Monthly Archives: June 2010

Alex Upgraded – Becomes First Hurricane of 2010 Season

hurricanealex0629 Alex Upgraded   Becomes First Hurricane of 2010 Season

Just in from the NHC:

…ALEX BECOMES THE FIRST HURRICANE OF THE 2010 SEASON AND THE FIRST JUNE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SINCE 1995…

The good news is that this is looking like a relatively minor storm – by hurricane standards:

ALEX IS BEING UPGRADED TO A 65-KT HURRICANE FOR THIS ADVISORY. VERTICAL SHEAR IS FORECAST TO REMAIN BELOW 10 KT FOR THE NEXT 24-48 HOURS SO THE HURRICANE SHOULD REMAIN IN AN
ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE FOR INTENSIFICATION UP TO LANDFALL. THE SHIPS RAPID INTENSIFICATION INDEX SHOWS A 33 PERCENT PROBABILITY OF RAPID INTENSIFICATION…I.E. A 30-KT INCREASE OVER 24 HOURS. HOWEVER…NONE OF THE OTHER NUMERICAL INTENSITY GUIDANCE SHOWS ALEX STRENGTHENING BEYOND CATEGORY ONE STATUS PRIOR TO LANDFALL. THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY IS VERY CLOSE TO THE LGEM GUIDANCE AND ABOUT THE SAME AS THAT FROM THE PREVIOUS PACKAGE.

This storm is still a significant danger to those along the Mexican and Texas coasts near landfall. Rainfall and flooding will be a far bigger threat than wind.

Alex is expected to be at the low-end of the hurricane strength spectrum, but still will bring torrential rains to a Rio Grande delta region ill-suited, both economically and geographically, to handle it.

Passing showers Tuesday quickly pooled along parts of downtown streets in Brownsville and Matamoros, a worrisome sign with Alex expected to dump eight to 12 inches of rain in the region and as much as 20 inches in isolated areas.

Ten Arrested – Accused of Being Russian Spies

The scope of this is unusual to say the least:

Ten individuals have been arrested in the United States on charges of being Russian agents, the Justice Department announced Monday.

The 10 were “trained Russian intelligence operatives,” a Justice Department spokesman said.

All were charged with acting as agents of a foreign government, and nine also were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

I can’t remember the last time we rolled up this many deep-cover agents at the same time. I wonder how the Russians will retaliate?

You can read the Justice Department’s criminal complaints here.

Update:
This AP article mentions a bit of tradecraft involving laptops and wireless connections. Interesting but not very surprising given the advantages offered and relative ease in making the connection and transfer.

Tropical Storm Alex Makes a Run for the Border

The models, many of which had been shifting to the upper Texas coast, seem to be moving back down toward the border region. The current 5 day forecast from the NHC has it moving in there as a category 2 storm. Dr. Jeff Masters updates:

The latest 12 UTC (7am CDT) runs of our most reliable computer models have come into much better agreement. A consensus forecast arrived at by averaging together most or all of the tracks of our top models–the GFS, ECMWF, GFDL, NOGAPS, HWRF, UKMET, and GFDN–is pretty much what NHC always uses as the basis of their forecast. This consensus forecast has narrowed in on the region just south of the Texas/Mexico border as being the most likely landfall location, with the usual cone of uncertainty surrounding it. The computer model that had been making the northernmost landfall predictions, the Canadian model, is now projecting a landfall 100 miles south of the Texas/Mexico border. There has been a general southward shift of the models in their latest runs, and the most northerly landfall location, near Port Mansfield, is now being predicted by the HWRF model. The earliest landfall time is Wednesday morning, and the latest is Wednesday night. Which model should you trust? Last year, the best performing models at the 3 day forecast period were the GFS, Canadian, ECMWF, and GFDL.

I wouldn’t say that anyone on the Texas coast is out of the woods just yet. Keep an eye on Alex. These storms can be incredibly unpredictable.