While Alberto was expected to become a tropical storm upon landfall, the likelihood of the storm becoming a full-blown hurricane remained low.
At 8 AM the storm was SW of Tampa and moving North at 15 miles per hour and is forecasted to strengthen over the next few days.
MS governor Phil Bryant has declared a state of emergency as the storm moves toward the state's coast.
The storm's approach also triggered mandatory evacuations of some small, sparsely populated Gulf Coast barrier islands in one Florida county.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect... A flood watch remains in effect. And just as Memorial Day marked summer's unofficial start in the U.S., Alberto gave it the unofficial start of what forecasters recently predicted would be an active hurricane season.
Alberto is expected to turn toward the north-northwest Sunday night, and a north-northwestward to northward motion is expected Monday through Wednesday.
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The new forecast track centers landfall in the Florida panhandle.
In our area, the primary threat from Alberto is flooding from heavy rainfall.
The Florida Keys and south Florida are forecast to receive 3 to 6 inches of additional rain while the rest of the state is expected to experience 1 to 4 inches.
On Friday, Exxon Mobil Corp. pulled non-essential personnel from its Lena oil production platform and Royal Dutch Shell Plc shut in its Ram Powell hub, but most other energy companies are leaving offshore crews in place while they watch 2018's first Atlantic storm.
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There is a 60 percent chance of rain Monday and 50 percent that night, and tropical storm conditions are possible. As we saw yesterday, you could see some heavier bands of rain and some of this wet weather could be slow moving, resulting in localized flooding. Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading were banned amid high surf and unsafe conditions. Isolated areas could see as much as 15 inches. Although the center of the system will stay away from us, it will funnel in deep tropical moisture along the eastern seaboard. The highest winds are also now away from the center.
According to the NOAA, there is a 70% chance of having 10 to 16 named storms forming this year.
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