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 GreenMe2225:


no offense, but when was the last time you have to eat crow?


Last time I ate crow was with 92L in the EATL. Anything else?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting tennisgirl08:
"To be honest, as long as the oil is gushing out no matter how many hours these people work, how many bags they fill up, its not going to make much difference until its plugged up."

LOL. I agree with this statement. I have seen the workers try to do their best on the beach - but it's really all just for good press. What's the point of cleaning up when more oil just keeps piling on each week..it's so ridiculous it just makes me mad and sad!


There is a reason to keep cleaining it. The longer it is just left sitting the more it can affect the enviroment. Even to the point of getting into the water table, which would probably be the worst thing that could happen.
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NEW 18z DGEX Derivative model, is now a Galveston Area landfall. 973mb Hurricane

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Quoting F4PHANTOM:
Operational coming towards the parallel track


Yes, in timing also, pretty close.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11307
Quoting F4PHANTOM:
Operational coming towards the parallel track


The GFS and the DGEX are coming to my thinking of South Texas landfall.

-Snowlover123
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
its not going for mexican



i eat crow for life if it makes land fall in mexican
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Quoting skepticall2:


Link


ok, I got it. Thanks!
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
1076. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 427 Comments: 129444
Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


I agree.


It seems to be slowed down as well.

http://icons-sf.wunderground.com/data/images/at201001_sat_0_anim.gif
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


There's really no reason to.. I mean normally I would say better safe than sorry.. but when we have thousands of barrels of oil leaking into the GOM per day then my opinion changes!
Yea Mine to as far as I can see, but because this storm is so "Big" and now could move more on a "Northly Course" is the reason why they are Evaucuating Crews.... Now remember its not only BP but Shell is moving crews out too....

Taco :o)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
Nice to see some agreement between the parallel gfs and the european model. Think this will be a significant cane for some part of the mexican coast. Conditions aloft should remain ideal.
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Storm, I receive your emails regularly and I thank you soooooo much!!
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I think Alex will slide under the tag and be safe at home in Mexico.
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Quoting victoriahurricane:
Hello everyone, mostly a lurker for the past 3 years or so, but finally decided to come out of lurkdom. I live right next to Orca in Victoria and have always been fascinated by the weather, even made a tornado simulator when I was younger too. The storm that really brought me here constantly is Omar hence my picture of that monster. Anyways I'll try to post thoughtful thoughts when possible and leave all the rest to the experts out there.

In the recon flight if they already found 30 kt winds in one of the feeder bands, I think Alex has to be a tropical storm right now right?


Am I wrong in that assumption? Or are the feeder bands of no matter to the intensity of Alex? TIA
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
things are happening the gulf coast should prepare for bad news


A couple of hours ago the isobar around the core was 1004. It is now down to 1002.

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Quoting StormW:


Hello...

1050. TexasHurricane 6:26 PM EDT on June 27, 2010 Hide this comment.

Quoting StormW:


I think further north than NHC has...but I won't be able to pinpoint until tomorrow after he gets organized better, and starts on a steady heading.



So about where is that?


Don't know where the NHC is showing...
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Pressure stable 1000mb

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1062. BDAwx
Do you think that Alex could be a prolific tornado producer?
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Quoting hydrus:
Link..... Will Alex go due north?


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

-Snowlover123
Member Since: April 1, 2010 Posts: 9 Comments: 2699
1059. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting hydrus:
Link..... Will Alex go due north?
lifting up and out ya
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
1058. JamesSA
Quoting Snowlover123:


The TS won't even be near that area! (I bet they just don't want to work so Tony Hayward can Yacht. >:(
I read on the news earlier that they are evacuating some non essential crew from some SOUTHERN Gulf rigs, not the DWH spill operations.
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1056. MZV
Even if he only ramps up to a Cat 1 hurricane, that wind field is going to be very broad and will be blowing the oil around. I don't think it matters a great deal where in the western Gulf he lands.
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1055. aquak9
taco taco taco

are you for real? :(
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Quoting taco2me61:
**Breaking News*** BP is Evacuating some of its crews from the GOM....

Taco :o(


There's really no reason to.. I mean normally I would say better safe than sorry.. but when we have thousands of barrels of oil leaking into the GOM per day then my opinion changes!
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Quoting taco2me61:
**Breaking News*** BP is Evacuating some of its crews from the GOM....

Taco :o(
All Non Essential Crew are being evaced from numerous rigs. That started 24 hours ago
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Quoting StormW:


I think further north than NHC has...but I won't be able to pinpoint until tomorrow after he gets organized better, and starts on a steady heading.


So about where is that?
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
shear is low 5kt
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1048. Hhunter
Quoting kmanislander:


Alex is coming off at the end of the day which gives it an advantage versus coming off in mid morning and having the heat of the day to contend with. In addition, the core pressure is fairly well established now which should shorten the time to reorganise as balanced against the TCHP deficit compared to the W Caribbean.


yep
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Quoting WinterAnalystwx13:


I dont....Why do you think it will?


If any area of the US is affected it would be extreme south Texas. That trough does not have the power to force Alex that far north. Some of these models not even being sensible enough to give Alex some westward component south of the ridge.
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Ciudad del Carmen, MX (Airport)
Winds from the WNW
Pressure:999mb↓
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Shear looks kinda high in the central GOM, any idea if this is supposed to stay in place or relax?
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Thanks Storm!!!
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Convection near the COC is slowly starting to pop again:

Link
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1041. hydrus
Link..... Will Alex go due north? That might be an upper low forming well to the west of Alex.
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1040. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
Quoting kmanislander:
Alex is not wasting any time rebuilding the core. Cold cloud tops starting to show in the center and the band from the N expanding in coverage and intensity.

things are happening the gulf coast should prepare for bad news
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55665
They're pulling crews off of their western GOM platforms, not any crews that are assisting in the Deepwater Horizon oil recovery process...yet.
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BTW - in terms of that trough pushing into the southeast US, well, it went over us yesterday and let me tell you it was pretty damn strong! If there's any question about the thing being able to pitch a hurricane north, query no more! We had lightning, hail, tornadoes, the works - quite the lightshow!
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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.

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