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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2088. USSINS
Quoting WildWillyFL:
Not stirring the pot, but I went to stormpost.com and 8 out of the 10 models were north of NHC, I just thought that it was strange. I live on the Florida coast and beaches and water sports are the reason people live in my community. Our lifestyle is being destroyed. I don't want to be lied too.



Who does? But, that's the way of the world, and you can bet all you have that we've been lied to from the very beginning on this oil gusher deal.
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Where is Alex going......Mexico or Texas?
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Interesting




is that a start of a small eye
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
2085. Grothar
<
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Interesting



PINHOLE EYE?!
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
iam afraid thats too late i see a pull to the ne near shore from s cen mex nne if and when alex catches this flow it can sling shot up and out nne imo the gulf coast should prepare for bad news




yup
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
Quoting kmanislander:


Trying to nail down the track forecast
Nice.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2081. IKE
Buoy 42055 at 22N and 94W....Link


Wind Direction (WDIR): NE ( 40 deg true )
5-day plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 17.5 kts
5-day plot - Wind Gust Wind Gust (GST): 19.4 kts
5-day plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 5.2 ft
5-day plot - Dominant Wave Period Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 7 sec
5-day plot - Average Period Average Period (APD): 4.9 sec
5-day plot - Mean Wave Direction Mean Wave Direction (MWD): ENE ( 75 deg true )
5-day plot - Atmospheric Pressure Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.65 in
5-day plot - Pressure Tendency Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.03 in ( Falling )
5-day plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 84.4 °F
5-day plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 85.6 °F
5-day plot - Dew Point Dew Point (DEWP): 77.4 °F
5-day plot - Heat Index Heat Index (HEAT): 94.8 °F
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2080. Patrap
Quoting kmanislander:


Trying to nail down the track forecast


That will help with the Tuesday Solutions Kman..big time
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
Maybe the wind models are pointing out the shear to the north and the dry air to the nw???
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Interesting

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Not stirring the pot, but I went to stormpost.com and 8 out of the 10 models were north of NHC, I just thought that it was strange. I live on the Florida coast and beaches and water sports are the reason people live in my community. Our lifestyle is being destroyed. I don't want to be lied too.
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2075. Levi32
Busy day tomorrow....they're covering Alex good. Even research flights are being conducted.


ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM ALEX
FLIGHT ONE - NOAA 49
A. 29/0000Z
B. NOAA9 0601A ALEX
C. 28/1730Z..........CORRECTED
D. NA
E. NA
F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT

FLIGHT TWO - TEAL 70
A. 29/0000, 0600Z
B. AFXXX 0701A ALEX
C. 28/2030Z
D. 21.1N 93.4W
E. 28/2300Z TO 29/0600Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT THREE - TEAL 71
A. 29/1200, 1800Z
B. AFXXX 0801A ALEX
C. 29/0845Z
D. 21.8N 94.2W
E. 29/1100Z TO 29/1800Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: CONTINUE 6-HRLY FIXES.
POSSIBLE G-IV FLIGHT FOR 30/0000Z.

3. REMARKS: NOAA 42 WILL BE DOING RESEARCH FLIGHTS INTO
ALEX WITH TAKEOFFS EVERY 12 HRS FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS.
(28/0800Z, 28/2000Z ETC.) OPERATING ALTITUDE 12,000 FT.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Hmm..

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UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 27 JUN 2010 Time : 234500 UTC
Lat : 19:26:32 N Lon : 91:09:22 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.2 / 999.1mb/ 49.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
2.8 2.9 2.9

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +1.5mb

Center Temp : -39.1C Cloud Region Temp : -45.6C

Scene Type : CURVED BAND with 0.50 ARC in LT GRAY
Maximum CURVED BAND with 0.56 ARC in LT GRAY
at Lat: 19:02:24 N Lon: 91:20:59 W

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF
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2072. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting Tazmanian:




shhhhhhhh dont wake Alex up she gets vary mad when you do
iam afraid thats too late i see a pull to the ne near shore from s cen mex nne if and when alex catches this flow it can sling shot up and out nne imo the gulf coast should prepare for bad news
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Quoting Patrap:
G-4 goes wheels up Monday evening

Plan of the Day

000
NOUS42 KNHC 271500 COR
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT SUN 27 JUNE 2010
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 28/1100Z TO 29/1100Z JUNE 2010
TCPOD NUMBER.....10-027 CORRECTION

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM ALEX
FLIGHT ONE - NOAA 49
A. 29/0000Z
B. NOAA9 0601A ALEX
C. 28/1730Z..........CORRECTED
D. NA
E. NA
F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT


Trying to nail down the track forecast. They must be concerned about Alex to be tasking the G-IV this soon.
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Quoting victoriahurricane:
Btw being a relative new person to the blog can someone give me a good place to find a lot of the links you guys are using for everything? I know this is probably a tall order, but if anyone has a place where I can find a bunch of them I'd appreciate it.

Some of them are embedded in pages of links.

The WU tropical page (scroll down): http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/
stormjunkie.com
http://adriansweather.com/
My personal favorites (somewhat needs updating): http://www.wunderground.com/blog/atmoaggie/comment.html?entrynum=2
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Recon now going back to investigate the COC of Alex.



Sweet, got to get Google Earth back on.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting TampaSpin:
I was very harsh in my critisimn of NHC early this mornting.....i still don't understand how and why the CONE is not much wider based upon the dang good models they are aknowledgeing but, ignoring at the same time. I don't get it????


The size of the cone is set at 2/3 of the past 5 years average forecast errors, so it does not change storm to storm or based on forecast uncertainty.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11341
2067. Mikla
Alex w/ models...
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you can see it come back
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2064. Levi32
Quoting StormW:


Oh, good. It's funny...when they input the info, the models are almost on top of each other.


Nice isn't it....they're supposed to continue 6-hourly flights from that point on in order to input accurate data into every model run. Apparently the NHC wants this nailed.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting MrstormX:


Okay, just trying to find something to correct lol
Lol.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2061. SLU
HISTORY OF ALEX





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Quoting victoriahurricane:
Btw being a relative new person to the blog can someone give me a good place to find a lot of the links you guys are using for everything? I know this is probably a tall order, but if anyone has a place where I can find a bunch of them I'd appreciate it.
StormJunkie's website used to have a pretty good set of links. Several other bloggers do as well.
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2059. Patrap
G-4 goes wheels up Monday evening

Plan of the Day

000
NOUS42 KNHC 271500 COR
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT SUN 27 JUNE 2010
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 28/1100Z TO 29/1100Z JUNE 2010
TCPOD NUMBER.....10-027 CORRECTION

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM ALEX
FLIGHT ONE - NOAA 49
A. 29/0000Z
B. NOAA9 0601A ALEX
C. 28/1730Z..........CORRECTED
D. NA
E. NA
F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
Quoting louisianaboy444:


Its an outlier dismiss it the GFS trended back south the CMC is poo


CMC has been the most accurate the last 2 years...
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Thanks Patrap and charlottefl!
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Recon now going back to investigate the COC of Alex.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Now it is because it is updating automatically, but at first it was GOES-11.


Okay, just trying to find something to correct lol
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
That High had better build back in quick. I think model runs 12 to 24 hours from now could get very interesting for TX and maybe even LA.

Quoting Patrap:
Surface analysis Loop
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Quoting HurricaneKatrina:
Poll: When will Alex be upgraded to a hurricane?
11 pm tonight
Tomorrow morning
11 am
later



Tomorrow morning....my best guess..:)
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
2050. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
2049. angiest
Quoting TampaSpin:
I was very harsh in my critisimn of NHC early this mornting.....i still don't understand how and why the CONE is not much wider based upon the dang good models they are aknowledgeing but, ignoring at the same time. I don't get it????


The cone is based on the historical error range associated with each forecast point. They do state that they have lower than normal confidence.
Member Since: August 26, 2006 Posts: 16 Comments: 4766
Those bands of rain heading to LA wouldint alex want to follow them making him go more north?
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


0Z CMC now goes right into the heart of LA


Its an outlier dismiss it the GFS trended back south the CMC is poo
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2044. Patrap
Lemmee, lemmee Upgrade ya..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
Quoting MrstormX:


GOES 13
Now it is because it is updating automatically, but at first it was GOES-11.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting hydrus:
Good evening Atmo. Where is Alex going in your opinion?

Last night, before the 00 z models, I called the N Gulf TX solution a small, tiny chance. Still close to that small chance, but slightly increased, for now.

N Mex to Corpus is my figuring, atm. BUT, 00 Z models and 12 Z models tomorrow will have a lot of sway, IMO. (but hopefully without a lot of sway...you know what I mean)
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2040. Levi32
Quoting StormW:


Yeah, it's crazy...need a G4 flight.


We're supposed to get one in time to input data into the 18z runs tomorrow, and then continuing 6-hourly flights after that for each model run.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Does anybody have the link to the Cuban dynamic model and forecast? Thanks
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


TS?
At 11PM Alex will likely be upgraded to a 45mph system with a minimum central pressure of 991mb. By the way below is the vortex message.

000
URNT12 KNHC 280025
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 27/23:45:00Z
B. 19 deg 13 min N
091 deg 06 min W
C. 925 mb 603 m
D. 41 kt
E. 357 deg 47 nm
F. 087 deg 42 kt
G. 010 deg 80 nm
H. EXTRAP 991 mb
I. 21 C / 763 m
J. 22 C / 774 m
K. 14 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 12345 / 9
O. 0.02 / 3 nm
P. AF304 0401A ALEX OB 06
MAX FL WIND 42 KT N QUAD 23:19:50Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB
;
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194

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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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