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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451. jpsb
Quoting USSINS:


TS, thank you. You go right ahead looking at developing conditions. I'll take that over model interpretation any day.
I completely agree, Alex's environment is way to complicated at this time for models to keep up with. I am going with the WU experts over models for then next few day. Now once models converge I might rethink that, but I'll bet "our" experts are still ahead of the models.
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12Z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
ALEX
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)





Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)






Early Model Wind Forecasts


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 414 Comments: 125472
Quoting hurricane23:


Based on those 12z model plots it still looks like this should approach the mexican coast line. I think the european has this nailed to be honest. It reinforces the ridge in time and pushes what could be an extreme cyclone westward.


Not time to speculate whitch model to trust. Models are all over the place.
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Quoting Chicklit:
Do you know when the center will get into the Bay of Campeche area of the GOM?


About 6 hours.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26454
Quoting hurricane23:


Based on those 12z model plots it still looks like this should approach the mexican coast line. I think the european has this nailed to be honest. It reinforces the ridge in time and pushes what could be an extreme cyclone westward.

blockquote>

Yup i been saying that all along. That NHC track showing the left turn about thursday is seeing the ridge built back in.
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Do you know when the center will get into the Bay of Campeche area of the GOM?
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Quoting StormW:
12Z DYNAMIC MODELS



STATISTICAL MODELS



I don't see much of a shift.. but that's good news!
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Official HPC Track

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Quoting StormW:
12Z DYNAMIC MODELS



STATISTICAL MODELS



Based on those 12z model plots it still looks like this should approach the mexican coast line. I think the european has this nailed to be honest. It reinforces the ridge in time and pushes what could be an extreme cyclone westward.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
Quoting tarpontexas:

Ha...good one. Alex seems more interesting at the moment. Hoping the model creep doesn't continue this far N.
Agreed. I really don't feel like boarding up my grandparents house this early in the year!
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


This is probably a dumb question but...

Are the arrows closest to it generated by the storm itself?

Because the arrows closest to it point almost straight down, and it looks the same speed as the arrows that point north that are further from it, so since models are following the northern steering currents, the southern steering currents must be generated by the bending the storm has made in the steering patterns right?


Yeah you kinda have to eyeball it to judge what is part of the storm's circulation and what isn't. The steering currents do reflect Alex's circulation as a nearly closed circle of winds, so those are created by him. Once you clear that area though, the currents become northwesterly across the western gulf.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26454
Quoting TampaSpin:
Here comes the Trough....someone posted it was not as strong. I would like to point out another Feature that will help this trough come farther south than some models are showing. There is a developing Low just off the Texas Gulf coast as one can see in WV. That just might help deepen the trough and pull it further south?????




TS, thank you. You go right ahead looking at developing conditions. I'll take that over model interpretation any day. Your wv loop clearly shows the upper level flow northwards into the weakness. As it travels eastwards Alex, too, will also feel that, hence the change in steering currents that Levi just posted. Plus, a stronger system also feels the polewards tug more anyways. Good job!
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439. jpsb
Quoting Levi32:


Calculus homework
From my experience, for mere mortals there is no substitute to solving lots and lots of equations when learning the Calculus. The more the better. practice practice practice, particularly the trig based ones.
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Good morning, Alex appears to have kept itself together remarkably well on its trek across the Yucatan Peninsula.

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Quoting Levi32:


Lol, I have had very little sleep this week...but that has more to do with my Calculus homework than Alex. I honestly have no business blogging at all. I don't have time for it right now but I can't just not blog when there's a storm out there.



I'm with you Levi. I have calc II at FSU this summer and it is kicking my butt. Just like you I can't help but be on here watching Alex.
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Quoting Levi32:
This is where it gets hard....Alex continues WNW but look at where the steering currents are pointing at now.





This is probably a dumb question but...

Are the arrows closest to it generated by the storm itself?

Because the arrows closest to it point almost straight down, and it looks the same speed as the arrows that point north that are further from it, so since models are following the northern steering currents, the southern steering currents must be generated by the bending the storm has made in the steering patterns right?
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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. (I was on an Ike 'vacation" last year :( )


Ensure your JAVA and Flash player are up to date.
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Quoting Levi32:
This is where it gets hard....Alex continues WNW but look at where the steering currents are pointing at now.



Haha. This is where we just wait to see what happens lol.
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430. jpsb
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
We are using water vapor to measure the location and how far it's digging of the in-coming trough.
Oh Ok, then using the trof as a predictor (one of) for Alex. I got ya, thanks.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Slowly shifting models.... this is the closest set I have seen towards NOLA. I will check back after golf.. have funbr

So that's the way it is huh? Hit and run?
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Quoting InTheCone:


Then you're going to need to clone yourself to get through this season as I think we are going to have at least one storm forming or cooking from now until Nov.!!


I know....it's a dilemma lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26454
Quoting Levi32:


Lol, I have had very little sleep this week...but that has more to do with my Calculus homework than Alex. I honestly have no business blogging at all. I don't have time for it right now but I can't just not blog when there's a storm out there.


Then you're going to need to clone yourself to get through this season as I think we are going to have at least one storm forming or cooking from now until Nov.!!
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This is where it gets hard....Alex continues WNW but look at where the steering currents are pointing at now.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26454
425. jpsb
Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
I think this site operates better on safari than firefox besides the link, image, etc icons from appearing.
I use firefox, but now links to animated satellite imagery never works! I am wondering why, two years ago it all works great. (I was on an Ike 'vacation" last year :( )
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Quoting Ameister12:

That was unbelievable!


This was what the NWS of Norman, Oklahoma had to say about it:


SHORT TERM FORECAST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
805 AM CDT SUN AUG 19 2007

.NOW...

...REGIONAL WEATHER DISCUSSION...

POTENTIAL WILL REMAIN HIGH FOR HEAVY RAIN AND DANGEROUS FLASH FLOODING INTO LATE MORNING OVER MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH CENTRAL OKLAHOMA. WINDS TO 40 MPH ALSO WILL CONTINUE. CONDITIONS WILL IMPROVE BY MIDDAY.

AN EXTRAORDINARY WEATHER EVENT CONTINUES OVER CENTRAL OKLAHOMA THIS MORNING AS THE REMNANTS OF TROPICAL STORM ERIN HAVE INTENSIFIED... RESULTING IN WHAT AMOUNTS TO AN INLAND TROPICAL STORM. AT 8 AM... THE WELL-DEFINED CENTER WAS LOCATED OVER THE SOUTH PART OF EDMOND BASED ON RADAR AND SURFACE OBSERVATIONS... MOVING SLOWLY EAST AT 10 MPH. BANDS OF FLOOD-PRODUCING RAIN WERE ROTATING AROUND THE CENTER ACROSS MUCH OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH CENTRAL OKLAHOMA. GENERAL MOVEMENT OF THE HEAVY RAIN AREAS WAS EAST AT AROUND 10 MPH.

STRONG WINDS WILL CONTINUE IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE STORM CENTER... ESPECIALLY WITHIN 50 MILES OF THE CENTER NEAR EDMOND. SUSTAINED WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WILL BE LIKELY... AND GUSTS TO 50 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE. THE MAIN HAZARD WILL BE TORRENTIAL RAIN AND FLASH FLOODING. RAINFALL OF 1 TO 3 INCHES PER HOUR WILL QUICKLY INUNDATE LOW LYING AREAS AND LEAD TO IMPASSABLE ROADS AND LOCALLY VERY DANGEROUS FLOODING CONDITIONS.

ALTHOUGH HEAVY RAIN WILL CONTINUE TO ROTATE AROUND THE LOW CENTER AS IT MOVES SLOWLY EAST ACROSS CENTRAL OKLAHOMA... RAINFALL WILL END GRADUALLY FROM WEST TO EAST AS THE STORM SYSTEM MOVES INTO EASTERN OKLAHOMA. MUCH OF THE HEAVY RAIN WILL END IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA BY LATE MORNING. FLOODING WILL LIKELY CONTINUE THROUGH MUCH OF THE MORNING DUE TO WIDESPREAD OVERNIGHT RAINFALL RANGING FROM 4 TO 8 INCHES... AND LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The ridge to the north will be weakened by a trough over by the central plains. After the trough passes, the ridge will want to re-strengthen.


The european reinforces the ridge to its north around tuesday timeframe pushing what could likely be a signficant tropical cyclone into the mexcican coastline. 12z best track has alex downgraded to a td.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13597
Slowly shifting models.... this is the closest set I have seen towards NOLA. I will check back after golf.. have fun



AOI

AOI

AOI

Hurricane Hunter Data

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Here comes the Trough....someone posted it was not as strong. I would like to point out another Feature that will help this trough come farther south than some models are showing. There is a developing Low just off the Texas Gulf coast as one can see in WV. That just might help deepen the trough and pull it further south?????


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Quoting InTheCone:
Geez Levi, that was a quick nap, you were still on from last night when I came on at about 6 a.m. EDT.


Lol, I have had very little sleep this week...but that has more to do with my Calculus homework than Alex. I honestly have no business blogging at all. I don't have time for it right now but I can't just not blog when there's a storm out there.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26454
Quoting jpsb:
When can you water vapor as a predictor of motion for a TC. Or how strong does a TC have to be to be steered by mid levels? lol, farming my (rookie) questions out to several experts so as not to be to big of a pest.
We are using water vapor to measure the location and how far it's digging of the in-coming trough.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Just thought this was an interesting read from HPC.

EXTENDED FORECAST DISCUSSION
NWS HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL PREDICTION CENTER CAMP SPRINGS MD
211 PM EDT SAT JUN 26 2010

VALID 12Z TUE JUN 29 2010 - 12Z SAT JUL 03 2010


PRELIMINARY UPDATE...

THE PRELIMINARY FRONTS AND PRESSURES FOR DAYS 3 THROUGH 7 WERE
UPDATED USING THE 00Z/26 ECENS MEAN. THE ECENS
MEAN...DETERMINISTIC ECMWF...AND UKMET HAVE SHOWN THE STRONGEST
SEA LEVEL PRESSURE VERIFICATION ACROSS CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA OVER
THE PAST FOUR MONTHS...WITH THE ECENS MEAN PULLING WELL AHEAD OF
THE DETERMINISTIC ECMWF AFTER DAY 5. THIS RESULT IS NOT
UNEXPECTED...AS A CONSENSUS FORECAST SHOULD ALWAYS OUTPERFORM A
SINGLE ONE OVER TIME. THE LAST FOUR CYCLES OF THE ECENS MEAN AND
UKMET HAVE BEEN STABLE...ADDING CONFIDENCE TO THE CHOSEN MASS
FIELDS. WHERE THE GFS AND GEM GLOBAL DIFFER FROM THE EC/UK
CLUSTER...THEIR SOLUTIONS LOOK SUSPECT. THE 06Z GFS LOOKS LIKE IT
HAS A FEEDBACK LOW ROLLING OFF THE SOUTHEAST COAST LATER IN THE
PERIOD...WITH THE GEM GLOBAL SUSPICIOUSLY AMPLIFIED WITH THE
EASTERN TROUGH. USED THE LATEST TPC FORECAST FOR THE TRACK OF
ALEX ACROSS THE WESTERN GULF DURING THE PERIOD.

FINAL...

THE 12Z GFS SHEARS OUT THE EASTERN TROUGH MUCH MORE QUICKLY THAN
THE OTHER NEW GUIDANCE...INCLUDING THE PARALLEL GFS AND GEFS MEAN.
THE UKMET IS VERY MUCH IN LINE WITH THE MASS FIELDS USED FOR THE
UPDATE PACKAGE...AS IS THE GEM GLOBAL...SANS ITS TRACK OF ALEX
INTO TEXAS. WITH THE MAJORITY OF THE NEW GUIDANCE WELL CORRELATED
WITH THE 00Z/26 ECENS MEAN...MADE NO CHANGES FOR THE FINAL
ISSUANCE.


CISCO
Member Since: August 23, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 164
Quoting LightningCharmer:


The developers at Wunderground apparently only test this site on Firefox and Explorer. I've noticed glitches in the past as well on Safari, Opera and Chrome.
I think this site operates better on safari than firefox besides the link, image, etc icons from appearing.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


forgot about that one


That was unbelievable!
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Quoting Ivanhater:


Great observation

Link
Actually I've been using GOES-15 for satellite imagery, it's pretty good.



CONUS GOES-15 Satellite Imagery
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21032
Geez Levi, that was a quick nap, you were still on from last night when I came on at about 6 a.m. EDT.
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Alex does indeed have an impressive satellite presentation, especially for a June tropical storm so many hours after landfall. Here in SWFL, the cirrus being pulled from Alex and spiralling clockwise away has been moving from the WNW to ESE since yesterday morning...which is itself impressive, as the COC is nearly 800 miles away. JASOTTC...
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Thank you very much!!!!STORMW for your answer.I enjoy reading your tropical updates!!
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Y'all don't confuse Wilma with Fay, please...


Right, Fay strengthened over the Everglades... a swamp of 90F water. The Yucatan is not a swamp.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Everyone keeps saying the GFS is on drugs. What has changed with the GFS as in years past. Models are mostly only as good as the Info put into them as they spit out a result from that info.



Good Morning Tampa!
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


Go back to FireFox. Lol


I agree... I tried chrome for ohhhhh about 2 hours.. then right back to firefox
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thanks W,good to see you HJ!!!!,LA ain't out the woods w/this one,a major in the GOM could just be 72hrs away!!!
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Alex is passing much to the south of where the 6z GFDL and 6z HWRF had it upon exiting the Yucatan.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26454
404. jpsb
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
As expected. Just checked out water vapor, expect a couple shifts right.
When can you water vapor as a predictor of motion for a TC. Or how strong does a TC have to be to be steered by mid levels? lol, farming my (rookie) questions out to several experts so as not to be to big of a pest.
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Quoting MZV:
The ultimate in land-based intensifying storms. Tropical storm Erin over Oklahoma:



forgot about that one

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.