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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990.7 mb
(~ 29.26 inHg)
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24574
2186. angiest
Quoting TampaSpin:


HOnestly i believe Alex is heading to North Texas and possbily even Louisiana. Been saying it since 12am last nite. Look how the trough is so far south and half way through Mexico......if it continues which i believe it will....its going North and possibly NE latter.



North Texas? He is going to Dallas?
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991mb center...yikes.
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2183. ATL
Quoting Tazmanian:
i see a pinehole eye


wait i get my spay out and spay it

Correct term would be neuter since our storm's a boy...lol
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Expect yet another vortex message.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Just curious.. but did Alex stumble south or something?

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2180. guygee
Quoting louisianaweatherguy:


I'm pretty the last coordinates were 19.2 90.9 NOT 91.1... you making up your own coordinates? lol
Nope:
URNT12 KNHC 280025
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 27/23:45:00Z
B. 19 deg 13 min N 091 deg 06 min W
[...]
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Even though you cleared that up expect to see more comments on a pinhole eye.


By pinheads LOL
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:



Models



Thank you very much..:)
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
01:12:30Z 19.167N 91.133W 925.0 mb
(~ 27.32 inHg) 602 meters
(~ 1,975 feet) 990.7 mb
(~ 29.26 inHg) - From 87° at 3 knots
(From the E at ~ 3.4 mph) 22.6°C
(~ 72.7°F) 17.4°C
(~ 63.3°F) 5 knots
(~ 5.8 mph) 23 knots
(~ 26.4 mph) 4 mm/hr
(~ 0.16 in/hr) 13.8 knots (~ 15.9 mph)
460.0%




990mbs??
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Is it just me but this storm sure looks impressive on satellite right now!!
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Quoting LPStormspotter:
Hey Storm & Tampa

You guys answered alot of my questioms b4 Ike landfall... so im hearing that Alex may come to the upper TX coast, What are yall thoughts on that?


HOnestly i believe Alex is heading to North Texas and possbily even Louisiana. Been saying it since 12am last nite. Look how the trough is so far south and half way through Mexico......if it continues which i believe it will....its going North and possibly NE latter.

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I say its a major and it will be so quickly and onece its built up its headed for Tampaspins House!! I called it 4 days ago and Im sticking by that!
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990.7 if not already mentioned
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
I'd be wary of calling that thing an eye right now, that's just interlocking bands of convection begining to fire around the tight center. You can't go from TD to hurricane in only six hours.

But, Alex I still think has a 50% chance of becoming a major hurricane. Its got 4 out of 4 things going for rapid intensification:
1) Tight center
2) Warm SSTs
3) Enhanced Outlfow
4) Low Shear
Once a persistent central dense overcast gets over that center, I would increase that chance.
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I will put some money down on Mexico or Texas landing. :)
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01:12:30Z 19.167N 91.133W 925.0 mb
(~ 27.32 inHg) 602 meters
(~ 1,975 feet) 990.7 mb
(~ 29.26 inHg) - From 87° at 3 knots
(From the E at ~ 3.4 mph) 22.6°C
(~ 72.7°F) 17.4°C
(~ 63.3°F) 5 knots
(~ 5.8 mph) 23 knots
(~ 26.4 mph) 4 mm/hr
(~ 0.16 in/hr) 13.8 knots (~ 15.9 mph)
460.0%
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2168. ATL
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ok, let me clear this up.

THERE IS NO EYE.

Right. For some of the newer members sometimes we joke around about a storm having a "pinhole" eye or just a regular eye just to mess with people.
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2167. USSINS
Quoting CosmicEvents:
After that data gets incorporated into the models, in addition to seeing how the cyclone progresses tomorrow.... we should have an accurate consensus(hopefully) model output.


Exactly, Cosmic. Data from the dropsondes and observations are as close as we can get to "real" time.
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i see a pinehole eye


wait i get my spay out and spay it
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
After looking at the 18z gfs, it freaking looks like the models are honing in on a louisiana landfall. i hope they evacuate those oil rigs now if they haven't already. bc it is looking more and more likely that a major hurricane will be bearing down on them. Just mho.
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Quoting Joanie38:


Link plz?? :)


Models

BAMS, BAMM, BAMD, CLP5, CMC nothin in Mexico

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They're already down to 990.7 again.
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Quoting Dakster:


I know... It was a joke, meaning that Hurricanes are "male" or "female" because WE name them that way... Not because they actually are male or female...


My bad didn't pick up on that. Running on 4 hours of sleep today.. :)
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Nope. No eye. No chance of an eye until we get a CDO. The convection-free area isn't even at the center of circulation.
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Alex intensified slightly. Now the minimum pressure is at 990.7mb.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2158. Levi32
990.7mb at the center.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280113
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 28 20100628
010400 1905N 09135W 9247 00655 9966 +210 +162 356027 028 025 000 00
010430 1905N 09134W 9243 00656 9967 +202 +163 349028 028 028 004 00
010500 1905N 09132W 9258 00639 9964 +204 +164 357028 029 029 000 00
010530 1906N 09130W 9248 00648 9961 +207 +164 356029 030 030 001 00
010600 1906N 09129W 9250 00644 9958 +210 +164 354029 029 031 001 00
010630 1906N 09127W 9249 00643 9956 +208 +166 357028 029 032 006 00
010700 1906N 09126W 9249 00640 9953 +205 +166 360027 028 033 006 00
010730 1907N 09124W 9248 00638 9949 +210 +166 354026 026 033 005 00
010800 1907N 09122W 9249 00633 9945 +212 +165 352025 025 031 001 00
010830 1907N 09121W 9249 00626 9936 +213 +166 351026 027 031 001 00
010900 1907N 09119W 9248 00622 9931 +215 +168 349027 029 034 004 00
010930 1908N 09117W 9250 00614 9925 +215 +169 344026 026 035 004 00
011000 1908N 09116W 9248 00614 9919 +224 +170 346022 023 032 003 00
011030 1908N 09114W 9247 00611 9916 +223 +171 342015 017 024 003 00
011100 1908N 09112W 9250 00606 9914 +219 +172 339010 012 022 005 03
011130 1909N 09111W 9248 00607 9912 +220 +172 349008 009 021 007 00
011200 1909N 09109W 9249 00604 9910 +221 +173 353004 006 020 002 00
011230 1910N 09108W 9250 00602 9907 +226 +174 087003 005 023 004 00
011300 1911N 09106W 9248 00604 9909 +223 +176 153010 013 023 001 03
011330 1912N 09105W 9249 00606 9912 +220 +178 142016 018 024 002 03
$$
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
2157. JLPR2
Quoting jpsb:
Hurricanes are female, random senseless destruction, female.


I guess we are the depressions then? XD
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Quoting ATL:

For the next several hours land interaction will hold him back...but after it gets a little further out to sea things will get interesting.



yuper
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
Recon going right into the center. Let's see what type of pressures they find.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


just saying you can't throw it out. All the 0Z models have shifted even more north.


Which ones....you gotta give me links bro lol
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Quoting jpsb:
Hurricanes are female, random senseless destruction, female.

Muahahaha!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240
Quoting ATL:

For the next several hours land interaction will hold him back...but after it gets a little further out to sea things will get interesting.


Ok, he strengthened while he was OVER land, what makes you think that being CLOSE to land will hold him back, haha.
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2151. RJT185
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I'm tired of the pinhole eye comments.Its not even a hurricane folks.


Ditto.
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Hey LPStormspotter....Shoreacres here. Please don't bring up I'ke's name.

Too early to tell, but I'm thinking Corpus to Victoria. Ridge of high pressure builds back in in time to make the westward turn, just later than currently forecast. We'd get some squally weather and much needed rain.
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Alex has major hurricane written all over it.No hyping here folks.I have facts to back it up.

Moist envierment

Warm sst

low wind shear.

What more could a storm ask for??




a beer
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
2148. Levi32
Grothar....weren't you the one telling me "family blog Levi, family blog!!" ? Lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting SouthDadeFish:
Pretty amazing that Alex pulled off 991mb after a day over land. Its massive circulation is really helpin this thing. Firing convection already right over the center. Will be a very interesting night!! Can't believe this is June.


Wild right?
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Storm....
I was just watching a video about the oil and it made me start worrying about Alex going to it.... :(
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Looking at that satelite picture of Alex makes me want ice cream and cool WHip.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ok, let me clear this up.

THERE IS NO EYE.


Thank you!
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2142. ATL
Quoting Tazmanian:



thats bad news it could be come a vary power hurricane

For the next several hours land interaction will hold him back...but after it gets a little further out to sea things will get interesting.
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Quoting jpsb:
Hurricanes are female, random senseless destruction, female.


LOL
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Ok, let me clear this up.

THERE IS NO EYE.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


just saying you can't throw it out. All the 0Z models have shifted even more north.


Link plz?? :)
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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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