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 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
Pat what I don't understand is from that Visible Radar you put up has the tops going North East and I think Alex will feel some of that too....
Thanks MF

Taco :o)
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Afternoon all.

Quoting tennisgirl08:
Not to go off on a political tangent..but the NHC needs to put off any possible forecast that could shut down the cleanup process by the oil rig. I heard that BP will shut down rigs up to 5 days in advance of a storm. If this was a Katrina coming, maybe yeah, go ahead and send out an alert. But Alex is not scary enough to cause a shut-down if they are not 100% sure of the track, yet. Even if most likely it may head north. Just my 2 cents.
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.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21597
Thanks StormW. Ah, but of course. Had a subscription back in 2007/2008. Seems like a good time to renew.
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629. frostynugs, I truly feel your pain...sorry for ya'll. La,Miss,Ala,Fla all in same boat so to speak.
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Quoting charlottefl:
Interesting...


Current Weather Conditions:
Campeche, Camp., Mexico

(MMCP) 19-51N 090-33W
Conditions at

2010.06.27 2046 UTC
Wind from the ENE (060 degrees) at 23 MPH (20 KT)
Visibility 7 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Temperature 80 F (27 C)
Dew Point 68 F (20 C)
Relative Humidity 65%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.49 in. Hg (998 hPa)
Pressure tendency 0.24 inches (8.2 hPa) higher than three hours ago
ob MMCP 272046Z 06020KT 7SM BKN015 OVC100 27/20 A2949 RMK SLP088 52082 941 8/62/


Interesting as the Pressure seems to have fallen while still on or near offshore and bodes for a faster re building of that Warm Column.

But its underway seems.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127691
Hey, I know CycloneOz is banned... but please tell me he's still gonna cover storms? There's a possibility of a major cane hitting the gulf and whether it makes landfall in MX or TX or LA it's a relatively short trip compared to the Baja peninsula and Bermuda last year haha.
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Quoting hurricaster:
What is the "pro site"?
It's something about Joe Bastardi and Accuweather.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
728. xcool
WOWOW JOE B.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
my prediction: Alex will have winds of 115 mph and hit somewhere between Morgan City, LA and Corpuc Christi, TX... im thinking the TX/LA border actually...

i was thinkimg this yesterday but i wouldve been called a wishcaster yesterday if i wouldve said this... its looking more and more like a TX/LA system...
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Quoting aquak9:

Hate to break it to you, but Alex is just that insanely big.

RecordSeason (BAP?)- we had rain here in jacksonville, florida. You can tell on IR, where/what influenced it.

Size does matter, but some things are just TOO big.
LMBO now ....

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

Taco :o)
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Quoting taco2me61:
Hi Ya StormSurgeon good to see ya.... Gess we will get to cool off with this one going towards North Texas uh????

Taco :o)


LOL...remember, be safe and boil oil thoroughly before consumption, and clean oil thoroughly from chickens and ducks as to make plucking easier.
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Quoting ATL:

They start running at 2PM eastern...but take a couple hours to finish. Shows you just how much they are calculating, that they need several hours on some of the fastest computers in the world.


They don't start "calculating" that early. You can monitor the progress here. The current 18Z GFS started running ~4:47 PM EDT.
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723. WAHA
Quoting CCkid00:
Is it possible for Alex and Darby to run into each other? If so, what affect would that have? What affect are they having on each other now?

Darby will die any second. No
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


How about in 2 days when it comes off the coast lol
LOL! You're killing me man.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
What is the "pro site"?
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Link Nice looking wave will emerge off the coast later tonight/ early tomorrow. Quite high latitude it seems....
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Buoy 42055 reporting a pressure of 1005.0mb (or 29.68in). If you click the image it will take you directly to the buoy website.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Interesting...


Current Weather Conditions:
Campeche, Camp., Mexico

(MMCP) 19-51N 090-33W
Conditions at

2010.06.27 2046 UTC
Wind from the ENE (060 degrees) at 23 MPH (20 KT)
Visibility 7 mile(s)
Sky conditions overcast
Temperature 80 F (27 C)
Dew Point 68 F (20 C)
Relative Humidity 65%
Pressure (altimeter) 29.49 in. Hg (998 hPa)
Pressure tendency 0.24 inches (8.2 hPa) higher than three hours ago
ob MMCP 272046Z 06020KT 7SM BKN015 OVC100 27/20 A2949 RMK SLP088 52082 941 8/62/
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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.
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127691
Quoting homelesswanderer:


Hey Tex. I think we and Texas need to keep an eye on it. Ugh. Not that you would know it by any local weather media.


I noticed that too. They haven't updated since yesterday.....You would think it would at least be mentioned to some degree....
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Quoting tennisgirl08:


So they say...I don't trust BP at all!


I work for the other guy, so it's okay with me that you do not trust them....LOL
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Hate to break it to you, but Alex is just that insanely big.

RecordSeason (BAP?)- we had rain here in jacksonville, florida. You can tell on IR, where/what influenced it.

Size does matter, but some things are just TOO big.
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712. MZV
Agree with you RecordSeason. The storm COC is emerging offshore.

1km Visible
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127691
I've been out for a while. Did we ever hear an update from Dr. M on the tornado warning?
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Just thought I'd point out that the Eastern GOM can't support a CAT5 hurricane at this point in the season:

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707. xcool
StormW THANKS
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15626
Oil Spill FLoater






Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127691
TropicalStormAlex crosses the Yucatan (Why was the 3hour intermediate advisory dropped?)
Copy&paste TAM, MOB, PBI, SAL, 17.4N88.1W, 17.7N88.4W, 18.0N89.0W, 18.3N89.4W, 18.4N89.9W, 18.7N90.6W-19.2N90.9W, 18.7N90.6W-28.7n88.4w, 19.2N 90.9W-28.7n88.4W into the GreatCircleMapper.
The red line shows the heading based on the last two positions. Below the map shows:
TSAlex had a heading of 330.3degrees (~7degrees west of NNW),
traveled a distance of ~40miles (~64kilometres) over 6hours at a speed of ~7mph (~11kph).

TSAlex's distance from DeepwaterHorizon* decreased by ~29miles from ~702miles to ~673miles.
At the current closure rate of ~5mph, TSAlex remains ~139hours away from the DeepwaterHorizon.

At 120hours away, blowout-containment and drilling pre-shutdown procedures begin. Non-essential personnel will be evacuated. Other personnel will be evacuated as they become non-essential to the remaining pre-shutdown procedures.
Shutdown of shore and boom operations will commence in time for transport of workers home before the 3day projection cone falls over their area to allow home hurricane-preparation and/or evacuation.
At 72hours away, blowout-containment and drilling shutdown procedures begin. Personnel will be flown or fast-boated to shore upon completion of their shutdown jobs.
By 24hours away, shutdown&disconnect should be completed. Ships&rigs begin sailing away from the hurricane's projected path.

* Which I've been marking as 28.7n88.4W
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting TexasHurricane:
so who thinks this will indeed be a TX storm? Not saying where in TX, just TX in general.


Hey Tex. I think we and Texas need to keep an eye on it. Ugh. Not that you would know it by any local weather media.
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Is it possible for Alex and Darby to run into each other? If so, what affect would that have? What affect are they having on each other now?
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Lol. How about July-October?


How about in 2 days when it comes off the coast lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7397
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4436
700. WAHA
Quoting StormW:
Levi, you here?

Good afternoon, StormW!
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


why do you have to wait until September with that honker of a wave coming off Africa lol
Lol. How about July-October?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
.
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Quoting kmanislander:


The link was to the GOM WV loop . It shows a fairly brisk ENE flow from 23 degrees N and a ULL just on the coast near the border between TX and LA.

That set up would favour a Northerly steering regime for Alex if it were to respond to it.



The voice of reason and wisdom. Thanks, Kman.
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Time to watch the old movie North by Northwest, appears that is where this potential monster is no heading.
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Quoting StormW:
Levi, you here?


Ish, ya. Multitasking lol.
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If anyone got the idea that I was suggesting some sort of conspiracy, that the NHC would stay south against a very strong northward model consensus (which we do not yet have) just to keep BP in operation on DWH, that is definitely not what I intended. Post 596 explains my thinking.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
I agree with you 100%, but you'll have to get used to it. Get ready come September when an African wave emerges and people start saying it's going to be a CAT. 5 hitting Miami.


why do you have to wait until September with that honker of a wave coming off Africa lol
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7397
Quoting txsweetpea:



Tell me you are NOT serious.


nop am this like too mass with evere one



and what is the heck up with this site today
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has the coc gotten into the gulf yet nobody is talking about that
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Please. Enough of the CAT5 crap folks. Too much wishcasting going on here, thus and so I am reminded why I hardly frequent the main blog anymore. I try, but then the doomcasts come out, without ANY base to them whatsoever, other than:

1) It's in the Gulf= EXPLOSION!
2) The heat content is OFF THE CHARTS!
3) It is gonna spend 5 days over water.

What many are forgetting is that a system that stalls or meanders in the same general vicinity for a few days will in fact UPWELL colder waters, thus weakening the core. Also note, this storm is nowhere NEAR the warm eddy that typically is the culprit to "bombing out" in the Gulf.

As my good friend Pat would say, chill out. Have a Fresca and keep it real, would you please. You start throwing "CAT5" around, you start panick. Now having said that... Could this be a major hurricane? Yes. CAT5? Not likely.
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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.