Alex, the hurricane season’s first named tropical storm, reached that level on Friday, but weakened as it moved across the coast of Belize and El Salvador and over Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Two people were reported to have been swept away by the storm in El Slvador.
Since moving back over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Alex has regained some strength and is once again classified by the National Hurricane Center in Miami as a tropical storm.
The latest NHC bulletin, issued at 4:00 a.m. CDT, placed the center of tropical storm Alex “about 75 miles, 115 kms west of Campeche, Mexico,” and about “440 miles, 710 kms east of Tampico, Mexico.”
The storm’s maximum sustained winds are around 50 mph, 85 km/hr, with higher gusts. Alex is moving toward the northwest near 6 mph, 9 km/hr, and “this general motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours,” said the NHC; adding that “additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Alex could become a hurricane later today or on Tuesday.”
Although the storm is expected to produce heavy rainfall along the Mexican coast, it does not at this stage appear to pose a serious threat to oil platforms in the Gulf, particularly the cleanup operation from the BP oil spill. Nonetheless Shell has reportedly evacuated “non-essential” personnel from rigs closer to the storm’s projected path.
If the storm follows that trajectory, it would be off of the coast of Mexico and Southern Texas early Thursday morning, and could be expected to move over land later in the day.
Source: National Hurricane Center and news reports
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