Tropical storm closes in on Florida, Alabama and Mississippi

A Flood Watch continues for all of South Florida through 8 pm Sunday evening and the National Weather Service could extend it into Monday

A Flood Watch continues for all of South Florida through 8 pm Sunday evening and the National Weather Service could extend it into Monday

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

Alberto is expected to travel across the eastern Gulf of Mexico Saturday night through Monday and approach the northern part of the Gulf where it could make landfall Monday night. Intense rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour may occur during stronger thunderstorms, and this could cause a rapid water rise in low-lying areas, nearby ditches and retention ponds that are already filled to their banks.

The storm, moving slowly through the Caribbean Sea, is threatening to bring heavy rainfall, mudslides, and flash floods to parts of Mexico, Cuba, Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend. A tropical storm warning was discontinued from Florida's Anclote River to the Suwannee River.

One of the most deadly natural disasters in USA history occurred in Florida 90 years ago.

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

Storm Alberto has continued roiling toward parts of coastal Mexico and Cuba with rip currents and unsafe surf on Saturday. Beach officials will also fly the red flag, indicating a high rip current risk. A storm surge watch has been discontinued west of the Florida/Alabama border.

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While the coastal hazards, such as choppy seas and gusty winds, are expected to subside by Tuesday, the persistent onshore flow is likely to keep rain chances elevated for the entire state through the end of the week. "It has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, which is about 10 miles shy of being a hurricane".

In the Baltimore suburb of Ellicott City, a massive storm caused flash flooding on Sunday that swept through its historic Main Street area, local news video showed.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for an area stretching from MS to North Carolina that is home to millions of people.

Alberto, the first named Atlantic storm of 2018 which spun up days before the formal start of the hurricane season, is forecast to pack maximum sustained winds near 50 miles per hour (85 kph) and dump as much as 12 inches (30 cm) of rain, slamming an area from MS to western Georgia, it said.

The new location closer to Florida also implies that the center of the storm may come close enough to the west coast of the state, including the Tampa Bay area, to cause risky winds and some storm surge.

A subtropical storm has a less defined and cooler center than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are found farther from the center. Meteorologists are calling it a "subtropical storm", not to be confused with the just plain tropical storms we know and dread. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. The weakening system is forecast to move well inland into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region on Wednesday and Thursday, said hurricane specialist John Cangialosi.

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