Alberto analyzed; June tropical outlook

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:53 PM GMT on June 14, 2006

Alberto has been downgraded to a tropical depression, and continues heading northeast across the Carolinas towards the Atlantic Ocean. The storm is undergoing the transition from a tropical system to an extratropical storm, and is expected to intensify into a powerful non-tropical low pressure system with 50 mph winds on Thursday once it moves out over the open Atlantic. The main threat from Alberto today remains heavy rain and tornadoes, and several tornado warnings have already been issued today for coastal North Carolina. Six tornadoes touched down in South Carolina yesterday, causing minor damage and some injuries. Alberto pushed a storm surge of 4-5 feet in the Big Bend area of coastal Florida, but no significant damage from this flooding has been reported. Perhaps this large surge surge from a mere 50-mph tropical storm will make local planners leery of permitting a controversial 7,000-unit condominium complex to be built in Taylor County where Alberto came ashore. I'm all for sensible development, but building in coastal wetland subject to large storm surges is certainly not sensible--especially with hurricane activity in the Atlantic expected to be higher than usual for at least 10-20 more years.

Analyzing Alberto's life
Alberto formed from a tropical wave that moved off of the coast of Africa on May 30. The wave tracked farther north than usual for June, entering the eastern Caribbean on June 5, and the western Caribbean on June 8. The wave interacted with the unsettled weather of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which has been able to push unusually far north for this time of year. The interaction between the ITCZ and the African wave produced Alberto on June 9. It is uncommon for a June tropical storm to form from an African wave; usually, the left-over remains of a cold front or trough of low pressure serve as the seed for June storms. However, last year's Tropical Storm Arlene also formed from an African tropical wave at about the same time of year. It's worth noting that both the GFS and Canadian models made very good forecasts of the genesis of Alberto. The best track forecasts were made by the GFS model, but the official NHC forecast outperformed all the models.

Figure 1. Track of Tropical Storm Alberto (with winds speeds in mph plotted every six hours) overlaid on a plot of Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential (TCHP) from June 12, 2006. The TCHP is a measure of the total heat content of the ocean, and high values of TCHP have been shown to aid hurricane intensification. In this image, the high heat-content waters of the Loop Current are visible as the lighter shades of green extending from the Yucatan Channel northward into the Gulf of Mexico. Note that Alberto spent much of its life over the Loop Current. Image credit: NOAA/AOML.

Alberto struggled over its entire life with wind shear of 20-30 knots overhead. Why, then, was it able to put on a surprising burst of intensification on Monday morning over the Gulf of Mexico? One possibility is that the a brief lull in the wind shear allowed Alberto to take advantage of the warm waters of the Loop Current. As seen in Figure 1, the Loop Current was pumping a long tongue of waters with high heat content into the central Gulf of Mexico. Alberto spent much of its life over this high heat content water. Just as Alberto moved away from the Loop Current, wind shear appeared to drop by about 10%, based on satellite estimates I viewed at the University of Wisconsin's CIMSS site. This small relaxation in shear may have been enough to allow Alberto to take advantage of the warm Loop Current waters and put on a burst of intensification. Shortly thereafter, the shear increased by 10%, Alberto left the Loop Current, and the intensification stopped.

Tropical outlook for the rest of June
Past history has shown that an active June in the Atlantic has no correlation with hurricane activity later in the season. However, the model forecasts over the past few days from the reliable GFS, NOGAPS, and Canadian models are showing a weather pattern more typical of mid-July developing over the tropical Atlantic. This may make for a exceptionally active June. The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is forecast to be far more active and further north than usual, and the GFS model has been predicting that one or two tropical cyclones may form in the mid-Atlantic from African waves interacting with the ITCZ. This is almost unheard of in June. Wind shear over the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic is expected to be much below normal, and with sea surface temperatures 0.5 - 1.5 degrees C above normal, it would not surprise me to see two more named storms this June. One saving grace is that the subtropical jet stream is expected to stay active and relatively far south, with should act to bring hostile wind shear to any storm that might move into the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, a series of strong troughs are forecast to move across the Atlantic Ocean the remainder of the month, which should act to recurve any storm that might form there away from land.

While there is nothing threatening looking out there today, we should keep an eye on the ITCZ just off the coast of Africa south of the Cape Verde Islands, and the region just north of Panama, in the coming days.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Log In or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 260 - 210

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6Blog Index

260. Ldog74
6:08 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Florida, basically, the entire tropical atlantic and caribbean looks like it has the potential to form a storm cause of all the convection for this time of year.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 170
259. Ldog74
6:06 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Thelmores, back then, weren't all the continents on different places of the earth than they are today because of the shifting plates? (or something like that) So the climate might have been naturally less harsh and cold, and it could have been like some parts of South America today. A temperate rainforest, sort of. As for the ice ages and stuff, aren't there theories about meteors hitting the earth or volcanic eruptions hitting the earth or something to that effect? After all, one of the most supported theories about how the dinosaurs died is that most or all of the herbivores' plant supply died from lack of sun due to smoke or dust particles in the air, and then the carnivores could not eat the herbivores.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 170
255. thelmores
5:36 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Didn't they find some evidence that Antarctica was once home to Dinosaurs and Palm Trees?


wonder who caused the global warming then? And who caused they ice ages? and WHO caused the ice to melt?

well, you get the idea! ;)
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3833
254. AZ
5:13 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Not to get in the way of your "Facts" but you might want to read this.

252. Hellsniper223
4:49 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
How far west does the Bramuda High have to be to make storms curve into the gulf of mexico?
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
250. fjorner
4:35 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Hm.. Savannahstorm, I have a hard time grokking that.

Maybe Alberto had relatively less cloud cover than a bigger storm, but still, we're talking about a tropical storm with cloud coverage over >95% of the state of Florida.

Also, I was unaware that tropical storms pushed head DOWN as much as pulling heat into the atmosphere.
249. SavannahStorm
4:26 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
fjorner- if anything it might have an enhancing effect. The water in the Gulf is warm at the surface right now, but still wuite cool down deep. Storms like Alberto, which have little cloudcover to cool the surface water, only downmix the warmer water at the surface so that the average heat content only rises (like pouring a cup of boiling water into a bathtub of cold water). This makes the sun's warming effect all that much stronger with warm water well below the surface.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 3020
248. fjorner
4:22 PM GMT on June 15, 2006

Would an unusually active June have the effect of draining heat from the gulf, and in some manner weakening any August or September monsters?

Remember in 2002 when Isidore plowed into Louisiana as a tropical storm, then Lili headed into the same waters south of Louisiana a week later. Lili went from a Cat4 to a Cat1 within 12 hours of entering the same waters, and it was partially attributed to Isidore having sucked a lot of the heat off the surface. How substantial and lasting is this sort of effect?
247. SavannahStorm
4:17 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
The first law of WU blogging is the law of chaos: eventually all posts will become discussions of global warming, politics, or Amber Alerts.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 3020
245. Alec
4:11 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
I dont plan on getting into a debate about global warming here...
244. weatherbrat
4:10 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Sad & Depressing, isn't it?
241. Alec
4:08 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
We can't win the struggle...nature will try and counterbalance our attemps out(and that means havoc if it means melting ice caps for example).......basic law of nature.....
239. weatherbrat
4:06 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Where's all the dry air that should be out there this time of year?
237. weatherbrat
4:04 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
I'm rather new, but have been fasinated with weather all my life and more so as I get older. What do you think of the swirl/spin near 77W/17N? Looks like something is trying to brew there. Only thing brewing here in the panhandle of FL is my coffee!
235. Alec
4:03 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
cool....but the SST's in that region aren't too condusive for a Cape Verde storm...but then again Alberto threw out the rule
234. weatherbrat
4:01 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
1% :) lol
232. Alec
4:01 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
I give it 3.14% of 3.14% chance.....LOL
231. ForecasterColby
4:00 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Nor do I. Although the genesis page is pretty enthusiastic about it, giving it a 1% chance.
230. Alec
3:58 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
dont think anything will come of it in the Bay....
229. Cavin Rawlins
3:57 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
my blog
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
228. ihave27windows
3:57 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
I just logged on, and haven't checked the thread, so if the question has already been answered, I apologize.

Anybody have an opinion about the flare up of thunderstorms in the Bay of Campeche? I know there is a low in the gulf, I live in the Houston Metro area and we experienced some nasty weather earlier this week as it moved into the Gulf.
Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 108 Comments: 14980
227. WSI
3:56 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
"attempt at wrestling with nature....You can't win!!!"

Well said Alec.
226. Alec
3:55 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Like I said yesterday, nature always tries to get into a state of equilibrium....whatever we do, nature will respond to counterbalance whatever we do.....So attempts at reducing hurricanes or destroying them is a feeble attempt at wrestling with nature....You can't win!!!
224. WSI
3:47 PM GMT on June 15, 2006

"If you guys prove mathmatically Pasacl and Bernoulli won't work in my "TUNNELS"

Why don't you prove they will? Include research as well. We want data sets showing the benefit, as well as showing the environment won't be harmed. Computer modeling will help you. Then there has to be some testing in a controlled environment. Scientific method of course. Any harm to the envrionment = game over. Until you have this testing is done, and you are ready to present your report before us, how about dropping the tunnels. The burden of proof to show they WILL work is ON YOU. We have to prove nothing. You are the one trying to make the case here. Deal?
223. Ldog74
3:46 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Actually, according to informal scientific law, you have to prove that it does work, and until then, everyone will naturally assume that it doesn't work. Since you have neither the materials nor the money to put your idea into effect, we will just assume that it can not work.
Member Since: June 11, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 170
222. Amorris
3:46 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
anyone have a link for the modles??
220. Caymanite
3:40 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Trying to build another down here in the Caribbean for you guys but this one a bit more stubborn. LOL
Member Since: December 9, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 315
217. thelmores
3:30 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
dang, is that beryl below Jamaica? definately a swirl, even seem to see a little banding to the west!

does any model show this developing.... none i've saw yet.....

also, a similar track to alberto?
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3833
216. Skyepony (Mod)
3:03 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Yesterday's Florida fire reports are in~ 5 new fires burned 13.7 acres. The exciting part though is we have 97 active fires left burning on 11,298.8 acres which means Alberto has reduced our uncontained fires by almost 1/2.

There is still some muck fires burning, that would take 2 more Albertos to put out & they've warned it won't take much dry weather to get us back to where we where.

But it looks alot better so I'm laying the FL Fires blog to rest for now & discontinuing updates to focus on a Horses & Hurricanes blog I've been wanting to do.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 417 Comments: 43819
215. weatherbrat
3:02 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Yes, I too noticed the spin at 76-77W/17N. This will be interesting to watch over the next 24 hrs.
214. TxAndi
2:51 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
including me, think that it is a very bad idea to try to modify nature "

Yeah, modification has a way of backfiring. Nature has been around a while, LOL!

Doesn't that make you wonder how we ended up here? If you think of the vast history of nature and the universe, we are truly an afterthought in the grand scheme of things...

Hello to all. Brand new to posting, but have enjoyed reading the insight you all bring to the discussion since I found Dr. Master's Blog during Katrina last year.
213. Hellsniper223
2:12 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
76W 17N Check out the infared. You can see a deffinit Swirl. And there is even some convection flaring up on the southwest side of it.
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16
212. haydn
1:55 PM GMT on June 15, 2006

I looked at the link. We'll have to see how it predicts Beryl.

I'm signing off till later.
211. WSI
1:54 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
"seeded the storm!"

LOL! Yeah, that sounds like a story, LOL!

People have to remember that tropical systems function to remove heat from the tropics. And also they CAN be beneficial, such as Alberto helping the drought and wildfires in many areas. Yes, they do harm, but they also exist to serve a purpose.
1:48 PM GMT on June 15, 2006
Speaking of cyclonebuster and his tunnels, do any of you remember last year (or the year before) when there was this guy that suggested "seeding" hurricanes with "dyno-mat" (some stuff that was supposed to absorb water and is biodegradable). Every time a storm weakened, he said that he had went out in his cessna and seeded the storm!! LOL :)
Member Since: August 27, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 146

Viewing: 260 - 210

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6Blog Index

Top of Page
Ad Blocker Enabled

Category 6™


Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Fall Color in Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks Beach Day
Pictured Rocks dunes and clouds
Grizzlies in Lake Clark National Park