Alberto approaches Panhandle, as more rain expected in Central Florida

US Gulf Coast braces for first named storm of the season

Also any showers or storms that pop up due to the daytime heating will be moving in the flow around Alberto and will travel north to south.

Alberto could cause $400 million to $500 million across the South, including damage to cars crushed by toppled trees, wrecked roofs and flooding, Watson said in an interview.

Panama City recently reportedly a sustained wind fo 40 miles per hour and a gust of 59 miles per hour. She said "strong squalls off and on" had kept her inside.

A tropical storm warning is in effect from the Suwannee River, the unofficial start of the Florida Panhandle, west to the Mississippi/Alabama border.

The three states likely to bear the brunt of the storm have begun preparing states of emergency.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for small barrier islands in one northern Florida county, and voluntary evacuations were issued for another.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant authorised the use of the National Guard, his office said in a statement.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency for 40 counties that will be impacted most by Alberto.

Jeffrey Medlin, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Mobile office, warned that even after the storm moves north there will still be swells coming up from the south that could cause risky rip currents. 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.

Early forecasts from the Weather Prediction Center show an inch of rain falling over the next seven days across much of Upstate. Through Monday, it is expected to slowly migrate toward land, so the odds of rain with gusty winds will increase by Monday afternoon and evening. Flash flooding is possible.

A storm surge watch remains in effect for much of northern Florida, from the Suwannee to Navarre in the Panhandle.

Brief tornadoes are possible from northern Florida into central and southern Georgia, southern SC and southeastern Alabama. On the current path it will make landfall as a subtropical torm. somewhere across the western Florida Panhandle.

States around the Gulf Coast were watching for developments in the storm, and encouraging people to stay informed and prepared, according to NBC-2.

Alberto is not considered a pure tropical system, but will have the same impacts as a tropical storm, which includes tropical storm-force winds of 39-65mph, a storm surge potential, heavy rain and the potential for isolated tornadoes.

The official start to the hurricane season doesn't actually begin until June 1.

Last year, a number of deadly hurricanes hit the USA and Caribbean.

Alberto is expected to hold its current strength. but very little additional strengthening is likely before coming ashore across the USA east central Gulf coast.

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