Monday, 18 June, 2018

Alberto approaches northern Gulf of Mexico

Dark clouds approach Friday near Fort Lauderdale where a state of emergency is in effect due to Subtropical Storm Alberto which could bring rain to Upstate New York US Gulf Coast braces for first named storm of the season
Marlene Weaver | 28 May, 2018, 23:20

Heavy rains were expected across Florida and in parts of Alabama and Georgia.

Subtropical Storm Alberto is expected to bring drenching rains to the Florida Panhandle when it makes landfall on Monday, the day after a separate storm triggered a flood that tore through a historic Maryland town and swept away a man who was trying to help rescue people, officials said.

A storm surge watch remains in effect for much of northern Florida, from the Suwannee to Navarre in the Panhandle.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant authorised the use of the National Guard, his office said in a statement. Ivey activated the state's emergency operations center while the Alabama National Guard activated its high water evacuation teams.

Mark Bowen, the Bay County Emergency management director, said Alberto's biggest threat would be its heavy rains, with forecasts of anywhere from four to 12 inches of rain in some areas.

After landfall, Alberto's winds will decay, but the moisture envelop and rainfall will continue northward through Alabama and eventually IN by Wednesday.

Flooding was possible in Florida's Miami-Dade and Monroe counties after weeks of rain, with tornadoes possible Saturday and Sunday and rip currents expected on both coasts, forecasters said.

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Alberto, which spun up days before the formal start of the 2018 hurricane season, was moving north at about 13 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds near 40 miles per hour, and higher gusts, on Saturday, the NWS said.

Clouds are still lingering over the region, and as the storm continues its northerly push with a forecast Monday landfall in the Florida Panhandle, it is drawing significant moisture from the south, according to the National Weather Service.

"A flash flood watch starts tonight through at least Tuesday as at least 2-4" of rain are expected to fall with locally higher amounts.

The center of the storm is foreast to pass through the Midwest, so Upstate New York is unlikely to get flooding rains.

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.

However, the storm can still evolve into a tropical storm and even into a Category One Hurricane if the sustained winds reach 75 miles per hour (120 kph).

The early storm doesn't necessarily mean this year's hurricane season will be as busy as last year's, though. The season is likely to be "near or above normal", according to the hurricane center.

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