Science

Alberto slows, shifts west on path toward Gulf Coast

Alberto slows, shifts west on path toward Gulf Coast

The projected path keeps the center of the storm west of NCFL.

Though the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until Friday, Alberto has become the first named storm this year, throwing disarray into long holiday weekend plans along Florida's Gulf Coast.

Tropical storm watches remain in effect for all coastal Big Bend counties and all of Franklin and Liberty county. Strong onshore winds may bring higher than normal water levels along the coast which could create coastal flooding.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida, announced the area has an "elevated" risk for isolated tornadoes during a Sunday afternoon briefing.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Fla., which covers southeast Alabama, said heavy rain and flooding will be the main concerns as Alberto closes in.

Continuing on its northward trajectory, Alberto could hit the Florida panhandle Sunday evening or Monday morning, according to AccuWeather.

United States forecasters followed suit by issuing a tropical storm watch for parts of the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle southwest of Tallahassee to the New Orleans metropolitan area.

Flood watch in effect for South Florida as Subtropical Storm Alberto heads north
Alberto brings little rain to Volusia/Flagler area

Due to the threat of heavy rain and potential flooding, Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in all 67 Florida counties.

Many may see some tropical storm force wind gusts along the coast but not necessarily sustained winds.

Jeffrey Medlin, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Mobile office, warned that even after the storm moves north there will still be swells coming up from the south that could cause unsafe rip currents. The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone.

At about 2 p.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was centered about 65 miles north-northwest of Cuba and moving north at 13 mph.

A satellite image shows subtropical storm Alberto in the Gulf of Mexico. This will take place as Alberto nears landfall between the Alabama and Western Florida panhandle coasts.

The storm system passed Cuba on Saturday and has been moving slowly but surely toward the Florida panhandle at about 14 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center on Sunday. Authorities were warning of risky surf and rip current conditions later Saturday.