Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Storm Alberto weakens as it makes landfall on Florida Panhandle

Storm Alberto weakens as it makes landfall on Florida Panhandle

The storm was about 165km south of Apalachicola, Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico coast as of 8pm EDT and was expected to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle on Monday, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

Former subtropical storm Alberto, which threatened to clobber the southeastern United States on Memorial Day, fizzled into a subtropical depression, with winds dropping to 35 miles per hour (56 kph) as it rolled into southern Alabama on Tuesday, officials said.

Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect along the entire Gulf Coast.

Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall around 4 p.m. Monday near Laguna Beach, Florida.

Forecasters said Alberto could bring life-threatening high water to southern coastal states when it slams an area from MS to western Georgia with up to 12 inches (30 cm) of rain and possible tornadoes.

The rains may produce flash flooding, the National Hurricane Center said.

A satellite image shows subtropical storm Alberto in the Gulf of Mexico.

Combined with the above average rainfall we've already seen so far this spring, additional rain could create flooding issues in the upcoming week along area rivers.

After Storm Alberto hit the coast of Florida, it is expected to head further northwest, passing over Alabama, Georgia and MS before covering Nashville, Tennessee.

"We're not expecting the season to be one of the most active on record", said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

The National Weather Service's office in Tampa said in a briefing Saturday that winds from Alberto would increase late Saturday night, persisting during the day Sunday, then diminish later Sunday night.

A storm surge watch was put into effect from Crystal River to the Florida/Alabama border, indicating the possibility of life-threatening inundation of storm water.

Rain across the Valley has been scattered in the past week with some mountainous areas getting heavy rains in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina.

"The main thing we would advise people is to not pay too much attention to the maximum winds", Zelinsky said.

Subtropical Storm Alberto moves northbound over Northwest Florida Monday evening bringing heavy rain, gusty winds and a risk of severe storms to South Alabama and South Georgia. Because of the potential for higher rain totals over the next two days, a flood watch continues.

More than 5,000 were evacuated in Cuba over the subtropical storm.

Picking up windspeed of up to 45 miles per hour, the storm gradually subsiding to 12 miles per hour as it headed northeast inland, according to the National Hurricane Centre. Rain will not be widespread, but a few storms could be possible.

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