Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Subtropical Storm Alberto forms; watches issued for U.S., Mexico, Cuba

Subtropical Storm Alberto forms; watches issued for U.S., Mexico, Cuba

Normally packed with vacationers over the Memorial Day weekend, beaches along the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast were largely empty Sunday as a slowly intensifying storm carrying brisk winds and heavy rain approached.

A news release from Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that for Taylor County, "Voluntary evacuations have been issued for those in coastal zones and beach communities (Keaton, Dekel, Cedar, Dark Islands), mobile homes, RV parks and low-lying areas". Only.13 inches had fallen at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport through 5 p.m. Saturday, but almost 6 inches has fallen so far this month, about three times the normal amount. A tropical storm watch and flash flood watch remain in effect. Its expected to turn north Sunday morning, then north-northwest Monday night, moving at 13 miles per hour. Areas that see repeated storms may see over three inches of rain by late Monday.

Dan Pydynowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather State College, Pennsylvania said Alberto's moisture could eventually push all the way to Canada.

Fortunately for our friends in the Florida Panhandle, dry air has wrapped into the center of Alberto, which will likely make it hard for the storm to get too much stronger before the center comes ashore between Pensacola and Panama City Monday afternoon.

Alberto, which spun up days before the formal start of the 2018 hurricane season, was moving north at about 22 km/h with maximum sustained winds near 85 km/h, and higher gusts, on Saturday, the NWS said.

Little change in strength is forecast before Alberto reaches the northern Gulf Coast.

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Tropical storm warnings are in effect from the Mississippi/Alabama border all the way through to Bonita Beach, Florida. Like residents in Sarasota and Manatee counties, people in Gulfport, Mississippi, lined up to fill sandbags. But the broad storm system is expected to bring heavy rains across the entire northern Gulf Coast starting well before landfall.

By midday Sunday, the US Southeast was seeing 50-mile-per-hour (80-km-per-hour) winds and up to 10 inches of rain in some places, Ken Graham, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center, said in a video briefing.

Forecasters issued tropical storm watches for portions of the United States, Cuba and Mexico on Friday after Subtropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of the season, formed in the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

Mexico canceled its watch for the resort-dotted coast of the Yucatan peninsula, where the storm brought heavy rain.

Alberto is expected to move inland into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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