Alabama, Mississippi activate National Guard ahead of Subtropical Storm Alberto

Kerry GarnerMay 28, 2018

Normally packed with vacationers over the Memorial Day weekend, beaches along the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast were largely empty Sunday as a slowly intensifying storm carrying brisk winds and heavy rain approached. On Sunday morning, the storm was located about 150 miles (240 km) northwest 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).

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, Ken Graham, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center, said in a video briefing.

As Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to head toward the Gulf Coast, officials are warning beachgoers of the dangers of rip currents.

The Florida panhandle into eastern Alabama and western Georgia.4 to 8 inches, isolated 12 inches. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. As of 2 p.m. ET Sunday, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the area from the middle of Florida's Longboat Key to the Mississippi-Alabama border. The storm has already moved from the Yucatan Peninsular in the western Caribbean and those itineraries are expected to arrive back at their homeports on scheduled.

Heavier rain bands from Subtropical Storm Alberto are forecast to move across the peninsula Saturday night and Sunday, and a Flood Watch continues for all of central and south Florida through Sunday evening.

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The states of Florida and MS declared states of emergency in preparation for Alberto, while Alabama said it would order the same at 6 a.m. Still that means the path of the storm will still reach landfall somewhere between Apalachicola, Panama City and Pensacola just before daybreak on Monday. Its top sustained winds were 40 miles per hour (65 kph).

Subtropical Storm Alberto's moisture and resulting downpours may linger over the state through much of next week, further aggravating the flooding risk.

A flood watch has been extended for all of South Florida until Monday, forecasters say, confirming that Memorial Day will indeed be a wet one.

Heavy rain and tropical storm conditions are likely to reach the northern Gulf Coast well ahead of the center of the large storm system. Elsewhere, for the Piedmont and most of the Triad, expect partly sunny skies and muggy conditions with highs in the low to mid 80s. The season is likely to be "near or above normal," according to the hurricane center. In an update on preparedness efforts issued Saturday, Scott said the Florida National Guard has 5,500 guard members on call to help with storm-related emergencies.

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