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 Chucktown:


Astro is a doomcaster


Sigh. Third advisory:



NHC predicted slowing in forward motion, but not the associated rapid strengthening.
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Alex definitely has an eye, it is occluded by the clouds above though.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
Quoting Claudette1234:
APRSWXNET Laguna Vista TX , Port Isabel, TX
Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System, Add to My Blog, Set as Default Current Conditions, Historical Data & Charts 27.2 °C 25 °C 88% NE a 43.5 km/h / 12.1 m/s
999.2 HPA 0 mm / hr 31 °C 2 m 29 min 49 sec ago

999.2mb at Port Elisabeth weather station

Claudette1234, Are you in Port Isabel?
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Quoting hurrkat05:
astrohurricane no way at anytime did the nhc predict alex would STALL....they had him picking up speed and moving inland with no problem...


Astro is a doomcaster
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Hey Taz,
How's the Chipotle and honey BBQ crow tasting right now? You did say you wanted both.
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1386. aquak9
txalways- thanks...but i think it was from a river site, like flow gauges or bouys in the river. I looked thru that, couldn't find it.
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1385. GetReal
My latest thoughts on Alex:

Potential Track Problem For Alex
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Hurricane Alex.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21194
aquak Maybe it's in here somewhere http://prtl.uhcl.edu/portal/page/portal/FAO/Student_Tab_Related/Flood_Hurricane_Storm_Surge
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Ike's landfall...

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NHC predicted early on that Alex would stall or dramatically reduce forward speed prior to landfall. I guess they were right.
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Quoting StormW:
Morning Stef!


Morning Storm! :)
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Quoting aquak9:


during Ike's landfall, someone had the links/graphs to river flows from Bolivar on up to Bridge City, I remember the water being like 300x greater then normal flowing IN not out.

maybe someone can grab those flow graphics again


Ike's landfall...

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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Sorry to interrupt the direct discussion for a second, but an earthquake occurred this morning in Mexico within the outer bands of Alex and at a location under the influence of Alex's rainfall and reduced pressure:



Happened in the GOM as Rita was making landfall.
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Quoting Hardcoreweather2010:
8am a wobble watch warning has been issued for the Weatherunderground.com and is in effect until 10pm tonight. You can expect many posters saying it's going one way when it's really going another. Forecaster Kinkaid


Now THAT is funny, and oh, so true. LOL!
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Sorry to interrupt the direct discussion for a second, but an earthquake occurred this morning in Mexico within the outer bands of Alex and at a location under the influence of Alex's rainfall and reduced pressure:



Hello, Nosorry thanks for information.
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Sorry to interrupt the direct discussion for a second, but an earthquake occurred this morning in Mexico within the outer bands of Alex and at a location under the influence of Alex's rainfall and reduced pressure:

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APRSWXNET Laguna Vista TX , Port Isabel, TX
Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System, Add to My Blog, Set as Default Current Conditions, Historical Data & Charts 27.2 °C 25 °C 88% NE a 43.5 km/h / 12.1 m/s
999.2 HPA 0 mm / hr 31 °C 2 m 29 min 49 sec ago

999.2mb at Port Elisabeth weather station
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1368. Mia337
Quoting DestinJeff:


pretty good indicator is fwd speed ... slow means things are happening to cause a direction change (perhaps)

increased fwd speed means it will likely maintain heading. (in general)


Thanks so much.
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Quoting StormW:
Hot off the press!

HURRICANE ALEX SYNOPSIS JUNE 30, 2010 ISSUED 8:55 A.M. EDT


Thanks Storm!! Kind of what I was afraid of... hoping Alex goes inland QUICKLY!!!
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Quoting StormW:


Too many...driving me up the wall!


Supercomputers don't handle interconnected elements very well. Forecasters should rely on their brains more than on computers for complex storms like Alex. I myself predicted fairly accurately the complex interaction between Super Typhoon Nida of November 2009, the changes in sea surface temperatures, and the shifting of quasi-stationary highs and lows across the Pacific and in the Atlantic but there were always unexpected factors that threw off my predictions.
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Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 11 Comments: 2032
Quoting Skyepony:
I'm shocked the temp difference inside & outside the center isn't greater.


Noticed that also, especially since two hours earlier it was 6C.
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8am a wobble watch warning has been issued for the Weatherunderground.com and is in effect until 10pm tonight. You can expect many posters saying it's going one way when it's really going another. Forecaster Kinkaid
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1360. fahr
light rain and about 15 mph winds in Beeville - 50 miles inland N of Corpus - starting to see outer banding on our radar too.
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Thanks jpsb,,,Have to go to work soon,,worried about evac, tie downs on boats there,,keep safe..
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DestinJeff

You can also look at the SHIPS Text for what it is indicating for steering:

FORECAST TRACK FROM OFCI INITIAL HEADING/SPEED (DEG/KT):295/ 5 CX,CY: -4/ 2
T-12 MAX WIND: 65 PRESSURE OF STEERING LEVEL (MB): 499 (MEAN=624)

Other models may have a different opinion.
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Quoting Skyepony:
I'm shocked the temp difference inside & outside the center isn't greater.


A lot of the convection is in its outer bands.
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1355. aquak9
Quoting RitaEvac:
Someone reported to Houston media that some bridge over in Boliver was under water and needs to be closed, and this is the upper Tx coast


during Ike's landfall, someone had the links/graphs to river flows from Bolivar on up to Bridge City, I remember the water being like 300x greater then normal flowing IN not out.

maybe someone can grab those flow graphics again
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1354. angiest
This is a recent snapshot of the Brownsville radar's 0.5 degree base velocity scan. For those not familiar, the green is winds blowing toward the radar and red is blowing away. The red dot to the lower right is the approximate location of the center (hand-estimated from the reflectivity scan). Since the center is beyond the scan, the transition from green to red can serve as a proxy for tracking the center on this scan. If you extrapolate from the colour transition you notice it lines up closely to the dot. I will try to track the progress of the center in this way.

brownsville-bv1
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Thank you Storm.Great job.I guess Alex is just waiting to see where he wants to go.Its like he is playing any- mini-miny-Mo.LOL!!!!!!!!!!
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Quoting AustinTXWeather:
TWC just mentioned latest data Alex dropped 1mb and now shows 958


Nice to run into a fellow "Longhorn". Looks like Alex is going to be a big rain maker in our neck of the woods. And with widespread rains from the past few days, flash flooding will definitely be an issue all day Thursday. I am concerned that Alex will veer north not long after it makes landfall this evening. Central Texas has its' share of storms that linger and cause much flooding. Hope it's not too serious.
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Someone reported to Houston media that some bridge over in Boliver was under water and needs to be closed, and this is the upper Tx coast
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 9630
1347. Buhdog
1333.....drift is a perfect word! Maybe Meander or crawl too! UPWELL BABY!
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Quoting mtyweatherfan90:
Guys, one doubt. If in my local forecast they're expecting strong winds from the NW, then N, then NE, E, ESE. The eye will be passing south or north of my location? Thanks!

south
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1345. Asta
Member Since: July 4, 2008 Posts: 30 Comments: 1024
Models and landfall just shifted north of previous track.
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Quoting StormW:
Hot off the press!

HURRICANE ALEX SYNOPSIS JUNE 30, 2010 ISSUED 8:55 A.M. EDT


yay!
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1342. Mia337
Quoting DestinJeff:


worst case scenario would be Alex doesn't get to land with the steering influence of the weak high. Sw flow out in front of a trough and/or weakness in the atlantic high results in more of a northerly component, followed by NNE, NE, etc ...

Alex just needs to make landfall before these other elements begin to factor in more and more.


Wow. But if you dont mind me asking at what point would he have to do this. Maybe I am not saying that correctly. How long before we know if this will or very well could happen. Thanks
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Yeah, Alex looks to be drifting towards the NW. Still a ways to go for landfall.
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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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