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 AllStar17:
**REPOST**
Alex has already passed over some pretty high mountains in Mexico.


11:00 am NHC Advisory:


Wow, is Alex actually heading SSW?

Quoting Levi32:
It also tries to develop the wave at 40W which will be in the Caribbean at this time.



CMC brings the former Burkina vortex over Haiti? That's bad...

Quoting IMA:
Most of the rain in the San Antonio area seems to want to avoid the city for a bit - most of it. The heaviest looks like it's headed for the rivers that really don't need another single drop right now.


You've got the heavy rains over rivers that flow into the Rio Grande toward Brownsville, and the rain is actually moving upriver around the circulation of Alex, over mountains that could trap the rain clouds. Bad combination.
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12Z UKMET shows the formation at the tail end of the cold front.






Link
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Quoting IKE:


I would say it's possible.

I've only had .13 inches of rain the last 3 days. Most everything is near or at the coast.

It's raining here now though. My June total was 7.59 inches of rain.


Yeah.. its crazy with everything going on.. how u been Ike?
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this is very interesting not only the nogap model predicts a system in the caribbean but the CMC and the NAM model as well hmmm

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388. IMA
Quoting Houstonia:
south central and southeast texas is a mess...


Yep, Houstonia - just started pouring again here in my part of San Antonio. Watching to the WNW of me closely, have a house with my ex on the Medina River & I may have to go move things upstairs to keep 'em dry. Stay safe, Houston is the only TX city I can think of that floods faster & more easily than San Antonio.
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387. IKE
Quoting PcolaDan:


Here is a picture of the Río Santa Catarina and sports fields normally.


And how it looks now.


Jeez...what flooding.
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386. IKE
Quoting FLPandhandleJG:


been raining for awhile.. Does anyone think with the front coming down and the moisture from the gulf, that it will form a Low?


I would say it's possible.

I've only had .13 inches of rain the last 3 days. Most everything is near or at the coast.

It's raining here now though. My June total was 7.59 inches of rain.
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Quoting mtyweatherfan90:
Santa Catarina River is destroying markets, sports fields, go karts, and a bike park.


Here is a picture of the Río Santa Catarina and sports fields normally.


And how it looks now.
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been raining for awhile.. Does anyone think with the front coming down and the moisture from the gulf, that it will form a Low?
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Alex's outflow is currently shearing the Gulf of Mexico, but that will move out and get replaced by weak upper ridging in 3-4 days. A low forming in the NE gulf might just find a nice little ventilated spot between Alex's outflow to the west and the TUTT to the east.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
Quoting Levi32:


No part of Alex is getting split away. The only contribution he may be making to the situation is the added moisture from when he passed through and the upper divergence along the front because his outflow is currently flowing over the area. This is also causing wind shear, but his outflow will clear out in a couple days and wind shear will slacken.


I'm talking about the east end of the ridge that is causing the trough of moisture carried from Alex's outer band to sink southward near Mississippi Alabama Georgia, that will likely remove the outflow's connection that extends into the subtropical jet east of Newfoundland and into the Azores.

Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:


Arctic death spiral: Naval Postgrad School’s Maslowski “projects ice-free* fall by 2016 (+/- 3 yrs)”
But in the land of make-believe, Watts and Goddard say: "Arctic ice extent and thickness nearly identical to what it was 10 years ago."






Looks like both the Northwest and Northeast Passages will be open this year.
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Quoting illinichaser:
Anyone else see that tiny flare up just south of the south tip of florida??? Looks like a little vortex?
Link

The rest of ex 94L
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379. IKE
Quoting BermudaHigh:
More trouble to come, huh, Ike?


Could be.
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mtyweatherfan90 reference 351

Good thoughts being sent your way. Take care.
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The site has a split or ambiguous security certificate; the Navy is not going to do anything about it for the foreseeable future but regardless, the site itself is perfectly safe. When the option comes up, click on "Continue to this website"
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Quoting Michfan:
How does it look like this GOM low is supposed to form? Trough split?


Mhm...trough-split + old front getting stringed out over the area....always a bad setup.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
We like Frankie and Johnnies

Quoting Patrap:


Port-O-Call has a Wicked Burger too
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south central and southeast texas is a mess...


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Anyone else see that tiny flare up just south of the south tip of florida??? Looks like a little vortex?
Link
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371. IMA
Most of the rain in the San Antonio area seems to want to avoid the city for a bit - most of it. The heaviest looks like it's headed for the rivers that really don't need another single drop right now.
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370. IKE
Quoting Michfan:
How does it look like this GOM low is supposed to form? Trough split?


SYNOPSIS FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO
1030 AM CDT THU JUL 01 2010

.SYNOPSIS...TROPICAL STORM ALEX INLAND MEXICO OVER E CENTRAL
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 mtyweatherfan90:
For NCHurricane, I live in Monterrey, Mexico. Current reports from weather stations show over 18 in of rain in parts of the city.

Santa Catarina River is destroying markets, sports fields, go karts, and a bike park. And its levels keep rising as we speak.

Continues to rain hard, and last radar images brings squalls for the next 3-4 hours. So we could end IN THE CITY with half a meter of rain. Which normally the city receives IN A YEAR.

5 death, hundreds of people evacuated. Some windy gusts. Blackouts, homes flooded or destroyed. Several mudslides on highways and residential areas near mountains.

Hasn't stopped raining since tuesday afternoon(Though heaviest rain started yesterday midday). Army is helping to rescue people in danger and evacuate flood-threatened zones.

MORE RAIN THAN HURRICANE GILBERT!

If it wasn't by this dam built 5 years ago inside the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, the river will have literally flooded and destroyed downtown and several residential areas.



We'll have a better idea on damages until tomorrow. Might be one of Monterrey's worst disasters ever, aged local media reporters claim they have never seen this amount of rain and destruction before.

Image gallery of Floods
Link

Please stay safe, stay away from any area that is prone to flooding. Receiving 18" of rain in 2 days is catastrophic. My prayers go out for everyone in Mexico for everyones safety.
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368. IKE
Quoting TexasHurricane:


every time I try to look at these it won't let me. Saying it is untrusted or something....


Says click "okay" if you trust. It's the Navy run of the NOGAPS.
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Its a DOD website so if your trying to view it in Firefox you have to accept its certificate and add a permanent exemption to it. It happens with every DOD website because of the way they handle SSL certificates.
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Quoting IKE:
12Z NOGAPS stronger on a northern GOM low + shows a system in the Caribbean still....


every time I try to look at these it won't let me. Saying it is untrusted or something....
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How does it look like this GOM low is supposed to form? Trough split?
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364. huber
Any thoughts on the low to the NE of Puerto Rico? (Highly visable on the water vapor loop). At the moment looks to be sub tropical but could it start to pull moisture from the system over Cuba?
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363. IMA
mtyweatherfan90 Thank you for the info & the link. Thoughts & prayers w/everyone in your beautiful city, and all parts of MEX that are feeling Alex. Anyone who says this is a "non-event" should be fined heavily & the money sent to the victims!
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12z UKMET shows a tiny low in the NE gulf.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
Quoting IKE:


According to the GFS we will....


I find the GFS to be showing less spurious storms and more probable storms.
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Quoting gator23:

Its amazing how much body language and voice tone make in communication all of which is lost on here.


very true....
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It also tries to develop the wave at 40W which will be in the Caribbean at this time.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
12z CMC gets aggressive in the GOM.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26611
Quoting TexasHurricane:


no problem.....It is amazing how things can come across in a blog that aren't meant to be (or sound) that way. It's cool....no worries... :)

Its amazing how much body language and voice tone make in communication all of which is lost on here.
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355. IKE
12Z CMC @ 96 hours....

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**REPOST**
Alex has already passed over some pretty high mountains in Mexico.


11:00 am NHC Advisory:
Member Since: June 29, 2009 Posts: 13 Comments: 5313
How many people on this blog are meteorologist or plan to become one? I myself plan on going back to school in two years to go for my meteorology degree. Been considering Millersville University. Do you think that school would be decent in educating about tropical meteorology?
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For NCHurricane, I live in Monterrey, Mexico. Current reports from weather stations show over 18 in of rain in parts of the city.

Santa Catarina River is destroying markets, sports fields, go karts, and a bike park. And its levels keep rising as we speak.

Continues to rain hard, and last radar images brings squalls for the next 3-4 hours. So we could end IN THE CITY with half a meter of rain. Which normally the city receives IN A YEAR.

5 death, hundreds of people evacuated. Some windy gusts. Blackouts, homes flooded or destroyed. Several mudslides on highways and residential areas near mountains.

Hasn't stopped raining since tuesday afternoon(Though heaviest rain started yesterday midday). Army is helping to rescue people in danger and evacuate flood-threatened zones.

MORE RAIN THAN HURRICANE GILBERT!

If it wasn't by this dam built 5 years ago inside the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, the river will have literally flooded and destroyed downtown and several residential areas.



We'll have a better idea on damages until tomorrow. Might be one of Monterrey's worst disasters ever, aged local media reporters claim they have never seen this amount of rain and destruction before.

Image gallery of Floods
Link
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350. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:


think we'll see some Spurious Tropical Mischief? ... or is it Tropical Spurious Mischief?

LEVI ... WHERE ARE YOU???


According to the GFS we will....

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Quoting Levi32:


It is very possible.


Concurred. The African wave train hasn't really started yet, since there's still a lot of shear in the northern Central Atlantic. When that shear clears we could be looking at some Ivan-esque storms.
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Quoting BermudaHigh:
I dont want to picture what August and September will bring us, Levi, gulp.


shower curtains
flapping in
the air everywhere
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Quoting gator23:


I didnt mean for that to sound accusatory, I was actually wondering since I cant see the video at work. Thank You both!


no problem.....It is amazing how things can come across in a blog that aren't meant to be (or sound) that way. It's cool....no worries... :)
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Interrupting the spurious conversation for a moment...

Arctic sea ice extent:



Sea ice concentration:



Arctic SST anomalies:




Yikes. This could beat 2007 in minimum ice extent.



when there shall be none
it truly has begun
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Quoting Floodman:


Your question maybe ERRONEOUS in that the issue of SPURIOUS Watches is a RANDOM, sometimes ACCIDENTAL or even ARBITRARY occurrence, but certainly only rarely FEIGNED or purposely FRAUDULENT

LOL +1
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Quoting BDAwx:
Lets see...
Hurricane Landfalls
2010
Alex (so far)
2009
Ida
2008
Dolly, Gustav, Hannah, Ike, Kyle, Paloma
2007
Dean, Felix, Humberto, Lorenzo
2006
Gordon
2005
Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, Stan, Wilma, Beta
2004
Charley, Frances, Gaston, Ivan, Jeanne
2003
Claudette, Erika, Isabel, Juan
2002
Gustav, Isidore, Lili
2001
Iris, Michelle
2000
Debby, Keith, Michael

thats 3-4 hurricane landfalls per year.


Six hurricane landfalls a year for the analog years.
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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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