U.S. Gulf Coast braces for impact as Subtropical Storm Alberto approaches

Alberto is likely to make landfall Monday between New Orleans and Destin Florida before moving into Mississippi and Alabama by Tuesday

Alberto is likely to make landfall Monday between New Orleans and Destin Florida before moving into Mississippi and Alabama by Tuesday

At 8 a.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center updated its forecast to say Alberto, positioned about 100 miles south-southeast of Destin, had winds of up to 65 mph and was expected to cross the northern Gulf Coast in the warning area Monday afternoon or evening.

Alberto comes during the Memorial Day weekend, and is expected to affect travel on Monday, when many people will return from their holidays. The storm prompted Florida, Alabama and MS to launch emergency preparations over the weekend amid expectations Alberto would reach land sometime Monday.

About 130 to 250 millimetres of rain are possible along affected areas in eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida Panhandle.

As Alberto churns up toward the Gulf Coast on Sunday night, "an increasing tropical plume of moisture will stream into the Coastal Carolinas", said Rachel Gross-Zouzias in a special weather briefing.

"It's maintained its strength and wind speeds overnight, and it looks like it's headed for landfall at Panama City, (Florida)", said David Roth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. It is showing signs of transitioning to something more tropical as deeper convection has developed near the center.

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.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency for 40 counties that will go into effect at 6 a.m. Sunday, according to a statement from her office.

Parts of the area are under mandatory evacuation orders.

The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches. It continues through Tuesday morning as Alberto brings heavy rain to the entire area.

"This rain is going to start to pick up in intensity for our southern counties, but it could be this afternoon before it gets heavy around the Triangle", said Gardner.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Anclote River to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

The storm comes after a series of deadly hurricanes in the United States and Caribbean past year walloped places including Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico - causing billions of dollars in damage. With a subtropical storm, the strongest winds and thunderstorms are located far away from the center, even though they may be just as strong as those found in a tropical storm.

Rain will likely be heavy at times through tonight, which will add to an already elevated flash flood threat.

In the Baltimore suburb of Ellicott City, a massive storm caused flash flooding on Sunday that swept through its historic Main Street area, local news video showed.

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