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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693. xcool
Dirtleg LMAO
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting BermudaHigh:


Would that be recuperated soon, Miss?


Probably will take 1-2 weeks to fully recover, depending on what gets into the Gulf or what doesn't get into the Gulf. Obviously, a clear GOM would warm much more quickly.
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Quoting IKE:


Everyone is using it now....lol.


Hopefully on the 27th they implement the new GFS and that won't occur nearly as much anymore.
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Quoting BFG308:
Ok, so I know Who/What JFV is, but when did he start with this? Where does JFV come from? His initials or first handle, or what? Is he 12 or something?


Initials
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Quoting Dirtleg:
JFV!


Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Hey Tampa do you remember how "behind the developement curve" that the TPC and the local NWS offices were with "Humberto"?

THis blog was better informed. I'm not even exagerating. This blog was on top of it and the TPC was snoozing.


Yep you are so correct Doug......we was all over it.....and then the big bang......heck i believe the NHC took it straight to a Tropical Storm.....LOL.....its just the truth!
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Quoting Dirtleg:
JFV!
HaaHaaaHaaaaaaaaaaa *breath* aaaaaaHaaaha!!!!
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The Summer solstice is the Max Sun Angle in the N Hemisphere,

..but there is a LAg time to the Highest SSTs, which usually Occurs around 60-70 Days later around the End of August, and the Historical Peak of Cane season is September 10th.
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685. IKE
Quoting scott39:
hey Ike, Where would it go Inland if its going W?


Probably SE Louisiana.
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AOI
CYCLONIC TURNING PRESENT
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682. xcool
TampaSpin
?
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting IKE:


They're at least acknowledging a low. Looks like a washout 4th of July weekend here.

The Doc mentioned it in a blog a few days ago as well. Didn't think it would get over the water enough.. Fronts stall and break apart quickly when they hit the really warm water. But a surface low over land could always travel east off GA and into the Gulf stream..
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In NW Dane County teh nonspurious rain we had left us wtih 10.42" rain for the month of June.
Peace Out from Hidden Valley :)
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Quoting BermudaHigh:


You're utterly sick, why do you care, why do you want to know? Geeze, talk about big brother, :).


Sorry, didn't mean to, uh, stir the pot?

Kinda proves a point though...

You're teh real JFV....no "spuriosity" here
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Quoting Patrap:
Watch da Humpty, hump ?


Link
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Quoting atmosweather:


Surface obs do not support a low...yes there is certainly weak spin but that's an inverted trough IMO. Not out of a question that there could be a weak low tomorrow or Saturday given the stalled front and the mid level energy sticking around.


Correct
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23 dead, maybe 24 due to Alex (there is one person missing, but it might be one of the recently-found bodies...)
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673. IKE
Quoting illinichaser:
Anybody have a bump on to what the conditions are going to be setting up for about the next month in terms of sea surface temperature warming/cooling? And have we seen the max sea surface temp anomilies for this year?


From what I've read from Dr. Masters, the above normal SST's are suppose to be getting closer to normal this summer.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Steve Spurious... He's a coach right?


and oddly enough he coached for a school east of Tallahassee

coincidence? I think not
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Quoting StormSurgeon:


Hey Jag...
???
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Quoting IKE:


They're at least acknowledging a low. Looks like a washout 4th of July weekend here.
hey Ike, Where would it go Inland if its going W?
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Quoting StormChaser81:
You can also see a little spin in the clouds on GOES visible. It was more evident earlier today.


Surface obs do not support a low...yes there is certainly weak spin but that's an inverted trough IMO. Not out of a question that there could be a weak low tomorrow or Saturday given the stalled front and the mid level energy sticking around.
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Afternoon Ike, Drak, and DestinJeff. Hope you all are doing well.

Looks like Alex did some work on those GOM water temps:

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Hey Tampa do you remember how "behind the developement curve" that the TPC and the local NWS offices were with "Humberto"?

THis blog was better informed. I'm not even exagerating. This blog was on top of it and the TPC was snoozing.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
666. IKE
Quoting SeALWx:


I just read that AFD and saw spurious included within. As usual the blog is already on top of it.


Everyone is using it now....lol.
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Quoting SeALWx:

First handle.


Hey Jag...
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Anybody have a bump on to what the conditions are going to be setting up for about the next month in terms of sea surface temperature warming/cooling? And have we seen the max sea surface temp anomilies for this year?
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Watch da Humpty, hump ?
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659. IKE
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Marine Weather Discussion

Excerpt:


GULF OF MEXICO...
HURCN ALEX MOVED HAS MOVED INLAND CENTRAL MEXICO DURING THE DAY
ALLOWING FOR WINDS TO BEGIN TO DIMINISH AND FOR SEAS TO SLOWLY
SUBSIDE OVER THE FAR WESTERN GULF. SEAS OF UP TO 11 FT ARE BEING
REPORTED BY WESTERN GULF BUOY 42019 AS OF EARLY THIS AFTERNOON.
SEAS ARE EXPECTED TO LOWER TO 8 FT ON FRI...AND CONTINUE ON
THE SUBSIDING TREND THROUGH THE WEEKEND. A COLD FRONT IS EXPECTED
TO STALL OVER THE N WATERS FRI WITH A FRONTAL WAVE DEVELOPING
ALONG THE FRONT OVER THE WATERS S OF THE THE FL PANHANDLE. THE
GFS SOLUTION IS MOST AGGRESSIVE AND DEVELOPS A 30 KT LOW AND
TRACKS IT W ACROSS MS DELTA THIS WEEKEND. FOR NOW WILL GO WITH
A WEAKER LOW OF ABOUT 1013 MB TO 1014 MB WITH WITH WINDS OF
15-20 KT...AND WITH SEAS MAXING UP TO 7 FT.


They're at least acknowledging a low. Looks like a washout 4th of July weekend here.
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Quoting Floodman:


That's unlikely; he could never give up his game of "they'll never know it's me if I wear this lampshade on my head"


It was me....

Flood is the poster known as ......uhhhhh....storm kat/cop/crap? Funny thing is, Flood knows I'm kidding. I'm the rap!
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Quoting xcool:
TampaSpin
HEY
Quoting BermudaHigh:
Hiya, Tim!


You all causing problem on the Blog....LOL..HELLO

Please stop throwing those insults at a 13yo boy.....they don't like it much........LMAO
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Quoting BFG308:
Ok, so I know Who/What JFV is, but when did he start with this? Where does JFV come from? His initials or first handle, or what? Is he 12 or something?

First handle.
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Quoting BermudaHigh:
Ike, what's the timespan for the next GOM storm on the ECM? TIA.


The next storm will form when you are in your shower curtain time machine. This way you can go back to the time when it first formed and wrap shower curtain around storm and dissipate it.
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Quoting sailingallover:
But watch that little hump for a couple days it might develop


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650. IKE
629...8-10 days.
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Alex is making remarkable progress across Mexico. Usually these storms stop and rain themselves out, but this one is still moving. Okay, so what's the protocol if it actually makes it to the Pacific? It looks like its already pulling moisture in from some very tepid water southwest of Mexico. Will it remain "Alex" or acquire an Eastern Pacific name?
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Someone has an awfully old calendar hanging around, LOL.


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 31, 2009 is:

spurious • \SPYUR-ee-us\ • adjective
1 : of illegitimate birth *2 : not genuine : false


Example sentence:
Reid’s claim that his grandfather was friends with Mickey Mantle sounded spurious to me, and I didn't believe it until he showed me a photo of his grandfather alongside the legendary slugger.


Did you know?
The classical Latin adjective "spurius" started out as a word meaning "illegitimate." In the days of ancient Rome, it was sometimes even used as a first name for illegitimate offspring (apparently with no dire effects). There was a certain Spurius Lucretius, for example, who was made temporary magistrate of Rome. In less tolerant times, 18th-century English writer Horace Walpole noted that Henry VII "came of the spurious stock of John of Gaunt." Today, we still use "spurious" to mean "illegitimate," but the more common meaning is "false" (a sense introduced to "spurious" in Late Latin). Originally our "false" sense emphasized improper origin, and it still often does ("a spurious signature"), but it can also simply mean "fake" or "not real."

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
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You can also see a little spin in the clouds on GOES visible. It was more evident earlier today.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
We dont need a "Humberto" in the NE Gulf.
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Marine Weather Discussion

Excerpt:


GULF OF MEXICO...
HURCN ALEX MOVED HAS MOVED INLAND CENTRAL MEXICO DURING THE DAY
ALLOWING FOR WINDS TO BEGIN TO DIMINISH AND FOR SEAS TO SLOWLY
SUBSIDE OVER THE FAR WESTERN GULF. SEAS OF UP TO 11 FT ARE BEING
REPORTED BY WESTERN GULF BUOY 42019 AS OF EARLY THIS AFTERNOON.
SEAS ARE EXPECTED TO LOWER TO 8 FT ON FRI...AND CONTINUE ON
THE SUBSIDING TREND THROUGH THE WEEKEND. A COLD FRONT IS EXPECTED
TO STALL OVER THE N WATERS FRI WITH A FRONTAL WAVE DEVELOPING
ALONG THE FRONT OVER THE WATERS S OF THE THE FL PANHANDLE. THE
GFS SOLUTION IS MOST AGGRESSIVE AND DEVELOPS A 30 KT LOW AND
TRACKS IT W ACROSS MS DELTA THIS WEEKEND. FOR NOW WILL GO WITH
A WEAKER LOW OF ABOUT 1013 MB TO 1014 MB WITH WITH WINDS OF
15-20 KT...AND WITH SEAS MAXING UP TO 7 FT.


That is not much but, its enough to cause a lot of problems with that dang OIL for you all...OH BOY! Sorry!
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Quoting BermudaHigh:
Good afternoon, Floodman.


What, you've given up calling me "Floody"?

Hello, JFV
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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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