Subtropical Storm Alberto forms near Cozumel

Subtropical Storm Alberto forms near Cozumel

Alabama, Florida and MS are preparing for states of emergency as Subtropical Storm Alberto heads toward the Gulf of Mexico.

"Alberto could bring tropical storm conditions and storm surge to portions of the central and eastern Gulf Coast later this weekend and early next week", the hurricane center said.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour. On the forecast track, the center of Alberto is expected to move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico tonight through Sunday night, and approach the northern Gulf Coast in the warning area on Monday.

Subtropical Storm Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - was continued roiling toward parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and risky surf on Saturday.

The governors of Florida, Alabama and MS all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm Saturday.

Flooding was possible in Florida's Miami-Dade and Monroe counties after weeks of rain, with tornadoes possible Saturday and Sunday and rip currents expected on both coasts, forecasters said. Regardless of whether Alberto becomes a true tropical storm by definition, very heavy rain and flooding are likely from Florida to Louisiana over the next several days. Alberto should be a "regular" tropical storm by then as it increases wind speed to around 65mph, but it won't be near our coast.

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. Hurricane season in the Atlantic basin officially begins on June 1.

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 Florida Public Radio Emergency Network
View Slideshow Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

A hotel owner in Panama City Beach, Florida, tells the Panama City News Herald that her family's five hotels are normally full on Memorial Day weekend.

Areas that typically flood easily will have the potential to do so next week.

The National Hurricane Center defines subtropical storm as a "subtropical cyclone" in which the maximum sustained wind speed - using the US one-minute average - is 39 miles per hour or higher. But Julie Hilton said people are canceling because of the weather and room reservations are down about 20 percent.

He said the National Weather Service says there is a 10 percent chance the surge will reach 4 feet above high tide.

Rain totals in Beaufort County are predicted to be between a quarter-and-a-half inch on Sunday and three-quarters-and-one inch on Monday.

Just a year ago, we had a named storm - Tropical Storm Arlene - east of Bermuda in April.

The main difference between a tropical storm and a subtropical storm comes down to the structure.

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