Tropical Storm Alberto forms over Gulf of Mexico, bringing floods

MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, has formed over the western Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), said on Wednesday, bringing  flooding across the southern coast of the United States. 

The storm was located about 300 kilometers (186.4 miles) east of Tampico, Mexico, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (40.3 miles per hour), the forecaster said. Alberto is likely to dissipate over Mexico as early as Thursday night. 

The NHC said the storm was very large and that rainfall, coastal flooding and strong winds could occur far from the center along north-eastern Mexico and the south Texas coast.  

Heavy rains also will affect large regions of Central America, the NHC warned, a region that is still facing strong rains that left some 11 people dead in El Salvador over the weekend because of landslides and road accidents. 

“Life-threatening flooding and mudslides are likely in and near higher terrain across the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas,” the NHC said, including the eastern city of Ciudad Victoria and Monterrey, Mexico’s third-biggest city in Nuevo Leon state. 

Nuevo Leon State Governor Samuel Garcia said on the social media platform X that people should avoid leaving the house or crossing waterways while it is raining and to keep emergency kits on hand. Workers were ready to address the possible impact of strong winds and rain on the electrical grid, water supplies, and sewage, he said. 

Across the Gulf on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, local media reported strong winds and torrential rains. Some authorities, however, said the storm could help fill the country’s dams, depleted by an extended drought. 

The NHC predicted “moderate coastal flooding” along much of the Texan coast through Thursday as southern areas experience tropical storm conditions.  

Forecasters have warned that this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will likely be highly active because of impacts from the La Nina weather pattern and warmer ocean water. 

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