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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It's my understanding that because of the size of the storm it takes longer for the winds to catch up to the pressure (like Ike).. or am I totally off base?
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Causeway to spi scheduled to close at 10. My eta is 1010. Fingers crossed.
Member Since: September 12, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 75
is there any way we may get 2 planes out there at the same time today.... it takes forever to get from one fix to another and to get back to that NE quadrant
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
1438. leo305
ITS SHOCKING to me hat Alex has a 958mb pressure and the winds are only 80mph ...
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Quoting DestinJeff:


true. I know that CIMSS map isn't like the "answer key" to steering, but sure does pique your interest. I always feel like landfall is the only thing that assures landfall in a particular location ... until then, so many things can influence track.

in Alex's case I think that stall back off teh coast of the Yucatan screwed up the timing of everything, not to mention the weak high pressure that is centered so far north to have significant influence.

I am no met.
Teh? LOL, J/k.

I agree. That stalling off the coast of the Yucatan messed timing up which then messed all of us up. A Mexico landfall still seems more likely, but my question is, why is it making landfall in Mexico opposed to moving towards the weakness?
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
1435. hercj
Senior Chief, why is the pressure so low and the winds not coming down. The other day you said you felt like this system was more of a Typhoon than Hurricane can you explain if this has something to do with the winds not dropping?
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1433. jpsb
Quoting hurrkat05:
jeff you are so right the trough on the west coast is going to take over alex..alex has 36 hours to move inland and then if he does move inland the mountainous terrain over mexico will stall alex progress even more..alex size is going to determine where he wants to go until the strong trough at 750mb begins to influence him..by that time alex could be a strong cat 2 hurricane..
I knew I should not have put those darn tomato plants in the grow yesterday! Seemed like a sure thing Alex was going to Mexico, well south of Texas. If Alex turns north I will take full responsibility, sorry folks. I can if yall want go rip the tomato plants out of the ground. Let me know.
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1432. Max1023
Looking at radar worries me, the eye is going nowhere fast. An extremely heavy band is hammering the coast, the slower Alex moves the more rainfall that will drop.

Also, is an EWRC likely? It looks like an eyewall might be trying to form around the 8nm one at maybe 25-30nm. Could this stall the intensification trend until landfall?
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Quoting hurricanehanna:
looking at MIMIC, it's moving very slightly North of West...
When looking for motion MIMIC-TPW is nowhere as reliable as let's say satellite or radar.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Wish I knew what this puppy was gonna do.
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Quoting StormW:


That's gonna be your indication. If he stalls...landfall will be a little tricky to time.


Maybe the mountains will "bounce" Alex's moisture back over the CONUS.
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looking at MIMIC, it's moving very slightly North of West...
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1424. Buhdog
Wild set up here in South Florida ULL to our East driving winds from the north

Plus Alex with its bands headed the opposite direction! Link

We are way over normal rain for the last 30 days here...as much 6-8 inches over already.
Link

Good luck Texas
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Quoting StormW:


Should know something by early this evening.


Thank you for your help....
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Quoting hurrkat05:
OZ is going to have to RELOCATE himself north if he is going to video live feed from ALEX...one thing in his favor is time at least 36 hours before things start to really explode..


Hopefully he has a steady structure to go to should the winds or surge be stronger than expected.
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Quoting StormW:


That's gonna be your indication. If he stalls...landfall will be a little tricky to time.


Guessing it may be hard to say at this point but any best guesses on how much of a shift to the right a stall could produce given the potential new factor?
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Lake Charles has Alex's remains merging with front.

.PREV DISCUSSION... /ISSUED 508 AM CDT WED JUN 30 2010/

DISCUSSION...

OUTER SPIRAL RAIN BANDS ASSOCIATED WITH HURRICANE ALEX WILL
SWEEP WESTWARD THROUGH THE FORECAST AREA. THE WIDESPREAD RAINS
WILL GIVE WAY TO MORE SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ON
FRIDAY...AS THE REMAINS OF ALEX MERGE WITH A MIDWEST COLD FRONT
WHICH STALLS ACROSS THE LOUISIANA COASTAL WATERS
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1419. leo305
on radar its moving nnw o-O
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So StormW-is it your thought that Alex may ride the coast northernly?
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Look at how much moisture Alex is excreting into the subtropical jet ahead of the cold front!

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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Sigh. Third advisory:



NHC predicted slowing in forward motion, but not the associated rapid strengthening.

But this was way before it really developed or hit the Yucatan. And it was forecast to be a strong TS so they were not off by much. This was also when the models had the track all over the place and they are pretty close.
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Quoting DestinJeff:
1200 CIMSS: Alex going to have a hard time getting west with this set-up I think...


There has to be something at play that is basically forcing Alex to move towards the W/WNW instead of just plain N motion. With a set-up like that Alex is more likely to hit Texas or Louisiana instead of Mexico.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting StormW:


That's gonna be your indication. If he stalls...landfall will be a little tricky to time.


I should have worded that differently and actually went and changed my question..lol

How much time do you think Alex has before the trof will/can affect it?
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at the current rate of strengthening this will be the steering shortly


Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
1407. hercj
Senior Chief, I am curious about something, if Alex continues on the current forecast path wont the low end up in the Pacific and if that happens wont it regenerate pretty quick?
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TWC is actually doing pretty good on their coverage... even they are mentioning the northward trend
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
morning gang. Late start - all this rain is making me sleepy! So from what I can tell, Alex is slowing up a bit? That can't be good...never want to see one of these parked along the coast. Lots of dry air moving from the West - I'm guessing this will have an effect?
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AOI

AOI

AOI

Hurricane Hunter Data

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
Quoting beeleeva:
Anyone along Galveston Bay-Seabrook area hearing of tidal flooding yet?? Winds appear to be up from Sailflow readings at Seabrook Sailing Club....Concerned about sailboats at SSC and HYC....

You mean a hurricane is coming and the boats have not been taken care of?
I would suggest you go tie any boat up as if a hurricane was coming with a 10' surge.
Being on the north side of the storm the Texas coast will get the most surge.
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Quoting StormW:
HURRICANE ALEX SYNOPSIS JUNE 30, 2010 ISSUED 8:55 A.M. EDT


Storm....when is landfall "expected"? I mean, how much time does Alex have before the longwave trof affects it?
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Quoting hurrkat05:
OZ is going to have to RELOCATE himself north if he is going to video live feed from ALEX...one thing in his favor is time at least 36 hours before things start to really explode..


Do you have a direct link to his stream ? I want to post it on my site
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Quoting Berryfine1:

Claudette1234, Are you in Port Isabel?


No im not only is a MADIS station
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1395. aquak9
Kinda like this- a bouy near Rollover Pass

Link

but it had flow data, like cubic feet/minute, and flow direction.
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1394. jpsb
Quoting beeleeva:
Thanks jpsb,,,Have to go to work soon,,worried about evac, tie downs on boats there,,keep safe..
Harbor Master will no doubt see to it that all boats are secured (tied) well. So long as Alex stays a long ways away everything should be fine. Just a nice breezy day with a rather high tide.
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Ike's landfall...

Barrier Islands are not a good place to be during a hurricane.
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Oz is gonna broacast live untill he gets thru the international border.
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Quoting Chucktown:


Astro is a doomcaster


Sigh. Third advisory:



NHC predicted slowing in forward motion, but not the associated rapid strengthening.
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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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