JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Subtropical Storm Alberto is delivering heavy band of rain across the Florida peninsula and panhandle. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Florida Gulf Coast affecting more than 2 million people.
At 5 a.m., the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 330 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph. The storm had top sustained winds of 40 mph.
The first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season is projected to move north before turning to the north-northwest Sunday evening, and this general motion should continue into Tuesday.
Heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions will likely reach the northern Gulf Coast well before the arrival of the center of Alberto. Alberto is set to make landfall Monday near Mobile Bay.
Locally, clouds are developing as the northern bands of Alberto are reaching into the First Coast. Northeastern Florida and Southeastern Georgia will remain dry Saturday, but by Sunday morning heavy bands of rains will arrive and are expected to last throughout the holiday weekend. Areas along the Gulf Coast may receive 4-6 inches of rain while the Jacksonville metro area is can expect to receive between 1-3 inches.
We'll see a decrease in rainy activity Sunday night into Memorial Day as we fit into the dry slot (between the outer and inner bands of a cyclone) Alberto for most of the day on Monday. Storms and showers will return during the afternoon and evening carrying over into Tuesday.
Alberto is expected to emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Saturday night and approach the Mississippi-Louisiana coastline late Monday or early Tuesday.
The storm is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated totals of 25 inches across the western Cuba. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Rainfall accumulations of 3 to 7 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches are possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida. Heavy rain will likely begin to affect the central Gulf Coast region and the southeastern United States later this weekend and continue into early next week. Flooding potential will increase across this region early next week as Alberto is forecast to slow down after it moves inland.
Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area in Cuba on Saturday. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the United States watch area beginning on Sunday.
Also, swells generated by Alberto are affecting portions of the coast of eastern Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Hazardous surf conditions are likely to develop along much of the central and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast through 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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