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Deadly, dying Alberto moves deeper into drenched Mexico and South Texas

National Hurricane Center

Alberto, the first named storm of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, dumped heavy rains into South Texas — including the San Antonio region — as its center steadily moved deeper into Mexico on Thursday.

Most of the warnings along the Gulf Coast expired by Thursday morning, and skies over San Antonio brightened my midday.

By 10 a.m., the National Hurricane Center (NHS) downgraded Alberto to a tropical depression.

Jimmy Fowler with the National Weather Service said the storm sent rain and gusty winds across a wide area of Texas.

“Generally, around 1 to 3 inches," he explained. "But we did get some isolated higher amounts. Looks like the highest rain total was down in Sargent, Texas, with 4.94 inches. And the highest wind gusts were down by the Galveston Bay entrance with at wind gusts of 52 miles an hour.”

Effects of Alberto stretched far across Texas, but damage seemed limited. Storm surge from Alberto flooded the city of Surfside Beach near Galveston but no injuries were reported. Laredo opened emergency shelters for the community but soon closed them because no one showed up. Forecasters on Thursday said overall rainfall totals in the Lower Rio Grande Valley could be lower than expected.

Gov. Greg Abbott declared a disaster in 51 counties impacted by the storm.

However, the tropical storm brought serious dangers to northern and northeastern Mexican communities, including the risk of life-threatening flooding and mudslides in the states of Coahuila, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.

Samuel Garcia, the governor of Nuevo Leon, confirmed on Wednesday night the deaths of three minors.

A fifteen year old attempting to recover a soccer ball from the La Silla River, which runs through the city of Monterrey, was overpowered by the high-speed current produced by the torrential rains.

In the city of Allende, about 30 miles southwest of Monterrey, two 12-year-old children were electrocuted in the water.

Mexico’s civil protection agency also confirmed a fourth death but details were not available.

For San Antonio, the rain and clouds were forecast to cool daytime highs into the 80s through Friday.

The tropics may be the region's only hope for any rain as a mostly hot and dry summer continues. August and September tend to be the more active months for tropical disturbances to approach the Texas coast.

Drought conditions are now moderate in Bexar County, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, after El Niño conditions resulted in a slightly wetter start to the year here. But the city has been slipping — it is now an inch below the year-to-date rainfall average at San Antonio International Airport.

San Antonio residents remain under Stage 2 water restrictions, only allowed to water by automatic sprinkler once a week based on street address.

Permitted water pumpers from the Edwards Aquifer have been placed under Stage 4 water restrictions by the authority that manages it. Their pumping has been reduced by 40%. Historical first-ever Stage 5 water restrictions could be coming if rain does not trickle into the aquifer's recharge zone soon.

As Alberto faded from the scene, the NHS turned its attention to another low pressure system "forecast to form over southeastern Mexico and northern Central America on Friday."

Experts expected the system to strengthen as it entered the Bay of Campeche and possibly turn into the next tropical depression this weekend.

The NHS also monitored a new system in the Atlantic Ocean that could grow into a tropical depression on Friday as it moves northwest toward Florida or Georgia.

The season

The Atlantic season officially began on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30. Forecasters predicted this year's season may see about two dozen named storms, including 11 hurricanes and five major hurricanes.

Michael Brennan, director of the NHC, explained that forecasters expected “17 to 25 named storms that would be tropical storm strength or greater, of which eight to 13 would become hurricanes, and four to seven major hurricanes of category three to five on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale."

He noted that this year’s hurricane forecast could break a record for NOAA. “The high end of those ranges are the highest numbers that NOAA has ever forecast in its May seasonal outlook,” he said.

Record warm sea temperatures, combined with the La Niña effect — which takes away wind shear that can block hurricanes -- created the ideal conditions for frequent tropical developments this year.

National Weather Service

Matt Rosencrans, lead forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), agreed that warmer water is a problem. "The sea surface in the main development region right now are 1-2 centigrade or 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal," he explained. "They are equivalent to what we normally see in August, and they are dramatically warmer than in 2005."

2005 was one of the most destructive years for hurricanes, which saw Hurricane Katrina, among several others.

Brennan said climate change created additional risks. “We’re seeing increased rainfall rates and resultant freshwater flooding," he explained, "and that’s concerning because that hazard in particular has killed more people than any other Atlantic Basin tropical storms and hurricanes in the last decade or so.”

Also, in anticipation of another crowded season, if this year's list of names is exhausted, forecasters will not draw more names from the Greek alphabet, as it did in 2020. The World Meteorological Organization decided in 2021 that a supplemental list of names would be used instead.


On June 10, the Texas Department of Public Safety reminded all residents to prepare themselves for the very busy season.

Tropical weather in the Gulf of Mexico can quickly move inland, unleashing flash floods that can inundate homes and winds that can rip down power lines and plunge communities into darkness.

Authorities may order evacuations, and residents should be ready to efficiently head for safer parts of the state. They advised residents to study hurricane evacuation maps and identify at least two routes they could take — a primary route and a backup route.

An emergency kit should include water, non-perishable food, medications, first aid, flashlights, batteries, battery-powered radio, personal hygiene items and important documents.

Residents were urged to ensure much of that kit was assembled now, and that those documents can be quickly located, added to the kit and taken with them. They should also keep in mind the special needs of elderly or disabled loved ones or neighbors.

Also, for residents in the Corpus Christi area, the public works department planned to hold sandbag distribution events at Waldron Field and at the City Service Center, from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 22, and then a week later at the same time at the City Service Center and at West Guth Park.

The bags will be pre-filled. Residents may take up to seven bags per vehicle. The events will end early if all the bags are distributed. More information available here.

Houston Public Media's Matt Thomas, Jack Williams and Lota Nwaukwa contributed to this report.

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