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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Wow. 25+ comments in 4 minutes..... and Alex isn't even a hurricane yet....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Joanie38:


SW LA here....It's gonna be an interesting one to see come monday morning!!
Gulfport/Biloxi here,We remain interested also.
Member Since: June 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 242
Quoting BahaHurican:
AFAIK, recon doesn't fly over land anywhere....

recon only gets flight level winds (by aircraft radar) and dropsonde data (rarely) when over land. SFRM, for surface winds works in water only.

They do release dropsondes over research wind towers for validation purposes, when it works out.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1885. CCkid00
Quoting alaina1085:

We are neighbors. Im in prairieville.


hi neighbor! your not far at all! hope we don't get a monster storm here this year.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
1883. Levi32
Quoting StormW:


Yeah...I tell ya what amazed me, Levi..comparing his size to the 2 systems in the EPAC.


Yeah lol I dunno if you saw my video on Saturday morning but I was laughing at the picture showing Alex and Darby....it was too funny. That is the kind of pattern we will see this year where the EPAC might spit something out...but the Atlantic will come back with something better nearly every time. The heat wants to build in our basin, not the Pacific.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
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.


So what does a typhoon type of environment include? A huge system, high TCHP, little to no wind shear and what else?
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Invest 94L has been deactivated.

invest_DEACTIVATE_al942010.ren


Thought it was deactivated earlier today, hmm.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Invest 94L has been deactivated.

invest_DEACTIVATE_al942010.ren



we no
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115235
If it weren't strengthening i'd say the HWRF track is the best fit but it is strengthening.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:


The GFDL and HWRF are storm area specific


I understand, but they have an outer domain, in the case of the GFDL 75 deg by 75 deg that the inner nests operate in, its just at a lower resolution.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
i dont think so


27/2345 UTC 18.9N 91.3W T1.5/1.5 ALEX -- Atlantic
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115235
1876. CCkid00
Quoting tropicfreak:


WELCOME TO WUNDERGROUND!!!!

thanks tropicfreak!~ as CRAZY as it is, it is ADDICTIVE!! LOVE it in here. my husband and kids think i'm nuts staying glued to this site all day....even giving up facebook for it!
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
What are chances of Alex of hitting the Lake Charles or Lafayette areas???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1873. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Recon not leaving yet. They are heading back south.


They're there for the next 5 and a half hours....till 06z.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
Invest 94L has been deactivated.

invest_DEACTIVATE_al942010.ren
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1870. USSINS
Quoting GetReal:
For the want to be meteorologist, I have a suggestion. Spend a little more time learning to read surface maps, and interpreting WV satellite pics, and rely a little less on computer models more than 48 hours out....

Just a suggestion, it does appear to be a lost art.



May be the best quote of the day.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanehanna:

Doing great - and you? quiet...until now. Thought this would be a "definate" Mexico landfall....I should know better by now that Mother Nature controls the show.

Yea I was confident this was a Mexico storm yesterday also. But today... idk. Better to be cautious then caught off guard.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240
Quoting Crawls:


Watson here


SW LA here....It's gonna be an interesting one to see come monday morning!!
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
1867. Michfan
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 28th day of the month at 00:25Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 304)
Storm Number & Year: 01L in 2010
Storm Name: Alex (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 4
Observation Number: 06
A. Time of Center Fix: 27th day of the month at 23:45:00Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 19°13'N 91°06'W (19.2167N 91.1W)
B. Center Fix Location: 58 miles (93 km) to the SW (221°) from Campeche, Campeche, México.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 603m (1,978ft) at 925mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 41kts (~ 47.2mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 47 nautical miles (54 statute miles) to the N (357°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 87° at 42kts (From the E at ~ 48.3mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 80 nautical miles (92 statute miles) to the N (10°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 991mb (29.26 inHg) - Extrapolated
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 21°C (70°F) at a pressure alt. of 763m (2,503ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 22°C (72°F) at a pressure alt. of 774m (2,539ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 14°C (57°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 925mb (If this vortex is from mid 1990's or earlier 925mb might be incorrect. See note.)
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 3 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 42kts (~ 48.3mph) in the north quadrant at 23:19:50Z
Sea Level Pressure Extrapolation From: 925mb
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting louisianaboy444:


You should definately join me and Koritheman's tropical weather facebook...Its a great site we give our tropical weather updates and try to keep people informed i will mail you the link

Thanks for the invite - I certainly will! WHen I'm not on here - I'm on Facebook!
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3488
Do you guys think the official NHC track will move north at the next advisory?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1864. Levi32
Quoting Skyepony:
Pretty neat how recon flew in as soon as it stepped off. Alex looks like it is going to blow up. Looking at the last 24 hrs rainfall Darby has been hogging the moisture. Them getting farther apart should help. Looks too cool for extreme intensification in the Bay Of Campeche but warm enough in the gulf.

As for how the models have handled Alex.. Overall looking at average error over the last 4 days BAMD, BAMM, BAMS & CMC are out preforming the others. HWRF continues to have the best short 24hr forecast.


Darby hogging moisture? Gotta disagree with you there lol.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
Evening all! Been away all day and i see our friend is amazingly still together Completly and maybe structurally better than ever. UNREAL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1861. Patrap
Quoting A4Guy:


So...Pat...silly question...are the models moving back south a bit? Seemed like TX/LA was more in the crosshairs earlier today?


Good confidence out 24..Low after that.

A lotta more runs will be had before a good solution appears.

But pay attention NOLA westward.

G-4 FLys tomorrow evening and will help with the Tuesday Morning runs..

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: 426 Comments: 128639
Recon not leaving yet. They are heading back south.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting hurricanehanna:

Doing great - and you? quiet...until now. Thought this would be a "definate" Mexico landfall....I should know better by now that Mother Nature controls the show.


You should definately join me and Koritheman's tropical weather facebook...Its a great site we give our tropical weather updates and try to keep people informed i will mail you the link
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 22 Comments: 1352
1857. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Michfan:
Wind speeds always follow after pressure drops. Occasionally you will see the two not match up especially after a system leaves land. Give it a few hours and the winds will catch up.
Alex will likely be a tropical storm with winds in excess of 60mph by tomorrow morning.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1855. Michfan
Recon heading south now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1854. TayTay
Alex looks pretty impressive considering he just crossed the Yucatan Peninsula. I wouldn't be surprised if he rapidly intensified.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1852. jpsb
Quoting CCkid00:


according to Dr. Masters, those models are not to be written off and there remains a possibility for a Texas, or even a SW La. landfall. i'm new on here...don't know who to believe. i've heard you are good, i've heard Dr. Masters is good and StormW.
weather is good and he's got a lot of coast line (Mexico) to work with. I think it's way to early to call but if you put a gun to my head I'd go with weather and Mexico right now. But any turn north (NW/NNW) and all bets are off.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1193
Quoting Skyepony:
Pretty neat how recon flew in as soon as it stepped off. Alex looks like it is going to blow up. Looking at the last 24 hrs rainfall Darby has been hogging the moisture. Them getting farther apart should help. Looks too cool for extreme intensification in the Bay Of Campeche but warm enough in the gulf.

As for how the models have handled Alex.. Overall looking at average error over the last 4 days BAMD, BAMM, BAMS & CMC are out preforming the others. HWRF continues to have the best short 24hr forecast.


The BAMMS have all shifted north today too
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7816
Quoting StormW:
One thing to remember about the GFDL and HWRF...this is about the size area (on the right) they initialize and and analyze...period.



It uses the area on the left also, just at a lower resolution.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1849. twooks
Quoting CCkid00:
honestly, i have no idea what to think....i'm just learning all of this stuff, though i've been watching for years. even the "experts" don't have the same opinions. i live about 10 miles east of Baton Rouge. if we could go on feelings, i'd say a Houston hit....but that is PURE feeling! LOL


I live in BR myself. Welcome... Learning and disagreement is welcomed on this blog :P
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1848. Michfan
Wind speeds always follow after pressure drops. Occasionally you will see the two not match up especially after a system leaves land. Give it a few hours and the winds will catch up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jpsb:
Is it beer time yet?


Heck no. I'm not even 18 yet!!
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
Quoting alaina1085:

Hey Hanna!
I have been great! I remember where your from. How have things been with you?

Doing great - and you? quiet...until now. Thought this would be a "definate" Mexico landfall....I should know better by now that Mother Nature controls the show.
Member Since: September 5, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 3488
1844. Skyepony (Mod)
Pretty neat how recon flew in as soon as it stepped off. Alex looks like it is going to blow up. Looking at the last 24 hrs rainfall Darby has been hogging the moisture. Them getting farther apart should help. Looks too cool for extreme intensification in the Bay Of Campeche but warm enough in the gulf.

As for how the models have handled Alex.. Overall looking at average error over the last 4 days BAMD, BAMM, BAMS & CMC are out preforming the others. HWRF continues to have the best short 24hr forecast.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Weather456:
Do you remember this storm? We have a set up no close to this



Bill 2003, I remember that season well.. I had little idea of how much my butt was going to be kicked in September of that year.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1842. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
According to the vortex message Alex should be a 45mph system with a minimum central pressure of 991.0mb.


Yup.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
1841. A4Guy
Quoting Patrap:

00z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Alex
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)





Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)



Early Model Wind Forecasts



So...Pat...silly question...are the models moving back south a bit? Seemed like TX/LA was more in the crosshairs earlier today?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1840. Levi32
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.


Yup....lots of energy to work with and his resulting size probably allowed him to pull moist inflow off the surrounding water for longer than normal. The nearly perfect upper-level anticyclone over him was a great help as well.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26654
1839. CCkid00
thanks! i actually wrote down those names. many i recognize from watching over the years. where it throws me is when the big names differ in opinion! but, i LOVE watching them blog!
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
According to the vortex message Alex should be a 45mph system with a minimum central pressure of 991.0mb.
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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