Alberto, year's first named Atlantic storm, makes Florida landfall

Tommy Whitlock left places a filled sand bag onto his trailer at a Harrison County Road Department sand bag location as Joseph Buckner adjusts the load while preparing for Subtropical Storm Alberto to make its way through the Gulf of Mexico (Credit AP

After reaching the coast, the storm will bring powerful winds and heavy rain as it moves into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday, the U.S National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Sustained winds from the season's first named storm had dropped to 45 miles per hour before coming ashore about 4:45 p.m. - down from 65 miles per hour Sunday night.

The first named Atlantic storm of 2018, Alberto, which formed just days prior to the official beginning of the hurricane season, remains risky and will become stronger, gusting up to 65 miles per hour on the Gulf Coast over the Monday holiday, according to the NWS, cited by Reuters. But forecasters said flash flooding from heavy rain was the biggest risk in many areas.

It is still predicted to bring extremely heavy rain, gusty winds and, just east of where the center makes landfall, a rise in ocean water of up to several feet above normally dry land.

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Clouds are still lingering over the region, and as the storm continues its northerly push with a forecast Monday landfall in the Florida Panhandle, it is drawing significant moisture from the south, according to the National Weather Service.

Watches were issued for storm surges - life-threatening inundations from rising coastal waters moving inland - for a stretch of coastline between Crystal River, Florida, and the mouth of the Mississippi River. The Florida panhandle, a good portion of Alabama and western Georgia are dramatically more at risk for flash flooding with this storm.

Steady weakening is expected after landfall, and Alberto is forecast to become a tropical depression Monday night or Tuesday. Subtropical storms have cooler centers than tropical storms, but they can eventually develop into tropical storms and then into hurricanes.

Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading are banned due to high surf and unsafe conditions.

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"It looks like Memorial Day will be our ugly weather day", National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Grigsby said Saturday.

It appears Louisiana is in the clear when it comes to the heavier amount of rainfall from Subtropical Storm Alberto, according to the National...

Strong to severe storms will also be possible embedded in the rain on Sunday.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible for the area and time frame described.

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Alberto marks the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, which officially begins June 1. A Flood Watch continues for much of the holiday weekend.

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