Alex to Become Hurricane Today with a Dolly-Like Path

Tropical Storm Alex could make landfall just south of Brownsville, Texas later this week and catastrophe modelers are already citing similarities to 2008’s Hurricane Dolly.

According to the latest alerts from the National Hurricane Center, the storm will move northwest over the next several days and could make landfall as a category 2 Hurricane.

Catastrophe modeling firm RMS says in a statement that Alex is forecast to make landfall just south of the Mexico/Texas boarder by Wednesday night or Thursday morning as a “weak category 2 storm.”

“This area of the coastline is relatively sparsely populated but the largest towns located close to the projected landfall location are Brownsville in Texas, which has a population of around 140,000 and Matamoros in Mexico, which has a population of around 420,000,” according to the RMS statement.

The statement cited 2008’s Hurricane Dolly as taking a similar path.

“Dolly was classified as a category 1 hurricane at landfall and caused some structural damage to properties on South Padre Island and some minor damage in Brownsville.  The Property Claims Service reported losses of just over $500 million associated with Hurricane Dolly,” RMS says.

Boston-based AIR Worldwide agrees that Alex will likely make landfall in the same area and that Hurricane Dolly gave some indication of possible insured losses.

Tim Doggett, Ph.D, principal scientist at AIR, adds however that the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remains a wildcard in the forecast.

“[A]ccording to current forecasts, the storm should track well south of the oil slick, though it should be noted that there is significant uncertainty in both the track and future intensity of this storm. The outer wind field of the storm could push oil from the spill farther toward the Gulf coast,” Dogget says.

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