Hidalgo, Cameron counties declare states of emergency after Alberto

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As the remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto dissipated deep in the interior of Mexico on Thursday, officials in Hidalgo and Cameron counties declared local states of disaster.

Alberto was the first named storm of the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

It began to form over the Bay of Campeche earlier this week before making landfall just a few miles west of Tampico, Mexico — more than 250 miles south of Brownsville, according to the National Weather Service.

However, the largely disorganized storm prompted tropical storm warnings as far north as Houston and as far south as Veracruz, Mexico.

Locally, the storm was projected to drop an average of 5-7 inches of rain, and as much as 15 inches of rain in isolated pockets.

But the reality proved to be far less nefarious, with only about 3-4 inches falling in the heaviest pockets over the Rio Grande Valley.

The storm also sparked two radar-indicated tornado warnings Wednesday night — one over southern McAllen and another in Willacy County. Ultimately, no tornadoes formed.

For the most part, however, Alberto’s effects here were mild. Nonetheless, some local leaders declared the states of emergency in order to give Valley communities access to state disaster recovery funds in the event they’re needed.

‘“We actually fared quite well in this storm,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez stated in a news release announcing the disaster declaration on Thursday.

“The storm drainage infrastructure that we’ve been in investing in proved worth the effort as several areas that have historically prone to flooding did not suffer the magnitude of problems that they have had to endure in the past,” he further stated.

Overcast weather is seen at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Brownsville campus Wednesday, June 19, 2024. as rain bands from Tropical Storm Alberto cross over South Texas. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald)

Over in Cameron County, Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. declared a similar state of emergency.

“Pursuant to the Disaster Proclamation by Governor Greg Abbott certifying that Tropical Storm Alberto poses a threat of imminent disaster … Cameron County is hereby declared an area of disaster,” officials stated in a news release.

The governor preemptively declared a state of disaster in 51 counties one day before Alberto made landfall, including all four Valley counties.

But it was further north along the Texas coast that saw some of the most significant impacts of the storm.

The city of Surfside saw extensive flooding as storm surge combined with a near-full moon high tide to submerge the small community just south of Houston under several feet of water.

And Alberto’s outermost rain bands dumped water deep into the Texas Hill Country, and as far north as Waco.

Locally, however, the bands brought periods of steady, but not violent, rain.

“While there were some reports of flooding on some streets, there was no significant flooding,” Hidalgo County officials stated.

Minor power outages were reported, and at least two water line breaks were reported — including one that caused a sinkhole in Edinburg.