State of emergency declared in Florida as Alberto approaches

Rain - you're seeing it already if you've ventured outside - and scattered thunderstorms are possible today. It became a tropical storm that meandered off the cast coast of Georgia and SC.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 40 miles per hour with higher gusts, and a gradual strengthening is expected until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast by Monday night, the Hurricane Center said. It's expected to continue moving north through the Gulf over the weekend, with gradual strengthening.

It is important to not focus on the exact cone, since impacts will be felt far away from the center of the storm.

Advisories and watches related to Alberto include a Tropical Storm Watch for coastal and offshore waters near Franklin County, and then for the coastline from Indian Pass west through the Emerald Coast and beyond.

Alberto is forecast to move northward over the weekend, passing the western tip of Cuba on Saturday morning, then turning toward the northwest. "This will cause a concern for flooding across east central Florida, especially in areas that received heavy rainfall earlier this month".

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for most of southeast Louisiana.

Along with the rain, strong rip currents are expected along the Crystal Coast.

Navarre Beach Fire Chief Danny Fureigh said double red flags will possibly start flying on Sunday if the surf reaches three feet.

Alberto's projected storm track has shifted eastward since Friday, lessening its threat to the active oil production areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical storm watches are also in effect for parts of Mexico and Cuba.

Bay News 9 chief meteorologist Mike Clay estimates that there's only a slim chance of Alberto upgrading to a tropical storm as it approaches Mississippi.

Tropical storm watches are also in effect for parts of Mexico and Cuba. Isolated tornadoes could erupt over the Florida Keys or southwestern Florida late Saturday. Since May 14, most of Marion County has racked up 9.29 inches of rain, about 7 inches above normal, and most of Alachua County has tallied about 5.38 inches, or about 3.5 inches above normal for May.


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