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 louisianaboy444:


Slowing down....wobbles to the north...you know what that means..Something is tugging this thing North or trying to anyway i think we are witnessing the beginning of the fight between the ridge and the trough
I agree interesting times ahead
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Slowing down....wobbles to the north...you know what that means..Something is tugging this thing North or trying to anyway i think we are witnessing the beginning of the fight between the ridge and the trough


YES..but its beginning to look more like a Brownville landfall
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I'm out too goodnight everyone...be back here when I wake up....and get my coffee...LOL!!
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
I see nnw movement


Slowing down....wobbles to the north...you know what that means..Something is tugging this thing North or trying to anyway i think we are witnessing the beginning of the fight between the ridge and the trough
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3533. xcool





NEW
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting xcool:
Joanie38 I do not see ANY westward movement!!
I see nnw movement
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Quoting xcool:
Joanie38 I do not see ANY westward movement!LOL ;0!



thats WHAT i SAID...no WESTERN MOVEMENT! LOL!!!
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3529. xcool
Joanie38 I do not see ANY westward movement!LOL ;0!
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Joanie38:


I do??? WHY?
Hes joking
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3527. xcool
ROB TELL KID YOU STOP MAKE SOUND IN MY BEDROOM


LMAO
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting xcool:
Link


ROB HERE

omg here too wth
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Quoting xcool:
Joanie38 YOU NEED GLASS LOL


I do??? WHY?
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Hello,

Well hard to say where is going, But GFS is one maybe the best serious model with European. So we have to wait i think next 24 hours will see.
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Looks like the EURO went north, not to Texas, but northern Mexico.
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3521. SykKid
Quoting sarahjola:
i agree with nne. maybe not at moment but its coming soon. imo. is it possible that the coc can relocate?


Who knows what he's up to. I don't see any E movement. Looks to be very slowing going NNW to me.
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Quoting emguy:
Yeah, no relocate of center going on (I like crow deeply fried with a light dipping sauch to preserve the flavor. LOL!)

Alex pretty much stationary still based on t-storm evolution over last hour plus the outflow blowoff factor. Maybe a slight drift north by a very few miles (we can walk farther in that time). Otherwise, looks like he's just chillin' in place.

P.S. Not that I wish for hurricanes or anything, but movement is so easier to judge at night with a nice, clear established eye in a strong system. On forward motion, I'd prefer to guess my best with this one.

i don't know if that was directed to the question i asked, but thanks for info.:)i have been asking that question for a while now and no answer from anybody. i'm sure people are to busy to answer my silly questions:)
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Yep i think its feeling the trough right now with the movement to the nw/nnw right now


That's what I thought..thank you alexhurricane1991..:)
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3518. xcool
Joanie38 YOU NEED GLASS LOL
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
3365 texascoastres "I fear the hit will be between Matagorda Bay and Galveston."

That's what GFS@132hours said yesterday that got the NHC all excited.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


I think NW would be generous...i'm having a hard time seeing any Westward movement at all


I do not see ANY westward movement!!
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3515. xcool
Link


ROB HERE
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Joanie38:
Can anyone tell if Alex is feeling the pull of the trough??
Yep i think its feeling the trough right now with the movement to the nw/nnw right now
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Quoting alexhurricane1991:
Hello joanie38


Hello alexhurricane1991..:)
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Can anyone tell if Alex is feeling the pull of the trough??
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Quoting Joanie38:


UT OH....gaining strength?? Moving SLOWLY NW??


I think NW would be generous...i'm having a hard time seeing any Westward movement at all..in the last 2 or 3 frames it looks to speed up a bit in almost a Due North heading (345-355) interesting to see if this is a trend
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Quoting Joanie38:


Hello Global.... :)
Hello joanie38
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Quoting xcool:
00z UKMET MOVE N TO

to where??lol
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Quoting GlobalWarming:
hey there, alex! welcome back, stranger. how you've been? lol, :).


Hello Global.... :)
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
Link

Go here and Click on the top Left GOES 4KM Visible..the flash loop and tell me what you see....
I see alex moving ever so slightly to the northwest.
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3506. xcool
Joanie38 :)
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
3505. emguy
Yeah, no relocate of center going on (I like crow deeply fried with a light dipping sauch to preserve the flavor. LOL!)

Alex pretty much stationary still based on t-storm evolution over last hour plus the outflow blowoff factor. Maybe a slight drift north by a very few miles (we can walk farther in that time). Otherwise, looks like he's just chillin' in place.

P.S. Not that I wish for hurricanes or anything, but movement is so easier to judge at night with a nice, clear established eye in a strong system. On forward motion, I'd prefer to guess my best with this one.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
Link

Go here and Click on the top Left GOES 4KM Visible..the flash loop and tell me what you see....


UT OH....gaining strength?? Moving SLOWLY NW??
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3502. xcool
game on now he go move now .beginning to change hmmm
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Link

Go here and Click on the top Left GOES 4KM Visible..the flash loop and tell me what you see....
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Quoting SykKid:
Alex looks to be moving to the NW or NNW very,very slowly. Could just be a wobble.
I agree but i think its starting to move now but as you said very slowly.
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Quoting xcool:
00z UKMET MOVE N TO


Ummm xcool, did ya forget to post links??? LOL!!! :):)
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3498. xcool
WEATHERTAP Enhanced Water Vapor Satellite UPDATE FAST .
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
G'nite everyone. Going back into lurkdom. Too many sharks in these waters. :(
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Mexico to the texas/louisiana border need to watch this storm carefully this is a complex storm who knows whats going to happen.
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3495. SykKid
Alex looks to be moving to the NW or NNW very,very slowly. Could just be a wobble.
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3494. xcool
alex HI
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
i agree with nne. maybe not at moment but its coming soon. imo. is it possible that the coc can relocate?
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3492. xcool
00z UKMET MOVE N TO
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
3491. xcool
louisianaboy444 .YOU SO RIGTH
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
I see alex is starting to move ever so slightly to the nw/nnw at this hour in my opinion.
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Alex is moving Due NNW or N if hes even moving at all IMO
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3488. xcool
definately moving NW
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684

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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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