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 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
Poll: When will Alex be upgraded to a hurricane?
11 pm tonight
Tomorrow morning
11 am
later
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2035. jpsb
Quoting RitaEvac:
*TEXAS RESIDENTS*

Update:



I new it was time for a beer, usually I wait till thrusday or friday for scotch, I think I will make an exception tomorrow and stock up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2034. hydrus
Quoting Skyepony:


Last 24hrs..easy. Yucatan is pretty flat & all, but not like Alex was coupled with the everglades or an open ocean or something wet. Darby is a more mature storm over ocean..has it's heat pump on & sucking water.
I know you are right. I saw it on the graph you posted. I was making a joke.:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21729
Tons of links at the bottom of the page...


http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/


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.
Member Since: December 18, 2006 Posts: 7 Comments: 2687
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Color image of Alex. Sorry about the low quality as the image was taken by GOES-11.



GOES 13
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
2031. Levi32
Quoting Hurricanes101:


Darby is meant to be a male name lol


Right...right...fine. I guess he must be a beta-male then.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
2030. USSINS
Quoting StormW:


Dynamic models are more accurate for track.


Dynamics are still trying to get a grasp of initialization. We've watched the coc change with our own eyes today. Those models will still shift more northerly (even if slightly) based on observations and everything I've understood and learned from you and several others.
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2029. Patrap
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.


www.canefever.com/links
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
2028. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


TS?
well its going to be shortly
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2027. hamla
HERE IN BAY ST LOUIS MS.THE PRESSURE HAS BEEN FALLING ALL DAY,ITS NOW 29.85F AND IF ITS THE SAME OR LOWER BY TOMMOROW PM I THINK THAT THE GULF COAST FROM LAKE CHARLES TO PENSICOLA SHOULD START PAYING ATTENTION CAUSE THE LONGER ALEX STAYS SLOW IN FWD SPEED AND STARTS TTO GET RE-ORGINIZED IT WILL MOVE TWOARDS THE WEAKEST AREA OF THE LOWEST PRESSURE.ANY NORTHWARD MOVEMENT WILL MAKE ALEX TREND nw, N,NNE,NE AFTER IT CROSSES 25,26 DEG.N all bets are off
THE WHOLE CIRULATION HAS BEEN MOVING NORTH ALL DAY ON THE VIS./INFERED Sat anamations also this thing is large over 1000 miles with all the outer bands.
just got to watch and see what happens ovenight and mon/tues.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15845
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
First the winds have to catch up with the pressure which shouldn't take a long time. With current pressure, by the time the winds correspond in the morning Alex will likely be a strong tropical storm, in the 60mph-73mph threshold. I think Alex will become a hurricane by tomorrow evening, but that's just my opinion of course.
I think so also.
Quoting Levi32:


Yeah...and that image shows next to nothing over Belize.

Darby is far too small to take anything away from Alex. I doubt she even was able to actually dump more rain than him during the last 24 hours....that map is clearly flawed.


Darby is meant to be a male name lol
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


TS?


recon found 41 knots at the surface

Alex is a tropical storm again
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2021. Levi32
Recon is hugging the Mexican coast now coming into Alex's SW quad towards the center.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
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.
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
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????
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Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
01L/TS/A/CX
MARK
19.4N/92.2W



TS?
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
2015. hydrus
Quoting Levi32:


I did. I think it's unlikely they will upgrade Alex to a hurricane over the Yucatan because the winds were almost certainly not hurricane force at the surface due to land friction, even though the system had the pressure and structure to support those winds. Had it done that over water, the winds would likely have been hurricane force.
lol...I dont know. The inland areas where Alex made landfall are sparsely populated. Alex could easily have had hurricane winds for a brief period and know one would know until they checked it out.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21729
2014. Levi32
Quoting victoriahurricane:


A blogger came on earlier saying he got 7 inches of rain from Alex in Belize.


Yeah...and that image shows next to nothing over Belize.

Darby is far too small to take anything away from Alex. I doubt she even was able to actually dump more rain than him during the last 24 hours....that map is clearly flawed.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
Quoting Levi32:
Time to say goodnight to Alex...sunset approaches.

Night! Don't surprize us too much in the morning :D
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Quoting StormW:


Well, NHC is bound by Philosophical restraints...and the previous forecast will weigh on the current. We've seen the models flip flop on Alex a bit...they wait until there seems to be a definite trend, so they are not changing the track every update to avoid what they called the "windshield wiper" effect.


why when you read the 805edt they say est pressure 999mb when they had a reading of 991mb from the HH? if that hard data is comming in why doesnt the NHC hold off a few min on there update? i mean if you go to the NHC site right now those same 805edt info is still there when its dated data
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
I think we'll see a minimal hurricane or 70moh storm by the morning.
First the winds have to catch up with the pressure which shouldn't take a long time. With current pressure, by the time the winds correspond in the morning Alex will likely be a strong tropical storm, in the 60mph-73mph threshold. I think Alex will become a hurricane by tomorrow evening, but that's just my opinion of course.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
2010. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
01L/TS/A/CX
MARK
19.4N/92.2W

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


Dynamic models are more accurate for track.


Oh, I understand that storm, I was just pointing out how much they disagree with one another compared to the statistical models.
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
Any comment on that wave over africa.May do a sneak attack since we're focused on alex.
Quoting shakaka:


Definitely take a stat/probability course if you can. You will be cured of this befuddling aversion to probabilty. I'd be hard pressed to come up with field of work that relies more heavily on the mathematics of uncertainty than weather forcasting. It's definitely near the top of the list regardless.

Yet, as a met, stat was probably my single least favorite course...
Maybe it had more to do with the prof than the material.
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Quoting Clearwater1:


I can't find the 00 cmc. Didn't see it out. Can you post that link? Thnks


see post 1973 shows it well
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Quoting Levi32:
Time to say goodnight to Alex...sunset approaches.





shhhhhhhh dont wake Alex up she gets vary mad when you do
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115341
Quoting CCkid00:

thanks Joannie! as long as there is a system out there, i'll be IN here! :-)
Quoting CCkid00:

thanks Joannie! as long as there is a system out there, i'll be IN here! :-)


OH YES ME TOO!!!! :):)
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
Quoting Levi32:


For one thing that image is hopelessly inaccurate over and east of Belize, where Alex certainly dumped more than "nothing" at the coast.

Secondly, I imagine Darby had some nice localized instability due to upper divergence overnight, and I really don't see it sucking anything away from Alex that would be a negative factor to Alex. Lots of moisture for him to tap yet....he's the hog, not Darby.



A blogger came on earlier saying he got 7 inches of rain from Alex in Belize.
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
2002. Levi32
Time to say goodnight to Alex...sunset approaches.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
2001. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting hydrus:
Little Darby beating out Typhoon Alex? lol


Last 24hrs..easy. Yucatan is pretty flat & all, but not like Alex was coupled with the everglades or an open ocean or something wet. Darby is a more mature storm over ocean..has it's heat pump on & sucking water.
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I think we'll see a minimal hurricane or 70moh storm by the morning.
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How often is the first storm of the season a hurricane?
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
Who knows what is going to happen, a weak front is scheduled to move down here in South Central Texas by Tuesday. This is not normal, fronts seldom make it this far south this time of year?
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1996. SLU


You know conditions are great for major development in a season when a tropical storm can still look like this after spending a whole day over land.
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1995. Patrap
Surface analysis Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129089
Quoting RitaEvac:
*TEXAS RESIDENTS*

Update:

Well defined circulation moving back over the warm waters of the southern Gulf and increasing intensity is likely starting later this evening. Large plume of tropical moisture surrounding Alex will begin to spread moisture into the TX coast late tonight with more active thunderstorms on Monday.

What started this morning in the shifting of guidance northward has continued today with now the HWRF, GFS, and CMC all showing landfalls on the middle or upper TX coast, while the ECMWF shows around Tampico MX and the GFDL splits the difference toward Brownsville...an unsettling change of events from last night. Needless to say...and echoed by NHC...the forecast track confidence is below average and subject to some large changes. No real reason at this point to go with either track camps although the northern solutions seem a touch more possible given the upper air pattern and some strangeness in the ECMWF solution as the TC approaches the MX coast. The next 24 hours should really help firm up the track questions as the northern camp suggest a turn toward the NNW very soon and if ALEX continues toward the WNW, then these models will likely not verify. Error cone has shifted northward toward the Rockport area and may need to be adjusted a touch more northward if guidance continues its right trending, but Alex is going to have to start gaining some latitude if it is going to move more northward in the long run.

No real change in the intensity forecast, with a hurricane expected in the western Gulf. Could see Alex get stronger than currently forecast if it moves more northward allowing more time over the warm Gulf waters and favorable upper air conditions.

Impacts:

Based on the current NHC track and models showing large surge of tropical moisture on the east side of the system, expect rains to start to increase Monday as moisture surges inland with a contraction of rains Tuesday and then onset of squalls Wednesday and Thursday along the entire TX coast. Could see some heavy rains, but any flooding concerns at this point should be confined to S TX closer toward the inner core rains of Alex. With a large circulation expected wind and seas will be coming up along the entire TX coast along with coastal tides as large swells begin to reach the coast. Favored ENE to NE winds along the coast suggest some water level rise from SW LA to Matagorda Bay even if Alex goes into MX. Current track would likely keep tides below warning levels, but very uncertain at this moment.

Remember not to focus on the exact track of the black dots and instead the overall error cone as errors at Days 4-5 can be 200-300 miles. Additionally, a hurricane is not a point and effects can be far reaching from the landfall point.



Hmmm..like I said..I am in SW LA..our mets here say due to the front coming it could steer Alex AWAY from us....
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
Quoting StormW:


And don't forget, he hasn't lost this...you remember we discussed he formed out of a Typhoon type environment...still carrying that with him.
Storm what do you mean by a Typhoon type enviroment?

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The morning news programs are going to love this turn to the north.

BP is already evacuating non essentials.
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Quoting Eaglesfan27:


Wow, I didn't realize anyone else from Prairieville was on here.


I'm in Prairieville as well.
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1990. Levi32
Quoting Skyepony:


In the last 24 hrs Darby has removed more WV from the air in that general area & dumped it as rain than Alex..


For one thing that image is hopelessly inaccurate over and east of Belize, where Alex certainly dumped more than "nothing" at the coast.

Secondly, I imagine Darby had some nice localized instability due to upper divergence overnight, and I really don't see it sucking anything away from Alex that would be a negative factor to Alex. Lots of moisture for him to tap yet....he's the hog, not Darby.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26681
I wouldn't be surprised to se alex as a cat 1 hurricane by tomorrow night.Hey where's that mmarcus dude.
Just did a blog on Alex.
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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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