Storm Alberto gains strength approaching northern Gulf Coast

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Subtropical Storm Alberto pushed north along the western coast of Florida on Sunday, May 27, churning up the ocean and creating beach erosion.

The new location closer to Florida also implies that the center of the storm may come close enough to the west coast of the state, including the Tampa Bay area, to cause unsafe winds and some storm surge.

A water spout, a risky vortex of wind and water, was spotted late Sunday about 7 miles off shore of Alligator Point, Florida, said Roth.

Forecasters say heavy rains from Subtropical Storm Alberto could cause flooding across most of SC.

Large cloud formations gather behind the downtown Gulfport, Miss., water tower Saturday afternoon, May 26, 2018, as Subtropical Storm Alberto slowly makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico.

Meteorologists are calling Alberto a 'subtropical storm.' What the heck is that?

You'll likely have to adjust those weekend grilling plans for this Memorial Day weekend: As Subtropical Storm Alberto makes its way north through the Gulf of Mexico, sloppy, wet and potentially unsafe conditions are expected through Monday. Destin and Panama City Beach are within the watch area. Governors in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday declared states of emergency.

Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday.

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All 67 Florida counties were issued the emergency notice to give state and local governments enough time and resources to prepare, Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a statement.

Alberto's top winds rose to 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour early Sunday, up from 40 earlier, the National Hurricane Center said in a 11 a.m. Bands of dry air wrapped up with the storm spared Central Florida much of the feared rainfall that had triggered a flood watch, and the watch was discontinued Sunday afternoon.

Along the Gulf Coast and Big Bend, some mandatory and some voluntary evacuations were underway Sunday after a forecast for a 2- to 4-foot storm surge.

Alberto, which spun up days before the formal start of the 2018 hurricane season, was moving north at about 20 kilometres per hour with maximum sustained winds near 64 kilometres per hour, and higher gusts, on Saturday, the NWS said.

A tropical storm warning remained in effect for Cuba's western Pinar del Rio province, where heavy rains could trigger flash floods and mudslides, the NHC said. Because of expected deteriorating weather, the sandbag distribution points will not be open Sunday, the county said.

"It was a 50-50 chance of whether to come down and we chose to chance it", Gasper said.

A subtropical storm has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are found farther from the center. However, while we have less of a rain and storm threat the humidity and heat will continue to be high. There's always a low-end risk of severe storms or a quick spin-up tornado on the left (eastern) side of tropical systems, which will be the case for eastern Alabama.