Watching the satellite loop today you can't help but notice how much larger Alex has become than yesterday. Tropical storm force winds extend out 115 miles from the center of circulation with falling central pressures reported by the latest hurricane hunter missions this afternoon. The plane was finally able to get a good fix on the center of circulation since the pressures fell to 996mb or 29.41inches. With this data a good direction of motion can be established. The latest motion is West at 12mph as outlined above by the green line traced over the satellite imagery above. This motion suggest Alex is being steered by a high pressure ridge just North in the Gulf of Mexico. This ridge should weaken next week allowing for weaker steering currents over warmer ocean waters. These factors will permit Alex to possibly become the first hurricane of the year - - - the first also in the gulf.
Heavy rain in battering Belize, Honduras and most of the Yucatan peninsula since Alex has grown in size. Four to eight inches of rain will inundate fishing villages and inland cities all weekend. The rain bands will push out into the gulf waters Sunday afternoon and approach the lower Texas gulf coast early next week. Alex meets are one storm average for the month of June every couple of years.
Afternoon hurricane hunter data confirm the strengthening as depicted on our satellite images during the day. Higher winds and lower pressures will give way as half of the circulation is now over land areas, suggesting a slight reduction within the next 24hrs. Once Alex gets at least 100 miles away from the Yucatan over the gulf, the storm should ramp up to hurricane force. Below is the latest storm track from the National Hurricane Center.
Storm track adjusted more to the West as per latest model runs that now favor the more accurate European runs of the last few days. The blue-green line near the center of the model runs is the European model. There still remains a significant range of uncertainty five days out before landfall as seen in model runs above so stay in touch to Channel 11 this upcoming week for the latest on Alex.