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Alberto: Heavy rains expected for Central Florida

Alberto: Heavy rains expected for Central Florida

Subtropical Storm Alberto is moving closer to the U.S. Gulf Coast, bringing with it heavy rain and the threat of flooding.

It is the first named Atlantic storm of 2018 and spun up days before the formal June 1 start of the hurricane season. But this is nature.

The US-based National Hurricane Centre is warning that Alberto could produce up to 600 millimetres of rain in western Cuba. It had winds of up to 60 miles per hour and was expected to increase to tropical storm conditions as it gets closer to shore.

Gulf Coast residents should "take this storm seriously", the National Weather Service said on Sunday as Subtropical Storm Alberto drove north through the Gulf of Mexico, threatening heavy rains and winds to the southern coastal states.

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.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Crystal River to Navarre, Florida.

The NWS said waves as high as 18 feet could pound the popular Gulf beaches in Baldwin County, Alabama, and northwestern Florida on Monday.

Strong to severe storms will also be possible embedded in the rain on Sunday. Meteorologists expect a 60 percent chance of rain with winds at 10 to 20 miles per hour, and gusts of up to 25 miles per hour.

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 has 5,500 guard members ready to be deployed if needed.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for a stretch of coastline between Florida's Suwannee River and the Alabama-Florida border.

Subtropical Storm Alberto continues spinning out at sea, but this tropical system's outer rainbands have been impacting Middle Georgia since Sunday afternoon.

Additionally, some of the strong tropical thunderstorms east of the center of circulation could spawn brief tornadoes.

Alberto has been a subtropical storm since its formation because it lacked the warm core that forms the core of tropical storms. A subtropical storm means the center of circulation is exposed and the rain and thunderstorms are pushed away from the center.

Stick with WCNC.com for the latest forecast.

Between Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Irma in the Caribbean and southeastern USA and Maria in Puerto Rico, past year was one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, said The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The slow-moving system is expected to cause wet misery across the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.

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