Storm Alberto gains strength as it approaches Gulf Coast, triggering some evacuations


As several states in the Southeast declare emergencies ahead of Subtropical Storm Alberto, forecasters in Upstate New York are tracking its progress northward. Along with heavy rains and high winds come rough seas and a threat of rip currents from Florida to Louisiana that can sweep swimmers out to sea. West Palm Beach, which experienced its 15th straight day of rain on Saturday, got 1.14 inches of rain on Friday, breaking the record of 1.08 inches for Friday that was set on May 25, 1972.

The rest of the Memorial Day holiday weekend is expected to be a soggy one. The is also a very slight risk for some tornadoes Sunday, especially if we get some added heating.

Subtropical Storm Alberto has gained an early jump on the 2018 hurricane season, heading toward expected landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, prompting thousands to evacuate.

The projected path keeps the center of the storm west of NCFL.

Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler at Enki Research in Savannah said the main concern from the subtropical storm is flooding. The track is expected to turn to the north, then northwest today and move toward the Florida panhandle. A high surf warning was in effect through 7 p.m. Tuesday local time.

Winds along the coast are forecast to be around 40 to 50 miles per hour. The Hurricane Center said the storm surge hereabouts could be as high as 4 feet, and that rainfall totals for the area would be in the 4- to 8-inch rain, although some areas could receive as much as 12 inches.

Behind Alberto: Alberto's remnant circulation moves north of Alabama by Wednesday afternoon, but we still won't be done with rain/storm chances.

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The governors of Florida, Alabama and MS declared states of emergency Saturday.

Another 1 to 2 inches of rain is expected through Sunday in the Manatee-Sarasota area, though specific areas could receive much more.

The area is under a tropical storm warning, meaning tropical storm conditions are expected in the next 24 hours.

Areas that typically flood easily will have the potential to do so next week.

The storm disrupted plans from Pensacola in the Panhandle to Miami Beach on Florida's southeastern edge.

As of 5pm Sunday evening. subtropical Storm Alberto is now around 165 miles west of Tampa, Florida or around 120 miles south of the Florida panhandle.

Throughout Memorial Day, rain chances are at least at 80 percent or more. Essentially, the characteristics of a subtropical system mean it lacks the punch to quickly increase in strength and become a hurricane.