Friday, July 2, 2010

Alex was unique in more ways than one.

Hurricane Alex made landfall on Wednesday, June 30, 2010, near Soto La Marina, Mexico, or about 110 miles south of Brownsville, TX.
It made landfall as a category 2 hurricane with winds of 105 mph.
While Alex was not a major hurricane, it is historic in a couple of perspectives.
Alex became the first June hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico since Hurricane Allison hit Florida 15 years ago, in 1995. We typically don't see hurricanes in the Gulf, this early in the season. So the fact we had a category 2 hurricane was unprecedented.
It was also the second strongest June hurricane since Alma, all the way back in 1966.
The most remarkable stat, however, was the pressure of Hurricane Alex. As it neared landfall it had a pressure of 947 mb. That pressure is typically seen when hurricanes are at a strong category 3 or weak category 4 status.
If you compare Alex to Hurricane Audrey, a category 3 hurricane that made landfall in Sabine Pass in 1957, it is almost identical. Audrey's pressure was 945 mb and had winds of 130 mph.
Alex had nearly the same pressure, but winds of only 105 mph.
So why the discrepancy in wind speeds if pressures were nearly the same? As I like to say, all hurricanes are different and take on their own characteristics.
Since Alex was such a broad storm, its winds were spread out over a large area. We saw the same thing a couple of years ago when Hurricane Ike made landfall as a strong category 2 storm.