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

Thousands evacuate as Storm Alberto powers toward Florida

Thousands evacuate as Storm Alberto powers toward Florida

Projected to make landfall sometime Monday along the Florida panhandle, Alberto is already impacting the coastal and inland areas with rain as the first bands enter southeast Alabama.

While Alberto was expected to become a tropical storm upon landfall, the likelihood of the storm becoming a full-blown hurricane remained low.

The NHC maintains a storm surge watch along the US Gulf coast from Crystal River in western Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama border. Strong onshore winds may bring higher than normal water levels along the coast which could create coastal flooding.

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

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"It's heavy rainfall on the entire coast", he said.

Tropical downpours will move northward into NCFL starting on Sunday.

"There are no strong climate signals saying it's going to be extremely active, like previous year, or extremely weak", said Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, speaker with reporters Thursday.

The governors of Florida, Alabama and MS declared states of emergency Saturday.

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It is not organized enough yet to be a tropical storm, and is considered subtropical. The storm could clip Apalachicola the night before. With a subtropical storm, the strongest winds and thunderstorms are located far away from the center, even though they may be just as strong as those found in a tropical storm.

As the day wore on Saturday, the National Weather Service in Miami reported the certainty of flooding had increased for all of South Florida.

On its current forecast track, Alberto is expected to continue its slow journey north until making a turn to the northwest Monday as it approaches the north-central Gulf coast, the hurricane center said. However, the storm should not be taken as an indicator of how this hurricane season will play out, he said.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions", the National Hurricane Center said in a statement. Maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible along Alberto's track from eastern Louisiana, across much of Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida panhandle, forecasters said.

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