Alberto is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over western Cuba, South Florida and the Florida Keys, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday.
By midday Sunday, the US Southeast was seeing 50-mile-per-hour (80-km-per-hour) winds and up to 10 inches of rain in some places, Ken Graham, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center, said in a video briefing. A tropical storm warning is in effect from Bonita Beach, Florida, to the Mississippi-Alabama border. He said Alberto's biggest threat will be its heavy rains, with forecasts of anywhere from four to 12 inches (10-30 centimeters) of rain in some areas.
Local emergency officials continue to monitor flood-prone areas, but so far no issues have been reported.
The National Weather Service says a storm surge of 2-to-4 feet is possible in flood prone areas along the coast, although specifics on where the highest water rise might be are "still unfolding" at this time. Sustained winds could be up to 50 miles per hour by then.
Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday.
After that, it will bring powerful winds and heavy rains as it moves into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday, it said. A storm surge watch was also issued for parts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The storm could clip Apalachicola the night before.
The storm now has maximum sustained winds of almost 50-miles-per-hour and is likely to become a tropical storm. Gradual strengthening is forecast until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast. In an update on preparedness efforts issued Saturday, Scott said the Florida National Guard has 5,500 guard members on call to help with storm-related emergencies.
Subtropical Storm Alberto was moving northward through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. On Sunday there will likely be two areas where rain is more likely this afternoon in Central Alabama, with the earliest chance in Northwest Alabama and later in areas to the south and east.
Storms in the Gulf are closely watched because 5 percent of USA natural gas and 17 percent of crude-oil production comes out of the region, according to the Energy Information Administration. This is almost 60 miles east and about six hours sooner than the forecast issued by the National Hurricane Center on Saturday.
Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 115 miles from the center. Both types of inland flooding - flash flooding and river flooding - are possible over the next few days, especially considering the size and depth of Alberto's moisture field.
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