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Alberto it is: First named tropical system chugs toward Gulf

Alberto it is: First named tropical system chugs toward Gulf

Alberto it is: First named tropical system chugs toward Gulf

Subtropical Storm Alberto will strengthen Sunday, making itself felt from MS to Florida as it moves north in the Gulf of Mexico. On Sunday morning, the storm was located about 150 miles (240 km) northwest of the Dry Tortugas, which is nearly 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West, Florida, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Alberto's top winds rose to 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour early Sunday, up from 40 earlier, the National Hurricane Center said in a 11 a.m. A tropical storm warning is in effect from Bonita Beach, Florida, to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Local emergency officials continue to monitor flood-prone areas, but so far no issues have been reported. Isolated areas could see as much as 15 inches. The main threat is from heavy rain that could lead to flooding, the city said, but also high winds and storm surge could cause problems.

Alberto's tail of moisture will still be near or over South Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday so more thunderstorms are expected, though the moisture levels in the atmosphere will begin dropping.

A tropical storm warning expired for Cuba's western Pinar del Rio province, where heavy rains could trigger flash floods and mudslides, the National Hurricane Center said. "A secondary concern is that even relatively minimal tropical storm winds can topple trees due to saturated soils and water-heavy limbs".

Alberto's winds had strengthened in four hours, with sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and stronger gusts. Flooding and flash flooding are possible in the southeast United States, including Florida. Gradual strengthening is forecast until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast.

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

"Swells from Alberto will create unsafe surf and rip currents along the Gulf Coast", the National Weather Service said.

This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken May 26 shows Subtropical Storm Alberto in the Gulf of Mexico.

Franklin County, in the Florida Panhandle, has issued a mandatory evacuation for its barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico affecting some 4,200 housing units, while Taylor County, to the east, has a voluntary evacuation order in place for its coastal areas. The season is likely to be "near or above normal," according to the hurricane center.

The NWS said waves as high as 18 feet could pound the popular Gulf beaches in Baldwin County, Alabama, and northwestern Florida on Monday.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations.

At 2 a.m. EDT Sunday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 380 miles (615 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph).

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