Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Alex becomes a hurricane

Tropical Storm Alex has been upgraded to a hurricane this evening. The storm is so large that it took longer than initially expected for Alex to pull together and amass the higher windspeed of a hurricane as compared to a tropical storm. The hurricane watch issued yesterday has been upgraded to a hurricane warning. The tropical storm watch has been upgraded to a tropical storm warning and has been extended to include the coast south of the hurricane warning from La Cruz, MX to Cabo Rojo, MX.

Alex: First hurricane of Atlantic season (The Weather Channel)
Alex was upgraded to the season's first hurricane as of 10 pm CDT Tuesday. It is located 255 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas.

Alex's forward motion has slowed a tad, now sliding west at 9 mph. This motion should continue through Wednesday.

Hurricane warnings are now in effect from Baffin Bay, Texas south to La Cruz, Mexico. A tropical storm warning is in effect north of the hurricane warning from Baffin Bay to Port O'Connor and south of the hurricane warning from La Cruz to Cabo Rojo.

Out ahead of Alex, tropical storm conditions should start in the warning areas by Wednesday morning. Further strengthening is likely as Alex moves over the very warm water in the western Gulf of Mexico.

Atmospheric conditions also favor strengthening with very little wind shear and excellent outflow due to a large ridge of high pressure over the cyclone.
Radar images showed some outer rain bands coming ashore from Texas all the way to the Florida panhandle. Higher waves are already being seen across most of the gulf coast.

Winds, rain, surf from Alex to rake southern coast (Houston Chronicle)

Wind and rain from Hurricane Alex was expected to lash south Texas on Wednesday, with high surf expected to pound most of the Texas Gulf Coast, according to the National Weather Service.

The three furthest south counties on the Texas coast — Kenedy, Willacy and Cameron counties — were under a hurricane warning Wednesday as the storm center was expected to come ashore south of the mouth of the Rio Grande.

The National Weather Service in Brownsville advised that the area will begin seeing sustained tropical storm-force winds of 40 mph or more by midday and sustained hurricane-force winds of 74 mph or more as early as sunset. Hurricane-force winds were expected to continue until around midnight before slowly diminishing, with tropical storm-force winds expected west to Falcon Lake and as far north as Port O'Connor expected Wednesday afternoon and evening.

No evacuations are being ordered on either side of the border but the potential does exist that Alex may grow further to a Category 2 hurricane before making landfall. Alex's current forward direction appears to be due west which will limit the amount of time available for Alex to strengthen. A category 2 hurricane will have strong enough winds that could cause some structural damage and will dump a lot of rain on the area.

Texas Governor Perry has already declared 19 counties disaster areas in advance to allow faster response should there be any damage. President Obama also declared a federal disaster declaration for the same 19 counties.

Hurricane Alex Lands In Southern Texas (Epoch Times)
Governor of Texas, Rick Perry has declared 19 counties on southern Texas coast states of disaster. “Tropical Storm Alex is now in the Gulf, and it is imperative that residents pay attention to this storm, heed warnings from their local leaders, and take the steps necessary to protect their families, homes, and businesses,” said the governor according to a press release from his office. No notice of evacuation has been issued, but 2,500 guardsmen, 100 buses, 8 helicopters and 3 aircrafts have been activated for immediate assistance if needed.

There is a possibility that the hurricane will upgrade to Category 3 though it is not forecasted right now, said Andy Mussoline, a representative from AccuWeather.com.

Hurricane Alex is expected to land with a speed between 96 mph to 110 mph. The hurricane will certainly cause heavy thunder storms in southern Texas and part of the area by the coastline of Louisiana. A certain degree of coastal flooding will also follow, mostly likely in southern Texas and Tamaulips, Mexico. Though there has been no official arrangement of evacuation, “warnings have been sent out, so is it recommended for residents of affected area[s] to evacuate,” said Mussoline. He also pointed out that people should stay indoors to avoid lightning strick, and those at home may encounter roof, window and power damage, so preparation should be made in advance.

The Hurricane Prep Center also recommends enough storage of drinking water, and food, and other basic groceries for more than seven days, in case the hurricane becomes a Category 3.

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