Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Science | By

Subtropical Depression Alberto Could Bring Big Rain Totals To W. Pa.

Subtropical Depression Alberto Could Bring Big Rain Totals To W. Pa.

The gloomy weather that put a damper on outdoor activities over the Memorial Day weekend is expected to last several more days in SC as Tropical Storm Alberto moves from the Gulf of Mexico toward the Midwest.

As of Monday at 8 a.m., the storm was located about 165 miles south-southeast of Destin. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 30 miles per hour. The storm picked up speed throughout the day Sunday, but slowed back down Sunday night.

Along the Florida Panhandle, tourists vowed Alberto wouldn't dampen their fun.

Though the Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially start until Friday, Alberto has become the first named storm this year, throwing disarray into long holiday weekend plans up and down Florida's Gulf Coast.

Alberto has also already wreaked havoc in Maryland, where, in Ellicott City, record flash flooding has resulted in Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to declare a state of emergency.

Forecasters warned that heavy downpours from the weakening system could raise the potential for life-threatening flash floods in coming hours or days across north Florida, much of Alabama and large areas of Georgia - and eventually into Tennessee and the Carolinas.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge remains open to all traffic, but the Florida Highway Patrol urges caution as winds pick up.

With it, areas of showers and embedded T'storms will be heading into the area. Moisture in the air is high and as temperatures rise in the afternoon, reaching the mid 80s, the chance for rain will increase to around 60 percent, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rainfall and flash flooding were occurring over parts of the Florida Panhandle into Alabama into Monday evening.

Isolated tornadoes were possible across the region on Sunday and Monday. But the floods are expected to be localized and remain in flood prone, low-lying areas.

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.

JIM DAMASKE | TimesDawn patrol.

Further South, the tropical storm is bringing even bigger rains to central Alabama. It is still a subtropical storm, meaning that it does not have all of the characteristics of a purely tropical system and is more of a hybrid cyclone.

It will bring heavy rain and winds of 100kmh (65mph) across southern states, the US National Hurricane Center said. Meteorologists are calling it a "subtropical storm", not to be confused with the just plain tropical storms we know and dread.

But while the effects are routine for storm-weathering Floridians, the category of storm Alberto falls into is a little less familiar.

So, what does that mean?

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