Abandoning their preparations for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, residents along the Texas coast, operating with one eye on the weather forecast, are instead preparing for the possible arrival of Tropical Storm Alex. Alex is the first storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, which is forecast to have a higher than usual number of tropical storms and hurricanes. Many workers attempting to contain the BP oil spill have also had to evacuate, delaying BP’s oil containment efforts, although Alex is not expected to hit the oil spill area. The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center, which are tracking Alex with satellite images, have forecast that Alex will become a hurricane later today. According to hurricane tracking software, it could make landfall anywhere between Baffin Bay, near Kingsville, and La Cruz, Mexico. When Alex does reach land, it is expected to have become a category 1 hurricane.
Texas Governor Rick Perry issued a pre-emptory disaster proclamation for 19 Texas counties yesterday, and urged tourists and residents alike to prepare for the worst. Several local cities have also declared states of emergency as they track the progress of the storm via satellite. Fortunately, Texans have some time to prepare, since Alex is not expected to make landfall until Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center, in a statement published by Reuters earlier today, has advised that “preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.” Tourists are clearing out hotel rooms and temporary self storage units in order to head home early, while many residents have put their recreational vehicles, boats, cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles into self storage units to protect them from the coming 65-mile-per-hour winds, prior to evacuating the area themselves.
City officials at South Padre Island predicted that Alex would be the first hurricane to hit the island since Hurricane Dolly (which had 100-mile-per-hour winds) in 2008. On South Padre Island, recreational vehicle owners have no choice — along with other large vehicles, they are required to evacuate the island. But RV owners should be able to find secure garage space in self storage facilities on the mainland.