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 Hurricanes101:


does that image update automatically? cuz I do have that site bookmarked
It updates every hour but if you post it on the blog it won't update.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting homelesswanderer:
Continued

WHILE THE H3 LOW IS FORECAST TO LIFT OUT BY TOMORROW...THE
RIDGE WILL CONTINUE TO WEAKEN WHILE THE OTHER SUPPORTING PLAYERS
WILL REMAIN. INCREASED POPS INTO THE CHANCE RANGE AREAWIDE...AND
TICKED A DEGREE OR TWO OFF OF FORECAST HIGHS.

TUESDAY SHOULD CONTINUE TO SEE MOISTURE POOLING OVER THE AREA
WHILE THE RIDGE CONTINUES TO GRADUALLY ERODE AS THE UPPER TROF
STARTS TO TAKE SHAPE OVER THE ERN CONUS. MEANWHILE...THE LARGE
CIRCULATION OF ALEX WILL GENERATE WINDS AND SEAS THAT MAY BE
NEARING SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY CRITERIA...ESPECIALLY BEYOND 20 NM.

THE FORECAST BY WEDNESDAY BECOMES HIGHLY UNCERTAIN...AS IT DEPENDS
HEAVILY ON THE TRACK OF ALEX. THE MODEL SPLIT THAT MATERIALIZED
YESTERDAY CONTINUES TODAY...WITH THE GFS/CMC MAINTAINING A NORTHWEST
GULF SOLUTION...AND THE ECMWF/UKMET MAINTAINING A NORTHEAST MEXICO
LANDFALL. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK FROM NHC FAVORS THE
LATTER...SO THE DAY 4-8 GRIDS WERE CONSTRUCTED AROUND THE PAST TWO
ECMWF RUNS. THIS LEADS TO A GENERALLY CLOUDY AND WET FORECAST...AS
MOISTURE REMAINS POOLED ACROSS THE AREA...TRAPPED BENEATH A WEAK COLD
FRONT EXPECTED TO SLOWLY SAG TO THE SOUTH AND THE LINGERING
EAST/SOUTHEAST FLOW LEFT BEHIND BY ALEX.

&&

Link


Homeless, you have mail...
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Quoting skepticall2:


Models have shifted...


This past run? Have they shifted north again?
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


...and will do so again I suspect. Can't wait to see them tomorrow.
This is so True.... And from now untill the next 2 TWO's they will shift to the North.... Kinda Crazy with Alex....

Taco :o)
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Quoting NeverPanic:


Updates every hour. Open up the dropdown in the time frame. Hope that help's :)


I meant if I were to post it as a pic, like the ssd site does
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Hello everyone..good lord! NOW SW LA is mentioned? After reading Dr. Master's blog, it's getting a little shaky here...I now can't pull myself away from this blog as all this lurking and reading gets very interesting.....Hope everyone is well....
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


I have that link, I dont think they update on their own though


Updates every hour. Open up the dropdown in the time frame. Hope that help's :)
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829. MZV
Looks like a convective band is beginning to fire off around 20N... Will that be the beginning of filling in the dry area to the NW?
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Quoting btwntx08:


Once again, NAM is on the borderline for Mexico and Texas. You can see it bouncing around the low pressure system in the model run.
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"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!
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


LOL...no. I am just saying that if they start forecasting a movement towards the NNW or NW, then that would take the storm closer to the rig area - which, thus, would provoke the shut down procedures. There is no need for that right now b/c they are not 100% sure of track, yet. No need to stop capping the oil flow right now for Alex - based on a few model runs, who is not really expected to come near the rig area anyway. That is all I am saying.
I agree with you completely and I don't know why so many people are trying to make this into something sinister. I do not think the NHC wants to be attacked by the US media if they issue a northern forecast on the basis of the GFS & Co., BP starts to shut down, and then GFS & Co. change their mind and go south. That could definitely happen, as the ECMWF is reputed to be the better model. They won't put out dangerously false information for any reason, but the fact is that they just don't have all the information they need or want. Until they do, better to stay south, wait and see which set of models will switch, because it must happen sooner or later.
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for everyone but chuck...bastardi also is saying this season is set up now with some new data to be almost as bad as 2005 a top 2 or 3 all time active season. A step beyond even where he was a couple of weeks ago..
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Quoting TankHead93:
May you post a link to this satellite please?


Afternoon all.

TH, That's the GHCC site. The first link under imagery here. It is typically the site that updates images the most frequently and fastest. One of my favorite imagery sites.

Posting a new blog at some point this evening...About South Carolina's Monkey Island. Only accessible by boat. Went out and took some pics this morning.
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And the fighting begins...

Keep it civil folks. Someone (actually, MANY SOMEONES) will be affected by Alex. Let's not lose sight of that fact while we are on here.

And enough about Bastardi. He is only making a forecast. He could be right, he could be dead wrong. Same can be said for EVERYONE on this blog. That includes Dr. Masters.

So chill.
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ALEX Floater - Visible Loop

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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Lol! Well we do have this little guy that is worth mentioning, but he won't be in the Caribbean for another week or so.



HOLY crap! He's huge. Hope it forms and heads to fish land.
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i think Alex has a good ch of stalling for a few days in the BOC be for he gets moveing N
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I'm just a lurker mostly, but had to comment on this, Frosty, my husband is a foreman on Pcola beach helping with the cleanup. I just wanted to let you know that because of the heat (black flag) with heat indexes over 105 they are only allowed to work in 10 minute increments. 10 on 50 off. I know I feel as frustrated as you do but with the heat there isn't a whole lot that can be done. They only have so many people working and rotating out every 10 minutes is pretty hard to keep people working all day long. Yesterday my husbands team bagged up over 400 bags of tar/mousse and balls. 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.

I don't know if anyone knows this but this 10/50 rule is not a BP rule, it's an OSHA rule. It is supposed to apply to anyone working outdoors in a heat index above a certain temp. I, for one, was not aware of this. Living in SW FL, I do not see this rule in place at construction sites or lawn maintenance or any other outdoor occupations. I find it odd that it is being strictly enforced on the beaches yet no where else.
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Quoting skepticall2:


Models have shifted...


...and will do so again I suspect. Can't wait to see them tomorrow.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Lol! Well we do have this little guy that is worth mentioning, but he won't be in the Caribbean for another week or so.



does that image update automatically? cuz I do have that site bookmarked
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Quoting natrwalkn:


exactly


Taz is NOT a troll.
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Floater - Visible Loop
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Last visible which I ran through some filters..
Carmen winds are now out of the NNW.
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810. xcool
PanhandleChuck LMAO.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Enough of the assumptions. That is not what she said.
Not assuming anything. The last thing BP wants, or needs right now is anymore bad press. Believe me, they are monitoring this storm and will do the right thing. They can't afford not too, I don't care how deep their pockets are! I work for a chemical plant the Texas coast. These plant and their affiliated businesses watch these storms closely.
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Quoting PanhandleChuck:


LOL... contrary to popular belief, he is not a god!


no one said he was chuck...
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Continued

WHILE THE H3 LOW IS FORECAST TO LIFT OUT BY TOMORROW...THE
RIDGE WILL CONTINUE TO WEAKEN WHILE THE OTHER SUPPORTING PLAYERS
WILL REMAIN. INCREASED POPS INTO THE CHANCE RANGE AREAWIDE...AND
TICKED A DEGREE OR TWO OFF OF FORECAST HIGHS.

TUESDAY SHOULD CONTINUE TO SEE MOISTURE POOLING OVER THE AREA
WHILE THE RIDGE CONTINUES TO GRADUALLY ERODE AS THE UPPER TROF
STARTS TO TAKE SHAPE OVER THE ERN CONUS. MEANWHILE...THE LARGE
CIRCULATION OF ALEX WILL GENERATE WINDS AND SEAS THAT MAY BE
NEARING SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY CRITERIA...ESPECIALLY BEYOND 20 NM.

THE FORECAST BY WEDNESDAY BECOMES HIGHLY UNCERTAIN...AS IT DEPENDS
HEAVILY ON THE TRACK OF ALEX. THE MODEL SPLIT THAT MATERIALIZED
YESTERDAY CONTINUES TODAY...WITH THE GFS/CMC MAINTAINING A NORTHWEST
GULF SOLUTION...AND THE ECMWF/UKMET MAINTAINING A NORTHEAST MEXICO
LANDFALL. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK FROM NHC FAVORS THE
LATTER...SO THE DAY 4-8 GRIDS WERE CONSTRUCTED AROUND THE PAST TWO
ECMWF RUNS. THIS LEADS TO A GENERALLY CLOUDY AND WET FORECAST...AS
MOISTURE REMAINS POOLED ACROSS THE AREA...TRAPPED BENEATH A WEAK COLD
FRONT EXPECTED TO SLOWLY SAG TO THE SOUTH AND THE LINGERING
EAST/SOUTHEAST FLOW LEFT BEHIND BY ALEX.

&&

Link
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You have to kind of anticipate that, we are still possibly 5+ days out from a landfall. And while track errors have improved in the 5 day forecasts, they are still very large. Anything beyond 72 hours anyways is low confidence.

Quoting Hhunter:


this is a fluid situation. He is not perfect but in my many years of tracking him he is very very good...you might make a judgement on more information..
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In regards to some who are afraid of discussion here causing a panic. Wow! There should have been a panic dating back to April 21, 2010 and maybe way back to July of 2009 when Obama and Salazar got BP's drilling of this area of the spill exempted from court decision in April of 2009 that would have stopped it! The BP oil spill is already reason to panic. The impact of this on the Gulf of Mexico is Beyond Poisonous!

The response of the U.S. Government and the Obama Administration is still not sufficient. They have even allowed this criminal company to stay in business and be a part of the clean up and allowed the use of dispersants to kill off what the oil did not kill. Terrible. Maybe some level of panic is warranted. Our Government needs to take this disaster more seriously and who knows, maybe this storm will do some good, it could help break up large portions of the oil and allow oxygen levels to increase to high enough levels to sustain life that otherwise the concentrated levels of oil and dispersant would kill off anything in those waters if not for a storm.

The future of Alex is very uncertain, it could land anywhere from Mexico to the Florida panhandle imo and do so as anywhere between a tropical storm and a strong Hurricane. This sure appears to be a developing monster storm and people should prepare for it. If track continues N by Northwest and storm strengthens then it should turn more North and could be heading N by NE within a few days. All discussion should be welcome to make sure those that could be devastated by Alex are prepared and will have time to do all they can to mitigate the damages. My thought is that the REAL devastation has already taken place and will only get worse since Beyond Poisonous has already destroyed most of the Gulf of Mexico and the leak they have unleashed can and will cause more damage. Let's hope this storm helps by stirring up the waters in a way to minimize the loss of life in the waters of the Gulf and hopefully mitigates the harm done by Obama and Salazar going to bat for BP to allow this drilling and the variances through the MMS without which there would be no disaster. Let's not censor concerned discussion. How much worse can things really get looking 1 year to 20 years out?

Just like those on September 11th before the towers came down were saying all is well and hindered or slowed the escapes of many, the response to the BP disaster and now to Alex needs to be a prepared one with none of this all is well crap, the waters of the Gulf have already been poisoned, who knows maybe a strong system will do some good to save marine life and keep the oil from doing worse damage.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


we are kind of busy dealing with Alex still lol
Lol! Well we do have this little guy that is worth mentioning, but he won't be in the Caribbean for another week or so.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting xcool:
PanhandleChuck :0


LOL... contrary to popular belief, he is not a god!
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Quoting NeverPanic:


You can get good images here eumetsat


I have that link, I dont think they update on their own though
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Quoting PanhandleChuck:


Hope I don't get banned for this.... I suppose your one of them that actually believes we landed on the Moon..... J/K
Refuse to comment, since I can't legally be considered part of the "we"..... lol

But on the matter of the NHC, I don't think they're going to change their forecast just to fit BP, one way or the other.... and in ur shoes, even if I did work for BP, I wouldn't admit it... lol
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22725
800. xcool
any from tx cost to LA GAME ON .KEEP EYE Alex
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Hurricanes101:
anyone have a nice jpg image of the wave over Africa that would update on its own?


You can get good images here eumetsat
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Quoting AllBoardedUp:
No offense, but are you suggesting people work through a storm, even if it is just a tropical depression? I for one wouldn't want to be trapped on a rig, boat, or on the shoreline scraping up oil during any kind of inclement weather.


LOL...no. I am just saying that if they start forecasting a movement towards the NNW or NW, then that would take the storm closer to the rig area - which, thus, would provoke the shut down procedures. There is no need for that right now b/c they are not 100% sure of track, yet. No need to stop capping the oil flow right now for Alex - based on a few model runs, who is not really expected to come near the rig area anyway. That is all I am saying.
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Quoting Hhunter:


this is a fluid situation. He is not perfect but in my many years of tracking him he is very very good...you might make a judgement on more information..


Just going on the last 3 years that I watched him... Again, not impressed
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796. xcool
PanhandleChuck :0
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting TankHead93:
May you post a link to this satellite please?


The one I provided is made automatically by my server. It updates every 10 minutes on it's own. I have a flash animation here if you want to see that instead.

The official one is at here.
Member Since: February 21, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 340
794. WAHA
BRB I have to track on Google Earth.
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Looks like Alex is slowing down a little. (forward speed)
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
So guys when will the next storm to be in the Caribbean will be any idea


we are kind of busy dealing with Alex still lol
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Quoting WPBHurricane05:


Yup.

Just a heads up, the Big Dog normally talks about whats going on currently while the Long Ranger looks at the next few months. They should update everyday unless he's on vacation. He also posts columns daily vacation or not.
That sounds really cool.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting jlp09550:
May you post a link to this satellite please?
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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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