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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201. IKE
Direction it's moving now it's headed for about 20N and 97W....unless and until it changes course.
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2 hours from now I expect to see an increase in convection over the BOC... remember the center does not have to be over water to have it begin to restrengthen.... the outflow in incredible and that will help this storm strengthen quickly
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I dont think it will end up that far east, but sometimes you never know, right? I will keep my fingers crossed for you, weathermanwannabe, hopefully it will be a nice trip down and you get some time to enjoy the beach too! :-)
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Quoting P451:


I agree this still needs to be watched for the potential it gets picked up --- and if it does it will go to LA to the FLA Panhandle region.

Remember the models I posted yesterday. Every one picked up on a hitch in Alex's path as it left the YUC. The CMC was almost scary in duplicating an Opal track until at the last moment it still had him resuming a WNW track.

This one is a bit tricky IMO. I really think we have to watch what it does as it exits the YUC.

He really does seem to be motoring north of WNW this AM. If that continues and then he stalls just off the YUC - it's 50/50 IMO that he gets picked up or resumes WNW into Mexico.

This has to be watched in that regard.


Certainly does. Never seen so many factors before.. no wonder why the weathermen are always wrong! :)
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
yeah i see that trough coming in from the pacific now and its gonna be a big one. so what is ya take on Alex? i still say a tx/la hit. i think tampa and storm are on to something. that a huge trough coming.
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188. ecflweatherfan

Morning...You had to mention Apalachicola... :) I go down there for work once a month and will be there all day on Tuesday.
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The Sahara destroyed the amazing circulation we were seeing over Africa yesterday... not to distract anyone from the possible major hurricane alex we'll have in the gulf
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IMO, if Alex does not slow down, he will exit the Yucatan into the BOC in 5 hours....
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Quoting Weather456:


So Alex just keeps heading N as the ridge slowly erodes? I do not think so. There has to be some westward component to the track while this ridge evolves. The environmental steering says otherwise than the storm motion on the same model so we have to question it.


There is another factor that has to be considered: the CMC and the GFS are developing another trough in about 120hrs.

Between Wednesday and Friday, Alex will be located south of the ridge in the CONUS and west of the A/B ridge (CMC and GFS). This will cause a net movement toward the northwest. After Friday the trough will start to move in, and cause Alex to move in a more northerly direction. All-in-all, what these models show do not contradict the fundamentals of meteorology.

The CMC is showing a more northerly track than the GFS because it expects Alex to be stronger.

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I also tend to feel that if Alex becomes a hurricane (possibly major per 5am discussion from NHC), then the more likely it would be for it to feel the effects of the trough forecast to dig into the eastern CONUS this week. That said, ALL interests along the Gulf Coast, especially from about Apalachicola, FL and south and west to NE Mexico need to remain alert for changes to the forecast path.
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Quoting StormW:


Good morning...on my way out. I was just curious, as I said yesterday evening the models would shift right.
u think so storm what is ya take on this thing? what do u mean by shifting right? do u think its a la hit?
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This reminds me of Cape Verde storms approaching the SE US coast every season and folks waiting for the "Trof" to sweep the storm away......Most nerve wracking scenario for those in the cone. This is different however in the Gulf as landfall is a certainty.
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Lol, a 969 mb TS?

http://moe.met.fsu.edu/tcgengifs/hwrf/2010062706-alex01l/slp17.png
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
184. MZV
After many years of storm watching, it seems like most of the time if a Gulf storm deviates from it's expected path, it will be excess curvature, not too little. I don't think Texas or western LA is out of the picture for at least another day.
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182. IKE
ALEX IS
MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 12 MPH...19 KM/HR...AND THIS
GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS
WITH A GRADUAL DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED.
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Quoting P451:


Good to see you back. Where have you been? You could have brought sanity to us all while 93L teased us endlessly through the week.



Was ill.

BTW, i meant to ask...why 93L? I kinda was following vaguely but what happened to 92L?
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In my option this is a little complex setup... here's a brief description of what's happening aloft:



If you look at the WV animations you'll notice the 4 corner's cut off low is losing its punch as it headed SE.

Also, during the past 8 hours a High has become better established at mid levels across the central Gulf, but not strong enough to fill in the "void" or weakness on the W Gulf as a deep mid to upper level low is holding across E Texas.

I expect Alex to start feeling this weakness soon and then start displaying a more northerly component to its motion as it emerges in the BOC. Unfortunately the steering currents in the western Gulf are a bit stagnant, but enough push exist a low to mid levels (due to the A/B High and its extension into the E and C Gulf) to keep it on its current forward speed or lower, but mainly between 5 to 10kts on a general WNW to NW (later today).



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177. IKE
00Z UKMET @ 54 hours....

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Quoting futuremet:


This is the because they are expecting to ridge to be slightly eroded. In addition, a more northerly track will allow Alex to strengthen more. This will cause a domino effect and will cause it to move more toward the north.


So Alex just keeps heading N as the ridge slowly erodes? I do not think so. There has to be some westward component to the track while this ridge evolves. The environmental steering says otherwise than the storm motion on the same model so we have to question it.
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Gotcha 456... had not seen any of the surface obs yet over the land, so yeah if they cant find any legitimate 35kt winds there, then TD it will become. I do see that they are calling to re-emerge into the BoC this afternoon. Seems to be a small core, so likely to ramp back up shortly after re-emerging.
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Good Morning. Tropics/Alex full of surprises with the apparant strengthening of the system "over land" instead of the gradual weakening.......While NHC raises the issue of the Trof picking the storm up per some model guidance, I'll vote for a Mexico/Texas border landfall at this time (with coastal Texas on the dirty side of landfall). Hope he does not get too strong by the time that happens. While the Northen Gulf ridge will be weakening, I just can't see Alex making it all the way to LA unless he really slows down or stalls in the Bay of Campeche as the Trof approaches.
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Quoting Weather456:
I could agree with the GFS out 3 days as below...but the model has not justify why it forces Alex NNW to N very slowly with a ridge in place over the Central CONUS. I do not think this and the CMC is being reasonable. There is no trof through 4-6 days to support what they are showing. There has to be some westward motion either W, WNW or NW.






This is the because they are expecting the ridge to be slightly eroded. In addition, a more northerly track will allow Alex to strengthen more. This will cause a domino effect and will cause it to move more toward the north.
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170. IKE
Moved .1N and .5W in the last 3 hours. Still think Mexico gets Alex. Extreme southern Texas may have TS winds/rain.
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Quoting ecflweatherfan:
bassis... IMO, I do not think this storm will be downgraded, given current satellite imagery and the fact that it will be closing on the GOMEX/BoC within the next 6-12 hrs in all likelihood.


If the NHC cannot find any surface obs to support a 35 knot TS, they will likely downgrade it. Two other reasons are there are no sat intensities from the SAB or TAFB while overland and continuity. Though, SAT presentations are extremely good for overland as you said
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Quoting MississippiWx:
The new discussion is unbelievable!
This is becoming more like the scenerio of Hurricane Brett of 1999.1st going into Tampico----Then /Brownsville / Finally Baffin Bay.Tx as a cat 4
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166. IKE
7:00 AM CDT Sun Jun 27
Location: 18.4°N 89.9°W
Max sustained: 40 mph
Moving: WNW at 12 mph
Min pressure: 1000 mb
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Quoting bassis:


Thank you. when do you feel it will be down graded to TD


sometime over the next 3 advisories. Especially if the surface obs cant support at 35 knot TS.
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bassis... IMO, I do not think this storm will be downgraded, given current satellite imagery and the fact that it will be closing on the GOMEX/BoC within the next 6-12 hrs in all likelihood.
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Quoting aspectre:
TSAlex is going over mountainous terrain of the south, not the flatlands of the north.


Chiapas state would be mountainous. There is really no where anywhere on this peninsula that anyone would call mountainous. Those of us from the northern side edge of the peninsula would call it hilly in the southern end, but we also would call an simple freeway overpass a GINORMOUS hill. :)
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I could agree with the GFS out 3 days as below...but the model has not justify why it forces Alex NNW to N very slowly with a ridge in place over the Central CONUS. I do not think this and the CMC is being reasonable. There is no trof through 4-6 days to support what they are showing. There has to be some westward motion either W, WNW or NW.




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I told yall 2 weeks ago things are gonna happen this season that aint sposed to happen
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159. IKE
GFDL@6Z
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Quoting Weather456:
Good Morning

Blog Update

Alex now moving over the Yucatan

I reasoned the validity of this model - the COAMPS.





Thank you. when do you feel it will be down graded to TD
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Quoting ecflweatherfan:
And maybe for the Louisianacasters too. Can we say to Alex: Go West, Young man!


Take a look at the CMC model!

http://moe.met.fsu.edu/tcgengifs/cmc/2010062700/slp20.png
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Well, it looks like I called this 3 weeks ago,jk. I am very surprised to say the least. I agree with P451, that is an impressive core.
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TSAlex is going over mountainous terrain of the south, not the flatlands of the north.
See post104 for map.
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Quoting Weather456:


heavily forested. Topography of the Yucatan (flat) is largely responsible for slow weakening rates rather than vegetation cover.


Yes. I've been pretty much on every road here on the Yucatan peninsula and while the western side is much more swampy (Celestun, Ciudad del Carmen) over to Villahermosa in Tabasco state, the rest from about MX186 north (highway spanning about Villahermosa and Chetumal) is jungle. But with the heavy rains, that jungle becomes swampland. Southern Tabasco state is SUPER swampy and it looks like Alex is spending a good amount of time there.
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And maybe for the Louisianacasters too. Can we say to Alex: Go West, Young man!
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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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