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 aspectre:
526 aquak9 "well the XTRAP is always right...in reverse, that is.."

So XTRAP's an aftcaster?


It's a straightcaster.
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Quoting aspectre:
526 aquak9 "well the XTRAP is always right...in reverse, that is.."

So XTRAP's an aftcaster?
First laugh of the day..thank you!
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Quoting Dakster:


That is really what scares my about a hurricane and the oil spill... What happens to the structures that get 'oiled'?

Water is bad enough as it is.



If you have personally been down that road before, then the answer is pretty simple. The oil will save you the can of gas when you decide to burn it down.
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526 aquak9 "well the XTRAP is always right...in reverse, that is.."

So XTRAP's an aftcaster?
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Orcasystems, you have mail!
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Quoting StormW:


AYE! Drinking plenty of it! Been on da horn with da Coast Guard pretty much this a.m. Gonna use my stuff in a 1400 telecon.


Cool..

I'll be loading or unloading my dishwasher round then
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Quoting Snowlover123:

Wow. That's a LOT of studying. Whoa.



Sorry... :o


Yeah it is a lot of studying, im glad I'm not at that point yet!
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***Alright folks here is the latest info from local met in Houston...It's beginning to get serious for Texas****

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:

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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585. IKE
10-20 knots of NNW shear....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
Waltanater, I live in Panama City and I still remember another storm that did that trick. I discount nothing as impossible with these storms.

Also, hello all! I'm a newbie here but I've always been a weather junkie and now that I live in Florida I have a reason to be somewhat hyper-vigilant.
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Quoting hurricane23:
If that ull to alex's north keeps digging the environment to its north may not be to friendly hopefully preventing this from becoming a significant hurricane.


I see that aswell.. I'd like to see what the NHC thinks at 11 am, last discussion they didn't mention a ULL having an effect on its environment in the future. NHC also peaks Alex at 110 mph, fairly close to Category 3 status.
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582. WAHA
I think Alex just might be rapidly strengthening!
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Quoting louisianaweatherguy:


yeah I was just noticing that on the GOM Water Vapor loop... it looks like its definately slowing it down... I wouldn't be surprised if it starts to suppress it westward and maybe Southwestward....

Not moving much anyway: not good at all!!!


or eastward since the ridge is weakening
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Where do you get the Google Earth file for models with intensity?
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Quoting muddertracker:

It looks like Alex has slowed down. Could he miss interacting with the ull alltogether? (hope NOT)


yeah I was just noticing that on the GOM Water Vapor loop... it looks like its definately slowing it down... I wouldn't be surprised if it starts to suppress it westward and maybe Southwestward....

Not moving much anyway: not good at all!!!
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Quoting StormW:


He's probably asleep...he was up to like 4 am doing calculus.

Wow. That's a LOT of studying. Whoa.

Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


It's 5:47 for Levi, let the guy sleep lol.


Sorry... :o
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Thanks! I still think Alex is going to take everyone by surprise and hook NE at the last minute. We'll see though. These storms can sometimes be very unpredictable!
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Quoting msgambler:
You might want to save some of that coffee. Looks like it might be a long week.


I have a sack of it from Juan Valdez hizzelf.
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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.
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Quoting Patrap:
NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI



Yes Pat got rolled out of bed this morning because of one of those "Thunder Storms".... It looks as if we will be getting rain off and on now untill Alex makes Landfall....

Taco :o)
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You might want to save some of that coffee. Looks like it might be a long week.
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Quoting hurricane23:
If that ull to alex's north keeps digging the environment to its north may not be to friendly hopefully preventing this from becoming a significant hurricane.

It looks like Alex has slowed down. Could he miss interacting with the ull alltogether? (hope NOT)
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Quoting angiest:


I don't watch channel 2. :) They lost me when I moved here and they had that ridiculous bank of TVs behind the anchors.


Ha ha that is long gone
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With Alex I would only trust models out to about 3 days. That is the point where they get screwy and starts doing loops and backflips.

Quoting Waltanater:
There seems to be 2 groups of models here. One group having Alex go west after landfall, and the other group north/north east. It is amazing how the NHC is tending its official forecast westword, discounting the HWRF and GFS models. I know it is an average, but it doesn't seem like they are incorporating those models at all. Anyone's educated opinion is welcome on this.
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Morning gang... look like ol Alex is fighting with the ULL
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Quoting DestinJeff:


thanks for the back-up. I think the blog in general has a sort of Pavlovian response to "xtrp" ... anytime it is mentioned, the response is "xtrp is not a model" . I tried mightly to thwart that response, and failed.

Oh no, not failed. I'm sure there are many people that now have an understanding about how they can see that 'stupid straight line model' as a valuable addition to model output graphics.
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Quoting Snowlover123:
Levi? You here?


It's 5:47 for Levi, let the guy sleep lol.
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Quoting msgambler:
Good morning Pat


Grumble..G'morning.

Mmmm,,phf..Java
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Quoting Cranica:
Both flight-level and SFMR info from the recon plane support 50kt at 11. Pressure isn't falling though, a combination of land interaction and the trough seems to be interfering a bit.


When was the last time you've seen a 989 mb 50 mph TS? The winds are responding to the pressure, the winds are rising while the pressure is not.
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Levi? You here?
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Quoting SamTeam:


Channel 2 & Channel 11 are both giving pretty good detail in Houston; they are informative but cautious


I don't watch channel 2. :) They lost me when I moved here and they had that ridiculous bank of TVs behind the anchors.
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Good morning Pat
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tramp96, I'm from the Edmonton area. I could do without this heat and humidity. If Alex decides to head this way, maybe I should evacuate to Pigeon Lake, Alberta!
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NEXRAD Radar
New Orleans, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 248 NMI



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the cone is now north of Matagorda Bay?!
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WTH is with this?:

UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 28 JUN 2010 Time : 124500 UTC
Lat : 19:56:14 N Lon : 91:44:29 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
2.9 /1002.3mb/ 43.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
2.8 3.1 3.1

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +1.3mb

Center Temp : -41.3C Cloud Region Temp : -46.0C

Scene Type : CURVED BAND with 0.58 ARC in LT GRAY
Maximum CURVED BAND with 0.68 ARC in LT GRAY
at Lat: 20:07:47 N Lon: 91:08:23 W

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : ON
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

****************************************************

It's been doing that ever since it got off of land. Recon data supports a gradually strengthening system, SAB is raising T#'s, it's finally back over water and organizing, why is the CIMSS ADT weakening it with every update lol.
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If that ull to alex's north keeps digging the environment to its north may not be to friendly hopefully preventing this from becoming a significant hurricane.
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Both flight-level and SFMR info from the recon plane support 50kt at 11. Pressure isn't falling though, a combination of land interaction and the trough seems to be interfering a bit.
Member Since: June 26, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
Quoting jasoniscoolman09:
i got a bad feeling for tropical storm Alex maybe be a big hurricane next 48 hours.


Yes, the more north this system hangs, the worse it gets down the road during crunch time. Wait until this storm gets itself aways away from land, it could get ugly quick. If I lived on the TX coast, I would have everything loaded and ready to run on a moments notice. This is going to be a major hurricane
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Quoting DaytonaBeachWatcher:


Now THAT doesnt surprise me, I am often out of the Loop, LMAO.

No Worries. I just didn't want that real-time model verification technique to be discounted for other readers.
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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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