Expected rains from Alberto prompt flood watch in parts of NC

Carlton Robbins
May 28, 2018

A tropical storm warning is NO LONGER IN EFFECT south of the Suwannee River, so the Tampa Bay area is now in the clear.

Some tropical storm warnings remained in effect on Florida's west coast, but some had been lifted, a news report said.

By midday Sunday, the US Southeast was seeing 50-mile-per-hour (80-km-per-hour) winds and up to 10 inches of rain in some places. Altogether we're looking at a solid 2-3 inches of rain from Alberto with locally-heavier amounts possible where heavy storms set up.

Radar image shows Subtropical Storm Alberto as it bears down on the Florida Panhandle as of 8 a.m. on Mon., May 28, 2018.

In the tropics, the story has been Subtropical Storm Alberto, which makes landfall later today across the Panhandle of Florida.

The US states of Alabama, Florida and MS have declared an emergency ahead of subtropical storm Alberto expected to make landfall on Monday, authorities said.

"Heavy rains and gusty winds continue to spread northward over Florida", it tweeted. And in the Tampa Bay area on the central Gulf Coast, cities offered sandbags for homeowners anxious about floods. The governors of Florida, Alabama and MS all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm. The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a statement Sunday that a mandatory evacuation has been issued in Franklin County for all barrier islands there and those in the county living directly on the coast in mobile homes or in recreation vehicle parks.

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On Sunday morning, the storm was located about 240 kilometres northwest of the Dry Tortugas, which is nearly 113 kilometres west of Key West, Florida, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC). The storm that was expected to make landfall later Monday had maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour (100 kph).

Slowly strengthening Subtropical Storm Alberto could cause more than $1 billion in economic losses to the U.S. Gulf Coast as it tracks north, bringing a growing threat of floods, but it's had little impact on offshore energy production.

The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches.

Previous year was an exceptionally busy hurricane season, with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria devastating Puerto Rico, Houston, Texas, and the Florida Gulf Coast. Because of expected deteriorating weather, the sandbag distribution points will not be open Sunday, the county said.

The National Hurricane Center said that on Sunday, Alberto is expected to bring heavy rainfall and flooding in western Cuba, the Florida Keys and south Florida.

"It was a 50-50 chance of whether to come down and we chose to chance it", Gasper said. A storm surge watch has been discontinued west of the Florida/Alabama border.

A subtropical storm has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are found farther from the center. Essentially, the characteristics of a subtropical system mean it lacks the punch to quickly increase in strength and become a hurricane.

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