MIAMI – Tropical Storm Alex, which became the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season Sunday, headed toward Bermuda after killing three people in Cuba and causing flooding in parts of Florida.
Alex reached tropical storm force after strengthening off Florida's east coast early Sunday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Alex had strengthened a bit by late Sunday, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph). It was centered about 245 miles (395 kilometers) west of Bermuda.
It was moving to the east-northeast at a brisk 28 mph (44 kph) and was expected to pass just north of Bermuda on Monday. A tropical storm warning was in effect there. Forecasters said it could drop 1 to 2 inches (25 to 50 mm) of rain across Bermuda beginning late Sunday and into Monday.
National Security Minister Michael Weeks said emergency services were monitoring the storm.
In Cuba, Alex killed three people, damaged dozens of homes in Havana and cut off electricity in some areas, authorities reported.
Parts of South Florida experienced road flooding from heavy rain and wind Saturday. Officials in Miami were towing stranded vehicles from flooded roadways.
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 made landfall on on Mexico’s southern Pacific Coast last week, killing at least nine people and leaving five missing as it moved overland.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially began Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to the storm season but not unprecedented for Florida.
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.