Subtropical Storm Alberto Closes In On Florida; Warnings Of Floods, Tornadoes

Alberto is likely to make landfall Monday between New Orleans and Destin Florida before moving into Mississippi and Alabama by Tuesday

The Miami-based centre said in a 5 p.m. ET advisory that Alberto's core made landfall Monday at Laguna Beach, about 20 kilometres west-northwest of Panama City.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour and was moving north at 9 miles per hour.

Thousands have been evacuated from the northern Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida as it braces for subtropical storm Alberto.

The storm system could move slowly through Upstate; if so, that would increase the chances of heavy rain.

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.

The National Hurricane Center says the center of Alberto will move over Alabama later Monday and Tuesday.

According to the National Weather Service, almost half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related.

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.

A storm surge watch remains in effect for much of northern Florida, from the Suwannee to Navarre in the Panhandle. 1-3 inches of storm total rain is possible. with isolated higher totals through Tuesday afternoon.

Subtropical Storm Alberto: Florida governor declares state of emergency ahead of storm
Alberto as of 1pm Saturday remains a subtropical storm, but is forecast to transition to all tropical by the end of the day. Winds will become gustier tomorrow, and some funnel clouds and isolated tornadoes are possible in the stronger squalls.

At the moment its growth is being hindered by strong winds in the upper atmosphere, but as the storm tracks northwards these winds are expected to ease, allowing the storm to complete its transition into a fully tropical system.

Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading were banned amid high surf and unsafe conditions.

"We are under this tropical-like influence and that is not going to really breakdown this pattern for at least the better part of this week, " said Al Moore, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Columbia.

Some tornadoes could also be touched off. Gusty showers began lashing parts of Florida on Sunday, and authorities warned of the possibility of flash flooding.

Locally heavy rain can be expected throughout Memorial Day. As it travels up the warm waters of the Gulf, it could well become a full tropical storm.

The rain will continue from Monday evening, overnight, into Tuesday morning. A Flood Watch continues for much of the holiday weekend.

Alberto has made landfall between Laguna Beach and Panama City Beach, FL. Wind speeds are now at 45 miles per hour.

Alberto has maximum sustained winds of near 65mph and those speeds are expected before the storm makes landfall.

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