Alberto approaches Panhandle, as more rain expected in Central Florida

Pensacola Florida is seen

Pensacola Florida is seen

Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - has formed in the Caribbean and is churning towards the US Gulf Coast.

The latest update from the National Hurricane Center puts Subtropical Storm Alberto about 185 miles (315 kilometers) west of Tampa, Florida and about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida, moving to the north-northwest at 10 mph (17 kph).

The National Hurricane Center has also warned of the possibility of tornadoes "from northern Florida into central and southern Georgia, southern SC, and southeastern Alabama". At the moment nearly all of the showers are on the east of Alberto's centre, with the heaviest rains falling across Cuba and Florida. Any additional dry air will continue to weaken rain near Alberto's center and rain bands associated with the storm. With a tropical storm, the maximum winds and strongest thunderstorms sit close to the center of the storm.

Alberto comes during the Memorial Day weekend, and is expected to affect travel on Monday, when many people will return from their holidays.

Waters off the eastern and northern Gulf Coast are expected to be rough through Tuesday. Red flags along the beach are expected to be up on Monday. Gusty showers began lashing parts of Florida on Sunday, and authorities warned of the possibility of flash flooding.

Subtropical Storm Alberto - the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season - prompted Florida, Alabama and MS to launch emergency preparations Saturday. He said Alberto's biggest threat will be its heavy rains, with forecasts of anywhere from 4 to 12 inches of rain in some areas.

Those who wish to courageous the conditions and head to the beach should be extra cautious as strong breezes will produce above-normal tides waves ranging from 2 to 4 feet producing unsafe rip currents through midweek, forecasters said.

Some tourists said the rainy weather would not dampen their vacations.

The storm's approach during the busy Memorial Day weekend caused disruptions for local businesses, eating away at profits.

Rhumes said her group prepared for the storm by stocking up on groceries.

"It's not going to be widespread rainfall", Doody said. Later, it cancelled storm surge warnings for most of the Florida peninsula, saying the Panhandle remained the focus of concern.

It also triggered mandatory evacuations of some small, sparsely populated Gulf Coast barrier islands in one Florida county.

Rick Scott issued the declaration for all 67 counties in his state.

Some of the rain will by heavy.

Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area in Cuba on Saturday.

However, the storm should not be taken as an indicator of how this hurricane season will play out, he said.

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