Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Flash Flood Watch for the Midlands

Flash Flood Watch for the Midlands

Four days ahead of the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, Subtropical Storm Alberto announced itself with heavy rains and strong winds early Monday in western portion of the Florida Panhandle, where it's expected to make landfall Monday afternoon.

Subtropical Storm Alberto headed toward anticipated landfall sometime Monday on the northern Gulf Coast, where white sandy beaches emptied of their usual Memorial Day crowds.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who issued a state of emergency on Saturday across the the region, said on Sunday that the National Guard has 5,500 members ready to be deployed.

Though the center of the storm is expected to pass west of our local area, North Florida and South Georgia will still have to deal with some rain. Some scattered rain will be around for the morning hours before dissipating for a short time.

Despite its predicted strengthening, Alberto is not expected to become a hurricane.

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That's why forecasters rapidly upped the storm's chance for development last week and concern grew for a totally washed out holiday weekend. But subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which can later strengthen into hurricanes.

The storm's approach also triggered mandatory evacuations of some small, sparsely populated Gulf Coast barrier islands in one Florida county.

In Gulf Shores, Ala., webcams showed beaches beginning to fill up as the storm's track shifted slightly east away from the region, but red flags on the beach warned beachgoers to stay out of the rough water.

The NHC registered winds of about 40 mph extending outward up to 105 miles from the center of the storm. The persistent rain associated with Alberto's tail is just offshore of South Florida Monday and south of the Florida Keys.

The storm comes after a series of deadly hurricanes in the United States and Caribbean past year walloped places including Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico - causing billions of dollars in damage.

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A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for Hancock, Baldwin, Jones, Monroe, Bibb, Crawford, Peach, Taylor and Macon counties until Wednesday morning.

"We're lucky we didn't get more rain with this system, because we were kind of on the edge" with saturated ground and elevated river levels from heavy rains earlier this month, said National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Austin.

A storm surge watch means life-threatening conditions are possible from rising water moving inland from the coast.

The 2018 hurricane officially season begins Friday.

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