Tropical Storm Alberto: The first named storm of any seasonal pattern in the Gulf

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday. Busy hurricane season.

Alberto is expected to make landfall in northern Mexico on Thursday, bringing strong winds, heavy rain and some flooding to the Texas and Mexican coasts.

“A lot of rain and 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 Wednesday afternoon that Alberto was about 170 miles (270 kilometers) east of Tampico, Mexico, and about 305 miles (495 kilometers) southeast of Brownsville, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h). ) The storm is moving west-southwest at 9 mph.

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

Brennan said sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) to 50 mph (80 kph) were possible before the storm made landfall.

AP reporter Julie Walker reports on coastal Texas flooding from Tropical Storm Alberto.

Some areas along the Texas coast are expected to get 5 inches (13 centimeters) to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, with more isolated totals possible, Brennan said. Up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain could fall in some higher elevations of Mexico, causing mudslides, especially in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Nuevo León.

Tamaulipas Gov. Americo Villarreal said Wednesday on X, previously Twitter, that schools across the state will be closed between Wednesday and Friday.

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Luis Gerardo Gonzalez, civil defense coordinator in the state of Tamaulipas, said 333 shelters have been distributed across the state in each municipality. “As the storm moves in, we will open more shelters.”

The coordinator also said that the rains would be very beneficial for the state “to help the crisis we are facing due to scarcity of water.”

Officials urged residents to be aware of warnings shared by state and municipal civil defense. They expect the storm to arrive overnight, with communities closest to the coast hardest hit.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect from the Texas coast at San Luis Pass south to the mouth of the Rio Grande, and from the northeast coast of Mexico from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Tecolutla.

“Rapid weakening is expected as the center moves inland, and Alberto is likely to dissipate over Mexico,” the center said.

The U.S. National Weather Service said the main danger from heavy rain is flash flooding for the southern Texas coast. On Wednesday, the NWS said there was a “high probability” of flash flooding in coastal South Texas. Tornadoes or floods are possible.

NOAA predicts an above-average hurricane season that begins June 1 and runs through November 30, with between 17 and 25 named storms. The forecast calls for 13 hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

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

Brennan said there will be dangerous rip currents from the storm, and drivers should watch for road closures and turn back if they see roads covered in water.

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Areas along the Texas coast saw some road flooding and dangerous rip currents Wednesday, and coastal flooding was observed. “We’ve seen some brief spin-ups and some water bodies,” said Tyler Castillo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Corpus Christi.

Tim Cady, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Houston, said they are keeping an eye on coastal flooding as high tide approaches Thursday morning.

“When these strong onshore winds combine with a high tide, it can cause coastal flooding, especially in our low-lying coastal areas,” Caddy said.

A A storm without a name As much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain fell on parts of South Florida earlier in June, 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 the rainfall and the threats that come with it seriously, especially if you’re driving in an area and you see water blocking the road, you don’t want to drive in it,” Brennan said. “You never know how deep the water is. The road may be washed away.”

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

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