Subtropical Storm Alberto forms; on track for Gulf Coast

Path of Subtropical Storm Alberto as of Saturday

A named tropical storm in May would be a rare, but not unprecedented, occurrence given the hurricane season does not officially start until June 1.

Alberto is sitting east of the Yucatan Peninsula with sustained winds of 40 miles per hour and is expected to move north into the Gulf of Mexico, where conditions are favorable for further development. But as it moves north, those winds are expected to dramatically weaken, allowing the system to become better defined over warm, hurricane-fueling Gulf waters.

According to forecasters with the National Hurricane Center, the storm is expected to slowly move to the north through the weekend, passing near the eastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula on Friday night and approaching the western tip of Cuba on Saturday morning.

And Alberto is likely headed toward the northern Gulf Coast, where tropical storm watches could go up as soon as today.

The NHC predicts that Alberto could reach tropical storm status overnight, although it's too early to predict where that could occur and what magnitude the storm system might achieve.

Alberto is the first named tropical weather system of the hurricane season.

Earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm
Earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm

The subtropical or tropical name is given to a storm with winds in excess of 39 miles per hour.

At the meeting, Gov. Scott urged Floridians to watch the weather closely and make a plan. Rainfall amounts of 6-12 inches are possible with localized higher amounts.

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft will take a closer look at Alberto this afternoon and provide more detail on its structure and intensity. "Extreme" flood watches have already been issued beginning Saturday for counties from Mobile to Okaloosa. Effects here locally will primarily be heavy, at times, significant rainfall. If Alberto jogs west of the forecast track, the area could see the chance of flooding rains increase. It will send a plume of tropical moisture towards the Gulf Coast for the weekend and that means very heavy rainfall is possible.

Fresh winds and rough seas are also expected Friday and Saturday.

Models show the storm making landfall along the north Gulf Coast between the Florida Panhandle and Louisiana.

The rest of the state can also expect rain, though in the range of 2 to 4 inches.

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