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US Gulf Coast braces for Alberto battering

28 May 2018

Alberto is scheduled to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle early Monday, and the three states likely to bear the brunt of the storm have begun preparing states of emergency.

Though the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until Friday, Alberto has become the first named storm this year, throwing disarray into long holiday weekend plans along Florida's Gulf Coast.

Although the east side of the storm isn't expected to reach Broward, Miami-Dade or Palm Beach counties, the storm's outer bands are expected to bring the area heavy rain, gusts of more than 40 miles per hour, strong rip currents and the possibility of tornadoes, according to a briefing by the National Weather Service in Miami. Both countries issued tropical storm watches for portions of their coastlines, with rain totals in some isolated areas of up to 25 inches.

Tropical downpours will move northward into NCFL starting on Sunday.

The rain could be heavy at times through Tuesday, with 2-4 inches possible, and there is the potential for flash flooding.

Combined with the above average rainfall we've already seen so far this spring, additional rain could create flooding issues in the upcoming week along area rivers.

The new forecast track centers landfall in the Florida panhandle. "A secondary concern is that even relatively minimal tropical storm winds can topple trees due to saturated soils and water-heavy limbs".

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Sunday Night: Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly between 1 am and 4 am.

The weather service has also put in place a high rip current risk as well as a high surf warning.

Florida Gov. Scott said the Florida National Guard has 5,500 guard members available for deployment if needed.

In Gulf Shores, Alabama, webcams showed beaches beginning to fill up as the storm's track shifted slightly east away from the region, but red flags on the beach warned beachgoers to stay out of the rough water.

Regardless of its path and intensity, Alberto expected to bring heavy rains of more than 10 inches and flash flooding to western Cuba and southern Florida, the National Hurricane Center said. As of the 5 PM advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the center of Alberto is roughly 120 miles south of Apalachicola.

After moving on shore, the center of Alberto will probably move into northern Alabama by Tuesday.

US Gulf Coast braces for Alberto battering