ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.
Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.
Some five to 10 inches of rain are possible along affected areas in eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida Panhandle. Isolated areas could see as much as 15 inches.
Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency, which gives him wide latitude to prepare.
Watches were issued for storm surges – life-threatening inundations from rising coastal waters moving inland – for a stretch of coastline between Crystal River, Florida, and the mouth of the Mississippi River. Authorities were warning of dangerous surf and rip current conditions later Saturday.
“The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Isolated tornadoes could erupt over the Florida Keys or southwestern Florida late Saturday.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama, warned residents along coastal Alabama and Mississippi as well as the Florida Panhandle to brace for heavy rain and high winds. Isolated tornadoes were also possible.
“This system will bring excessive rainfall to the watch area beginning Saturday evening and continuing through Tuesday evening.
Rainfall amounts of 5 to 8 inches, and possibly locally up to double these amounts are possible in this area with this event,” the NWS said.
Tuesday local time.
At about 2p.
Its top sustained winds were 40 mph (65 kph). A gradual strengthening was expected as the storm moves north.
A subtropical storm like Alberto has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are found farther from its center. Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can strengthen into hurricanes.
Cuba maintained its tropical storm watch for the province of Pinar del Rio, while Mexico cancelled its watch for the resort-dotted coast of the Yucatan peninsula, where the storm brought heavy rain. There were no immediate reports of emergencies.
In Cancun, local newspapers showed scenes of some streets flooded to mid-hubcap level.
Some beachfront and riverfront communities are already handing out sandbags.