All eyes are on the Tropics this holiday weekend as we expect a system to develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm as it moves north through the Gulf of Mexico over the next few days.
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.
Western Cuba and a small area on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula are under a tropical storm watch.
Portions of the northern Gulf Coast are likely to experience tropical storm force winds and storm surge.
TAMPA The first tropical system of the 2018 hurricane season has formed in the Caribbean and threatens to drench the Tampa Bay area with heavy rains and potential flooding over the Memorial Day weekend. Rainfall accmumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible across the Florida Keys andsouthern and southwestern Florida.
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The main threat for Central Georgia and the Southeast will be heavy rain and flooding.
A named tropical storm in May would be a rare, but not unprecedented, occurrence given the hurricane season does not officially start until June 1. The hurricane center is calling it "subtropical", but that's a technical distinction.
A FLOOD WATCH will take effect Saturday afternoon and extend through Sunday.
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Forecasters say there is a 90 percent chance of a subtropical or tropical depression forming by Saturday. The storm will be near the western tip of Cuba Saturday morning and emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Saturday night.
On Thursday, models seemed to agree that the system was headed toward Biloxi, Miss., and New Orleans, Cordero said. These systems should result in a faster motion of Alberto toward the central Gulf Coast over the weekend.
The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches. The weather service raised the rip current risk to high for Alabama and northwest Florida beaches and plan to keep that in place through the weekend.
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