Alex may head north to Texas or Louisiana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:36 PM GMT on June 27, 2010

Share this Blog
5
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 638 - 588

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73Blog Index

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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TropicalStormAlex crosses the Yucatan (and why the 3hour intermediate advisory was 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, shutdown&evacuation procedures commence.

* Which I've been marking as 28.7n88.4W
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
an old rule--looking at the elongation of the system-definitely suggests a more nw track. i might throw in that the thing that i see down the road is alex might be out there in the gom for 5 days and another trof comes thru around fri. also check out the wave action on many models-not good for the oil spill even if alex is far away.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
am forcasting Alex too make land fall has a cat 5 in S TX



Tell me you are NOT serious.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
ALEX making time on those TFP's..



Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129909
IMO, if the next set of models show a further East track, BP will begin to dog off op's.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Alex rainband

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

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW ORLEANS LA
331 PM CDT SUN JUN 27 2010

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NEW ORLEANS HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
EASTERN EAST FELICIANA PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF CLINTON...
NORTHWESTERN LIVINGSTON PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
NORTHWESTERN ST. HELENA PARISH IN SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA...
THIS INCLUDES THE CITY OF GREENSBURG...

* UNTIL 430 PM CDT

* AT 321 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WINDS IN EXCESS
OF 60 MPH. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR PRIDE...OR 12 MILES NORTH
OF DENHAM SPRINGS...AND MOVING NORTHEAST AT 20 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
DARLINGTON...FELPS AND EASLEYVILLE

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH...PREPARE
IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WINDS AND DEADLY CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING.
PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE TO A SHELTER...PREFERABLY INSIDE A STRONG
BUILDING BUT AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

&&

LAT...LON 3096 9056 3092 9056 3057 9087 3060 9106
3100 9102
TIME...MOT...LOC 2030Z 208DEG 19KT 3069 9092

$$
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4438
Quoting Tazmanian:
now watch evere one say doomcaster


Troll.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:




wishcaster
no Taz just there opinion...
Quoting BadHurricane:
I think that Alex will have landfall between Port O'Connor and Port Lavaca as Cat 4 on Friday.


Taco :o)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The winds at Ciudad del Carmen have shifted from the NNE to NNW with the pressure dropping.
Levi were you able to find a station over there?
..sorry blogs moving so fast I might have missed it!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RecordSeason:
591:

The "11pm" thing is bad imo.

Of course it's still a depression (but with cat1 pressure,) but still...any unexpected course change changes a LOT and with 11pm advisory, most people won't know about it till they wake up tomorrow.
I've never seen a category 1 hurricane with a pressure of 999mb.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Alex is just emerging into the GOM.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
625. amd
Quoting Delsol:


When is the next time NHC is expected to adjust their projected track? A shift to the north is surely expected correct?


the NHC track has been heavily dependent on the ECMWF model, which has done very well so far with this storm. The ECMWF still has a NE mexico landfall still Tampico, and this model has been very consistent with that landfall location.

If the ECMWF model shifts further north, so will the NHC's forecast, IMHO.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RecordSeason:
591:

The "11pm" thing is bad imo.

Of course it's still a depression (but with cat1 pressure,) but still...any unexpected course change changes a LOT and with 11pm advisory, most people won't know about it till they wake up tomorrow.


999mb is not a CAT 1 pressure, its about a 50mph TS pressure
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
I agree with you hamla i dont see a texas land fall anywhere from la to al need to be on alert watch how everything changes tomorrow
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
am forcasting Alex too make land fall has a cat 5 in S TX


lOL, nO.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
605 - Celia didn't need much to hit Cat 5, also Bertha in 2008 hit borderline Cat 4 with less OHC then Alex will be over. Both storms underwent RI. The water in the Gulf is warmer than normal this season.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


Because it is possible, although I think this is a Texas problem if it does hit the US instead of Mexico. Best to include the possibilities as you could always have a track like the CMC if it strengthens and feels the weakness strongly.


Okay just making sure he wasnt seeing something that i wasnt
Member Since: Posts: Comments:



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129909
617. WAHA
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Probably due to its immense size.

No kidding. It took out Category two hurricane Darby, for crying out loud, and Darby was over a thousand miles away! I'd say Alex is a first.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
now watch evere one say doomcaster
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:
am forcasting Alex too make land fall has a cat 5 in S TX
LOL mandatory exac of the entire state
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
For those of you still on the MX landfall page, quit looking at the XTRAP model....LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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..


Because it is possible, although I think this is a Texas problem if it does hit the US instead of Mexico. Best to include the possibilities as you could always have a track like the CMC if it strengthens and feels the weakness strongly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting headshaker:


Exactly. I'm still paying off the deductible for my roof and fence from Ike (plus other repairs needed that weren't covered by insurance), I don't need another setback.
I hear ya, just got my father-in-law back into his house in Galveston about 4 months ago. He was fortunate that he had flood insurance, but he's having to sue 2 different contractors and had $8200.00 worth of tools stolen. One big a** headache!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting gordydunnot:
Still think the Ull north of Puerto Rico working it's way to the surface. Might be a sneak attack.
Sneak attack, hate that!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Your not going to see major shifts if any,with the NHC track, for at least 24 hours. IMO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
The surge with this system will likely be a SSHS category above the wind value due to its size. If it stalls over the SW gulf then a 2 category increase is not out of the question. If it has to stall somewhere let it be anywhere BUT the loop current eddy sitting at 23N 95W. The GoM has relatively shallow waters warm enough for TC intensification, so if Alex gets strong and slow it might upwell sub-26 degree water and weaken.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
606. hamla
seems like the whole system alex is drifting north since this orn.sat frames both vis and infered.i think that once the coc gets into the gulf and slows down all bets are off ffor mex.and s tex.i think a landfall east of lake charles la.is a good possibility cause when a storm gets to 26 deg- 28 deeg they like that n/nne/ne track.just left the beach in bay st louis ms.workers are still cleaning up the beach and the waves aree comming in from the south.
so we shall see by mon at 4pm cdst for that update

just my thoughts
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Folks, it's quite simple. Alex strengthens, moves more north. Alex stays a bit weaker, stays south of TX. That's how I see it at least..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


There's more to it than that...it strengthened over land and was a borderline hurricane, but the potential of this thing is amazing looking at how it organized itself before and after landfall. This has great potential in the gulf if reorganization doesn't end up being a problem for it.


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..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I dont care what anyone says i will stick with my opinion this will be miss/al landfall
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ssmate:
Kman, I could not open your link. Could you comment? Thanks!


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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hello all...been quite an interesting day watching the models. I live SW of Houston...did not even lose electricity during Ike. However, my mother who lives in North Houston lost her power and did not get it back for almost a month. That was terrible!

The model that Dr. Masters mentioned...since it is experimental how much confidence should we have in it and its forecast track for Alex? Thanks!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
Amazing thing about Alex is it has the structure of a Cat 2+ hurricane that made landfall last night, not a TS.
Just about everything with this TD/TS is very unusual. I couldn't image looking at this if it was a catagory 5 in the middle of the GOM..it would destroy everything bloody thing in its path.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I think that Alex will have landfall between Port O'Connor and Port Lavaca as Cat 4 on Friday.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
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.
That doesn't mean that forecasting tropical cyclones doesn't have any political considerations. People at the NHC have said that they've kept the intensity higher than it really ought to be before, or kept systems classified that shouldn't have been, because the expectation was that they would reintensify and it would be better to have consistency for the media. (Source, Hurricane Watch by Dr. Bob Sheets.) They don't know what "the truth" is at this point and I just don't think they're going to scare BP while that is the case. If the north track starts to verify, or if the Euro jumps on board, then of course they won't stay south just to keep BP from getting frightened, but we're not there yet. All I am saying, since they admit that the forecast confidence is low, I think they are going to go with the choice that looks safer now. I don't want the NHC blamed if they forecast north, BP takes off the cap and oil starts to gush back in at 100%, and then the GFS, etc. move south. If the north option becomes more likely, BP will still have most of the time it claims it needs. That is what I imagine they are thinking.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Probably due to its immense size.


There's more to it than that...it strengthened over land and was a borderline hurricane, but the potential of this thing is amazing looking at how it organized itself before and after landfall. This has great potential in the gulf if reorganization doesn't end up being a problem for it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
That is true, but I was thinking more of the Bolivar peninsula. I went over there recently and although they have don a lot of rebuilding it is desolate compared to what is used to be.


Very true... not much there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
592. jpsb
Quoting AllBoardedUp:
I live a block from a bayou. Slab is 11.5 feet about sea level. Ike lapped at my front door, but did not make it in the house. We were fortunate that it did not hit 50 to 100 miles south or we would had 3 to 4 feet of water in the house.
I have a marina for a neighbor (or did) Ike put that entire marina, boats and all in my yard. uck. Before Ike I had 4 neighbors now I have one. This old house only has one good cane left in it, it has been thur a lot, but it is built strong as heck. Old bay house, they built them tuff in the old days.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Delsol:


When is the next time NHC is expected to adjust their projected track? A shift to the north is surely expected correct?
Every 6 hours (5 and 11 PM or AM) the track is updated.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanislander:
Interesting flow at 23 N and beyond. Hard to imagine that Alex will not feel that.
Kman, I could not open your link. Could you comment? Thanks!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting txalwaysprepared:
AllBoardedUp -- A lot has been repaired and is Brand New. He'd have a lot to destroy, actually.
That is true, but I was thinking more of the Bolivar peninsula. I went over there recently and although they have don a lot of rebuilding it is desolate compared to what is used to be.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 638 - 588

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Lake Effort Snow Shower Over Windsor, Ontario
Sunset on Dunham Lake
Pictured Rocks Sunset
Sunset on Lake Huron