Tropical Storm Watch & Storm Surge Watch issued for MS Gulf Coast

The Gulf Coast is bracing for Subtropical Storm Alberto this Memorial Day Weekend

The Gulf Coast is bracing for Subtropical Storm Alberto this Memorial Day Weekend

The first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season has formed, the National Hurricane Center said. This is due to tropical moisture that will be interacting with a frontal zone in the region, says the National Weather Service. Hurricane season officially begins June 1, but a tropical storm does occasionally form before then, including the past three hurricane seasons.

Right now, early forecasts project that the number of storms will be higher than average, and several forecasts indicate an above-average likelihood that a major hurricane will make landfall in the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast, or the US East Coast.

An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to fly to the area at 3 p.m. Friday to sample more precise measurements of the atmosphere and determine the system's strength.

"Alberto could bring tropical storm conditions and storm surge to portions of the central and eastern Gulf Coast later this weekend and early next week", the hurricane center said.

Heavy rains are expected in western Cuba, Florida and the northern Gulf Coast into next week. Presently, the main impacts appear to be heavy rainfall and possible flooding.

Heavy rains from Alberto certainly bring flooding into the picture for Lakeland, which enters the weekend with the third-highest rainfall total for the month of May in the last 100 years.

Florida and Mississippi are under states of emergency ahead Subtropical Storm Alberto
Florida and Mississippi are under states of emergency ahead Subtropical Storm Alberto

The latest models have shifted the system farther to the left into parts of the MS and Alabama coast lines.

"Rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida", the NHC said. 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.

A high rip current risk means the water will be unsafe for all levels of swimmers.

Due to wind shear and marginal water temperatures, only gradual intensification is expected.

Forecasters have noted that the flash flood watch may need to be expanded northward later.

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