Storm Alberto: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi declare states of emergency

Alberto approaching Cuba as it begins to make turn north

Alberto approaching Cuba as it begins to make turn north

The storm is expected to approach the US northern Gulf Coast on the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

A tropical storm watch has been posted for parts of the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama.

Alberto is the first major storm of the 2018 hurricane season, which runs through the fall and often brings heavy storm damage to the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States.

Florida peninsula from Bonita Beach to the Anclote River.

On Saturday evening, the storm was located about 95 miles (153 km) north of the western tip of Cuba and 275 miles (440 km) southwest of the Dry Tortugas, which is nearly 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West, Florida, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC). "Rainfall amounts of 5 to 8 inches, and possibly locally up to double these amounts are possible in this area with this event", the NWS said. Heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions will likely reach the northern Gulf Coast well before the arrival of the center of Alberto.

This marks the fourth straight year a tropical or subtropical system has been named prior to the start of the official June 1 hurricane season date.


Rain chances for South Florida are now at 80 percent Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The Tropical Storm Watch along the coast of the Florida panhandle has been extended eastward to the Aucilla River.

Nick Ellis III and his father Nick Ellis II picked up their sandbags Saturday and gave Manatee County workers a hand by picking up shovels and filling their own bags.

Although the east side of the storm isn't expected to reach Broward, Miami-Dade or Palm Beach counties, the storm's outer bands are expected to bring the area heavy rain, gusts of more than 40 miles per hour, strong rip currents and the possibility of tornadoes, according to a briefing by the National Weather Service in Miami. "There could be some possible high surf with hazardous high risk of rip currents along the beaches". Red flags already flying and as the weekend goes along we will likely see double red flags go up.

"It will hit you pretty hard. and it sucks you right back out. So, I don't like getting in there very far", Sawmiller said.

The wet weather should begin to clear out by Monday evening, he said. The waves of heavy rain and the potential for storms carries over into Memorial Day.

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