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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3338. fsumet
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Weird storm....it may just settle there and die...throwing out all the models and NHC out the window lol. Its not April first but... I seriously doubt that will happen but so far it has refused to do anything it is predicted to do the last 8 hours or so.
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3336. fsumet
Quoting weathersp:
By the new fix... Alex has traveled 21 miles in just under 5 hours. So that's an average of 4.2 mph.


16 of those miles was in the last 2 hours though.
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By the new fix... Alex has traveled 21 miles in just under 5 hours. So that's an average of 4.2 mph.
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Quoting fsumet:
HWRF makes a loop southeast of Brownsville before making landfall to the south of Corpus Christi.

http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/hwrf/alex01l.2010062800/alex01l.2010062800_anim .html

crazy hwrf
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3333. xcool
Alex weak
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
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i'm tired. i guess we'll know more in the morn. thanks for answering my questions.
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3330. xcool
:0
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
3329. JRRP
NGP
Link
Link
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3328. will45
Quoting Joanie38:
IMO, I think the models are gonna keep shifting back and forth until all the models come together for a time in agreement, then we will know...:) then again just my opinion ..:)


Well he is making it very hard on the models lol

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Quoting Hattie:
Hi Sarahjola , the swirl above Puerto Rico is a upper level low that absorbed the moisture from a tropical wave....hope that helps...

yes it does:) thanks
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Quoting Drakoen:
Well i'm out. Good night everyone


nite drak.
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Disturbing trend with major models forecasting Alex to move North-Northwest for 24-hours prior to encountering the high and moving more to the West.

There are a LOT of if's. If the front is slower building or if Alex feels the trough a bit longer before turning West with the high, then it could very well impact upper Texas coast as GFS predicts. I don't like that GFDL track. It has a decidedly Northward motion for 48-hours, and if it is wrong about the high dramatically influencing Alex's track... then we have a S.E. Texas or S.W. Louisiana landfall.
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3324. Levi32
Quoting Drakoen:
Well i'm out. Good night everyone


Cya Drak.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26698
Quoting twooks:


As my professor once said, mets love abbreviations!

As far as the WV setup atm.

You have a front to the west, and the little wavy airflow thingy that appears to venting the system in a clockwise fashion is the edge of the ridge to the east.

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/tatl/flash-wv.html

Check on NCEP Fronts and HDW-High to get a better look at this in this graphic.

In my honest opinion, Alex is stuck because of the current setup. I could be right or I could be wrong, but I don't see any other explanation at this point. Yall's thoughts?
thanks:)
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3322. Levi32
According to Google Earth, Alex has moved at a heading of about 330 degrees (northwest) at a slightly faster pace of 6mph since the last vortex message.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26698
Good article...from about 1hr ago - L.A. Times


"Reporting from New Orleans and Atlanta — As the first powerful storm of the Atlantic hurricane season tore across the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday, the massive flotilla striving to contain and clean the Gulf of Mexico oil spill hoped the weather wouldn't force it to get out of the way.

Meteorologists predicted that the tropical storm named Alex was more likely to blow into the eastern coast of Mexico rather than due north to the spill site. But a major storm could require the evacuation of ships taking up some of the oil through a pipe system — leaving as many as 60,000 barrels a day gushing unabated.

BP spokesman John Curry said the cleanup was proceeding normally Sunday and officials were "definitely keeping a close eye" on the storm.



"Right now the vast majority of the models show it going to that western portion of the gulf," he said. "There may be a very, very slim chance that it may turn, but we'll get ready to make a decision should we need to."

Bob Smerbeck, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.com, said Sunday evening that the storm would soon leave the Yucatan and enter the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche, along southern Mexico. There, by Tuesday, it is likely to strengthen from a tropical depression into a hurricane — potentially "a nasty hurricane" — by midweek, he added.

Smerbeck said it was unlikely that the storm would move as far east as the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, which began April 20 about 50 miles off Louisiana. But he said it could head toward Texas, linger offshore and kick up big swells that could dismantle containment booms and push oil onto land.

"The best-case scenario for the oil cleanup is that this thing heads right into the Mexican coast without waiting," he said. "The worst case is if it goes north" — toward Texas — "and stalls."

The ships collecting the oil above the leak need about five days' notice to evacuate. Curry said BP still had time to move them to safety if need be."

THIS IS WHY THEY DON'T LIKE THE GFS
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Quoting animalrsq:


There was a national radio show (gotta hunt for the name, he alwasy did stories of UFOs). He asked his thousands of viewers to send out "thoughts" to weaken Lilli. The following morning she had dropped about 2 cats. yeah I know very strange! I'm sure there's a more scientific reason!


Coast to Coast AM. Started by Art Bell but hosted by George Norry who did that concentration exercise. I actually love the show. It give air time to hard science, fringe science, UFOs and conspiracy theories. Very open minded with generally interesting listeners. Art Bell still occasionally hosts it.
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IMO, I think the models are gonna keep shifting back and forth until all the models come together for a time in agreement, then we will know...:) then again just my opinion ..:)
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3318. Drakoen
Well i'm out. Good night everyone
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3317. emguy
Uhhh. Yeah, something just not looking right here folks. The circulation is definately getting elongated as has continued for several hours. Now there is evidence the center is getting chocked out. Watching those NASA Loops, I'm thinking more and more about a possible center relocation to the NW tip of the Yucatan. A.) There is some vorticity there. B.) New fresh thunderstorms are forming east and east northeast of the center and are MOVING AWAY from the current center toward the NW Yucatan. C.) It also appears that the wrap around band south of Alex's Current center is getting involved with this activity more and more now. Mean time, the inflow is interrupted and the thunderstorms around existing center for Alex are collapsing. It does look like some slow changes may be evolving here...persistent for several hours. Keep an eye on this for more persistance. May be a new evolution here.
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Quoting wxvoyeur:


Are you thinking of Art Bell's show?


Yep that's it!
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3315. Hattie
Hi Sarahjola , the swirl above Puerto Rico is a upper level low that absorbed the moisture from a tropical wave....hope that helps...
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Quoting leo305:



Its moving NW right now.. barely


Given the weak steering regime around the storm, it could just as easily move every which way. Near-term, at least.
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3313. twooks
Quoting sarahjola:
looking at west Atlantic wv and it just looks crazy out there. can anybody elaborate on all the activity i see in this wv loop? also can you give explanation of what if any effect the activity out there has on Alex? thanks in advance:) i would really appreciate everyone's input.
i have posted this a couple of times. is this question to stupid to answer?lol! i just think that all of this may have something to do with Alex and i am not as educated as you all to know what i am seeing.:)


As my professor once said, mets love abbreviations!

As far as the WV setup atm.

You have a front to the west, and the little wavy airflow thingy that appears to venting the system in a clockwise fashion is the edge of the ridge to the east.

http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/tatl/flash-wv.html

Check on NCEP Fronts and HDW-High to get a better look at this in this graphic.

In my honest opinion, Alex is stuck because of the current setup. I could be right or I could be wrong, but I don't see any other explanation at this point. Yall's thoughts?
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Quoting Drakoen:


Yup


or it might end up about the same as the last one.. maybe ever so slightly north from what i see. Can you see what i see? Not to wishcast, but what if Alex just backs it up and DIES over Yucatan? Ok, not likely, but that is what i would call a wishcast, my DOOMCAST has it sticking near Yucatan for another couple days and developing into a Cat 3 or so and then heading North by Northwest and hitting the DWH as a Cat 5 with those responsible for the BP debacle sentenced to ride out the storm on the DWH.
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3311. fsumet
HWRF makes a loop southeast of Brownsville before making landfall to the south of Corpus Christi.

http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/hwrf/alex01l.2010062800/alex01l.2010062800_anim.html
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Quoting Houstonia:


Coast to Coast?


probably. he's the one talking about tsunami from oil spill
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3309. Levi32
They found some 990.6mb readings before it was all said and done.

000
URNT15 KNHC 280513
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 52 20100628
050400 1925N 09116W 9248 00605 9908 222 195 209011 013 999 999 03
050430 1926N 09116W 9250 00598 9906 219 197 137011 013 021 000 00
050500 1928N 09117W 9249 00603 9908 219 198 114021 026 026 000 00
050530 1929N 09117W 9252 00602 9911 217 199 102032 034 030 000 00
050600 1931N 09118W 9248 00613 9918 215 199 099036 037 033 001 03
050630 1932N 09119W 9249 00615 9925 209 199 092035 036 999 999 03
050700 1930N 09120W 9268 00594 9920 209 199 082030 031 035 000 03
050730 1929N 09121W 9237 00619 9913 216 198 080018 024 027 001 03
050800 1927N 09121W 9259 00596 9909 225 197 054008 011 023 002 03
050830 1926N 09120W 9246 00606 9908 223 198 350004 006 021 001 00
050900 1924N 09120W 9239 00616 9911 221 199 276010 013 019 001 03
050930 1924N 09118W 9252 00604 9912 219 199 243012 013 999 999 03
051000 1925N 09118W 9250 00601 9906 220 201 191007 009 021 000 03
051030 1927N 09118W 9254 00597 9906 219 201 131010 012 020 001 03

051100 1929N 09117W 9243 00608 9908 216 201 116018 023 023 001 03
051130 1930N 09117W 9190 00662 9911 215 201 103031 034 031 002 03
051200 1932N 09118W 9208 00648 9916 217 200 102036 038 039 001 00
051230 1934N 09118W 9201 00661 9923 210 200 104039 040 041 001 00
051300 1935N 09118W 9203 00665 9930 209 198 108042 043 041 000 00
051330 1937N 09118W 9202 00669 9936 208 196 111045 047 043 001 00
$$
;
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26698
3308. leo305

Quoting KoritheMan:


Probably more westward. Maybe WNW.


Its moving NW right now.. barely
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ok well I am off to bed, night everyone
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting wxvoyeur:


Are you thinking of Art Bell's show?


Coast to Coast?
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3305. Drakoen
Alex feeling that trough
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3304. JDSmith
I expect the northwest motion to resume within three hours. Afterwards, a gfs scenario is likely.
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3303. Levi32
Alex is getting sheared from the northwest. His lack of convection for over 24 hours now has allowed the upper trough over the north gulf coast to squish the upper high over the storm, and on satellite you can see high clouds in the NW quad moving towards the center instead of away from it like what you would want to see. This may limit Alex's initial reorganization, but the upper trough will be lifting out over the next 24 hours, allowing the upper anticyclone to expand to the north once again, providing Alex with favorable conditions for strengthening.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26698
Quoting truecajun:


and then what? he'll just drift Westward or Northwestward?


Probably more westward. Maybe WNW.
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3301. Drakoen
Quoting Levi32:


Actually the fix will end up northwest of the last one by a bit.



Yup
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Quoting TexasHurricane:
Alex is waiting for everyone to go to sleep to make his move......


Just like Santa Clause....

I am enjoying reading everyone's comments and thoughts. I am an avid weather nut....have learned so much by reading things here, taking classes, etc....not a met by any means but just love weather.

thanks for making it interesting
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Quoting truecajun:
i ask this every year because i always forget. does anyone remember the storm in 2001 i think that was supposed to make landfall around New Iberia, LA. it was female and was supposed to be really bad, but it ended up "disappearing" in the wee early morning hours. when i say disappearing, there was a scientific explanation. i don't remember what it was though

I'm trying to catch up with the blog, so this may have already been answered, but I believe that was Lily. Was headed in as a Cat. 4, but at the last minute jogged a little west and lost strength, and came in as a Cat. 2.
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Quoting HoustonTxGal:
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Quoting Levi32:


Actually the fix will end up northwest of the last one by a bit.



About 14-18 miles NW, if Google Earth's ruler is to be believed.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


Agreed.


and then what? he'll just drift Westward or Northwestward?
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3295. leo305
Quoting Levi32:


Actually the fix will end up northwest of the last one by a bit.



is that the center to the north of the plane icon?
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Quoting will45:
I tell ya if Alex doesnt get on the move he isnt gonna find any Weakness to my thinking


Agreed.
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3293. Levi32
Quoting Hurricanes101:
doesn't look like Alex moved at all from the last center fix either


Actually the fix will end up northwest of the last one by a bit.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26698
Alex is waiting for everyone to go to sleep to make his move......
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3291. will45
I tell ya if Alex doesnt get on the move he isnt gonna find any Weakness to my thinking
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doesn't look like Alex moved at all from the last center fix either
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 7874
Quoting animalrsq:


There was a national radio show (gotta hunt for the name, he alwasy did stories of UFOs). He asked his thousands of viewers to send out "thoughts" to weaken Lilli. The following morning she had dropped about 2 cats. yeah I know very strange! I'm sure there's a more scientific reason!


Are you thinking of Art Bell's show?
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Quoting MechEngMet:
All,
It seems Alex has stalled for the last few hours or so. I must point out that exactly NONE of the models predicted this stall. So toss all of them out with the Sunday Trash.

This storm's future is best predicted using traditional means. Look at WV, Look at steering, Look at history...

...and everyone from Greenland to Chile should be keeping an eye on this Beast.


ROFLMAO!!
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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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