Tropical depression development now expected with low heading toward Gulf of Mexico

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

The 1 p.m. update on Subtropical Storm Alberto from the National Hurricane Center says the story is still almost stationary. It still remains an unorganized mess as it meanders off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula but is expected to churn northward into the Gulf of Mexico and approach Florida this weekend.

TAMPA— The first tropical system of the 2018 hurricane season has formed in the Caribbean and threatens to drench the Tampa Bay area with heavy rains and potential flooding over the Memorial Day weekend.

"This system could also bring tropical storm force winds and storm surge to portions of the northern Gulf Coast by late this weekend or early next week", the National Hurricane Center warned. The system is too close to land, and wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere are blowing thunderstorms away from the supposed center of the low-pressure system. It has winds of 40 miles per hour and is stationary. Right now, heavy flooding rain, gusty winds, and isolated tornadoes are possible for South Florida, according to Bryan Norcross, a hurricane specialist at The Weather Channel.

Update 11 a.m.: The first forecast models are in from the NHC, and they show Alberto avoiding South Florida.

Subtropical Storm Alberto remains disorganized and nearly stationary near the island of Cozumel off of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. "Extreme" flood watches have already been issued beginning Saturday for counties from Mobile to Okaloosa.

It's called a "subtropical storm" because it doesn't have all the classic features of a tropical storm.

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

The storm is tracking north northwest at 6 miles per hour into the Gulf of Mexico.

The overall track of Alberto will be important to the amount of rain that can be expected across the Carolinas.

About four to six inches are expected for the greater Fort Lauderdale and Miami areas, with three to four inches expected for Palm Beach County.

National Weather Service meteorologists said details of the weekend forecast are dependent on the track and development of would-be Alberto in the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida is typically a very dry spot for most of the early spring until about late May into June.

Heavy rain and rip currents are the main threats for now.

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