Thousands evacuate as storm bears down on Florida

28 May, 2018, 17:15 | Author: Kristi Owen
  • A road damaged in a previous storm in Alligator Point is not yet fixed. Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the area.  Credit Erich Martin

Heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions will likely reach the northern Gulf Coast well before the arrival of the center of Alberto.

A maximum gust of 33 miles per hour was reported in Flagler Beach on Sunday afternoon, said Bob Pickering, an emergency services technician with Flagler County Emergency Services.

The storm continued churning north through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and is scheduled to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle early Monday morning, reports CNN. Rain totals in some parts of Broward County were as much as 2 inches by Saturday evening.

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.

"This is jogging more to the east and will hit the Florida panhandle", Burke said.

Alberto, the first named Atlantic storm of 2018, which spun up days before the formal June 1 start of the hurricane season.

Into Memorial Day Monday, you can expect a good chance of rain with isolated thunderstorms.

Thousands of Florida residents evacuated homes on Sunday as the storm headed north through the Gulf of Mexico. Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading are banned due to high surf and risky conditions. The storm prompted Florida, Alabama and MS to launch emergency preparations over the weekend amid expectations Alberto would reach land sometime Monday.


In Taylor County, there are voluntary evacuations for those in coastal zones and beach communities, mobile homes, RV parks and low-lying areas.

Alberto is forecast to intensify into a strong tropical storm - a Cat 1 hurricane can't be totally ruled out - when it approaches the Florida Panhandle or the Alabama coast on Monday.

Due to the higher humidity, and some moisture being drawn up from Alberto, any storm that does develop will produce heavy, localized rainfall.

Alberto's top winds jumped to 65 miles (105 kilometers) per hour, which will probably be as strong as it gets, wrote Richard Pasch, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Warnings for wind and storm surge have been issued for that area. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the west coast of the Florida peninsula from Bonita Beach to the Anclote River.

Between Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Irma in the Caribbean and southeastern US and Maria in Puerto Rico, a year ago was one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, said The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"The primary effects we will see from this storm in west central and southwest Florida will be heavy rainfall, isolated thunderstorms, gusty winds, and risky marine conditions", the weather service forecast said.

"There are no strong climate signals saying it's going to be extremely active, like past year, or extremely weak", said Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, speaker with reporters Thursday.

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