Tropical Storm Alberto: First named storm of the season forms in the Gulf

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto formed in the southwest Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, the first named storm of what is expected to be a busy hurricane season.

Alberto, which brings strong winds, heavy rain and flooding along the coasts of Texas and Mexico, is expected to make landfall in northern Mexico on Thursday.

“Heavy rain and water, as usual, is the main problem with the storms,” said Michael Brennan, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center.

The National Hurricane Center said Wednesday afternoon that Alberto was about 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of Tampico, Mexico, and about 295 miles (475 kilometers) south-southeast of Brownsville , Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h). km/h).

The center of the storm is expected to reach the northeast coast of Mexico, south of the mouth of the Rio Grande, early Thursday morning.

Brennan said winds could reach 45 mph (72 kph) to 50 mph (80 kph) before the storm makes landfall.

AP correspondent Julie Walker reports on flooding in Texas along the coast caused by Tropical Storm Alberto.

Between 5 and 10 inches of rain were expected in some areas along the Texas coast, with even higher isolated totals possible, Brennan said. He said some higher elevations in Mexico could receive up to 50 centimeters of rain, which could lead to mudslides and flash flooding, particularly in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

Governor of Tamaulipas. Américo Villarreal said Wednesday on X, formerly Twitter, that schools across the state would remain closed between Wednesday and Friday.

The storm was moving westward at 9 mph (15 km/h). Tropical storm warnings were in effect from the coast of Texas at the San Luis Pass south to the mouth of the Rio Grande and from the northeastern coast of Mexico south of the mouth of the Rio Great up to Tecolutla.

“Rapid weakening is expected once the center moves inland, and Alberto is expected to dissipate over Mexico” on Thursday, the center said.

The U.S. National Weather Service said the main risk for the South Texas coast was flooding from excessive rain. On Wednesday, the NWS said, there is “a high probability” of flash flooding on the South Texas coast. Tornadoes or waterspouts are possible.

NOAA predicts hurricane season will begin June 1 and continue through November. 30 will likely be well above average, with between 17 and 25 named storms. Forecasts call for up to 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Brennan said the first named system in the Atlantic arrives on average June 20, so Alberto is “about on schedule.”

In the village of Surfside Beach, located on a barrier island on the Texas coast about 65 miles (104 kilometers) south of Houston, Mayor Gregg Bisso said Wednesday that rains had already left about 2 feet of water in the streets from the west end of the city. island, making them impassable.

“We’re on a barrier island and there’s no room for rain, and on top of that the tides are extremely high, it’s all right there and flooding all the streets,” Bisso said, adding that red flags Doubles were placed on the beach to warn people that no one should be in the water due to extreme tides.

“These conditions were extremely bad yesterday and today,” he said.

All homes on the island are elevated between 10 and 14 feet above the ground, so they do not expect homes to be flooded and evacuations have not been ordered.

“We’re just waiting for the rains to stop and the tide to go out,” he said.

Brennan said there will be dangerous rip currents from the storm and drivers should watch out for road closures and turn around if they see water covering the roads.

A nameless storm Earlier in June, more than 20 inches of rain dumped parts of South Florida, stranding many motorists on flooded streets and pushing water into some homes in low-lying areas.

“People underestimate the power of water and sometimes they don’t always take rainfall and the threats that come with it seriously, especially if you’re driving through an area and you see water covering the road, you don’t want to go in.” Brennan said. “You don’t know how deep the water is. It only takes a few inches of moving water to move your car.

___ Stengle contributed to this report from Dallas. AP reporter Julie Walker contributed to this report from New York.

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