[Updated at 10:06 p.m.] The latest developments on Hurricane Alex as it bears down on the Gulf coasts of Texas and Mexico:
- Hurricane Alex has made landfall along the Mexican coast as a Category 2 with winds of 105 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
- The western eye wall of Hurricane Alex is coming ashore in an unpopulated area of the Mexican coast about 100 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. Alex remains a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 100mph.
- A spokesman for the city of McAllen, Texas, says 600 residents of Hidalgo County are in local shelters. Street flooding in the area has been localized, with no reports of major damage.
- At least six reports of tornadoes have been spotted in and around Brownsville, Texas, including two that touched down briefly, police spokesman Sgt. Jimmy Manrrique said. Floodwaters reach as high as two feet in some areas, as "intense" amounts of rainfall creates citywide flooding.
No injuries have been reported, only minor damage, Manrrique said. About 200 people are hunkering down in one shelter. "We're asking people to stay indoors, stay off the streets," he said, because the depth of water on roadways is hard to detect.
- Hurricane Alex strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday night, with winds topping 100 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported.
At 7 p.m. ET, the eye of the hurricane was centered about 105 miles (170 kilometers) south of Brownsville, Texas. The storm was moving to the west at about 12 mph (18 kph), and it is likely to strike northeastern Mexico late Wednesday or early Thursday, the hurricane center reported.
- Top winds for Hurricane Alex have increased to 85 mph and the storm has picked up speed as it moves northwest, the National Hurricane Center reported Wednesday.
At 2 p.m. ET, the eye of the hurricane was centered about 130 miles (210 kilometers) south-southeast of Brownsville, Texas. The Category 1 storm was moving to the northwest at about 12 mph (18 kph), and forecasters predict it will strike northeastern Mexico late Wednesday or early Thursday, the hurricane center reported.- Texas is fully prepared for Alex's arrival, Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday. The State Operations Center is fully activated, he said, and Texas continues to work with federal and local authorities to track the hurricane and the BP Gulf oil disaster.
"My message to South Texans is to finish your preparations, stay connected to credible information sources and heed the warnings of your local officials, who are closely integrated with the state's emergency management effort that has been mobilized to prepare for Alex's impact," Perry said in a written statement.
- Winds are nearing tropical storm strength (39 mph) along the coast of South Padre Island, Texas, according to CNN meteorologist Sean Morris, and heavy showers and thunderstorms associated with the hurricane's outer bands are
affecting the Gulf Coast from Texas to Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
- The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center issued a tornado watch for the lower and middle Texas Coast until 9 p.m. ET.
Tornadoes are possible as the outer bands of the hurricane approach the coastal waters and move onshore, CNN meteorlogists said. A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and near the designated area.
- As of 11 a.m. ET, the center of Alex was located 145 miles (235 km) east of La Pesca, Mexico, and about 190 miles (310 km) southeast of Brownsville, Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center.
- The storm's maximum sustained winds were at 80 mph (130 km/hr). Alex is a Category 1 hurricane.
- The storm was moving northwest at about 7 mph (11 km/hr). A turn to the west should begin later today, forecasters said.
- Hurricane-force winds of at least 74 mph extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from Alex's center. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 200 miles (325 km), primarily to the northeast of the center.
- The center of Alex is forecast to approach the coast of northeastern Mexico or southern Texas by late Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday evening. It is expected to make landfall late Wednesday night or early Thursday.
- Additional strengthening is expected, and Alex could become a Category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of at least 96 mph (154 km/hr), before making landfall.
- A hurricane warning is in effect for the coast of Texas from Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande River, and for the coast of Mexico from the mouth of the Rio Grande River to La Cruz.
- A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Texas from Baffin Bay to Port O'Connor, and for the coast of Mexico south of La Cruz to Cabo Rojo.
- President Barack Obama issued a federal emergency declaration for Texas ahead of Alex's expected arrival.
- The storm continued to move away from the massive BP oil catastrophe near the Louisiana coast in the northern Gulf of Mexico, but has complicated cleanup efforts. Alex created 12-foot waves on Tuesday, meaning oil skimming ships had to be sent back to shore along the Gulf coast.
- Skimmers for the Gulf oil disaster are in "standby" mode again because of rough seas caused by Alex, said Charles Taplin of the Houma, Louisiana, Joint Information Center.
- Aerial dispersants may be applied, Taplin said, but flights are not guaranteed because of high winds.
- Onshore oil cleanup personnel were being kept off the Louisiana coast because of high surf and tides, Taplin said.
- Rainbands associated with Alex were moving onshore in northeastern Mexico and southern Texas, the hurricane center said.
- Rough seas from Alex may force crews to replace or reorganize booms laid out to keep the oil from reaching shore, according to CNN's Ed Lavandera.
- Brownsville, Texas, Mayor Pat Ahumada said his city was expecting to distribute 60,000 sandbags and provide shelter for roughly 2,000 families. Utility crews were put on standby to handle outages. At the same time, 90 buses had been provided by the state government in case evacuations were required. About 10 percent of residents likely will evacuate voluntarily, Ahumada said.
- On Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a disaster proclamation for 19 counties and ordered the pre-deployment of state resources. The governor's order puts up to 2,500 National Guard personnel, eight UH-60 helicopters and three C-130 aircraft on standby for rapid deployment as needed, Perry's office said in a statement.
- Alex is expected to dump 6 to 12 inches of rain over portions of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas, with isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches possible, the hurricane center said.
- A storm surge will raise water levels of up to 3 to 5 feet above ground along the immediate coast north of where Alex's center makes landfall, forecasters said. "The surge could penetrate inland as far as several miles from the shore," the hurricane center said. "... Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves."
- Isolated tornadoes are possible Wednesday over portions of extreme southern Texas, the hurricane center said.