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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1338. Hhunter
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1337. Patrap
Quoting Tazmanian:




hmmm is that a inner eye wall starting?


I think your right Tazaroo..Alex seems to be re building it fast.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
1336. xcool


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Quoting Bordonaro:

We may see Hurricane Alex in 24 to 36 hrs, maybe a bit sooner. I HOPE that Alex stays FAR away from the upper TX/LA coast!!
It definitely is a possibility that we will see hurricane Alex within 48 hours, but it needs to intensify a bit more before we can make that type of prediction.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
1333. Patrap
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
I would say Patrap had it right earlier the system is not moving, but many times in a weakened system a new center will form as the storm moves off the coast so I would not jump to any conclusions about direction.
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1330. ATL
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

Remember they can not fly over land so if the center hasnt moved off land yet they wont find the centers pressure yet.


The center is offshore...but by only a handful of miles. Still think they'll be able to get a central pressure
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1215. Snowlover123 6:55 PM AST on June 27, 2010
Quoting Weather456:
Analog Tracks



We would need a trof similar to this to pull off a GFS/CMC



What does the trough look like now? I think that the CMC and GFS are further north, and a landfall in S. Texas is likely. What's yours?


N Mexico
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Still pretty impressive.....





hmmm is that a inner eye wall starting?
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115074
Quoting HaboobsRsweet:

Remember they can not fly over land so if the center hasnt moved off land yet they wont find the centers pressure yet.
I think that the COC already moved over water from what I've heard on the blog.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
At the moment lowest pressure found is 1001.0mb.

We may see Hurricane Alex in 24 to 36 hrs, maybe a bit sooner. I HOPE that Alex stays FAR away from the upper TX/LA coast!!
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
000
URNT15 KNHC 272303
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 15 20100627
225400 2148N 09010W 9216 00759 0054 213 047 103039 039 027 000 00
225430 2147N 09010W 9253 00718 0047 219 061 105039 039 025 000 00
225500 2145N 09011W 9261 00705 0041 220 071 108039 039 024 000 00
225530 2144N 09012W 9247 00719 0041 219 080 110039 039 023 000 00
225600 2142N 09012W 9249 00716 0040 215 088 111040 040 023 000 00
225630 2141N 09013W 9249 00715 0038 218 095 111041 041 024 001 00
225700 2139N 09014W 9252 00713 0036 224 101 109040 040 024 000 00
225730 2138N 09014W 9248 00711 0031 224 107 108040 040 025 000 00
225800 2136N 09015W 9249 00710 0029 228 112 109041 041 025 000 00
225830 2135N 09016W 9249 00709 0025 229 118 109041 041 025 000 00
225900 2134N 09016W 9248 00696 0012 230 122 107040 040 023 000 00
225930 2132N 09017W 9249 00694 0011 230 125 104039 040 022 001 00
230000 2131N 09018W 9249 00694 0011 230 128 104038 039 019 000 00
230030 2129N 09019W 9249 00694 0010 230 129 106040 040 018 001 00
230100 2128N 09019W 9248 00695 0010 227 131 107041 041 019 001 00
230130 2126N 09020W 9250 00692 0010 228 131 106040 041 020 001 00
230200 2125N 09021W 9249 00693 0010 223 132 106040 040 020 000 00
230230 2123N 09021W 9249 00694 0011 220 133 105037 038 016 001 00
230300 2122N 09022W 9249 00693 0013 217 134 107036 036 018 000 00
230330 2120N 09023W 9248 00694 0013 215 135 108037 038 016 001 00
$$
;


Wow four straight readings of 1001.
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237
Analog Tracks



We would need a trof similar to this to pull off a GFS/CMC

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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Whats that mean?




i was going too ask the same thing
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115074
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Let's see what Recon finds.

Remember they can not fly over land so if the center hasnt moved off land yet they wont find the centers pressure yet.
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Whats that mean?
A pressure of 1001.0mb.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Still pretty impressive.....

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Quoting CaneWarning:
Taz will spay anybody who doesn't act properly on the blog. He has every right to do so.



YUP YUP YUP



and if any one evere Modify my cammets with out my ok will be re parted and Ignore



be come you have no right too do so
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115074
Quoting StormJunkie:


Hey CT, good to see you. Took a trip out to Morgan Island today. Posting some pictures in my blog later, and a little write up about Morgan.

As far as mets being puppets, I think people loose respect for the fact that they have a massive population to inform and therefore have to stick closer to the facts then speculation. Fine for us to speculate in here...But it's a different story when you have Joe Public basing decisions on what they say.


What's up SJ? Yea, I'll check those pictures out. Nice storms today for the Lowcountry. Just for the record, we (on cam mets) are not scripted when it comes to the forecast. I get 3 and a half minutes to do my thang. I'm responsible for the forecast and my maps and I don't have to have anything approved beforehand. Gonna be an interesting hurricane season for us.
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1317. xcool



hmmm
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Quoting Levi32:


1001mb still a 150 miles out from the center.
I can't imagine what they'll find when they near it.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bordonaro:
What MSLP estimates are coming out from the HH aircraft in Alex??
At the moment lowest pressure found is 1001.0mb.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Wow Levi
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
1309. Levi32
Quoting Bordonaro:
What MSLP estimates are coming out from the HH aircraft in Alex??


1001mb still at 150 miles out from the center.
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Quoting FormerTigergirl:
Bostwick wasn't the one doing the forcast..it was Cooper..gheez


Yeah. least ch 12 said there's model split. Watch it closely. Cooper's got a bad track record of blowing off storms. His very first was, Allison would never amount to much. Lol. Brown is worse.
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1307. Patrap
I suggest some modify their comments as I havent a clue
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
1306. marmark
Quoting Tazmanian:
has any one noted this site is being a little bugey today
yes-Hi Taz! Hope you are well.
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What MSLP estimates are coming out from the HH aircraft in Alex??
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Quoting Levi32:
Recon just off the tip of the NW Yucatan and already finding pressures of 1001mb. Alex is still sub-1000mb....an incredible feat after only making landfall a few millibars lower than that.

Thats in google earth..mine isnt even finding a the mission lol
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Good evening Pat
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
000
URNT15 KNHC 272303
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 15 20100627
225400 2148N 09010W 9216 00759 0054 213 047 103039 039 027 000 00
225430 2147N 09010W 9253 00718 0047 219 061 105039 039 025 000 00
225500 2145N 09011W 9261 00705 0041 220 071 108039 039 024 000 00
225530 2144N 09012W 9247 00719 0041 219 080 110039 039 023 000 00
225600 2142N 09012W 9249 00716 0040 215 088 111040 040 023 000 00
225630 2141N 09013W 9249 00715 0038 218 095 111041 041 024 001 00
225700 2139N 09014W 9252 00713 0036 224 101 109040 040 024 000 00
225730 2138N 09014W 9248 00711 0031 224 107 108040 040 025 000 00
225800 2136N 09015W 9249 00710 0029 228 112 109041 041 025 000 00
225830 2135N 09016W 9249 00709 0025 229 118 109041 041 025 000 00
225900 2134N 09016W 9248 00696 0012 230 122 107040 040 023 000 00
225930 2132N 09017W 9249 00694 0011 230 125 104039 040 022 001 00
230000 2131N 09018W 9249 00694 0011 230 128 104038 039 019 000 00
230030 2129N 09019W 9249 00694 0010 230 129 106040 040 018 001 00
230100 2128N 09019W 9248 00695 0010 227 131 107041 041 019 001 00
230130 2126N 09020W 9250 00692 0010 228 131 106040 041 020 001 00
230200 2125N 09021W 9249 00693 0010 223 132 106040 040 020 000 00
230230 2123N 09021W 9249 00694 0011 220 133 105037 038 016 001 00
230300 2122N 09022W 9249 00693 0013 217 134 107036 036 018 000 00
230330 2120N 09023W 9248 00694 0013 215 135 108037 038 016 001 00
$$
;
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting Swamplily:


Just wanted to say Hi from Lafayette. I only log on during hurricane season. Good to see you are still here. Take Care My Friend.


I'll be darned- another me! :))
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1298. Levi32
Recon just off the tip of the NW Yucatan and already finding pressures of 1001mb. Alex is still sub-1000mb....an incredible feat after only making landfall a few millibars lower than that.

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has any one noted this site is being a little bugey today
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115074
Impressive Satellite Pic CRS.
Here we go again.
Coordinates on Navy site are 18.9N and 90.7W.
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1295. ATL
Quoting tropicfreak:
Funny though last year or a few years ago he was just fine, spelled everything correctly. what now?

Not at all relevant to the tropics.
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1291. Patrap
Hello dere Swamplily
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 128240
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:




was that needed
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115074
Hello all! Long time lurker, first time blogger. Have been following WU since 05. Hope to learn, interact, and avoid drama! I think Alex will prove to be very interesting as it already has.
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Quoting ATL:

Me neither. Though due to its sheer size Alex's winds are probably lower than you'd expect per a given pressure (didn't Ike have the same issue?)
Let's see what Recon finds.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193

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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.