Science

Florida beaches empty as storm Alberto nears

Florida beaches empty as storm Alberto nears”

Alberto remains below hurricane strength, but is still expected to gust into the Florida Panhandle with 40-50 miles per hour winds, which could spin up a few isolated tornadoes. People are cautioned not to swim or play in the Gulf because the storm will kick up risky rip currents.

Florida Governor Rick Scott issued the declaration for all 67 counties in his state.

Much of central North Carolina will be under a flash flood watch effective Monday at 1 a.m. and lasting into Tuesday as subtropical storm Alberto passes to the west.

The National Hurricane Center says that Alberto now has top sustained 2inds of 65 miles per hour (100 kph) but that little further strengthening is expected before Alberto reaches the Gulf Coast sometime Monday.

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Ahead of the storm, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama declared states of emergency in preparation for the worst.

The mayor of Orange Beach, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, says Subtropical Storm Alberto is bringing rain and aggravation but isn't causing any serious problems in his community.

"Heavy rains and gusty winds continue to spread northward over Florida", the National Hurricane Center tweeted. The heavy rain along with the saturated grounds could lead to some flash flooding. In Gulf County, T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park began evacuations Sunday morning.

As The Associated Press reports, Hurricane Season doesn't officially begin until June 1 - this Friday - but that hasn't stopped the first big storm from forming out in the ocean and bearing down on the Gulf Coast. As it travels up the warm waters of the Gulf, it could well become a full tropical storm.

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Alberto had picked up strength as it headed north through the Gulf of Mexico, bringing with it the warning of life-threatening inundation, said the Miami-based NHC.

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 105 kilometres per hour and was expected to drop as much as 30cm of rain, slamming an area from MS to western Georgia, the Miami-based hurricane centre said.

Tuesday and Wednesday are also expected to have soggy conditions as NWS said Charlotte will be under a 70 to 80-percent chances of precipitation with thunderstorms expected. The most intense rain and thunderstorm activity with the storm is located directly north of the center.

Alberto is expected to make landfall Monday in the Florida Panhandle. Parts of Florida, Georgia and Alabama could get from 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) with some areas getting as much as a foot of rain.

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