Alex Becomes a Hurricane

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:57 AM GMT on June 30, 2010

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Hi, Dr. Rob Carver filling in for Jeff on the late shift.

430AM EDT Update
The 400AM EDT advisory package has hit the wires. Alex' center of circulation is located at 23.3N, 95.1W, which is 175 miles east of La Pesca, MX and 235 miles southeast of Brownsville, TX. Alex is responding to a weakness in the ridge to it's north, the storm motion has shifted to WNW at 7 mph. The winds are unchanged from the 100AM advisory, they are still 80 mph. However, Alex continues to deepen it's pressure, the minimum central pressure is 961 mb. Hurricane force winds now extend to 30 miles away from the center, and tropical force winds extend to 200 miles from the center. Alex is currently over warm ocean waters and under weak vertical shear, so the winds are forecast to increase. However, given the strength of Alex's central pressure, there is a small possibility of a rapid intensification of an additional 35 mph.

I haven't changed my risk assessment with this advisory. Flooding from rain still remains the greatest hazard posed by Alex. Tropical storm force winds are expected to reach the coast later this morning. People should plan on finishing their outdoor preparations by this time.

150 AM Update As of the 100AM EDT advisory, Alex is at 23.1N, 94.8W. The minimum central pressure is 972 mb, and the winds have increased to 80 mph. Alex is slowly moving westwards at 5 mph in an "erratic" fashion.

As of the 11PM EDT advisory, NHC has upgraded Alex to a hurricane with maximum winds of 75 mph and a minimum central pressure of 973 mb. Alex's center is at 23.1N, 94.8W, which is 255 miles south of Brownsville, TX and 195 miles east-southeast of La Pesca, MX. Alex is moving westwards at 9 mph. Alex is expected to slightly alter it's course to the WNW before making landfall south of the Rio Grande. The winds are also forecast to pick up to 90 mph before landfall. In any event, mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for recreational vehicles and other high-profile vehicles in county parks on South Padre Island. A voluntary evacuation is in place for residents of South Padre Island and Port Isabel.

Threat from storm surge
NHC is forecasting a 3-5 foot storm surge north of the eye as Alex makes landfall.

Threat from wind
NWS forecasters expect that damage from Alex's winds will be limited to the southern counties of Cameron, Willacy, and Hidalgo. Hurricane force winds extend 15 miles from the storm center, but tropical storm force winds extend 175 miles from the center. This is a rather large circulation. The Storm Prediction Center is monitoring southern Texas for the threat of tornadoes in the outer rainbands as Alex makes landfall. I'd expect a tornado watch to be issued around noon CDT.

Threat from rain
This is the most significant impact from Alex. Rainfall totals of 6 to 12 inches are expected over northern Mexico/southern Texas with 20 inches possible in some locations. There will be flooding from this storm. If more than 5 inches fall in 6 hours, there will likely be flash flooding. The NWS office in Brownsville is advising people who were flooded out by Dolly in 2008 to evacuate to higher ground now.


Satellite-derived rainfall estimates for Alex's passage over the Yucatan peninsula on June 28, 2010. Data provided by the Climate Prediction Center.

Alex is the first Atlantic June hurricane since 1995's Allison. The storm tally for that season was 19 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. It will be interesting to see how this season compares to 1995.

Next update
I'll have an update Wednesday evening/night. Jeff will have an update sometime tomorrow morning.

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Quoting c150flyer:
When Alex was forecasted to go further north, we had decided to chase near South Point (slightly SE of Brownsville) to avoid potential surge. Now that it looks to be going much further south, I'm tempted to go to SPI, since surge won't be quite as high.

Only thing hindering me is whether it'd be worth it to be 10 miles inland if i'm 15 miles further south (again, South Point).

Anybody else gonna be on SPI tomorrow?


CycloneOz is going to be in Carbonera if all goes the way he has it planned.
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Hmmm. Storm stalls. Hurricane Hunters forced home. Busted forecast Alibi? Where's Orca when you need him.

All in jest...
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Well I'm going to say goodnight, Alex finally a hurricane and just about stationary, not good! Alex is alot bigger than most think, its feeder bands are still down here in the Caribbean and extends to the EPAC.
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This new wave kinda gives me the creeps.
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Quoting scott39:
I hope if Alex is stalled it doesnt mean a climb up!


Don't get too wound up. Stalls tend to be short lived, two or 3 hours at most. The 4 corners high still seems to be building to the East and if so it should pick up Alex to the West again. Climatology would favour due N this time of year but so far the steering has been more like peak season in August and Sept. which favours more to the West.
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Looks like Alex has filtered out some of the dry air it was dealing with earlier today; the equatorward banding has congealed with the central dense overcast of the system but the poleward banding has not entirely. Alex's large size will probabily continue to inhibit his winds from ever catching up to his pressure throughout the rest of his life time.
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Quoting DestinJeff:


check the relative IR imagery loop. looks stalled.

Link


Did he stall over the Eddy?
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Quoting Skyepony:
The hurricane hunters made one pass, we had a rumor there was trouble with the radar. They went home.
When will they be back?
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when do you think we should start getting the rain here is SE TX?
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We can start using Brownsville radar to track movement now, yay! Or if it decides to finally form an eye overnight. But for now, here this is. Looks like a W/WNW crawl to me right now. (COC in extreme SE of image)

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In the last few frames it seems like Alex is stalling/stationary as it just seems like he is spinning in place.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091

the oil smell was really strong this morning. that blob does look ominous.
Quoting truecajun:

Every band we get, the smell is unusually strong just before it. This morning it was very strong, and then when it started raining it smelled like rotten eggs :( I refuse to let my kids outside when it smells like that, and my 10 year old is about to drive me bonkers about it.
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79. Skyepony (Mod)
The hurricane hunters made one pass, we had a rumor there was trouble with the radar. They went home.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37327
Quoting nishinigami:
I am not looking forward to that blob here Pat, we are soaked here from the rains we already had, and it keeps bring that crude smell stronger with ever pass we get :(


the oil smell was really strong this morning. that blob does look ominous.
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Quoting angiest:
I like when 'canes look like this:



NGC 5194 / M51 not needed here tonight. Save it.
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74. amd
Quoting scott39:
Can any of the experts look and see if it is stationary or not?


not an expert, but looks like a slow west movement to me. Sometimes though, if the center of the storm undergoes quick changes in the core, it could cause temporary changes in storm direction in speed.

Here is a good funktop loop of the storm

just hit the L/L radio button to see Alex hang around 23 North.
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When Alex was forecasted to go further north, we had decided to chase near South Point (slightly SE of Brownsville) to avoid potential surge. Now that it looks to be going much further south, I'm tempted to go to SPI, since surge won't be quite as high.

Only thing hindering me is whether it'd be worth it to be 10 miles inland if i'm 15 miles further south (again, South Point).

Anybody else gonna be on SPI tomorrow?
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Dude, that's a ridiculously large file size for the blog...you're gonna annoy the dial-up-ers, big time...


I pulled it. It didn't seem like it was going to be that bad but it would never load for me once I embedded the image.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Oh, I understand the difference between the 2. Not good, not good at all.


Now we have what? I'm confused....
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Where have all my Atlantic Ull's gone, same as most have, gone barely into my memory banks. Wish they would all disappear. No more ull forecast.
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Quoting kmanislander:


We were just talking about a stall on the old blog and I was waiting for more sat frames to confirm. Now we have this.
I hope if Alex is stalled it doesnt mean a climb up!
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Thanks for the update.

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Here's another angle...

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Quoting DestinJeff:


current motion is nill. nhc 12 hour is 9. looks nill to me, anyway
normally that is NHC data, so took as gospel. I guess manual input and wrong.
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Like to say THANKS to all who responded to my cry for help.

Nope, ShenValleyFlyFish, haven't touched anything inre java or javascript. Been so long that I did anything other than approve an update, I doubt that I could even find where to make changes to 'em without asking.

PlugIns are working just fine, bappit, though I keep the browser so lean that again I haven't looked at them since install.

Oddly, Orcasystems, you may have been closest to right. I have a flaky touchpad that occasionally triggers links just from rolling the cursor over them.
And I could have accidentally triggered a SignOut. Though I don't understand how I could have posted after signing out.

Try shutting down Firefox entirely, jamesrainier, then rebooting. I had multiple windows up, and Firefox began working again after shutting them all and a reboot.

Then again Firefox coulda felt threatened by the possibility of competion ;-D I hadda shut down the windows during a download of Chrome.
And when I booted up Firefox, it worked just fine. Maybe better... the page looks subtly more readable.
And I'm posting outta Chrome just to giv'er a spin. But back to Firefox after this tryout.

And THANKS again for responding.
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I am not looking forward to that blob here Pat, we are soaked here from the rains we already had, and it keeps bring that crude smell stronger with ever pass we get :(
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Quoting kmanislander:


We were just talking about a stall on the old blog and I was waiting for more sat frames to confirm. Now we have this.
Oh, I understand the difference between the 2. Not good, not good at all.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091

ShearMap
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Agreed Kman. Alex is a beast in terms of size. Very "Ike like".
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Quoting truecajun:


i should have spread my centipede weed and feed today. arrrrgh.
Good thing u didn't, or Alex would be headed straight for you right now.....
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Quoting DestinJeff:


current motion is nill. nhc 12 hour is 9. looks nill to me, anyway


We were just talking about a stall on the old blog and I was waiting for more sat frames to confirm. Now we have this.
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Quoting winter123:
thanks dr carver!

though I must say one of the saddest looking hurricanes I've seen. Huge wind field but trouble organizing ever since it hit the Yucatan.


You must be looking at a different storm than everybody else.
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Can any of the experts look and see if it is stationary or not?
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Quoting Chicklit:

Hi Kman, maybe the two blobs are confusing the models.

What is your take on the blob to the north?


Looks like a spin off from the circulation. Not likely to be anything but rain with a hurricane nearby.
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Quoting angiest:
I like when 'canes look like this:

Dude, that's a ridiculously large file size for the blog...you're gonna annoy the dial-up-ers, big time...
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Quoting OracleDeAtlantis:


I know, how ironic. The thing looks like the Red Spot on Jupiter, but it's barely a Cat 1.




I see the similarity...
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Quoting winter123:
Huge wind field but trouble organizing ever since it hit the Yucatan.


Trouble organizing since... forever.
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Evening all.... this is about where I left off this morning.... LOL



This map looks a lot different than it did 12 hours ago.....Hmmmm..... looks like NHC was right all along about the RIGHT turn and the WNW heading..... looks like landfall will be near.... dare I say it.... LA PESCA.....

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Quoting iflyu2:
Couple of things... Thanks for all the help. Those of us that live here in the Rio Grande Valley really appreciate all the work you all do to help keep us informed when events like this happen.

Second, it is now just after 10:00 pm here in The Valley, which is -5 GMT making it just after 0300 gmt. The hurricane hunter data says it starts at 0324 gmt. Is that a typo or is there a time warp in the hurricane that pushes them forward 1 hour? I know its not a joke but another pilot that has been following this with me here on WU noticed that and wondered what the deal was?

Again, thanks for all the good work!


We are CDT now, not CMT.
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Looks more like a bullseye to me. Cover your ears, my riffle needs to be sighted in.
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Quoting Drakoen:
973mb and barely a hurricane lol


I know, how ironic. The thing looks like the Red Spot on Jupiter, but it's barely a Cat 1.
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Quoting kmanislander:
That's odd. The NHC say W at 9 mph and the WU graphic says stationary. What's up with that ?

Hi Kman, maybe the two blobs are confusing the models.

What is your take on the blob to the north?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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