Tropical Storm Alex, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, formed Sunday morning in the Gulf of Mexico on a track towardwith heavy rain and gusty winds.
National Hurricane Center forecasters said in a 5 a.m. advisory that Alex had sustained winds of 50 mph and was about 270 miles northeast of Fort Pierce, Florida.
Parts of South Florida were inundated Saturday by heavy rain and wind. Miami officials warned drivers of road conditions as many cars were stuck in flooded streets.
“This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Traveling in these conditions is not recommended. Better to wait. Turn around, don’t drown,” the City of Miami said. tweeted.
The city was towing stranded vehicles on flooded roads.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the storm tested the drain pump system the city recently installed as climate change has increasingly made flooding an issue in the low-lying area.
“We got the water out pretty quickly, but in some areas obviously it was really difficult,” Gelber said. “There were some traffic issues on some streets, one of the main thoroughfares was impassable, but overall the water is dissipating.”
Alex is a new version of the storm that was called Hurricane Agatha when it slammed into Mexico’s Pacific coast earlier this week, killing at least 11 people and leaving 20 missing. It received a new name once the storm crossed Mexico into the Atlantic Basin.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Bermuda.
In Cuba, the storm killed three people, damaged dozens of homes in Havana and knocked out power in some areas, authorities said. Heavy rains continued on Saturday, but lessened as the weather system moved away from the island.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said most government services, such as bus lines and trains, plan to operate normally over the weekend. Canal levels in South Florida have been lowered to minimize flooding from heavy rains.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to storm season, but not unprecedented for Florida.
The National Hurricane Center predicted rainfall of up to 10 inches was possible in southern Florida, including the Florida Keys. The storm was not expected to produce high winds or major storm surge. But local flooding was likely.