Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Research | By Wilma Wheeler

Heavy Rain Returns to South Florida Sunday Night and Monday

Heavy Rain Returns to South Florida Sunday Night and Monday

Beaches in Florida were largely empty ahead of Memorial Day as a slowly intensifying storm carrying brisk winds and heavy rain approached the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday.

A water spout, a risky vortex of wind and water, was spotted late Sunday about 7 miles off shore of Alligator Point, Florida, said Roth. Forecasters at the National Weather Service told Newsweek that Alberto is expected to make landfall Monday night into Tuesday morning.

Along the coast three to six inches of rain are expected.

Regardless of its path and intensity, Alberto expected to bring heavy rains of more than 10 inches and flash flooding to western Cuba and southern Florida, the National Hurricane Center said. A tropical storm warning was discontinued from Florida's Anclote River to the Suwannee River.

Forecasters say the most unsafe conditions could be in the mountains.

Officials in one Florida Panhandle county say that Subtropical Storm Alberto will likely dump rain on the region, but they're less concerned about storm surge.

The provinces of Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Matanzas and Ciego de Avila are also hit by the storm.Alberto is the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, which officially begins in June.

Storm Alberto has continued roiling toward parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and risky surf on Saturday. Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading are banned due to high surf and unsafe conditions.

Flood watch in effect for South Florida as Subtropical Storm Alberto heads north

"The primary effects we will see from this storm in west central and southwest Florida will be heavy rainfall, isolated thunderstorms, gusty winds, and risky marine conditions", the weather service forecast said. Storm surge was a bigger threat north of the Tampa Bay area, with flooding possible in and north of Crystal River, the weather service said.

Governors in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday declared states of emergency. Alberto's maximum sustained winds are now 65 miles per hour (100 kph) with higher gusts and the minimum central pressure reads 991 MB or 29.27 inches. "Flooding and flash flooding are possible in the southeast United States, including Florida", it said.

The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches. Destin and Panama City Beach are within the watch area.

Alberto's projected storm track has shifted eastward since Friday, lessening its threat to the active oil production areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can strengthen into hurricanes.

The hurricane center said Sunday that a tropical storm warning was in effect from Bonita Beach, Florida, to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

The early storm doesn't necessarily mean this year's hurricane season will be as busy as last year's though.

"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.

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