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 IKE:



...DISCUSSION...

THE GULF OF MEXICO...
HURRICANE ALEX DOMINATES THE WEATHER PICTURE. UPPER LEVEL
ANTICYCLONIC FLOW MOVES AWAY FROM ALEX AND COVERS THE REST OF
THE GULF OF MEXICO THAT IS TO THE EAST OF ALEX. A MIDDLE LEVEL
TO UPPER LEVEL TROUGH REACHES 32N/33N BETWEEN SOUTH CAROLINA
AND GEORGIA. A FRONTAL BOUNDARY SPANS THE AREA FROM SOUTH
CAROLINA TO MISSISSIPPI. SHOWERS ARE TO THE NORTH OF 27N
TO THE EAST OF 90W. MIDDLE LEVEL TO UPPER LEVEL CYCLONIC FLOW
APPROACHES FLORIDA FROM THE ATLANTIC OCEAN...THANKS TO A 25N79W
CYCLONIC CIRCULATION CENTER THAT IS IN THE NORTHERN BAHAMAS.



Morning,

I hope everyone in S Texas and NE Mexico continues to fare as best they can during Alex. Anyone have stories to tell about Alex? Please post on my blog (link) Just want to hear collection of stories about how Alex impacted you.

Also, that mid to upper cyclone over Florida is believe it or not the upper cyclone that interacted with Invest 94-L last week. You can see the synoptic histories of both Alex and Invest 94-L on my latest blog post as well.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Not sure where exactly, but that appears to be associated with Alex's outflow.

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?wv_east_enhanced+12 shows a rotation now in the middle of cuba,
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Quoting BFG308:


Yeah I couldn't figure it out either. Also looks like "China, Mexico" has a glacier? The sat picture is pretty strange...



It's a pretty large dam called "El Cuchillo" Dam or The Knife Dam. It can collect over 1200 million cubic meters
Member Since: July 9, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 334
Quoting CybrTeddy:


That's probably too low. All agencies have been predicting an average of 15-20 named storms.


Baltimore has been downcasting the season for a few weeks now lol
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Quoting Baltimorebirds:
I see lots of dry air out in the central atlantic. Like what?.I say 14-16 named storms.


That's probably too low. All agencies have been predicting an average of 15-20 named storms.
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Quoting Prolefeed:
Monterrey's gettin Jacked


Yep, and its raining even harder.
Member Since: July 9, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 334
137. IKE
Quoting srada:
Good Morning

Where can you find the long range models..I went to the NHC page and they only have the short range listed unless Im not looking correctly? thanks in advance


Scroll down to computer model forecasts. GFS and ECMWF and GEM/CMC are on there..and the NOGAPS
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
135. 7544
long range modelsLink
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Hurricane Alex has the lowest pressure since Hurricane Audrey in 1957. About 53 years ago.

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How to make God laugh


by MonkeyBoy on June 25, 2010

This really is a banner hurricane year. I mean this from a very objective perspective: its hot as hell, no shearing winds, but what really puts it over the top is the oil. If anyone has a good guess as to what is going to happen when a hurricane hits that dispersant laden crude oil, I’m sure BP has had them killed by now. I do know that the Insurance Companies have said they will not cover oil damage to homes but then, these cats always plan for the worst. That’s not bad advice.

So I found myself thinking of the possible scenarios today and I kept coming back to the big unknown. Can the oil and/or the dispersants be picked up off the ocean surface in sufficient quantity to rain death down on us all? I just don’t know, but I think the best option is to assume it can to some degree. I should mention that the daily rains here in NOLA seem particularly unlikely to contain chemicals from the spill due to the lack of a significant aerosol-effect to cause enough of the chemicals to state shift – besides, most of those storms condense right over us.

Anywho, I’m just guessing like everyone else. My general rule is that at Cat III or bigger I’m out. This year I’m re-thinking that; not because of the storm at all but because of the possibility of a very toxic rain. Other than that, the short term plan hasn’t really changed.

Its the long-term that needs much more consideration. In the long-term I think we need to admit, at least internally, that this place may just be too toxic to return to…maybe for months…maybe years….maybe even decades. Its a horrifying thought but one best accepted here and now rather than from some remote place. If you accept that possibility you have an opportunity – a wonderful opportunity and a pretty big responsibility too. The opportunity is to get out there and do everything. Go walk in the parks. Go eat great food. Go visit with friends. Go do everything worth doing. In short, enjoy being here and intentionally make memories that you can carry with you as long as you have to. If nothing happens then all you’ve done is had one of the best Summers of your life.

Then there’s the responsibility – opportunities demanding, ugly sister. If something does happen, then we could find ourselves the custodians of an entire culture. If the only thing the dispersants actually disperse is us, as a community, then we need to take as much of this place with us as we can. We need to take recipes, and traditions, and memories, and anything else we can pack in our hearts and minds. And most of all we need to take each other.

A lot of people in New Orleans are tired – at least mentally. Our emotional equity hasn’t recovered completely over the last five years. It would be a good time to really set your ego aside and look at yourself. Are you able to take on the kind of fight we did five years ago? And be honest. If the answer for you is no, then you need to do what’s right for you when the time comes. Its difficult to see yourself as vulnerable, but it is potentially catastrophic if you make decisions without recognizing that you are vulnerable. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Try and gauge how they’re doing. See if there’s something you can do to help them. Sometimes – usually – that means just listening. And be patient with each other. Things might get pretty crazy; and I don’t mean the lampshade on the head kind of crazy. Just remember, everyone around you right now is potentially a story that takes New Orleans out into the rest of the world.

We are all first hand witnesses of a terrible, ridiculous crime and I can think of at least one company and several politicians that would love for us to disappear. Its up to each of us to make sure that doesn’t happen.
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Good Morning!
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Quoting BFG308:


Yeah I couldn't figure it out either. Also looks like "China, Mexico" has a glacier? The sat picture is pretty strange...



I don't think that's a glacier. Looks more like a salt pan or salt lake.
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Quoting angiest:


Where does that river empty? Does all that water flow to the Rio Grande and thence to the Gulf or directly into the Gulf? Either way, that's going to somebody who doesn't need it (in addition to the people dealing with the river right now.)


Indeed it goes to Rio Grande
Member Since: July 9, 2008 Posts: 8 Comments: 334
120. Baltimorebirds 3:45 PM GMT on July 01, 2010
Where's 95L Ike....By the way I always wanted to ask did you get your username from the hurricane Ike it's self 2 years ago?



NO i have no IKE from a vary long time he is one of them long time poster i think he has been on here well befor hurricane IKE
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128. IKE
Quoting Baltimorebirds:
Where's 95L Ike....By the way I always wanted to ask did you get your username from the hurricane Ike it's self 2 years ago?


Nope. Had that as my Screen Name from 2005.....29,413 posts later, here I am.

And the rest his history.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
126. srada
Good Morning

Where can you find the long range models..I went to the NHC page and they only have the short range listed unless Im not looking correctly? thanks in advance
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Now thats some Good JB Ike..

LOL
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124. 7544
something trying to brew by the bahammas 95l ?
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Quoting KingofNewOrleans:
He's really not headed that way, too far south.


Maybe one half of Alex will drift over New Mexico/Texas and the other half over the BOC.
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NHC Model Overview

BAM - The Beta and Advection Model

The Beta and Advection Model is a baroclinic-dynamical track prediction model. It produces a forecast track by following a trajectory in the vertically averaged horizontal wind starting at the current storm location out to 120 hours. The trajectory is corrected to account for the variation of the Coriolis force with latitude, the so-called Beta effect. (Beta is the Greek letter frequently used in meteorological equations to represent the change in the Coriolis parameter with latitude.)

The figure shows how the conservation of absolute vorticity results in the formation of anticyclonic relative vorticity in the northeast quadrant of the storm, and the formation of cyclonic relative vorticity in the southwest quadrant of the storm: Diagram of absolute vorticity advection and relative vorticity formation in the vicinity of a tropical cyclone.. The result adds a component of motion to the northwest to the storm's trajectory.

Three versions of the BAM model are run with shallow (850-700 mb), medium (850-400 mb), and deep (850-200 mb) layers. All three versions of the model are run operationally four times per day.

Reference: Marks, D. G., 1992: The beta and advection model for hurricane track forecasting. NOAA Tech. Memo. NWS NMC- 70, 89 pp.

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BAMM is a non-global model and is pretty good. Here is a link which explains the models.
http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/models.asp
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The 2010 hurricane season might be just as active as predicted in late May
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Quoting SHOREACRESTX:
Can anyone shed some light on the rotation just above Cuba, ty


Not sure where exactly, but that appears to be associated with Alex's outflow.
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I have just recently become a fan of this blog. I did take a climatology class in college 40 years ago...anyway, my first question is how reliable is the BAMS model? They nailed landfall location a full week before landfall...are they always this accurate...thanks in advance for all of your great insight and hurrican experience!
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114. IKE
Quoting Patrap:
Im glad I'm not a Lawyer still..




Lawyers In Love?
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting AstroHurricane001:


It appears that it does go into the Rio Grande, but I could not confirm this via Google Maps. The Santa Catarina River at Monterrey is usually a dry river bed.


Yeah I couldn't figure it out either. Also looks like "China, Mexico" has a glacier? The sat picture is pretty strange...

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Hurricane Monitoring

Current Conditions for the N. Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico


ESL by LSU




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Anyone know where I can dl a KML or KMZ file for Google Earth on Storm Tracking (one that INCLUDES the "Cone of Uncertainty?") Last year they had one, but this year it only has a "line" for the projected path. Really need one for work purposes.
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Quoting angiest:


Where does that river empty? Does all that water flow to the Rio Grande and thence to the Gulf or directly into the Gulf? Either way, that's going to somebody who doesn't need it (in addition to the people dealing with the river right now.)


It appears that it does go into the Rio Grande, but I could not confirm this via Google Maps. The Santa Catarina River at Monterrey is usually a dry river bed.
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Yeah, NOLA. I'm not originally from around the area, though so always taking suggestions. What's Fat Harry's like?
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108. IKE
Quoting SHOREACRESTX:
Can anyone shed some light on the rotation just above Cuba, ty



...DISCUSSION...

THE GULF OF MEXICO...
HURRICANE ALEX DOMINATES THE WEATHER PICTURE. UPPER LEVEL
ANTICYCLONIC FLOW MOVES AWAY FROM ALEX AND COVERS THE REST OF
THE GULF OF MEXICO THAT IS TO THE EAST OF ALEX. A MIDDLE LEVEL
TO UPPER LEVEL TROUGH REACHES 32N/33N BETWEEN SOUTH CAROLINA
AND GEORGIA. A FRONTAL BOUNDARY SPANS THE AREA FROM SOUTH
CAROLINA TO MISSISSIPPI. SHOWERS ARE TO THE NORTH OF 27N
TO THE EAST OF 90W. MIDDLE LEVEL TO UPPER LEVEL CYCLONIC FLOW
APPROACHES FLORIDA FROM THE ATLANTIC OCEAN...THANKS TO A 25N79W
CYCLONIC CIRCULATION CENTER THAT IS IN THE NORTHERN BAHAMAS.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
.."He is Going to California with a weekend,,In his heart"..

we get no action in Calif...only rockin' and rollin'....
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Im glad I'm not a Lawyer still..

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99. DestinJeff

East of the Leeward Islands, 94L deactivated. We are waiting on 95L.... unless they skip some numbers.
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11222
Quoting BFG308:
All along 93L was the Little Engine that Could...

"I think I can! I think I can!"

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?


In NOLA?

Commanders Palace for Upscale..


Fat Harry's to have a good time...
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Quoting Patrap:


.."He is Going to California with a weekend,,In his heart"..

Shucks hes Half way to the GOC
He's really not headed that way, too far south.
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101. IKE
Quoting DestinJeff:
Morning everyone -

I missed landfall last night ... out with the family watching Toy Story 3 and eating some good pizza.

Once again, NHC does very well with the long-term solution despite interim track shifts that make some of us doubt the outcome.

Many here will suggest we all simply listen to the NHC, rather than try and create some alternate forecast. Although ultimately that is sound advice, it doesn't detract from the excitement of the alternative solutions. I theorize that whether we admit it or not, a good majority of us are here for the same reason, and it isn't just for information we can use to make life and death decisions.

This is a hobby for most of us, and I think we all understand that and appreciate the input from those professionals that are among us.

94L yet?


Already RIP-ed.

95L is......next.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Can anyone shed some light on the rotation just above Cuba, ty
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If Josihua is in Matehuala he could very well be seeing some pretty awful flooding.
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ALEX Floater - Rainbow Color Infrared Loop
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Quoting Patrap:
Yikes!! Looks like a ton more rain headin my way again!!!
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Why does the 10 o'clock advisory say Alex is moving w when the visible is showing the eye mowing SW
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All along 93L was the Little Engine that Could...

"I think I can! I think I can!"

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?
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Long range... CMC beats them all.


Based on a sample size of..... 1

"For the first time in 2009, an interpolated version of the Environment Canada global model (CMCI) was available to the forecasters; the model was competitive with the other dynamical guidance, and performed well at the longer lead times, albeit for a very small sample."

Link
Member Since: September 23, 2005 Posts: 14 Comments: 11222

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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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