Tropical Storm Alberto forms in the Gulf of Mexico as hurricane season gets underway

Tropical Storm Alberto formed in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday, kicking off what’s expected to be one of the busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons on record.

Alberto, which has been brewing in the Gulf for about a week, reached tropical storm strength Wednesday morning and in the afternoon had maximum sustained winds of about 40 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

Forecasters say the storm will bring heavy rain, coastal flooding and gusty winds to the coasts of Texas and northeastern Mexico through Thursday.

The center of the storm is expected to reach the coast of northeastern Mexico early Thursday. Some strengthening is expected before it reaches shore, but then, forecasters say, it will likely weaken quickly as it moves inland. Alberto should dissipate over Mexico by Thursday night, the Hurricane Center says.

Will Alberto affect North Carolina?

Though Alberto is a big storm, with tropical-storm-force winds extending 415 miles from its center, the storm is tracking to the west and is not expected to have significant effects in North Carolina.

Is it unusual to have a tropical storm in June?

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, and while storms can be expected any time during that window, the National Hurricane Center says storms form in June about once every other year on average.

Most June storms form in the northwest Caribbean Sea or in the Gulf of Mexico, the Hurricane Center says. Historically, storms that form in June in the Caribbean typically track toward Texas or Louisiana, the Hurricane Center says.

Has NC ever been hit by a hurricane in June?

Since 1851, several tropical depressions and storms have had effects on North Carolina in June, but no hurricane has made landfall in the state during that month.

Emergency management officials say June is the perfect time to gather hurricane supplies so that if more severe storms come later in the season, you’ll be ready.

It’s expected to be a busy season

Forecasters have said that because of excessively warm water in the Atlantic and the effects of a La Niña weather pattern expected to develop by August, the 2024 hurricane season could be one of the busiest ever.

Forecasters at at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center have said there is an 85% chance of an above-normal season and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season.

Before hurricane season ends Nov. 30, NOAA expects:

17 to 25 named storms, meaning those with sustained winds of 39 mph or higher.

8 to 13 of those will become hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph or higher.

4 to 7 of the hurricanes will be “major,” meaning they’ll fall into Category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher.

NOAA’s predictions are in line with the 2024 hurricane forecast Colorado State University released in April.