Subtropical Storm Alberto is expected to hit the panhandle of Florida Monday afternoon while bringing the threat for heavy rain, gusty winds, and unsafe storm surge for those areas. The storm had top sustained winds of 80 km/h. Forecasters cautioned that heavy rain and tropical storm conditions could reach the northern Gulf Coast well ahead of the center of Alberto making landfall.
Parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have already seen heavy rain this week, and further deluges could leave those areas vulnerable to flash flooding and river flooding.
Those who wish to courageous the conditions and head to the beach should be extra cautious as strong breezes will produce above-normal tides waves ranging from 2 to 4 feet producing unsafe rip currents through midweek, forecasters said.
Alberto, the first named Atlantic storm of 2018, which spun up days before the formal June 1 start of the hurricane season.
Otherwise continued windy with spotty tropical downpours Sunday night, then the chance of periods of heavy rain increases Monday afternoon.
Pasco County is now under a Tropical Storm Warning.
Alberto Nearing Hurricane Strength
"It's maintained its strength and wind speeds overnight, and it looks like it's headed for landfall at Panama City, (Florida)", said David Roth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. An additional 4 to 8 inches of rain could fall in some spots between Sunday and Tuesday.
Jeffrey Medlin, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Mobile office, warned that even after the storm passes there will still be swells that could cause risky rip currents.
Alberto was expected to bring heavy rain and severe wind to Florida and other parts of the Gulf Coast. It said isolated tornadoes remained a threat in Florida in the coming hours.
The hurricane centre said Sunday that a tropical storm warning was in effect from Bonita Beach, Florida, to the Mississippi-Alabama border.
The forecast from the European model shows the intense moisture feed over the southern Peninsula, meaning the coverage and intensity of the rain is expected to increase. Tropical-storm force winds will be possible in western Cuba and in the Gulf coast area where warnings are posted. "It's still way too early to forecast the amount of rainfall this system will produce for the local area, but (we) will continue to monitor". The season is likely to be "near or above normal", according to the hurricane center.
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