U.S. Gulf Coast states brace for subtropical storm Alberto

U.S. Gulf Coast states brace for subtropical storm Alberto

Florida and MS launched emergency preparations Saturday ahead of the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto, a slow-moving system expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.

Florida, Alabama and MS declared states of emergency on Saturday with up to 15 inches (38 cm) of rain forecast over the Memorial Day weekend, as well as tidal surges and damaging winds, according to Patrick Burke of the weather service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant authorised the use of the National Guard, his office said in a statement.

Subtropical Storm Alberto is a little better organized this morning and winds are at 45 miles per hour.

Forecasters say heavy rains from Subtropical Storm Alberto could cause flooding across most of SC.

The storm system passed Cuba on Saturday and has been moving slowly but surely toward the Florida panhandle at about 14 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center on Sunday. A gradual strengthening was expected as the storm moves north.

"The main concern from Alberto is flooding; not so much along the immediate coast, but inland, from the heavy rains that are coming on top of over a week of rain across the southeast", said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.

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A storm surge watch is in effect along the USA gulf coast, from Crystal River to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

At The Coast: A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and a Flash Flood Watch is in effect across Southern Alabama. The chance of showers and thunderstorms is expected to decrease to 30 percent by Wednesday evening, which is forecast to be cloudy with a low around 74.

According to Moss, central and eastern portions of the state could see anywhere from 3-4 inches of rain.

Isolated tornadoes were possible across the region on Sunday and Monday.

Alberto marks the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, which officially begins June 1.

Last year's hurricane season saw a number of major storms that caused major damage in Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Puerto Rico. A tropical storm watch and flash flood watch remain in effect. In contrast to a tropical storm or hurricane, where the strongest winds are at the center, a subtropical storm can have the most powerful winds far from the core.

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