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Alex - First Named Storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 29, 2010 01:07 PM

Published: 2010-06-29 13:07:37
Topics: Weather
Countries: USA , Belize , Mexico

As reported by the Associated Press

Strengthening Alex expected to become hurricane

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico — A strengthening Tropical Storm "Alex" was expected to become a hurricane Tuesday as it swirled toward the Gulf coast of northern Mexico and southern Texas, where authorities were readying emergency shelters and distributing sandbags.

Alex had maximum sustained winds near 70 mph (110 kph) early Tuesday, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, predicted the storm would grow into a hurricane sometime Tuesday as it headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border at the mouth of the Rio Grande. Landfall seems likely Wednesday night.

Forecaster Todd Kimberlain said conditions Monday led the center to conclude the storm would be a less powerful hurricane than initially thought.

Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 105 miles (165 kilometers) from the storm's center, and Alex was moving toward the northwest at 12 mph (20 kph).

A hurricane warning was posted for the Texas coast from Baffin Bay, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south to the mouth of the Rio Grande river; and for an additional 225 miles (360 kilometers) south to La Cruz, Mexico. Except for the border area itself, both regions are lightly populated.

Alex caused flooding and mudslides that caused at least five deaths in Central America over the weekend, though Belize and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula appeared largely unscathed.

The storm made landfall in Belize on Saturday night as a tropical storm and weakened into a depression on Sunday as it crossed the Yucatan Peninsula.

For the latest advisories for "Alex" see the Hurricane Resource Centre's website.