US Gulf Coast braces for Alberto battering

The track for Alberto shows it aiming for the Florida Panhandle on Monday

Governors in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday declared states of emergency. The storm spun up days before the formal June 1 start of the hurricane season. On the forecast track, the center of Alberto will move over Alabama later tonight and early Tuesday.

Sustained winds from the season's first named storm had dropped to 45 miles per hour before coming ashore about 4:45 p.m. - down from 65 miles per hour Sunday night.

Roughly a week before hurricane season officially begins, subtropical storm Alberto is making its way to the Florida panhandle and is expected to make landfall on Monday.

Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall near Laguna Beach, Florida on Monday. It is showing signs of transitioning to something more tropical as deeper convection has developed near the center.

In addition to parts of the southeastern USA, the heavy rains and storm conditions could produce "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides" in Cuba, the NHC said. Storm surge was a bigger threat north of the Tampa Bay area, with flooding possible in and north of Crystal River, the weather service said.

"This could possibly hit the afternoon rush hour", he said.

Forecasters had feared the storm could bring risky high water to southern coastal states and possible tornadoes. The evacuations affect about 4,200 homes. The weekend looks unsettled too with batches of showers around Saturday and Sunday.

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Our weather today will have periods of rain, some will be heavy at times. Live video from webcams posted in Clearwater and Destin showed half-empty beaches, and whitecaps roiled the normally placid Gulf waters.

Several states, including Florida, Alabama, and MS went into pre-emptive states of emergency on Sunday, and a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the northern Gulf Coast from the Suwannee River to the Alabama-Florida border.

On Saturday evening, the storm was located about 153km north of the western tip of Cuba and 440km southwest of the Dry Tortugas, which is nearly 113km west of Key West, Florida, according to the NHC.

It's also worth pointing out that extremely heavy rain continues to fall over Cuba from a trailing moisture plume ... this is the fifth consecutive day.

The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg issued a flash flood warning late Tuesday night for McDowell County in western North Carolina until early Wednesday.

Just because it's "nice and sunny" after the storm passes, Medlin says there's still a risk for swimmers.

"People have drowned by going out to the water too soon", he said.

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