US Gulf Coast Braces for Impact as Subtropical Storm Alberto Approaches

Muriel Hammond
May 28, 2018

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Alberto was moving north-northwest near the eastern Gulf of Mexico at 12 miles per hour and that the storm would approach the northern Gulf Coast by Sunday night or Monday.

"Tropical-storm-force winds and a hazardous storm surge are possible along portions of the central and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast beginning on Sunday", Brown wrote from the center in Miami.

Some tropical storm warnings remained in effect on Florida's west coast, but some had been lifted, a news report said. By Monday afternoon the storm will hit the coast of Alabama where there are already storm surge watches.

Residents can expect gusty wind near the coast, isolated tornados and localized flooding from heavy rainfall, the advisory says.

A Flood Watch has been issued for the entire WLRN listening area through Monday.

Coastal areas could also experience 2 to 4 feet of storm surge. The storm, with winds up to 50 miles per hour, is expected to reach landfall in Florida's panhandle early Monday.

Jeffrey Medlin, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Mobile office, warned that even after the storm moves north there will still be swells coming up from the south that could cause risky rip currents.

The hurricane center said Sunday that a tropical storm warning was in effect from Bonita Beach, Florida, to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Florida Governor Rick Scott told every county in the state to be ready for Alberto.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions will spread across the warning area overnight and continue through Monday.

"On the forecast track, the center of Alberto will cross the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico today and approach the northern Gulf Coast in the warning area tonight or Monday".

Landfall is expected to be between Seagrove Beach and Destin in the Florida Panhandle.

"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. Alberto is now located about 165 miles west of Tampa.

Alberto continues to be a weak and disorganized storm Sunday morning as it works its way through the eastern Gulf. It's had little impact on offshore energy production, but threats for onshore flooding are high, the National Hurricane Center said. The weather had scared off the usual crowds expected for the holiday weekend. Rappaport found that during the 50-year period of 1963 to 2012, about half of all USA deaths from tropical cyclones were caused by storm surge.

At 2 a.m. EDT Sunday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 380 miles (615 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph).

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