Alberto, a pre-season subtropical storm, formed over the Northwestern Caribbean Sea Friday morning and will bring a wide swath of tropical moisture across the region as it moves northward in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend.
On its current forecast track, Alberto is expected to continue its slow journey north through the weekend until making a turn to the northwest Monday as it approaches the north-central Gulf coast, the hurricane center said.
Subtropical Storm Alberto was "meandering over the northwestern Caribbean Sea" Friday afternoon, causing unsafe surf and rip current conditions on the Yucatan and the west coast of Cuba, according to the the center's website.
As far as strength of the storm, the odds are getting a little better that this could become a weak tropical storm. The chances of this tropical depression developing over the next five days are up to 80 percent, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters expect Alberto to intensify to a tropical storm Friday evening, but do not anticipate it to become a hurricane.
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A visible satellite image of the cluster of thunderstorms forecasters are watching for signs of tropical storm development.
Heavy rain will likely begin to affect the central Gulf Coast region and the southeastern USA later this weekend and continue into early next week.
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Make sure you've got Live Alert 19 if you're traveling to the coast this weekend for the latest advisories, radar imagery, and any severe weather alerts if they're issued. Kennedy said the more western track toward Florida would bring 2 to 5 inches of rain throughout both counties, with isolated heavier amounts.
Parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have already seen heavy rain this week, and further deluges could leave those areas vulnerable to flash flooding and river flooding. Tropical Storm Bonnie followed in late May.
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Additionally, strong rip currents and higher-than-normal tides are likely along Florida's beaches over the Memorial Day weekend, and weak tornadoes are a possibility. The rain is also expected to threaten building structures in low-lying areas.