TS Alberto moves inland over Mexico as season’s first named storm

TS Alberto moves inland over Mexico as season’s first named storm

Tropical Storm Alberto, the season’s first named storm, rumbled ashore early Thursday and moved inland over northeast Mexico, bringing heavy rains to the parched region and leaving at least three dead.

The storm was expected to weaken rapidly over land, but carry several inches of desperately needed rain inland to Mexico’s Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila states, as well as south Texas.

Alberto had spurred tropical storm warnings covering most of the western Gulf of Mexico’s coastline from Texas to Veracruz. The storm made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kmh).

Schools were closed across Tamaulipas state where Alberto came ashore and would be through Friday. Shelters were prepared across the state to receive residents trying to escape high water.

As much as 5 inches (13 centimetres) to 10 inches (25 centimetres) of rain was expected in some parts of northeast Mexico and southern Texas, with even higher isolated totals possible, according to the National Hurricane Centre. Some higher locations in Mexico could see as much as 20 inches (50 centimetres) of rain, which could result in mudslides and flash flooding, especially in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

Alberto had rumbled toward northeast Mexico as the first named storm of the season, carrying heavy rains that left three people dead. But the storm also brought hope to a region suffering under a prolonged, severe drought.

Mexican authorities downplayed the risk posed by Alberto and instead pinned their hopes on its ability to ease the parched region’s water needs.

“The (wind) speeds are not such as to consider it a risk,” said Tamaulipas state Secretary of Hydrological Resources Raúl Quiroga Álvarez during a news conference late Wednesday. Instead, he suggested people greet Alberto happily. “This is what we’ve been waiting for for eight years in all of Tamaulipas.”

Much of Mexico has been suffering under severe drought, with northern Mexico especially hard hit. Quiroga noted that the state’s reservoirs were low and Mexico owed the United States a massive water debt in their shared use of the Rio Grande.

“This is a win-win event for Tamaulipas,” he said.

But in nearby Nuevo Leon state, civil protection authorities reported three deaths linked to Alberto’s rains. They said one man died in the La Silla river in the city of Monterrey, the state capital, and that two minors died from electric shocks in the municipality of Allende. Local media reported that the minors were riding a bicycle in the rain.

Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel García wrote on his account on social media platform X that metro and public transportation services would be suspended in Monterrey from Wednesday night until midday Thursday when Alberto has passed.

Alberto was bringing rains and flooding to the coast of Texas as well.

The US National Weather Service said the main hazard for southern coastal Texas is flooding from excess rain. On Wednesday the NWS said there is “a high probability” of flash flooding in southern coastal Texas. Tornadoes or waterspouts are possible.

Areas along the Texas coast were seeing some road flooding and dangerous rip currents Wednesday, and waterspouts were spotted offshore.

In Mexico, residents expressed hope for Alberto bringing rain.

Blanca Coronel Moral, a resident of Tampico, ventured out to the city’s waterfront Wednesday to await Alberto’s arrival.

“We have been needing this water that we’re now getting, thank God. Let’s hope that we only get water,” said Coronel Moral. “Our lagoon, which gives us drinking water, is completely dry.”

Alberto was expected to rapidly weaken over land and dissipate Thursday.

  • PublishedJune 20, 2024