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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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
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
i know their sad.
??? The 5PM advisory says 999mb, why would they say otherwise?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Recon just had a 53 mph flight level wind reading.
Thats well away from the center..... Weird.
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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!





ROLMFA you crack me up dude
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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.


why arent they burning more?
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Quoting xcool:
TampaSpin i got you back sir.


Thank you very much....you are always a good friend! Thanks!
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Quoting ATL:

I'd still take NHC's conservative bias in account. I say 50-50 between 40mph and 45mph.
Whatever recon finds is what the NHC will issue in their advisory regardless of them being "conservative".
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2379. CCkid00
Quoting Dakster:


If the CMC verifies and Alex hits LA, Alex will turn your power off for you...
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Recon just had a 53 mph flight level wind reading.
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Quoting DellOperator:


ATM...haven't seen you in a while. How ya been? I left Sonora, TX this morning after 3 days of spelunking in west Texas. Subterranean weather is boring but the scenery is breathless.
Hey there!
Yeah, Subterranean weather is a little like San Diego weather...but jealous of your adventures. Expect to do a bit of that later this month in the Great Smokies later this month. Hopefully worth the drive...
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
If recon finds winds of 40 knots or 45 knots they are going to use what recon is showing, not the navy.
We'll see. They really value flight level winds. I would place at 40 knots myself, but thats just me.
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Quoting Levi32:
The 2 vortex messages show a nearly stationary Alex. He moved 4.2 miles towards the southwest between the two fixes which were 50 minutes apart....lol.



Meandering
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2373. JAC737
Well crap. I knew there was a chance it would come my way. I finally got my garden and backyard the way I wanted it. Front yard too. It all looks perfect. That's my number one predictor -- whether or not I spent a zillion bucks on new plants. I live near Galveston.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Pressure will be 991, unless Recon finds something stronger when they check the COC again.


Thats what I think, especially now that the Navy has concurred with recon findings. I seem to recall in the past the nhc hasn't always used the recon data to its full extent.
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Quoting floridaT:
lol TWC is reporting pressure as 999mb
Because thats what the 5pm was.
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
You would think so, but the flight level winds support a 35 knot storm. Usually the Navy has what the NHC issues.
If recon finds winds of 40 knots or 45 knots they are going to use what recon is showing, not the navy.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2368. ATL
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Recon finding winds of 40-45 knots so it is likely that the 11PM advisory would make Alex a stronger storm than 35 knots.

I'd still take NHC's conservative bias in account. I say 50-50 between 40mph and 45mph.
TS or Cat 1 hitting Brownsville, I could handle that. A little wind and rain would be nice, help cool things off here. Cat 2 or higher, we are getting a little nervous about that.
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Look at the graphic i just posted.......Dang the LOw assoicated with the trough is moving SouthEast.
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lol TWC is reporting pressure as 999mb
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Recon finding winds of 40-45 knots so it is likely that the 11PM advisory would make Alex a stronger storm than 35 knots.
You would think so, but the flight level winds support a 35 knot storm. Usually the Navy has what the NHC issues.
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2361. xcool
TampaSpin i got you back sir.
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Quoting atmoaggie:
If the GFS MJO mutterings came true, we'd have 2 more named storms before July 15...and, prolly,at least one CV storm very early.



CFS looks interesting too.

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Quoting MrstormX:


The question is, will the nhc use 991mb or make it higher?
Pressure will be 991, unless Recon finds something stronger when they check the COC again.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Are my eyes bad or did it move almost due N???


Ah ha ha... no. I saw it too. This could possibly validate the CMC model. It looks like due North... or is it a wobble? I can't tell, but it at least wobbled to the north.

Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
2356. amd
Quoting RecordSeason:
Don't be fooled by color enhanced imagery.

The color enhancements add artificially thick boundary lines between structures, and make your eyes see things that aren't there.

Color enhancement is good for visually representing temperature and height of cloud tops, but not for finding the center of a TC.

Look here

The storm is not moving w or sw. It is still moving WNW to NW.


actually according to the latest vortex fix, the storm is temporarily moving to the wsw/sw at roughly 3 mph.

This is probably a wobble as the inner core tries to consolidate, but it definitely lost latitude in the last hour, not gained it.
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2355. Levi32
The 2 vortex messages show a nearly stationary Alex. He moved 4.2 miles towards the southwest between the two fixes which were 50 minutes apart....lol.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Hurricanes101:


vortex has come out, 2 of them in fact
FTP is off. The advisory will likely be different than what the FTP site is showing.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting MrstormX:


The question is, will the nhc use 991mb or make it higher?
They will use 991mb. Recon found that twice. The NHC usually sides with recon data.
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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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Quoting Hurricanes101:


vortex has come out, 2 of them in fact


I meant a new vortex.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Saw that on the radar. Couple of boomers came through up here in Cov. including one as we speak.


ATM...haven't seen you in a while. How ya been? I left Sonora, TX this morning after 3 days of spelunking in west Texas. Subterranean weather is boring but the scenery is breathless.
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If the GFS MJO mutterings came true, we'd have 2 more named storms before July 15...and, prolly,at least one CV storm very early.

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Quoting Stormchaser2007:


The FTP site hasnt either. They wont until a vortex comes out.

AL, 01, 2010062800, , BEST, 0, 192N, 911W, 35, 991, TS, 34,


vortex has come out, 2 of them in fact
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Quoting Patrap:
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop


Are my eyes bad or did it move almost due N???
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Navy says 35 knots 991mb.
Recon finding winds of 40-45 knots so it is likely that the 11PM advisory would make Alex a stronger storm than 35 knots.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting StormW:


I'll take an Irish coffee!

Thanks for going that way!

;) Wish you were here we could have one together! No problem about to read.
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Navy says 35 knots 991mb.


The FTP site has it at 40 mph too. They wont update until a vortex comes out.

AL, 01, 2010062800, , BEST, 0, 192N, 911W, 35, 991, TS, 34,
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Saw that on the radar. Couple of boomers came through up here in Cov. including one as we speak.


hopefully we are done down here. my yard is a pondish at the moment
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Indeed. Should be a 50mph system at 11PM.


The question is, will the nhc use 991mb or make it higher?
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Navy says 35 knots 991mb.



and its not no 35kt storm lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454

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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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