Tropical Storm Alex was the first named storm of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. Alex formed relatively late in the season, forming on July 27, and becoming a tropical storm on July 29. Alex peaked as a 50 mph tropical storm with a pressure of 1002 mb, but it dissipated on August 2, because of strong upper-level wind shear.
Alex caused no damage, and no reported fatalities.
|Formation||July 27, 1998|
|Dissipation||August 2, 1998|
|Highest winds||50 mph|
|Lowest pressure||1002 mbar|
A tropical wave emerged off the coast of Africa on July 26. The wave was already well-organized, and as it began to head westward across the Atlantic Ocean, it managed to strengthen into Tropical Depression One, based on ship reports as well as satellite scatterometer winds supporting the presence of a closed surface circulation. The system became a depression while located 300 miles south-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. The depression headed west-northwest across the Atlantic Ocean, changing little in strength through July 27 and July 28, with minimal deep convection near the center of circulation. During this period, satellite imagery characterized the depression as a large and elongated depression that was still inside of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. By late on July 28, deep convection consolidated near the center of the depression, and it strengthened into Tropical Storm Alex at 0000 UTC on July 29. After becoming a tropical storm, Alex continued to move west-northwest a foward speed of 10 to 15 knots, due to the influence of a deep-layer ridge over the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
During the next several days, Alex's development was hindered by a mid to upper-level trough, and an attendant cyclonic circulation located to the north and west of the storm. By July 30, satellite imagery indicated that Alex experiencing southerly vertical wind shear, which disrupted the storm's organization. During the evening of July 30, satellite imagery showed a burst of deep convection just east of Alex's center of circulation. Alex is estimated to have reached its peak of 50 mph from 1800 UTC on July 30 to 0600 UTC on July 31, with its pressure of 1002 mb estimated to have been reached near 0000 UTC on July 31. Shortly after peaking, southerly vertical wind shear created by the mid to upper-level trough to the west of Alex limited further strengthening. Over the next few days, shear took its toll on Alex, with its low-level circulation center becoming fully exposed south of the remaining deep convection on August 1. Alex turned to the northwest later on August 1, and it continued to gradually weaken as it did so.
By midday on August 2, Alex was downgraded to a tropical depression, with a Hurricane Hunter aircraft later that day showing that Alex no longer had a closed low-level circulation, thus Alex dissipated because of this.
Lack of Retirement
Because it did not threaten land, the name Alex was not retired in the Spring of 1999 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was used again in 2004, and is on the list of names to be used for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.