Florida panhandle braces for impact as Alberto approaches

ABC News

And on Sunday night and Monday, the rainfall and flooding could spread over much of the southeast U.S.

Eddy Warner loads sand bags as he waits for family members to assist and tie off and load the bags into his vehicle, while preparing for Subtropical Storm Alberto to make its way through the Gulf of Mexico in Gulfport, Miss., Saturday, May 26, 2018.

Tropical storm watches remain in effect for all coastal Big Bend counties and all of Franklin and Liberty county. Rainfall totals of between 5 and 10 inches (13-25 cm), with up to 15 inches, are possible from eastern Louisiana to Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida panhandle, the NWS said.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch from Sunday evening until Monday morning for the northern two-thirds of the state. The area is anticipating 5 to 8 inches of rain and winds sustaining 40 miles per hour. A storm's winds need to reach 74 miles per hour to be called a hurricane. As of 2 p.m. ET Sunday, a tropical storm warning is in effect for the area from the middle of Florida's Longboat Key to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

Jeffrey Medlin, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Mobile office, warned that even after the storm moves north there will still be swells coming up from the south that could cause unsafe rip currents.

The states of Florida and MS declared states of emergency in preparation for Alberto, while Alabama said it would order the same at 6 a.m.

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Alberto's winds had strengthened in four hours, with sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and stronger gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast until the system reaches the northern Gulf Coast.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office and Liberty County Emergency Management says they are making preparations to ensure they are prepared to respond to any impacts. On Sunday there will likely be two areas where rain is more likely this afternoon in Central Alabama, with the earliest chance in Northwest Alabama and later in areas to the south and east. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects this season to be "near- or above-normal".

At 1000 PM CDT (0300 UTC), the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located near latitude 28.5 North, longitude 85.8 West.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations. The storm is expected to make landfall along the coast of the Florida panhandle sometime Monday.

"Do not think that only areas in the cone will be impacted - everyone in our state must be prepared", Scott said in a statement.

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