The first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season intensified Sunday off the west coast of Florida, as the threat of rain and rough surf kept some vacationers off beaches along the eastern Gulf Coast during the busy Memorial Day Weekend.
After that, it will bring powerful winds and heavy rains as it moves into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday, the hurricane center said.
Tropical storm watches remain in effect for all coastal Big Bend counties and all of Franklin and Liberty county.
Residents can expect gusty wind near the coast, isolated tornados and localized flooding from heavy rainfall, the advisory says.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch from Sunday evening until Monday morning for the northern two-thirds of the state.
Winds along the coast are forecast to be around 40 to 50 miles per hour.
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Regardless of exact landfall location, strong tropical downpours are expected for much of the Gulf Coast on Memorial Day, with heavy rain causing flash flooding across much of the Gulf Coast region.
"I ask everyone to please make final preparations to your family emergency plan, especially those that live in mobile homes and low-lying areas", said Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.
Water, not wind, tends to be the deadliest factor in storms like Alberto, according to a 2014 study by Dr. Ed Rappaport of the National Weather Service. By Monday, conditions are projected to become more favorable for strengthening into a formidable tropical storm, and Alberto is likely to make landfall near or just west of Pensacola. "Dangerous surf and rip current conditions will likely spread northward along the eastern and northern Gulf Coast through Monday".
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Forecasters say heavy rains from Subtropical Storm Alberto could cause flooding across most of SC. The storm has been rather disorganized for most of its life over water, which is why it has earned the "subtropical" classification. Winds are forecast to reach 60 mph 12 hours and it should be over land in the Florida Panhandle in 24 hours. It's had little impact on offshore energy production, but threats for onshore flooding are high, the National Hurricane Center said. Alberto is now located about 165 miles west of Tampa. Rappaport found that during the 50-year period of 1963 to 2012, about half of all US deaths from tropical cyclones were caused by storm surge.
At 11 p.m. EDT Saturday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 400 miles (645 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph).
Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km) from the center.
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