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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Sorry got to post this...did you all see BP bought 32 of those Kevin Kostner machines and one machine can sort 210,000 gallons a day. Dude that is almost 6 million a day if all 32 are deployed. What are they waiting for? Oh yea BP to send the check according to the article I just read. Man that coudl help out a ton. Hope they work but they did just get approved.
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Quoting Snowlover123:


I think that we can throw away the BAMD model.



For now Yes but, we might need the BAMD later but, lets hope not.
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Regardless of what the NHC says the max sustained winds are, it has no impact upon Alex's development. He can't hear what the NHC says :~)
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Devastating if this thing turned N then NE over the oil spill and plowed into Florida panhandle, like a Opal
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2434. Mikla
Wider view Water Vapor...

Wider view 850 hPa Relative Vorticity...
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Don't you get it globalwarming????.If you have notice people are ignoring you.


Lol, and not everyone agrees with his username either. :P
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Quoting Levi32:


You're highlighting flight-level winds. SFMR surface winds are the next column over.


That's true, but RECON did find a 50.6 mph surface level wind.
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Quoting Levi32:


You're highlighting flight-level winds. SFMR surface winds are the next column over.
Fixed now.
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So levi, taking the late takeoff from the Yucatan into account, what's your take on potential model shifts / directional changes?
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Quoting Levi32:


You're highlighting flight-level winds. SFMR surface winds are the next column over.
Damn! Lol, how did I mess that one up?
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2426. Levi32
Quoting lopaka001:
Is Storm or Levi still here?


Storm just left. I'm here for a bit.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting MrstormX:
Nice GOES 13 IR, Project Science shot.




even that is showing a closed eye wall
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
2424. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
SFMR winds of 46 knots. Alex should be a 50mph system at 11PM. By the way, they are uncontaminated.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280143
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 31 20100628
013400 2012N 09037W 9250 00673 9994 +200 +171 116041 042 029 004 00
013430 2013N 09036W 9250 00674 9995 +203 +172 117039 040 030 001 03
013500 2015N 09037W 9242 00682 9997 +199 +172 114039 040 999 999 03
013530 2015N 09038W 9248 00675 9994 +205 +172 116039 040 034 000 03
013600 2015N 09040W 9255 00668 9993 +205 +172 114041 041 034 000 03
013630 2016N 09042W 9245 00677 9993 +205 +173 111041 042 035 001 00
013700 2017N 09044W 9250 00672 9992 +205 +174 111040 041 036 000 00
013730 2017N 09046W 9248 00675 9991 +206 +175 110041 042 037 000 00
013800 2018N 09048W 9248 00674 9991 +205 +176 109042 043 037 002 00
013830 2018N 09050W 9254 00668 9991 +205 +177 108043 043 036 000 00
013900 2018N 09052W 9248 00673 9991 +205 +178 106044 045 035 000 03
013930 2019N 09054W 9250 00671 9990 +207 +179 106046 046 035 001 00
014000 2019N 09056W 9252 00670 9989 +209 +180 106045 046 034 002 00
014030 2020N 09058W 9248 00673 9988 +212 +180 105042 044 035 000 00
014100 2020N 09100W 9246 00674 9988 +215 +181 104041 041 034 000 03
014130 2021N 09102W 9250 00670 9988 +215 +182 102040 040 033 000 00
014200 2021N 09104W 9250 00671 9988 +213 +183 101041 041 032 000 03
014230 2022N 09106W 9249 00671 9987 +214 +184 102040 041 033 001 00
014300 2022N 09108W 9251 00670 9988 +215 +184 101039 039 034 000 00
014330 2023N 09110W 9245 00675 9988 +215 +185 100040 040 032 002 00
$$
;


You're highlighting flight-level winds. SFMR surface winds are the next column over.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
2423. leo305
@levi

What's going to make it go NE once it's over land? If it slows down right now.. wouldn't that NE turn come earlier?
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Nice GOES 13 IR, Project Science shot.

Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
I see some frequent posters really jumping the gun on somethings, come on guys, settle down..... We all know that is not an eye, eye wall, or even the coc, thats just a dry slot....eyes form in the middle of a very intense CDO, a CDO never forms around an eye..... and assuming alex is going through rapid intensification and will be a cat 2-3 in the morning like a lot of people are claiming is silly, yes it's having a nice convective burst but it there is NO evidence of rapid intensification right now and Alex should not be going through rapid intensification due to an assortment of reasons, can and should it be having convective bursts? yes, rapid intensification right this second? no.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
lol.....a word that one hears only during hurricane season, and not a welcome one most times.


Unless you are a college student visiting the European continent during summer vacation !
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
2417. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
01L/TS/A/CX
MARK
18.9N/91.7W
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It's a deep trough no doubt that Alex is starting to feel it. The heavy weather that hit us here in south Louisiana a few hours ago came up from the gulf. A local met said it was energy from an out band of Alex. That band is still headed north right into the trough. In fact tons of moisture from the outer band in the gulf is getting sucked into the trough. The High is weakening. He is going north.

Quoting P451:
Rick Leventhal
New York, NY



Giant Oil Slick Headed For Grand Isle
June 27, 2010 - 4:33 PM | by: Rick Leventhal

A government official says it's the first major threat to Grand Isle, Louisiana in three weeks. A massive oil slick, described as "a tremendous plume" by the official, on a direct course to hit the Gulf Coast in 24-48 hours.

The slick, photographed by a Fox Cameraman aboard a chartered helicopter, is 20 miles out in the Gulf but headed towards land. It's said to be 32 miles long and several miles wide, with "fingers" of thick crude stretching in different directions both at sea level and below.

The slick may be broken up by chemical dispersants dropped from planes, but the layers of defenses established by BP and government officials, including containment boom, barges and skimmer ships may not be enough to keep the oil from reaching land.

It's expected to make impact by Monday night or Tuesday morning.
Quoting TampaSpin:
Alex is already feeling the Trough.....LOOK WHERE he is pointing too.....Louisiana!!!! Look how the Clouds are also blowing from the trough......its going North and maybe even NE!!

Hang me if am wrong....but just be gentle when you do!



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2414. twooks
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/tatl/flash-wv.html


What I see on the WV is Alex trying to go NE, but the ridge not letting it get anywhere. I could be looking at it wrong, but that's what looks like to me when I look at the WV loop.

Also that front looks beastly...

Comments on what I see or don't see. Is it just a dream XD?
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Is Storm or Levi still here?
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I was talking about the weather channel.
I know. If the 5PM advisory says 999mb why would TWC say otherwise?
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Quoting Levi32:
What's interesting is that not a single model has showed a motion this slow upon exiting the Yucatan. The NHC's next forecast point for 6z is 64 miles away from Alex's current position, and it has 4 hours to get there. That means he needs a speed of 16mph to make the deadline of the forecast, and he's currently moving at a quarter of that.

The only thing I can see that might cause this stalling and slight SW drift is the Yucatan's frictional effects holding onto Alex and not wanting to let him go. A SW drift would be the appropriate motion in such a case. Perhaps Alex will suddenly break away at some point tonight and resume a faster NW course. For now, he is behind everybody's schedule.



I think that we can throw away the BAMD model.
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
2410. angiest
Quoting truecajun:


why arent they burning more?


Burning oil is bad for the environment.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Whatever recon finds is what the NHC will issue in their advisory regardless of them being "conservative".


Yup, they're only "conservative" if a recon has not gone out there, like in Alex's early stages when it was a 40-45 mph system, but once a recon actually got up there, they let all their "conservativeness" fly away and upped it straight to 65 mph. Right now there is a a recon out there, so whatever is there on the latest vortex at that time will likely be on the 11PM EDT advisory.
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Flight level winds of 46 knots. Alex should be a 40mph system at 11PM. By the way, they are uncontaminated.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280143
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 31 20100628
013400 2012N 09037W 9250 00673 9994 200 171 116041 042 029 004 00
013430 2013N 09036W 9250 00674 9995 203 172 117039 040 030 001 03
013500 2015N 09037W 9242 00682 9997 199 172 114039 040 999 999 03
013530 2015N 09038W 9248 00675 9994 205 172 116039 040 034 000 03
013600 2015N 09040W 9255 00668 9993 205 172 114041 041 034 000 03
013630 2016N 09042W 9245 00677 9993 205 173 111041 042 035 001 00
013700 2017N 09044W 9250 00672 9992 205 174 111040 041 036 000 00
013730 2017N 09046W 9248 00675 9991 206 175 110041 042 037 000 00
013800 2018N 09048W 9248 00674 9991 205 176 109042 043 037 002 00
013830 2018N 09050W 9254 00668 9991 205 177 108043 043 036 000 00
013900 2018N 09052W 9248 00673 9991 205 178 106044 045 035 000 03
013930 2019N 09054W 9250 00671 9990 207 179 106046 046 035 001 00
014000 2019N 09056W 9252 00670 9989 209 180 106045 046 034 002 00
014030 2020N 09058W 9248 00673 9988 212 180 105042 044 035 000 00
014100 2020N 09100W 9246 00674 9988 215 181 104041 041 034 000 03
014130 2021N 09102W 9250 00670 9988 215 182 102040 040 033 000 00
014200 2021N 09104W 9250 00671 9988 213 183 101041 041 032 000 03
014230 2022N 09106W 9249 00671 9987 214 184 102040 041 033 001 00
014300 2022N 09108W 9251 00670 9988 215 184 101039 039 034 000 00
014330 2023N 09110W 9245 00675 9988 215 185 100040 040 032 002 00
$$
;
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Quoting kmanislander:


Meandering
lol.....a word that one hears only during hurricane season, and not a welcome one most times.
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2406. xcool
TampaSpin /anytime
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I would be nice if this product wasn't broken. I see cloud contamination all over, and the E Pac, well, that's clearly not correct.

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Quoting Tazmanian:



you mean the cone of DOOM



sorry, sorry, yes the new cone of DOOOM!!!!!!!!! haha thoughts?? :P
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nite storm. i'm signing off too. i have to get these crazy little people to bed. the more tired they are, the more nutty they act. Ahhhhhh!
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Quoting wxvoyeur:
Long time lurker, noob member.

Any of you recall a system prior to Alex developing from a monsoonal type origin in the Atlantic basin?
Wilma.
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2401. Levi32
What's interesting is that not a single model has showed a motion this slow upon exiting the Yucatan. The NHC's next forecast point for 6z is 64 miles away from Alex's current position, and it has 4 hours to get there. That means he needs a speed of 16mph to make the deadline of the forecast, and he's currently moving at a quarter of that.

The only thing I can see that might cause this stalling and slight SW drift is the Yucatan's frictional effects holding onto Alex and not wanting to let him go. A SW drift would be the appropriate motion in such a case. Perhaps Alex will suddenly break away at some point tonight and resume a faster NW course. For now, he is behind everybody's schedule.



Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
Quoting jasoniscoolman09:




i think we have a closed eye wall
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
T-minus less than 1 hour till the new cone of error. thoughts? latitude of landfall?



you mean the cone of DOOM
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115244
Quoting StormW:
Good night all! 5:00 a.m. comes early.


awww Night storm! Got your Irish Joe waiting for you and posted in your blog!
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2393. CCkid00
Quoting Dakster:


If the CMC verifies and Alex hits LA, Alex will turn your power off for you...


ROFL!!!
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Long time lurker, noob member.

Any of you recall a system prior to Alex developing from a monsoonal type origin in the Atlantic basin?
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T-minus less than 1 hour till the new cone of error. thoughts? latitude of landfall?
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Quoting floridaT:
lol TWC is reporting pressure as 999mb
That's because they only hire parrots and ad salespersons.
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Quoting xcool:
TampaSpin i got you back sir.


And xcool, I got your back.

Look at this!

Looks certainly like it took a jog to the north. Probably an effect from the trough that is quickly closing in on Alex. A landfall in Mexico is becoming increasingly less likely.

Link
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699

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About

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