The first tropical storm of the 2024 season forms and is called Alberto

According to the forecast, heavy rain, flooding in coastal areas and gusts of wind are expected along the coasts of Texas and northwest Mexico.

Alberto, which brings strong winds, downpours and has caused some flooding on the coasts of Texas and Mexico, will make landfall in northern Mexico on Thursday, according to forecasts.

“Heavy rain and water, as usual, is the most important thing about tropical storms,” said Michael Brennan, director of the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC, for its acronym in English).

Alberto was located 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of Tampico, Mexico, and 295 miles (475 kilometers) south-southeast of Brownsville, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h), according to the NHC, based in Miami.

According to forecasts, the center of the storm will reach the northern coast of Mexico – south of the mouth of the Rio Grande (Grande) – on Thursday morning.

Brennan said winds could reach speeds of 45 mph (72 km/h) to 50 mph (80 km/h) before the storm makes landfall.

Some parts of the Texas coast could get 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rain, with isolated areas likely to get more, Brennan said. She noted that some places on higher ground in Mexico could see up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rain, which could cause landslides and flash flooding, especially in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo León.

The governor of Tamaulipas, Américo Villarreal, published on Wednesday on the social network X that classes were going to be suspended throughout the state from Wednesday to Friday.

The storm was moving west at 9 mph (15 km/h). Tropical storm watches 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 south of the river mouth to Tecolutla.

“It is expected to weaken rapidly once the center moves inland, and Alberto is likely to dissipate over Mexico” on Thursday, according to the NHC.

The United States National Weather Service (NWS) said that the main danger for the south coast of Texas is flooding due to excess rain. On Wednesday, the NWS said there was a “high probability” of flash flooding along the south Texas coast. Tornadoes or water whirlwinds are also possible.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the hurricane season that began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30 will likely be well above average, with between 17 and 25 storms with name. Up to 13 hurricanes and four hurricanes of category 3 or greater are expected.

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 14 named storms, seven of them hurricanes and three hurricanes of Category 3 or greater.

Brennan noted that the first named system in the Atlantic Ocean typically occurs on June 20, so Alberto is “more or less on schedule.”

In the town of Surfside Beach, located on a barrier island off the Texas coast about 104 kilometers (65 miles) south of Houston, Mayor Gregg Bisso said Wednesday that rains had already dumped about 60 centimeters (2 feet) of water on the streets on the west end of the island, making them impassable.

“We are on a barrier island and the rain has nowhere to go, plus the extremely high tides, everything is gathering there and flooding all the streets,” Bisso said, adding that double red flags had been placed on the beach to warn to people that no one should be in the water due to extreme rip tides.

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

All homes on the island are 10 to 14 feet (3 to 4 meters) above ground level, so flooding is not expected and no evacuations have been ordered.

“We’re just waiting for the rain to stop and the tide to go out,” he said.

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

An unnamed storm in early June dumped more than 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain in some parts of South Florida, stranding several motorists on flooded streets and sending water into homes and low-lying areas.

“People underestimate the power of water and sometimes don’t take rain and the threats it poses seriously, especially if they are driving in an area and if they see water covering the road, they don’t want to drive through it,” he said. Brennan. “They don’t know how deep the water is… it doesn’t take more than a few centimeters of moving water to drag their car.”