Alberto: Heavy rains expected for Central Florida

Flood watch in effect for South Florida as Subtropical Storm Alberto heads north

Preparations are underway in Florida as Subtropical Storm Alberto barrels towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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.

The US states of Alabama, Florida and MS have declared an emergency ahead of subtropical storm Alberto expected to make landfall on Monday, authorities said. The hurricane center said a tropical storm warning was in effect from the Suwannee River in Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama state line.

Flood watch in effect for South Florida as Subtropical Storm Alberto heads north
Alberto brings little rain to Volusia/Flagler area

In Gulf Shores, Alabama, webcams showed beaches beginning to fill up as the storm's track shifted slightly east away from the region, but red flags on the beach warned beachgoers to stay out of the rough water.

The system was moving north at 13 miles per hour.

It is forecast to drop as much as 30cm (12in) of rain across MS to western Georgia and to bring storm swells of about 60-120cm (2-4ft) to low-lying areas. Because of expected deteriorating weather, the sandbag distribution points will not be open Sunday, the county said.

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Alberto will likely make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday somewhere between Western Florida and Coastal Louisiana. Its top sustained winds were 40 miles per hour. Gradual strengthening is forecast until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast.

His Mississippi and Alabama counterparts also declared states of emergency, citing the threat of coastal and inland flooding from storm rains.

The center said a tropical storm warning is in effect from the Suwannee River in Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama state line.

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On Sunday, the chance of rain includes the entire day, but storms will again be more likely in the afternoon in evening.

Any additional dry air will continue to weaken rain near Alberto's center and rain bands associated with the storm.

"On the forecast track, the center of Alberto will move over the northern Gulf of Mexico tonight and cross the northern Gulf Coast in the warning area on Monday", the center said. While it is now categorized as a Subtropical Storm, meteorologists expect it to pick up speed as it makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. A more destructive storm could develop over the next 48 hours.

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Alberto's landfall on Memorial Day also complicates matters as Dothan is a city that holiday travelers pass through as they go home from beach vacations.

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