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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Quoting BermudaHigh:
Good afternoon, Floodman.


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

Hello, JFV
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Quoting IKE:


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL


I just read that AFD and saw spurious included within. As usual the blog is already on top of it.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
maybe time for a good old bud


How may I help you?
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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?
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Quoting Drakoen:
Unisys 18:45z surface map shows no surface low

But watch that little hump for a couple days it might develop
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636. xcool
TampaSpin
HEY
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
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.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting extreme236:
Hopefully the admin bans him again since it's obviously JFV. Not like it will do much good though. He should accept his ban and not come back.


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"
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We dont need a "Humberto" in the NE Gulf.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


please excuse anyone on this site for not being able to tell the difference, since 95% of all "debates" on here are actually "argument" and cannot be done without insults

we are not familiar with the pleasant debates on here like you and Drak have

That not true...I have not called levi "Mr COC" yet!!! well until now..sorry Levi setup was so good I could not reisist
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LOOKS like the GFS and CMC both have development near the Nothern GOM in about 4 days. Not really sure where it comes from unless it develops out of current tail of the trough that extends from there.....still something to watch. Also, the CMC also shows some development in the Eastern Caribbean from a wave that will pushing thru....something to watch also.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20448
Quoting Floodman:


So what you're saying is that given the true etymology of the word, it would be more accurate to use that word for the latest incarnation of our friend JFV, as in

"The spurious, obsequious blogger displayed a prurient interest in IKE."



That would about hit the nail on the head!! LOL
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Quoting atmosweather:


Me too, I don't see a low...NWS Tallahassee went off the deep end a little with that discussion IMO.


You can clearly see the surface low on radar, NWS just tell how they see it. Going off the deep end is probably not the right word when you have the best of the best telling you how it is. Look at the counter-clockwise rotation in the radar signatures. It's not a strong low, but it's there.

RADAR
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Vortimus Maximus...
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Quoting SQUAWK:

Has anybody actually read the definition of "spurious?" Or looked at its etymology?


So what you're saying is that given the true etymology of the word, it would be more accurate to use that word for the latest incarnation of our friend JFV, as in

"The spurious, obsequious blogger displayed a prurient interest in IKE."

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Steve Spurious... He's a coach right?
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Unisys 18:45z surface map shows no surface low

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May not look like much, but I've had about 6" at my house in the last 24 hours...

Mobile Doppler
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Quoting MrNatural:
Just looking at forward speed, direction and on-going convection, does Alex stand a chance of making it into the Pacific?




I was curious about this as well?
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619. xcool
BermudaHigh BYE JFV .keep my name out of your mouth .
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Spurious....... An example of a spurious relationship can be illuminated examining a city's ice cream sales. These sales are highest when the rate of drownings in city swimming pools is highest. To allege that ice cream sales cause drowning, or vice-versa, would be to imply a spurious relationship between the two. In reality, a heat wave may have caused both. The heat wave is an example of a hidden or unseen variable.
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617. xcool
extreme236 :)
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting Drakoen:
I have to agree with the NWS Jacksonville who mentions a surface trough and not a surface low.


Me too, I don't see a low...NWS Tallahassee went off the deep end a little with that discussion IMO.
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Hopefully the admin bans him again since it's obviously JFV. Not like it will do much good though. He should accept his ban and not come back.
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612. IKE
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
This was lifted from JB's morning blog.



Watch the northern Gulf and off Florida for possible home brew the next five days.


That's all I need to know.

Thanks for posting that.
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I have to agree with the NWS Jacksonville who mentions a surface trough and not a surface low.
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This was lifted from JB's morning blog.



Watch the northern Gulf and off Florida for possible home brew the next five days.
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588.

Well, that's interesting. Hhhhmmmm.
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Just call me "Vort Max"......
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607. xcool
I'm a grown man Do-Not- have time for drama..so bye jfv
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting KORBIN:
The word of the day is Spurious!

The water is very warm out here in the NE Gulf so anything that has the ingredients could possibly cook up pretty fast. Looks like Shear is on the low side as well.......

Has anybody actually read the definition of "spurious?" Or looked at its etymology?
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603. IKE
Quoting BermudaHigh:
Anyways......Hey Ike, which local NWS office released taht discussion? That's pretty funny stuff there, lol.


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
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Quoting KORBIN:
The word of the day is Spurious!

The water is very warm out here in the NE Gulf so anything that has the ingredients could possibly cook up pretty fast. Looks like Shear is on the low side as well.......
Well there is plenty of oil out there, to help out the process of cooking....
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Quoting iluvjess:


Baldwin County here. Yes, I already scrapped the BBQ plans and will be starting the Roux in the morning instead.


Made gumbo 2 weeks ago, maybe a pile of stew will suffice this weekend,,,,
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599. xcool
BermudaHigh BYE JFV.
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
Quoting IKE:
LMAO! WTH???????

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TALLAHASSEE FL
342 PM EDT THU JUL 1 2010

.SHORT TERM (TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT)...DEEP TROPICAL
AIRMASS IS IN PLACE ACROSS THE TRI-STATE AREA THIS AFTERNOON. WARM
RAIN PROCESSES ARE DEFINITELY IN PLAY AS THE DROP SIZE
IS VERY SMALL AND THERE HAS BEEN VERY LITTLE LIGHTNING OBSERVED.
FORTUNATELY...THE STRONGEST CONVECTION HAS REMAINED
OFFSHORE...ALONG WITH ANY POTENTIAL FLOODING IMPACTS. ANY HEAVIER
CELLS WHICH DO DEVELOP OVER LAND WILL NEED TO BE MONITORED CLOSELY
THIS EVENING FOR FLOODING CONCERNS.

THE CONVECTION IS BEING TRIGGERED BY A COMBINATION OF A COLD FRONT
ACROSS CENTRAL GEORGIA/ALABAMA AND A WEAK LOW TO MID-LEVEL VORT
MAX CENTERED OVER THE BIG BEND AND APALACHEE BAY. 18Z OBS INDICATE
A 1018MB SFC LOW CENTERED OVER APALACHEE BAY.


THE EVOLUTION OF THIS VORT MAX AND SFC REFLECTION PROVIDE THE
FORECAST CHALLENGE FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. THE 12Z OPERATIONAL
GFS AND CANADIAN MODELS GRADUALLY ALLOW A SFC LOW TO ORGANIZE AND
DEEPEN ALONG THE NORTHEASTERN GULF COAST. THE GFS LOW TRACKS
SLOWLY WEST AND MEANDERS FOR SEVERAL DAYS ALONG THE PANHANDLE
COAST. THE CANADIAN TRACKS THE LOW TOWARDS THE NATURE COAST AND
ACROSS THE FLORIDA PENINSULA. THE 12Z NAM AND 00Z ECMWF ARE MUCH
LESS BULLISH...PREFERRING TO KEEP THE DISTURBANCE AS AN INVERTED
TROUGH (NAM) OR A VERY WEAK SFC LOW (ECMWF) AND TRACKING IT SLOWLY
WEST. A CLOSER LOOK AT THE PRECIP FIELDS IN THE GFS SHOWS VERY
HIGH QPF OVER THE BIG BEND THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT FROM STABLE
PRECIPITATION PROCESSES WITH LOWER AMOUNTS FROM THE CONVECTIVE
PARAMETERIZATION. THIS IS OFTEN A SIGN OF GRID-SCALE CONVECTIVE
FEEDBACK WHICH WE BELIEVE IS HELPING THE GFS TO SPURIOUSLY SPIN-UP
THE SFC LOW. A SIMILAR FEEDBACK MAY BE SPINNING THE LOW UP IN THE
CANADIAN SOLUTION. IN CONTRAST...THE PARALLEL RUN OF THE
GFS...WITH UPDATED CONVECTIVE SCHEMES...DOES NOT SHOW ANY SPIN-UP
OF A SFC LOW IN THE NORTHEASTERN GULF.

WITH THAT IN MIND...MUCH PREFER THE WEAKER SOLUTION OF THE
NAM/ECMWF FOR THIS FORECAST PACKAGE. HOWEVER...THE CURRENT VORT
MAX WILL CONTINUE TO BE MONITORED...ESPECIALLY IF DEEP CONVECTION
OVER APALACHEE BAY PERSISTS AND DEEPENS OVERNIGHT.

BACK TO THE ECMWF SOLUTION...WITH THE WEAK SFC LOW TRACKING SLOWLY
WEST OVER THE NEXT TWO DAYS...SHOULD SEE THE DRIER AIRMASS
ASSOCIATED WITH THE STATIONARY FRONT FILTER INTO THE
REGION...ESPECIALLY THE NORTHERN ZONES. BEGINNING FRIDAY...WILL
TRIM POPS BACK THROUGH SATURDAY WITH THE HIGHEST VALUES ALONG THE
COAST AND OFFSHORE AND LOWER VALUES WELL INLAND. LIKEWISE...WILL
GO ABOVE THE MAV GUIDANCE FOR TEMPS FOR INLAND AREAS WHERE SOME
SUNSHINE IS EXPECTED TO BREAK THROUGH FOR FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND
SATURDAY.



Seems like the discussions disagree on what exactly is there
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Quoting IKE:


Teh weather is humid...with rain in teh area.
maybe time for a good old bud
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
595. xcool
IKE 7:WOW
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15684
I wanna be called "Max Vort" in the Summa

..Max Vort is on it, we should be fine..
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"LMAO! WTH???????"


Well that's interesting....LOL
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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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