Tropical Storm Alex Headed for South Texas, Mexico; Hurricane Warning Issued
Tropical Storm Alex is on the verge of becoming the first hurricane of the season. As of 11 AM EDT on Tuesday, June 29 (1500 UTC), Alex was located about 355 miles to the southeast of Brownsville, Texas with top winds of 70 MPH. On its current forecast track, Alex should make landfall Wednesday evening, just south of the Rio Grande in Northeast Mexico, with the possibility of becoming a Category 2 hurricane. As such, WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the VoIP Hurricane Net will activate on Wednesday, June 30 at 8 AM EDT (1200 UTC).
On Tuesday, the NHC issued a hurricane warning for the coast of Texas south of Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande and for the coast of Mexico from the mouth of the Rio Grande to La Cruz. A tropical storm warning was issued for the coast of Texas from Baffin Bay to Port O’Connor.
WX4NHC will be monitoring the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz. Secondary HF frequencies will be 7.268 MHz and 3.950 MHz +/- QRM, should propagation be lost on 20 meters. EchoLink “WX-Talk” Conference Room and IRLP node 9219 will also be monitored. WX4NHC will also monitor CWOP, APRS and MADIS/MESONET automated weather stations in the affected area, as well as EchoLink “WX-Talk” Conference Room and IRLP node 9219. Surface reports using WX4NHC’s Online Hurricane Report form will also be monitored.
The VoIP Hurricane Net will be active for Alex starting at 8 AM EDT (1200 UTC) lasting through Thursday morning for as long as required to support WX4NHC with surface reports from stations within the affected area of Alex or from amateurs who have contacts within the affected area of Alex who can relay information from those contacts. Stations can connect via EchoLink by connecting to the *WX_TALK* EchoLink conference node 7203, as well as via IRLP through IRLP reflector 9219. Several listen-only components for stations will be set up for those who don’t have contact with the affected area, enabling them to monitor the hurricane net. The listen-only information will be posted in the VoIP hurricane net activation announcement on the VoIP Hurricane Net Web site.
“We request all land based stations, as well as ships at sea in the areas affected, to send us weather data (measured or estimated) and damage reports,” said WX4NHC Assistant Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R. “If you are in the affected area and normally monitor on a local Net on VHF, 40 or 80 meters, we would appreciate your checking into the HWN NET or EchoLink/IRLP Net once per hour to receive the latest hurricane advisories and to report your local conditions.”
Alex is currently moving toward the northwest near 12 MPH and producing maximum sustained winds near 70 MPH, with some higher gusts, and will likely become a hurricane sometime Tuesday afternoon. NHC forecasters say Alex will strengthen during the next 36 hours or so and make a gradual turn toward the west-northwest, approaching the coast of Northeastern Mexico and Southern Texas on Wednesday before making landfall Wednesday night.
Alex is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches over portions of Northeastern Mexico and Southern Texas, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches. Additional rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are possible over portions of Southern Mexico today. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in mountainous terrain.
A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above ground level along the immediate coast near and to the north of where the center makes landfall. The surge could penetrate inland as far as several miles from the shore with depth generally decreasing as the water moves inland. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.