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Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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The Latest: Alberto stronger on move toward US Gulf Coast

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on Subtropical Storm Alberto (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Subtropical Storm Alberto has gained strength as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast.

Forecasters say Alberto was centered about 195 miles (315 kilometers) west of Tampa, Florida, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. It is moving to the northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).

The National Hurricane Center says that Alberto now has top sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) but that little further strengthening is expected before Alberto reaches the Gulf Coast sometime Monday.

The center says the storm is dropping heavy rain and that isolated tornadoes are possible in parts of Florida in the coming hours as the system approaches.

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5 p.m.

Forecasters say Subtropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, has recently turned more north-northwestward with no change in strength as it lumbers toward the northern Gulf Coast.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Alberto was centered at 5 p.m. EDT Sunday afternoon about 165 miles (265 kilometers) west of Tampa and had top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph). It says Alberto is on a forecast track to enter the northern Gulf of Mexico during the nighttime hours and approach the northern Gulf Coast in the area of the Florida Panhandle sometime Monday.

Heavy rain and tropical storm conditions are likely to reach the northern Gulf Coast well ahead of the center of the large storm system.

The center also has discontinued all storm surge warnings for most of the state's peninsula. It says the focus and concern remain in the Panhandle where the storm is expected to make landfall amid forecasts of heavy rainfall.

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4:30 p.m.

Mandatory evacuations are being ordered for small barrier islands in one Florida county ahead of Subtropical Storm Alberto, and voluntary evacuations are issued for another county.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a news release Sunday that a mandatory evacuation has been issued in Franklin County for all barrier islands and for anyone living directly on the coastline, in mobile homes and in RV parks.

In Taylor County, there are voluntary evacuations for those in coastal zones and beach communities, mobile homes, RV parks and low-lying areas.

In Gulf County, T. H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park began evacuations Sunday morning.

All three counties are in north Florida. ___

4:11 p.m.

Officials in one Florida Panhandle county say that Subtropical Storm Alberto will likely dump rain on the region, but they're less concerned about storm surge.

Bay County emergency management officials held a news briefing Sunday, and said that due to tides and when the storm is expected to hit, any surge isn't a major concern.

Mark Bowen, the Bay County emergency management director, suggested people stay safe — preferably indoors. People are cautioned not to swim or play in the Gulf because the storm will kick up dangerous rip currents.

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2 p.m.

Forecasters say heavy rains from Subtropical Storm Alberto could cause flooding across most of South Carolina.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch from Sunday evening until Monday morning for the northern two-thirds of the state.

Forecasters say 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain is expected on saturated ground with isolated areas getting up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain.

Authorities say conditions are especially dangerous with flooding rains coming overnight and on a holiday weekend when many people have outdoor plans.

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12: 45 p.m.

An official from the National Weather Service warns that even after Subtropical Storm Alberto passes, there's still a risk for rip currents.

Jeffrey Medlin, meteorologist in charge in Mobile, says even after the storm moves north there will still be swells coming up from the south.

Just because it's "nice and sunny" after the storm passes, Medlin says there's still a risk for swimmers.

The storm is expected to make landfall early Monday morning on Florida's Panhandle.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect from the Mississippi/Alabama border all the way through to Bonita Beach, Florida.

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11 a.m.

Normally packed with vacationers over the Memorial Day weekend, beaches along the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast are largely empty as a slowly strengthening storm carrying brisk winds and heavy rain approaches.

Subtropical Storm Alberto was moving northward through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

National Hurricane Center forecasters said that as of 11 a.m., the storm was about 130 miles (210 kilometers) southwest of Tampa. It's moving north at 14 mph (22 kph), and has top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph).

Meteorologists expect a turn toward the north-northwest at a slower speed into Sunday. A storm surge watch has been discontinued west of the Florida/Alabama border. The tropical storm watch along the north-central Gulf Coast has been discontinued.

Winds from the storm are forecast to hit Florida's Panhandle on Sunday night.

5:15 a.m.

Florida, Alabama and Mississippi have launched emergency preparations ahead of the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto

The slow-moving system is expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.

Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday. The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued tropical storm warnings for parts of Florida and Alabama, saying tropical storm conditions are possible there by Sunday night.

The governors of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

At 5 a.m. EDT Sunday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 330 miles (530 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph). The storm had top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph).

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2:08 a.m.

Florida, Alabama and Mississippi have launched emergency preparations ahead of the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto

The slow-moving system is expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.

Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday. The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued tropical storm warnings for parts of Florida and Alabama, saying tropical storm conditions are possible there by Sunday night.

The governors of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

At 2 a.m. EDT Sunday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 380 miles (615 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph). The storm had top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph).

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11:13 p.m.

Florida, Alabama and Mississippi have launched emergency preparations ahead of the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto

The slow-moving system is expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.

Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday. The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued tropical storm warnings for parts of Florida and Alabama, saying tropical storm conditions are possible there by Sunday night.

The governors of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm.

At 11 p.m. EDT Saturday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 400 miles (645 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph). The storm had top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph).

Weather Center
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