BELIZE CITY – Tropical Storm Alex moved into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after weakening to a depression as it swirled across Belize and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, dumping rains that left at least four people dead across the region.

Alex is expected to regain strength in the coming days as it moves over warmer waters in the Gulf and possibly become a hurricane headed toward Mexico’s Caribbean coast, well away from the area where BP PLC is trying to stop a massive oil leak, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

On Sunday, Alex soaked parts of Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula with torrential downpours, forcing hundreds of tourists to flee resort islands. Winds were at 60 mph when the storm made landfall in Belize on Saturday night but had decreased to 35 mph by Sunday.

The hurricane center said Alex is expected to become a tropical storm again today. Rains will likely keep falling on southern Mexico and Guatemala until this afternoon.

The heavy rains prompted a landslide in northwestern Guatemala that dislodged a large rock outcropping, killing two men who had taken shelter from the storm underneath, according to the national disaster-response agency.

In El Salvador, Civil Protection chief Jorge Melendez said two people were swept away by rivers that jumped their banks. About 500 people were evacuated from their homes.

Authorities in Guatemala and Belize were keeping an eye on rising river levels. One bridge in western Belize was swamped entirely, cutting off a remote Mennonite community. Seven homes in the Belize River Valley, outside Belize City, had their roofs blown off, and at least one structure collapsed.