Tropical storm warning issued for South Texas and Mexico as first storm takes shape

Weather CNN

Satellite imagery shows areas of thunderstorms in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday morning as the first tropical system of the year brews.



CNN

A tropical storm warning is now in effect for parts of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico as the first tropical threat of the year moves closer to those areas.

This isn’t the only area of ​​tropical concern looming this week as a predicted hyperactive hurricane season gets underway.

The system threatening the southwest Gulf Coast has been designated a potential tropical cyclone one by the National Hurricane Center as it attempts to organize in the Gulf of Mexico. This will bring torrential rains and significantly increase the threat of flooding, not only in the United States, but also in parts of Mexico and Central America.

As its name suggests, Potential Tropical Cyclone 1 is not quite a tropical storm yet, but it is expected to become one and poses a threat to the Tropical Storm Warning areas over the next 48 hours.

The system had winds of 40 mph Tuesday morning — strong enough that if it developed a coherent circulation, it would be named Tropical Storm Alberto. It is expected to arrive late Tuesday or Wednesday before approaching the northern coast of Mexico Wednesday evening.

The system’s strength will be limited by its short passage over water, but its main threat of significant rain and flooding will not: several days of heavy precipitation over parts of Central America, southern of Mexico and the western Gulf Coast of the United States.

Heavy rain was already underway Monday in parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras as the gyre raged. Double-digit precipitation totals are possible in these areas by Thursday. Rain is desperately needed in parts of Mexico and Central America that are extremely dry after weeks of unrelenting heat. But day after day, heavy rains will quickly overwhelm the parched soils, unable to absorb the water as quickly as it falls, causing dangerous flooding.

Deep tropical moisture also fueled storms as far north as the western Gulf Coast of the United States. Double-digit precipitation totals are likely in parts of the coast and South Texas by the weekend, while other parts of the Gulf Coast could reach several inches through midweek.

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A Level 3 of 4 heavy precipitation risk is in place for coastal Texas on Tuesday and much of South Texas on Wednesday.

By Wednesday, the air over the Gulf Coast will be laden with “incredible amounts of moisture” that could “easily” produce flash flooding, the Weather Prediction Center warned Monday.

Heavy rain is not the most welcome sight in parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast. June was drier after a rainy spring, but the region’s soil and rivers are still holding plenty of water in east Texas and west Louisiana.

Another tropical threat looms in the Atlantic as development begins in the Gulf of Mexico.

An area of ​​showers and thunderstorms a few hundred miles east of the Bahamas could be the starting point for a potential tropical system later this week. Currently, the National Hurricane Center gives it a low chance of becoming a tropical system.

Several atmospheric factors must align for the area of ​​stormy weather to act together, but the opportunity for development exists over the next few days as it slowly moves westward.

If anything tropical develops, it could approach the southeastern United States by Thursday or Friday and be directed south of the heat dome roasting areas further north. It’s clear exactly which areas could be affected, but anywhere from Florida to the Carolinas should keep a close eye on the forecast as it becomes clearer in the coming days.

Torrential rain could flood parts of the southeast coast and rough seas are possible from the Bahamas to mid-Atlantic coasts regardless of development.

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