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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3488. xcool
definately moving NW
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Quoting xcool:



how about that mrs ROB...


UT OH, by the looks of that it looks like it may steer Alex NE?? Correct me if I am wrong here!! LOL!
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3486. xcool



how about that mrs ROB...
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Crowley, Louisiana


Calcasieu Parish here...DeQuincy, LA...I sure hope Alex stays out and AWAY from here for sure!! I remember RITA...no fun at all!!!!
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Quoting KoritheMan:
-_-

I don't exactly know why we have to bicker amongst ourselves during important events such as this one? Events that could potentially affect thousands?

Seems a little counterproductive to what one would expect during times of disaster, if you ask me... :/

Honestly, I see enough "POOF!" and the like flying around here. Needlessly. Agree to disagree and shut up.


Agreed. Take the bickering and arguments to the private chat, there is a cyclone out there strengthening. No one is interested in petty disagreements
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Quoting xcool:
MOVE NW NOW WOW


LOL!
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Quoting Joanie38:


Where are you exactly???


Crowley, Louisiana
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3479. xcool
MOVE NW NOW WOW
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Looking at radar indeed it was a stray rainband...came in like one also as quick as it came in it has stopped
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
Wow it has just started pouring down raining here...out of no where....this is awkward for this time of night...has to be a stray rainband


Where are you exactly???
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Wow it has just started pouring down raining here...out of no where....this is awkward for this time of night...has to be a stray rainband
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Possibly we will have to wait and see! YOu should definately get on facebook and go add my tropical weather page i'm trying to get people from SW La...i can give you the link outside the blog


Thanks..I would LIKE that!! :)
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Quoting Joanie38:


Yes true but you know those models are goinna shift again untll they get a clear fix on the track hes likely taking.....


Possibly we will have to wait and see! YOu should definately get on facebook and go add my tropical weather page i'm trying to get people from SW La...i can give you the link outside the blog
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3472. xcool
I THINK WE GO SEE MORE MODELS shift north AND TO RIGTH JUST 5%
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Quoting xcool:
Joanie38 LOL


YOU are hilarious and thanks for keeping us uptodate on the model runs :)
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-_-

I don't exactly know why we have to bicker amongst ourselves during important events such as this one? Events that could potentially affect thousands?

Seems a little counterproductive to what one would expect during times of disaster, if you ask me... :/

Honestly, I see enough "POOF!" and the like flying around here. Needlessly. Agree to disagree and shut up.
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Quoting Michfan:


Its not a fact till it makes landfall. Not even you know for sure where its going. No one does. Not until we see how strong it gets and how much pull the trough has on it will we see enough of a trend to get a good idea of where it will go. Some of you need some patience and a little humility.


agreed!!! GOOD JOB!
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3465. xcool
Joanie38 LOL
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Quoting xcool:
btwntx08 SEE YOU FRIEND LMAO.


I like you xcool...thanks for your updates and surpise outbursts!!! LOL!
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3463. xcool
btwntx08 TRY GET ME BAN
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Tomorow we will have a more clearly picture on where this is headed we have to watch the model runs throughout the day


Yes true but you know those models are goinna shift again untll they get a clear fix on the track hes likely taking.....
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3460. Michfan
Quoting SykKid:


I wasn't talking about you. It's people like Xcool and Tampaspin who just refuse to face the fact that this storm is more then likely heading to Mexico.


Its not a fact till it makes landfall. Not even you know for sure where its going. No one does. Not until we see how strong it gets and how much pull the trough has on it will we see enough of a trend to get a good idea of where it will go. Some of you need some patience and a little humility.
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Quoting RuBRNded:
With Darby passing to the south of Alex in the forecast tracks, what effect will/may/might Darby have on Alex due to the close proximity?


Darby will have none. It will be the other way around.
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3458. xcool
btwntx08 SEE YOU FRIEND LMAO.
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I'm out. Will check back in tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your input.
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Quoting Joanie38:


Yes I agree...I just can't wait to FINALLY see where Alex is heading...its frustrating lol....been here lurking and posting ALLLLLL day! lol!


Tomorow we will have a more clearly picture on where this is headed we have to watch the model runs throughout the day
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thanks for the info.

Quoting fsumet:
The TVCN, the consensus track the NHC uses most often, is right near Brownsville now. Expect a significant northward movement in track at 4 AM CDT.

Link
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With Darby passing to the south of Alex in the forecast tracks, what effect will/may/might Darby have on Alex due to the close proximity?
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Fujiwhara effect?
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3451. xcool
keep my name out of your mouth SykKid
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wouldnt Alex go much further south if it stalls like it.. The ridge is at a weekend state at the moment. But the more Alex stalls the more it gives the ridge chance to rebuild hence a southern movement.
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3449. xcool
SykKid HOLD UP HOLD UP
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To TexasHurricane, That's a good question?? I personally would say the Texas side, The longer Alex just sits there before making his move the more North I think he will get.This storm is not going to die sitting there,It really doesn't have anything to steer it yet. That is about to change.I have studied all the models over the years,Thousands of hours. On Tropical Systems & Winter Weather Event. I am not saying, that I know where the storm will go for sure, & I am sure there are many more people out there that know more than I do. I am just giving my opinions on the blog, & many times before you can't just look at the models, because if you do watch out!! One more thing, I don't beleive the storm will explode as fast as some people & models are thinking & showing, Once past Brownsville,TX North, this storm will have a chance to explode... We shall See...Bob
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Remember with big systems such as this..it doesnt matter what it makes landfall...we will be on the bad side..Ike proved this South-central LA had winds near Hurricane Strength if it heads more towards Corpus Christi Southward i think we will be okay but North of that closer to Galveston could be trouble especially when it comes to surge


Yes I agree...I just can't wait to FINALLY see where Alex is heading...its frustrating lol....been here lurking and posting ALLLLLL day! lol!
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Quoting xcool:
TexasHurricane YEP


ok. Well since that track is pretty much where I am I will definitely keep an eye out.
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3444. xcool
from TX to sw LA
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3443. fsumet
The TVCN, the consensus track the NHC uses most often, is right near Brownsville now. Expect a significant northward movement in track at 4 AM CDT. The models that were the furthest south (UKMET, NOGAPS and ECMWF) have joined the party further north.

Link
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Good night all! Everybody play nice it is going to be a long week! Got to be up at 7am!
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Quoting xcool:
TexasHurricane YEP


What is your forecast track for Alex?
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Quoting Joanie38:


I am in SW LA....I am gonna keep an eye on Alex very closely....


Remember with big systems such as this..it doesnt matter where it makes landfall...we will be on the bad side..Ike proved this South-central LA had winds near Hurricane Strength if it heads more towards Corpus Christi Southward i think we will be okay but North of that closer to Galveston could be trouble especially when it comes to surge
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3439. xcool
TexasHurricane YEP
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Quoting texascoastres:
Thanks KoritheMan and yes sir that is what i meant. been up since 6am yesterday just alittle sleepy


Haha, it's fine. No worries.
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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.