Thousands evacuate as Alberto bears down on northern Gulf Coast

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The first named Atlantic storm of 2018, Alberto, which formed just days prior to the official beginning of the hurricane season, remains unsafe and will become stronger, gusting up to 65 miles per hour on the Gulf Coast over the Monday holiday, according to the NWS, cited by Reuters.

Water vapor imagery and visible satellite imagery over the past six hours shows dry air swirling into the storm. Tropical storm warnings were up for parts of the Panhandle and the Alabama coast.

Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season that officially starts June 1 - is expected to strengthen until it reaches the northern Gulf Coast, likely on Monday night.

For storm information specific to your area, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. Unsafe surf and rip current conditions were also likely to occur.

Subtropical Storm Alberto weakened slightly as it neared Florida's Panhandle, where it should come ashore Monday to spread heavy rains across the southern USA, potentially causing more than $1 billion in economic losses. "We're talking eight to 12 inches of rain this weekend, and storm surges on the Gulf Coast".

"It's maintained its strength and wind speeds overnight, and it looks like it's headed for landfall at Panama City, (Florida)", said David Roth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

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Tropical moisture will continue to move into the area as Alberto moves to our west. Rain is likely Monday and there will be the potential for some heavy rainfall.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions will spread across the warning area throughout the day. Unfortunately for Apalachicola, the maximum storm surge should arrive at this morning's high tide, resulting in a total water level roughly 3.4 feet above the normal high tide. 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. She said "strong squalls off and on" had kept her inside. Just because it's "nice and sunny" after the storm passes, Medlin says there's still a risk for swimmers.

Hardest hit will be small businesses that expected revenue from Memorial Day weekend tourists, Watson said.

"We're going to play cards and if there's a break, we'll head down to the beach", she said. "We'll hang out and see how it goes".

Turner said she's not so frightened by a storm, even if it's subtropical.

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