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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1642. DehSoBe
My question is simple.....What area is everyone looking at as the next location for tropical formation?
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Quoting msgambler:
You get that e-mail Tim


I seen that......WOW! Was you the car following?
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1640. BFG308
Flood had the best quote ever.

"Inadvertent troll"

Too dumb to even realize what he was doing....

I'm gonna be honest it amuses me quite a bit, just not when important things are going on
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1639. JLPR2
You guys remember all of that? O.o
You all got excellent memories I think I need to write stuff down then, LOL!
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1638. tkeith
Quoting atmoaggie:
[3 initials] is a blog disease that apparently consumes you all...
"consumes"...no

interests...at times yes
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Quoting tkeith:
hey gambler...bout to turn in...hopein no more girders turn "over" :)
Did ya see it. Was that cool or what?
Member Since: February 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1125
Quoting SevereHurricane:


Remember when he bet his life that Fay wasn't going to go into the Gulf of Mexico. LOL

He was actually almost right if I'm thinking of the right storm
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Opposing winds, but only 5 knots. Will have to see some persistence.

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Quoting Levi32:


Rather sad, don't ya think...
Oh Levi. The NHC labeled the low over by the Panhandle on the 00z surface analysis, they take it towards the east and into the Atlantic though.

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1633. will45
Quoting FLdewey:


He's almost home... that was hilarity.


I thot he was gonna croak he was breathing so hard
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1632. xcool
btwntx08 better .hey ROB..
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Me too!!

Phil Ferro blog

rotflmao.. that was to much.. I remember him blogging as Phil Ferro's friend.. happy faces, bad spelling etc... jejeje..
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Quoting atmoaggie:
[3 initials] is a blog disease that apparently consumes you all...
Evening Atmo, I hear FDA might be working on a cure....LOL
Member Since: February 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1125
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Who remembers canesrule1? For some reason I liked him (just because he was a canes fan, lol) but he always wished for the storm to come his way. Remember Bill? LOL, good times when I lurked.


Oh god, I forgot all about him. He was so annoying.
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Who remembers canesrule1? For some reason I liked him (just because he was a canes fan, lol) but he always wished for the storm to come his way. Remember Bill? LOL, good times when I lurked.
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It looks like
Janiel Francisco Vargas
Has used up yet another ID

BermudaHigh has been replaced with empty space.

hmmm... No Bermuda High, I wonder what that will mean for hurricane tracks in the Atlantic.
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1625. Levi32
Quoting atmoaggie:
[3 initials] is a blog disease that apparently consumes you all...


Rather sad, don't ya think...
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26661
1624. tkeith
Quoting msgambler:
evening tkeith
hey gambler...bout to turn in...hopein no more girders turn "over" :)
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Quoting tkeith:
JFV is a legend...
[3 initials] is a blog disease that apparently consumes you all...
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Quoting floridaT:
what ever happened to the guy that had a motorcycle helment and some hockey pads that was going to go out in all the hurricanes? remember him?


That was state of the art and very expensive equipment. LOL
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evening tkeith
Member Since: February 27, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1125
1620. srada
Quoting FLdewey:
Can a blog get a virtual restraining order? JFV must remain 1000 links away from this blog at all times.


Okay I was just lurking but that was too funny!!! LOL!!
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Quoting 954FtLCane:
I remember the night he claimed to be Phil Ferro's friend (a local met from channel 7 in Miami) and had the channel 7 logo as his avatar. Oh the memories.... :-)
Me too!!

Phil Ferro blog
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Quoting 954FtLCane:
I remember the night he claimed to be Phil Ferro's friend (a local met from channel 7 in Miami) and had the channel 7 logo as his avatar. Oh the memories.... :-)


I remember that. LOL
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1616. xcool
Miami /nice low ;)
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1614. tkeith
Quoting extreme236:
Ohhhh JFV...good times, good times.
JFV is a legend...
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1613. DehSoBe
Is there any area that is the most concerned or needs to be watched over the next week?
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what ever happened to the guy that had a motorcycle helment and some hockey pads that was going to go out in all the hurricanes? remember him?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I remember the night he claimed to be Phil Ferro's friend (a local met from channel 7 in Miami) and had the channel 7 logo as his avatar. Oh the memories.... :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Oh JFV...good times, good times.
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00z surface analysis shows the low over the Panhandle.

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Quoting extreme236:


Yes I remember that!!! LMAO!
I remember lurking and laughing my brains out after like 4 days that no one heard about him.
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1607. DehSoBe
Hi everyone. Im getting in late on all the latest updates.
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1606. tkeith
Quoting SevereHurricane:


Remember when he bet his life that Fay wasn't going to go into the Gulf of Mexico. LOL
I tried to get him to listen to some Jimmy Buffet music to calm him down...he just wouldn't listen.

It;s not too late bud...
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1605. BFG308
Quoting SevereHurricane:


Remember when he bet his life that Fay wasn't going to go into the Gulf of Mexico. LOL


He must've bet his soul....cuz I know the devil took it
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1604. xcool
lmao
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Quoting SevereHurricane:


Remember when he bet his life that Fay wasn't going to go into the Gulf of Mexico. LOL


Yes I remember that!!! LMAO!
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Quoting extreme236:


I remember the original JFV would always be so worried about CV storms and apparently had a wife/girlfriend or whatever she was who was pregnant and would constantly freak out about that.


Remember when he bet his life that Fay wasn't going to go into the Gulf of Mexico. LOL
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.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
LMAO! can you post some entries that I can see some comments. I wanna get a good laugh.


You could probably just go back to 2007 or 2008 archives to see them, unless their gone.
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Quoting FLdewey:


I think he knocked TropicalAmanda up
ROFLMAO!!! I remember her.
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1597. JLPR2
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
He said las tildes, when it should be los tildes.

LOL, that reminds me all the conversations that I've had with Grothar in spanish.


Yeah the feminine and masculine thing in spanish is complex -.-
I prefer the neutral English, Thank you! LOL!
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Quoting extreme236:


I remember the original JFV would always be so worried about CV storms and apparently had a wife/girlfriend or whatever she was who was pregnant and would constantly freak out about that.
LMAO! can you post some entries that I can see some comments. I wanna get a good laugh.
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1594. JLPR2
So yeah, I'm almost laughing at myself I just cant leave this blog -.-
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Quoting JLPR2:


And you have a slight problem with the C and S's :P
(Ubicación)
I'm not bad with the ''tildes'' but not awesome either XD
He said las tildes, when it should be los tildes.

LOL, that reminds me all the conversations that I've had with Grothar in spanish.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.