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Beachgoers warned of high rip currents ahead of Alberto

28 May 2018
Beachgoers warned of high rip currents ahead of Alberto

Rain falls on Clearwater Beach by Pier 60 early Sunday morning May 27, as northbound Subtropical Storm Alberto looms in the gulf to the southwest.

A STORM SURGE WATCH is in effect for coastal Citrus county where high tide Sunday afternoon could be a couple of feet higher than the normal astronomical tide. Rainfall between 5 and 10 inches is likely from eastern Louisiana to western Florida, with some coastal areas predicted to receive up to 15 inches. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

While the heavy rains could produce flooding, widespread flooding does not appear likely, but we are expecting 2-4 inches of rain areawide with areas of East Alabama possibly seeing up to six inches with possibly higher totals in isolated areas.

Periods of heavy rain will continue into Tuesday and Wednesday as what's left of Alberto moves northward through the Tennessee and Ohio River valleys.

Regardless of exact landfall location, strong tropical downpours are expected for much of the Gulf Coast on Memorial Day, with heavy rain causing flash flooding across much of the Gulf Coast region.

Rick Scott (R) also declared a state of emergency in all of the state's 67 counties on Saturday.

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 Florida Public Radio Emergency Network
View Slideshow Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

The storm now has maximum sustained winds of almost 50-miles-per-hour and is likely to become a tropical storm.

"The main concern from Alberto is flooding; not so much along the immediate coast, but inland, from the heavy rains that are coming on top of over a week of rain across the southeast", said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler at Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia.

"Just another day of living in Florida, hurricane season starting up here soon", Kissimmee resident Nelson Humphrey said. A storm surge watch has been discontinued west of the Florida/Alabama border. The storm is moving toward the northwest near 9 miles per hour (15 km/h).

By midday on Sunday, the storm was about 240 miles (386 km) northwest of Key West, Florida, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

At 2 a.m. EDT Sunday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 380 miles (615 kilometers) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph). The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a statement Sunday that a mandatory evacuation has been issued in Franklin County for all barrier islands there and those in the county living directly on the coast in mobile homes or in recreation vehicle parks. And in the Tampa Bay area on the central Gulf Coast, cities offered sandbags for homeowners anxious about floods.