McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Crews cleared roadside ditches, placed water pumps at flood-prone intersections and began boarding up windows as officials in south Texas learned Tuesday they would have less time than expected to prepare for Alex before the storm hit the state’s Gulf Coast.
National Weather Service official Mark Fox told state and local officials that Alex was expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane as early as 7 p.m. Wednesday, about 12 hours earlier than previously forecast. The news came while workers fit windowns of Cameron County‘s historic building with sheets of plywood.
Compared to July 2008’s Hurricane Dolly at the same point in its trajectory, Alex is a little bigger, with tropical storm force winds extending 150 miles out from the center, Fox said. The tropical storm was about 350 miles southeast of Brownsville and was expected to strengthen to a hurricane in the next eight to 12 hours. Landfall was projected for just south of Brownsville in northeast Mexico, but the Rio Grande Valley of Texas was expected to get a thorough soaking at least.