By 72 hours, the system will be moving into some weaker wind shear and it could strengthen as it approaches the coast.
The tropical disturbance in the northwestern Caribbean became better organized and the National Hurricane Center has categorized it as Subtropical Storm Alberto.
Subtropical Storm Alberto forms in Gulf of Mexico
The rain is expected to begin sometime late Saturday and remain steady into early next week.
This is the fourth consecutive year in which at least one storm has formed before the start of hurricane season on June 1. Heavy rainfall is expected from western Cuba to Florida an through the northeast Gulf Coast through the weekend.
A visible satellite image of the cluster of thunderstorms forecasters are watching for signs of tropical storm development.
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Alberto is expected to pass the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula tonight, according to the NHC's first Alberto update.
Today, no tropical impact. The system's located about 85 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. For example, only 21 letters of the English alphabet are in use, so none of the names start with less common letters like Q. Here's the list of names for storms in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic.
Rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida.
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An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft will take a closer look at Alberto this afternoon and provide more detail on its structure and intensity.
A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for coastal Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties due to the potential for tides to rise 3 or more feet above normal. The latest forecast has it pushing even farther west of Citrus County. Jordan Sawmiller of OH tells WALA-TV that he was approaching the water with caution in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It is expected to produce 10 to 15 inches of rain across the northeastern region of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba with isolated areas seeing as much as 25 inches of rain. Forecasters say that puts Northwest Florida in the path of the storm's heaviest rains.
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