Update: Alex Weakens to a Tropical Depression

July 1, 2010
(4:45 p.m. EDT) -- After causing heavy rain and floods in Mexico, Alex -- the first named hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season -- has been downgraded to a tropical depression. The storm is expected to dissipate overnight.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm -- which hit Mexico as a category two hurricane early this morning -- has now weakened to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour. Alex is located about 165 miles west-southwest of La Pesca, Mexico and 150 miles east of Zacatecas, Mexico.

The Associated Press is reporting that when Alex hit the coast of Mexico it ripped off roofs and caused severe flooding -- causing thousands to leave coastal towns and villages.

Earlier in the week, it was also reported that rough seas and fierce winds in the gulf 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

Due to bad weather and sea conditions in Galveston, Texas, Carnival Ecstasy has been unable to dock in the port and disembark guests. In a statement this morning, Carnival told Cruise Critic that as soon as it is safe, the ship will head into Galveston. However, this afternoon, a representative from the Port of Galveston said that "we are awaiting a decision from Carnival Cruise Lines as to whether or not the cruise ship will be docking today. The pilots have suspended boardings due to high seas."

Carnival Ecstasy is returning from a five-night cruise that departed on Saturday, June 26, and is supposed to embark on a four-night cruise to Cozumel today.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

All hurricane warnings have now been cancelled, but the storm could still produce up to 12 inches of rain over parts of north-eastern Mexico and up to four inches over southern Texas, and the NHC is warning that the rainfall "could cause life-threatening flash floods." Also tornados are possible over southern Texas today. Already, dangerous storm conditions have killed four people in Guatemala and El Salvador this weekend, reports the A.P.

This will be our last update on Alex.

--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor; updated by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor

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