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First tropical storm of 2024 forms near Mexico

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Tropical storm-force wind forecast for Alberto as of Wednesday morning (Image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

A massive tropical storm has become the first named storm of the 2024 hurricane season, but the system is not expected to affect Bermuda.

The US-based National Hurricane Centre said Tropical Storm Alberto formed in the western Gulf of Mexico yesterday morning, with the storm expected to strike northeastern Mexico early today.

“Maximum sustained winds are near 40mph, with higher gusts,” the NHC said.

“Some slight strengthening is forecast before the centre of Alberto reaches land. Rapid weakening is expected once the centre moves inland, and Alberto is likely to dissipate over Mexico on Thursday or Thursday night.

“Alberto is a large tropical storm, with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 415 miles north of the centre.”

In addition to high winds, Alberto is expected to bring heavy rain to Mexico and Texas, likely causing “considerable flash and urban flooding along with new and renewed river flooding”.

Meteorologists warned that storm surge will raise water levels by as much as three feet above normal tide levels, which will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

The National Hurricane Centre’s two-day outlook as of Wednesday morning (Image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

The NHC is also monitoring another system closer to the island for signs of possible storm development, but estimated that there was only a 10 per cent chance of the disturbance becoming tropical in the next two days.

The system was southwest of Bermuda and expected to move farther west or northwest in the coming days.

Meteorologists have warned in preseason forecasts that this year’s hurricane season is expected to be busier than usual because of a number of factors.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an 85 per cent chance of an above-normal hurricane season, blaming warm seas and the expected return of La Niña conditions this summer.

The NOAA forecasted 17 to 25 total named storms, of which 13 are expected to reach hurricane strength.

The organisation also forecast that between four and seven storms would reach or exceed Category 3 strength, with sustained winds of at least 74mph.

The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and officially ends on November 30.

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Published June 20, 2024 at 7:55 am (Updated June 20, 2024 at 7:55 am)

First tropical storm of 2024 forms near Mexico

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