Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Science | By Celia Watts

Subtropical Storm Alberto Threatens Florida, Gulf Coast

Subtropical Storm Alberto Threatens Florida, Gulf Coast

"As we continue to monitor Subtropical Storm Alberto's northward path toward Florida, it is critically important that all Florida counties have every available resource to keep families safe and prepare for the torrential rain and severe flooding this storm will bring", Scott said in a written statement.

Florida and MS are under states of emergency ahead Subtropical Storm Alberto hitting the Golf Coast.

The National Weather Service's office in Tampa said in a briefing Saturday that winds from Alberto would increase late Saturday night, persisting during the day Sunday, then diminish later Sunday night. Altogether we're looking at a solid 2-3 inches of rain from Alberto with locally-heavier amounts possible where heavy storms set up.

It also maintains a storm surge watch along the US Gulf coast from Crystal River in western Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Mandatory evacuations are being ordered for small barrier islands in one Florida county ahead of Subtropical Storm Alberto, and voluntary evacuations are issued for another county.

Subtropical Storm Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - prompted Florida, Alabama and MS to launch emergency preparations Saturday. Alberto will bring widespread heavy rain in the Panhandle of Florida and Alabama later today and tonight. And in the Tampa Bay area on the central Gulf Coast, cities offered sandbags for homeowners anxious about floods. Governors in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday declared states of emergency.

Gusty showers were to begin lashing parts of Florida on Sunday, and authorities were warning of the possibility of flash flooding. Its top sustained winds were 40 miles per hour (65 kph).

As of Monday at 8 a.m., the storm was located about 165 miles south-southeast of Destin.

"Hazardous storm surge is possible along portions of the central and eastern Gulf Coast beginning Sunday".

Beaches in Florida were largely empty ahead of Memorial Day as a slowly intensifying storm carrying brisk winds and heavy rain approached the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 until the end of November. Because of expected deteriorating weather, the sandbag distribution points will not be open Sunday, the county said.

Flood and flash-flood watches are spread across Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, where 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 centimeters) of rain could fall through early next week and reach into South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee expected to be hit by Alberto's remnants, the National Weather Service said.

Alberto could come ashore early Monday, said Dan Pydynowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc.in State College, Pennsylvania. The storm prompted Florida, Alabama and MS to launch emergency preparations over the weekend amid expectations Alberto would reach land sometime Monday. Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can strengthen into hurricanes.

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