Meet Alberto, the first named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

The Atlantic Basin hurricane season doesn't begin officially until June 1, but at 11 a.m. Friday the National Hurricane Center decided that a soggy, spiraling mass in the Gulf of Mexico merited a name, and the center issued its first tropical-storm advisories of 2018.

If the storm becomes a rotating system with 39 miles per hour winds, it would take on the name Alberto and be the first of the 10 to 16 named storms predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this year.

May tropical storms have formed in the Atlantic region several times in the past decade: Arthur in 2008, Alberto and Beryl in 2012, Ana in 2015 and Bonnie in 2016. Their effects are exactly the same, and the move in the same pattern.

Subtropical Storm Alberto remains disorganized and nearly stationary near the island of Cozumel off of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Finally, the rainfall forecast from now until early next week from the National Weather Service shows the extensive area with the potential for heavy rain covering all of Florida and the northern Gulf Coast, including South Florida.

Tropical Storm Alberto will bring rain to North Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend, but it appears the worst of it will hold off until Sunday night through Monday. The hurricane center said up to 12 inches of rain was possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida. The rain is also expected to threaten building structures in low-lying areas.

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday
Subtropical storm Alberto ruins Memorial Day weekend

"Heavy rain will likely begin to affect the central Gulf Coast region and the southeastern US later this weekend and continue into early next week".

Late in the forecast, Alberto is expected to significantly slow down as it approaches the coast.

"The east side of a storm, any storm, is the most risky side", National Weather Service meteorologist Rodney Wynn said.

Flood watches already have been issued from Alabama to Georgia. "There could be some possible high surf with hazardous high risk of rip currents along the beaches". Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can strengthen into hurricanes.

Heaviest rains and highest winds with this system will likely be in the eastern half of the storm and close to where the core makes landfall.

A hotel owner in Panama City Beach, Florida, tells the Panama City News Herald that her familys five hotels are normally full on Memorial Day weekend.

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