Tropical Storm Alberto threatens Texas with first, severe flooding of season

The first tropical storm of the hurricane season took aim at Texas on Thursday, threatening the Gulf Coast with severe flooding and high winds.

Hurricane Alberto formed in the western Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center announced at 10 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

The storm is expected to bring heavy rain, coastal flooding and strong winds to the Texas and northeastern Mexico coasts through Thursday, officials said.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect along the Texas coast from the San Luis Pass to the mouth of the Rio Grande, with high winds and 10 to 15 inches of rain expected in Corpus Christi. The state government implemented a large-scale emergency in anticipation of widespread flooding.

The National Weather Service office in Houston said at 4:30 a.m. local time that there were already reports of coastal flooding as the rain moved inland.

“The disturbance is very large, with rainfall, coastal flooding and wind impacts likely far from the center along the coasts of Texas and northeastern Mexico,” the National Hurricane Center said in an update.

The The Cyclone Center added Early Wednesday, life-threatening mudslides could occur in the highlands of northern Mexico, including the cities of Monterrey and Ciudad Victoria.

On Tuesday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the state Division of Emergency Management to put the Texas State Emergency Operations Center on Level 2 alert, meaning it began 24-hour operations.

“As we prepare for severe tropical weather, Texas is activating all personnel and resources necessary to support Texans and communities vulnerable to heavy rainfall and flooding,” he said in a statement.

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The Texas A&M Forest Service has mobilized four squads with 100 personnel and 24 vehicles, while the Texas National Guard has three squads totaling more than 40 personnel with 20 vehicles, including Chinook helicopters.

The weather service has asked people in the affected areas to provide food, water and other necessities for five to seven days.

The storm warning came as 71 million people were under a heat advisory or warning Wednesday as a severe heat wave is expected to last through Friday.

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