Alex’s RI

Hurricane Alex has turned into a monster just miles from the coast of Mexico. The hurricane, now at category 2, looks more like a strong 3 or even 4 on the latest satellite images. The Dvorak satellite intensity estimate by the government is a T-6.0 which corresponds to a category 4 storm! Notice the well defined eye with high and cold cloud tops wrapped completely around the center.

The pressure has fallen to 948mb in the latest dropsonde from the hurricane hunters but they missed the actual center by a couple miles. The reason we know this is the winds recorded where the lowest pressure were not calm, but rather 14 knots, which indicates the equipment dropped from the plane didn’t land in the exact center. It’s safe to assume the pressure is a bit lower than 948mb. It’s also safe to assume after the last center “fix” from the hurricane hunter an hour ago the pressure has gone down even more.

Alex is undergoing “RI” or rapid intensification. Why this happens is poorly understood but conditions for it appeared favorable Alex to undergo RI with low shear and warm water. It will be interesting to see what the National Hurricane Center does with Alex’s intensity tonight and whether they upgrade the storm to a major hurricane quickly enough before it makes landfall.


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