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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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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Quoting PanhandleChuck:


They changed that, they now say that they only need 2 days to cease op's


So they say...I don't trust BP at all!
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
Quoting Hurricanes101:
We really need to get the ridiculous predictions of a CAT 5 hitting here and a CAT 4 hitting there out of this blog

Alex is just now emerging into the BOC and a thousand things can change between now and Thursday; to make a prediction like that does nothing but scare people and is of no good use
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.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting StormSurgeon:



Hello Taco. Hot enough for ya?
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)
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Quoting LouisianaWoman:

Wow
....crapola
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so who thinks this will indeed be a TX storm? Not saying where in TX, just TX in general.
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682. ATL
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
That means they would have started at 2:00 PM. LOL.

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.
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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.


They changed that, they now say that they only need 2 days to cease op's
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Check out this buoy NW of where Alex is coming offshore !. It will be interesting to follow what happens here over the next few hours. Already down to 1005 mb

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Thanks amd and Miami
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675. ATL
Quoting WAHA:

I can respect that. But it's wrong. Look at the Sea Surface Temperatures and there's no doubt you will find out why. Also, the winds behind Alex is pushing towards it, so Rio Grande is in the crosshairs.


Taz is just messing with us and trying to get a rise out of people. You'll get used to it ;)
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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.

We'll be going back out there soon with some of my video cameras to document this (I'm a professional videographer).


Please post link and share if you could !!
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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.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
yo UNF. Good to see ya. I really oughtta be raking the kitchen floor but I'll do anything to keep from doing housework.
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Quoting taco2me61:
no Taz just there opinion...

Taco :o)



Hello Taco. Hot enough for ya?
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Quoting DestinJeff:


18z


LMAO! I have to go guys. I'll see you later.
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Just an observation - Celia in the EPAC hit 160mph over waters about as warm as the southern gulf. I do not think Alex will get nearly that strong but the water temperatures do not rule it out. This is not a system 750 miles NE of PR where the temps are 27 deg.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
That means they would have started at 2:00 PM. LOL.


Yeah all he did was make himself look dumb lol
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


you need to behave.....
Hi Ya StormSurgeon good to see ya.... Gess we will get to cool off with this one going towards North Texas uh????

Taco :o)
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Quoting EasttexasAggie:


Troll.


exactly
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664. MZV
I think we saw with Ike that the models have difficulty predicting the track and intensity of extra-large systems. This isn't like Dean ( a straight shot west, that just barreled in a straight line and matched forecasts 7 days out.)
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663. unf97
Quoting Hurricanes101:
We really need to get there ridiculous predictions of a CAT 5 hitting here and a CAT 4 hitting there out of this blog

Alex is just now emerging into the BOC and a thousand things can change between now and Thursday; to make a prediction like that does nothing but scare people and is of no good use


Yep. A lot of changes can happen with the models. We just have to sit tight and watch.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


18z
That means they would have started at 2:00 PM. LOL.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
also check out the wave action on many models-not good for the oil spill even if alex is far away.

cajunroach- hopefully Doc will add some wave/slosh models in his next blogs.

Sarasota reporting small but steady waves. Wouldn't be surprised to see the long ones being reported along the northern gulf coast soon.
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We really need to get the ridiculous predictions of a CAT 5 hitting here and a CAT 4 hitting there out of this blog

Alex is just now emerging into the BOC and a thousand things can change between now and Thursday; to make a prediction like that does nothing but scare people and is of no good use
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7376
boy, the ships model ramps alex up. tex/mex border please
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658. unf97
Quoting aquak9:


it was kinda out of the ordinary, for him to drop that in here on a Sunday afternoon. And his words as well, including LA in the header. He's not one to try to grab spectators so he's gotta have a reason.


Hi aquak! It is good to see you in here today.
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Quoting Hardcoreweather2010:


Nope that formed off the afternoon seabreeze boundary


Ahh I see
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ISLA AGUADA


CAMPECHE


CAYO ARCAS
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Floater - RGB Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
Quoting MrstormX:
Alex rainband

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
LAC033-037-063-091-272130-
/O.NEW.KLIX.SV.W.0111.100627T2031Z-100627T2130Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATIO$$


Nope that formed off the afternoon seabreeze boundary and a short wave over LA
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Quoting louisianaboy444:
When does the 18Z models start to intialize?
Depends on the model. Usually at about 5 PM is when the statistical model plots begin to come in.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting mrsalagranny:
I think this storm has a few tricks up its sleeve.I dont know what it is gonna do,but I think everyone should keep their eyes open.My main concern is the oil here in Alabama.And how much influence this storm will have on it.


As is I my friend. Here in the Western Panhandle we are as concerned.
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Quoting Max1023:


That is possible but highly unlikely. If Alex somehow gets that strong though the landfall location won't matter...half of the Gulf will be experiencing TS winds.


It certainly is a possibility. Probability that Alex becomes a Cat. 5 at landfall: .000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%

There's a possibility!

-Snowy
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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.

We'll be going back out there soon with some of my video cameras to document this (I'm a professional videographer).


oh wow! Please share film with us. So sad..
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242



So the bobble has moved up around 20 miles... to almost Corpus Christi I think like Dr Jeff... land fall anywhere from Corpus Christi to Galveston
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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127592
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Regardless of the BP spill the NHC is going to tell the truth even if it scares BP. The spill and the NHC are two different things, don't mix them up.


Exactly. Could you imagine if the NHC witheld critical info, to benifit BP? Just not realistic. They will predict the storm as best they can, as they do in every instance. Right or wrong.
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Quoting louisianaboy444:


Why did the Doc add Louisiana in the mix...i can see why we would be on heightened alert but only the CMC takes it this far North..


it was kinda out of the ordinary, for him to drop that in here on a Sunday afternoon. And his words as well, including LA in the header. He's not one to try to grab spectators so he's gotta have a reason.
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643. WAHA
Quoting Tazmanian:
am forcasting Alex too make land fall has a cat 5 in S TX

I can respect that. But it's wrong. Look at the Sea Surface Temperatures and there's no doubt you will find out why. Also, the winds behind Alex is pushing towards it, so Rio Grande is in the crosshairs.
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Quoting helove2trac:
I dont care what anyone says i will stick with my opinion this will be miss/al landfall


you need to behave.....
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When does the 18Z models start to intialize?
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Only 2 ensemble models have Alex going into Mexico.
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 6740
still looks like the ridge is eroding
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Quoting Tazmanian:
am forcasting Alex too make land fall has a cat 5 in S TX


That is possible but highly unlikely. If Alex somehow gets that strong though the landfall location won't matter...half of the Gulf will be experiencing TS winds.
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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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