Cross your fingers: The first tropical storm of the season has formed in the Caribbean. Alex is expected to pass over the Yucatan Peninsula this weekend, and while current forecast models say it won't pass over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, its path could change once it starts picking up speed. And then, of course, the next storm could be worse.
The National Hurricane Center still gives the storm brewing in the Atlantic a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression within two days. Some forecasters, including Joe Bastardi of Accuweather, say the storm likely will grow into Tropical Storm Alex, the first tropical storm this year.
The large area of clouds and thunderstorms is located about 10 degrees north of the equator, about halfway between the Cape Verde Islands and the Windward Islands. Atmospheric moisture and instability surrounding the storm system give it a high chance of becoming stronger, according to the hurricane center discussion.
Two small tornadoes spawned by Hurricane Alex damaged property in Port Isabel and western Brownsville but caused no injuries, the National Weather Service said.
As Alex plodded northwest toward Mexico’s coast, lashing South Texas with rain bands and growing toward its potential Category 2 size and late-night landfall, the border area on its northern edge was put under a tornado watch until 8 p.m.