Alberto forms in the Gulf, flooding rains forecast

Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm "Alberto"

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a tropical system that will bring heavy rain to Florida and the Gulf Coast states by Memorial Day.

Subtropical Storm Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - was continued roiling toward parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and risky surf on Saturday.

The western Caribbean Sea and eastern Gulf of Mexico are often the areas where any early tropical activity fires up, so Alberto isn't unusual in that regard.

The immediate Tampa Bay area could experience tropical storm-force winds by Saturday morning, forecasters said, and conditions along the coast could become unsafe with high winds and rip currents.

Subtropical Storm Alberto remains disorganized near the Yucatan Peninsula, located about 95 miles east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico and 145 miles south-southwest of the western tip of Cuba.

Tropical Storm

Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts, and gradual strengthening is forecast for the next 72 hours.

The flood watch runs from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 p.m. Sunday, the period when Alberto is expected to pass closest to the region on its course toward the northern Gulf coast. Rainfall could reach up to 6 inches in parts of Florida up to the Carolinas, Weather.com reported.

A Flood Watch is in effect for much of the holiday weekend.

The 1 p.m. update on Subtropical Storm Alberto from the National Hurricane Center says the story is still almost stationary. The greatest chances of rain start Saturday night and stretch through Monday, and range from 50 to 80 percent.

Last year's hurricane season was brutal. Three of them became major hurricanes that battered Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and many Caribbean islands. The models have come around to a north-eastern or central Gulf Coast landfall. It's considered among the worst natural disasters to hit the islands.

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