Thousands evacuate as Storm Alberto powers toward Florida

Where and when the center of the storm will make landfall still depends on when the storm makes a northwest turn in the central Gulf of Mexico - but the NHC adds that "users should remember not to focus on the exact timing and location of landfall since wind and rain will continue to spread northward over the northeastern Gulf Coast well ahead of the center". Flooding and strong winds remain the primary threat from Alberto, but there is a marginal chance at a brief spin-up tornado in the southeast Monday night into Tuesday as the system moves onshore with banding on the northeast side of the low.

Winds have increased as Alberto crosses the gulf, but the storm is expected to weaken after landfall.

Cuba is expected to get as much as 15 inches of rain, the hurricane center said in an advisory Saturday morning, and the Florida Keys and South Florida could get as much as 10 inches.

A Flood Watch has been issued for the entire WLRN listening area through Monday. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov. The storm had top sustained winds of 50 miles per hour.

Alberto is expected to produce heavy rainfall across the region, with about 5 to 10 inches of rain are possible along affected areas in eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida Panhandle.

Alberto, the first named Atlantic storm of 2018, which spun up days before the formal June 1 start of the hurricane season, was packing maximum sustained winds near 65 miles per hour (105 kph) and was expected to drop as much as 12 inches (30 cm) of rain, slamming an area from MS to western Georgia, the Miami-based hurricane center said. The storm now has maximum sustained winds of almost 50 miles per hour.

Tropical Storm Warnings now issued for coasts of Alabama and Florida Panhandle
Tropical Storm Warnings now issued for coasts of Alabama and Florida Panhandle

Little change in strength is forecast before Alberto reaches the northern Gulf Coast. Now that Alberto has already moved into the Gulf of Mexico there could be further changes.

A man rides a bicycle down a flooded road as Subtropical Storm Alberto passes by the west coast of Cuba, in Bahia Honda, Cuba, May 26, 2018. Storms again are more likely during the afternoon and evening. Rappaport found that during the 50-year period of 1963 to 2012, about half of all US deaths from tropical cyclones were caused by storm surge.

"The storm was moving north at about 14 miles per hour, so not real fast".

At 2 a.m. EDT Sunday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 380 miles (615 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph). 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.

At least 340 dead people have been killed by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as the United States braces itself for the worst storm in a decade.


  • Valerie Cook