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How the remnants of Agatha could become Alex

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 12:54 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La - As the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially kicks off in the Atlantic Basin on Wednesday we are watching the potential for a quick start to the season. But not from the usual source of an African wave developing in the Caribbean, the typical case of early season development. Instead Hurricane Agatha that made landfall in the southern Mexico Monday from the Eastern Pacific Ocean potentially could become Alex in the Gulf of Mexico later this week.

Hurricane Agatha has weakened to a now remnant low over the mountains of Southern Mexico.
Hurricane Agatha has weakened to a now remnant low over the mountains of Southern Mexico.(KSLA News 12)

While we do see hurricanes from the Caribbean make landfall in Central America and redevelop in the Eastern Pacific we rarely see storms move east from the Pacific. The main reason for this is that during hurricane season the easterly trade winds dominate the main development zone of the tropics. This means that tropical weather is almost always moving east to west. The farther north storms move they experience more and more influence of the dominant westerlies of the mid-latitudes, which is why we see storms recurving to the east as the move farther north.

While we do tend to see storms that develop very early in the season do so close to home, it is...
While we do tend to see storms that develop very early in the season do so close to home, it is rare that they come from landfalling hurricane in the Pacific(KSLA News 12)

But the current situation in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico shows very little winds coming from the east. This means that for the most part there is very weak steering winds for the remnants of the Agatha in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Just the slight nudge of westerly winds from the subtropical jet should be enough for it to reemerge in the Gulf. But given the weak of overall steering flow there is a lot of uncertainty with a potential track.

While not set in stone, some forecast models do try to steer a potential track of what would be...
While not set in stone, some forecast models do try to steer a potential track of what would be Alex to the SW coast of Florida.(KSLA News 12)

Now if the the remnants of Agatha due redevelop into a tropical system the storm would be named Alex instead of Agatha. This is because the Eastern Pacific and the Atlantic Basin have two separate sets of names for the 2022 season, much in the way the Western Pacific has a separate set of names for typhoons.

This is the names that will be used for the 2022 Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin.
This is the names that will be used for the 2022 Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin.(KSLA News 12)

If we do see Agatha redevelop as Alex there are still unknowns with the potential track. Some of our futuretrack models want to steer the system over the Yucatán and eventually through Southwest Florida. Other models, the hurricane models specifically, stall the system over the southern Gulf. Needless to stay until we see redevelopment of the storm the track is uncertain at this point. But it is very unlikely that the Louisiana or Texas coast will see impacts from a potential Alex. Even if we do see redevelopment in the Gulf, right now the intensity forecast looks to keep it as a tropical storm with flooding rains being the biggest concern.

It is now likely that the remnants of Agatha will redevelop in the Gulf or Caribbean later this...
It is now likely that the remnants of Agatha will redevelop in the Gulf or Caribbean later this week.(KSLA News 12)

The KSLA First Alert Weather Team is always watching for the next tropical system and will be keep you up to date with the latest information during hurricane season. Here’s how you can get the First Alert with the latest forecast: