Late-night Alex Update

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:02 AM GMT on June 28, 2010

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Hi, Dr. Rob Carver filling in for Jeff on the late shift again.
As of the 11PM EDT advisory, Alex is once more a tropical storm moving to the W-NW at 6 knots. According to the CIMMS wind shear estimates Alex is experiencing less than 20 knots of shear, so it's in a favorable location for intensification. The NHC forecast track has Alex moving to the W-NW and making landfall in northern Mexico.

Disagreement between the forecast models
As of 300EDT, there are roughly three different sets of forecast solutions for the forecast models. CMC/GFS have Alex making landfall along the Texas coast north of Corpus Christi, but south of Houston. GFDL/HWRF have Alex coming ashore near Brownsville. UKMET/ECMWF/NOGAPS/NGFDL show Alex coming ashore well south of the Rio Grande. As was the case yesterday, the difference between the CMC/GFS and UKMET/ECMWF forecast lies in the interaction of the trough with the area of high pressure in the Gulf that's currently steering Alex. Upper-air data from the Gulfstream IV should help refine model forecasts.

What does it mean?
The CMC/GFS/UKMET/ECMWF are all very good global models so it's hard to discount one model in favor for another. If you live along the Gulf coast from Tampico, MX to the Texas/Louisiana border, it would be very prudent to review your hurricane planning and preparations. I still think the chances of Alex directly interfering with oil spill recovery efforts are low.

Rain from Alex
The first satellite-derived rainfall estimates are available for June 26. They show that as Alex was making landfall, it was producing 3-7 inches of rain over the Caribbean Sea.


Satellite-derived rainfall estimates for June 26, 2010 from the Climate Prediction Center

Invest 94L
Invest 94L is no more.

East Asian heat wave continues
The heat wave continues in the Amur river valley between Russia and China. Analysis of gridded data shows that the daily high temperature in that region is 10-14 degrees Celsius above normal.

Plot of daily maximum temperature anomaly in degrees C for June 27, 2010.


Next blog update
Jeff plans on having an entry up by 10AM EDT. I should have another entry up late Monday night.

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Quoting IKE:
Looking a little ragged...sorry it's off-centered....




It is still interacting with land, keep that in mind.
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Quoting Snowlover123:


So the ECMWF was wrong. Does anyone know when he 12Z of the ECMWF comes out?


Well it starts running at 8 EDT, I think we'll be able to see the run starting at around 11:30
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645. Skyepony (Mod)
Looking at model performance on Alex..the 3 BAM models followed by cmc & gfs (AEMN) are the overall leaders..they all aim at TX.
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Quoting Snowlover123:


So the ECMWF was wrong. Does anyone know when he 12Z of the ECMWF comes out?


starts around 2 and is done around 3 pm
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Quoting jasoniscoolman09:
WHAT IS THIS..

blog spam?
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642. IKE
Looking a little ragged...sorry it's off-centered....


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
641. jpsb
Quoting RitaEvac:
As seen with Ike, Rita, and Katrina such storms are capable of large storm surges over a large area.
Hmmm, guess I'll fill up the truck today and top off my reserve. The folks running local gas stations tend to close early since they are not used to hurricanes and get scared easily. Sure hope I do not have to move my three tractors, that will be a pain in the butt to do! Then I'll have to board up my beer joint and house, damn damn damn, go west Alex go west!
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Quoting hurrkat05:
alex is continuing in a n direction and te last few frames it looks like it picking up a little faster..this will be a major factor to the upper teaxs coast is this countinues another 24-36 hours..


So the ECMWF was wrong. Does anyone know when he 12Z of the ECMWF comes out?
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Quoting guygee:
So if it is a stronger storm it will go more right, but if it goes more right it will have more time over warmer waters to be a stronger storm.

Ah, Houston, looks like we have a positive feedback problem here, ah, please advise.


No guidance takes ALEX to the Right of the present guidance.
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Quoting TeachOnTheEdge:
I know this is VERy difficult to do, but would someone like to conjecture about the probably if a major impact about 30 miles north of Brownsville. I happen to be in Harlingen visiting my parents and am now trying to help them assess the situation and prepare. How likely is it we will need to head north to my house near Dallas in a day or two? Appreciate all the help you can give.

-Jamie


For a Cat 1 hardly, If it turns into a major which is not in the forcast, I would head inland or to Dallas, It also depends on how far are you from the coast. If your 5 miles or more from the coast and in higher elevation and sturdy wood or brick house should be just fine, might lose power for awhile though.

If it's a cat 2 or above might want to think about leaving the area in the eyewall path.
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Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:


you can see how north it is moving in the latter part of the loop


I agree!!!
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Tomm you will see scrambling in TX, I think I'm going to get stocked up tonight
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So if it is a stronger storm it will go more right, but if it goes more right it will have more time over warmer waters to be a stronger storm.

Ah, Houston, looks like we have a positive feedback problem here, ah, please advise.
Member Since: September 16, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3148
Quoting tkeith:
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 20°08'N 91°38'W (20.1333N 91.6333W)Has the center been at 91.6 for awhile. Will someone with a better perspective tell me this is an almost N forward motion. I'm probably wrong...help me out :)



yes, it is moving North of almost all the models
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Quoting Orcasystems:
This will have people panicking... north of track on two fixes... I can see it now :(



AOI


It is with the consensus of the models predicting it making it landfall in Texas.
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Alex upwelling that 200 ft depth isnt helping his cause at all this am as well
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B. Center Fix Coordinates: 20°08'N 91°38'W (20.1333N 91.6333W)Has the center been at 91.6 for awhile. Will someone with a better perspective tell me this is an almost N forward motion. I'm probably wrong...help me out :)

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Quoting FortBendTX:


At one time I was a Meteorology Major at Texas A&M...you are NOT kidding. There was a ton of calculus and physics involved. Once I got past Calculus III and into Differential Equations, I could not handle anymore and changed majors, although my love for studying the weather never went away. :)


That sounds exactly like how my meteorology aspirations went. However, I didn't get past Calc. III. Also, falling asleep in Physics while pledging didn't help either. :)
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This will have people panicking... north of track on two fixes... I can see it now :(



AOI
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Quoting cg2916:
Where do you get the KML file for models with intensity?


1-Raw Tropical Data
2-SHIPS Intensity Data
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Significant hurricane threat to the Texas coast


Preparations for the impact of a large and dangerous hurricane should begin along the lower and middle TX coast.

Discussion:

Alex moving over the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche this morning. Aircraft was in the storm earlier and found the pressure at 991mb the same as last evening, but since then a massive explosion of thunderstorms has occurred over the center and it is likely the Alex is starting to intensify. Flight level winds of near 50kt were recorded or given the reduction factor about 50mph at the surface. Alex shows great banding features to the NE and SW of the system under a upper level high aloft. Outflow is increasing in all quadrant except the NW where a touch of wind shear is impacting the system. Other than that there is little to prevent intensification.

Track:

It all depends on the amount of ridging over TX and folks to be perfectly honest there is not that much. UKMET and ECMWF models remain the southern outlier with a north MX landfall while the GFS is the eastern outlier with a landfall near Palacios and the rest of the guidance falling in between. Appears the handling of the intensity and size of Alex may be the key in the track as the southern tracks keep him weaker and smaller and the northern track larger and stronger. Based on the intensity side of things…will favor the larger and stronger event given the very good organization already and near hurricane pressures this morning. On a typical day the amount of ridge differences in the models over TX by the middle to end of the week would be less than noticeable, and this is very concerning as there is just not much over the state to protect us from Alex getting pulled northward by the trough along the US east coast. NHC is along the southern edge of the guidance and will likely have to shift a little northward this morning possibly into south Texas.

Intensity:

There appears little to prevent intensification over the western Gulf of Mexico as all factors are go. Interestingly the hurricane models only bring Alex to a category 1 hurricane while SHIPS is a little more aggressive taking it toward a category 2. Given near ideal upper level conditions, good venting aloft, warm sea surface temperatures, and large envelope of moist air, intensification is likely. NHC brings Alex to just below category 3 intensity and this appears reasonable given the above mentioned factors.

The storm is also forecast to expand in size over the western Gulf with tropical storm force winds extending outward upwards of 200 miles from the center so Alex will become an above average size hurricane. As seen with Ike, Rita, and Katrina such storms are capable of large storm surges over a large area.

Impacts:
Based on current NHC track:

Tropical storm force conditions will impact most of S TX with squalls impacting the rest of the TX coast. Potentially excessive rainfall in many areas along and well to the NE of where the center crosses the coast. Storm surge inundation is likely near and well NE of where the center crosses the coast (this will be better defined in the coming days as to what parts of the TX coast are impacted).

Long period swells will begin to reach the TX coast early Wednesday morning as the large circulation takes over the western Gulf. These swells will begin to run-up water levels along the coast with tides running 1-2 feet above normal by Wednesday afternoon possibly higher along the lower coast. Onset of storm surge flooding on the lower coast will be late Wednesday into early Thursday.

Confidence:

This remains a very low confidence forecast track and large errors can/may result at the longer time frames.

Residents along the entire TX coast should review their hurricane plans at this time.


I believe that ground zero is slightly north for me than yesterday, between Brownsville and Corpus Christi.
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If that is the center fix, Alex is definitely feeling a bit of shear, though it is obviously not enough to decouple him.
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621. hercj
Quoting Patrap:


Irish coffee would be nice.

Morning Pat. I successfully aviated to Houston last night and will leave shortly for our beloved Nations Capital, which by the way has the worst air traffic in the world.
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you can see how north it is moving in the latter part of the loop
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Quoting Dropsonde:
URNT12 KNHC 281353
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 28/13:16:50Z
B. 20 deg 08 min N
091 deg 38 min W
C. 925 mb 595 m
D. 33 kt
E. 231 deg 26 nm
F. 318 deg 35 kt
G. 234 deg 20 nm
H. EXTRAP 989 mb
I. 22 C / 760 m
J. 24 C / 758 m
K. 20 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 12345 / 09
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF306 0501A ALEX OB 10
MAX FL WIND 66 KT NE QUAD 13:23:40Z
MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 66 KT NE QUAD 13:23:40Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB
GOOD ARC / SPIRAL BAND NE - SE
MAX OUTBOUND SFC WND 51 KTS NE QUAD 13:21:30 Z


Almost a cane at flight level.
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Off for a while today need to get a few things done and will be back late today or early evening..... All have a great day....

Taco :o)
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I know this is VERY difficult to do, but would someone like to conjecture about the probably of a major impact about 30 miles north of Brownsville? I happen to be in Harlingen visiting my parents and am now trying to help them assess the situation and prepare. How likely is it we will need to head north to my house near Dallas in a day or two? Appreciate all the help you can give.

-Jamie
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Good morning all. On the Eumetsat it looks like the Africanwave train is being pushed south. Is this where the ITCZ is set up or is their some other reason they are being pushed into S. America
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Significant hurricane threat to the Texas coast


Preparations for the impact of a large and dangerous hurricane should begin along the lower and middle TX coast.

Discussion:

Alex moving over the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche this morning. Aircraft was in the storm earlier and found the pressure at 991mb the same as last evening, but since then a massive explosion of thunderstorms has occurred over the center and it is likely the Alex is starting to intensify. Flight level winds of near 50kt were recorded or given the reduction factor about 50mph at the surface. Alex shows great banding features to the NE and SW of the system under a upper level high aloft. Outflow is increasing in all quadrant except the NW where a touch of wind shear is impacting the system. Other than that there is little to prevent intensification.

Track:

It all depends on the amount of ridging over TX and folks to be perfectly honest there is not that much. UKMET and ECMWF models remain the southern outlier with a north MX landfall while the GFS is the eastern outlier with a landfall near Palacios and the rest of the guidance falling in between. Appears the handling of the intensity and size of Alex may be the key in the track as the southern tracks keep him weaker and smaller and the northern track larger and stronger. Based on the intensity side of things…will favor the larger and stronger event given the very good organization already and near hurricane pressures this morning. On a typical day the amount of ridge differences in the models over TX by the middle to end of the week would be less than noticeable, and this is very concerning as there is just not much over the state to protect us from Alex getting pulled northward by the trough along the US east coast. NHC is along the southern edge of the guidance and will likely have to shift a little northward this morning possibly into south Texas.

Intensity:

There appears little to prevent intensification over the western Gulf of Mexico as all factors are go. Interestingly the hurricane models only bring Alex to a category 1 hurricane while SHIPS is a little more aggressive taking it toward a category 2. Given near ideal upper level conditions, good venting aloft, warm sea surface temperatures, and large envelope of moist air, intensification is likely. NHC brings Alex to just below category 3 intensity and this appears reasonable given the above mentioned factors.

The storm is also forecast to expand in size over the western Gulf with tropical storm force winds extending outward upwards of 200 miles from the center so Alex will become an above average size hurricane. As seen with Ike, Rita, and Katrina such storms are capable of large storm surges over a large area.

Impacts:
Based on current NHC track:

Tropical storm force conditions will impact most of S TX with squalls impacting the rest of the TX coast. Potentially excessive rainfall in many areas along and well to the NE of where the center crosses the coast. Storm surge inundation is likely near and well NE of where the center crosses the coast (this will be better defined in the coming days as to what parts of the TX coast are impacted).

Long period swells will begin to reach the TX coast early Wednesday morning as the large circulation takes over the western Gulf. These swells will begin to run-up water levels along the coast with tides running 1-2 feet above normal by Wednesday afternoon possibly higher along the lower coast. Onset of storm surge flooding on the lower coast will be late Wednesday into early Thursday.

Confidence:

This remains a very low confidence forecast track and large errors can/may result at the longer time frames.

Residents along the entire TX coast should review their hurricane plans at this time.
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Long time reader here (first time poster). Have enjoyed your posts and discussions on this board.

Is there a site that provides 5,7, or 10-day loops of the tropics? I can only find 2-day.
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URNT12 KNHC 281353
VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL012010
A. 28/13:16:50Z
B. 20 deg 08 min N
091 deg 38 min W
C. 925 mb 595 m
D. 33 kt
E. 231 deg 26 nm
F. 318 deg 35 kt
G. 234 deg 20 nm
H. EXTRAP 989 mb
I. 22 C / 760 m
J. 24 C / 758 m
K. 20 C / NA
L. NA
M. NA
N. 12345 / 09
O. 0.02 / 1 nm
P. AF306 0501A ALEX OB 10
MAX FL WIND 66 KT NE QUAD 13:23:40Z
MAX OUTBOUND FL WIND 66 KT NE QUAD 13:23:40Z
SLP EXTRAP FROM 925 MB
GOOD ARC / SPIRAL BAND NE - SE
MAX OUTBOUND SFC WND 51 KTS NE QUAD 13:21:30 Z
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Quoting cg2916:
Where do you get the KML file for models with intensity?


1-Raw Tropical Data
2-SHIPS Intensity Data
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Good morning...

I see Alex is as happy as duck over water again!
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Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 28th day of the month at 13:53Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 306)
Storm Number & Year: 01L in 2010
Storm Name: Alex (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 5
Observation Number: 10
A. Time of Center Fix: 28th day of the month at 13:16:50Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 20°08'N 91°38'W (20.1333N 91.6333W)
B. Center Fix Location: 75 miles (120 km) to the WNW (285°) from Campeche, Campeche, México.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 595m (1,952ft) at 925mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 33kts (~ 38.0mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 26 nautical miles (30 statute miles) to the SW (231°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 318° at 35kts (From the NW at ~ 40.3mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 20 nautical miles (23 statute miles) to the SW (234°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 989mb (29.21 inHg) - Extrapolated
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 22°C (72°F) at a pressure alt. of 760m (2,493ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 24°C (75°F) at a pressure alt. of 758m (2,487ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 20°C (68°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Levels (sfc and flt lvl centers are within 5nm of each other): Surface and 925mb (If this vortex is from mid 1990's or earlier 925mb might be incorrect. See note.)
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1 nautical mile
Remarks Section - Remarks That Were Decoded...
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 66kts (~ 76.0mph) in the northeast quadrant at 13:23:40Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind Outbound: 66kts (~ 76.0mph) in the northeast quadrant at 13:23:40Z
Sea Level Pressure Extrapolation From: 925mb
Maximum Surface (likely estimated by SFMR) Wind Outbound: 51kts (~ 58.7mph) in the northeast quadrant at 13:21:30Z
Remarks Section - Additional Remarks...
GOOD ARC / SPIRAL BAND NE - SE
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Quoting WAHA:
I think Alex just might be rapidly strengthening!


It's not rapid intensifying, It's loosing a lot of colder cloud tops, Usually when you have rapid or even intensifying, you'll see really cold cloud tops and high cumulus cloud bursting into the atmosphere with cirrus outflow. Pretty Ragged looking right now, Still has land interaction to its South & North East.

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Quoting StormW:


Yeah...I always thought that these Met. classes have been WAY TOO serious with Calculus and stuff.


At one time I was a Meteorology Major at Texas A&M...you are NOT kidding. There was a ton of calculus and physics involved. Once I got past Calculus III and into Differential Equations, I could not handle anymore and changed majors, although my love for studying the weather never went away. :)
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Quoting hurricanehanna:

Morning Pat. If only the computer could dispense the coffee eh?


Irish coffee would be nice.
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ok.. I am off for a bit. I need to get some cleaning done (always part of my hurricane readiness LOL). Thanks for all the good input. Be back in a bit to see what's up.
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Where do you get the KML file for models with intensity?
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This thing is almost a hurricane at flight level.
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The storm is also forecast to expand in size over the western Gulf with tropical storm force winds extending outward upwards of 200 miles from the center so Alex will become an above average size hurricane. As seen with Ike, Rita, and Katrina such storms are capable of large storm surges over a large area.
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Welcome! I too am new to the blog this year. We are definitely in for a ride this season!
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Quoting Patrap:


Grumble..G'morning.

Mmmm,,phf..Java

Morning Pat. If only the computer could dispense the coffee eh?
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Quoting Caffinehog:
Do not ignore the GFS. It is a very good model for storm motion once a storm is well developed. (It's not so good for forecasting development or strength.) XTRP can sometimes be used to see how well models are predicting things, but don't put much stock in it. It can be thrown off by wobbles, etc.

That's what is great about living in this information age. The many differing points of data we have access to with just a type or click. However, the value of this data is not in it's availability, but in the thoughtful interpretation of it.
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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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