Alberto stronger on move toward US Gulf Coast

Alberto approaches the Florida panhandle	 	 	 			Subtropical storm Alberto heads for the Florida panhandle

Rain was in the forecast for the Orlando area as subtropical storm Alberto approached the Florida Panhandle Monday morning.

STORM SURGE: 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.

Thousands of Florida residents evacuated homes on Sunday as the storm headed north through the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters are also warning people in those same areas and in southern SC of the possibility that "brief tornadoes" could develop as Alberto moves further inland. Its center passed parallel of Apalachicola and was about 30 miles south-southwest of Panama City, the NHC said.

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

Waters off the eastern and northern Gulf Coast are expected to be rough through Tuesday.

"The main impact will be heavy rain, but our biggest concern is the rip currents", Rogers said Sunday afternoon.

Winds from the storm are forecast to hit Florida's Panhandle on Sunday night. It says the focus and concern remain in the Panhandle where the storm is expected to make landfall amid forecasts of heavy rainfall. At the moment nearly all of the showers are on the east of Alberto's centre, with the heaviest rains falling across Cuba and Florida.

US Gulf Coast braces for first named storm of the season
US Gulf Coast braces for Alberto battering

Subtropical storm Alberto, the first named storm of the season, is expected to spread tropical storm conditions along the west coast of Florida Sunday.

Gusty showers were to begin lashing parts of Florida on Sunday, and authorities were warning of the possibility of flash flooding. On top of that, there could be as much as $600 million in lost holiday spending as Alberto puts a damper on plans during the Memorial Day three-day weekend.

"So we need to really be careful with that rainfall", Graham said.

The storm system could move slowly through Upstate; if so, that would increase the chances of heavy rain.

Flash flooding is the number one storm-related killer in the United States.

The showery weather made for a dark and damp Memorial Day, the official start of the summer tourist season for vacationers heading to Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island or Charleston beaches.

The US-based National Hurricane Centre is warning that Alberto could produce up to 600 millimetres of rain in western Cuba.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Rogers said the storm would be "coming very close to shore" around 8 a.m. Monday and make landfall around noon.

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