Tropical Storm Alberto forms in southwest Gulf, 1st named storm of the hurricane season

Tropical Storm Alberto forms in southwest Gulf, 1st named storm of the hurricane season
4 weeks 2 days 23 minutes ago Wednesday, June 19 2024 Jun 19, 2024 June 19, 2024 2:55 PM June 19, 2024 in News - AP Texas Headlines
Source: APnews.com
Photo credit: MGN Online

MEXICO CITY (AP) — 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.

The National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday afternoon that Alberto was located 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 kph).

The center of the storm was expected to reach the northeastern coast of Mexico south of the mouth of the Rio Grande by early Thursday morning.

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.

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

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 the Rio Grande and from the northeastern coast of Mexico south of the mouth of the Rio Grande to Tecolutla.

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

The U.S. National Weather Service said the main hazard for southern coastal Texas is flooding from excess rain. On Wednesday, the NWS said, there is "a high probability" of flash flooding in southern coastal Texas. Tornadoes or waterspouts are possible.

NOAA predicts the hurricane season that began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30 is likely to be well above average, with between 17 and 25 named storms. The forecast calls for as many as 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

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

Brennan said that the first named system in the Atlantic on average comes on June 20, so Alberto is "about right 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 on streets on the west end of the island, making them impassable.

"We're on a barrier island and there's no place for the rain to go, plus the extremely high tides, everything is just hanging right there and it's flooding all the streets," Bisso said, adding that double red flags have been placed on the beach to warn people that no one should be in the water because of the extreme rip tides.

"Those conditions were extremely bad out there yesterday, and today," he said.

All of the homes on the island are elevated anywhere from 10 to 14 feet above the ground, so they don't expect homes to flood and evacuations were not ordered.

"We're just waiting for the rains to stop and the tide to go down," 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 roadways.

A no-name storm earlier in June dumped more than 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain on parts of South Florida, stranding numerous motorists on flooded streets and pushing water into some homes in low-lying areas.

"People underestimate the power of water and they sometimes don't always take rainfall and the threats that come with it seriously, especially if you are driving in an area and you see water covering the road, you don't want to drive into it," Brennan said. "You don't know how deep the water is. The road may be washed out. it doesn't take but just a few inches of water that are moving to move your car."

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

More News

7 Days