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Two tropical depressions could form, including one near Florida; Alberto makes landfall in Mexico, weakens

Shira Moolten, Angie DiMichele and Bill Kearney, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Weather News

Tropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2024 hurricane season, weakened to a depression Thursday morning after it made landfall near Tampico, Mexico, a day after it had formed in the Gulf of Mexico.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the depression was 280 miles south-southeast of Brownsville, Texas, traveling west at 18 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, traveling over inland Mexico.

Separate from Alberto, forecasters also are watching two other potential systems, one in the Gulf and one east of the Bahamas, which could affect coastal northern Florida on Friday, though its impact to South Florida is expected to be insignificant.

“It doesn’t have much time to get its act together before it reaches the land areas,” a meteorologist for the National Weather Service Miami said during a weather briefing Thursday. “Impacts across South Florida would be limited to nearly nonexistent.”

Systems to watch

As of 8 a.m. Thursday, a disturbance in the same area of the Gulf of Mexico as Alberto has a 50% chance of forming in the next seven days. It is expected to develop over the southwestern Gulf over the weekend and move slowly west-northwest or northwest.

Meanwhile, forecasters are watching an area of storminess several hundred miles east of the northwestern Bahamas that could approach the southern U.S. East Coast, potentially including Florida, late this week.

As of 8 a.m. Thursday, it has a 40% chance of development over the next two days, with some slow development possible thereafter while the system moves west-northwestward. Forecasters expect the system to reach the east coast by Friday.

The system is likely to stay north of South Florida, and impact coastal areas farther up the coast.

“For the most part we really aren’t expecting any significant impacts to South Florida from this system,” a forecaster for the National Weather Service Miami said Thursday.

First named storm of season

Alberto should weaken quickly, and likely dissipate over Mexico later Thursday, the hurricane center said in its 11 a.m. update. However, it continues to bring flooding and rain to areas of Texas and Mexico.

“Alberto remains a large system and continues to produce moderate coastal flooding across portions of southern Texas, given the onshore wind flow,” forecasters said. “Heavy rainfall associated with Alberto will continue to impact northeastern Mexico throughout the day today, with considerable flash and urban flooding likely.”

The National Hurricane Center has discontinued all tropical storm warnings in Mexico. It had previously issued a warning stretching from the Mexico border north along the Gulf Coast to near Houston.

 

The storm was causing coastal flooding near Galveston, Texas, 500 miles away from its likely landfall in Mexico. Storm surge there is expected to reach 2 to 4 feet, depending on tide. There was even some street flooding in Louisiana.

A few tornadoes are also possible Thursday night in lower South Texas and southeast areas of the state, the NHC said.

Inland in Mexico and South Texas, rainfall could be significant and potentially dangerous, given the mountainous terrain in some of the region.

Rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches across northeast Mexico into South Texas were possible, with maximum totals of 20 inches in areas of Mexico with higher terrain, the NHC said Wednesday night. Flash flooding and mudslides are potential hazards.

2024 season

The 2024 hurricane season, which officially began June 1, is expected to be extremely active.

In its annual May outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the 2024 hurricane season has an 85% chance of being above normal, with 17 to 25 named storms with minimum sustained winds of 39 mph, and eight to 13 hurricanes. An average year has 14 named storms and seven hurricanes.

In addition, NOAA has forecast four to seven major hurricanes for 2024, meaning those that are Category 3 or above.

Experts at Colorado State University stated in their 2024 forecast that the U.S. East Coast, including Florida, had a 34% chance of a major hurricane making landfall this year. The average from 1880-2020 was 21%.

Forecasters say that the record-warm water temperatures that now cover much of the Atlantic Ocean will continue into peak hurricane season from August to October. That warm water fuels hurricanes. By early June, the tropical Atlantic was already as hot as it usually is in mid-August — peak hurricane season.

Hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30.

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©2024 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit at sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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