Gulf Coast prepares for Alberto as heavy rain, gusty winds hit Florida
ABC News(NEW YORK) — Subtropical storm Alberto is delivering heavy rain and gusty winds to Florida on Sunday morning with current projections showing the storm making landfall in the Panhandle as a tropical storm on Monday.
Mississippi, Alabama and Florida all pre-emptively declared a state of emergency on Saturday.
Alberto is about 330 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, on Sunday morning at 5 a.m. The storm is moving north-northeast at 13 mph with winds at 40 mph. Winds of 40 mph extend outward from the center of the storm up to 150 miles.
The storm is producing winds and rains over southern Florida early Sunday. On Saturday evening, a wind gust of 47 mph was reported by the National Weather Service in Key West, Florida.
Tropical storm warnings and watches have been issued for parts of the Mississippi coast all the way to the western Gulf Coast of Florida. Tampa, Florida; Sarasota, Florida; and Fort Myers, Florida, are under a tropical storm warning for tropical storm conditions arriving on Saturday.
Alberto will move further north in the Gulf of Mexico, passing west of the peninsula of Florida. Alberto’s heavy rains and gusty winds remain predominantly on the right side of the storm, and therefore heavy rain and some gusty winds are expected across much of Florida on Sunday.
Additionally, some of the strong tropical thunderstorms east of the center of circulation could spawn brief tornadoes. There is a threat for a few tornadoes for much of the southern half of Florida, including Tampa, Fort Myers, Miami and West Palm Beach. The strongest tropical thunderstorms could also have rainfall rates exceeding 2 inches per hour, which could trigger flash flooding.
On Monday, Alberto is forecast to make landfall somewhere along the northern Gulf Coast — likely somewhere along the coastal region of the Florida Panhandle or southern Alabama. Regardless of exact landfall location, strong tropical downpours are expected for much of the Gulf Coast on Memorial Day, with heavy rain causing flash flooding across much of the Gulf Coast region.
Alberto — or what remains of it — will move into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday.
Rainfall remains the most widespread threat from Alberto. Isolated parts of the Gulf Coast could receive up to a foot of rain. Locally, more than 8 inches of rain is possible in parts of the Florida Panhandle, southern Alabama and southwest Georgia. In the Florida Keys and southern Florida, a widespread 3 to 6 inches of rain is likely, with up to 10 inches possible locally.
Flash flood watches have been posted for much of Florida, and along the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southwest Georgia. Additionally, Alberto is pushing tropical moisture north. New flash flood watches have been issued for parts of the Carolinas, where 2 to 6 inches of rain is possible.
Heat comes to central US
While the Southeast deals with Alberto, Sunday will be another day of very hot temperatures throughout the central U.S. Widespread 90-degree temperatures are expected across the region. Chicago saw its first 90-degree day on Saturday — a little more than a week ahead of average.
On Sunday, the heat will slide just slightly to the east, but many spots — including Minneapolis and Des Moines, Iowa — will see another day of temperatures in the 90s.
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