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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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127874
Quoting watchingnva:
note to alex.....if you got a date further north of brownsville, you better get the nnw motion going...lol...


Don't worry. It's moving to the NW, and occasionally a jog to the NNW.

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The NHC will NOT make a forecast that would frighten BP into abandoning ship until they have more agreement about it. The ECMWF is a good model and they respect that. Imagine how bad it would be if they went far north, BP began evacuating, and then the GFS, CMC, etc., switched to the south? This forecast is probably as high-stakes as the forecast of a Katrina or Andrew, only with much more uncertainty. If Alex does turn out to go north, BP'll have almost their full five days. This is the responsible thing to do at this stage of the game.


/Edited.
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Ok... going to bury my head for a while. Can't think what a Cat 2 could do here so soon after Ike. Besides, if I ignore it it will all go away and the track will shift south again :)
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Quoting aquak9:
Snowlover123- did you used to have a handle Snowman? as in, Snowily, the Snowman?


Absolutely! I also made "Frosty the Snoman" as well!
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note to alex.....if you got a date further north of brownsville, you better get the nnw motion going...lol...
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Hurricane Preparation 2010

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127874
WHXX01 KWBC 271855
CHGHUR
TROPICAL CYCLONE GUIDANCE MESSAGE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
1855 UTC SUN JUN 27 2010

DISCLAIMER...NUMERICAL MODELS ARE SUBJECT TO LARGE ERRORS.
PLEASE REFER TO NHC OFFICIAL FORECASTS FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE
AND SUBTROPICAL CYCLONE INFORMATION.

ATLANTIC OBJECTIVE AIDS FOR

TROPICAL CYCLONE ALEX (AL012010) 20100627 1800 UTC

...00 HRS... ...12 HRS... ...24 HRS. .. ...36 HRS...
100627 1800 100628 0600 100628 1800 100629 0600

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMS 18.9N 90.7W 19.9N 91.9W 21.0N 92.6W 21.4N 93.1W
BAMD 18.9N 90.7W 19.6N 91.9W 20.1N 92.8W 20.3N 93.6W
BAMM 18.9N 90.7W 19.7N 92.0W 20.4N 92.8W 20.8N 93.3W
LBAR 18.9N 90.7W 20.1N 92.0W 21.2N 93.5W 22.5N 95.0W
SHIP 30KTS 33KTS 40KTS 48KTS
DSHP 30KTS 36KTS 43KTS 51KTS

...48 HRS... ...72 HRS... ...96 HRS. .. ..120 HRS...
100629 1800 100630 1800 100701 1800 100702 1800

LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON LAT LON
BAMS 22.0N 93.6W 23.2N 94.2W 24.9N 94.7W 27.2N 95.8W
BAMD 20.5N 94.5W 21.0N 96.5W 21.1N 98.4W 21.3N 100.5W
BAMM 21.3N 94.0W 22.0N 95.1W 22.7N 95.9W 24.6N 96.1W
LBAR 23.9N 96.6W 26.8N 98.8W 29.5N 99.3W 32.2N 97.7W
SHIP 59KTS 78KTS 85KTS 84KTS
DSHP 62KTS 81KTS 61KTS 30KTS

...INITIAL CONDITIONS...
LATCUR = 18.9N LONCUR = 90.7W DIRCUR = 300DEG SPDCUR = 9KT
LATM12 = 18.0N LONM12 = 89.0W DIRM12 = 300DEG SPDM12 = 11KT
LATM24 = 17.2N LONM24 = 87.3W
WNDCUR = 30KT RMAXWD = 75NM WNDM12 = 35KT
CENPRS = 999MB OUTPRS = 1007MB OUTRAD = 240NM SDEPTH = D
RD34NE = 0NM RD34SE = 0NM RD34SW = 0NM RD34NW = 0NM

$$
NNNN

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ANT LADY!!!! ♥♥
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DocMasters updated this blog 18 minutes ago...probably just snuck it in, and ran.
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Just thought I would pop out of lurkdom to say hello, season 6 of watching this blog. 2 things you can always count on.. The TWO will be posted her in a flash, no need to go to the NHC site and wait. 2. Dr Masters is the best, I faithfully read him and listen to him on WWL. radio.
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Quoting Hardcoreweather2010:
Did the Track just shift south ?




Slightly North, but NHC has no "real track" right now
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Wow I take a break from this Blog and Thing called "Alex" and now it does look to be headed toward the Texas Coast..... If it stay's over water longer look for this to be close to a Cat 2 Hurricane.... On the next TWO expect more shifts to the Right or more up the coast of Texas....

Thanks Dr Masters for your update!!!!
This is 1 crazy Storm that no one had a handle on, And also expect more inflow from the south bring in Oil to our coast....

Taco :o(
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3254
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127874
Quoting Hardcoreweather2010:
Did the Track just shift south ?


No the track shifted slightly north but nothing too drastic
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Quoting Hardcoreweather2010:
Did the Track just shift south ?




No. The NHC has stated that the track has shifted slightly north.

-Snowy
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Quoting Hardcoreweather2010:
Did the Track just shift south ?




No, slightly north.
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Quoting Snowlover123:


Lol, never heard of a 999 mb Tropical Depression.

-Snowy


I've seen sub-1000mb tropical depressions over the continental US, pressures are generally lower relative to the winds when a cyclone dissipates inland, however, Alex's pressures have not risen nearly as significantly as one would have thought. It was officially 996mb at landfall, though it probably got lower after that.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
Snowlover123- did you used to have a handle Snowman? as in, Snowily, the Snowman?
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It moved more N than W between advisories. Worth mentioning at least.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3712
Quoting TexasHurricane:
Was this on the blog or is this a new statement? I don't remember seeing this on there earlier...maybe I overlooked it. (below)

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.

Jeff Masters



An improved GFDL model is further north than the regular GFDL model. I wonder why...

-Snowlover123
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
lets see....

more models shifting north....CHECK

NHC admits a below average confidence in track....CHECK


oh wait but JFV just chimed in and said it is not hitting Texas; nevermind
LMAO!
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Did the Track just shift south ?


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514. xcool
nhc wow nhc
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Quoting aquak9:
GlobalWarming- you sound so very sure of yourself.

"no two buts about it" - is that a quote from the Original Gecko?


In a previous existence he bet his life on a system either going or not going somewhere, can't remember which right now, and he lost the life he bet !. Hence the reincarnation as GW.
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The NOAA G-4 Outta McDill is Tasked to fly tomorrow evening .

Some good data will be available after that.

So stay tuned.

Plan of the Day

000
NOUS42 KNHC 271500 COR
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT SUN 27 JUNE 2010
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 28/1100Z TO 29/1100Z JUNE 2010
TCPOD NUMBER.....10-027 CORRECTION

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. TROPICAL STORM ALEX
FLIGHT ONE - NOAA 49
A. 29/0000Z
B. NOAA9 0601A ALEX
C. 28/1730Z..........CORRECTED
D. NA
E. NA
F. 41,000 TO 45,000 FT
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127874
Taz -- that is not even funny
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
000
WTNT41 KNHC 272035
TCDAT1
TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALEX DISCUSSION NUMBER 9
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL012010
400 PM CDT SUN JUN 27 2010

SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW THAT ALEX CONTINUES TO HAVE A LARGE AND
WELL-DEFINED CIRCULATION WITH PLENTY OF BANDING FEATURES. NEAR THE
CENTER...HOWEVER...CONVECTION HAS DECREASED...PROBABLY DUE TO THE
INFLUENCE OF LAND. THE MEXICAN NAVY SURFACE STATION AT ISLA PEREZ
RECENTLY REPORTED 30 KT WINDS...SO THE INITIAL WIND SPEED IS KEPT
AT 30 KT. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS
SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE ALEX THIS EVENING AFTER THE CENTER MOVES
OFFSHORE.

THE INITIAL MOTION OF ALEX IS A LITTLE SLOWER...WITH A 12-HR AVERAGE
YIELDING AN ESTIMATE OF 300/8. THE PIVOTAL QUESTION FOR THE
LONG-TERM FORECAST TRACK OF THE TROPICAL CYCLONE APPEARS TO HINGE
ON THE STRENGTH OF MID-LEVEL RIDGING OVER THE NORTHERN GULF COAST.
THE MODELS THAT SHOW A WEAKER RIDGE...SUCH AS THE CMC/GFS/HWRF...
ALLOW THE TROPICAL CYCLONE TO TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST AND
NORTH AND APPROACH THE NORTHWESTERN GULF COAST IN SEVERAL DAYS.
OTHER MODELS...SUCH AS THE ECMWF/UKMET/NOGAPS...HAVE A STRONGER
RIDGE AND KEEP ALEX MOVING TO THE NORTHWEST OR WEST-NORTHWEST INTO
MEXICO. OVERALL THE MODEL GUIDANCE HAS SHIFTED SLIGHTLY TO THE
NORTH...AND THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT OF THE
PREVIOUS ONE. SINCE THERE IS CONSIDERABLE MODEL SPREAD...THIS TRACK
FORECAST IS THOUGHT TO BE OF BELOW-AVERAGE CONFIDENCE.

WHILE THERE IS A LARGE DISAGREEMENT ON THE TRACK OF ALEX...THE
GLOBAL MODELS ARE IN MUCH BETTER AGREEMENT WITH THE LARGE-SCALE
ENVIRONMENT. THESE MODELS SHOW AN UPPER-RIDGE AXIS SITTING VERY
NEAR THE TROPICAL CYCLONE FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS...IN A
FAVORABLE POSITION FOR INTENSIFICATION. COMBINED WITH THE WARM
WATERS OF THE GULF OF MEXICO...STRENGTHENING IS LIKELY...ESPECIALLY
AFTER ALEX MOVES FARTHER AWAY FROM THE YUCATAN PENINSULA. GIVEN THE
OVERALL ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS...IT IS SURPRISING THAT THE
GFDL/HWRF DO NOT SHOW MORE INTENSIFICATION...LEAVING THE SYSTEM AS
A TROPICAL STORM FOR MANY DAYS. THE STATISTICAL GUIDANCE SEEMS MORE
REASONABLE AND THE NHC FORECAST IS CLOSE TO THE SHIPS MODEL...AND
IS NOT TOO DISSIMILAR FROM THE PREVIOUS FORECAST.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 27/2100Z 19.2N 90.9W 30 KT
12HR VT 28/0600Z 19.9N 91.8W 35 KT
24HR VT 28/1800Z 20.6N 92.6W 45 KT
36HR VT 29/0600Z 21.5N 93.3W 55 KT
48HR VT 29/1800Z 22.3N 94.2W 65 KT
72HR VT 30/1800Z 23.2N 96.3W 80 KT
96HR VT 01/1800Z 24.0N 98.5W 55 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 02/1800Z 24.5N 100.5W 20 KT...DISSIPATING INLAND

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE


Lol, never heard of a 999 mb Tropical Depression.

-Snowy
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509. xcool
Hurricanes101 LMAO LMAO .
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Quoting jpsb:
Galveston here, is it time to panic yet? I was planing on not hitting the panic button until Tuesday AM.
Aren't you actually in Baycliff? I remember chatting with you last season. I'm in Hitchcock? A lot of people on the SE coast of Texas still licking their wounds from Ike!
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Current track forecast a relatively low confidence one.
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GlobalWarming- you sound so very sure of yourself.

"no two buts about it" - is that a quote from the Original Gecko?
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Quoting Levi32:


NHC just officially set it at 999mb.


Oh lol
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ALEX NASA MSFC viewer
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127874
lets see....

more models shifting north....CHECK

NHC admits a below average confidence in track....CHECK


oh wait but JFV just chimed in and said it is not hitting Texas; nevermind
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7580
this track forecast is thought to be of below-average confidence.

Great.

I sincerely hope that IF they can't get a good answer about this for another day or so, the NHC doesn't take a beating in the media, because this is not their fault. I feel very sorry for them, actually... can't even imagine the stress that they must be under right now.
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Was this on the blog or is this a new statement? I don't remember seeing this on there earlier...maybe I overlooked it. (below)

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.

Jeff Masters

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RUC model still to Mexico.



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Quoting StormW:
From NHC Discussion:

OVERALL THE MODEL GUIDANCE HAS SHIFTED SLIGHTLY TO THE
NORTH...AND THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT OF THE
PREVIOUS ONE. SINCE THERE IS CONSIDERABLE MODEL SPREAD...THIS TRACK
FORECAST IS THOUGHT TO BE OF BELOW-AVERAGE CONFIDENCE.



Lol..thats funny that they added that!
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Well, I guess this could put a little wrinkle in my plans for the week. So is the thinking that it will hit (wherever it hits) is sometime between wednesday and friday?
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Quoting MrstormX:


If those are coming from Mexican Weather stations, double check it. Last night one had a pressure of 977mb.


NHC just officially set it at 999mb.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
11AM:



5PM:



Another slight shift to the north. The shift this time is a little more distinguished than the shift from 5AM to 11AM, but definitely not nothing to get worked up about haha.
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Quoting btwntx08:

and the official forecast is a little to the right of the previous one. since there is considerable model spread


ah ok, well it didn't move to much to the north
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7580
000
WTNT41 KNHC 272035
TCDAT1
TROPICAL DEPRESSION ALEX DISCUSSION NUMBER 9
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL012010
400 PM CDT SUN JUN 27 2010

SATELLITE IMAGES SHOW THAT ALEX CONTINUES TO HAVE A LARGE AND
WELL-DEFINED CIRCULATION WITH PLENTY OF BANDING FEATURES. NEAR THE
CENTER...HOWEVER...CONVECTION HAS DECREASED...PROBABLY DUE TO THE
INFLUENCE OF LAND. THE MEXICAN NAVY SURFACE STATION AT ISLA PEREZ
RECENTLY REPORTED 30 KT WINDS...SO THE INITIAL WIND SPEED IS KEPT
AT 30 KT. AN AIR FORCE RESERVE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS
SCHEDULED TO INVESTIGATE ALEX THIS EVENING AFTER THE CENTER MOVES
OFFSHORE.

THE INITIAL MOTION OF ALEX IS A LITTLE SLOWER...WITH A 12-HR AVERAGE
YIELDING AN ESTIMATE OF 300/8. THE PIVOTAL QUESTION FOR THE
LONG-TERM FORECAST TRACK OF THE TROPICAL CYCLONE APPEARS TO HINGE
ON THE STRENGTH OF MID-LEVEL RIDGING OVER THE NORTHERN GULF COAST.
THE MODELS THAT SHOW A WEAKER RIDGE...SUCH AS THE CMC/GFS/HWRF...
ALLOW THE TROPICAL CYCLONE TO TURN TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST AND
NORTH AND APPROACH THE NORTHWESTERN GULF COAST IN SEVERAL DAYS.
OTHER MODELS...SUCH AS THE ECMWF/UKMET/NOGAPS...HAVE A STRONGER
RIDGE AND KEEP ALEX MOVING TO THE NORTHWEST OR WEST-NORTHWEST INTO
MEXICO. OVERALL THE MODEL GUIDANCE HAS SHIFTED SLIGHTLY TO THE
NORTH...AND THE OFFICIAL FORECAST IS A LITTLE TO THE RIGHT OF THE
PREVIOUS ONE. SINCE THERE IS CONSIDERABLE MODEL SPREAD...THIS TRACK
FORECAST IS THOUGHT TO BE OF BELOW-AVERAGE CONFIDENCE.

WHILE THERE IS A LARGE DISAGREEMENT ON THE TRACK OF ALEX...THE
GLOBAL MODELS ARE IN MUCH BETTER AGREEMENT WITH THE LARGE-SCALE
ENVIRONMENT. THESE MODELS SHOW AN UPPER-RIDGE AXIS SITTING VERY
NEAR THE TROPICAL CYCLONE FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS...IN A
FAVORABLE POSITION FOR INTENSIFICATION. COMBINED WITH THE WARM
WATERS OF THE GULF OF MEXICO...STRENGTHENING IS LIKELY...ESPECIALLY
AFTER ALEX MOVES FARTHER AWAY FROM THE YUCATAN PENINSULA. GIVEN THE
OVERALL ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS...IT IS SURPRISING THAT THE
GFDL/HWRF DO NOT SHOW MORE INTENSIFICATION...LEAVING THE SYSTEM AS
A TROPICAL STORM FOR MANY DAYS. THE STATISTICAL GUIDANCE SEEMS MORE
REASONABLE AND THE NHC FORECAST IS CLOSE TO THE SHIPS MODEL...AND
IS NOT TOO DISSIMILAR FROM THE PREVIOUS FORECAST.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 27/2100Z 19.2N 90.9W 30 KT
12HR VT 28/0600Z 19.9N 91.8W 35 KT
24HR VT 28/1800Z 20.6N 92.6W 45 KT
36HR VT 29/0600Z 21.5N 93.3W 55 KT
48HR VT 29/1800Z 22.3N 94.2W 65 KT
72HR VT 30/1800Z 23.2N 96.3W 80 KT
96HR VT 01/1800Z 24.0N 98.5W 55 KT...INLAND
120HR VT 02/1800Z 24.5N 100.5W 20 KT...DISSIPATING INLAND

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
Quoting GlobalWarming:
guys, we need to realize that the nhc will not budge because they know that this will be a mexico affair, and that's final, no two buts about it. soutehrn tx will receive some of teh fringe affects of aex and that's it, however, thye will deff. not see a direct landfall from it, or anything of that sorts, as a matter of fact.
can I quote you on that?

oh, I just did...
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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.


here comes IKE part 2
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

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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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