Subtropical storm Alberto strengthens as it nears Florida
Sunday, May 27, 2018, 12:43 PM - Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to slowly strengthen as it moves northward toward the northern Gulf Coast. The storm is expected to bring flooding rains, strong winds and storm surge to the U.S. Southeast, prompting Florida, Alabama and Mississippi to declare states of emergency.
It's the first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1. If you're heading south, we have details on Alberto below.
- Florida, Alabama and Mississippi declare states of emergency
- Alberto to approach northern Gulf Coast late Monday near Pensacola Beach, Florida
- Embedded thunderstorms are also at play as the system moves onshore resulting in possible significant rainfall rates
- Sunday will likely be the heaviest rain we see leading to a washout of a long Memorial Day weekend
WATCH BELOW: TRACKING THE TROPICS
A subtropical cyclone is a weather system that has some characteristics of a tropical and an extra tropical cyclone. Parts of the Atlantic Ocean temperatures are running higher than normal, especially close to the Florida coast. This means, it doesn't take much to get a "homebrew" storm to form with a cluster of thunderstorms hanging out off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula, which we are watching through the weekend.
The storm is expected to make landfall as a tropical storm on Monday along the northern Gulf coast. This would normally be the weekend to grill outdoors and light fireworks, but unfortunately it will be a washout for the majority of the U.S. Southeast.
CURRENT OBSERVATIONS OF THE STORM
As of Sunday morning, the centre of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located around 210 km west-southwest of Tampa, Florida, moving towards the north near 22 km/h. On the forecast track, the centre of Alberto will cross the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico Sunday, and approach the northern Gulf Coast Sunday night or Monday.
"Heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions will likely reach the northern Gulf Coast well before the arrival of the centre of Alberto," says the National Hurricane Center. "Alberto is expected to move northward into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday."
Maximum sustained winds are near 85 km/h with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast as the storm nears. However, steady weakening is likely after landfall, with Alberto forecast to become a tropical depression by Monday night or Tuesday.
Central Cuba could see an additional 100-250 mm of rain, with up to 500 mm in localized areas. Meanwhile, the Florida panhandle into eastern Alabama and western Georgia is forecast to pick up 100-200 mm, though some areas could see up to 300 mm.
In addition, the threat of rip currents will steadily increase along the Gulf coast from Florida westward to Louisiana over the Memorial Day weekend.
Storm surge could also reach 2-4 ft from Crystal River to the Florida/Alabama border. A few tornadoes may also occur over the Florida Peninsula Sunday.