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Storm Alberto maintains strength as it approaches Gulf Coast

Storm Alberto maintains strength as it approaches Gulf Coast

A CNN image released on May 26, 2018, shows where Subtropical Storm Alberto is likely to make landfall on Monday between New Orleans and Destin, Florida, before moving into MS and Alabama by Tuesday.

Subtropical Storm Alberto was disrupting plans for Memorial Day barbecues and beach outings in Alabama, Florida and MS, as the storm continued churning north through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical storm conditions are expected with winds sustained at 39 miles per hour or greater.

Forecasters had feared the storm could bring unsafe high water to southern coastal states and possible tornadoes.

Bands of dry air wrapped up with the storm spared Central Florida much of the feared rainfall that had triggered a flood watch, and the watch was discontinued Sunday afternoon.

Subtropical Storm Alberto made landfall near Laguna Beach, Florida on Monday.

Alberto is moving north at 9 miles per hour.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions", the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in a statement. The Jacksonville International Airport received 1.37 inches of rain Sunday, according the National Weather Service, while the Gainesville Regional Airport reportedly measured only 0.92 inches. A storm surge watch has been discontinued west of the Florida/Alabama border.

Alberto's projected storm track has shifted eastward since Friday, lessening its threat to the active oil production areas in the Gulf of Mexico. That's why a Flash Flood Watch remains in effect until Wednesday at 8 a.m. Parts of Cuba could see 10 to 15 inches of rain, with isolated totals of 25 inches across western Cuba, the hurricane center said.

Normally packed with vacationers over the Memorial Day weekend, beaches along the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast are largely empty as a slowly strengthening storm carrying brisk winds and heavy rain approaches. A possible tornado was reported by the Melbourne National Weather Service office.

The storm is the first storm of this year's hurricane season, coming a few day before the season officially starts on June 1. "The rain that's widespread over us now is going to shift north of us, so we'll be left with just scattered thunderstorms".

"This is a pretty significant rain event for a single storm since we usually get 4 inches of rain for the entire month (of May)", said James Everett, manager of the river forecast center at TVA.

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