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First tropical storm of the season heads for Texas as extreme heat wave hits the Northeast

The United States was buffeted by extreme weather Wednesday, with Texas bracing for the first tropical storm of the hurricane season while the Northeast still faced a major heat wave.

Southern Texas braced for a major storm to hit late Wednesday into Thursday, with considerable flash flooding likely, according to forecasters.

The weather system, currently named Potential Tropical Cyclone One, is expected to be upgraded and renamed Tropical Storm Alberto by the time it makes landfall on the Gulf Coast of Mexico early Thursday.

Tropical storm warnings are in place along the Texas coast from the San Luis Pass to the mouth of the Rio Grande, with high winds and as much as 10 to 15 inches of rain expected in Corpus Christi. The state government enacted a large-scale emergency response in anticipation of widespread flooding.

The National Weather Center office in Houston said at 4:30 a.m. CT (5.:30 a.m. ET) that there had already been reports of coastal flooding as rain moves inland.

“The disturbance is very large, with rainfall, coastal flooding and wind impacts likely to occur far from the center along the coasts of Texas and northeastern Mexico, ” the National Hurricane Center said in an update.

The hurricane center also said early Wednesday that life-threatening mudslides were likely in higher areas of northern Mexico, including around the cities of Monterrey and Ciudad Victoria.

On Tuesday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the state Division of Emergency Management to put the Texas State Emergency Operations Center to a readiness of level 2, meaning it began 24-hour operations.

“As we prepare for severe tropical weather, Texas is activating all personnel and resources needed to support Texans and communities that will be potentially impacted by excessive rain and flooding,” he said in a statement.

The Texas A&M Forest Service has mobilized four teams comprising of 100 personnel and 24 vehicles, while the Texas National Guard has three platoons of more than 40 personnel in total, alongside 20 vehicles, including Chinook helicopters.

The weather service told people in the affected areas to have five to seven days’ supplies of food, water and other necessities.

The storm warning came as 71 million people were under some form of heat advisory or warning Wednesday, as a severe heat wave is set to last through Friday.

Several parts of the Midwest, the interior Northeast and New England could reach temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or above Wednesday, with Bangor, Maine, set to hit 106 on the heat index, a measure of how hot it feels that factors in humidity.

NBC News meteorologist Michelle Grossman warned early Wednesday that extreme heat is not to be taken lightly.

“It is dangerous — extreme heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer, so you need to take it seriously,” she said.

“If you don’t have air conditioning, you need to find places, libraries, movies, a cooling center that will keep you cool and comfortable over the next several days,” Grossman added.

People in Syracuse, New York, were warned Tuesday not to open fire hydrants to get some relief from the heat. Fire Chief Michael Monds said in a statement that opening hydrants can affect firefighters’ ability to tackle fires and to do so would bring a civil penalty that comes with a potential $500 fine.

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