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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Atlantic Tropical Weather Discussion
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

000
AXNT20 KNHC 301145
TWDAT

TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 AM EDT WED JUN 30 2010


BASED ON 0600 UTC SURFACE ANALYSIS AND SATELLITE IMAGERY THROUGH
1015 UTC...

...SPECIAL FEATURES...

HURRICANE ALEX IS CENTERED NEAR 23.4N 95.3W AT 30/1200 UTC OR ABOUT 155 MILES E OF LA PESCA MEXICO AND ABOUT 220 MILES SE OF BROWNSVILLE TEXAS MOVING W-NW AT 06 KT. ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 961 MB. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WIND SPEED IS 70 KT WITH GUSTS TO 85 KT. NUMEROUS MODERATE AND SCATTERED STRONG CONVECTION ARE FROM 19N-25N BETWEEN 92W-98W.
NUMEROUS MODERATE AND ISOLATED STRONG CONVECTION ARE OVER THE NW GULF FROM 25N-31N BETWEEN 89W-98W. SEE LATEST NHC INTERMEDIATE PUBLIC ADVISORY UNDER AWIPS/WMO HEADERS
MIATCPAT1/WTNT31 KNHC AND THE FULL FORECAST/ADVISORY UNDER AWIPS/WMO HEADERS MIATCMAT1/WTNT21 KNHC FOR MORE DETAILS.



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Quoting IKE:
Max sustained: 80 mph

Where?
SUMMARY OF 700 AM CDT...1200 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...23.4N 95.3W
ABOUT 155 MI...250 KM E OF LA PESCA MEXICO
ABOUT 220 MI...355 KM SE OF BROWNSVILLE TEXAS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...80 MPH...130 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WNW OR 290 DEGREES AT 7 MPH...11 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...959 MB...28.32 INCHES

Here.
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Quoting IKE:


Yeah...I don't see much the next 10 days/subject to change.
I notice Navy has a WPac invest up... other than that fairly quiet globally.
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Anyine else have the awesome iPad app for wunderground? Im watching Alex and it looks like he has a strong eyewall but that theres still clouds obscuring the eye... Weird. Also, looks like moisture is finally wrapping around the northwest quadrant.
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1185. IKE
Max sustained: 80 mph

Where?
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http://www.nola.com/hurricane/content.ssf?/hurricane/content/imagery/animated.html
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Yup... it'll be all over soon. Then there won't be a single shading on the NHC site for a while..
How do you know that? you psychic or something? lol
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I think we are going to see some NW/WNW/W wobbles all day today. I'm buying the MX landfall a LOT more today than yesterday. Looks like southern end of Laguna Madre,which is pretty much what NHC had in mind on Sunday.... They've really gotten the track forecasting nailed since 2005....
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1181. IKE
Quoting HurricaneSwirl:


Yup... it'll be all over soon. Then there won't be a single shading on the NHC site for a while..


Yeah...I don't see much the next 10 days/subject to change.
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Good morning! Trying to catch up but limited time to do so. Noticed the blog mentioned Alex took advantage of weakness. Notice some outer bands hitting upper Texas coast. Is the expected path still landfall in Mexico and westwards?
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Quoting IKE:
System looks to be back on the move WNW...about 120 miles to landfall.


Yup... it'll be all over soon. Then there won't be a single shading on the NHC site for a while..
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1177. IKE
...ALEX MOVING IN NO HURRY......
7:00 AM CDT Wed Jun 30
Location: 23.4°N 95.3°W
Max sustained: 80 mph
Moving: WNW at 7 mph
Min pressure: 959 mb
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isaehatl
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:
Good Morning. There was some debate over the past several weeks with some folks "predicting" that we would have no storms in June, and, others predicting that we would have up to two in June, and, I believe that Dr. M and the models, last week, stated that Alex would not reach hurricane strength......Don't know who "won" the debate because Mother Nature sets the stage, and we merely observe, but we got our first June Hurricane since 1995. Rest of the tropics quiet however this morning so potential July activity, again, is up for grabs.
Morning, wxman... MUO forecast seems to change on a weekly basis, so I'm not quite sure what to expect the next couple of weeks. Last week we were supposed to be in a quiet mode until about Jul 20; however, yesterday somebody posted lastest analysis and forecast which showed continued upward motion of MJO for almost all of the first 2 decades of the month.... everything else seems to be conducive for formation, though the ITCZ is still relatively low....
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1174. IKE
System looks to be back on the move WNW...about 120 miles to landfall.
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Quoting SavannahStorm:


Those winds were found on the SE side before the last center fix. They will find hurricane force winds when they visit the NE quadrant again.


Probably, but in a 959mb storm you would expect to have hurricane force winds in all quadrants. Guess this is an exception, reminds me a lot of Ike actually.
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Good morning, just reading Dr. Carver's blog update and he says winds are "still 90 mph."
Is this a typo?
Conversion table for
knots to miles per hour
KTS to MPH 5 Knots = 5.8 MPH
10 Knots = 11.5 MPH
15 Knots = 17.3 MPH
20 Knots = 23.0 MPH
25 Knots = 28.8 MPH
30 Knots = 34.6 MPH
35 Knots = 40.3 MPH
40 Knots = 46.1 MPH
45 Knots = 51.8 MPH
50 Knots = 57.6 MPH
55 Knots = 63.4 MPH
60 Knots = 69.1 MPH
65 Knots = 74.9 MPH
70 Knots = 80.6 MPH
75 Knots = 86.4 MPH
80 Knots = 92.2 MPH
85 Knots = 97.9 MPH
90 Knots = 103.7 MPH
95 Knots = 109.4 MPH
100 Knots = 115.2 MPH

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1171. WxLogic
Good morning...

Sure hope our Mexican neighbors have prepared.
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Alex just can't seem to get it wound up.... getting to look like one for the record books, in a funny sort of way....
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According to this, Alex should be a 5.5 with about 120 mph winds. I said should, not is.
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Quoting StormW:


I don't believe so.


I was afraid of that. All of our descent rains over the summer come from tropical storms tracking out of the eastern GOM. I'll take a drought if that's what it takes to keep things out of the oil, even if it is hurting my son's business.
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Quoting HurricaneSwirl:
Since HH can find any hurricane force winds, this is likely just a 959 mb Tropical Storm... WOW!


Those winds were found on the SE side before the last center fix. They will find hurricane force winds when they visit the NE quadrant again.
Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 2342
1166. cg2916
I think the next advisory will stay at 80 mph, and change the pressure to 959.

The reason the vortex message only showed 65 mph winds was because they only went through a portion of the storm before that vortex message, and it was apparently a weak part.
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Good Morning. There was some debate over the past several weeks with some folks "predicting" that we would have no storms in June, and, others predicting that we would have up to two in June, and, I believe that Dr. M and the models, last week, stated that Alex would not reach hurricane strength......Don't know who "won" the debate because Mother Nature sets the stage, and we merely observe, but we got our first June Hurricane since 1995. Rest of the tropics quiet however this morning so potential July activity, again, is up for grabs.
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The other day NHC forecasters were wondering why so many models were keeping intensity forecasts so low. Now I guess we know why; they must have been picking up on this pressure gradient situation...
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Alex is reaaalllyy trying to pop out that eye, just not quite there yet.

Member Since: September 22, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 2342
Since HH can find any hurricane force winds, this is likely just a 959 mb Tropical Storm... WOW!
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For the pple impressed by Alex's appearance, I gotta tell u that, aside from sheer size, this is not an particularly impressive looking TC. In a lot of ways Alex still looks like a big ole tropical storm. The really impressive looking storms are IMO large, yes, but also MUCH more symmetrical, with smooth, high CDO, and clear well, defined eye.
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http://www.goes.noaa.gov/browse.html
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30/0545 UTC 23.1N 94.8W T4.5/4.5 ALEX -- Atlantic
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Current NAO.

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Judging by the minimum central pressure being uncharacteristically low, its appearance, and its surface winds seeming to have a long time catching up, I'd say Alex has more than a 33% chance of rapidly intensifying. Still, Alex kind of reminds me of Ike, with its sheer size and pressure dropping in the gulf.
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1153. Hhunter
gotta go to work..this storm is odd
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I'm enrroute to SPI right now. ETA 11am cdt
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Quoting StormW:


LMAO Shen!

Morning!


Know it's not what you usually look at but is there any hope for some of this moisture making it to VA. We're dry as a popcorn/peanut-butter sandwich.
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1150. IKE
Quoting BahaHurican:
Look at RandyB's blog. He was talking yesterday about the small pressure gradient.... only like 2 - 5 millibars worth of difference between the outside and inside of the storm. So the winds are not kicking up.


Which is good news.

Get this system inland and moving.
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Quoting SavannahStorm:
958.7mb?? How is this thing still only 70 knots?
Look at RandyB's blog. He was talking yesterday about the small pressure gradient.... only like 2 - 5 millibars worth of difference between the outside and inside of the storm. So the winds are not kicking up.
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Quoting StormW:


I hope so too! I'll have a better idea after my analysis


Say "Hey" to your shrink for me. Lol

Morning StormW
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:


I'd like a bench-leg beagle if you can catch one.


HAHA ok!
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Quoting jaevortex:
Well good morning it's raining cats and dogs in miami lol


I'd like a bench-leg beagle if you can catch one.
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1142. bassis
Quoting StormW:


Good morning!


Q: Is he trying to shed his outer bands and tighten up the core circulation?
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1141. xcool
bye
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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.