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 jlp09550:
May you post a link to this satellite please?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PanhandleChuck:


Yes, but he said MX yesterday... LA Monday.... AL Tues? Not real impressed.


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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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.
Enough of the assumptions. That is not what she said.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ok, thanks! I'll be subscribing later. Will the video still be up when I subscribe later today?


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.
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000
FXUS64 KLCH 272125
AFDLCH

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAKE CHARLES LA
425 PM CDT SUN JUN 27 2010

.DISCUSSION...
WATER VAPOR SATELLITE IMAGERY/UPPER AIR ANALYSIS SHOWED DEEP LAYER
RIDGE FROM THE SFC THROUGH H5 ACROSS THE SE CONUS...WITH AN UPPER
LOW SITUATED OVER SE TX AT H3. AREA OF 60M HEIGHT FALLS NOTED AT
H5 ACROSS THE UPPER MIDWEST...WITH 30M HEIGHT FALLS DOWN TO THE
RED RIVER VALLEY. A FORE-BEARER OF THE IMPENDING ERN CONUS TROF.
10-20M HEIGHT FALLS NOTED THROUGHOUT THE SOUTHEASTERN CONUS AT ALL
SIGNIFICANT LEVELS...INDICATIVE OF THE WEAKENING RIDGE.
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


Agreed. It's ashame that EVERY storm that comes into the GOMEX affects us this year, even without a direct hit. Also, doesn't help that Alex is so darn big.
Yes for sure Tennisgirl, nothing looks good for us this year at all, and Alex is just way to big. I think Rapid Intensifcation will be in the order for tonight too....

Taco :o)
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So guys when will the next storm to be in the Caribbean will be any idea
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780. ATL
Quoting Jebekarue:
Quoting frostynugs:
Just got back from a stroll on the beaches of gulf shores... one of the most depressing moments of my life. It smells like an auto garage, is covered in thick tar (not just tar balls anymore), and NOT ONE single worker out there cleaning any of it up. Mobile bay also has a lot of crap in it now, brown foam by the shorelines and around plants sticking out of the water, and I swear i saw a few tar mats/balls floating around just beneath the surface as well while crossing the bay bridge.

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.

Are they using respirators? 10 on, 50 off seems a bit extreme to me. Also, are you guys getting the crude odor like Patrap mentioned? I have some family down there and they say the tourist industry is shot.
Quoting tennisgirl08:


This is not meant to "help out" BP, but help out the people of the gulf coast. I don't want the cleanup efforts to cease just for Alex. Maybe a Katrina, but not an Alex. I am not saying NHC is in with BP, but with the government and people along the gulf coast. Just my opinion..
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.
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Quoting Levi32:


Yeah and there's a new video archive of his videos on his blog page that they just constructed, which I am thankful for.
Great. Thanks a lot.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ok, StormW or Levi. What is better Accuweather professional or Accuweather premium?


I have accuweather pro. I like watching Joe B's video updates. He can be funny.

There's obviously a lot more....read the comparisons I guess.
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levi and stormw- i hate it when you two whisper like that. Thanks levi for sharing a little....
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
anyone have a nice jpg image of the wave over Africa that would update on its own?
I'm not on the computer that I have all the bookmarks on but when I get to it I'll send you all the links.
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Fox news just reported a 32 mile oil slick is 20 miles from Grand Isle and will impact area within 24-48 hrs. The feds know about it but, there are no ships in the area.....Great job B.P.!!
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772. xcool
MiamiHurricanes09 .YEAH ;0
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ok, thanks! I'll be subscribing later. Will the video still be up when I subscribe later today?


Yeah and there's a new video archive of his videos on his blog page that they just constructed, which I am thankful for.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Hhunter:
bastardi saying the texas coast mid texas coast to Houston really in play here


Yes, but he said MX yesterday... LA Monday.... AL Tues? Not real impressed.
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Recon on its way

000
URNT11 KNHC 272125
97779 21250 11284 90000 79200 24014 73//8 /8046
RMK AF304 0401A ALEX OB 01
SWS = 27 KTS
;


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Quoting Levi32:


Never used Premium.....not sure what it lacks compared to Pro.
Quoting xcool:
professional
Ok, thanks! I'll be subscribing later. Will the video still be up when I subscribe later today?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
anyone have a nice jpg image of the wave over Africa that would update on its own?
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
766. ATL
Quoting Levi32:


He shows more analog comparisons to 2005 and the ridge setup on the ensembles for the next 2 weeks putting the big positive heights centered over SE Canada and the northeast US. That kind of a pattern really opens up the tropics for development and tracks aimed at the United States. There is so much arguing for this season to be one of the biggest in history it's incredible.


Keep in mind Joe's out to make money and hyping a hurricane season will help him bring in more cash through subscriptions. His analysis is usually good but he tends to somewhat exaggerate things.
765. xcool
Hhunter & GOM COST TOO.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting frostynugs:
Just got back from a stroll on the beaches of gulf shores... one of the most depressing moments of my life. It smells like an auto garage, is covered in thick tar (not just tar balls anymore), and NOT ONE single worker out there cleaning any of it up. Mobile bay also has a lot of crap in it now, brown foam by the shorelines and around plants sticking out of the water, and I swear i saw a few tar mats/balls floating around just beneath the surface as well while crossing the bay bridge.

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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Ok, StormW or Levi. What is better Accuweather professional or Accuweather premium?


Never used Premium.....not sure what it lacks compared to Pro.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting Levi32:


He shows more analog comparisons to 2005 and the ridge setup on the ensembles for the next 2 weeks putting the big positive heights centered over SE Canada and the northeast US. That kind of a pattern really opens up the tropics for development and tracks aimed at the United States. There is so much arguing for this season to be one of the biggest in history it's incredible.
Oh my...
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bastardi saying the texas coast mid texas coast to Houston really in play here
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Link North of Puerto Rico
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759. xcool
professional
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
758. xcool
reedzone YOU KNOW.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting BahaHurican:
Afternoon all.

Couple points:

1) I'm pretty sure BP is getting updates on what's happening w/ Alex BEFORE us if that is at all possible. I think they are monitoring as closely as, if not more closely than, we are here in the blog - and with good reason.

2) I don't think NHC is going to make a forecast that will allow BP to stay open longer just to "help out" BP. If the situation warrents it, they will make the forecast; if it doesn't, they won't. And looking at it another way, if they hold off on a forecast that shortens BPs potential preparation time, they may become liable for any problems BP might then encounter.


This is not meant to "help out" BP, but help out the people of the gulf coast. I don't want the cleanup efforts to cease just for Alex. Maybe a Katrina, but not an Alex. I am not saying NHC is in with BP, but with the government and people along the gulf coast. Just my opinion..
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Ok, StormW or Levi. What is better Accuweather professional or Accuweather premium?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
754. xcool
Levi32 YEP :))))
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Please share. Lol.
Quoting TexasHurricane:


what??


He shows more analog comparisons to 2005 and the ridge setup on the ensembles for the next 2 weeks putting the big positive heights centered over SE Canada and the northeast US. That kind of a pattern really opens up the tropics for development and tracks aimed at the United States, and we could see more of that pattern in August and September. There is so much arguing for this season to be one of the biggest in history it's incredible.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting xcool:
WOWOW JOE B.


Whats Joe Bastardi saying??
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Quoting muddertracker:
Hey Nash..thanks for slummin' it...lol...I was hoping to get your thoughts on the ECMWF model. Why would the NHC be looking at it so closely as compared to the GFS ensemble? Is there something about the set up out there right now that the GFS doesn't handle well? Thoughts? TIA!


Hey Mudder. The Euro has performed exceptionally well in the past couple of seasons with cyclones and especially long range tracks of cyclones. Having said that, I believe the models in general are having a bit of a tough time with the prog of the trough and the amplification of the trough.
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734.

Ugh, when I say Eastern GOM I mean Western LOL. But yeah, I know the potential minimum pressure is near CAT5 strength. No doubt Alex could strengthen significantly, though.
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


LOL...remember, be safe and boil oil thoroughly before consumption, and clean oil thoroughly from chickens and ducks as to make plucking easier.
OMG you are way too Much LMAO..... While I'm eating a Chicken freshly out of the OIL....

Taco :o)
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Quoting taco2me61:
Nah I think it ought to be just a little more "Hotter" than this if you know what i mean.... LOL
So how have you been MF????

Taco :o)


Doing good, just tired of the oil situation (as we all are). Dauphin Island is a mess. Sand berms all over the West End and constant, noisy mechanized activity.
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Quoting Levi32:


Goodness....incredible. Scary stuff....we'll be remembering 2010 for a long time.


what??
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Afternoon all.

Couple points:

1) I'm pretty sure BP is getting updates on what's happening w/ Alex BEFORE us if that is at all possible. I think they are monitoring as closely as, if not more closely than, we are here in the blog - and with good reason.

2) I don't think NHC is going to make a forecast that will allow BP to stay open longer just to "help out" BP. If the situation warrents it, they will make the forecast; if it doesn't, they won't. And looking at it another way, if they hold off on a forecast that shortens BPs potential preparation time, they may become liable for any problems BP might then encounter.


Hope I don't get banned for this.... I suppose your one of them that actually believes we landed on the Moon..... J/K
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Quoting Levi32:


Goodness....incredible. Scary stuff....we'll be remembering 2010 for a long time.
Please share. Lol.
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Quoting StormW:


The Accuweather Pro Site...monthly subscription...get good model stuff.
Yeah I'm definitely going to be subscribing to that. Although it costs $25.00 from what I hear, it's well worth it.
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Quoting StormW:


Go to the pro site, and tune in the long ranger.


Goodness....incredible. Scary stuff....we'll be remembering 2010 for a long time.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26700
Quoting nash28:
The inner core of Alex is very impressive, but keep in mind it will take some time to ramp back up.

There is a considerable amount of dry air over TX right now and the further N this goes, it will have to deal with this.
Hey Nash..thanks for slummin' it...lol...I was hoping to get your thoughts on the ECMWF model. Why would the NHC be looking at it so closely as compared to the GFS ensemble? Is there something about the set up out there right now that the GFS doesn't handle well? Thoughts? TIA!
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Seems to have gone almost Null in Mtion the last hour,or greatly slowed.

Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129844
739. MZV
Wow that's huge. There are probably people on the west coast of Guatamala that have been wondering "when is this storm finally gonna land?" LOL
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Quoting taco2me61:
LMBO now ....

I think Alex brings in some of that Crude from our south the the North with the outflow....

Taco :o)


Agreed. It's ashame that EVERY storm that comes into the GOMEX affects us this year, even without a direct hit. Also, doesn't help that Alex is so darn big.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242

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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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