At least one dead as Storm Alberto takes aim at Mexico's Gulf coast

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The outer edges of Tropical Storm Alberto began to unleash heavy rains over parts of northeastern Mexico near the US border as the large tropical system closed in on the Gulf coast, according to a US National Hurricane Center (NHC) advisory on Wednesday.

The storm was located about 135 miles (217 km) east of the Mexican port of Tampico, packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph), the Miami-based forecaster said, as military and emergency services personnel braced for its full impact.

Alberto is the first named storm of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, though its sustained wind speeds remain below hurricane strength.

At least one death has already been attributed to Alberto. A 15-year-old boy was swept away by the current of a river and drowned outside the city of Monterrey, Mexico's third biggest, in Nuevo Leon state, according to local emergency services.

The NHC noted some "slight strengthening" is possible over Wednesday night.

The center of Alberto is expected to make landfall along the coast of Mexico's Tamaulipas state, just south of the US state of Texas, early Thursday morning. While it will likely weaken quickly, it is also seen bringing torrential rainfall, coastal flooding and strong winds.

The NHC warned of considerable flash flooding in the storm's path, including in urban areas, along with swollen rivers and potential mudslides.

Mexico's national water commission Conagua also issued a warning for overflowing rivers, landslides and flooding.

Nuevo Leon state Governor Samuel Garcia encouraged area residents to avoid leaving their homes when it is raining and that preparations were in place to quickly address possible impacts to local power supplies, water and sewage systems.

Along the US Gulf coast, including parts of Texas and Louisiana, videos posted on social media showed some flooding in coastal towns and waves smashing into sea walls.

The NHC also cited the possibility of further coastal flooding along with the formation of tornadoes in Texas linked to Alberto.

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