Subtropical Storm Alberto maintains strength as it approaches Gulf Coast

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Alberto's center is expected to make landfall around mid-afternoon Monday near Pensacola, Florida. This means that tropical storm conditions (winds of 40 miles per hour sustained) are possible.

Much of central North Carolina will be under a flash flood watch effective Monday at 1 a.m. and lasting into Tuesday as subtropical storm Alberto passes to the west. Subtropical Storm Alberto is driving north through the Gulf of Mexico, threatening heavy rains and winds to the USA southern coastal states.

In southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle, the storm could bring more than 8 inches of rain. The main threat is from heavy rain that could lead to flooding, the city said, but also high winds and storm surge could cause problems.

Areas along the Gulf Coast may receive 4-6 inches of rain while the Jacksonville metro area is can expect to receive between 1-3 inches. Tropical-storm force winds will be possible in western Cuba and in the Gulf coast area where warnings are posted. The tropical system became a subtropical storm Friday, the hurricane center said.

Many people spent the holiday weekend filling sandbags and preparing for the storm. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov.

A satellite image shows Alberto as it nears landfall on the Florida Panhandle and the Gulf Coast on Monday
View Slideshow A satellite image shows Alberto as it nears landfall on the Florida Panhandle and the Gulf Coast on Monday. NOAA STAR

In Gulf Shores, Alabama, webcams showed beaches starting to fill up as the storm's track shifted slightly east away from the region, but red flags on the beach warned beachgoers to stay out of the rough water.

Alberto is expected to cause heavy rains in South Florida and the Florida Keys while a tropical storm watch is in effect for parts of MS and Alabama.

Alberto is expected to make landfall on Monday, with tropical storm force winds already reaching Florida and Alabama Monday morning. But subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which can later strengthen into hurricanes.

"We're going to unplug everything that we can unplug, we're going to lift it up the best that we can and we're just going to let mother nature take its course", he said.

Weather pushed ahead of the storm has canceled or rearranged some Memorial Day events in Beaufort County, including the Beaufort Memorial Day Parade and The Hilton Head Island Council of the Navy League's 25th Annual Memorial Day Remembrance. An elevated observing station located about 15 miles (25 km) south of Apalachicola, Florida, has recently reported sustained winds of 46 mph (74 m/h).

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