Alex, strongest June hurricane in 44 years, is now a tropical storm

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:20 PM GMT on July 01, 2010

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Hurricane Alex, the strongest June hurricane in 44 years, is Tropical Storm Alex, thanks to passage over the rugged terrain of Mexico. Alex made landfall at 9pm CDT last night, 110 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds. Alex was the strongest June hurricane since Hurricane Alma of 1966, which had 125 mph winds as it skirted the west coast of Florida. Brownsville long-range radar shows that Alex's heavy rains continue to pound the Texas/Mexico border region, and satellite estimates of rainfall (Figure 1) show that some of Alex's spiral bands dumped rains in excess of five inches today, in addition to the 5+ inches that fell yesterday. The Brownsville airport received 6.46" of rain as of 8am CDT today from Alex. Alex is being blamed for at least thirteen deaths in Central America and Mexico due to flooding, though none of these deaths occurred in the region where the storm made landfall. Alex spawned two tornadoes that hit South Texas, and there were at least four other reports of tornado funnel clouds that did not touch ground. Alex may continue to spawn isolated tornadoes today over South Texas and northern Mexico.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated rainfall so far today for Alex.


Figure 2. Snapshot of the Brownsville long-range radar showing Hurricane Alex at landfall at 8pm CDT Wednesday June 30, 2010.


Figure 3. Alex nearing landfall in northeastern Mexico at 12:10 CDT June 30, 2010, as seen by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Terra satellite. Image credit: NASA.

Storm Surge
Alex's maximum storm surge occurred along a 50-mile stretch of the Mexican coast centered about 75 miles south of Brownsville, Texas. The National Hurricane Center Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model predicted that the maximum water depth at the coast reached about 5 - 6 feet above ground level (Figure 3.) A storm surge of 1 - 2 feet was predicted by SLOSH for the Brownsville, Texas region. A storm surge of about 2 feet was observed in South Texas at the South Padre Island Coast Guard Station and Port Isabel.


Figure 4. Hurricane Alex's Maximum Water Depth (storm tide minus the elevation of the land it is passing over) computed using the primary computer model used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to forecast storm surge--the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model. The accuracy of the SLOSH model is advertised as plus or minus 20%. The maximum surge occurred to the right of where Alex's core made landfall, over a sparsely populated marshy area. This "Maximum Water Depth" image shows the water depth at each grid cell of the SLOSH domain. Thus, if you are inland at an elevation of five feet above mean sea level, and the combined storm surge and tide (the "storm tide") is ten feet at your location, the water depth image will show five feet of inundation. For more information on storm surge, consult our detailed storm surge pages.

Alex in historical context
Alex is the first June hurricane since Hurricane Allison of 1995. There have been only eleven hurricanes in May or June since 1945; only four of these were major Category 3 or higher storms.

Alex's bizarre behavior
Alex had several rather remarkable features I've never seen in a hurricane. Firstly, it underwent an eyewall replacement cycle as a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds. Usually, we don't see the inner eyewall collapse and an eyewall replacement cycle occur until a hurricane reaches Category 3 strength. I've seen it happen on occasion to a Category 2 storm, but never a Category 1. Secondly, after Alex's inner 9-mile diameter eyewall collapsed at 10am EDT yesterday morning, an outer spiral band began to become the new eyewall. Winds in this outer spiral band/new eywall increased as the day progressed, as typically happens in an eyewall replacement cycle. However, part way through that process, Alex suddenly reversed course, and was able to build a small inner eyewall with a 12-mile diameter that was completed by landfall. I've never seen a hurricane change its mind in the middle of an eyewall replacement cycle and build an inner eyewall so fast. Finally, Alex had an unusually weak winds, considering how low the pressure was. The pressure was more typical of a hurricane one Saffir-Simpson category stronger than what the surface winds suggested.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The latest run of the NOGAPS model predicts the formation of a tropical depression the Western Caribbean on Tuesday. None of the other models is showing tropical development worthy of concern over the coming seven days.

Wind and ocean current forecast for the BP oil disaster
Alex is continuing to generate very rough conditions over the Deepwater Horizon blowout location, with 5 - 9 foot waves and 3 - 4 foot swells. The wind and seas will gradually subside today, according to the latest marine forecast from NOAA. The resulting currents induced by Alex's strong winds will push oil to many protected bays and estuaries that haven't seen oil yet. The latest trajectory forecasts from NOAA and the State of Louisiana show oil will also move westward along the central Louisiana coast towards the Texas border. Winds will decrease to 5 - 15 knots Friday through Tuesday but remain mostly out of the southeast, keeping the pressure on the regions of coast in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi that are seeing oil hit their shores this week.

Resources for the BP oil disaster
Map of oil spill location from the NOAA Satellite Services Division
My post, What a hurricane would do the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
My post on the Southwest Florida "Forbidden Zone" where surface oil will rarely go
My post on what oil might do to a hurricane
NOAA's interactive mapping tool to overlay wind and ocean current forecasts, oil locations, etc.
Gulf Oil Blog from the UGA Department of Marine Sciences
Oil Spill Academic Task Force
University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Group oil spill forecasts
ROFFS Deepwater Horizon page
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the University of Miami

Next post
I'll have an update Friday morning. Dr. Rob Carver plans on summarizing Alex in his blog later today.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane Alex (LRandyB)
Weather inbound to Hurricane Alex.
Hurricane Alex

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Looks like we'll see the system in the Gulf or Caribbean by the 7th. I'd say we'll have something to track by next Tuesday or so.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23887
Okay, gotta bounce...play nice...if you can

LOL
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Twenty-three storms is the upper-end of every forecast. It's not likely to happen. I think 17 to 18 named storms is more realistic. However, if these excessively warm anomalies don't weaken, we'll have a couple of storms in November and December.
...NNAAA...30/22/10 (5) Cat-5,s, one of them 210 mph sustained winds with gusts 245....jk...It did kinda looks like the Pacific out there.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


wow...
and three weeks apart! I lived it.
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888. IKE
SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
430 PM CDT THU JUL 01 2010

.SYNOPSIS...TROPICAL STORM ALEX INLAND MEXICO OVER MEXICO
CONTINUING TO WEAKEN AS IT MOVES W. WINDS AND SEAS WILL SLOWLY
SUBSIDE OVER THE FAR WESTERN PORTION INTO FRI MORNING. A COLD
FRONT IS EXPECTED TO STALL OVER THE NORTHERN WATERS FRI AND
LINGER THROUGH THE PERIOD AS POSSIBLE WEAK LOW PRES FORMS ALONG
THE BOUNDARY.


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Quoting swlavp:
The date starts June 24...I think that Was Alex...LOL


OPPS....didn't refresh....LOL
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885. xcool
TampaSpin LMAO LMAO
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Baltmorebirds:

Development would not occur in the Atlantic, these waves move across the Atlantic and then develop in the Caribbean when they find better conditions
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Ok I have had enough of Alex and his rain. (NOT comparing my situation to those in the landfall area!)

We have had over 5 inches of rain just today...not including rainfall amounts from the past two days...its pouring again with a train of storms on the way. Areas very close to me have had over 9 inches of rain and water is over roadways.
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881. xcool
MY july Forecast 3 storms & start from july 01 to july 17.LASTTIME POSTING
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Is anyone here in possession of pictures of invests and disturbances that became tropical depressions or more from the 2005 Hurricane Season?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Alex #2 coming????


that was the forecast for Alex

start date June 23rd
end date June 30th
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Afternoon Pat, your mail has been delivered. It is only 20 sec. long, but an interesting view all the same. Enjoy!
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Quoting xcool:


DUDE you post great graphics that i have no idea where you get this stuff from.......WOW. Nice job....ARE YOU UNDERCOVER WU MASTER MET??? LMAO
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
2004 was 2004,2010 will be 2010.Every hurricane season is different in a way.Even 2008,or 2009 were not alike(they were total opposites.
What you said is irrelevant to what I said.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21113
Quoting TampaSpin:


Alex #2 coming????
The date starts June 24...I think that Was Alex...LOL
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Quoting StormW:


Flood!


You've been a very busy man of late...doing good work too, I might add...
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Quoting StormW:
ECMWF 12Z RUN

168


192
That low south of the western tip of Cuba looks interesting to me..
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Quoting IKE:


I'll 2nd those thoughts. Looks to stay active. To reach 23 it almost has to now.


Twenty-three storms is the upper-end of every forecast. It's not likely to happen. I think 17 to 18 named storms is more realistic. However, if these excessively warm anomalies don't weaken, we'll have a couple of storms in November and December.
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869. xcool
IKE GFS
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The GFS shear forecast shows rather hostile conditions by the big bend of Florida. But more interestingly it has an anticyclone aloft to the other system the NAM is showing approaching Nicaragua/Honduras. Very interesting...

GFS 12z shear forecast at 84 hours.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21113
Bookmaker takes bets Hayward will get axe as BP CEO

by The Associated Press

wwltv.com


LONDON -- Odds are, BP's embattled chief executive Tony Hayward will be out of a job before the end of the year, an Irish bookmaker says.

The Paddy Power betting agency on Thursday quotes odds of 8-11 that Hayward won't last the year running the oil company, and even odds that he survives.

The volume of betting against Hayward is three times as large as the bets that he stays, Paddy Power spokesman Darren Haines said.

Paddy Power is also taking bets on Hayward's successor, with Iain Conn, BP's chief executive of refining and marketing, leading the pack at 3-1.

Robert Dudley, recently appointed to head BP's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, and former CEO John Browne were quoted at 7-2; Peter Mather, head of BP UK, at 4-1; and Malcolm Brinded, head of exploration at Royal Dutch Shell, at 14-1.


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Alex #2 coming????
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863. IKE
Quoting xcool:


What model is that?
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862. xcool
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861. IKE
Quoting extreme236:
Looks like something might develop in the next week or so. Looks like an active July coming.


I'll 2nd those thoughts. Looks to stay active. To reach 23 it almost has to now.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Fairly recently actually!




Although I don't know of any within that short of a timespan...


Ok, that is what I wondering. I figure with all the years of having Hurricanes, I'm sure some places have been hit more than once. I was curious however if any had been hit twice, so close together...
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Looks like something might develop in the next week or so. Looks like an active July coming.
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Quoting 1900hurricane:

Fairly recently actually!




Although I don't know of any within that short of a timespan...
That's quite insane. We could see a couple of those this year, let's hope we don't.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21113
Just offhand, I'd say that the fishing expedition worked just fine! BUSTED!!!!! ROTFLMAO!!!

SQUAWK!

:)
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


The sooner the better, they have been testing it for over a year. Time to "shoot the engineer and start production".
I'm sure you've heard the phrase 'Engineering is when you don't know if the results will better; Production is when you better get the results; Surprisingly, engineering pays WAY better!'
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


I see there is a storm similar to where Alex went....Has there been any storms to hit the same place over again?

Fairly recently actually!




Although I don't know of any within that short of a timespan...
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


Frances and Jeanne hit withing 5 miles of each other in 2004


wow...
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
I posted this earlier today on my Tropical Update.....



Reply Delete TampaSpin 02:53 PM on July 01, 2010 I have identified 4 AOI to watch in Green above. First the CMC and GFS models are both showing a Surface Low developing in the Nothern Gulf of Mexico in about 4-5 days with also the CMC showing development in the Eastern Caribbean also! Something we need to watch as we approach the 4th of July Holiday Weekend. That would be a very bad area for development occur in the GOM where the OIL is located. Reveiw the link to the Short Range Computer Model link above and use the 850mb vorticity when reviewing. Let's all hope this does not occur.
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Quoting TexasHurricane:


I see there is a storm similar to where Alex went....Has there been any storms to hit the same place over again?


Frances and Jeanne hit withing 5 miles of each other in 2004
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Quoting IKE:


Agree.
Me too. Might be an interesting few days coming. As for the area by Cuba I just checked out the vorticity graphs and the 850mb level is dead, along with the 700mb level. At the 500mb level is where you can begin to see the "spin".
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21113
Quoting StormW:
ECMWF 12Z RUN

168


192


I see there is a storm similar to where Alex went....Has there been any storms to hit the same place over again?
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
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Quoting IKE:


I remember that system. Someone else mentioned it earlier today on here.


Yeah, I was actually in Destin at the time it developed, so that's what made my memory jog back to when it happened. We were hoping it wouldn't strengthen and come hit us while we were there. Luckily, we never even got a drop of rain from it.
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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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