A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Aucilla River in Florida. Alberto is centered about 55 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico and moving NNE at 6 mph.
The governors of Florida, Alabama and MS all declared states of emergency ahead of the storm Saturday.
A hotel owner in Panama City Beach, Florida, tells the Panama City News Herald that her familys five hotels are normally full on Memorial Day weekend.
As of 7:15 a.m., the National Weather Service in Miami said Alberto, the first-named storm of the 2018 season - which technically begins Friday, but who's counting? - had its center now located about 100 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico, in the northwestern Caribbean Sea.
Gradual strengthening is forecast until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast by Monday night. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the island's rain totals could reach 10 to 15 inches - and even 25 inches in isolated areas. Heavy bands of rain and localized flooding continue to be a threat. Maximum winds were 40 mph, gusting to 50 mph, and the storm was moving east at 2 mph.
The main difference between a tropical storm and a subtropical storm comes down to the structure.
Alberto will likely make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday somewhere between Western Florida and Coastal Louisiana.
The National Weather service here in Melbourne has issued a Flood Watch for Brevard County through 8:00 p.m. Monday.
Along with the rain, strong rip currents are expected along the Crystal Coast.
Even though Alberto's track is slicing through the Gulf of Mexico toward the west Florida Panhandle, Alabama or MS, its effects will be felt east along the Florida Gulf Coast and Central Florida, DeCarlo said. It was sustaining winds at 40 miles per hour.
Hurricane season doesn't begin until June 1, but that doesn't mean we won't see some action Saturday or Sunday.
Once Alberto merges with the upper level low and really starts to strengthen it will become more tropical in nature and lose its sub title becoming just Tropical Storm Alberto.
The rain is expected to start Friday, with some showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon that should ease by evening, according to the weather service.
The official forecast calls for 60 percent to 80 percent chance of rain each day in Alachua and Marion counties through at least Wednesday.