Tropical Storm Alex forms after drenching South Florida

WEATHER NEWS: Tropical Storm Alex forms after drenching South Florida

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The National Hurricane Center declared that the first tropical storm of the Atlantic season formed Sunday, less than a day after its origins deluged South Florida, unloading up to 15 inches of rain and flooding parts of Miami.

The storm — named Alex — was born at 2 a.m. Sunday as it zipped into the open Atlantic on a path toward Bermuda, which is under a tropical storm warning.

The Hurricane Center says Bermuda could experience tropical storm conditions as soon as late Sunday night, and it predicts 2 to 3 inches of rain through Monday. The storm is 550 miles west of the island and is barreling east-northeast at 23 mph.

Although the disturbance that became Alex struggled to organize on its approach to Florida, hostile environmental conditions have since eased. That has allowed Alex’s peak winds to leap to 60 mph as of Sunday morning, and they could intensify slightly, according to the Hurricane Center. But it’s forecast to weaken once it moves over cooler waters Monday into Tuesday.

Alex will probably unleash stronger winds on Bermuda than its origins did in Florida, but it is unlikely to create the kind of mess it left behind in Miami because it is moving much more swiftly.

Even though it wasn’t a named storm while passing South Florida, the slow-moving conglomeration of thunderstorms unloaded up to 15 inches of rain over two days. In downtown Miami, the torrents turned some streets into rivers, submerging and stranding scores of vehicles.

Heavy rain caused flash flooding in Miami overnight into June 4 as developing Tropical Storm Alex hit South Florida. (Video: The Washington Post)

The tropical rainstorm prompted flash flood warnings, while rain fell at up to 2 to 3 inches per hour.

The National Weather Service received reports of nearly 15 inches of rain in Hollywood and Margate. Miami International Airport registered about 9 inches of rain — or roughly an entire month’s worth.

Social media documented some unusual scenes: Fish swam through a flooded parking garage, and a man and a dog were separately seen being pulled through the streets on surfboards.

Flooding was also reported in many areas outside Miami, sometimes seeping into homes and businesses.

In western and central Cuba, at least two people died in floodwaters.

The disturbance that became Alex drew in the remnants of Hurricane Agatha, which struck southern Mexico a week ago as the country’s most intense May storm on record. At least nine people died there in the flooding and mudslides.

Alex kicks off what is forecast to be the seventh straight more-active-than-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting 14 to 21 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes.

NOAA forecasts seventh straight busy Atlantic hurricane season

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