As Subtropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, moves north, different agencies have posted storm related watches and warnings. The government of Cuba has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the west coast of the Florida peninsula from Boca Grande to Anclote River. The Tropical Storm Watch along the coast of the Florida panhandle has been extended eastward to the Aucilla River.The Storm Surge Watch has been extended eastward to Crystal River, Florida.
The National Hurricane Center expects Alberto to transition from a subtropical system into a pure tropical one this weekend. In the 11am ET advisory, Alberto was moving toward the north near 10 mph and a northward or north northeastward motion is expected today, followed by a turn to the northwest on Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of Alberto is expected to move near the western tip of Cuba this afternoon, track across the eastern Gulf of Mexico tonight through Monday, and approach the northern Gulf Coast in the watch area Monday night.
Alberto is expected to be a strong tropical storm when it makes US landfall. Maximum sustained winds are near 40mph now with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast by Monday night. It is within the realm of possibilities that Alberto could strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane prior to landfall, but most forecast guidance suggests it’ll remain simply a strong tropical storm. Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 140 miles mainly to the east of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 mb (29.68 inches).
Alberto will bring numerous hazards to areas in its path:
Alberto is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with isolated totals of 25 inches across western Cuba. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Rainfall accumulations of 3 to 7 inches with maximum amounts of 10 inches are possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwest Florida. Heavy rains will begin to affect the central Gulf Coast region into the southeastern United States on Sunday and continue into the middle of next week as Alberto moves northward after landfall. Rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches with maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible along the track of Alberto from eastern Louisiana, across much of Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida panhandle. Rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches with maximum totals of 8 inches possible from the southern Appalachians into the coastal southeast.
Tropical storm conditions are expected within portions of the warning area in Cuba through this evening. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Dry Tortugas later today and tonight. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area along the Florida west coast on Sunday, and along the northern Gulf Coast by Sunday night or early Monday.
The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach 2-4′ above ground in the area of Crystal River to the Mouth of the Mississippi River if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide. The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.
A tornado or two may occur over the Florida Keys and parts of southwestern Florida late this afternoon through tonight.
Swells generated by Alberto are affecting portions of the coast of eastern Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Hazardous surf conditions are likely to develop along much of the central and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast through the weekend.