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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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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Quoting StSimonsIslandGAGuy:
I wonder how many people were killed/are being killed now by Alex.


Probably quite a few.
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Quoting CaneWarning:
Pat, did Dooky Chase ever open back up after Katrina? I saw a special on it a while back, but I never saw if it re-opened.

I'm not really sure I could force myself to eat at a place with that name though... Hmmmm.


Yes she did..doing well matta o fact
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240. Asta
Quoting CaneWarning:
Pat, did Dooky Chase ever open back up after Katrina? I saw a special on it a while back, but I never saw if it re-opened.

I'm not really sure I could force myself to eat at a place with that name though... Hmmmm.

Yes
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Quoting Floodman:




Damn you both...now I'nm dying for Yo Mama's Peanutbutter burger, or the incredible thing at PoC
You dont mean peanut butter on a hamburger.
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Pat, did Dooky Chase ever open back up after Katrina? I saw a special on it a while back, but I never saw if it re-opened.

I'm not really sure I could force myself to eat at a place with that name though... Hmmmm.
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Quoting CaneWarning:


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


Alex made landfall at 9pm CDT last night, 110 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, as a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds.

according to Docs blog...you are correct
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Quoting mojofearless:


Skip Bourbon Street and head to Frenchmen Street instead for great original live music. As far as food - try Coops on Dacatur for good bar food with a local flair. Irene's has fantastic Italian/Creole, and is worth the wait. Anything Emeril touches is golden (no, he's NOT overrated... the only people who think so clearly haven't eaten at Delmonico's), and ummmm... hmmm... Mimi's in the Mariny has good tapas. Elizabeth's on Chartres in the Bywater for great (if crowded) brunch (try the praline bacon!). What else? Bacchanal on Chartres and Poland on Sunday nights has a really cool chef's tasting thing going on. That place is super semi underground hip.
Sigh. Now I've given away all the secret local places. Or a bunch of them, anyway. Hope you enjoy!!!!


Quoting Patrap:


Port-O-Call has a Wicked Burger too


Damn you both...now I'nm dying for Yo Mama's Peanutbutter burger, or the incredible thing at PoC
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Dr. Jeff Masters on the Spuds McConnell Show WWL News Radio NOLA

On Oil,Hurricanes and the Season





..from the Disorganized Patrap Tropical Usurp Desk
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AFTERNOON wunderbloggers
i guess its back
to full basin scan mode
for a bit
quiet out an in here
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Quoting pcola57:
Here goes...Oz and Cromagnum Man have a spurious relationship..ie.."In statistics, a spurious relationship (or, sometimes, spurious correlation or spurious regression) is a mathematical relationship in which two occurrences have no causal connection, yet it may be inferred that they do, due to a certain third, unseen factor (referred to as a "confounding factor" or "lurking variable").Credit:Wiki-Dict... The spurious relationship gives Oz an excuse...Ok..First cup of coffee..O.o...Any breaks given to me at this time would be profoundly humane and my family tree would appreciate it


I never liked Steve Spurious when he coached the Gators.. his name fit him well...
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Quoting HurricaneNewbie:

OMG. you are kidding right?


No, I am not kidding. A hurricane did in fact make landfall. It's name was Alex.
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Brownsville clear and 85 at 11 am, Alex did not last long there.


Perhaps the event was quick but strong enough to cause power outages and heavy rain. I know I've said this a few times, but I am so curious to know any personal stories about your Alex on my blog. If you got affected (oil spill issues, rain, wind, etc.), it would be cool to here those stories, hopefully things didn't go so bad. Sometimes the media might over-exaggerate or not get the whole story, I like to hear the story from people who got the storm themselves.
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Quoting CaneWarning:
Is everyone aware that we had a hurricane make landfall?

OMG. you are kidding right?
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Is everyone aware that we had a hurricane make landfall?
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Quoting synthvol:
We're STILL getting gusts to 30 & 31kts here at BPT (TX/LA border), 600+/- from the storm proper. Mom said the sun came out in HRL at 8:15 this a.m. Our OVC009 has just NOW broken up and for the first time in 60 hours or so we're seeing the sun. Incredible coverage on this one. It's REALLY fortunate Alex didn't have another day or so to spool up, I think.

BTW, if whatever is left actually exits into the Pacific & rebuilds, doesn't it get renamed off the Pac list? We were discussing it here at work. Thankx!


Yes, it would
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216. BFG308 11:33 AM CDT on July 01, 2010

My understanding, from an interview with Doc on WWL radio. The lighter components of the oil could get picked up in the spray and carried inland. But it wouldn't be carried far. The interview might be archived on WWL.com (Spud McConnell show)
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225. Asta
Quoting Baybuddy:


Anything with the Brennen name is a safe bet too. Dragos is good too...not sure bout the oyster tho.

Dragos is serving mussels now- so is Cafe Degas
Charlies' on Jeff hwy is best for anyseafood- owned by Frank Brightsen now.
Amazing crawfish pies too.
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Here goes...Oz and Cromagnum Man have a spurious relationship..ie.."In statistics, a spurious relationship (or, sometimes, spurious correlation or spurious regression) is a mathematical relationship in which two occurrences have no causal connection, yet it may be inferred that they do, due to a certain third, unseen factor (referred to as a "confounding factor" or "lurking variable").Credit:Wiki-Dict... The spurious relationship gives Oz an excuse...Ok..First cup of coffee..O.o...Any breaks given to me at this time would be profoundly humane and my family tree would appreciate it

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222. Asta
Quoting tkeith:
still getting "copious"(not spurious) amounts of rain in SE Louisiana too...


Got 2.75 inches here north of covington yesterday
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Quoting Patrap:


Port-O-Call has a Wicked Burger too


Anything with the Brennen name is a safe bet too. Dragos is good too...not sure bout the oyster tho.
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8 to 10 DAY 500MB MEAN.

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204. mojofearless 11:27 AM CDT on July 01, 2010

spot on mojo...
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Last time i went to NOLA I found a small place called Acme Oyster House. It is close to Canal ST and Bourbon St. Sucked da heads of the crawfish. Was awesome.
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Alex's enduring legacy to the Gulf--More of paradise lost, apparently: (quotingDr. Masters' blog):
"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."

Louisianians took some encouragement these last couple of months that our central and western coastlines were surprisingly (and delightfully) unspoiled by the oily morass.

Oh, well . . .
(Or is that BP's no-pun-intended line?)
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My understanding is that water condenses on particulate, not evaporated gas. Organics in crude aren't going to generate particulate unless..........they get burned with incomplete combustion like when they burned all that oil out at sea...

But that's soot and that craps been in the atmosphere forever. Wild fires, wood heating, etc.

Btw, thanks Mojo, Pat too! I'll keep those in mind!
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Brownsville clear and 85 at 11 am, Alex did not last long there.
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213. Asta
Quoting zoic100: Patrap & Monkeyboy

Be a New Orleanian- wherever you are!
love,
King Cake Babe







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Quoting mojofearless:


Skip Bourbon Street and head to Frenchmen Street instead for great original live music. As far as food - try Coops on Dacatur for good bar food with a local flair. Irene's has fantastic Italian/Creole, and is worth the wait. Anything Emeril touches is golden (no, he's NOT overrated... the only people who think so clearly haven't eaten at Delmonico's), and ummmm... hmmm... Mimi's in the Mariny has good tapas. Elizabeth's on Chartres in the Bywater for great (if crowded) brunch (try the praline bacon!). What else? Bacchanal on Chartres and Poland on Sunday nights has a really cool chef's tasting thing going on. That place is super semi underground hip.
Sigh. Now I've given away all the secret local places. Or a bunch of them, anyway. Hope you enjoy!!!!


Port-O-Call has a Wicked Burger too
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Loop eddy forecast. Take a look at just offshore NOLA starting July 4th at 06Z.

WAVCIS Surface Current Forecast
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Alex beginning to Open up an spread out the wind field

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Ack! I meant Decatur, not Dacatur. My nails are wet and my henpecking sucks.
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:
I know there are some bloggers from S Texas like btwntx08, haven't seen blog posts from them. Wonder if power went out in some spots like in Brownsville.


Power went out in Brownsville last night, according to blog.
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Hi folks, glad to see Alex side stepped most ya'll in U.S. Too bad for those udderly poor dirt farmers (tongue in cheek) in Mexico. I notice the path is well S of the official track though. What sre the consequences, if any, of that?

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Quoting BFG308:


Hey Pat (or anyone I guess), I gotta friend coming down to visit this weekend, any suggestions on where a great place to grab a bite in the city?


Skip Bourbon Street and head to Frenchmen Street instead for great original live music. As far as food - try Coops on Dacatur for good bar food with a local flair. Irene's has fantastic Italian/Creole, and is worth the wait. Anything Emeril touches is golden (no, he's NOT overrated... the only people who think so clearly haven't eaten at Delmonico's), and ummmm... hmmm... Mimi's in the Mariny has good tapas. Elizabeth's on Chartres in the Bywater for great (if crowded) brunch (try the praline bacon!). What else? Bacchanal on Chartres and Poland on Sunday nights has a really cool chef's tasting thing going on. That place is super semi underground hip.
Sigh. Now I've given away all the secret local places. Or a bunch of them, anyway. Hope you enjoy!!!!
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Quoting BFG308:
Toxic Rain? As a chemical engineer, I just don't know how much that's really possible, or probable. Dr. Masters should look into that more...


Of course its possible. If the condensation nuclei are made up of pollutants or fine particulate matter, then there could be "toxins" in the rain.
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Quoting Patrap:
..Lets Play HardBlog
HA!
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201. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:


Captain Spurious at it again?


Yo bud.
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..Lets Play HardBlog
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199. IKE
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


They replaced the GRF with GFS parallel? Which GFS do they now use on moe.met.fsu.edu and txtornado.net?


Think they still use the original.
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Quoting synthvol:
We're STILL getting gusts to 30 & 31kts here at BPT (TX/LA border), 600+/- from the storm proper. Mom said the sun came out in HRL at 8:15 this a.m. Our OVC009 has just NOW broken up and for the first time in 60 hours or so we're seeing the sun. Incredible coverage on this one. It's REALLY fortunate Alex didn't have another day or so to spool up, I think.

BTW, if whatever is left actually exits into the Pacific & rebuilds, doesn't it get renamed off the Pac list? We were discussing it here at work. Thankx!


Yeah, it would get renamed in the E-Pac if it regenerates, but that's very very challenging. Last time that happened for NE Mexico landfall like Alex was Gert 1993, which barely made it into the E-pac, where it became TD 14-E that year.

Didn't check forecasts yet for remnants of Alex, don't know if they might turn N into the SW US before even getting the chance to go into the E-Pac.

Please if you have time, you can post your experience with Alex on my blog. Trying to see any stories about Alex media didn't capture, etc.
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Quoting IKE:
Spurious low(?), at 60 hours on the original GFS/12Z.....



They replaced the GRF with GFS parallel? Which GFS do they now use on moe.met.fsu.edu and txtornado.net?
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Quoting tkeith:
still getting "copious"(not spurious) amounts of rain in SE Louisiana too...


That comment was spurious...LOL
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..Looks Like a whole lot more coming too!
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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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