC.
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Quoting neonlazer:
Yall are mentioning the ensemble models being different than the well known models. What is the difference between the two?(ensemble vs well known ones..as they disagree)


The ensembles are well known....the GFS and CMC ensemble means are generally more reliable than just their respective operational runs, and to see them agreeing so well with each other speaks to that possibility being there, but such a large disagreement with some reliable models like the ECMWF is striking. It's a big model war right now. Whichever set of models wins this fight will have bragging rights for quite a while.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
At first I thought northwards, then I thought southwards. In reality, it was a slight northwards shift.
Cones will change overtime do to orientation. It would be most noticed on closest lanfall, why it shows move N on S side.
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Quoting Patrap:


One never looks to specific model for a solution.

That can never happen as the NHC takes the mean of the 2 ensembles and other to create the Track.

They have been splitting the mean between the Statistical and Dynamic the last 3 runs seems.

When one sees the 2 groups tightly clustered..the confidence is HIGH, When we see a spread like we do now..confidence is LOW past 24.

So stay up on the runs and timeline and one will always be ahead of the game.

Thanks :o)
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
When accessing the performance of a model with Alex, do people actually look at data? One site that tracks model performance, methaz.org has GFS based/GFS models in the lead for track accuracy at 96 hours.

Thanks, nrt. By that, HWRF and NAM are the 2 best scorers in track error so far (if I am reading/comprehending right).
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI




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Part of the reason the models are diverging is due to the intensity forecast, the canadian and gfs are more aggressive with Alex, a stronger storm in the GOM will be more affected by the depth of the trough than a weaker storm. If Alex rapidly intensifies we might have some serious trouble on our hands. Right now the storm is tracking farther south than predicted and will emerge farther west in the BOC. Thats the good news.
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Yall are mentioning the ensemble models being different than the well known models. What is the difference between the two?(ensemble vs well known ones..as they disagree)
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More north... Cat3
More south... Cat2
Ger 2, Eng 1
Ger 2, Eng 2
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Quoting Weather456:


Slightly north of the OFCI...but should along Mexico.

Thanks. As long as it stays far from the Central GOM, the oil spill situation shouldn't get too crazy!!
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Quoting btwntx08:
nam 12z at 78 hr landfall extreme northern mx


Thats not really "extreme", its just Northern Mexico.
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Quoting Bordonaro:
Patrao, I see the computer models in post 458. My question is which ones are correct?

Weather 456, Levi 32 or StormW, do you see Alex making landfall in Mexico or further north??


Until I see a major change or trend in the models or Alex's movement, I will stick with my forecast from yesterday morning calling for a landfall in Mexico near 25N, which is currently to the north of the NHC and model consensus.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


it isnt??, dangit wrong again... sorry
Lol, no problem.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Levi32:


Central pressures of landfalling storms as they weaken are generally much lower relative to the winds than when they are over water, the reason being that once a storm is over land, friction greatly reduces the maximum winds at the surface. Also, a weakening storm tends to relax the pressure field around the storm, causing it to broaden and typically have lower winds than the central pressure would typically indicate.


ok, thanks levi
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


It looks like a verrryy slight northward shift to me. Look at the 20 N line. the cone of error envelopes it in the previous track, but part of it stays barely north of it in the newer track. But I'm getting too technical lol. It landfalls in the exact same place in both tracks.
At first I thought northwards, then I thought southwards. In reality, it was a slight northwards shift.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Bordonaro:
Patrao, I see the computer models in post 458. My question is which ones are correct?

Weather 456, Levi 32 or StormW, do you see Alex making landfall in Mexico or further north??


One never looks to specific model for a solution.

That can never happen as the NHC takes the mean of the 2 ensembles and other to create the Track.

They have been splitting the mean between the Statistical and Dynamic the last 3 runs seems.

When one sees the 2 groups tightly clustered..the confidence is HIGH, When we see a spread like we do now..confidence is LOW past 24.

So stay up on the runs and timeline and one will always be ahead of the game.
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Quoting Patrap:
Plenty of Alex in the GOM proper already with Seas increasing Mid Gulf..

Yeah, Those outer rain bands will kick up the GOM.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The 11AM advisory isn't an intermediate advisory.


it isnt??, dangit wrong again... sorry
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


they dont change the tracks at intermediate advisories, your eyes are playing tricks lol


It wasn't an intermediate advisory. If you read the discussion it says the beginning of the track was shifted west and the end of the track was shifted slightly northward, which it was.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Levi, isn't 1000mb low for a tropical depression? another sign that it could strengthen quickly?


Central pressures of landfalling storms as they weaken are generally much lower relative to the winds than when they are over water, the reason being that once a storm is over land, friction greatly reduces the maximum winds at the surface. Also, a weakening storm tends to relax the pressure field around the storm, causing it to broaden and typically have lower winds than the central pressure would typically indicate.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Quoting Bordonaro:
Patrao, I see the computer models in post 458. My question is which ones are correct?

Weather 456, Levi 32 or StormW, do you see Alex making landfall in Mexico or further north??


Slightly north of the OFCI...but should be along Mexico.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Actually looks like a slight southwards shift.


It looks like a verrryy slight northward shift to me. Look at the 20 N line. the cone of error envelopes it in the previous track, but part of it stays barely north of it in the newer track. But I'm getting too technical lol. It landfalls in the exact same place in both tracks.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


they dont change the tracks at intermediate advisories, your eyes are playing tricks lol
The 11AM advisory isn't an intermediate advisory.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
.
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What I find amazing with the model disagreements is that not a single GFS ensemble member takes this west into Mexico, and all but 1 or 2 of the Canadian ensemble members takes it north of Mexico as well. Having two big ensemble means which carry a lot of weight being this consistent with a track that contradicts the rest of the big hitters is really quite extraordinary.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
At 48 hours (48HR VT 29/1200Z 21.8N 94.2W 65 KT), this buoy (12-meter discus buoy
ARES payload 22.017 N 94.046 W (221'2" N 942'45" W) should be in the thick of things.

The one to its southeast is not presently supplying data.

Link
l8r
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Quoting Patrap:


LOL....



Id read the NHC Pkg..that seems to always help
It does, lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Actually looks like a slight southwards shift.


LOL....



Id read the NHC Pkg..that seems to always help
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Quoting RecordSeason:
It's on life support now though.

It has lost most of it's TS characteristics now.

It still has some angular momentum and a very large, powerful anticyclone, so it can probably restrengthen at a decent pace.

Anyone north and east of the eventual next landfall should prepare for about 48 hours worth of TS and hurricane force conditions, possibly more. It will take DAYS for it to wind down once it gets to peak intensity.
Life support? Alex is rather impressive for being inland for such a long time.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Patrao, I see the computer models in post 458. My question is which ones are correct?

Weather 456, Levi 32 or StormW, do you see Alex making landfall in Mexico or further north??
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Levi, isn't 1000mb low for a tropical depression? another sign that it could strengthen quickly?
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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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