CNN Wire Staff
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/06/29/tropical.storm.alex/t1larg.alex.062910.jpg caption="Alex strengthens to near hurricane-force" width=300 height=169]
Tropical Storm Alex approached hurricane strength early Tuesday as it churned off the northwestern coast of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula in the Bay of Campeche, the National Hurricane Center said.
Alex was moving faster to the north-northwest, the Hurricane Center said at 8 a.m. ET, noting that the storm now was advancing at 12 miles per hour. At 5 a.m., the storm had been reported moving at 8 miles per hour.
The storm continued to move away from the massive BP oil catastrophe near the Louisiana coast in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
A hurricane warning has been issued for the Gulf Coast from Baffin Bay, Texas, to La Cruz, Mexico. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions and tropical storm-force winds are expected in the forecast area within 36 hours.
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