The first named storm of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, Alberto, formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico late Wednesday morning as it slowly progressed toward the coast of northeast Mexico into the evening. The developing storm was pushing ashore both heavy rains and, in some coastal communities, a significant ocean surge.

The storm is expected to make landfall in northeastern Mexico on Thursday morning while its effects will be felt as far north as coastal Louisiana.

It's the United States' first taste of tropical trouble, but experts are calling for a long, busy season with many more threats on the way.

The storm's most significant impact so far has been its surge, or storm-driven rise in ocean waters above normally dry land at the coast. Social media video showed water inundating coastal communities, including Surfside Beach to the south of Galveston, flowing over roads and underneath elevated homes while overwhelming storm drains.

The surge on Wednesday morning in Galveston Bay reached 4 feet, producing its 7th highest water level on record.

Bands of heavy rain were also pushing inland with flood watches blanketing South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, and stretching along the coastline to Cameron Parish, La.

A tropical storm warning covers coastal counties from just south of Galveston to the U.S.-Mexico border, and incudes Rockport, Corpus Christi and Brownsville. Tropical storm-force winds with 50-mph gusts are probable along the shoreline.

Through early evening on Wednesday, 1 to 4 inches of rain had fallen along much of the Texas coast from Galveston southward. A few areas near Rockport had received even a bit more than that. Wind gusts in this zone had reached 30 to 45 mph.

As of 5 p.m. Central time, Alberto had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was moving to the west-southwest at 9 mph. The Hurricane Center said Alberto is a large tropical storm with tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 415 miles north of the center.

How much rain?

Scattered downpours were pivoting ashore in South Texas throughout Wednesday and should continue through midnight or so. They probably won't make it much north of San Antonio or Victoria.

Storm totals could reach 4 to 8 inches, with localized totals over 10 inches possible. Downpours will taper to intermittent showers by early Thursday.

A near record-moist air mass will be in place, allowing for intense rainfall rates. A weather balloon launched Wednesday morning from Brownsville recorded 2.78 inches of moisture present from the bottom to the top of the atmosphere. That's just shy of the 2.93-inch record set on July 17, 1996.

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