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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S TX standing by.
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Quoting tropicaltank:
I thing I remember a storm that did actually intensify over land. Do you recall such a storm?


Tropical storm Fay.
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 264
Quoting reedzone:
Alex may be our first major Hurricane, but lets see what it does when it hits the waters. Remember, Stan quickly became TS after emerging back into the BOC.. Alex has awesome structure, so it's looking good for re-intensification to a TS and more.
I thing I remember a storm that did actually intensify over land. Do you recall such a storm?
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I'll take Corpus Christi for 500, Alex!
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
GOES East is back in Rapid Scan Operation which results in 8 images per hour. Here is a current loop and the ghcc code:

http://wwwghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/get-goes?satellite=GOES-E%20CONUS&lat=18.4&lon=-89.9&a mp;zoom=1&in fo=vis&quality=100&width=800&height=600&type=Animation&numframes=8

During the day you can change numframes to a larger value and lat, lon as position changes, then paste the code in your address bar.

Thanks!
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Quoting reedzone:
Looks like Alex is a TD now, you can't tell by looking at the satellite. The models have shifted to southern TX. Though the 2 BAMM models have shifted south.. again. Looks like Alex may in fact relocate the center. You can all throw away Alex dissipating over land, it is moving WNW towards the BOC. Looks like we will see redevelopment earlier then expected. I'll be making a new track forecast after I get home from church today. Expect a slight shift north, possibly putting South Texas in the hit.


Good Morming Reedzone ...any interesting new on alex and track changes? Do you have any links to models? I am in south east texas...I am sure its not alex is not getting this far...but hust want to keep an eye on it...Thanks in advance!
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Quoting extreme236:
The Yucatan weakened Alex about as much as expected, just the part that threw off the forecast is that while the winds weakened, the structure improved.


Should this allow faster reintensification.
Correct me if I'm wrong.
Member Since: June 23, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 264
Darby's getting gobbled by Alex. Not too often do you get a Cat. 2 hurricane disrupted and robbed of energy by a tropical storm... LOL

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GOES East is back in Rapid Scan Operation which results in 8 images per hour. Here is a current loop and the ghcc code:

http://wwwghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/get-goes?satellite=GOES-E%20CONUS&lat=18.4&lon=-89.9&zoom=1&in fo=vis&quality=100&width=800&height=600&type=Animation&numframes=8

During the day you can change numframes to a larger value and lat, lon as position changes, then paste the code in your address bar.
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Quoting Weather456:


The Sahara cannot kill a circulation, much less the wave associated with it.
If you had seen it yesterday it was becoming a dry circulation because it was pulling in dry air from the north off the desert. It continued wnw, got cut off from the itcz and headed back NE into the sahara.
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Quoting Grothar:


That was 4AM CDT. Depends on where you are. LOL.
Yeah..I'm in Texas, so I'm CDT. This blog will go absolutely nuts in about 5 hours. Especially if the 12z models continue shifting..
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290. ryang
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edit:
Sorry, I just saw these pressures are from with in the last 12 hours. Not current

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Quoting reedzone:
Looks like Alex is a TD now, you can't tell by looking at the satellite. The models have shifted to southern TX. Though the 2 BAMM models have shifted south.. again. Looks like Alex may in fact relocate the center. You can all throw away Alex dissipating over land, it is moving WNW towards the BOC. Looks like we will see redevelopment earlier then expected. I'll be making a new track forecast after I get home from church today. Expect a slight shift north, possibly putting South Texas in the hit.
Center reformation? Won't happen... vorticity is too defined and strong.
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The Yucatan weakened Alex about as much as expected, just the part that threw off the forecast is that while the winds weakened, the structure improved.
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286. MZV
Quoting tkeith:
I would have thought as far south as Alex crossed over the peninsula it would have weakened alot more


Alex is a BIG storm. He can suck up moisture fro the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the bay of Campeche simultaneously.

For a storm over land, the visible structure is quite good.
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Quoting muddertracker:
Geesh..I think I'm going to need a little "sumtin sumptin" in my coffee this morning. I hope the next discussion by the NHC backs off the 4am one...


That was 4AM CDT. Depends on where you are. LOL.
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Alex may be our first major Hurricane, but lets see what it does when it hits the waters. Remember, Stan quickly became TS after emerging back into the BOC.. Alex has awesome structure, so it's looking good for re-intensification to a TS and more.
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Geesh..I think I'm going to need a little "sumtin sumptin" in my coffee this morning. I hope the next discussion by the NHC backs off the 4am one...
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281. WAHA
If you look closely at the loops, it looks like a subtropical storm around a small hurricane!
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Yea, Alex is going to be down to TD status at 11 a.m, but it took longer than I expected.. I wasn't expecting at all for Alex to maintain TS status almost the entire length of the Yucatan, or tighten up its circulation like it did instead of winding down. I suspect when Alex hits water, intensification will quickly follow and if Alex takes a more northern or slower route.. Alex could easily make 110 mph +
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Quoting hunkerdown:
Go reread your first two sentences of your post. NHC Ike's tracks history.


Ok? Yes they did predicted that "southern dip" right and all, but that still doesn't change the fact that at one point in time it was over S Fl. And that was just an example of exactly how it is impossible to forecast spot on from day 1. I'm really not sure how you got otherwise...
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Looks like Alex is a TD now, you can't tell by looking at the satellite. The models have shifted to southern TX. Though the 2 BAMM models have shifted south.. again. Looks like Alex may in fact relocate the center. You can all throw away Alex dissipating over land, it is moving WNW towards the BOC. Looks like we will see redevelopment earlier then expected. I'll be making a new track forecast after I get home from church today. Expect a slight shift north, possibly putting South Texas in the hit.
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Quoting bwt1982:
So even though everything shows Alex going to Mexico/Texas area LA and Florida should be worried? Im not getting it. Im hoping its not the same wishcasters that were on here last night!


There were some wishcasters last night, but that is not what the NHC is saying. The situation this morning is different. The ridging and split ridging was not really incorporated into the earlier forecast. As anyone who knows, these models always change back and forth. Once a system is in the Gulf, it then becomes a concern for the entire area. At this time, none of the experts have this making a sharp right turn, just that the models may shift a little more to the right from wehre they are now.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


What are you talking about? I don't expect anyone to nail anything from day one.. That's why I said in my previous post that when they almost nailed dolly from day 1 it was "amazing" not "expected". All I was trying to say is that they are doing great with Alex so far and that I agree with they're dang forecast. What did YOU turn that into?
Go reread your first two sentences of your post. NHC Ike's tracks history.
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Bad news, IMO, if Alex were to rapidly deepen to a Cat 2. The steering would take Alex on a more NNW track towards Texas. Right now I would favor a hit in Texas, south of Corpus Cristi, and North of Brownville.
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I would have thought as far south as Alex crossed over the peninsula it would have weakened alot more...

That's why I dont post much...I'm usually wrong :)
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Quoting hunkerdown:
Are you an idiot or do you expect ANYONE to nail a track from a system's inception from day 1 ? Weather in a constant changing thing therefore models will continue to change as we as the official tracks to match what is in place and what will be in place. An if you look back at Ike history of tracks, they did at a point adjust the track for its southerly dip. Their cone was not pointed at S. Fla the entire time.


What are you talking about? I don't expect anyone to nail anything from day one.. That's why I said in my previous post that when they almost nailed dolly from day 1 it was "amazing" not "expected". All I was trying to say is that they are doing great with Alex so far and that I agree with they're dang forecast. What did YOU turn that into?
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Quoting StormW:
Have the models shifted right, yet?
yes somewhat. but we really need another run. The big thing is the structure has improved over land and they are now forecasting a cat 2 and second land fall with potential for more. path has shifted right some..US coast could be more in play
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Link
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I bet they go back and change Alex to Cat 1 at landfall. Pressures in the area supported it. Fire breathing dragon he is.
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Quoting bassis:
http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/products/tc_realtime/storm.asp?storm_identifier=AL012010


Guess they're just preparing for the future:

AL, 01, 2010062712, , BEST, 0, 186N, 901W, 30, 1001, TD
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Morning All

THE OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK IS TO THE RIGHT OF
AND SLOWER THAN THE PREVIOUS ADVISORY...AND IS SIMILAR TO THE
CONSENSUS MODEL...TVCN. NOTE...IF THE RECENT NORTHWARD SHIFT IN THE
MODELS CONTINUES...THEN ALEX COULD REMAIN OVER WATER FOR THE NEXT 5
DAYS RESULTING IN A VERY POWERFUL HURRICANE.



Yikes, that's disturbing to read first thing in the morning :-(
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Quoting RecordSeason:
In addition, the storm is so massive it is altering it's environment easily as much as 750miles away, so guidance maps change fast as it moves into the are. The surface pressures in the gulf region have been dropping constantly for 24 hours even 5 and 10 degrees north of the system.


This would give credence to my idea that the enormous size of Alex, not just its intensity, should affect its track, if I am reading this correctly?
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Well they have good tracks and bad tracks. Ernesto 06 was supposed to be a major hurricane the gulf LOL which was off on both track and intensity. Ike was supposed to hit Miami as a CAT 4, but I don't think anyone could've predicted what Ike did. For some reason they always get the recurving storms while other models are still latching onto a possible east coast landfall. And I think they also do well with W Caribbean system crossing into the BOC, but there's not much to be wrong with that lol. I also think the NHC is right with this one and is more reliable than most east-shifting models at this time.. If NHC shifts east I'll be very intrigued, but I think they have it right now.
Are you an idiot or do you expect ANYONE to nail a track from a system's inception from day 1 ? Weather in a constant changing thing therefore models will continue to change as we as the official tracks to match what is in place and what will be in place. An if you look back at Ike history of tracks, they did at a point adjust the track for its southerly dip. Their cone was not pointed at S. Fla the entire time.
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Like mentioned before, it does look like Alex will be moving offshore, sooner than expected.

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http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/products/tc_realtime/storm.asp?storm_identifier=AL012010
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261. 900MB
That GFS model sure raises eyebrows! Louisiana, Geez!

Impressed how Alex is keeping strength and structure over land. Makes sense that Cat 2 now not out of the question.
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Quoting bassis:
Noaa has him as a TD on their home page


??

SUMMARY OF 700 AM CDT...1200 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.4N 89.9W
ABOUT 105 MI...170 KM W OF CHETUMAL MEXICO
ABOUT 110 MI...175 KM SSE OF CAMPECHE MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...40 MPH...65 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 300 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1000 MB...29.53 INCHES
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As StormW, Drak and Levi alluded to last night, no one was really paying attention to the unexpectedly strong ridging which was occuring to the North. Since Alex was not expected to be as strong, or stay as strong, that was not given too much emphasis. There were still models giving a more northerly direction. I am sure they will explain it when they come on. That is why it is important we do not put too much emphasis on early models. They are not wrong, just providing data they have at the time, which changes as we all see this morning.
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258. WAHA
Here's an image of Alex that I took from Google Earth.
To see my blog, press the blue button.
O
I I
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The structure of Alex is still very much intact, as it is about to exit the coast very near, or over Campeche, MX. IMO it will quickly ramp back up, and become a hurricane within 12 hours of exiting back into the BOC.
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Noaa has him as a TD on their home page
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Well they have good tracks and bad tracks. Ernesto 06 was supposed to be a major hurricane the gulf LOL which was off on both track and intensity. Ike was supposed to hit Miami as a CAT 4, but I don't think anyone could've predicted what Ike did. For some reason they always get the recurving storms while other models are still latching onto a possible east coast landfall. And I think they also do well with W Caribbean system crossing into the BOC, but there's not much to be wrong with that lol. I also think the NHC is right with this one and is more reliable than most east-shifting models at this time.. If NHC shifts east I'll be very intrigued, but I think they have it right now.


Well if the 12z is still shifting right, they'll move their track.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


NHC by default are "spot-on" because of the frequency of the track changes. you can find some amazing swings in OFCL track for some storms ... but I don't think so on this one.


Well they have good tracks and bad tracks. Ernesto 06 was supposed to be a major hurricane the gulf LOL which was off on both track and intensity. Ike was supposed to hit Miami as a CAT 4, but I don't think anyone could've predicted what Ike did. For some reason they always get the recurving storms while other models are still latching onto a possible east coast landfall. And I think they also do well with W Caribbean system crossing into the BOC, but there's not much to be wrong with that lol. I also think the NHC is right with this one and is more reliable than most east-shifting models at this time.. If NHC shifts east I'll be very intrigued, but I think they have it right now.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
ahead of schedule?



Not at all
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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.

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