03 August 2004

Alex becomes first hurricane of the season, and TD2 forms east of Windward Islands...

Not only was Alex the first TD and TS of the season, but at 06Z this
morning, became the first hurricane.  The last time this feat was
accomplished was in 2000 by Alberto.  This is also a case of rather
efficient intensification; the central pressure fell 11mb in 12 hours
(06Z-12Z today).

As of 15Z today, Hurricane Alex was located at 34.7N 75.8W, or just 30
miles east of Morehead City.  It's moving NE at 13kts; maximum sustained
winds are 85kts and the MSLP is 973mb (this makes Alex a Category 2
hurricane!). The eye diameter is 23 miles.

The central NC coast is under a Hurricane Warning, and the northern
section of the NC coast is under a Tropical Storm Warning.  A
spectacular radar loop showing Alex just off the NC coast can be viewed
at http://weather.noaa.gov/radar/loop/DS.p19r0/si.kmhx.shtml.  Very
heavy rainbands are onshore, and the eyewall could make landfall on the
Outer Banks if the track wobbles just slightly to the left.

So far, storm surge along central NC has reached 4 feet, and seas just
offshore are 12 feet.  Radar-estimated rainfall totals near Cape Lookout
are 6", and still raining very heavily there.  The eye will come within
miles of Cape Hatteras in a few hours.

The strong tropical wave east of the Windward Islands has been upgraded
to TD2 at 15Z.  It is at 13.2N 54.2W and moving quickly W at 18kts. 
Winds are 25kts and MSLP is 1009.  The Depression is expected to
strengthen fairly rapidly, becoming a TS later today and a hurricane by
Friday morning.  The next name on deck is Bonnie.

Also, the tropical wave near the Cape Verde Islands is looking more
impressive today too.  A more complete overview of this wave will be
given later today.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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