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 Crawls:
When do you expect to start getting HH recon data?


They just started descending near the storm.
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1237. Levi32
Notice how the heat already wants to gather around Alex's center again, instead of in the outskirts of the storm. Major hurricanes that cross the Yucatan like that would have a much harder time rebuilding their core than Alex will have because they fight with themselves, and this is why intensification shouldn't be a problem for Alex once he spends a day or two over water.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Quoting Acemmett90:

stormno he so annoying i think hes the one who posted porn links last year


He is such a...a.. downcaster. Even though NHC puts it in red, he still thinks it won't develop!
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Quoting tropicfreak:


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


LOL!
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
ya i think so too . its going to push it on shore
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1229. Patrap
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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?
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Quoting jlp09550:
Alex is getting some action near the COC.



Right as the COC hits water too.
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1224. Crawls
When do you expect to start getting HH recon data?
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Quoting MSweatherguy:
not good bro
I think the storm is going to really hurt us,oil wise.
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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.
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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.


I like Bostwick....just seems that he would have at least mention the possibility of a somewhere in Texas landfall. Just my opinion.
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Alex is getting some action near the COC.

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Quoting Acemmett90:

put him on ignore


put me on ignore?? or Stormno?
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1216. Patrap



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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?
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
There is also some dry air to the nw of Alex might be what is slowing down the west to nw quadrant.
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Later folks. Time to rest the eyes.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15671
note if you get a 24hr banned not olny your banned from this blog you are all so banned from your blog has well
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114053
not good bro
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Quoting Tazmanian:
Acemmett90 is still here,look at post 1021, he is not banned


WE WERN'T TALKING ABOUT HIM.
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Quoting MSweatherguy:
I live in Ocean springs
I live in Biloxi.Just heard it on the radio.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Did some one turn the popcorn maker on?
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4355
Quoting FormerTigergirl:
My local weather idiot (KFDM Beaumont) just said landfall south of Brownsville..models have been consistent with the track of Alex, maybe a Hurricane at landfall.

LOL...LOL...LOL


Off topic but were you an LSU cheerleader or a Golden Girl? Trying to figure what you S/N means.
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Quoting FormerTigergirl:
My local weather idiot (KFDM Beaumont) just said landfall south of Brownsville..models have been consistent with the track of Alex, maybe a Hurricane at landfall.

LOL...LOL...LOL



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

Link
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5089 Comments: 114053
I know where the shear maps are they don't look positive to me, I was asking the opinion of any of the more knowledgeable people. Sorry to freak you out.
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Yes they do hold a lot back...
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Quoting Acemmett90:

he's the last person that should be banned


Agreed the person that should be banned is stormno
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I live in Ocean springs
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Quoting Bordonaro:
Alex looks real good after spending 24 hrs over land. I fear that Alex will become a hurricane within about 36 hrs or less. Might even have a CAT 2 Hurricane by Tuesday morning :o(


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.
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Quoting FormerTigergirl:
My local weather idiot (KFDM Beaumont) just said landfall south of Brownsville..models have been consistent with the track of Alex, maybe a Hurricane at landfall.

LOL...LOL...LOL


South of Brownsville might happen if Alex moves more NW than expected.. and the NHC predicts Alex to be a Category 1 maybe even a 2 at landfall. Models however, haven't been consistent with Alex.
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Quoting bayoubug:
all those weather poeple can't say what they wanna say on t.v. PUPPETS....


Don't go there..
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1191. Levi32
Quoting hydrus:
................Is the sub-tropical jet forecast to return to the Gulf? Looks like its trying..Link


There is a decent band of westerlies there pressing down on Alex's upper antiyclone due to an upper low over the north gulf coast, but this will be lifting out to the northeast over the next couple days allowing the upper anticyclone to expand north once again.

And to support GR's comment, I don't even have to look at models to figure that out. It is the natural reaction of the upper low over the north gulf coast to lift out to the east and north as a longwave trough approaches from the west and passes by the area to the north.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 628 Comments: 26455
Tell yall a little thing about my self....Member since 2004 lot's of lurking, but i learn a lot from yall...Keep up the good work...Destrehan, LA.
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Quoting tropicfreak:


Are you talking about Jeanne in 04'?


That was a strange one.. Even here in Macon, GA we had a state of emergency declared because of flooding after it's center passed directly over us as a depression or TS can't remember. Nothing nearly as bad as what FL got for sure!
Member Since: July 7, 2008 Posts: 2 Comments: 3237

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About JeffMasters

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