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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3638. PensacolaDoug
11:33 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
.
Member Since: July 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 549
3637. guygee
9:34 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Wow those conspiracy theorists really cleared out the joint, just like those stallcasters harshed everyone's tropical buzz earlier. :~\

heh, new blog.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3139
3636. guygee
9:08 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
06Z NAM has Alex heading for S. Texas and then doing a cyclonic loop with some center relocations without coming ashore through 84 hr.
I am discounting the center relocations especially, there is a solid strong surface circulation and I don't see that changing.

They looping seems related to the trough influence passing by and then a weak high building in behind.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3139
3635. TropicalNonsense
8:39 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting tat2dchristian81:
Yes, they must be killing the hurricanes, because they remove heat and that would go against their global warming agenda....Give me a break. Can we just stick to the facts Here. This blog is full of great information lets keep it that way.


so you are the one who decides what is fact? really.
Do your own research and become educated before you speak so harshly.
Member Since: July 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 524
3634. TropicalNonsense
8:34 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting flibinite:
Agreeing with you, TropicalNonsense... I saw the radar images of them pounding at Hurricane Rita from just south of Brownsville, and them hitting Wilma from the Yucatan. I saw the pulses going from offshore of Jacksonville last year to hit Fay, I believe it was. Saw some fishy things for Karen, too.

I'm thoroughly convinced they managed to beat Gustav down after it hit Cuba, too, as every model and every expert on here expected it to reform into a big Cat 4 or 5 over the Gulf Eddy, and it never did.

I've been thinking they've been hitting Alex hard, too, as why else wouldn't it form in the Carribean... why did it only develop an eye over land. I expect that to continue, too, as they simply have to keep it away from the oil.

Jo



you are very informed flibinite. all of what you stated is true. people laugh and make jokes

but it is because they are just un-informed like most americans. sorry to say.

there is a big cover up in this area because of the liability is ridiculiously huge. so they just
catagorically deny it.



Member Since: July 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 524
3633. TropicalNonsense
8:27 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting SykKid:


Because it just emerged and is still hugging the coast,it's also getting sheared abit. I agree that it likely won't get any stronger then a top end cat 1....But what exactly is your source for everything you just stated?



Shear,Dry Air,HAARP,Scalar EMF signals,Dyna Gel ..there are so many i can't list.
Member Since: July 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 524
3632. tat2dchristian81
8:10 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Yes, they must be killing the hurricanes, because they remove heat and that would go against their global warming agenda....Give me a break. Can we just stick to the facts Here. This blog is full of great information lets keep it that way.
3631. xcool
8:08 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
huh
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3630. Fl30258713
8:08 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
new blog

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1522#commenttop
Member Since: July 24, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 985
3628. flibinite
8:06 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Agreeing with you, TropicalNonsense... I saw the radar images of them pounding at Hurricane Rita from just south of Brownsville, and them hitting Wilma from the Yucatan. I saw the pulses going from offshore of Jacksonville last year to hit Fay, I believe it was. Saw some fishy things for Karen, too.

I'm thoroughly convinced they managed to beat Gustav down after it hit Cuba, too, as every model and every expert on here expected it to reform into a big Cat 4 or 5 over the Gulf Eddy, and it never did.

I've been thinking they've been hitting Alex hard, too, as why else wouldn't it form in the Carribean... why did it only develop an eye over land. I expect that to continue, too, as they simply have to keep it away from the oil.

Jo
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 278
3626. sarahjola
8:02 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting xcool:
sarahjola steering flow maps
la/tx?
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1291
3625. Joanie38
8:01 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
I'm out be back in a few hours...maybe shorter lol..NIGHT!
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
3624. TropicalNonsense
8:00 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting NathanT30:
Great two years after riding IKE out I get to ride Alex out it appears sigh.


i wouldnt worry. Alex may be nothing more than a squall in a few days.
Member Since: July 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 524
3623. NathanT30
7:59 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Great two years after riding IKE out I get to ride Alex out it appears sigh.
Member Since: July 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 34
3622. alexhurricane1991
7:59 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting FMTXWMAN:
From the looks of it it's stalled which does not bode well for westward movement anymore, there was so much w-wnw movement, but what's happening upstream in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle seems to be panning out as part of the high that's been burning us up here in Dallas is weakening and retreating. I think we might see a northward track and have this head towards Houston.

I dont think that far north maybe as far north as corpus but houston sould not let there guard down.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2570
3620. xcool
7:58 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
sarahjola steering flow maps
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3619. WatchingThisOne
7:58 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
We have a couple of good recent HH center fixes to tell us in what direction and at what speed Alex is moving.

The last 2 center fixes (both 991) occurred 2 hours 10 minutes apart at a distance of 16 miles.

Over that time, Alex was moving at 7.4 mph on a heading of 330 degrees, i.e. approaching NNW.

This is not from eyeballing satellite, this is from actual HH vortex messages. No guesswork involved.

Edited to add: the most recent fix was at 5:33Z, about 2 1/2 hours prior to this post.

Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1262
3618. sarahjola
7:58 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
not good for who:)
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1291
3617. Joanie38
7:58 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting tropicallsu:
Alex is moving North for now, & no I don't think that's a wobble. I beleive this is going to be the start to the trend North-Northwest.


Upper Texas coast and Louisiana need to really watch this thing!!
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
3616. xcool
7:57 AM GMT on June 28, 2010


not good wow
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3615. drj27
7:56 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
next they will be saying its coming to the fl panhandle lol im out yall have a good night
Member Since: August 25, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 98
3614. tropicallsu
7:55 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Alex is moving North for now, & no I don't think that's a wobble. I beleive this is going to be the start to the trend North-Northwest.
3613. alexhurricane1991
7:55 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting sarahjola:
nnw or nw? looks more n than nw to me:)
It looks like its moving north now but could resume a nnw or nw motion in a couple hours.
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2570
3612. FMTXWMAN
7:55 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
From the looks of it it's stalled which does not bode well for westward movement anymore, there was so much w-wnw movement, but what's happening upstream in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle seems to be panning out as part of the high that's been burning us up here in Dallas is weakening and retreating. I think we might see a northward track and have this head towards Houston.

Member Since: May 1, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 70
3611. xcool
7:54 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
nw to me
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3610. emguy
7:54 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Beyond obvious dynamics going on, which have pretty much stalled Alex, consider the storms wind dynamics. Wind decreases over land due to frictional affects, yet accelerates over water due to the lack of these affects (terrain, trees, some buildings, etc.) Alex may hug along and ride up the Yucatan Coast slowly as a result of these affects, since the steering currents are light, and Alex remains weak so far.

For the purposes of visual description only, look at the satellite loop on your computer and draw your finger counter clockwise around Alex's main center/thunderstorms. Imagine winds accelerating over ocean, the imagine stronger onshore winds coming inland on the south side of Alex then decelerating over land. It not only adds to the stalling issue (as these stronger winds are on the south side of the storm in a stalled environment offer no forward motion), but it also adds to the "hug thy coast affect" as the onshore winds dominate and keep the storm in a "hug" pattern.
Member Since: May 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 624
3609. xcool
7:53 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
weathertap Satellite best..
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3608. sarahjola
7:53 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting xcool:
nnw or nw? looks more n than nw to me:)
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1291
3607. Joanie38
7:53 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting NathanT30:
Just wondering know a Joanie on Bolivar TX just curious. But I am keeping an eye on Alex here in SE TX.


Oh...another Joanie..:) I am keeping an eye on Alex myself but the mets here don't think its gonna come close this way....
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
3606. txtornado
7:53 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
good morning all. from what i gather, looking at the models and steering layers, and shear maps, it is really too early to tell what alex may do. it will be 12 to 24 hours before the models can get a good lock on alex because he really has no steering at the moment, and he needs some kinda movement. models take into consideration alot of variables when the calculations are done, and remember models are subject to LARGE error. give it 12 hours, and we will see a big change in everything. just my 2 cents.
3605. xcool
7:52 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
not good...
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3604. TropicalNonsense
7:52 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting SykKid:


Why don't you go ahead and share your 'information' with those working at the NHC as you clearly know something that they dont.


They know all about Hurricane Modification trust me!!!

NOAA actually REFUSED to work with the Department of Homeland Security [DHS]
on Hurricane Modification as of last year From what i understand.

Just because they dont take part in it doesnt mean they arent aware of it.

why do you think we have a track right now that doesnt make sense? and a storm that looked better over the YUCATAN than it does now over the warm Gulf Waters. LOL really.
Member Since: July 3, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 524
3603. xcool
7:52 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Joanie38 yep ;)
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3602. alexhurricane1991
7:52 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting xcool:
Alex is starting to feel the trough now in the last few frames it looks to have a due north motion probably a wobble
Member Since: April 8, 2010 Posts: 15 Comments: 2570
3601. Joanie38
7:51 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting xcool:


Looks like Alex is moving north!!!
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
3600. sarahjola
7:51 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
anything is what alex has been doing. lol!
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1291
3599. NathanT30
7:51 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Just wondering know a Joanie on Bolivar TX just curious. But I am keeping an eye on Alex here in SE TX.
Member Since: July 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 34
3598. xcool
7:50 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3596. Joanie38
7:49 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting NathanT30:
Hey Joanie you dont live in TX do you??


Ummm nope...Southwest Louisiana....why???
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
3595. NathanT30
7:48 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Hey Joanie you dont live in TX do you??
Member Since: July 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 34
3594. xcool
7:48 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
mean move nw
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15618
3592. Joanie38
7:47 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting sarahjola:
is alex shifting?


THATS what i'm wondering....
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
3591. sarahjola
7:46 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
is alex shifting?
Member Since: September 10, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1291
3590. Joanie38
7:45 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting emguy:


xcool...What I see on your satellite loop looks like a ridge over Alex at the uppse levels (lets just guess 200mb), an Upper level low/trough over western gulf (lets just guess 500mb), and some weak...WEAK ridging in the north Gulf at about 850mb level.

Hmmm, NHC wonders why HWRF and GFDL maintain weak systems to the coast, there may be a shear environment those models are considering if Alex plowed that direction. Otherwise, Alex gets deep, I suspect paths of less resistance at a deeper level, but I sure hope not!


What do you mean..exactly???
Member Since: June 16, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 507
3588. emguy
7:44 AM GMT on June 28, 2010
Quoting xcool:


xcool...What I see on your satellite loop looks like a ridge over Alex at the uppse levels (lets just guess 200mb), an Upper level low/trough over western gulf (lets just guess 500mb), and some weak...WEAK ridging in the north Gulf at about 850mb level.

Hmmm, NHC wonders why HWRF and GFDL maintain weak systems to the coast, there may be a shear environment those models are considering if Alex plowed that direction. Otherwise, Alex gets deep, I suspect paths of less resistance at a deeper level, but I sure hope not!
Member Since: May 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 624

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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.