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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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: 21194
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Don't treat him that way, I apologize for doing so as well.

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Quoting Patrap:
My lil chuckle...Tony style

Hi,.Im Tony Hayward talking to you from Sweden where Im relaxing and Skiing with my Family.

We at BP have a Hurricane Response Plan Ready to Implement in case of a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Emergency.

Rest assured,..were going to make this right.

We'll be back in 10-14 Days.


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.
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Quoting EasttexasAggie:



Bostwick IS NOT an idiot, I know him personally. You have to remember he has a community not to freak out.


Cooper's pretty bad.
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1282. ATL
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Rather impressive. I wouldn't be surprised to see Recon show pressures in the sub-995mb threshold with all these impressive weather reports.

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?)
1228. tropicfreak 3:56 PM PDT on June 27, 2010 Hide this comment.

Quoting Acemmett90:

we were not talking bout me can we get back to the poping td



Did you notice I corrected taz's terrible spelling in the quote?




POOF
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115256
Recon nearing the surface...
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
recon is already finding 45 mph winds at flight level and 30+ at surface
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Quoting EasttexasAggie:


He probably would have, but the censor (Beaulieu) knows that the Beaumont blue hairs would take it to the bank and talk it up to the point of it being gospel. Therefore it was probably not allowed. Also, who wants to have the meteorologist that claims the NHC is wrong 5 days out?


Gheez didn't mean to offend anyone with my opinion...Bostwick wasn't doing the forecast..it was Cooper...but yeah you would think that they would've mentioned that the NHC had LOW CONFIDENCE in their track and the model split today...at least tell people to stay informed
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Quoting Patrap:
ALEX really slowed in Motion as it takes a breath offshore and builds that warm column again


ALEX Floater - JSL Color Infrared Loop
Feeling the resistance of the ridge now
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Quoting Levi32:
Incredible....barometric pressures of 998-999mb are being measured by the 3 weather stations within 50 miles of Alex's center.
Rather impressive. I wouldn't be surprised to see Recon show pressures in the sub-995mb threshold with all these impressive weather reports.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1274. Hhunter
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Quoting Tazmanian:




You can't do that.
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Quoting Chucktown:


Don't go there..


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.
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1269. ryang
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Too bad they banned STL and Oz.. I really enjoyed having them on here. STL comments around on other peoples blog though, like mine for example.


STL isn't banned any more...
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Quoting FormerTigergirl:
Bostwick wasn't the one doing the forcast..it was Cooper..gheez


Also, not an idiot. Tv weather is serious bidness.
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Quoting spathy:
Ok this is old but does anyone see a wobble in this wind analy. that may suggest a possible scoot to the R/NNW



Again, my thinking is coming to life, as well with other folks who suggest a Texas landfall as well.
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
1266. Levi32
Quoting caribbeantracker01:
weather456 is 94l an upper level low??


Ex-94L is a tropical wave interacting with an upper low that was there long before 94L arrived.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
Quoting EasttexasAggie:


He probably would have, but the censor (Beaulieu) knows that the Beaumont blue hairs would take it to the bank and talk it up to the point of it being gospel. Therefore it was probably not allowed. Also, who wants to have the meteorologist that claims the NHC is wrong 5 days out?


True.... who knows, it may go to Mexico anyways...I have no idea.
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Quoting Tazmanian:




you cant do that


Compare your comment to the same comment I quoted.
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1262. Levi32
Incredible....barometric pressures of 998-999mb are being measured by the 3 weather stations within 50 miles of Alex's center.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26652
Quoting Patrap:
ALEX really slowed in Motion as it takes a breath offshore and builds that warm column again


ALEX Floater - JSL Color Infrared Loop


It also looks like Alex relocated itself further north in the last few frames.
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Quoting caribbeantracker01:
weather456 is 94l an upper level low??




94L is now X 94L
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115256
Quoting GreenMe2225:


your basis for the mexican coast landfall forecast is IMPRESSIVE!

thank you very much for taking the time and effort to post such a striking and meaningful post.

with all this model show and tell it is very refreshing to see a knowledgeable and experienced person use human skill to predict weather systems.


Weather456 is back??
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


I like Bostwick....just seems that he would have at least mention the possibility of a somewhere in Texas landfall. Just my opinion.


He probably would have, but the censor (Beaulieu) knows that the Beaumont blue hairs would take it to the bank and talk it up to the point of it being gospel. Therefore it was probably not allowed. Also, who wants to have the meteorologist that claims the NHC is wrong 5 days out?
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I'm having a hard time determining if Alex is moving just N of Due W or NNW.... It looks, as far as the broad circulation goes, that it's moving NNW... However in close ups, the COC seems to move more west than north. I'm confused.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Did you notice I corrected taz's terrible spelling in the quote?




you cant do that
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115256
Bostwick wasn't the one doing the forcast..it was Cooper..gheez
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weather456 is 94l an upper level low??
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Quoting StormW:




The trough is getting there- and since Alex is slowing down, I don't see how the axis of the trough can't be in Central TX in order for a GFS/CMC situation to form. I still like the GFDL and HWRF situations.
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
1246. Patrap
ALEX really slowed in Motion as it takes a breath offshore and builds that warm column again


ALEX Floater - JSL Color Infrared Loop
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Too bad they banned STL and Oz.. I really enjoyed having them on here. STL comments around on other peoples blog though, like mine for example.



STL is here he been un banned for some time now


Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115256
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Maybe Drakoen just spent the day at the beach. Or with folks.



Certainly not on the yucatan.
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they found it right by me.. i live by st. andrews
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Th convection popup near the COC could very well spiral into a CDO by tomorrow morning.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting highndry1:


I agree totally. Considering Alex just spent the last 12 hours ploughing over the highlands of Belize and then through the jungles of the Yucatan, he's one determined storm! The infrastructure looks great, banding building back up to the north, COC soon to be closed, although I don't think he's got the oomph to pull in that large blob to the NE of him.

Give Alex 24 hrs over the GOM and we will have some pretty cold cloud tops. Low shear and 84-86F waters, just wait, watch and see :O)!!
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Quoting Crawls:
When do you expect to start getting HH recon data?


They just started descending near the storm.
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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.