Florida declares state of emergency over Subtropical Storm Alberto

Florida declares state of emergency over Subtropical Storm Alberto

Alberto has been named the first storm of the 2018 hurricane season, which is set to begin on June 1.

The slow-moving storm is expected to slam the Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend with heavy downpours of 10 to 15 inches in parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

Florida, Alabama and MS declared states of emergency on Saturday as the storm threatened up to 12 inches of rain over the Memorial Day weekend, as well as tidal surges and damaging winds, according to Patrick Burke of the weather service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. Authorities were warning of risky surf and rip current conditions later Saturday.

It is not organized enough yet to be a tropical storm, and is considered subtropical. The NWS said a flash flood watch would be in effect from Saturday evening through Tuesday evening for southeastern MS, much of southern Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle.

Forecasters say 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain is expected on saturated ground with isolated areas getting up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain.

The NWS said waves as high as 18 feet could pound the popular Gulf beaches in Baldwin County, Alabama, and northwestern Florida on Monday, bringing with it deadly rip currents. A high surf warning was in effect through 7 p.m. Tuesday local time.

Florida declares state of emergency over Subtropical Storm Alberto

On Friday morning, the agency announced that an area of low pressure in the Caribbean had developed into Subtropical Storm Alberto with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.

Wind speed has not increased but there has been a burst of convection to the north and closer to the center of the storm. It's moving north at 14 miles per hour (22 kph), and has top sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (85 kph). Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can strengthen into hurricanes.

Subtropical Storm Alberto was disrupting plans for Memorial Day barbecues and beach outings in Alabama, Florida and MS, as the storm continued churning north through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for entire the west coast.

"Heavy rains and gusty winds continue to spread northward over Florida", it tweeted.

His Mississippi and Alabama counterparts also declared states of emergency, citing the threat of coastal and inland flooding from storm rains.

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