JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Subtropical Storm Alberto is moving slowly, but is expected to take a northerly track overnight and be just off the west coast of Florida by early Sunday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 11 p.m. Friday, the NHC said, Alberto remained weak. Hurricane Hunters found very little organization within the subtropical storm, which is severely sheared.
The storm is pushing a massive amount of tropical moisture into Florida, setting of a very wet Memorial Day weekend, especially Sunday and Monday.
Alberto is expected to pass near the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula tonight, be near the western tip of Cuba Saturday morning, emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Saturday night, and approach the north-central Gulf Coast on Monday.
Currently, maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast for the next 48 hours. Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 140 miles from the center. Alberto is moving east at 5 mph. A turn toward the north is expected later tonight, with a faster motion toward the north expected Saturday through Sunday. A turn toward the north-northwest is expected on Monday.
EXPLAINER: Why is Alberto only subtropical?
Locally, the storm will produce heavy bands of rain and storms as the center of circulation is set to impact in the Gulf Coast.
The highest rainfall amounts are expected along and near the I-75 corridor with some isolated areas receiving up to 6 inches. The Jacksonville metro area is expected to receive 2-4 inches of rain by the end of the holiday weekend.
The start time for the rain and storms associated with Alberto remains fluid. The latest models indicate that rain showers will arrive in a scattered fashion Sunday afternoon before heavier rain bands and storms develop during throughout the evening.
Those heavier bands and stronger storms will continue overnight into Memorial Day on Monday. As the center of circulation moves north of the Gulf Coast our rain chances will decrease, however, on and off showers should be expected through entire holiday.
Jacksonville and surrounding areas should not anticipate high winds and tidal flooding with Alberto's passage. Meanwhile, some areas across our western zones have the potential for localized flooding as result of the persistent rainfall over the next three or four days.
There are currently no severe weather alerts for Northeast Florida, but rip current warnings were issued Friday along Florida's Gulf Coast area expected to be extended to the East Coast over the weekend.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday met with Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford and Panama City Beach Mayor Mike Thomas to discuss the possible impact from Alberto. Scott urged Floridians to watch the weather closely and make storm preparations.
Scott directed that the State Emergency Operations Center activate to Level 2 and alerted all appropriate state agencies to monitor the storm closely.
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