Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Storm Alberto maintains strength as it approaches Gulf Coast

Storm Alberto maintains strength as it approaches Gulf Coast

The storm has been rather disorganized for most of its life over water (thus the "subtropical" classification), but has recently become more tropical in nature.

The hurricane center said Sunday that a tropical storm warning was in effect from Bonita Beach, Fla., to the Mississippi-Alabama border. "With deep convection closer to the center and a slightly smaller radius of maximum winds, it appears that Alberto is beginning its transition to a tropical cyclone", the National Hurricane stated in their Sunday morning update.

While the heavy rains could produce flooding, widespread flooding does not appear likely, but we are expecting 2-4 inches of rain areawide with areas of East Alabama possibly seeing up to six inches with possibly higher totals in isolated areas. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Crystal River to Navarre Florida. A subtropical storm like Alberto has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are found farther from its center.

Subtropical Storm Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - prompted Florida, Alabama and MS to launch emergency preparations Saturday.

"Heavy rains and gusty winds continue to spread northward over Florida", it tweeted. Destin and Panama City Beach are within the watch area. The governors of Florida, Alabama and MS all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday.

Rick Scott issued the declaration for all 67 counties in his state.

At 11a.m. EDT Sunday, the NHC said Alberto was about 130 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida, and moving north at 14 mph.

Alberto's top winds jumped to 65 miles (105 kilometers) per hour, which will probably be as strong as it gets, wrote Richard Pasch, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Alberto slowed overnight and is predicted to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Monday afternoon, bringing with it the risk of flooding, storm surges and tornadoes.

Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - was continued roiling toward parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and unsafe surf on Saturday.

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins on June 1 and goes through to November 30, 2018. The weather had scared off the usual crowds expected for the holiday weekend.

Forecasters said Alberto was just west of Cuba Saturday night and was expected to move north-northwest into the Gulf of Mexico, approaching the northern Gulf coast by Monday.

"We had a band of rain this morning but due to dry air wrapping in", Pickering said, "the rain engine" was shut down. Skies will remain a mix of sun and clouds again throughout the day and southerly winds will keep moisture in the area making for a muggy feeling day as well. Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can strengthen into hurricanes.

Like this: