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Tropical Storm Alberto forms over Gulf of Mexico, bringing floods

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – 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 coastal flooding across the southern U.S. coast.

The storm was located about 185 miles (300 km) east of Tampico, Mexico, packing maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), the Miami-based 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 will also impact 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, due to 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 X that people should avoid leaving the house or crossing waterways if it is raining and to keep emergency kits at hand. Workers were ready to address possible impacts on the electricity grid, water and sewage supplies caused by strong winds and rains, he said.

In Tamaulipas state, which runs along the Gulf coast, videos shared on social media showed ominous gray skies, while in the United States as far as Louisiana videos showed flooded coastal towns and water smashing into sea walls.

Across the Gulf on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, local news 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 due to impacts from the La Nina weather pattern and warmer ocean waters.

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