Alex may head north to Texas or Louisiana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:36 PM GMT on June 27, 2010

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Tropical Depression Alex has held together fairly well during its passage over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and stands poised to re-intensify back into a tropical storm once it emerges from the coast tonight. Alex brought heavy rains to northern Honduras, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and Belize over the weekend. It was not a good beach day in Cozumel yesterday, as 9.25" of rain fell. Cancun received 2.05" over the weekend, and Belize City received 4.57". Satellite loops show that Alex's heavy thunderstorms are mostly gone near the center, though there are some impressive bands of precipitation well away from the center. There is an upper-level high pressure system a few hundred miles west of Alex, and the clockwise flow air around this high is bringing upper-level winds out of the northwest of about 5 knots over the storm, contributing to the 5 knots of wind shear observed in this afternoon's wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin's CIMSS group. Sea Surface Temperatures are very warm, 29 - 30°C, and dry air is currently not a problem for Alex.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Alex.

Forecast for Alex: which model should you trust?
While the track forecast for Alex today through Monday is fairly well-assured, the longer range forecast has become highly uncertain. An increasing number of our reliable models are now indicating Alex may take a more northerly track beginning on Tuesday, with possible landfall on the Texas coast near Galveston on Friday (according to the 8am run of the GFS model) or into western Louisiana on Wednesday (the 8am run of the Canadian model.) The key question remains how Alex will react to the trough of low pressure expected to swing down over the Eastern U.S. on Monday and Tuesday. Most of the models were predicting that the trough would not be strong enough to swing Alex to the north, and several of them continue to predict this. The 8am runs of the NOGAPS and ECMWF models, for example, take Alex into the Gulf coast of Mexico 150 miles south of Texas, on Wednesday. The GFDL and HWRF models split the difference, with the GFDL predicting a Thursday landfall in southern Texas near Brownsville, and the HWRF predicting a Thursday landfall near Corpus Christi. Morris Bender of the GFDL group has just provided me the track forecast from an improved experimental version of the GFDL that shows landfall between Corpus Christi and Galveston. So which model should you trust? Last year, the best performing models at the 3 - 4 day forecast range were the GFS and the Canadian, and these are the models that are currently calling for the more northerly track towards the upper Texas coast and Louisiana. Residents of those areas should review their hurricane preparedness plans and anticipate that Alex could make landfall as early as Wednesday in their vicinity. Residents of the Mexican coast south of Brownsville should make similar plans, as Alex could just as easily hit there.

Re-intensification of Alex is likely once the center of Alex moves offshore, though this will initially be slow due to the current disorganized state of the storm and the relatively low total ocean heat content in the 100-mile-wide stretch of water on the west side of the Yucatan Peninsula. Once Alex moves more than 100 miles from the Yucatan, total heat content of the ocean increases substantially, and Alex will have the opportunity to intensify significantly. A longer time spent over water will give Alex more of a chance to strengthen, and it is possible Alex could intensify into a major hurricane if landfall is delayed until Thursday or Friday. However, Alex's intensification may be limited the farther north it gets, as water vapor satellite images show plenty of dry air over Texas that might interfere with development. Wind shear might also be an issue for Alex if it pushes far enough north, and a slow-moving storm tends to pull up cold water from the depths, limiting intensification. In short, Alex has the potential to intensify into a major hurricane, but there are plenty of roadblocks that make this only a 10% probability in my estimation.


Figure 2. Skill of computer model forecasts for Atlantic named storms during 2009. OFCL=Official NHC forecast; GFS=Global Forecast System model; GFDL=Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory model; HWRF=Hurricane Weather Research Forecasting model; NOGAPS=Navy Operational Global Prediction System model; UKMET+United Kingdom Met Office model; ECMWF=European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting model; CMC=Canadian GEM model; TVCN=one of the consensus models that lends together all (or most) of the above models; BAMM=Beta and Advection Model (Medium Layer.) Image credit: National Hurricane Center 2009 verification report.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A tropical wave (Invest 94L) a few hundred miles north of the northernmost Lesser Antilles Islands has been pretty much torn apart, and is no longer a threat to develop.

Next post
Wunderground's severe weather expert Dr. Rob Carver will likely be posting an update on Alex late tonight. My next update will be Monday by 10am EDT.

Jeff Masters

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2788. xcool
TX TO LA KEEP EYE ON BAD BOY.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
The reason the NAM does this is because of the 500 high that builds....
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2782. leo305
Quoting Patrap:


The steering may go NILL in the Western to West Central GOM after 30 hours.

A dilemma one could say.

Oil vey..!



and the trough may try to move it to the NE/ENE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:


Scattered showers here today.


I had a warning here, gotta love Florida weather :/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
since wilma was mentioned if i remember right when it was parked off cancoon the models were all over the place but as soon as wilma moved the models were dead on. i got to witness wilma make landfall on the beach in marco from the fifth floor. it was amazing just when ya thought wind cant blow any harder it did.
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2779. Patrap
Quoting IKE:
Well....that NHC update cooled the blog posts down big-time.


Like Dew on a Summer morn..

Quiet

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
2778. scott39
Quoting Levi32:


In a lot of ways, yes, but not in every way.
The reason i ask this is the NHC is going with this for a reason,so Mexico/TX border seems logical. although we are still early in the game in the GOM, so will see.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting IKE:
Well....that NHC update cooled the blog posts down big-time.
Even though it intensified, usually that pumps up people.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Any ideas on why pressure is steady or rising @ Campeche, Mexico and the wind coming from the east at only 20 miles per hour?
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2774. Patrap
Quoting IKE:
The NAM model has no clue on where Alex is going...doing loops in the GOM/GOO.


The steering may go NILL in the Western to West Central GOM after 30 hours.

A dilemma one could say.

Oil vey..!

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Why haven't they shifted north???


They won't shift north yet until they are absolutely sure. a shift in cone to the north will result in messing up efforts made on the oil rig...just my opinion.
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2772. IKE
Well....that NHC update cooled the blog posts down big-time.
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oh here ya go Alex have some fuel heheh I mean uh oh
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2770. Levi32
Quoting GTcooliebai:

I was thinking the same thing no thunderstorms near the center, it still could acquire subtropical characteristics can't it?


Doubtful....it's not stacking with the ULL.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting LSU791:
I can still remember Katrina. All the models and all the exprts were all over a Florida landfall. They continually dicounted an outliers that dared to defy the majority. Then suddenly we in LA had 48 hours to prepare. Never discount the "NERD" for he knows more that you think. In reading the NHC statement one phrase popped out to me " An UNUSUALLY DEEP longwave trough." Kind of make you say hmmmm...


That's how you subtly introduce a wildcard when making a firm prediction based on the facts, against your intuition...

OK, OK, I confess. I want the thing to move NE. :)
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2768. IKE
Quoting reedzone:


LOL... Did you get some rain today? I sure did. Amazing how the feder bands extend all the way the way through the GOM.


Scattered showers here today.
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2765. LSU791
I can still remember Katrina. All the models and all the exprts were all over a Florida landfall. They continually dicounted an outliers that dared to defy the majority. Then suddenly we in LA had 48 hours to prepare. Never discount the "NERD" for he knows more that you think. In reading the NHC statement one phrase popped out to me " An UNUSUALLY DEEP longwave trough." Kind of make you say hmmmm...
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Quoting Levi32:


Upper low Gro. There is some 850mb vorticity under the east side of that upper low but chances of development are very low since the upper low isn't backing away the way it was forecasted to.

I was thinking the same thing no thunderstorms near the center, it still could acquire subtropical characteristics can't it?
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2762. IKE
The NAM model has no clue on where Alex is going...doing loops in the GOM/GOO.
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Quoting Levi32:


12-hour average motion...

ALTHOUGH THE 12-HR AVERAGE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 300/6...
SHORTER-TERM FIXES SUGGEST THAT ALEX MAY BE MOVING EVEN SLOWER.
Got ya'.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting IKE:


I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for you to get your hit you want.


LOL... Did you get some rain today? I sure did. Amazing how the feder bands extend all the way the way through the GOM.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Turn off those two trademarks in the upper corners... or you will get a email like this :)

Dear Sirs:

Thank you for your prompt action to remove the NOAA and NWS logos from
your hurricane track weather graphic product. These logos are
trademarks of the U.S. Department of Commerce/NOAA and their use by
private persons or firms on their products implies that a product was
generated by the NOAA or the NWS, when it was not. Such use violates
U.S. trademark law, applicable criminal statutes as well as the terms of
use applicable to NOAA/NWS weather information. We appreciate your
cooperation in resolving this matter.

Sincerely,

Glenn Tallia
Senior Counselor for Atmospheric
and Space Services and Research, NOAA

The logo was there when i install kml. If they do not want this they can remove it or add a product message.
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2758. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Yes. But the NHC said 7mph.


12-hour average motion...

ALTHOUGH THE 12-HR AVERAGE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 300/6...
SHORTER-TERM FIXES SUGGEST THAT ALEX MAY BE MOVING EVEN SLOWER.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
2757. Levi32
Quoting scott39:
Is the ECMWF the King of all models?


In a lot of ways, yes, but not in every way.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting Levi32:


Between the last 2 vort fixes the motion was southwest at 4mph.
Yes. But the NHC said 7mph.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
I wish I had a pocket reference to all the (stable) sources of imagery and especially data people pull into this blog. I'd like to aggregate and automate tracking these storms. Hitting refresh every five seconds on this blog is... addictive but not very productive. :)
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Quoting Joanie38:


THAT IS MY THOUGHT exactly..I am wondering though if the trough is gonna pull Alex north or not....
Don't know for sure but the area with the highest chance of Alex making landfall there are northern Mexico and southern Texas.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
last comment for tonight Alex is being affected by the dry air to nw and shear it's weaker than expected it's going west, where's the crow.
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2751. IKE
Quoting btwntx08:

still its slowly shifting north only 2.4 n to the border


I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for you to get your hit you want.
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2750. scott39
Is the ECMWF the King of all models?
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2749. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Oh. Well current motion is stationary while the 12 hour motion is 7mph.


Between the last 2 vort fixes the motion was southwest at 4mph.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
You do not use SSD labels because they are outdated. When looking for that information look at the FTP site.

Link
Oh my bad. Yeah, upper level low Gro.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2747. Levi32
Recon getting closer to the center again.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280243
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 37 20100628
023400 1956N 09202W 9251 00675 9996 +210 +181 056025 025 029 000 00
023430 1955N 09201W 9248 00679 9995 +210 +181 056025 026 030 000 00
023500 1953N 09200W 9250 00676 9994 +209 +181 058025 026 031 000 03
023530 1952N 09159W 9246 00678 9994 +210 +181 059025 027 031 000 03
023600 1951N 09157W 9244 00679 9992 +210 +181 055026 027 032 000 03
023630 1950N 09156W 9242 00681 9992 +206 +181 051026 027 032 002 00
023700 1949N 09155W 9250 00672 9992 +205 +181 053027 028 032 002 00
023730 1948N 09154W 9253 00670 9992 +200 +179 055027 028 031 002 00
023800 1947N 09153W 9253 00668 9990 +205 +177 058027 027 032 000 03
023830 1946N 09152W 9251 00669 9989 +205 +174 056026 026 032 000 00
023900 1945N 09151W 9254 00665 9989 +207 +173 057025 026 031 000 00
023930 1944N 09149W 9250 00669 9988 +205 +173 055025 026 032 000 00
024000 1943N 09148W 9248 00670 9987 +206 +174 054024 025 032 000 00
024030 1942N 09147W 9250 00668 9986 +205 +175 055026 026 032 000 00
024100 1941N 09146W 9249 00667 9985 +206 +176 054026 026 032 000 00
024130 1939N 09145W 9237 00677 9984 +205 +177 052026 027 031 001 00
024200 1938N 09144W 9251 00663 9983 +205 +178 052027 028 031 001 00
024230 1937N 09142W 9249 00665 9982 +205 +178 052026 027 032 000 00
024300 1936N 09141W 9246 00666 9980 +205 +178 052027 028 033 000 00
024330 1935N 09140W 9245 00665 9978 +205 +178 053027 028 032 000 00
$$
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
2744. IKE
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Um... No.

PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 300 DEGREES AT 7 MPH...11 KM/HR


ALTHOUGH THE 12-HR AVERAGE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 300/6...
SHORTER-TERM FIXES SUGGEST THAT ALEX MAY BE MOVING EVEN SLOWER.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2743. Grothar
Quoting Hurricanes101:


It was, that is the ULL that ate 94L


That sounds so Norwegian!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LOL! Alex is a crazy system and seems to be strengthening quite rapidly. At this rate I think maximum sustained winds at 11PM will be 45 mph and could be a hurricane by tomorrow evening.


THAT IS MY THOUGHT exactly..I am wondering though if the trough is gonna pull Alex north or not....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


Um....yes.

ALTHOUGH THE 12-HR AVERAGE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 300/6...
SHORTER-TERM FIXES SUGGEST THAT ALEX MAY BE MOVING EVEN SLOWER.
Oh. Well current motion is stationary while the 12 hour motion is 7mph.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2740. Levi32
Quoting Grothar:
Look at this! I thought 94L was dropped?

Link


Upper low Gro. There is some 850mb vorticity under the east side of that upper low but chances of development are very low since the upper low isn't backing away the way it was forecasted to.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661

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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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