Thursday, July 1, 2010

Alex conjures memories of Alma

The last time the Atlantic basin saw a Category 2 hurricane was way back in 1966 when Hurricane Alma was racing parallel to Florida's west coast, eventually making landfall June 9 near Apalachicola.

This week, conditions were ripe for another giant of a June hurricane, said Logan Johnson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Ruskin: warm waters, little wind shear aloft, a upper level high-pressure ridge in place across the Gulf.

One sign of its immense strength, Hurricane Alex's barometric pressure reached a low of 947 mb as it was making landfall Wednesday night on the coast of northeast Mexico. By comparison, Hurricane Charley's pressure was 941 mb as it made landfall Aug. 13, 2004, in Cayo Costa, Fla., as a Category 4 monster.

Johnson told Hurricane Watch late Wednesday that a trough of low pressure building down the East Coast of the United States will serve to weaken the current high pressure over the eastern Gulf. While making conditions less favorable for tropical systems, it will also present cooler temperatures with highs in central Florida in the upper 80s/low 90s instead of the mid-90s that we've been experiencing of late.

As for the latest on Alex, it was still packing hurricane-force winds of 80 mph at 5 a.m. Thursday. With 20 inches of rain possible in higher elevations of northeast Mexico, flash flooding and mud slides are feared.

Find the latest advisory here.

As for the rest of the 1966 hurricane season, it was relatively quiet with the exceptions of Inez (it killed an estimated 1,000 on its trek through the Caribbean, Bahamas, the Florida Keys and Mexico) and Faith (it stayed out in the Atlantic, but had the longest recorded track of any hurricane at more than 7,500 miles).

So what about the rest of this hurricane season? Does Alex bode badly for a rough couple of months ahead?

That's too hard to tell at this point, says Johnson. Forecasters, however, already predicted this would be an active season, so consider Alex just the beginning.

No comments:

Post a Comment