Update: Alex Returns to Tropical Storm Strength

June 27, 2010
Update, 10:40 p.m. EDT -- Alex has regained tropical storm strength, with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour. The storm could become a hurricane within 48 hours as it heads over the gulf toward Mexico.

(1:10 p.m. EDT) -- Alex, the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, has weakened to a tropical depression as it crosses Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It's expected to re-strengthen when it emerges into the Gulf of Mexico later today.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is currently located about 85 miles south of Campeche, Mexico, and 80 miles east of Ciudad del Carmen. Maximum sustained winds have dropped from 65 to 35 miles per hour. Alex is moving toward the west-northwest and is expected to cross the Yucatan Peninsula today and emerge over the gulf, where it should strengthen into a tropical storm again.

Gale-force winds in the gulf could cause serious problems for the oil spill cleanup, and storm surges could bring oil closer to shore. However, current predictions show that Alex will cross a small, southeastern part of the gulf along the Mexican coastline and won't come near the oil spill. However, that forecast could change once the storm hits open water.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

The only Royal Caribbean ship currently affected is Grandeur of the Seas. The ship was scheduled to call in Cozumel on Sunday, but is calling in Nassau, Bahamas, instead.

Carnival's Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Triumph were scheduled to call on Progreso on Monday and Cozumel on Tuesday; in deference to the storm's path, both ships will call on the ports in reverse order (Cozumel on Monday, Progreso on Tuesday).

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

All storm watches and warnings have been discontinued. Heavy rains are likely in the Yucatan, southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize through Monday morning, and flash floods and mudslides are possible.

Depending on where Alex heads once it crosses into the Gulf of Mexico, homeports along the gulf, such as Galveston, could also be impacted next week.

Stay tuned.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor

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