• The San Juan Daily Star

Tropical Storm Alex buffets Bermuda after taking at least 3 lives in Cuba

Rainfall from the weather system that would become Tropical Storm Alex flooded the Brickell area near downtown Miami on Saturday.

By Derrick Bryson Taylor

Tropical Storm Alex brought strong winds and rain to Bermuda on Monday, days after the weather system caused flooding across South Florida and killed at least three people in Cuba.

As of Monday afternoon, Alex, which early Sunday became the first named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, had sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. As the storm’s center moved away from the island, the Bermuda Weather Service discontinued a tropical storm warning and said the winds would begin to subside.

Alex was quickly moving east-northeast at 29 mph and was expected to weaken, becoming an extratropical low by Monday evening. Up to 2 inches of rain was expected on the island.

In an update Monday, the hurricane center said Alex’s winds extended up to 205 miles from the storm’s center. By 11 a.m., L.F. Wade International Airport had reported sustained winds of up to 43 mph, the center said.

In anticipation of the storm, public schools in Bermuda were closed Monday and government offices would have a delayed opening, said Michael Weeks, Bermuda’s minister of national security.

Public beaches on the island would also be closed for swimming, he said, adding that public transportation — including buses and ferries — would be suspended for at least the morning.

The system that became Tropical Storm Alex formed in the Gulf of Mexico last week partially from the remnants of Hurricane Agatha, a Pacific region storm that roared into Mexico as a Category 2 storm with heavy rains and damaging winds. That storm killed at least nine people as it moved over Mexico and into the Gulf.

The system, not yet at tropical storm strength, soaked South Florida by Saturday, causing flash flooding. In Miami, drivers faced heavy rains and impassable streets, leading to the rescue of several people from rising waters.

By Sunday afternoon, it had strengthened into the first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, and parts of South Florida had received more than a foot of rain, according to preliminary rainfall totals from the National Weather Service in Miami. Hollywood, Florida, just south of Fort Lauderdale, received nearly 15 inches of rain in 48 hours. Similar totals were recorded in Margate and Biscayne Park. The storm also disrupted air travel across South Florida, where hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed Saturday.

Parts of western Cuba were submerged by the storm, which was also responsible for at least the three deaths, according to NBC News.

This is the first year since 2014 in which a named storm did not form in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1. Meteorologists expect an “above normal” Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, with 14 to 21 named storms considered likely. Up to 10 of those are expected to reach hurricane strength.

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