Storm Alberto closes in on Florida, Alabama and Mississippi

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Much of the storm's most-intense showers stayed far offshore to the east, in the Atlantic Ocean, or south of Central Florida while the storm's center moved northward in the Gulf of Mexico.

The hurricane center said Sunday that a tropical storm warning was in effect from Bonita Beach, Fla., to the Mississippi-Alabama border.

A water spout, a unsafe vortex of wind and water, was spotted late Sunday about 7 miles off shore of Alligator Point, Florida, said Roth. 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.

Subtropical Storm Alberto is approaching the Florida panhandle and is expected to make landfall sometime Monday. These will be influenced by the remnants of what is now Subtropical Storm Alberto, our first tropical storm of the year.

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

Watch Spectrum News for a look at your area's latest forecast. Governors in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday declared states of emergency. "Flooding and flash flooding are possible in the southeast United States, including Florida", it said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who issued a state of emergency on Saturday in all of the state's 67 counties, said on Sunday that the Florida National Guard has 5,500 guard members ready to be deployed if needed.

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But the 2018 season is off to an early start with Tropical Storm Alberto being the first named storm.

The NHC said Alberto had maximum sustained winds of near 65 miles per hour with higher gusts and that little change in strength is expected before the storm makes landfall on the northern Gulf Coast later Monday.

Alberto slowed overnight and is predicted to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Monday afternoon, bringing with it the risk of flooding, storm surges and tornadoes. A wave of showers rotating around Alberto will reach the area gradually, moving north along with the storm, which will be approaching the Gulf Coast later tonight as the main focus continues to be on Alberto. Because of expected deteriorating weather, the sandbag distribution points will not be open Sunday, the county said.

"We had a band of rain this morning but due to dry air wrapping in", Pickering said, "the rain engine" was shut down.

A tropical storm warning remained in effect for Cuba's western Pinar del Rio province, where heavy rains could trigger flash floods and mudslides, the NHC said. The storm prompted Florida, Alabama and MS to launch emergency preparations over the weekend amid expectations Alberto would reach land sometime Monday.

The center also has discontinued all storm surge warnings for most of the state's peninsula. Essentially, the characteristics of a subtropical system mean it lacks the punch to quickly increase in strength and become a hurricane.