Lowcountry weather as Subtropical Storm Alberto makes landfall

A road damaged in a previous storm in Alligator Point is not yet fixed. Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the area.  Credit Erich Martin

A road damaged in a previous storm in Alligator Point is not yet fixed. Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the area. Credit Erich Martin

Beaches in Florida were largely empty ahead of Memorial Day as a slowly intensifying storm carrying brisk winds and heavy rain approached the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday.

A week before the official start to hurricane season, Subtropical Storm Alberto has made its way through the Gulf of Mexico toward Florida, bringing with it a blast of high winds and heavy rain.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who issued a state of emergency on Saturday in all of the state's 67 counties, said on Sunday that the Florida National Guard had 5,500 guard members ready to be deployed if needed.

"I ask everyone to please make final preparations to your family emergency plan, especially those that live in mobile homes and low-lying areas", Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said in a statement. This means that tropical storm conditions (winds of 40 miles per hour sustained) are possible.

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.

It will bring heavy rain and winds of 100kmh (65mph) across southern states, the US National Hurricane Center said. Storms will likely produce areas of heavy rain and tropical downpours.

Sunday Night: Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly between 1 am and 4 am.

Sunday: Showers likely, mainly before 2 pm.

Alberto is expected to cause heavy rains in South Florida and the Florida Keys while a tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of MS and Alabama. This will take place as Alberto nears landfall between the Alabama and Western Florida panhandle coasts.

A storm surge watch was put into effect from Crystal River to the Navarre, Fla., indicating the possibility of life-threatening inundation of storm water.

The National Hurricane Center dropped the lingering Tropical Storm Warning for the northern half of Longboat Key and Tampa Bay in its 5 p.m. bulletin. A tropical storm warning was put into effect from the Anclote River to the Mississippi/Alabama border. 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. Hurricane season in the Atlantic basin officially begins on June 1.

Meteorologists predict the western areas of the Wiregrass to receive between 6 and 8 inches of rain through Tuesday, while the other spots in the Wiregrass is projected to experience 4 to 6 inches of rain.

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