Alex Strengthens

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning that 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 of Alex makes landfall.

The warning came as the NHC said that Alex — the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season — is moving faster to the north-northwest and is likely to become a hurricane later today:

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.†

Earlier this morning, the NHC said Alex was about 380 miles south east of Brownsville, Texas and moving NNW at 12 mph, with maximum sustained winds near 70 miles per hour.

The NHC also said Alex is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches over portions of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas during the next few days and these rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

A glance at the latest track for Alex looks a lot like 2008’s Hurricane Dolly that made landfall as a Category 1 storm in extreme southern Texas in July of that year.

Dolly caused significant wind and flood damage and resulted in federal disaster declarations in 15 Texas counties. ISO’s Property Claim Services unit put the insured losses from Dolly at $525 million in 2008 dollars.

The costliest hurricane to hit Texas in recent years was Hurricane Ike in 2008. Insured property damage caused by Ike in Texas totaled $9.8 billion, according to ISO. Check out the I.I.I. Texas hurricane fact file for more information.

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