Even though Alberto's track is slicing through the Gulf of Mexico toward the west Florida Panhandle, Alabama or MS, its effects will be felt east along the Florida Gulf Coast and Central Florida, DeCarlo said.
Now spinning off of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, forecasters named the subtropical storm "Alberto," which is the first of 21 names the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has on its list of possible storm names for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.
The storm is expected to move North slowly from its location near Cuba Saturday into the Gulf of Mexico. A dome of high pressure is expected to slow Alberto down as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast late Sunday and early Monday. Both countries issued tropical storm watches for portions of their coastlines, with rain totals in some isolated areas of up to 25 inches.
Cuba is expected to get as much as 15 inches of rain, the hurricane center said in an advisory Saturday (May 26) morning, and the Florida Keys and South Florida could get as much as 10 inches. In the Tampa Bay area, up to 8 inches of rain is possible.
The good news is Alberto is going to be a very small storm with the heaviest rains and winds located only 30-50 miles on either side of the center of the storm. Essentially, the characteristics of a subtropical system mean it lacks the punch to quickly increase in strength and become a hurricane. Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in an interview.
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Manatee residents should be ready for swaths of rain as Alberto moves north over the Gulf over the next few days.
The storm is expected to approach the USA northern Gulf Coast on the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
What is a subtropical storm? The main threat is from heavy rain that could lead to flooding, the city said, but also high winds and storm surge could cause problems.
On Friday, Exxon Mobil Corp. pulled non-essential personnel from its Lena oil production platform and Royal Dutch Shell Plc shut in its Ram Powell hub, but most other energy companies are leaving offshore crews in place while they watch 2018's first Atlantic storm.
All counties in southwest and west-central Florida, including Polk County, remain under a Flood Watch from the National Weather Service. Eastern Saturday, May 26 this is the projected path of Subtropical storm alberto. The forecast from the Weather Prediction Center still estimates up to 4 inches or more of rain could fall in Volusia County, where a flood watch is in effect.