Tropical Storm Alex Nearly a Hurricane, Heading Away from Cruise Ports

June 29, 2010
(8:25 p.m. EDT) -- Tropical Storm Alex, the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, is near hurricane strength as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm is currently located about 215 miles east of La Pesca, Mexico, and 265 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas. Maximum sustained winds have reached 70 miles per hour, and the storm continues to strengthen. Alex is moving toward the north-northwest, and is expected to make landfall near the Texas-Mexico border late Wednesday.

Gale-force winds and storm surges in the gulf could cause serious problems for the oil spill cleanup. Although current predictions show that Alex will cross the gulf away from the oil spill, the Associated Press is reporting that rough seas and fierce winds have caused oil-skimming ships and barges that block the oil to return to port. And although scientists say that storm conditions could actually help the oil to break up and evaporate, the rough weather is also pushing oil towards shore.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

No itinerary changes have been announced.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

Hurricane warnings are in effect for Texas (south of Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande) and Mexico (from the mouth of the Rio Grande to La Cruz). Tropical storm warnings are in effect on the Texas coast from Baffin Bay to Port O'Connor and on the Mexico coast from La Cruz to Cabo Rojo. Rain from the storm could produce flash floods and mudslides in Texas and Mexico, and as early as tonight, tropical storm wind conditions could begin to impact coastal regions. Storm surge and high waves will accompany Alex when it makes landfall. Already, dangerous storm conditions have killed four people in Guatemala and El Salvador this weekend, reports the A.P.

Given Alex's forecasted past, homeports along the gulf, such as Galveston, are unlikely to be impacted this week. However, that could change if the storm turns to the north or east.

Stay tuned.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor

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