Tropical Storm Arlene was the first named storm of the 1993 Atlantic hurricane season. Arlene formed on June 18 in the Bay of Campeche, and it initially had trouble strengthening due to upper-level outflow generated from Tropical Storm Beatriz in the East Pacific. The cyclone was eventually able to intensify, however, and it became a tropical storm on June 19 as it headed north-northwest towards southern Texas. Arlene made landfall along Padre Island as a tropical storm on June 20. Arlene dissipated the next day.

Arlene caused $55,000,000 (1993 USD) in damage and killed 29 people.

Tropical Storm Arlene on June 19 near its Texas landfall
FormationJune 18, 1993
Dissipation June 21, 1993
Highest winds 40 mph
Lowest pressure 1006 mbar
Deaths 29 direct (20 as a tropical wave
Damages $55,000,000 (1993 USD)
Areas affectedEl Salvador, Yucatán Peninsula, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas
Part of the 1993 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological history


Arlene originated from an area of disturbed weather over the western Carribean Sea as well as portions of Central America. As early as June 9, an area of cloudiness and convection was noted on satellite imagery near the coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. The area moved slowly to the northwest and increased a little bit in organization over the following week. During that period, strong upper-level west to northwesterly vertical wind shear was present in the Carribean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. However, on June 16, a mid- to upper-level low began to develop over the Bay of Campeche. Downstream, the flow aloft became more anticyclonic across the Yucatan Peninsula as well as the northwestern Carribean Sea. In addition, a tropical wave neared the area that same day. This caused convection to increase and expand west-northwest into an area that had a more favorable upper-level circulation for tropical cyclone formation. Surface observations late on June 16 show that a 1008 mb low developed over the Yucatan Peninsula. By midday June 17, reconnaissance aircraft flew into the system, but only found a broad area of low pressure. A few hours later, however, satellite imagery indicated that the low was developing convective bands just offshore over the south-central Gulf of Mexico, and it estimated that the system developed into Tropical Depression Two at 0000 UTC June 18 while located in the Bay of Campeche.

After forming, the depression moved northwest at around 5 knots. The associated steering flow was a result of the cyclone being located between an upper-level low to the southwest and upper-level ridge to the northeast. The center of the cyclone remained near the eastern edge of the aforementioned upper-level low, in an area of moderate southwesterly vertical wind shear, which limited intensification of the depression. The circulation center remained diffuse, with satellite imagery occasionally indicating weak, separate low-level circulation centers rotating around the mean circulation of the depression. Late on June 18, reconnaissance aircraft found that the lowest pressure was only 1006 mb. In addition, the aircraft could not make a center fix. By that time, satellite imagery indicated upper-level shear over the cyclone had increased further by a southwesterly upper-level outflow jet spreading across the southwestern Gulf of Mexico from Eastern Pacific Tropical Storm Beatriz. In the meantime, on June 18, convection became more concentrated in a band located about 150 to 200 miles southeast through northeast of the center of the tropical cyclone. Over the next 24 hours, the band wrapped further around the circulation center, and early on June 19, a comma-shaped convective band extended from well northwest through north through southeast of the cyclone's center.

During this time, reconnaissance aircraft indicated the cyclone's pressure had fallen to 1000 mb near 1200 UTC June 19. In addition, a new and dominant center had developed. It is at this time that the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Arlene. Arlene initially moved northwest at around 5 knots, but nearly stalled when a shortwave trough to the north moved eastward. The foward motion of Arlene then became westward at a couple knots. Near 0900 UTC June 20, Arlene made landfall over Padre Island, Texas about 40 miles south of Corpus Christi. Shortly after landfall, Arlene weakened to a tropical depression. Arlene dissipated at 0600 UTC June 21. Despite this, a low- to mid-level circulation center could be seen for the next day or so across the lower Rio Grande River valley of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico.


A Tropical Storm Warning was issued for the southern Texas coastline about 21 hours before Arlene made landfall. No observations of sustained tropical storm force winds occured from the warned area.


Central America

The precursor disturbance to Arlene produced heavy rainfall across portions of Central America for several days. Arlene's precursor disturbance killed 20 people from a landslide in El Savador.


Arlene produced heavy rainfall across Mexico, producing flooding which killed 5 people and caused $33,000,000 (1993 USD) in damage.

Texas and Louisiana

In Texas, Arlene produced heavy rainfall. The highest rainfall total associated with the cyclone occured in Angleton, where 15.26 inches of rain was reported. In addition, the cyclone produced rainfall totals of 9 to 11 inches in other portions of the state. Also, a funnel cloud was reported near Corpus Christi, but it never touched down and became a tornado. Arlene caused numerous reports of flooding in the state due to its heavy rains. Flooding caused damage to over 400 homes and 12 businesses in Wallacy County, causing $1,000,000 (1993 USD) in damage. In addition, 200 homes were damaged in Starr County. Also, storm surge from Arlene caused minimal beach erosion along the Texas/Louisiana coast. Arlene produced heavy rainfall in the southwestern portion of Louisiana due to its rainbands, reaching 7 to 10 inches. No damage was reported, however.

Arlene killed a total of 29 people in all, and produced $55,000,000 (1993 USD) in damage.


Rainfall totals from Tropical Storm Arlene.

Lack of Retirement

Because damage was not extreme, the name Arlene was not retired in the Spring of 1994 by the World Meteorological Organization. The name has since been used during 1999 and 2005. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

1993 Atlantic hurricane season


External links

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