ALBERTO: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi states of emergency

ALBERTO: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi states of emergency

Subtropical Storm Alberto will strengthen Sunday, making itself felt from MS to Florida as it moves north in the Gulf of Mexico.

Slowly strengthening Subtropical Storm Alberto could cause more than $1 billion in economic losses to the U.S. Gulf Coast as it tracks north, bringing a growing threat of floods, but it's had little impact on offshore energy production.

Storm Alberto is now 120 miles south of Apalachicola, in Florida, and is due to make landfall along the Panhandle part of the state at about 4pm (8pm BST) today, according to the US National Hurricane Centre.

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.

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

Residents can expect gusty wind near the coast, isolated tornados and localized flooding from heavy rainfall, the advisory says.

About 5 to 10 inches of rain are possible along affected areas in eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida Panhandle. This has prompted the National Hurricane Center to issue a Tropical Storm Watch for much of the Greater Tampa Bay Area.

Earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm
Earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm

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.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions will spread across the warning area overnight and continue through Monday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 65 miles per hour (100 km/h) with higher gusts. The most likely location for this will be the central parts of the Florida panhandle. The storm has been rather disorganized for most of its life over water, which is why it has earned the "subtropical" classification.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a news release Sunday that a mandatory evacuation has been issued in Franklin County for all barrier islands and for anyone living directly on the coastline, in mobile homes and in RV parks.

Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Centre Ken Graham said in a video briefing that downpours caused some street flooding.

A subtropical storm like Alberto has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are found farther from its center. The storm is moving toward the northwest near 9 miles per hour (15 km/h).

Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 115 miles from the center. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

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