Tropical Storm Alex heads toward Bermuda with high winds

Tropical Storm Alex, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was headed toward Bermuda on Sunday after dumping rain on parts of Florida, flooding some roads.

Alex reached tropical storm force after strengthening off Florida’s east coast early Sunday.

National Hurricane Center forecasters said at 8 am (1200 GMT) that Alex had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph) and was centered about 635 miles (1,020 kilometers) west-southwest of Bermuda.

It was moving to the northeast at 22 mph (35 kph) and was expected to pass near or just north of Bermuda on Monday and a tropical storm warning was in effect there.

Parts of South Florida experienced road flooding from heavy rain and wind Saturday. Officials in Miami warned drivers about road conditions as many cars were stuck on flooded streets.

“This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Traveling during these conditions is not recommended. It’s better to wait. Turn around, don’t down,” the city of Miami tweeted.

The city was towing stranded vehicles from flooded roads.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said the storm tested the system of drainage pumps the city recently installed as climate change has increasingly made flooding an issue in the low-lying area.

“We moved the water off pretty quickly, but in some areas, obviously, it was really challenging,” Gelber said. “There were some problems getting through on some streets, one of the main arteries was unpassable, but by and large water is dissipating.”

Alex partially emerged from the remnants of Hurricane Agatha, which slammed into Mexico’s Pacific Coast last week, killing at least nine people and leaving five missing.

In Cuba, the storm killed three people, damaged dozens of homes in Havana and cut off electricity in some areas, according to authorities. Heavy rainfall continued Saturday, but was diminishing as the weather system moved away from the island.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to the storm season but not unprecedented for Florida.

The National Hurricane Center predicted rainfall up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) was possible in South Florida, including the Florida Keys.

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This story corrects that the storm formed over the Atlantic, not Gulf of Mexico, and also fixes lowered official death toll in Mexico to nine.

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