Florida, Mississippi and Alabama declare emergencies ahead of storm Alberto

Florida, Mississippi and Alabama declare emergencies ahead of storm Alberto

Florida, Mississippi and Alabama declare emergencies ahead of storm Alberto

A tropical storm warning expired for Cuba's western Pinar del Rio province, where heavy rains could trigger flash floods and mudslides, the National Hurricane Center said.

Alberto's winds had strengthened in four hours, with sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and stronger gusts.

The coastal hazards associated with Alberto, namely high surf, coastal flooding, and minor surge will begin to affect portions of southwest Florida Saturday night, moving up the coast to west-central sections of the state on Sunday.

After that, it will bring powerful winds and heavy rains as it moves into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday, it said.

In the Florida Keys and the rest of South Florida, Alberto is expected to drop an additional three to six inches of rain, with isolated storm totals of 10 inches, on Sunday. New flash flood watches have been issued for parts of the Carolinas, where 2 to 6 inches of rain is possible.

The storm disrupted long holiday weekend plans from Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle to Miami Beach on Florida's southeastern edge. 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. This is almost 60 miles east and about six hours sooner than the forecast issued by the National Hurricane Center on Saturday. A more destructive storm could develop over the next 48 hours.

"'We know certain areas have been compromised from last year's storm, and that makes hurricane preparedness ... even more important this year, ' says Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center".

A view of a partially flooded farm as Subtropical Storm Alberto passes by the west coast of Cuba, in Bahia Honda, Cuba, May 26, 2018.

Mississippi, Alabama and Florida all pre-emptively declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

The storm is producing winds and rains over southern Florida early Sunday.

Please be prepared for possible areas of flooding and loss of electricity.

Under overcast skies and occasional drizzle, several Gulfport, Miss., residents lined up to fill five- and nine-kilogram bags with sand they will use to block any encroaching floodwater expected as a result of Alberto.

Tommy Whitlock said sandbagging has become a usual event in his life since he lives next to a creek. "We get water from other neighborhoods, and water can get up to a foot deep in some places".

The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches.

Authorities say conditions are especially risky with flooding rains coming overnight and on a holiday weekend when many people have outdoor plans.

"Just hopeful that all the peanut stands will be OK, but we may have to replant some peanuts", said Morris.

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