Subtropical Storm Alberto: Florida governor declares state of emergency ahead of storm

Subtropical Storm Alberto

A Tropical Storm watch has been issued for parts of the northern Gulf Coast of the United States from Indian Pass, Florida, westward to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

Now spinning off of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, forecasters named the subtropical storm "Alberto," which is the first of 21 names the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has on its list of possible storm names for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

Alberto was moving north at 13 miles per hour with 40-mph sustained winds.

The system is expect to intensify during the weekend and will likely consolidate into a tropical storm at some point on Sunday.

Subtropical Storm Alberto
Image By NOAA

Alberto is the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season and it was roiling parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and unsafe surf on Saturday morning. In Cuba 10 to 15 inches of rain is forecast with isolated totals up to 25 inches in some locations.

Wes Maul, the state's emergency management director, said timing of the storm is uncertain, but the entire state will feel the effects.

A subtropical storm, as opposed to a tropical storm or hurricane, is classified as having a cooler center than a tropical storms with its strongest winds away from the center.

The Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunters again flew out Saturday to gather data on the storm, and it has not strengthened much if at all, the center says.

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Hurricane season doesn't formally start until June 1.

For Central Florida, the biggest threat will be heavy rainfall.

It will then hook west before taking a northerly turn, possibly making landfall in an area between Biloxi, Mississippi and Destin, Florida. A Storm Surge Watch also is in effect from Horseshoe Beach, Florida, to the Mississippi River.

Associates at the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort said a few people had backed out for the weekend, but most kept their reservations.

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"This system will bring excessive rainfall to the watch area beginning Saturday evening and continuing through Tuesday evening".

While the European is the best model we have, plus or minus 50 miles is not forecastable, so we have to continue to be ready for heavy rain and some gusty winds on Monday.

The government of Cuba has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.

Alberto is the first major storm of the 2018 hurricane season, which runs through the fall and often brings heavy storm damage to the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States.

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Cedar Key, an island city off the northwest coast at Florida's big bend, is an area of particular concern at this time, Graham said.

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