Alex may head north to Texas or Louisiana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:36 PM GMT on June 27, 2010

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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Broke blog?
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Hey Storm Junkie! Good to see you, too.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
can anyone answer post 3020? thanks in advance:)
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3035. 7544
Quoting CyberStorm:
Look at this map.you can see the trof dipping down deep.I really cant see how this is going west when half the storm is moving off towards the NE.Link


wow glad you see that too ive been saying that all day the ull east of fla seems to be dragging some conv ne over fla now but everyone says its not go figure sure looks like it is
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Quoting ElConando:
People in LA should keep keep tabs on it but I wouldn't worry too much about a hit esp since anything hitting there would be 6+ days away.


Yes, but they also said if it moves north it would accelerate...
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Quoting matt03blueoptima:
anyone has the link to the 00z runs? i would greatly apreciate..

thanks in advance

matt


The 00z runs aren't quite out yet, but you will be able to find them on the links under models. The NWS NCEP page will have the GFS on it and that will be one of the first 00z dynamical models that start coming out.
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3032. Patrap
00z Early Cycle NHC model tracks
Alex
Statistical/Simple Models (CLIPER,BAMs,LBAR,other Statistical Models)





Dynamic Models (More sophisticated models)



Early Model Wind Forecasts

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140239
3031. Drakoen
Quoting tennisgirl08:
Hey Miami and Drak! Alex looks to be stationary due to weak steering currents and ULL pushing down on it. So, what's his next move? Will it be the trough steering it? The reason I ask...wouldn't that warrant a drastic change in the forecast cone? Also, 991mb. Is that really 45mph strength. I am so confused....LOL!


It's going to take time for the winds to catch up now that the center is off shore
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nvm just be prepared for anything for Wed if one lives in W LA and areas W into Mexico.
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Very nice Drak! Simple, concise, written for mass consumption. Even a bonehead like me as able to follow along quite well. Thanks much!
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anyone has the link to the 00z runs? i would greatly apreciate..

thanks in advance

matt
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3026. Patrap
Floater - Dvorak Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140239
the local met I know said if it doesn't start to gain lattitude soon, then all those models pointing lot farther north are crap
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Hey Miami and Drak! Alex looks to be stationary due to weak steering currents and ULL pushing down on it. So, what's his next move? Will it be the trough steering it? The reason I ask...wouldn't that warrant a drastic change in the forecast cone? Also, 991mb. Is that really 45mph strength. I am so confused....LOL!
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
3023. xcool
TampaSpin good job you know....
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Well I'm off. Good night all!
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21388
Quoting ElConando:
Strange that the NW Yucatan isn't under TS Warning since it shows TS winds over it. No one live there?


Great minds think alike. Then again, so do sick, twisted ones.... ;)
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imo i think that the dip south people are seeing is not the coc. i think the coc is just north of that, and maybe it might be about to take a serious n. turn or possible nne. i am probably wrong, but that's what I'm here for. so you all can school me. thanks in advance for any info:)
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Indeed.

Dang thats big!
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Quoting Mia337:
Here in SWLA they are basically saying that its a def hit to Mexico and no need to worry. I am still keeping a very close eye on Mr. Alex.


YES!! I am in SW LA too and that's what I heard..said not to worry about Alex too much..just not to worry.....
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Quoting Mia337:
Here in SWLA they are basically saying that its a def hit to Mexico and no need to worry. I am still keeping a very close eye on Mr. Alex.


KATC (TV-3) is saying it can possibly hit near the Louisiana coast. They aren't really going by the NOAA predictions.
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Strange that the NW Yucatan isn't under TS Warning since it shows TS winds over it. No one live there?
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3015. Patrap
Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140239
3014. emguy
When the cat's away...the mice will play...wild site coming off Africa while we're watching Alex.
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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
C'mon. We can see the models that the NHC uses to predict storms' path and intensity. If they were really altering their predictions due to 'party considerations' we would see a systemic skew in the forecast errors. Not a random distribution. Also, some NHC meteorologist would have made $10 million or more with a bestseller talking about the 'hurricane conspiracy'

I think the NHC does the best they can, with the information that they have. With complex systems and imperfect knowledge, errors happen. Nothing mysterious or conspiratorial about it.


Well, but the next big government initiative is going to be immigration reform/amnesty for illegals. So of COURSE they need a crisis in Mexico to...



OK even my tin foil glows in the dark and I'm unable to keep a straight face with that one... ;)
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Evening tg08, good to see you. You're right, he does not seem to be in a real hurry to go anywhere right this minute.
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3011. Mia337
Here in SWLA they are basically saying that its a def hit to Mexico and no need to worry. I am still keeping a very close eye on Mr. Alex.
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UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 8.1.1
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 28 JUN 2010 Time : 024500 UTC
Lat : 19:22:56 N Lon : 91:16:54 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
3.1 /1000.3mb/ 47.0kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
3.1 3.4 3.9

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +1.5mb

Center Temp : -56.6C Cloud Region Temp : -45.9C

Scene Type : CURVED BAND with 0.92 ARC in LT GRAY

Positioning Method : FORECAST INTERPOLATION

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

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : 0.5T/hour
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF



raw number almost to Hurricane strength
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


that wave is coming off Africa tomorrow too, very impressive

could be tracking that after Alex leaves
Indeed.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21388
TropicalDepressionAlex once again becomes TropicalStormAlex

Copy&paste TAM, MOB, PBI, SAL, 18.4N89.9W, 19.2N90.9W-19.4N91.3W, 18.7N90.6W-28.7n88.4w, 19.2N90.9W-28.7n88.4W, 19.4N91.3W-28.7n88.4W into the GreatCircleMapper.
The red line shows the heading based on the last two positions. Below the map shows:
TSAlex had a heading of 297.8degrees (~6degrees north of WestNorthWest), while
traveling a distance of 30miles (~48kilometres) over 6hours at a speed of ~5mph (~8kph);
TSAlex's distance from DeepwaterHorizon* decreased by 7miles from 673miles to 666miles;
the previous closure rate was ~5mph, and at the current closure rate of ~1mph,
TSAlex remains ~571hours away from the DeepwaterHorizon.

At 120hours away, personnel evacuations and shutdown procedures for ship evacuations begin.
(See the bottom of blog1521post705 for more info)

* Which I've been marking as 28.7n88.4W
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
That wall of storms coming from the west looking at the big watervapor loop looks like its gonna slam into alex.
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Quoting ElConando:



No I mean 4 pm on Monday and prob no later than early Tuesday since it can slow down a tad. Remember the new standards 48 hours out is a watch now.


ah well in that case then yea probably
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 9496
Quoting Drakoen:
Alex has finally moved into the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche and is beginning to strengthen. Excellent outflow can be seen in all quadrants except the northwest quadrant due to the presence of an upper level low. GOES IR shows deep convection firing in and around the center which is a good sign the system is ready to strengthen over the warm waters of the BOC. The system should approach higher OHC content within 24-48 hours to strengthen more rapidly into a hurricane.

My feel on track is in best agreement with AEMN (GFS ensemble mean)12z and the HWRF 12z at the present time. The RUC 02z analysis showed a 500mb trough axis that extends down through central Texas already opening up a weakness in the western and central GOM for Alex to follow through. The ECMWF and the NOGAPS do not show an appreciable movement poleward in the wake of this 500mb trough insisting that a ridge south of the trough will push the system well into Mexico. With the GFS having the highest skill level between 48 and roughly 84 hours out and the CMC with the highest skill level past that along with current observations, I am leaning towards those models but still acounting for the ECMWF and NOGAPS solutions.


Figure 1. RUC 02z 500mb Analysis


Figure 2. GOES IR Alex


NIce take Drak......good job!
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3004. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140239
Looks like 0z GFS up to no good again.

..Anyways see ya guys
Member Since: May 27, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 4454
2991 leu2500 "Companies do not have to rely on the NOAA/NHC. Many hire private forecasters."

And where do those private forecasters get their information from???
NOAA and NHC maybe?
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting Hurricanes101:


I think you mean 4am, and they may not; remember the movement of this system is going to be slow to occur. It likely will not make landfall in 48 hours



No I mean 4 pm on Monday and prob no later than early Tuesday since it can slow down a tad. Remember the new standards 48 hours out is a watch now.
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Quoting Drakoen:


Thanks and yes it seems he is ready to ramp up again.
Looks like he is going to be a nasty little guy, well actually big guy. NHC calling for a CAT.2 before landfall by northern Mexico.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21388
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thankyou drakoen for the great update. very informative

matt
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Quoting Drakoen:


Thanks and yes it seems he is ready to ramp up again.


that wave is coming off Africa tomorrow too, very impressive

could be tracking that after Alex leaves
Member Since: March 10, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 9496
So Drak the models your leaning to are pointing??
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2995. Drakoen
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Good to see you back Drak. I was really, really surprised by the 991 mb pressure. I was sure that was an error when it came out.
Thanks and yes it seems he is ready to ramp up again.
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2993. Patrap
That ULL over the NW GOM and SW la...is keeping the Storm in the Corner for now.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140239
Quoting tennisgirl08:


NHC is a government entity. So, yes, politics are involved - always. Right now, the government does not want to press the panic button - or atleast delay pressing the panic button for another day or so...LOL!


Tennisgirl this is an excellent,truthful and very well informed post!

i love the guy's at the NHC but sadly they are required to take orders from politicians and higher ups as a requirement for their job. I feel there pain. LOL
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2991. leu2500
re 2962: Companies do not have to rely on the NOAA/NHC. Many hire private forecasters.
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2989. Gorty
@StormJunkie

Thanks! That makes sense.

Anyone; I will be posting a blog on Alex tonight. I want to put up images. How do I do it? I try to do it before, but I failed. It came as a blank image.
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2988. Patrap
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 449 Comments: 140239

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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