60th Anniversary of Hurricane Alice and the first 24-hour hurricane track forecast

ImageNOAA Hydrological Prediction Center’s rainfall analysis for Hurricane Alice

On June 25, 1954, Hurricane Alice made landfall in northern Mexico just south of Brownsville, Texas.  While the winds and storm surge were not exceptional, Alice brought heavy rains to the Pecos and Rio Grande river valleys that had been sustaining a prolonged drought.  The resultant heavy runoff caused flooding throughout southern Texas and northern Mexico that cause over fifty deaths and ruined the cotton crop.  Due to this destruction, Time magazine dubbed the storm ‘Evil Alice’.

Alice was also a historical first.  The Weather Bureau began issuing official 24-hour track forecasts for tropical cyclones in 1954, so Alice was the first storm to have its landfall forecast a day ahead.  Padre Island and other coastal Texas areas were evacuated ahead of time due to Alice’s forecast.

Another curious note is that a tropical storm detected in early January 1955 was also named Alice.  Later analysis showed that this storm had actually formed on December 30, 1954.  So there are TWO storms named Alice in 1954.