Tropical Storm Alex Updates: DeSantis Says Biden Will Play Politics With Disaster Aid

Live Updates
  • The first tropical storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season hit the island of Bermuda with rain and wind Monday.
  • Tropical Storm Alex grew to near hurricane force Sunday, with winds reaching 70 mph. The storm brought flooded streets to southern Florida. In Cuba, three people were killed and the storm knocked out electricity, officials reported.
  • The U.S. National Hurricane Center downgraded Alex to a Post-Tropical Storm Monday evening.
  • In Bermuda, one person sustained a "storm-related injury" during the cleanup process Monday. The island discontinued the Tropical Strom Warning as the storm moved into the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts 2022 will be another "above-average" hurricane season.
Flooding Florida Tropical Storm Alex
A pedestrian walks through a flooded street caused by a deluge of rain from a tropical rain storm passing through the area on June 04, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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DeSantis Says Biden Will Play Politics With Disaster Aid

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that receiving disaster relief funding from President Joe Biden will be a "struggle."

As hurricane season begins, Republican DeSantis said Biden is playing politics when it comes to federal aid, Florida Politics reported.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied Florida a disaster declaration and federal aid after a pair of tornadoes hit the state in January.

"Proof will be in the pudding when that comes," DeSantis told reporters Monday. "I can tell you that it will definitely be a little bit more of a struggle in terms of that."

DeSantis said there is "a lot of politics" involved in that denial of federal aid.

He added that former President Donald Trump expediated federal assistance months after Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm, hit the state in 2018.

"I think that's unfortunate," he said. "That is not the way you do disaster response. I mean, you've got to put all that to the side and you've got to be willing to step up."

DeSantis also announced $10 million to support Florida's Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR), to "support operations and training exercises to ensure that they are ready to respond immediately in the event of a disaster."

"Our world-class Urban Search and Rescue Teams serve an important role in assisting state and local first responders during disasters," DeSantis said in a statement. "I am proud to be able to provide record state funding to Florida's eight USAR teams which will better prepare Florida for the next disaster."

The USAR teams play an important role in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane, the governor's office said. The teams conduct search and rescue missions and help clear a path to the most devastated areas to "help provide lifesaving actions and aid utility crews and emergency road clearance teams."

"Florida's USAR Task Forces represent the best of the best, and the Florida Division of Emergency Management is proud to support these highly specialized teams," Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said in a statement.

"These individuals are often the first to respond and the last to leave a disaster site, and I thank the Governor for this funding to support their response capabilities."

In Florida, 1 in 4 Would Ignore Evacuation Warnings

About one in every four Floridians said they would ignore a hurricane-related warning to evacuate, according to a recent survey from the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Among the residents who were open to evacuating, the survey found storm strength would play a role in their decision, with about 60 percent of that group saying they "would only leave for an approaching Category 3 hurricane or stronger."

While more of the state's residents expressed concern about the 2022 hurricane season compared to the 2021 hurricane season, the survey found the number of people taking steps to prepare is still lagging.

About 29 percent of Floridians surveyed said they "do not make advanced preparations for hurricane season or severe weather."

More than four in 10 Floridians—about 44 percent—told AAA pollsters they have no evacuation plan.

According to the survey, people's pets and concerns about potential impacts a storm could have on their homes play a role in their decisions to evacuate or stay put. Finances also impact evacuation decisions, as does whether residents have a place in mind of where to go.

Florida hurricane evacuation warnings
Cars sit in a flooded street caused by a deluge of rain from a tropical rain storm passing through the area on June 4, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cruise Ship Set to Return to Bermuda Tuesday

A cruise ship set to dock in Bermuda had to change its schedule due to Tropical Storm Alex.

Norwegian cruise line's Norwegian Pearl was scheduled to visit Bermuda June 5 to 7.

The Miami-based ship left the island before the storm arrived and had to cut its stay in Bermuda short. It remained out at sea on June 6 but is expected to return to Bermuda Tuesday morning.

The ship's captain told passengers the ship was monitoring the weather situation and stayed in contact with its corporate office in Miami.

"Safety and security of the guest crew and ship is our ultimate task," Norwegian Pearl's Captain said in an onboard address.

Norwegian Cruise Line's Pearl
File photo of Norwegian Cruise Line's "Norwegian Pearl" from January 5, 2022. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Bermuda Awaits 'Very Active' Hurricane Season

Officials in Bermuda are anticipating a "very active" hurricane season ahead as Tropical Storm Alex moves further into the Atlantic Ocean.

Speaking Monday afternoon during a government press conference, Bermuda's Minister of National Security, Michael Weeks, said he was "pleased to note" that the storm system was moving on.

After checking in with emergency personnel, Weeks said one person had required medical attention to treat a "storm-related injury" incurred in the storm cleanup. That person's injury was non-life-threatening, Weeks added.

The island was bustling back to life in the storm's wake, with all government systems up and running by Monday afternoon. Of the estimated 800 customers who had been without power Monday morning, Weeks said only 38 were still awaiting power by Monday afternoon.

Addressing updates from the transportation industry, Weeks said some ferry services would resume Monday afternoon, and the international airport was already operational again, with flights expected to arrive later in the afternoon.

An update on bus routes would be provided following necessary Department of Public Transportation inspections, Weeks said. Meanwhile, schools will reopen for in-person learning on Tuesday.

Weeks thanked Bermuda's residents for following weather advisories, noting that storms remain "unpredictable."

"One thing that we can say about any storm system is that it is unpredictable," Weeks said. The decisions we make are done to ensure the safety and the protection of our community, particularly our most vulnerable. And so, as the minister of national security, I would rather err on the side of caution than make any decision that could put any member of our community in danger or in harm's way."

Weeks went on to note that Tropical Storm Alex arrived just days into the start of hurricane season.

"Tropical Storm Alex is an extremely timely reminder that hurricane season is upon us," he said. "And now is the time to make sure that we are ready and prepared for what weather forecasters predict will be a very active next few months. Please take steps to ensure you and your family, home and property are protected during this hurricane season."

What Each Month of Hurricane Season Will Bring

As hurricane season begins, different months will bring different types of storms in different areas of the Atlantic.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) listed where they predict tropical storms and hurricanes will occur around the United States this season.

June

  • At the start of hurricane season, named storms tend to occur close to the U.S.
  • Most storms happen in the Gulf of Mexico, western Caribbean Sea and on the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coast

July

  • There is a slight increase in hurricane activity in July
  • Tropical storms and hurricanes occur most frequently off the Southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts
  • They can also be found in the Atlantic Basin between the Bahamas and Atlantic Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, eastern Caribbean Sea, western tropical Atlantic
  • The western Caribbean Seas is less active in July, because cold fronts become less frequent in that region

August

  • Tropical waves from western Africa can spawn storms in the Atlantic Ocean
  • The Gulf of Mexico is a breeding ground for tropical storms and hurricanes this month

September

  • September is the most active month for the Atlantic hurricane season
  • The peak of the season is September 10
  • Cabo Verde hurricanes, that develop from west Africa, are common in September. Some travel from the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean toward the islands of the Caribbean or the U.S. coastline. Other curve northwest towards Bermuda
  • September storms also form in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly near the south of Louisiana and Mississippi

October

  • Tropical storm activity declines through October
  • Hurricanes and tropical storms are most likely to occur in the western Caribbean Sea, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic Ocean

November

  • At the end of hurricane season, activity in the Atlantic slows down
  • Tropical storms and hurricanes are still possible in the western Caribbean Sea, the southwestern Atlantic Ocean or the open waters of the central Atlantic

Alex Weakens as it Moves Into Atlantic Ocean

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has downgraded Tropical Storm Alex Monday afternoon.

Alex is losing its "tropical characteristics," according to the NHC.

The Meteorological Service of Bermuda has discontinued the Tropical Storm Warning for Bermuda.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, the NHC reports. The Bermuda government still advises people "use care and caution" on the island this afternoon.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 60 mph, with some higher gusts.

The NHC reports winds at Bermuda will continue to subside over the next few hours.

"Some weakening is forecast, and Alex is expected to become an extratropical low later today," according to the NHC.

Watch: Bermuda Government Officials Provide Latest Update on Alex

Bermuda government officials will soon provide an update on the passage of Tropical Storm Alex.

The Minister of National Security Michael Weeks and National Disaster Coordinator Steve Cosham will hold a press conference Monday afternoon, scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Watch live on the Government of Bermuda Facebook page.

Hurricane Season Could Further Disrupt Gas Prices

Gas prices could rise even higher in the U.S. during the next several months of hurricane season, according GasBuddy experts.

Already reaching record-high prices amid Russia's war with Ukraine, U.S. gas prices are vulnerable during hurricane season, which GasBuddy said can "wreak havoc" on costs. These price increases can occur when storms cause problems with refineries or block customers' access at gas pumps, GasBuddy experts wrote in a blog post last week.

Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, further explained how storms can impact prices during a recent conversation with the Charlotte, North Carolina-based news station WBTV.

"Will we see a hurricane disrupt refining?" De Haan said. "If we do, that could prolong how long it will take to see a reprieve in prices."

In anticipation of a tropical storm or hurricane, GasBuddy recommends drivers make sure their gas tanks are filled up and their vehicles are working properly ahead of time, and that they know where their nearest gas stations are in case they are called to evacuate.

EarthCam Shows Bermuda Battling Whipping Winds

A live camera feed in Bermuda showed the island continuing to battle strong winds Monday even as weather experts said Tropical Storm Alex was beginning to move on.

Footage captured in Pembroke, Bermuda on EarthCam over the last seven hours grew increasingly blurry as rain coated the camera's lens. Shortly after 2 p.m. local time, the high winds in the area could be seen continuing to impact trees and plants as branches slashed through the air.

Forever Bermuda shared video clips of the high wind on social media.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also shared satellite imagery of the storm on Monday morning as it began moving further into the Atlantic Ocean. The NOAA said the storm would be "passing near" Bermuda at some point during the day, and that Bermuda would encounter tropical storm conditions as a result.

The National Hurricane Center said at about 11 a.m. ET that the storm was starting to move on from Bermuda.

At about 12:30 p.m. ET, the Government of Bermuda said its weather service "indicates that the closest point of approach of Tropical Storm Alex has now passed."

"We continue to encourage you to use care and caution as you move about the island this afternoon," the government said in an afternoon tweet.

Dangerous Rip Currents Likely in North Carolina

As Tropical Storm Alex developed in the Atlantic, weather officials warned it was likely that dangerous rip currents would develop off the coast of North Carolina.

On Sunday morning, weather officials in Wilmington said the storm's movement "will churn up the Atlantic Ocean resulting with increasing surf the next 2 days that will favor an elevated rip current threat across all beaches."

Officials later said that threat would peak on Monday "across the beaches of Southeast NC and Northeast SC" as the storm progresses.

The National Weather Service's (NWS) updated beach forecast for the area showed most of North Carolina's coast under a high-risk warning for "life-threatening" rip currents.

"A high risk of rip currents is now expected for all beaches except those along portions of the Crystal Coast," the NWS tweeted Monday morning.

Beachgoers were advised to stay out of the water in those high-risk areas.

Speaking with the Durham-based news station WTVD on Sunday, some people visiting the area described the storm as "very aggressive" and said it made the water feel "very strong."

Tim Pulliam, a reporter with the station, shared a video from North Carolina's Outer Banks on Monday morning, noting that lifeguards would have red flag warnings up on the beach "all day."

NOAA Predicts 'Above-Average' Hurricane Season

This hurricane season is expected to bring "above-average hurricane activity," according to officials.

During a press conference at the end of May, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator Rick Spinrad said there is a 65 percent chance of an "above-normal season," a 25 percent chance of a "near-normal season" and only a 10 percent chance of a "below-normal season."

This marks the seventh consecutive hurricane season expected to be above-average.

NOAA predicts 14 to 21 named storms with winds of at least 39 miles per hour. Of those, six to 10 are likely to become hurricanes, with winds above 74 miles per hour. Three to six of those hurricanes are expected to be considered "major hurricanes," which are Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes, with top winds of at least 111 mph.

2022 Hurricane Season Report
A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA's 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook NOAA

"Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate-ready," Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

"Throughout the hurricane season, NOAA experts will work around-the-clock to provide early and accurate forecasts and warnings that communities in the path of storms can depend on to stay informed."

The increased hurricane activity is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds.

Florida Begins Cleanup After Weekend Flooding

People in parts of South Florida were cleaning up on Monday after a weekend of flooding during Tropical Storm Alex.

The first significant storm system of the hurricane season brought more than 10 inches of rain into Miami and an estimated 14.85 inches of rainfall to Hollywood, according to Accuweather.

Flooding in Florida
A pedestrian walks through a flooded street caused by a deluge of rain from a tropical rain storm passing through the area on June 4, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The deluge flooded streets, leaving some vehicles stranded while others were left to float in the rising floodwater.

Flooding stalls cars in Florida
A vehicle is prepared to be towed after it died while being driven through a flooded street caused by a deluge of rain from a tropical rain storm passing through the area on June 4, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Some residents had prepared for the incoming storm by filling sandbags ahead of its arrival. Sandbags could later be seen stacked in front of building entrances in an attempt to block water from seeping inside.

Sandbags flooding Florida
A pedestrian walks past the flooded entryway to the Publix supermarket after a deluge of rain from a tropical rain storm passed through the area on June 4, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

According to The Miami Herald, some residents in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood experienced flooding in their homes, with water levels rising above their ankles as they stood inside.

In Miami-Dade County, local water and sewage officials said heavy rainfall led to a sewage overflow, which local media outlets said resulted in the flow of more than 1,000 gallons of sewage into the Miami River. Officials said the sewage overflow had been contained by Saturday evening.

Flooding on street in Florida
A pedestrian walks through a flooded street caused by a deluge of rain from a tropical rain storm passing through the area on June 4, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Alex Marks First Storm of Hurricane Season

Tropical Strom Alex is the first named storm of the 2022 hurricane season.

Alex was initially a tropical rainstorm when it hit Cuba and southern Florida over the weekend. It partially emerged from the remnants of Hurricane Agatha, which made landfall in Mexico last week. Agatha killed at least nine people.

In Cuba, three people died, dozens of homes were damaged in Havana and electricity was cut off in certain areas, officials reported.

The storm was near its closest point of approach over Bermuda as 9 a.m. ET. Alex was located approximately 92 nautical miles northwest of the island, according to the Bermuda Weather Service.

The storm is expected to weaken in the coming days. Bermuda's national security advisory, however, said storms "have been known to be unpredictable."

At 11 a.m., the U.S. National Weather Service said that Tropical Storm Alex is "beginning to move away from Bermuda." A tropical storm warning remains in effect.

Hurricane season officially began Wednesday June 1 and will end on November 30.

Wind Gusts, Rough Waves Reported in Bermuda

Tropical Storm Alex is bringing rain and wind gusts to Bermuda Monday morning.

Meteorologist Cindy Fitzgibbon shared video from her vacation in Bermuda showing wind blowing through palm trees under gray skies.

Another video from Bermuda shows the rough water conditions Monday morning. As the winds whips through the trees, the choppy waves toss around docked boats.

The Bermuda Government warned commuters to be cautious as work crews are clearing debris, downed trees and branches covering some roadways.

Bermuda Under Tropical Storm Warning

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida issued an Intermediate Advisory as Tropical Storm Alex heads towards Bermuda.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda Monday. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the area. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects Alex to bring one to two inches of rain across Bermuda this afternoon.

As of 8 a.m. EST, Tropical Storm Alex was about 100 miles NW of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 65 MPH, according to NOAA. Alex is moving east-northeast at 28 MPH. The storm is expected to weaken later Monday into Tuesday.