'Alberto' just became the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season


There's a 90 percent chance a subtropical or tropical cyclone will form in the central or eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend, the National Hurricane Center said.

Alberto is forecast to head for the northern Gulf Coast over the weekend and make landfall Monday near the Florida - Alabama line as a tropical storm. Maximum sustained winds remained at 40 miles per hour. Now it seems that is likely within the next five days as it tracks north over the Yucatán Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico. "In Florida, we know how unpredictable severe weather systems can be and while the Gulf Coast and Panhandle are expected to receive the largest impact from this storm, all Floridians should be prepared". Relatively dry weather is expected in SW Lower Michigan and very dry weather will continue from S. California east to Texas.

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UPDATE: Alberto is 2018's first named tropical system

"We know that many families have travel plans this Memorial Day weekend but everyone has to put safety first and keep in mind to never drive in unsafe conditions or through standing water", said Gov. Rick Scott.

Alberto has formed - with still one week to go until the official start of hurricane season. For Alberto to be considered a "tropical" storm, relatively warm air must be contained within its center.

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Julie Hilton, a hotel owner in Panama City Beach, Fla., said people are cancelling because of the weather and room reservations are down about 20 percent. We could see minor coastal flooding and we certainly will see a high risk of rip currents. As of the 5 pm update from the National Hurricane Center, the storm was maintaining winds of 40 miles per hour, the force of a weak tropical storm. Flooding in those areas is expected. "Extreme" flood watches have already been issued beginning Saturday for counties from Mobile to Okaloosa. Last year, NOAA predicted that 2017 would be an above-average season, and it certainly was with 17 named storms, including 10 hurricanes.

This storm isn't a direct threat to Virginia or North Carolina, but it could eventually steer some remnant rainfall into our region late next week.

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