Storm Weakens As It Nears Florida, Sends Thousands Fleeing

Pablo Tucker
May 30, 2018

The heaviest rain bands and strongest winds began coming ashore around 10 a.m. Monday in Panama City Beach.

State police in North Carolina said two people were killed in Polk County when winds brought a tree down on a vehicle belonging to NBC affiliate WYFF of Greenville, S.C.

Subtropical Storm Alberto arrives at Orange Beach, Alabama, U.S., May 28, 2018, in this picture obtained from social media. Maximum sustained winds are near 45km/h. The former Californian and now Gulf Breeze resident said she's used to bigger waves and made sure to take precautions that included using her board leash.

Weakening is forecast over the next 48 hours.

A tornado threat exists in the front-right quadrants of the storm, which today is northern Florida and most of Georgia and SC.

At 6:00 GMT, Alberto was located near 33.3°N 87.2°W, about 105km south-southwest of Huntsville, Alabama.

Subtropical Storm Alberto is expected to remain well west of the Triangle as it moves north from the Gulf of Mexico, but the storm is helping to steer heavy, potentially flooding rains our way.

Anticipated to make landfall on Monday, Alberto is the first storm ahead of this year's Atlantic hurricane season, which formally starts on 1 June.

Authorities in Howard County, Maryland, said a 39-year-old man was missing after flash flooding from a separate storm tore through the historic downtown of Ellicott City on Sunday. The reason the storm has the "sub" prefix is due to the system showing qualities of both a tropical system (warmest part of system is in center) along with qualities of a more traditional cyclone (while weak, it has fronts circulating around it).

Meanwhile, about 2,000 people were reportedly evacuated in the province of Villa Clara.

On Saturday evening, the storm was located about 153km north of the western tip of Cuba and 440km southwest of the Dry Tortugas, which is nearly 113km west of Key West, Florida, according to the NHC.

The storm disrupted Memorial Day weekend from Pensacola in the Panhandle to Miami Beach on Florida's southeastern edge.

Storms in the Gulf are closely watched because 5 percent of USA natural gas and 17 percent of crude-oil production comes out of the region, according to the Energy Information Administration. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour (100 kph) as it approached the northern Gulf of Mexico.

"It personally affected me a little bit because I had done an interview with Mr McCormick about ten minutes before we got the call, and we had talked a little bit about how he wanted us to stay safe and how we wanted him to stay safe", Mr Tennant told reporters. The first advisories were issued at 00:00 GMT.

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