Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Science | By

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

The first named tropical weather system of the 2018 hurricane season has formed.

Forecasters from AccuWeather believe the depression could make landfall in the U.S. by Memorial Day, potentially ruining the holiday weekend for millions of Americans.

Alberto developed one week before the official June 1 start of the Atlantic hurricane season, but the right ingredients for a storm can still come together in May.

"Alberto could bring tropical storm conditions and storm surge to portions of the central and eastern Gulf Coast later this weekend and early next week", the hurricane center said.

The National Hurricane Center map shows the cone-shaped area where the system is most likely to organize into a tropical or subtropical depression - again, in the Gulf away from Florida. A storm needs to hit sustained wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour to be considered a storm, the least intense hurricane classification.

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

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.

Subtropical Storm Alberto remains disorganized and nearly stationary near the island of Cozumel off of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. For Alberto to be considered a "tropical" storm, relatively warm air must be contained within its center. The rain is expected to intensify into Sunday and continue into Memorial Day.

Heavy rain from Alberto is expected to spread northward and affect the northern Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend. On Thursday afternoon forecasters gave the system a 90 percent chance of turning into a subtropical or tropical depression by late Saturday as it moves into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

No matter where the storm shifts, Central Florida will see a wet weekend, said Jessie Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Melbourne office.

Just previous year, we had a named storm - Tropical Storm Arlene - east of Bermuda in April. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. If you live in a flood-prone area keep a close eye on water levels this weekend and never attempt to drive through flooded roads.

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