Tropical storm Alex is on its way to Bermuda after causing heavy rains and flooded streets in Florida and killing three people in Cuba.
The US National Hurricane Center issued a storm warning for Bermuda on Sunday morning saying Alex, the first-named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, would pass nearby to or just north of the Caribbean island on Monday.
It said wind speeds had risen from around 45mph on Saturday night to a sustained 65mph, which it expected to persist throughout Sunday night and on to Monday.
The storm is also expected to bring 2-3 inches of rain to Bermuda.
Prior to getting its name, the storm had stranded cars in waist-deep water and dumped up to 11.6 inches of rainfall on cities across Florida, as well as grounding flights.
In Cuba, the storm killed three people, damaged dozens of homes in Havana and cut off electricity in some areas, according to authorities. Heavy rainfall continued on Saturday, but was diminishing as the weather system moved away from the island.
Alex is a new version of the storm that was called Hurricane Agatha when it slammed into Mexico’s Pacific Coast earlier this week, killing at least 11 people and leaving 20 missing.
It got a new name once the storm crossed Mexico into the Atlantic basin.
“This is a dangerous and life-threatening situation. Traveling during these conditions is not recommended. It’s better to wait. Turn around, don’t drown,” the city of Miami tweeted.
The city towed many stranded vehicles from flooded roadways, while hundreds of passenger air flights in Florida were cancelled or delayed according to FlightAware.
A video posted on Twitter by WSVN reporter Sheldon Fox showed a school of fish swimming through a flooded indoor parking garage, while another clip taken by Jacqui Zayas showed a man riding a bicycle and pulling his dog through the water behind him on surfboard.
As of 12pm Saturday, Miami had seen more rain than southern California measured in the whole of 2021, AccuWeather reported.
Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber said the storm tested the system of drainage pumps the city has 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.”
Miami-Dade county mayor Daniella Levine Cava said most government services, such as bus routes and trains, planned to operate as normal over the weekend. Canal levels in South Florida have been lowered to minimize flooding from heavy rains.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially began last Tuesday, which was an unusually early start to the storm season but not unprecedented for Florida.
Additional reporting by agencies