When it arrives, forecast models suggest it will spin up into at least a tropical depression and maybe even the hurricane season's first named tropical storm. This will be a weekend for fireworks for the Memorial Day weekend and unfortunately, it will be a washout for the majority of the Southeast.
The National Hurricane Center officially designated a low in the Gulf of Mexico with the first moniker on the 2018 list - Alberto - Friday morning.
"Locally heavy rainfall is forecast across western Cuba and over much of Florida and the northern Gulf Coast into early next week", a National Hurricane Center update states. The system could be upgraded to Tropical Storm Alberto in the next day or so if the system strengthens. One to four hurricanes could be considered "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
The Gulf is particularly warm right now, so there's a slight chance Alberto could intensify to hurricane strength if it spends enough time over warm water, according to Norcross. Ultimately, this will mean that Sunday and Monday are probably our wettest days with the highest rainfall totals and with fewer dry hours in the day than we've seen recently.
Heavy rains are expected in western Cuba, Florida and the northern Gulf Coast into next week. Flooding in those areas is expected. It does look like conditions will be favorable for some development as it moves into the Gulf Of Mexico. Regardless of the track, several inches of rain are likely to fall east of Houston along the I-10 corridor from New Orleans to the Florida Panhandle.
Dan Kottlowski, hurricane expert for AccuWeather, said he expects the weather system to turn into a named storm by the weekend.
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Tropical Storm Watches have been posted for Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties in South Mississippi.
Rainfall accumulations of 4 - 8 inches are forecast across portions of the Florida Keys, and south and southwest Florida, with up to 12 inches possible in some locations.
Winds and rough surf will create strong rip currents on the beaches and inland waters will be choppy.
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A visible satellite image of the cluster of thunderstorms forecasters are watching for signs of tropical storm development. For more information, consult products from your local weather office.
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