Alex may head north to Texas or Louisiana

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

Share this Blog
5
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 2338 - 2288

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73Blog Index

Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Navy says 35 knots 991mb.



and its not no 35kt storm lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting F4PHANTOM:
Baffin Bay Tx.
Well, Laguna Madre somewhere.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
mark my word it will not go in too MX

I think you might get a surprise... My forecast is a landfall between Tampico and La Pesca.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2335. Patrap
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
Quoting Snowlover123:


For a landfall in the US or not?



yes TX is at Risk
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Navy says 35 knots 991mb.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ryanator:

I agree, it's looking more and more dismal.


For a landfall in the US or not?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting aquak9:
oh no!! LMAO

First it was a shower curtain, now it's frilly kitchen curtains!!!

The newbies always make me laugh so hard...


LOL

Didnt even realize what they were...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2329. Mikla
500-850 hPa (TC MSLP of 990-999 hPA) Steering...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting truecajun:


neat. you'll notice that almost the whole southern part of Louisiana's boot is covered in blue in a few of the frames. I was driving home from NOLA this afternoon in that mess. There was hail, tons of lightning, and so much rain, people were either slowing to 25 or pulling over. I was so afraid my windshield would crack and I'd be struck by lightning. I'm terrified of lightning.

Saw that on the radar. Couple of boomers came through up here in Cov. including one as we speak.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanislander:
45 knots ( 51.7 mph ) uncontaminated surface wind with reduction factor found
Indeed. Should be a 50mph system at 11PM.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Tazmanian:
i think Alex is from wave that what ues too be Karen


lol I think she got a sex change XD
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting atmoaggie:
Some lightning near Alex's core, but not a whole lot. Enough to indicate strengthening, as if anyone didn't know that already.



neat. you'll notice that almost the whole southern part of Louisiana's boot is covered in blue in a few of the frames. I was driving home from NOLA this afternoon in that mess. There was hail, tons of lightning, and so much rain, people were either slowing to 25 or pulling over. I was so afraid my windshield would crack and I'd be struck by lightning. I'm terrified of lightning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Good! This is a good system to further the old education! How are you?


You're telling me! And here I thought I was confident enough to start giving info on hurricanes LOL. This storm is throwing me through a loop I tell you. I think I'll have me some Irish coffee with a side of Valium in the morning. But hey can't complain it's keeping me fascinated watching it. Haven't stopped in your blog today. Was about to head that way.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2321. JRRP
Quoting JLPR2:


Closing in to the coast and it seems it wants to be Bonnie, it even formed a B with convection LOL!

jajaajaaja
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2320. aquak9
oh no!! LMAO

First it was a shower curtain, now it's frilly kitchen curtains!!!

The newbies always make me laugh so hard...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ryanator:

I agree, it's looking more and more dismal.


I wasnt agreeing with you...

lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
45 knots ( 51.7 mph ) uncontaminated surface wind with reduction factor found
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


It could very well be a TS. But, they never update the status of a tropical cyclone every six hours (last advisory issued at 5 PM, next one due at 11 PM). When watches/warnings are in effect (which they aren't now), they increase the frequency of updates to every 3 hours.


10:00 CDT for me
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
mark my word it will not go in too MX
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


For a US landfall?

Yes.

I agree, it's looking more and more dismal.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Snowlover123:

The path is too far west. Alex is taking more of a northerly track, as indicated by models that show it impacting Texas.

Cool! What are its wind speeds?
Up to 50mph. But the likely bet is 45mph.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting JLPR2:


Closing in to the coast and it seems it wants to be Bonnie, it even formed a B with convection LOL!


I saved that in case it actually becomes Bonnie ROFL that's great
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Quoting GaltsGulchCO:
not RI yet without optimal TCHP, but with the current convection blowing up just after full CoC over water, one should be biased toward the most aggressive forecasts and tracks?

Not necessarily. If he builds up windspeed and then stalls or moves slowly for a bit, as a number of model solutions suggest, he could ruin his own SSTs well enough to inhibit.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
i think Alex is from wave that what ues too be Karen


we knew it would come back eventually! lmao

she was running around with no skirt on...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting superweatherman:


So what will it happen if goes to Cat 2 in 24 hours? more north track?
Yes....the quicker it gets stronger the faster it will go norther.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ryanator:
What proof isn't there? the gfs, hwrf, ecmwf, nam, cmc, gfdl, ukmet, and a lot of the others!


For a US landfall?

About half those models call for one. Maybe less.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
A bit off...


The path is too far west. Alex is taking more of a northerly track, as indicated by models that show it impacting Texas.
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Alex is indeed a Tropical Storm.

Cool! What are its wind speeds?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Snowlover123:


Is Alex a TS? On the NHC site it still says Tropical Depression.


It could very well be a TS. But, they never update the status of a tropical cyclone every six hours (last advisory issued at 5 PM, next one due at 11 PM). When watches/warnings are in effect (which they aren't now), they increase the frequency of updates to every 3 hours.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Stormchaser2007:
A bit off...




that sure looks like a closed eye wall to me
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
Quoting JLPR2:


Closing in to the coast and it seems it wants to be Bonnie, it even formed a B with convection LOL!


XD
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Alex is still being finicky or should I say directionally challenged. It's seems to be consolidating itself now that it is offshore. Can't help but notice the little wobble on the most recent pictures. On the other hand, the trough that is supposed to be helping it north is substantial. It's bringing much needed rain to central Texas. That's a treat this time of year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting superweatherman:


So what will it happen if goes to Cat 2 in 24 hours? more north track?
Yes. But it won't happen.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
What proof isn't there? the gfs, hwrf, ecmwf, nam, cmc, gfdl, ukmet, and a lot of the others!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
A bit off...

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I was about to post it. So, a 50mph system with a pressure of 990.7mb now.


So what will it happen if goes to Cat 2 in 24 hours? more north track?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Evening!


Hiya storm! How are things dear? And hi to everyone else.:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Thanks 09. But when is it going to move?
No idea. Looks stationary at the moment, could stay that way for another couple hours.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
you dont have too have a high TCHP for a RI re called CELIA IKE and do i most keep going

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115362
2290. Levi32
Quoting StormW:
MAX FL WIND 42 KT N QUAD 23:19:50Z

32kt surface wind


Except that I don't think the reduction is always as big as 75% in systems this weak.

D. 41 kt

D. 37 kt

Those are the estimated surface winds in the two vortex messages, with plenty of uncontaminated SFMR readings to back them up.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26685
I think these winds are not too far behind the pressure. The system is so massive the pressure-wind correlation will be abnormally lower just as we saw with Ike. Pressures were lower throughout the entire Carib, do to a monsoonal like set-up with Alex. We might get down to 980mb before we see a hurricane.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 2338 - 2288

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73Blog Index

Top of Page

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.