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Texas Gov. Abbott issues disaster declaration ahead of Tropical Storm Alberto

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a severe weather disaster proclamation as Tropical Storm Alberto causes flooding in the state. File Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/EPA-EFE
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a severe weather disaster proclamation as Tropical Storm Alberto causes flooding in the state. File Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/EPA-EFE

June 20 (UPI) -- Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a severe weather disaster declaration for 51 Texas counties as Tropical Storm Alberto moves over the Gulf of Mexico, causing flash flooding in the southern U.S. state.

The Republican governor issued the declaration Wednesday, freeing up resources so the dozens of counties can prepare for Alberto, the first named system of the Atlantic hurricane season.

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"Texas is working closely with local officials and emergency response personnel to swiftly deploy all necessary assistance as heavy rainfall, tropical storm force winds and coastal flooding impact communities in South Texas and the Coastal Bend," Abbott said in a statement.

"I urge Texans in at risk-areas to remain weather aware and heed the guidance of state and local officials to keep themselves and their families safe."

The storm was located late Wednesday about 135 miles east-southeast of Tampico, Mexico, and 320 miles south-southeast of Brownsville, Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The forecasters are warning that Alberto will continue to bring heavy rains, coastal flooding and gusty winds along the coast of Texas, with the cities of Galveston and Surfside Beach already experiencing flash floods.

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The storm is expected to produce rainfall totals of up to 10 inches in South Texas, the NHC said, adding that it is likely to cause "considerable flash and urban flooding along with new and renewed river flooding."

The storm surge could get as high as 4 feet in the Texas cities of Sargent, Sabine Pass and Galveston Bay. The Mouth of the Rio Grande to Sargent could get as high as 3 feet as well as from Sabine Pass to the Vermilion/Cameron Parish Line in Louisiana.

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