VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico – Hurricane watches were in effect Monday for a stretch of Gulf coast in southern Texas and northern Mexico as Tropical Storm Alex gained strength and appeared on track to become a Category 3 hurricane before it makes landfall later this week.
Forecasters said the storm's path could push oil from the massive Gulf oil spill farther inland.
Alex was swirling through the Gulf of Mexico with winds of 60 mph (95 kph) on a path that would take it very near the Mexico-U.S. border sometime Thursday, said the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. The storm is expected to become a hurricane Tuesday, and could build winds as high as 120 mph (193 kilometers) by Wednesday.
Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 70 miles (110 kilometers) from the storm's center Monday, and Alex was moving slowly to the northwest.
Heavy rains in the southern Gulf coast state of Tabasco forced the evacuation of about 300 families from communities near the Usumacinta river.