Note: Today’s update will be posted later tonight.
Last night’s Tropical Depression 1 has intensified into Tropical Storm Alex. While it was slow to intensify at first, Alex has gone through a brief period of quick intensification, which brought it to its current status as a moderate to strong tropical storm (its official intensity will be updated in NHC’s official 5 PM update). Alex is currently making landfall in the southern Yucatan, however the question is what happens next?
If we were to follow the models over the past few days, Alex would have turned NNW into the Gulf, then moved north while intensifying, making landfall as a hurricane along the US coast along the Gulf of Mexico. In yesterday’s update, I mentioned that these models were most likely too far north, and instead a track towards mainland Mexico was more likely. Today’s models did trend towards that solution, however looking at the latest trends, it is possible that Alex does not emerge at all into the Gulf of Mexico after its landfall in the Yucatan.
This scenario was mentioned in yesterday’s update as being unlikely, but possible. Instead of turning northwest as the models have been showing, Alex continues to move west, and in fact has started to move towards the west even faster than expected, making it even more unlikely that Alex manages to turn northwest well into the Gulf of Mexico. Looking at the latest satellite loops, Alex continues to move west, which could take it deep into Mexico, never emerging into the Gulf.
With the above mentioned, I decided to make a different forecast for Alex for this update. What is likely is that at this time is that Alex shouldn’t affect the areas of the Gulf of Mexico currently affected by the oil spill. The question is where Alex heads from this point, whether it keeps moving west and never emerges into the Gulf of Mexico, or it turns NW and stays in the southern Gulf of Mexico. At this time, I am leaning towards Alex returning to the Gulf of Mexico, however I doubt that it will be able to intensify as much as it could have, and I am also not ruling out the possibility that it never emerges into the Gulf of Mexico again.
**Note: Alex’s position on the map below is from NHC’s 2 PM advisory.**