Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

First Named Storm of Hurricane Season to Drench US Gulf Coast

First Named Storm of Hurricane Season to Drench US Gulf Coast

Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading are banned due to high surf and unsafe conditions.

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

Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season that officially starts June 1 - is expected to strengthen until it reaches the northern Gulf Coast, likely on Monday night.

Tropical Storm warnings on the Gulf Coast have been called off south of the Anclote River, however, they are still in effect for the Anclote River to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions", the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said in a statement. A wave of showers rotating around Alberto will reach the area gradually, moving north along with the storm, which will be approaching the Gulf Coast later tonight as the main focus continues to be on Alberto.

The panhandle region from the Suwanee River to Navarre, Florida is in a Storm Surge Watch area.

Many may see some tropical storm force wind gusts along the coast but not necessarily sustained winds. The storm, coming on the last day of the Memorial Day weekend, was expected to scramble holiday travel on Monday.

Florida, Alabama and MS declare states of emergency; Jonathan Serrie reports from Florida.

"This is jogging more to the east and will hit the Florida panhandle", said NWS Weather Prediction Center's Patrick Burke, cited by Reuters.

The result: High humidity and breezy conditions, with intermittent showers and a decent chance for scattered afternoon thunderstorms, forecasters said.

In Cuba, up to 15 inches of rain is expected, with isolated storm totals of 20 to 25 inches, posing the threat of flash flooding and mudslides.

Heavy downpours are expected to begin lashing parts of those states on Sunday.

Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area in Cuba on Saturday. Swimming is allowed, but Clearwater officials are asking people to remain cautious when entering the water. Timing so far seems to be around 12-1PM Monday.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for Wake, Chatham, Nash and Johnston counties and points south through 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Satellite photos (above) show the center of the storm just offshore of the Florida Panhandle, and the very obvious moisture feed from tropics - the tail - extending in a comma shape just offshore of the peninsula and continuing south.

"We had a band of rain this morning but due to dry air wrapping in", Pickering said, "the rain engine" was shut down.

Like this: