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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Levi, isn't 1000mb low for a tropical depression? another sign that it could strengthen quickly?
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
Previous track:



New track:

Actually looks like a slight southwards shift.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
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.
Member Since: June 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2336
Plenty of Alex in the GOM proper already with Seas increasing Mid Gulf..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Quoting Patrap:
A double.

LOL


Is there an echo in here?
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Alex will likely be in the GOMEX within 3 hours if current WNW motion at 12 mph persists.
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495. jpsb
Quoting 10Speed:


Your flash player should be version 10.1 or better. Anything earlier has a security exploit risk. Make sure you have java JRE and the firefox jre plugin installed.installed. Make sure in your firefox preferences you have "Enable Java Script" checked in your Content section.

Type and enter about:config in your browser address bar. The page that comes up should show that you have a flashplayer and java plugin installed and what versions.

If you are running Windows 2000 or less, expect some incurable flash/jre issues at some sites, regardless.
Thx pasted that into my to do list.
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Previous track:



New track:

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A double.

LOL
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Alex extreme outer bands noted on NOLA Long Range Radar.

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Small shift northwards on the 11 AM EDT cone of error.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Just scroll down to see the Model runs
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Quoting txsweetpea:



Levi can you give me the links to the latest models?


FSU models

SFWMD models

Colstate models
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Hi guys been lurking for the last few days..used to blog regularly 3 years ago and before. I couldn't help but be reminded of last years "land hurricane" when I saw post 402. It was estimated to be at a category 2 hurricane strength when it hit Southern Illinois. I went to my dad's after it hit and there were literally thousands of trees down in a wide spread area. It is now a topic of academic study.
Link
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Good morning everyone! I am VERY impressed that TD Alex has maintained his COC quite well, after being over land since about 3pm CDT yesterday. Are the forecast models correct, brining Alex into the eastern Mexico coast on Tuesday, or is there a chance it may mover further northward towards TX?
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You know what's interesting?

I'm showing 200 posts and there is no post of the discussion.

Now with an S curve...

000
WTNT41 KNHC 271440
TCDAT1
TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALEX DISCUSSION NUMBER 8
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL012010
1000 AM CDT SUN JUN 27 2010

RECENT SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES THAT THE CONVECTIVE TOPS NEAR THE
CENTER OF ALEX HAVE WARMED AND DECREASED IN COVERAGE OVER THE PAST
FEW HOURS. BASED ON THESE TRENDS...AND A LACK OF ANY OBSERVATIONS
OF STRONGER WINDS...THE INITIAL INTENSITY IS LOWERED TO 30 KT FOR
THIS ADVISORY.

THE INTENSITY FORECAST REASONING REMAINS UNCHANGED. AFTER ALEX
EMERGES INTO THE GULF...WARM WATERS AND LOW SHEAR WILL OFFER THE
OPPORTUNITY FOR RESTRENGTHENING. GIVEN THAT THE LOW-LEVEL
CIRCULATION OF ALEX REMAINS WELL DEFINED...THE FORECAST CALLS FOR
ALEX TO REGAIN TROPICAL STORM STATUS BY TONIGHT...AND FOR STEADY
INTENSIFICATION THROUGH 72 HOURS. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS ABOVE
ALL OF THE INTENSITY GUIDANCE THROUGH 48 HOURS...AND IS IN GOOD
AGREEMENT WITH THE DECAY SHIPS MODEL BEYOND THAT TIME. NEEDLESS TO
SAY...THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT ALEX SPENDS OVER THE GULF WATERS WILL
BE THE PIVOTAL FACTOR IN HOW MUCH INTENSIFICATION OCCURS.

WHILE THE SHORT-TERM MOTION OF ALEX APPEARS ALMOST DUE WEST...A
LONGER-TERM INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST...
295 DEGREES AT 10 KNOTS....A LITTLE TO THE LEFT OF THE PREVIOUS
FORECAST TRACK. DURING THE FORECAST PERIOD...THE GLOBAL MODELS ARE
IN GENERAL AGREEMENT WITH THE EVOLUTION OF THE LARGE-SCALE FLOW
OVER NORTH AMERICA...WITH A LONGWAVE TROUGH DEVELOPING OVER THE
EASTERN UNITED STATES IN TWO TO THREE DAYS...AND A MID- TO
UPPER-LEVEL RIDGE DEVELOPING UPSTREAM OF THE TROUGH OVER CENTRAL
NORTH AMERICA. HOWEVER...SUBTLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MODELS
RESULT IN LARGE DIFFERENCES IN THE ULTIMATE TRACK OF ALEX. THE
GFS...CANADIAN AND GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN ARE WEAKER WITH THE CENTRAL
U.S. RIDGE IN 4 OR 5 DAYS. AS A RESULT...THESE MODELS HAVE BEEN
PERSISTENTLY TAKING ALEX MORE POLEWARD. THE REMAINING MODELS
SUGGEST THAT A STRONGER RIDGE NORTH OF ALEX WILL RESULT IN A MORE
WESTWARD TURN LATE IN THE FORECAST PERIOD. THE ECMWF ENSEMBLE MEAN
AND THE HWRF ARE ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THIS GROUP OF MODELS...BUT DO
NOT SHOW A SHARP NORTHWARD TURN. ALL THAT BEING SAID...THE NEW
OFFICIAL FORECAST IS ADJUSTED A LITTLE TO THE LEFT OF THE PREVIOUS
ONE THROUGH 36 HOURS DUE TO THE INITIAL MOTION...AND BEYOND THAT
TIME IS A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT OF THE PREVIOUS PACKAGE AND CLOSE TO
THE TVCN MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS.

ALL OF THE MODEL UNCERTAINTY WITH THE TRACK OF ALEX OFFERS A
REMINDER TO NOT TO FOCUS ON THE EXACT FORECAST TRACK...PARTICULARLY
IN THE EXTENDED PART OF THE FORECAST PERIOD...WHERE AVERAGE
FORECAST ERRORS CAN BE 200 TO 300 MILES.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 27/1500Z 18.7N 90.6W 30 KT
12HR VT 28/0000Z 19.6N 91.6W 35 KT...OVER WATER
24HR VT 28/1200Z 20.4N 92.6W 45 KT
36HR VT 29/0000Z 21.1N 93.4W 55 KT
48HR VT 29/1200Z 21.8N 94.2W 65 KT
72HR VT 30/1200Z 23.0N 96.0W 75 KT
96HR VT 01/1200Z 23.5N 98.0W 65 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 02/1200Z 24.0N 100.5W 30 KT...INLAND

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN

Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting txsweetpea:



Levi can you give me the links to the latest models?


Here you go

Clark Evans Model Plots
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Plenty of Alex Rains in the Mid Gulf with sea's there already 5 Plus feet.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
Note the Larger envelope to the East & NE of the Lil CoC.


ALEX is making the passage and may re-locate a tad NE of the CoC presently.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
481. EvPv
Here's a question regarding CNN weather guy footage. He said (a few days ago) that if Alex tracked to the east of the oil that was great as it would pull the oil from the shores to the west. I was thinking that was the worst case because the oil would/could be steered down through the Keys and into the gulf stream.
To the west would be horrible, but resources are already being deployed to that area.
Anything that multiplies the effected coastline area would spread the cleanup efforts out.
Am I off on this reasoning?
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459:

Yah...It's a big one.

In terms of total rain shield, it's even bigger than Ike. Maybe 25-50% larger radius of rains...
Member Since: June 13, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 2336
couldn't find any news of damage coming out of Belize, so I hope that means all is well. There are a couple videos of palms trees swaying and rain on youtube if you do a search on TS Alex and Belize.

share links if you find them please, thanks
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Quoting Levi32:
Alex will likely strengthen faster than these models are showing, and this may have an effect on the track forecasts. I don't see Alex taking 72-84 hours to become a hurricane.

It's going to get interesting in a hurry once the storm is over water again.
Guess I'd better get back to work on my projects for will be glued to the screen later on.
Funny how it all occurred at the full moon.
Tonight at DMax will be good for the storm.
Mexico has an excellent warning/preparation system, I hear.
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Quoting Levi32:
Alex will likely strengthen faster than these models are showing, and this may have an effect on the track forecasts. I don't see Alex taking 72-84 hours to become a hurricane.

Depends how defined the circulation is once Alex re-emerges, to me it looks pretty well-defined. Honestly within 36 hours I wouldn't be surprised to see hurricane Alex.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Levi32:


About 6 hours.


"If people will remember I predicted yesterday" 12hrs bickering on the blog with the reliable bloggers stopping in occasionally to say "Don't panic we wouldn't know much till it gets back over water."

I stand by my prediction. If I'm wrong you may crow me.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting Levi32:
Overall, the trend in the models has been north since 0z last night, both at 6z and now 12z.



Levi can you give me the links to the latest models?
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yea levi,like 24hrs over water imo is enough time...
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Alex and Darby

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Quoting txag91met:
Alex has lost more of its internal structure in the last few satellite images...should go back over the water in the next 3-6 hours. ECMWF again seems to have the best handle on the track. 12Z GFS runs should shift back to the left, but the GFS / GEM have proved unreliable.


Its still has impressively held together.. in fact the structure is better on land than in water. Could easily strengthen quickly once it reaches water at around 2 pm today.
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Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Quoting mcluvincane:


Not time to speculate whitch model to trust. Models are all over the place.


Speculate...Thats funny lol. Models are just tools. Personally looking forward to the GFS parallel becoming operational in july.
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Overall, the trend in the models has been north since 0z last night, both at 6z and now 12z.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
000
WTNT31 KNHC 271433
TCPAT1
BULLETIN
TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALEX ADVISORY NUMBER 8
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL012010
1000 AM CDT SUN JUN 27 2010

...ALEX WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION...EXPECTED TO RESTRENGTHEN
OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO...

now a TD
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Looks like Alex is pulling moisture in from the EPAC. Probably why is looks so good on visual.



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Tropical Depression ALEX Public Advisory
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Home Public Adv Fcst/Adv Discussion Wind Probs Maps/Charts Archive
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



000
WTNT31 KNHC 271433
TCPAT1
BULLETIN
TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALEX ADVISORY NUMBER 8
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL012010
1000 AM CDT SUN JUN 27 2010

...ALEX WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION...EXPECTED TO RESTRENGTHEN
OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO...


SUMMARY OF 1000 AM CDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.7N 90.6W
ABOUT 85 MI...135 KM S OF CAMPECHE MEXICO
ABOUT 80 MI...125 KM E OF CIUDAD DEL CARMEN MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1000 MB...29.53 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR THE COAST OF BELIZE AND THE EAST
COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA OF MEXICO HAVE BEEN DISCONTINUED.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.


DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 1000 AM CDT...1500 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALEX
WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 18.7 NORTH...LONGITUDE 90.6 WEST. THE
DEPRESSION IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH...19
KM/HR. A GENERAL WEST-NORTHWESTWARD MOTION IS EXPECTED FOR THE NEXT
COUPLE OF DAYS WITH A GRADUAL DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED. ON THE
FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF ALEX WILL MOVE ACROSS THE YUCATAN
PENINSULA AND ENTER THE SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO LATER TODAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 35 MPH...55
KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS. AFTER ALEX EMERGES INTO THE SOUTHERN
GULF OF MEXICO...SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST AND ALEX IS
EXPECTED TO REGAIN TROPICAL STORM INTENSITY TONIGHT OR EARLY
MONDAY.

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1000 MB...29.53 INCHES.


HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
RAINFALL...ALEX IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAIN ACCUMULATIONS OF
4 TO 8 INCHES OVER THE YUCATAN PENINSULA...SOUTHERN MEXICO...
GUATEMALA...AND BELIZE THROUGH MONDAY MORNING. ISOLATED MAXIMUM
AMOUNTS OF 15 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER MOUNTAINOUS AREAS. THESE
RAINS COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES.


NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...400 PM CDT.

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN






Link
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Alex will likely strengthen faster than these models are showing, and this may have an effect on the track forecasts. I don't see Alex taking 72-84 hours to become a hurricane.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684
Alex has lost more of its internal structure in the last few satellite images...should go back over the water in the next 3-6 hours. ECMWF again seems to have the best handle on the track. 12Z GFS runs should shift back to the left, but the GFS / GEM have proved unreliable.
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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! Love how the official track says "decreasing".
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting jpsb:
I use firefox, but now links to animated satellite imagery never works! I am wondering why, two years ago it all works great.


Your flash player should be version 10.1 or better. Anything earlier has a security exploit risk. Make sure you have java JRE and the firefox jre plugin installed.installed. Make sure in your firefox preferences you have "Enable Java Script" checked in your Content section.

Type and enter about:config in your browser address bar. The page that comes up should show that you have a flashplayer and java plugin installed and what versions.

If you are running Windows 2000 or less, expect some incurable flash/jre issues at some sites, regardless.
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Checking the news and so far it looks like everyone in Alex's path took precautions for the heavy rains. Also, big difference in winds between a Tropical Storm and a hurricane!
Goes to show you how bad things can get in a hurry, doesn't it?!
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Quoting Levi32:
All the 12z models show a more northwesterly movement beginning almost immediately after initialization, which makes sense given the steering currents.

Yeah. Looks like the ridge weakened and was pushed to the east. I'll be expecting some more WNW motion and then when the trough catches it, on from there.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129090
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.
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Sorry I had to leave, my internet was down (darn Comcast).
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


I don't see much of a shift.. but that's good news!
Good news if you're not Mexican
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Thanks TampaSpim! Just wish we knew where this thing was gonna end up!
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Ah, thanks Levi.
Here's the buoy there, for those who don't already have it.
22.017 N 94.046 W (22°1'2" N 94°2'45" W)
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All the 12z models show a more northwesterly movement beginning almost immediately after initialization, which makes sense given the steering currents.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26684

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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.