Subtropical Storm Alberto Prompts Emergency Declarations in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama

Subtropical Storm Alberto Prompts Emergency Declarations in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama

Subtropical Storm Alberto gained the early jump on the 2018 hurricane season as it headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds.

The storm, moving slowly through the Caribbean Sea, is threatening to bring heavy rainfall, mudslides, and flash floods to parts of Mexico, Cuba, Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend. Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency, which gives him wide latitude to prepare. "I ask everyone to please make final preparations to your family emergency plan, especially those that live in mobile homes and low-lying areas". The storm had top sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kph).

Forecasters say heavy rains from Subtropical Storm Alberto could cause flooding across most of SC.

The center of the storm was located about 165 miles west of Tampa, Fla., and 120 miles south of Apalachicola, as of the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. EDT update. A gradual strengthening was expected as the storm moves north. The possibility of heavy rain, storm surges and flash flooding, however, pose hazards for residents.

Steady weakening is expected after landfall, and Alberto is forecast to become a tropical depression Monday night or Tuesday.

The National Weather Service said Sunday that tropical storm warnings cover the entire Florida Gulf Coast and inland portions of the Florida Panhandle as well as parts of coastal Alabama.

Alberto is expected to move northward, reaching the Florida panhandle by Monday afternoon, Zouzias said.

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The Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunters again flew out Saturday to gather data on the storm, and it has not strengthened much if at all, the center says. The chance of rain will be higher area-wide on Sunday than Saturday.

Duffey said the storm is expected to remain relatively mild.

Despite Alberto's distance from us, its vast circulation will continue to stream in gusty southerly winds through Memorial Day Monday, along with occasional showers and thunderstorms.

In the Florida Keys and the rest of South Florida, Alberto is expected to drop an additional three to six inches of rain, with isolated storm totals of 10 inches, on Sunday.

Hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1, but Alberto apparently missed the memo.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect from the Mississippi/Alabama border all the way through to Bonita Beach, Florida.

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