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Alberto's track still puts Gulf Coast in its path

Alberto's track still puts Gulf Coast in its path

The 1 p.m. update on Subtropical Storm Alberto from the National Hurricane Center says the story is still almost stationary. Heavy rain will likely begin to affect the central Gulf Coast region and the southeastern Untied States later this weekend and continue into early next week.

The ragged form of Subtropical Storm Alberto was still evident late Friday afternoon, but anticipation for some strengthening over the Memorial Day weekend continues. There also was a storm surge watch from Horseshoe Beach, Fla., west to the mouth of the Mississippi River. However, I caution that we are still under a tropical storm and storm surge watch meaning tropical storm force winds and coastal flooding are still possible.

A tropical storm watch was issued Friday for the northern Gulf Coast from Indian Pass, Florida westward to the metropolitan New Orleans, as well as for Mexico, from popular cruise destination Tulum to Cabo Catoche. The storm is moving toward the north-northeast near 7 miles per hour and is expected to pick up speed and move more north-northeastward later today and make a turn to the northwest on Sunday.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for most of southeast Louisiana.

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Gov. Phil Bryant signed a proclamation Saturday morning declaring a state of emergency ahead of Alberto's landfall. It will dump significant amounts of rain across parts of the Yucatan and Cuba, with 10-15 inches possible. Isolated tornadoes were also possible. Essentially, the characteristics of a subtropical system mean it lacks the punch to quickly increase in strength and become a hurricane. The official National Hurricane Center forecast released Thursday said the season is likely to be near or above normal.

Parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have already seen heavy rain this week.

Hotel owner Julie Hilton in Panama City Beach told the Panama City News Herald that her family's five hotels are normally full on Memorial Day weekend. It's not until mid-week that the rain chance dips to 40 percent, which is more typical for South Florida's rainy season.