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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12z NOGAPS up to 120 hours still shows a developing area of disturbed weather in the Caribbean around 96-120 hours. Also, it shows a very large area of disturbed weather with a tropical wave over the entire Antilles.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


LOL, this blog is spurious. We can talk about food and weather at the same time, LOL!

i dont think you know what spurious means.
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Quoting Levi32:


Lol, are you saying I don't know how to draw in my readers? :P

I figure....I run a tropical blog, what other kind of mischief would I be referring to lol.


Levi,
your
blog
appears
on
my
computer
in
columns,
kind
of
like
this.
Do
you
know
how
to
fix
that?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12z GFS vol.2 doesn't really show anything in the NE GOM, but the old GFS continues to show persistence with something developing up there. Vol.2 also shows some type of disorganized weather in the southern Caribbean.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


LOL, this blog is spurious. We can talk about food and weather at the same time, LOL!


There is nothing anomalous about this blog being spurious ... he heh ... ok I'm done.

Edit: more specifically, about trolls on this blog being spurious.
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WINDSAT.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


What are the units of ACE again?


10^4 kt^2
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Quoting DestinJeff:


inflection is everything. that could read "...talking about tropical mischief to watch for next week." or the more emphatic "...talking about tropical mischief to watch for next week."

I guess I need to watch the video to find out !


Lol, are you saying I don't know how to draw in my readers? :P

I figure....I run a tropical blog, what other kind of mischief would I be referring to lol.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26736
Quoting Jedkins01:



You're spurious.... What now lol


LOL, this blog is spurious. We can talk about food and weather at the same time, LOL!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Prolefeed:
>>>I looked back and just see a period


I took it down, I was referencing the post I'd made earlier about the Guadalupe statue that offended his fragile sensablities


I know. I can see the humor in your post. Maybe the timing is just off?
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Quoting Patrap:


Central Grocery Like the French Quarter Proper,,the Original City..has never flooded

Yeah that is the place. Close to the flea market. That reminds me. I need some Daves Insanity Sauce
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Quoting Patrap:


Central Grocery Like the French Quarter Proper,,the Original City..has never flooded


MMMMM best mufaletta in the world
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Quoting Floodman:


That comment was spurious...LOL



You're spurious.... What now lol
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Quoting CaneWarning:


LOL, I was just trying to get a little conversation started.


=)
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Quoting Levi32:
Good morning all.

Tropical Tidbit for Thursday, July 1st

talking about potential mischief to watch for next week.


Interesting to say the least...
Member Since: July 2, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 2811
Off to Lunch-o,


Peace.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131527
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Huh, Alex is the first tropical cyclone above Category 1 status to hit anywhere in the Atlantic since Hurricane Paloma.


Thinking about it, not too surprising considering that its so diffcult for a storm of hurricane strength to make landfall during El Nino years like last year. They ususally get sheared apart before doing much harm.

A year like 2008, there can be many storms like Paloma that hit land above cat. 1. Conditions are good this year like '08 and some other big years, lets hope for the best.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
AFTERNOON wunderbloggers
i guess its back
to full basin scan mode
for a bit
quiet out an in here


Alex is still active over Mexico, and it has an eye. A storm this size should be monitored well after its final landfall.


Quoting hydrus:
You dont mean peanut butter on a hamburger.


I've tried peanut butter on a hotdog before. It wasn't bad.

Quoting tkeith:
last report I saw was 4 fatalities SSIGG, but that was early this morning. I would guess that number is low.


24 so far: 1 in the Dominican Republic, 6 in Nicaragua, 2 in El Salvador, 2 in Guatemala, and 13 in Mexico.

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


That is going to cause some SERIOUS flooding over the mountainsides, rivers and cities of northeastern Mexico.

Quoting CybrTeddy:
Here's an omen for you. Alex's current ACE is 6.66


Source?
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Quoting HurricaneNewbie:
Patrap, did the general store survive Kat?


Central Grocery Like the French Quarter Proper,,the Original City..has never flooded
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131527
**REPOST**
Alex has already passed over some pretty high mountains in Mexico.


11:00 am NHC Advisory:
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Quoting BermudaHigh:
Thank you for that, Patrap! Was that live today, by the way?


Bout 3 weeks ago..I tink
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131527
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
Comment 247 is sick. Looking back I see you have had comments taken down already.

I had prolefeed banned from my blog months ago.


I looked back and just see a period.
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Quoting Speeky:
Hurricane Alex has the lowest pressure since Hurricane Audrey in 1957. About 53 years ago.



You mean in June, right? Pretty impressive.
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Patrap, did the general store survive Kat?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Huh, Alex is the first tropical cyclone above Category 1 status to hit anywhere in the Atlantic since Hurricane Paloma.

Wasn't that the Caribbean?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AllStar17:
Alex has already passed over some pretty high mountains in Mexico.


Now *that* is a cool graphic. Nicely done.
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262. Asta
LINK
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In case you missed it, drg0dOwnCountry embedded a YouTubeVideo that has some really stunning visuals on HurricaneAlex.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Huh, Alex is the first tropical cyclone above Category 1 status to hit anywhere in the Atlantic since Hurricane Paloma.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Here's an omen for you. Alex's current ACE is 6.66


What are the units of ACE again?
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Quoting StormChaser81:


Thank You Captain Obvious


LOL, I was just trying to get a little conversation started.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good morning all.

Tropical Tidbit for Thursday, July 1st

talking about potential mischief to watch for next week.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26736
6.66

The Anti-Invest Remnant?
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 431 Comments: 131527
Quoting CaneWarning:


No, I am not kidding. A hurricane did in fact make landfall. It's name was Alex.


Thank You Captain Obvious
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Here's an omen for you. Alex's current ACE is 6.66


I don't like the looks of that.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's an omen for you. Alex's current ACE is 6.66
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Now I am craving a Muffaletta from the general store. Yummmmmmmm
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Quoting tkeith:
last report I saw was 4 fatalities SSIGG, but that was early this morning. I would guess that number is low.


I imagine the number will be over 100 when all is said and done...mostly from flooding.
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Alex has already passed over some pretty high mountains in Mexico.
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Quoting Patrap:


Yes she did..doing well matta o fact


That's good to hear.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I wonder how many people were killed/are being killed now by Alex.
last report I saw was 4 fatalities SSIGG, but that was early this morning. I would guess that number is low.
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Might I humbly suggest that most uses of "spurious" would be better handled by "anomalous"? To the point that I find current usage of the word spurious a bit anomalous?

LOL. Please don't start calling me the Grammar Police :-)

WTO

a·nom·a·lous
   /əˈnɒmələs/ Show Spelled[uh-nom-uh-luhs] Show IPA
–adjective
1. deviating from or inconsistent with the common order, form, or rule; irregular; abnormal: Advanced forms of life may be anomalous in the universe.
2.not fitting into a common or familiar type, classification, or pattern; unusual: He held an anomalous position in the art world.
3.incongruous or inconsistent.
4.Grammar . irregular.
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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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