Hurricane Alex churned westward through the Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday, far from oil spill cleanup efforts but on a collision course with Mexico and the southern Texas coastline.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami upgraded the storm to a Category 1 hurricane - the least powerful type - shortly before 10 p.m. CDT Tuesday after measuring sustained winds of 75 mph. Alex became the first June hurricane in the Atlantic since 1995, the center said.
Texas residents had been preparing for the storm for days, readying their homes and businesses and stocking up on household essentials. But the storm was expected to deal only a glancing blow to the state and to make landfall Wednesday evening south of Matamoros, Mexico, and some 100 miles south of Brownsville.
The storm was expected to pack winds of at least 90 mph when it comes ashore, but wasn't expected to become one of the more powerful categories of hurricane.
As of 4 a.m. CDT Wednesday, Alex was 235 miles southeast of Brownsville moving west-northwest at about 7 mph, with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph.