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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tropical Storm Alex slams into Belize

Tropical Storm Alex made landfall last night with 65 MPH winds dumping heavy rain on the Central American nation. The storm is slowly weakening as it crosses the Yucatan headed for the Gulf of Mexico. Alex has already weakened to a tropical depression but is expected to begin strengthening later this evening after it enters the Gulf.

Tropical Storm Alex onshore in Belize. (Examiner)

As of the 11 pm EDT advisory, Tropical Storm Alex has made landfall in Belize and winds are down to 60 mph. Some weakening will take place as it travels over land through Sunday, but watch the video of the satellite loop at landfall below. Also check out the images and forecasts in the slide show here.

Tropical Storm Alex was moving to the west northwest through Belize at 12 mph, and was 20 miles northwest of Belize City, which appears to have taken a direct hit. This is a large storm with tropical storm force winds extending 105 miles from the center.

Alex Landfall Belize IR (Examiner)

Tropical Storm Alex is now located near the border between Belize and Mexico and is moving slowly to the northwest. The size of this storm indicates that there is a lot of potential for Alex to strengthen once it re-enters the warm water. Forecasts are indicating that Alex will reach Category 2 status before making landfall along the Mexican gulf coast or in far south Texas.

Tropical Storm Alex makes landfall in Belize (Reuters)

Alex, the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, had sustained winds of near 40 miles per hour (65 km per hour) and was located about 55 miles (90 km) southwest of Chetumal, Mexico.

The storm was expected to ease its pace as it moved over Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula overnight, the Miami-based center said at 2 a.m. EDT/0600 GMT.

--snip--

Alex was moving west-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph) but its speed should decrease as it moves over land.

"Strengthening is forecast on Sunday night and Monday after Alex moves over the southern Gulf of Mexico," the center said.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the coast of Belize and the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula from Chetumal to Cancun. The hurricane center said the warning would likely be lifted later on Sunday.

But tropical storm-force winds were still occurring off the east coast of Belize from near Belize City northeast to Ambergris Cay and Cayo Norte, Mexico, according to the center.

Alex was expected to bring 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) of rain to the Yucatan Peninsula, southern Mexico, northern Guatemala, Honduras and Belize through Monday morning. Isolated amounts of up to 15 inches (38 cm) were possible over mountainous areas.

"These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," according to the center.

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