Alberto maintains strength as it approaches Gulf Coast


The National Hurricane Center in Miami says a tropical storm warning is in effect from the Suwannee River in Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama state line.

Alabama and MS have activated their National Guards in preparation for Subtropical Storm Alberto, which is expected to make Landfall in Florida on Monday.

Subtropical Storm Alberto had a burst of strength as it closes on Florida's Panhandle, where it should come ashore early Monday, and is spreading heavy rains across the U.S. South, potentially causing more than $1 billion in economic losses.

On Sunday, some U.S. states were recording winds of 50 miles per hour and up to 10 inches of rain, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham.

Forecasters cautioned that heavy rain and tropical storm conditions could reach the northern Gulf Coast well ahead of the center of Alberto making landfall. Flooding and strong winds remain the primary threat from Alberto, but there is a marginal chance at a brief spin-up tornado in the southeast Monday night into Tuesday as the system moves onshore with banding on the northeast side of the low.

Though the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until Friday, Alberto was throwing disarray into long holiday weekend plans along the Gulf Coast. The storm is also pushing rain bands towards the coast, Gardner said, so there could be some heavy rain there as well.

Subtropical Storm Alberto is pictured nearing the Florida Panhandle in this May 27, 2018 NASA handout photo.

Alberto will continue to impact Middle Georgia through the middle of the week, bringing more heavy rainfall to the area. Ivey activated the state's emergency operations center while the Alabama National Guard activated its high water evacuation teams.

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Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area in Cuba on Saturday.

Waters off the eastern and northern Gulf Coast are expected to be rough through Tuesday.

The storm's approach during the busy Memorial Day weekend caused disruptions for local businesses, eating away at profits.

Subtropical Storm Alberto is a little better organized this morning and winds are at 45 miles per hour.

"It's not going to be widespread rainfall", Doody said.

Alberto has been a subtropical storm since its formation because it lacked the warm core that forms the core of tropical storms. The season is likely to be "near or above normal," according to the NHC.

The early storm doesn't necessarily mean this year's hurricane season will be as busy as last year's though.