Subtropical Storm Alberto forms; watches issued for U.S., Mexico, Cuba

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Flood Watch remains in effect for southwest and west-central Florida - abundant tropical moisture streaming over the area on the east side of the storm. A storm surge watch was issued for the coast from from Horseshoe Beach in Florida's Big Bend west to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

A Storm Surge Watch is also posted for the northern Gulf coast region.

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida ahead of Subtropical Storm Alberto. Just because the named cyclone is a "subtropical" entity at this time, it needs to be taken extremely seriously because the same impacts as a tropical storm or low-end hurricane can be felt and are expected across parts of the Southeast. A dome of high pressure is expected to slow Alberto down as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast late Sunday and early Monday.

Along the coast there is going to be approximately three to six inches of rain.

Alberto will also produce steady winds over the Gulf and nearby offshore waters that will roughen the seas levels. These factors could lead to flooding.

As of Friday evening, forecasters could not say when or if Alberto would transition from a subtropical storm to a tropical one.

"Don't focus on the track so much off the center", Graham stressed.

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Nick Ellis III and his father Nick Ellis II picked up their sandbags Saturday and gave Manatee County workers a hand by picking up shovels and filling their own bags.

The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches.

Alberto is forecast to move northward over the weekend, passing the western tip of Cuba on Saturday morning, then turning toward the northwest.

We can expect torrential rains at times beginning this afternoon and especially during the overnight on Sunday.

Alberto will likely come ashore, potentially as a tropical storm, somewhere along the Gulf Coast late Monday into early Tuesday. Rain - you're seeing it already if you've ventured outside - and scattered thunderstorms are possible today. Rainfall accmumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible across the Florida Keys and southern and southwestern Florida.

On the other hand, a shift to the east could bring the New Orleans area more in line with the 1 inch to 2 inches expected in most of the Baton Rouge area. Events including the Milton Memorial Day Ceremony and the ceremony at Navarre Park have been canceled.

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