July 18, 2024

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Hurricane season: First named tropical storm, Alberto, forms in Gulf of Mexico

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Tropical Storm Alberto formed on Wednesday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the first named storm of what is forecast to be a busy hurricane season.

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

“The heavy rainfall and the water, as usual, is the biggest story in tropical storms,” said Michael Brennan, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center.

Alberto was located 185 miles (about 300 kilometers) east of Tampico, Mexico and 295 miles (about 480 kilometers) south-southeast of Brownsville, Texas. It had top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. A tropical storm is defined by sustained winds of between 39 and 73 mph (62 and 117 kph), and above that the system becomes a hurricane.

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

As much as 5 inches (13 centimeters) to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain was expected in some areas along the Texas coast, with even higher isolated totals possible, Brennan said. He said some higher locations in Mexico could see as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain, which could result in mudslides and flash flooding, especially in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

At the Hotel Miramar Inn in Tampico, Mexico, near where Alberto was expected to come ashore, front desk attendant Diana Flores said the wind was gusty, but still not strong, and the rain hadn’t started yet. “There are people in the restaurant and on the beach,” Flores said early Wednesday.

Outer bands of rain lashed parts of Tamaulipas state in the northeast corner of Mexico overnight.

The storm was moving west at 9 mph (15 kph). Tropical storm warnings were in effect from the Texas coast at San Luis Pass southward to the mouth of…

Jamie Stengle, Mariana Martinez Barba, The Associated Press

2024-06-19 15:40:19

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