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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question why did the NHC in there 805edt discussion say est pressure 999mb when they had a reading from HH of 991MB?
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1093
1737. Patrap
Quoting Weather456:
Do you remember this storm?



Hermaine from 03 maybe..wasnt much
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
AL, 01, 2010062800, , BEST, 0, 192N, 911W, 35, 991, TS, 34, NEQ, 150, 20, 20, 60,

Tropical storm again
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
000
URNT12 KNHC 261919
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 26/19:08:30Z
B. 17 deg 19 min N
087 deg 28 min W
C. 925 mb 655 m
D. 56 kt
E. 182 deg 29 nm
F. 237 deg 52 kt
G. 181 deg 26 nm
H. EXTRAP 996 mb
I. 19 C / 755 m
J. 24 C / 764 m
K. 22 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 9
O. 0.02 / 4 nm
P. AF302 0301A ALEX OB 09
MAX FL WIND 52 KT S QUAD 18:59:50Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB



is this new?
No. That is from yesterday. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see a vortex message pop up soon.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Negative Taz
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 22 Comments: 1352
1733. Levi32
Quoting Michfan:
Levi which satellite overlay do you use? Looks pretty hi res.


NOAA satellite overlay....to be honest I can't remember the source for it and it's not shown in the layer properties. You may be able to find it in some bundled weather kmz files for Google Earth.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
1732. Patrap
Alex went null and slowed a lot Ike since around 2pm..

Its a battle between the Vortex getting going again to the North of the Old one.

Tonight it may separate from that Coastline some and every mile it does ,..well puts it closer to Warmers SST's.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
Do you remember this storm? We have a set up no close to this

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


No....look at the time.



oh ok
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
Quoting Tazmanian:
000
URNT12 KNHC 261919
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 26/19:08:30Z
B. 17 deg 19 min N
087 deg 28 min W
C. 925 mb 655 m
D. 56 kt
E. 182 deg 29 nm
F. 237 deg 52 kt
G. 181 deg 26 nm
H. EXTRAP 996 mb
I. 19 C / 755 m
J. 24 C / 764 m
K. 22 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 9
O. 0.02 / 4 nm
P. AF302 0301A ALEX OB 09
MAX FL WIND 52 KT S QUAD 18:59:50Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB



is this new?


no that is the last vortex message before landfall
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1728. CCkid00
Quoting Weather456:
First of all, I am seeing Alex moving into N Mexico and if the US is affected it would be S Texas.

I do not see this storm moving into LA or N Texas because:

1) The Beta effect will be strong

2)anticyclonic steering the storm NE

3) the trough lifts out in 3-4 days and its most southern proximity is 32N

4) the strong ridge over the CONUS.

5) GFS and CMC ridiculous


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.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
Quoting Levi32:


That particular reading was flagged as questionable, but the 39kt one before that wasn't, and there have been plenty of uncontaminated readings supporting TS-force winds.
That's why I highlighted both after you quoted me, lol. But I would say Alex is a TS, let's see if the NHC does a special advisory stating that it is.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Joanie38:


OOPS!! So sorry!! Don't wanna go POOF! Ok back on Alex...Has Alex shifted more NNW????


LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Whoa, Alex is blowing up, finally got his snorkel down, I think this one is gonna be big!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1722. Levi32
Quoting Tazmanian:
000
URNT12 KNHC 261919
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 26/19:08:30Z
B. 17 deg 19 min N
087 deg 28 min W
C. 925 mb 655 m
D. 56 kt
E. 182 deg 29 nm
F. 237 deg 52 kt
G. 181 deg 26 nm
H. EXTRAP 996 mb
I. 19 C / 755 m
J. 24 C / 764 m
K. 22 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 9
O. 0.02 / 4 nm
P. AF302 0301A ALEX OB 09
MAX FL WIND 52 KT S QUAD 18:59:50Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB



is this new?


No....look at the time.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting MississippiWx:
Alex is basically giving us all the finger and doing what he wants. Just when we think we have a handle on him, we get reports of a 991mb pressure and he takes off in convection. I think he'll be exploding with convection tonight.

I agree-Explosive Development tonight.
Member Since: June 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 242
000
URNT12 KNHC 261919
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 26/19:08:30Z
B. 17 deg 19 min N
087 deg 28 min W
C. 925 mb 655 m
D. 56 kt
E. 182 deg 29 nm
F. 237 deg 52 kt
G. 181 deg 26 nm
H. EXTRAP 996 mb
I. 19 C / 755 m
J. 24 C / 764 m
K. 22 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 1345 / 9
O. 0.02 / 4 nm
P. AF302 0301A ALEX OB 09
MAX FL WIND 52 KT S QUAD 18:59:50Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB



is this new?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
1719. Michfan
Levi which satellite overlay do you use? Looks pretty hi res.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting alaina1085:

Time to brew the coffee.... its gonna be a long night!


Not a coffee drinker, rather go for an ice cold coke instead.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1717. Levi32
Quoting MZV:
Wonder if Recon will be asked to do a few more passes with the storm so obviously improving right now.


They're in there for the next 5 and a half hours. We'll get plenty more passes.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Hey guys..after looking at everything i tend to agree with weather456 maybe a touch more Northward though....i can see South Texas...i am in line with the 18z HWRF
Member Since: August 29, 2006 Posts: 22 Comments: 1352
Quoting Acemmett90:

easy easy easy get the heck back on topic i would hate for u to go poof


OOPS!! So sorry!! Don't wanna go POOF! Ok back on Alex...Has Alex shifted more NNW????
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
1713. Levi32
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
SFMR winds at 39 knots. Safe to say Alex is a TS.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280003
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 21 20100627
235400 1931N 09120W 9248 00645 9959 +205 +142 065034 034 032 000 00
235430 1932N 09122W 9249 00646 9961 +205 +145 062033 034 032 001 00
235500 1933N 09123W 9250 00647 9964 +200 +148 056035 036 031 001 00
235530 1934N 09124W 9253 00644 9964 +208 +149 059033 033 028 000 00
235600 1935N 09125W 9244 00655 9965 +207 +150 060032 032 029 000 00
235630 1936N 09127W 9250 00650 9966 +209 +152 062032 032 029 001 00
235700 1938N 09128W 9252 00649 9968 +206 +153 056031 032 029 001 00
235730 1939N 09129W 9249 00652 9969 +205 +155 061031 032 030 001 00
235800 1940N 09130W 9249 00654 9970 +205 +156 055031 032 030 000 00
235830 1941N 09132W 9256 00649 9971 +205 +157 060030 031 030 002 00
235900 1942N 09133W 9246 00658 9971 +206 +158 063030 031 033 001 00
235930 1943N 09134W 9250 00655 9973 +207 +158 063032 033 035 000 00
000000 1944N 09136W 9244 00662 9973 +209 +159 064034 035 035 000 00
000030 1946N 09137W 9254 00654 9974 +210 +160 064034 035 036 004 00
000100 1947N 09138W 9244 00664 9974 +212 +160 065040 041 034 008 00
000130 1948N 09139W 9251 00656 9980 +187 +159 073037 037 039 013 00
000200 1949N 09141W 9257 00655 9984 +184 +156 065033 035 039 011 03
000230 1950N 09142W 9253 00657 9980 +203 +151 061035 036 030 003 00
000300 1951N 09143W 9248 00664 9981 +209 +149 064034 035 031 002 00
000330 1952N 09145W 9249 00664 9981 +210 +149 064036 036 031 001 00
$$
;


That particular reading was flagged as questionable, but the 39kt one before that wasn't, and there have been plenty of uncontaminated readings supporting TS-force winds.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
1712. Patrap
Quoting nishinigami:
Evening Pat, had a lot of clouds move through this afternoon with some thunder, and some light wind, but no rain here. We did, however, have a really strong oil smell. :(


Oil was bad here till a Tstorm rolled thru .


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
1711. MZV
Wonder if Recon will be asked to do a few more passes with the storm so obviously improving right now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The 991 mb is accurate too, recon found a whole bunch of those readings. Saw several TS force SFMR winds.. safe to say Tropical Storm Alex.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting watchingnva:


almost to 103 again today...freaking miserable outside...


Tell me about it, the bubble prevailed today, as the storms from c'ville tracked SE it fizzled when it got close to richmond.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Acemmett90:

dont wake the baby monster



we this did
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
If it is back to TS strength we should see a Vortex message, not to be a downer but the flight level to SFMR does not coorelate well.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11341
1704. IKE
Quoting Patrap:
Alex rapidly building a Warm column as it Glides NNw slow-ly


He was moving WNW this morning.

Now he looks almost stationary.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Weather456 just said it folks, he knows what he's talking about and sees the perameters in place.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Alex is looking good. I think the intensity forecast will need to be adjusted upwards.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1700. Levi32
Quoting victoriahurricane:


That's true, but he definitely didn't have the structure of any tropical depression.


He has the appearance of a Cat 2+ hurricane that went over the Yucatan.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Patrap:


Keep your eye on this one Taz.

Its going to take all of us to school the next 48.



Time to brew the coffee.... its gonna be a long night!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Evening Pat, had a lot of clouds move through this afternoon with some thunder, and some light wind, but no rain here. We did, however, have a really strong oil smell. :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SFMR winds at 39 knots. Safe to say Alex is a TS.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280003
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 21 20100627
235400 1931N 09120W 9248 00645 9959 205 142 065034 034 032 000 00
235430 1932N 09122W 9249 00646 9961 205 145 062033 034 032 001 00
235500 1933N 09123W 9250 00647 9964 200 148 056035 036 031 001 00
235530 1934N 09124W 9253 00644 9964 208 149 059033 033 028 000 00
235600 1935N 09125W 9244 00655 9965 207 150 060032 032 029 000 00
235630 1936N 09127W 9250 00650 9966 209 152 062032 032 029 001 00
235700 1938N 09128W 9252 00649 9968 206 153 056031 032 029 001 00
235730 1939N 09129W 9249 00652 9969 205 155 061031 032 030 001 00
235800 1940N 09130W 9249 00654 9970 205 156 055031 032 030 000 00
235830 1941N 09132W 9256 00649 9971 205 157 060030 031 030 002 00
235900 1942N 09133W 9246 00658 9971 206 158 063030 031 033 001 00
235930 1943N 09134W 9250 00655 9973 207 158 063032 033 035 000 00
000000 1944N 09136W 9244 00662 9973 209 159 064034 035 035 000 00
000030 1946N 09137W 9254 00654 9974 210 160 064034 035 036 004 00
000100 1947N 09138W 9244 00664 9974 212 160 065040 041 034 008 00
000130 1948N 09139W 9251 00656 9980 187 159 073037 037 039 013 00
000200 1949N 09141W 9257 00655 9984 184 156 065033 035 039 011 03
000230 1950N 09142W 9253 00657 9980 203 151 061035 036 030 003 00
000300 1951N 09143W 9248 00664 9981 209 149 064034 035 031 002 00
000330 1952N 09145W 9249 00664 9981 210 149 064036 036 031 001 00
$$
;
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1696. CCkid00
Quoting Joanie38:
I wonder when this blog is gonna start going nutz?? LOL!

i think it already has!!! LOL not sure what to believe! sure fun to watch.....i've been watching in here ALL day...can't seem to pull away. my husband and kids say i'm a weather addict!
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Even though alex is on land it looks way better than most storms last year.



what about BIll
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115453
1694. Patrap
Alex rapidly building a Warm column as it Glides NNw slow-ly
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780
Quoting Tazmanian:
is that a eye wall forming



Could be one, if it is wrapping around it is strengthening for sure.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


Was not a mistake....winds always fall way behind the pressures in a storm that travels over land due to friction. You can see 960mb hurricanes get downgraded to Cat 1 after landfall with the same pressure.


That's true, but he definitely didn't have the structure of any tropical depression.
Member Since: October 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 544
Alex is basically giving us all the finger and doing what he wants. Just when we think we have a handle on him, we get reports of a 991mb pressure and he takes off in convection. I think he'll be exploding with convection tonight.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ezcColony:


And if there is positive feedback from the low which would probably intensify the system, it could feel the ridge then and move more north, right?


The deep layer flow for a strong storm favors a NW motion then more west-northwest. Intensity does not make a whole difference.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1688. Patrap
Quoting Tazmanian:



OMG is this thing froming a eye


Keep your eye on this one Taz.

Its going to take all of us to school the next 48.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129780

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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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