Alberto is 2018's first named tropical system

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

The northern Gulf Coast could then see flooding rain, winds strong enough to form tornadoes, and isolated storm surge flooding.

A tropical storm watch was issued Friday for the northern Gulf Coast from Indian Pass, Florida westward to the metropolitan New Orleans, as well as for Mexico, from popular cruise destination Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

Alberto, appearing a week before the official start of hurricane season, maintained sustained winds of 40 miles per hour and halted its forward movement Friday afternoon, although it is expected to resume a course toward the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. However it is not expected to become a hurricane.

"However, a general slow motion toward the north is expected through the weekend, followed by a northwest turn by Monday", the update states. The chances of this tropical depression developing over the next five days are up to 80 percent, according to the National Weather Service.

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft will take a closer look at Alberto this afternoon and provide more detail on its structure and intensity. "The main impact will be heavy rains that could exacerbate rivers and areas prone to flooding".

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

This is due to tropical moisture that will be interacting with a frontal zone in the region, says the National Weather Service.

"Rain totals over the next 5-7 days should reach the 2-4" range with locally higher amounts. A ridge of high pressure will build in from the southwest, producing the hottest weather of the year so far.

Another considerable hazard is rip currents.

For now, I wouldn't give up your weekend plans.

A high rip current risk means the water will be unsafe for all levels of swimmers. "This system will bring excessive rainfall which will likely result in flash flooding", stated the latest NWS advisory. Additionally, as the wind field strengthens and expands around the system, our winds will increase and there is a threat of some thunderstorm wind damage with sporadic power outages especially Saturday night and Sunday.

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