01 August 2004

First named storm of the season in the Atlantic...

TD1 strengthened to Tropical Storm Alex at 21Z today based on aircraft recon into the storm.  As of 21Z, Alex was located at 31.7N 79.2W (only 90 miles off the coast near Charleston, SC) and was nearly stationary. Intensity was measured by the plane to be 35kts and 1010mb.  In the near future, TS Alex is expected to strengthen slightly to 45kts and to begin moving north then northeast.

Infrared satellite imagery shows a large CDO with -75C cloud tops indicating persistent deep convection near the center of circulation. Stronger shear and subsidence on the US side of the storm should keep the storm from intensifying too rapidly, despite sitting right over the Gulf Stream.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the central SC coast, and a TS Warning has been issued for the northern SC coast and nearly all of the NC coast.  A long-range radar loop showing the convection in the inner core and the banding can be found at http://weather.noaa.gov/radar/loop/DS.p20-r/si.kclx.shtml
The pause in forward motion will probably result in a smaller chance of landfall; the approaching trough will pick the storm up and take it northeast away from the coast, but it will be close.

Elsewhere, there's a strong tropical wave tracking across the deep tropics.  It exited the African coast on July 28 and is now at about 42W, moving W at 20 kts.  There is an embedded 1014mb Low associated with the wave at about 11N.  This will be watched for further organization in the coming days.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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