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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18Z GFDL


Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11156
Quoting RecordSeason:
Look at the structure of this thing! Incredible.

Incredible Low Clouds Earth Scan Labs

Low level circulation remains huge and intact across an amazing area.

Continuous feeder bands with at least low level clouds remain as far north as about 87N, and as far south as the EPAC and southwestern and south-central Caribbean.


Holy cow!!!
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Quoting btwntx08:
if the hwrf came out wheres the gfdl lol


Brownsville
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Quoting Levi32:
Alex is not nearly as strong as his pressure would usually indicate, because he is broad after crossing land. However, a pressure this low means his core could wind up in a hurry once he fully emerges and spends some time over the Gulf of Mexico, and he could quickly re-attain strong TS status.



You are certainly right his circulation is super tight.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:




they are still north of the system, so there would be no west winds
I just meant they haven't gone through yet...sorry for the vague post..but yes, you are correct...lol
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Until I see a significant jump to the north in lattitude and sustained Im not worrying about this thing
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Quoting belizeit:
I made it alive trough alex lasi night we got about 7 inches of rain

Any serious flooding? Saw a video about arthur 2008.
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Quoting DestinDome:
I agree that is possible. from the imagery it appears Alex likes what he has found. He stayed very well organized.



am going too feed Alex some bear may it will help him
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115079
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Quoting Tazmanian:
we may even have a hurricane by AM
I agree that is possible. from the imagery it appears Alex likes what he has found. He stayed very well organized.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
This system is turning out to be stronger than what I initially thought.
That phrase has been said wayy too many times with this storm. Next HH update for GE should show them verry close to CoC
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Quoting Tazmanian:
talking about Typhoon the W PAC been dead so far this year


And how!
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So now lets move on.
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Quoting muddertracker:
No west winds yet.


they are still north of the system, so there would be no west winds
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1420. Levi32
Alex is not nearly as strong as his pressure would usually indicate, because he is broad after crossing land. However, a pressure this low means his core could wind up in a hurry once he fully emerges and spends some time over the Gulf of Mexico, and he could quickly re-attain strong TS status.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
The stronger the more poleward it goes, until a ridge pushed it westward, now how far north maybe a Bret path, nobody knows.
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Quoting neonlazer:
Looks like recon are preparing to poke alex in the eye!

lol. Indeed.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Why?


Because it doesn't hit him. It fits with my thinking. Hasn't really moved since last run.
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
talking about Typhoon the W PAC been dead so far this year
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115079
No west winds yet.
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Looks like recon are preparing to poke alex in the eye!
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Quoting Levi32:
999mb found by recon...not yet to the center.
This system is turning out to be stronger than what I initially thought.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1412. xcool


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Old Taz isn't as crazy as you might think.. just likes a laugh is all. Alex does appear to be starting to regain strength, look at that feeder band developing directly into the COC.. and Alex only being a TD has remarkably low pressures, sub 1000 mb. This is a pacific Typhoon like system in the Atlantic.. and all these factors combined I do believe we may be in for another round of quick intensification over the BOC.
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Quoting naplesdreamer28:
Is there any support for a curve to hit between LA and FL or is this strictly a TX to LA storm? I have a neighbor thinking its going to do a curve when it hits far enough into the GOM. He is probably just nuts, but figured I would ask.


I haven't heard of anything that far east. But I'm not a met.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
What kind of winds did you have ? Grand Cayman saw 40 mph yesterday. No-where near that amount of rain though. I think this is a preview of things to come unfortunately.
I only got 20mph gust as i was south of the center
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


What site is that from? I'm using this one:
Link
NHC Recon
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting tropicfreak:
Taz, I know you poofed me but hopefully someone sends the message that says I am really sorry and I'll try not to act immature on this blog and I will not criticize anyone for their actions on this blog.
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Quoting Tazmanian:
this has been on going today


Internet going in and out? Or bad connection at the network card on the computer?

(I've had both recently, so just suggesting stuff to look at)
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Quoting Levi32:
999mb found by recon...not yet to the center.



wow
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115079
Taz, I know you poofed me but hopefully someone sends the message that says I am really sorry and I'll try not to act immature on this blog and I will not criticize anyone for their actions on this blog.
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Pop Goes the Weasel (Or should I say Alex?)
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Quoting miamiamiga:
taz-
how many windows do you have open running stuff? sometimes firefox can be overwhelmed if ya got too much going on. ie just hangs, firefox gives you an error saying it is the url or your network that is broken...but it is usually due to a memory issue. try closing firefox completely every once in a while and starting over. pain in the butt, but it works.



i have olny one window open at this time
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115079
1399. ATL
Quoting RitaEvac:
Weather456 says N Mexico. Whew, I'm in the clear folks.

He's good but he's not God, lol. Keep an eye on this one!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
999.0mb pressure reading.

000
URNT15 KNHC 272323
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 17 20100627
231400 2049N 09041W 9250 00684 0004 +215 +145 094035 036 023 000 00
231430 2048N 09041W 9247 00685 0004 +213 +144 092032 034 022 000 00
231500 2046N 09042W 9246 00687 0004 +213 +144 094036 038 023 002 00
231530 2045N 09043W 9249 00684 0002 +214 +142 092034 035 024 001 00
231600 2043N 09044W 9249 00683 0003 +210 +141 092038 039 027 005 00
231630 2042N 09045W 9250 00682 0003 +209 +139 093037 038 028 004 00
231700 2040N 09046W 9251 00680 0001 +212 +135 093038 038 027 004 00
231730 2039N 09047W 9248 00682 0000 +211 +133 089037 038 026 000 00
231800 2037N 09048W 9250 00680 0000 +210 +131 090038 039 026 000 00
231830 2036N 09049W 9246 00684 9999 +210 +131 087039 040 022 002 00
231900 2034N 09050W 9251 00676 9998 +211 +131 086040 041 022 002 00
231930 2033N 09051W 9248 00678 9997 +212 +132 087041 042 018 002 00
232000 2031N 09052W 9248 00679 9996 +212 +132 087041 041 018 002 00
232030 2030N 09053W 9249 00677 9995 +212 +134 086040 041 018 001 00
232100 2028N 09054W 9249 00675 9993 +216 +135 084039 040 020 001 00
232130 2027N 09055W 9248 00677 9993 +218 +136 083037 039 023 001 00
232200 2025N 09056W 9249 00676 9992 +219 +137 084036 036 025 001 00
232230 2024N 09057W 9248 00675 9992 +215 +139 082036 036 023 002 00
232300 2022N 09057W 9248 00676 9991 +215 +141 085037 038 023 000 00
232330 2021N 09058W 9250 00673 9990 +219 +141 088039 040 026 000 00
$$
;


What site is that from? I'm using this one:
Link
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
1397. Levi32
999mb found by recon...not yet to the center.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting belizeit:
I made it alive trough alex lasi night we got about 7 inches of rain


Glad you're ok.
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1394. ATL
Quoting RitaEvac:
Weather456 says N Mexico. Whew, I'm in the clear folks.
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Quoting btwntx08:

hwrf has corpus i see


Hi btwntx.....I have no idea where it will go, so confusing...ughh
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taz-
how many windows do you have open running stuff? sometimes firefox can be overwhelmed if ya got too much going on. ie just hangs, firefox gives you an error saying it is the url or your network that is broken...but it is usually due to a memory issue. try closing firefox completely every once in a while and starting over. pain in the butt, but it works.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
we may even have a hurricane by AM
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115079
Weather456 says N Mexico. Whew, I'm in the clear folks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
999.0mb pressure reading.

000
URNT15 KNHC 272323
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 17 20100627
231400 2049N 09041W 9250 00684 0004 +215 +145 094035 036 023 000 00
231430 2048N 09041W 9247 00685 0004 +213 +144 092032 034 022 000 00
231500 2046N 09042W 9246 00687 0004 +213 +144 094036 038 023 002 00
231530 2045N 09043W 9249 00684 0002 +214 +142 092034 035 024 001 00
231600 2043N 09044W 9249 00683 0003 +210 +141 092038 039 027 005 00
231630 2042N 09045W 9250 00682 0003 +209 +139 093037 038 028 004 00
231700 2040N 09046W 9251 00680 0001 +212 +135 093038 038 027 004 00
231730 2039N 09047W 9248 00682 0000 +211 +133 089037 038 026 000 00
231800 2037N 09048W 9250 00680 0000 +210 +131 090038 039 026 000 00
231830 2036N 09049W 9246 00684 9999 +210 +131 087039 040 022 002 00
231900 2034N 09050W 9251 00676 9998 +211 +131 086040 041 022 002 00
231930 2033N 09051W 9248 00678 9997 +212 +132 087041 042 018 002 00
232000 2031N 09052W 9248 00679 9996 +212 +132 087041 041 018 002 00
232030 2030N 09053W 9249 00677 9995 +212 +134 086040 041 018 001 00
232100 2028N 09054W 9249 00675 9993 +216 +135 084039 040 020 001 00
232130 2027N 09055W 9248 00677 9993 +218 +136 083037 039 023 001 00
232200 2025N 09056W 9249 00676 9992 +219 +137 084036 036 025 001 00
232230 2024N 09057W 9248 00675 9992 +215 +139 082036 036 023 002 00
232300 2022N 09057W 9248 00676 9991 +215 +141 085037 038 023 000 00
232330 2021N 09058W 9250 00673 9990 +219 +141 088039 040 026 000 00
$$
;
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.