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Thousands evacuate as Storm Alberto powers toward Florida

Thousands evacuate as Storm Alberto powers toward Florida

No effects from Subtropical Storm Alberto are expected for southeast Louisiana.

Heavy downpours were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday.

National Hurricane Center forecasters said that as of 11 a.m., the storm was about 130 miles (210 kilometers) southwest of Tampa.

Alberto may strengthen slightly in the next several hours, but it looks like it has run out of time to transition to a fully tropical storm before it makes landfall around noon Monday on the Florida panhandle.

In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant activated the National Guard. The New Orleans area could see some scattered rain over the next two days, but rain amounts look like an inch or less. As it travels up the warm waters of the Gulf, it could well become a full tropical storm. Authorities were warning of risky surf and rip current conditions later Saturday.

The forecast track of Subtropical Storm Alberto has shifted farther east, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday night.

Subtropical Storm Alberto heads to the US Gulf

Cuba is expected to get as much as 15 inches of rain, the hurricane center said in an advisory Saturday, and the Florida Keys and South Florida could get as many as 10 inches.

The new forecast track centers landfall in the Florida panhandle. Tropical storm force winds can be expected across southern and western parts of Georgia, Alabama, and southern and western MS throughout the day on Monday (see Fig. 1).

Regardless of intensity, Alberto will bring an enhanced flash flood threat to the Southeast, gusty winds, storm surge and rip currents, and isolated tornadoes to the region.

Heavy rains are still a possibility, with 3 to 5 inches possible over widespread areas and as much as 8 inches in spots.

Alberto, which spun up days before the formal start of the 2018 hurricane season, was moving north at about 14 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds near 50 miles per hour, and higher gusts, on Sunday, the NWS said. In Cancun, local newspapers showed scenes of some streets flooded to mid-hubcap level.

Subtropical Storm Alberto was disrupting plans for Memorial Day barbecues and beach outings in Alabama, Florida and MS, as the storm continued churning north through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. The main threat is from heavy rain that could lead to flooding, the city said, but also high winds and storm surge could cause problems.

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