Colleagues, FORECAST: Tropical Storm ALEX is less than 500 miles from landfall, with winds of 70 mph, moving NNW at 8 mph and strengthening. ALEX will become a hurricane later today, and make landfall early Thursday morning, near Brownsville, TX, probably as a strong Category 1 hurricane. Tomorrow ALEX will make a westward turn, the question is how big a turn. I favor a modest turn. Landfall should be at Brownsville or a little south, which would put the southern end of Texas, and the northern Mexico where the brunt of the storm will be felt.
DISCUSSION: The development of through and its replacement of a a subtropical ridge is still not clear. The models have it going all over the place, but ALEX has not followed model guidance as well as might be expected, and there is significant disagreement among models. The path today is pretty set. The only question that remains is what might happen the the last day before landfall. And that is largely determined by the strength of the developing subtropical ridge. Some models even push it South, but I see no evidence of that happening. There should be no reason to significantly disrupt oil collection in the Gulf, and the effect on the spill will be to push a little more oil on shore, and prohibit activities such as burning, and the use of floating barriers is also made less effective in higher seas. Radar is just now beginning to pick up the outer bands of the storm.
NEXT FORECAST: Wed. June 30.
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Peter S. Ray
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