Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to lumber northward

Flood watch in effect for South Florida as Subtropical Storm Alberto heads north

"Heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions will likely reach the northern Gulf Coast well before the arrival of the center of Alberto", the National Hurricane Center said in its advisory.

Alberto is now forecast to make landfall early Monday morning as a strong tropical storm. Isolated areas could see as much as 15 inches.

Gulf Coast residents should "take this storm seriously", the National Weather Service said early on Sunday, as Subtropical Storm Alberto drove north, threatening heavy rains and winds to the southern coastal states.

A storm surge watch is in effect from the Suwannee River to Navarre, in the Florida Panhandle.

Alberto formed days ahead of the official start of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season on June 1.

On Thursday, the National Hurricane Center caused eyebrows to raise when it estimated a 90 percent chance that a subtropical or tropical cyclone would form in the central or eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend.

A more widespread area of rain and embedded storms will arrive early Tuesday and last all day before Alberto moves north of Alabama by Wednesday. Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading were banned amid high surf and unsafe conditions. However, while we have less of a rain and storm threat the humidity and heat will continue to be high.

The NHC maintains a storm surge watch along the US Gulf coast from Crystal River in western Florida to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Flood watch in effect for South Florida as Subtropical Storm Alberto heads north

As for potential impacts, with a more eastern track of the system, the heaviest rains will likely be seen in East Alabama with the strongest winds up to 35 miles per hour possible in West Alabama Monday night into early Tuesday morning. While coastal areas may get from 3 to 6 inches of rain, the Florida panhandle into much of Alabama and western Georgia may see 4 to8 inches with isolated storm totals of 10 to 12 inches.

On Friday morning, the agency announced that an area of low pressure in the Caribbean had developed into Subtropical Storm Alberto with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.

A subtropical storm has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are found farther from the center.

On Sunday, gusty showers began lashing parts of Florida, and authorities were warning of the possibility of flash flooding.

One of the four storms could turn into major hurricanes.

"It's maintained its strength and wind speeds overnight, and it looks like it's headed for landfall at Panama City, (Florida)", said David Roth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Between Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Irma in the Caribbean and southeastern USA and Maria in Puerto Rico, previous year was one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, said The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"There are no strong climate signals saying it's going to be extremely active, like previous year, or extremely weak", said Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, speaker with reporters Thursday.

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