First June hurricane since 1955
Alex became the first hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. RMS issued the following statement.
On Wednesday, 30 June Alex was located approximately 175 miles (280 km) east of La Pasca, Mexico and 235 miles (375 km) southeast of Brownsville, Texas. Alex had maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (130 km/hr) and a central pressure of 961 mb – a much lower pressure than would be expected from a category 1-strength hurricane. Whilst hurricane force winds only extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the center, tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 200 miles (325 km).
Hurricane Alex is slowly tracking in a west-northwest direction and is expected to make landfall over the northeast coast of Mexico within the next 24 hours. According to the available model forecasts, Alex is most likely to make landfall between Tampico and Matamoros, Mexico. The likelihood of a Texas landfall is very low at this stage and Alex would need to take a much more northwesterly track for Texas to be directly hit. Warm sea surface temperatures and low wind shear are providing favourable conditions for Alex to further intensify and, given that the storm is moving fairly slowly, there is potential for Alex to reach category 2 status before landfall. Following landfall, interaction with the land should induce a fairly rapid weakening and most models suggest that Alex will have dissipated within 72 hours.
In Mexico, where the impact of hurricane force winds looks much more likely, hurricane warnings are in place from the mouth of the Rio Grande to La Cruz. Tropical storm warnings are in place for the coast of Mexico south of La Cruz to Cabo Rojo. Heavy rain bands associated with Alex are already approaching the Texas and Mexico coastline and are expected to move inland as Alex nears the coast. These conditions are expected to produce flash floods and mudslides that could be life-threatening, especially in the mountainous terrain of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range in Mexico.
June hurricanes in the Atlantic are something of a rare event. Since 1851, there have only been 31 hurricanes declared on or before the 30 June. The most recent year with a June hurricane was 1995 when hurricane Allison formed in early June.