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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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.
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This is an earlier shot....



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Quoting ryanator:
tropical storm alex reminds me of an old texan i met in a rodeo bar back in '74. strong as anything and just wont leave


Is Alex a TS? On the NHC site it still says Tropical Depression.
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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?
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2283. Patrap
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Quoting Mrs storm X:


Since when has land stopped Alex

I didn't say stop. I said slow down intensification. I believe is moving slowing and if not it will start up soon enough.
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Quoting Levi32:
40-45kt winds being observed with SFMR in the NE quad....no contamination flag.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280123
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 29 20100628
011400 1914N 09104W 9250 00607 9915 216 180 141020 021 029 006 00
011430 1915N 09104W 9247 00612 9923 198 181 149027 031 041 011 00
011500 1917N 09103W 9251 00613 9929 192 178 139030 032 048 013 00
011530 1918N 09103W 9246 00622 9932 201 174 136029 031 037 005 03
011600 1920N 09102W 9249 00623 9938 196 169 138032 032 040 005 00
011630 1921N 09101W 9247 00630 9940 201 166 128034 037 041 006 00
011700 1923N 09100W 9250 00628 9945 190 164 125035 036 042 011 00
011730 1924N 09100W 9245 00635 9949 181 162 117036 039 042 013 00
011800 1926N 09059W 9256 00627 9951 185 159 116035 036 044 007 00
011830 1927N 09058W 9250 00633 9951 197 156 115036 037 040 004 00
011900 1928N 09058W 9251 00635 9953 200 155 118039 041 040 002 00
011930 1930N 09057W 9252 00637 9955 200 155 115041 042 040 002 00
012000 1931N 09056W 9248 00643 9957 205 156 117037 038 039 002 00
012030 1933N 09056W 9250 00643 9959 206 157 116037 037 038 000 00
012100 1934N 09055W 9246 00649 9961 205 159 115037 039 039 000 00
012130 1936N 09054W 9247 00649 9962 208 162 115038 039 038 002 00
012200 1937N 09054W 9248 00649 9964 204 164 119039 040 036 003 00
012230 1938N 09053W 9250 00650 9968 200 164 119039 040 036 004 00
012300 1940N 09052W 9247 00654 9969 201 164 119039 039 035 002 00
012330 1941N 09051W 9253 00650 9970 202 163 118037 038 035 000 00
$$
I was about to post it. So, a 50mph system with a pressure of 990.7mb now.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2278. Grothar
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Lol. Here they are Gro.

990-999mb steering. Continued WNW/NW motion is expected.



Thanks 09. But when is it going to move?
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Some lightning near Alex's core, but not a whole lot. Enough to indicate strengthening, as if anyone didn't know that already.

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2276. JLPR2
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
LoL.Just like last year ana formed a heart out of convection when it was still over africa.


ah, anyone got a picture of that? I missed that XD
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Quoting ryanator:
Swlagirl-
i truly do think that this storm is coming right up through the gulf. not only is there a chance of your home getting uprooted. you will mostlikely have your hometown covered in oil!!!1



..... and what proof do you have of this nonsense?
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Have anyone's forecasts changed? I know that I'm still sold at South Texas, especially since the models have not really moved somewhat in the last model run.
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tropical storm alex reminds me of an old texan i met in a rodeo bar back in '74. strong as anything and just wont leave
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2271. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129841
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
And when a storm slows down that means more intensification.

Could mean a change in direction... hence the more nw, nnw motion.
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Quoting JLPR2:


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


ROFL!!! That is funny!! I am so laughing!! LOOK at that thing!! Looks like it might be a strong one once it hits the Atlantic!
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i sure that all most like like a eye wall starting

Quoting BahaHurican:
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Quoting JLPR2:


Closing in to the coast and it seems it wants to be Bonnie, it even formed a B with convection LOL!
yikes! LMAO
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2264. Levi32
40-45kt winds being observed with SFMR in the NE quad....no contamination flag.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280123
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 29 20100628
011400 1914N 09104W 9250 00607 9915 216 180 141020 021 029 006 00
011430 1915N 09104W 9247 00612 9923 198 181 149027 031 041 011 00
011500 1917N 09103W 9251 00613 9929 192 178 139030 032 048 013 00
011530 1918N 09103W 9246 00622 9932 201 174 136029 031 037 005 03
011600 1920N 09102W 9249 00623 9938 196 169 138032 032 040 005 00
011630 1921N 09101W 9247 00630 9940 201 166 128034 037 041 006 00
011700 1923N 09100W 9250 00628 9945 190 164 125035 036 042 011 00
011730 1924N 09100W 9245 00635 9949 181 162 117036 039 042 013 00
011800 1926N 09059W 9256 00627 9951 185 159 116035 036 044 007 00
011830 1927N 09058W 9250 00633 9951 197 156 115036 037 040 004 00
011900 1928N 09058W 9251 00635 9953 200 155 118039 041 040 002 00
011930 1930N 09057W 9252 00637 9955 200 155 115041 042 040 002 00
012000 1931N 09056W 9248 00643 9957 205 156 117037 038 039 002 00
012030 1933N 09056W 9250 00643 9959 206 157 116037 037 038 000 00
012100 1934N 09055W 9246 00649 9961 205 159 115037 039 039 000 00
012130 1936N 09054W 9247 00649 9962 208 162 115038 039 038 002 00
012200 1937N 09054W 9248 00649 9964 204 164 119039 040 036 003 00
012230 1938N 09053W 9250 00650 9968 200 164 119039 040 036 004 00
012300 1940N 09052W 9247 00654 9969 201 164 119039 039 035 002 00
012330 1941N 09051W 9253 00650 9970 202 163 118037 038 035 000 00
$$
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Its definitely Stationary or close to it, if Alex is going to go North now is the opportune time.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
The winds are lagging the pressure. This is a classic example of that phenomena. It will probably take another 3 hours or so for the winds to respond, maybe a little longer given the proximity to land.
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2261. IKE
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
more northerly than we think


You think Alex is heading north? Or will be?
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:
No its the extraploated surface pressure.


Wow, that is 10 mb drop since the 5 PM advisory. Could it be that Alex is beginning to strengthen briskly?

Again, I reiterate I feel 50% this will be a major hurricane. Its got great outflow, low shear, warm SSTs, and a tight center.
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Wow. At least another hour before we hear what NHC has to say about Alex.....
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2258. Levi32
000
URNT12 KNHC 280123
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 28/01:12:30Z
B. 19 deg 10 min N
091 deg 08 min W
C. 925 mb 603 m
D. 37 kt
E. 259 deg 34 nm
F. 344 deg 30 kt
G. 257 deg 39 nm
H. EXTRAP 991 mb
I. 21 C / 763 m
J. 23 C / 761 m
K. 17 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 12345 / 9
O. 0.02 / 4 nm
P. AF304 0401A ALEX OB 09
MAX FL WIND 42 KT N QUAD 23:19:50Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB
;
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
more northerly than we think
Well many models predicted a NNW direction right after it emerges off the Yucatan. I think we could see that starting to happen. It may then bend back WNW.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
It won't.

but if it did?
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Quoting Clearwater1:
If it is stationary, that may slow down any intensification, being so close to land.


Since when has land stopped Alex
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
2253. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
I think its slowing down for two reasons: tightening up of the center it seems, and a potential change in direction with a more northerly component coming.
more northerly than we think
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56059
2251. JLPR2


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


They are scheduled untill 2 AM EDT


I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM ALEX
FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70
A. 28/0000, 0600Z
B. AFXXX 0401A ALEX
C. 27/2100Z
D. 20.5N 91.0W
E. 27/2300Z TO 28/0600Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
Damn! Nice, thanks nrt.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting superweatherman:

but if it did?
It won't.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting StormW:


LMAO Taz! Yeah, she's finally getting her revenge!


yup
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
2247. Mikla
Good size for a TS...
Member Since: October 13, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 305
Quoting Mikla:
Alex w/ models...


Good evening!

If you cut a mean through the models, Brownsville TX is under the gun.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I wish recon would continue to investigate the COC, I'm sure they are going to leave after the next vortex message is issued.


They are scheduled untill 2 AM EDT


I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM ALEX
FLIGHT ONE - TEAL 70
A. 28/0000, 0600Z
B. AFXXX 0401A ALEX
C. 27/2100Z
D. 20.5N 91.0W
E. 27/2300Z TO 28/0600Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
And when a storm slows down that means more intensification.
Well not necessarily. Its too close to land, and it could upwell cooler waters.
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Quoting superweatherman:
StormW or Weather456...What will happen if by tomorrow night it jump from tropical Storm to a Cat 2 hurricane? Will it go more north?... Just by looking at it... it is looking that maybe in forecast track for right know it is following the NHC but I think in strength it has the potential to blow up fast.



General question:

Does a hurricane move differently in association with its various steering currents as say, a TS or Cat 1 storm, or a Cat 3 or Cat 4 storm?

Does it become more unpredictable?

Does it become more keyed on steering currents?

Just interested in general.
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Quoting StormW:


I don't think it will ramp up that quick...has to get away from land more.

but if it did?
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I'm not liking how we had 2 majors in the Eastern Pacific recently. That energy pulse seems to be moving right towards Alex, as the cyclone sits under an anti-cyclone. No way, no how, no like.
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


No, its barely moving, in fact, its possible that Alex is stationary.
If it is stationary, that may slow down any intensification, being so close to land.
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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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