Alex may head north to Texas or Louisiana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:36 PM GMT on June 27, 2010

Share this Blog
5
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1138 - 1088

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73Blog Index

Lurking for 3 years and rarely posting. Maybe just frustration from the oil spill and TS is bringing me out to post. Or maybe I'm just having a bad day LOL.

When you come on the blog, please take the time to go back a few pages and catch up on the discussion. To pop on here, and ask to be updated on everything going on takes up valuable time and space. And to ask questions that have been covered in depth for the previous hour or two is selfish IMO. It's only common courtesy. I know this has been requested over and over again, but just felt like offering up a reminder.

And thanks to Storm, Levi, Tampa and all those who provide such wonderful info for us all.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Snowlover123:
Poll: Which Model?

Which model do you think has the best track?

A. CMC

B. ECMWF

C. GFS

D. UKMET

E. HWRF

F. GDFL

or G. Other



A and C
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting eyesontheweather:
All Non Essential Crew are being evaced from numerous rigs. That started 24 hours ago


Nothing out of the ordinary in that. They tend to do the evacs in two stages, non-essential personnel first, then if it becomes necessary they will shut down operations and bring in the rest.

Most rigs have more people on board than what the crew boat can legally carry at once. Of course, if it was a question of imminent danger, the Captain of the vessel can exceed the certificated capacity. The staged evac generally avoids that problem.

I am sure there are other reasons as well, but that was the only aspect of it that concerned me directly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Poll: Which Model?

Which model do you think has the best track?

A. CMC

B. ECMWF

C. GFS

D. UKMET

E. HWRF

F. GDFL

or G. Other
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Recons North of the Yucatan.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
1133. MZV
The bands further west appear to be filling in too with colder tops. Maybe just afternoon thunderstorm activity... but still, it adds to the image of an organizing system.
Member Since: July 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 227
Quoting Snowlover123:


Correct me if I'm wrong, but currently Alex is heading NW/NNW.

-Snowlover123


I agree as well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1128. jpsb
Quoting MrstormX:
Convection near the COC is slowly starting to pop again:

Link
Wow! To whoever told me how to get the links working again THANKYOU.
Member Since: June 30, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1276
Could the storm start going north and then be pushed west? has that ever happened or is that ridiculous?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TexasHurricane:


How strong is that?


Usually Category 2
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Hey guys check this out:

Link

Oz is readying up the hurricane van!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting thunderblogger:
Shear looks kinda high in the central GOM, any idea if this is supposed to stay in place or relax?


Based on the shear tendency maps it has gone down and is expected to decrease.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TOMSEFLA:
is recon enroute?
Seems like they are on their way.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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(


Bordonaro! Long time no see! What is your thinking for TS Alex? I believe that this is a South Texas landfall, (South of Corpus Christi.) Do you agree with this?
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


Well, I still agree with that landfall and maybe even strength.

I dont.

But...I guess we'll see.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1116. Patrap
Note the Bigger Circ surrounding the Smaller coc ..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting Stormchaser2007:


The DGEX is probably the worst model you can use for a tropical system. Its even terrible for winter.


Hey its a model none the less, although it is based off the GFS (and we all know what that has been doing) with every passing hour though this thing moves farther away from the Southerly models and favors the Central or Northern Solutions.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting TexasHurricane:


How strong is that?


CAT 2
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GetReal:
For the want to be meteorologist, I have a suggestion. Spend a little more time learning to read surface maps, and interpreting WV satellite pics, and rely a little less on computer models more than 48 hours out....

Just a suggestion, it does appear to be a lost art.

For the want to be meteorologist - learn Calculus, learn a lot of Calculus and Thermodynamics too...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Have the HWRF and GFDL models come out yet?
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrstormX:
NEW 18z DGEX Derivative model, is now a Galveston Area landfall. 973mb Hurricane



How strong is that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting skepticall2:


Yea a model did say that early last week. Not sure which one don't want to take a educated guess and get ridiculed.


that's what I thought. Likewise, I can't remember either, but that batch of clouds seems like it's too big and Alex too weak right now to be pulled into the COC and could quite possibly get slllingshot northward and eventually NNE and then NE as that trough digs in - it would be a LOT closer TO that trough as it spun it's way north and would be under it's influence moreso than would Alex. At least that's my $0.02.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Recon is heading over there right now.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1101. Patrap



NEXSAT GOM Viz Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


My thoughts My thoughts My thoughts!!!


Well with its current motion, that is possible wouldn't say probable yet but it keeps growing.
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


My thoughts My thoughts My thoughts!!!


The DGEX is probably the worst model you can use for a tropical system. Its even terrible for winter.
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
1098. RJT185
Looking forward to seeing the first images of the visible after Monday's sunrise!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
is recon enroute?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15950
Quoting MrstormX:
NEW 18z DGEX Derivative model, is now a Galveston Area landfall. 973mb Hurricane



Okay... maybe the DGEX is just moving north and not coming to my thinking...
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
1093. Patrap



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129904
1092. GetReal
For the want to be meteorologist, I have a suggestion. Spend a little more time learning to read surface maps, and interpreting WV satellite pics, and rely a little less on computer models more than 48 hours out....

Just a suggestion, it does appear to be a lost art.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MrstormX:
NEW 18z DGEX Derivative model, is now a Galveston Area landfall. 973mb Hurricane




IKE PART 2
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1138 - 1088

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73Blog Index

Top of Page

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.

Local Weather

Light Rain
40 °F
Light Rain

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron