Tropical Storm Alex heads toward Bermuda and triggers flooding in Florida

Rainfall from Tropical Storm Alex floods the Brickell area near downtown Miami, Saturday June 4, 2022. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)
Flooded streets near downtown Miami on Saturday. (Pedro Portal / Associated Press)

Tropical Storm Alex, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, gained a bit more force Sunday as it 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 maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and was centered about 395 miles west of Bermuda late Sunday afternoon.

It was moving to the east-northeast at 28 mph and was expected to pass near or just north of Bermuda on Monday. A tropical storm warning is in effect there. Forecasters said it could drop 1 to 2 inches of rain across Bermuda beginning late Sunday and into Monday.

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.

“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 said on Twitter.

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 Mexico’s southern Pacific coast last week, killing at least nine people and leaving five others missing as it moved overland.

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 rain.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to the storm season but not unprecedented for Florida.

The National Hurricane Center predicted rainfall up to 10 inches was possible in south Florida, including the Florida Keys.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.