U.S. states declare emergency ahead of subtropical storm

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Alberto had picked up strength as it headed north through the Gulf of Mexico, bringing with it the warning of life-threatening inundation, said the Miami-based hurricane centre.

The latest updates show tomorrow's rain being a little more hit or miss. An additional 1-4 inches of rain will be possible, which could result in minor flooding.

On Thursday, the National Hurricane Center caused eyebrows to raise when it estimated a 90 percent chance that a subtropical or tropical cyclone would form in the central or eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend.

Alberto is expected to turn toward the north-northwest Sunday night, and a north-northwestward to northward motion is expected Monday through Wednesday. Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading are banned due to high surf and risky conditions. And in the Tampa Bay area on the central Gulf Coast, cities offered sandbags for homeowners anxious about floods.

The 40-mph winds extend outward up to 140 miles, mostly to the east of the center, which prompted the tropical storm warning for Manatee, Sarasota and the other coastal counties. Then by later Monday, the main moisture feed - the tail of Alberto - is forecast by the computer models to move back over us as the center of the storm goes ashore in the panhandle.

Parts of Florida, Georgia and Alabama could get from four to eight inches (10 to 20 centimetres) with some areas getting more than a foot of rain.

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Winds along the coast are forecast to be around 40 to 50 miles per hour.

The Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunters again flew out Saturday to gather data on the storm, and it has not strengthened much if at all, the center says. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Dry Tortugas. On top of that, there could be as much as $600 million in lost holiday spending as Alberto puts a damper on plans during the Memorial Day three-day weekend.

Heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions will likely reach the northern Gulf Coast well before the arrival of the center of Alberto.

About 3 to 7 inches are expected for the greater Fort Lauderdale and Miami areas, with 3 to 4 inches expected for Palm Beach County. The chance of showers and thunderstorms is expected to remain about the same going into Tuesday evening, which is forecast to be cloudy with a low around 72.

Isolated tornadoes were possible across the region on Sunday and Monday.

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