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Florida Panhandle Braces as Storm Alberto gains new strength



ST. PETERSBURG, Fl. (AP) – The first hurricane season Atlantic storm, Subtropical Storm Alberto, gained in strength as it approached the northern Gulf Coast and emptied beaches in Florida prior to Memorial Day.

The storm interrupted long vacation weekend plans from Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle to Miami Beach on the southeastern edge of Florida. Lifeguards posted red flags on the white sandy beach of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading were prohibited in high surf and dangerous conditions.

It also triggered the mandatory evacuation of some small, sparsely populated Gulf Coast islands in a state of Florida. The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a statement on Sunday that evictions were being made in Franklin County for all local barracks and those in the county living directly on the coast in mobile homes or amusement parks

Alberto got an earlier one Jump to the hurricane season 2018, which officially does not start before 1 June. The storm prompted Florida, Alabama and Mississippi to launch emergency preparations over the weekend, expecting Alberto to land sometime on Monday. Harsh conditions were expected to shake the seas off eastern and northern Gulf Coast until Tuesday.

"These waves are likely to cause life-threatening surf conditions," said the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Gusty Shivers should start whipping parts of Florida on Sunday, and authorities warned of the possibility of flash floods. At 7:30 pm EDT Sunday, Alberto was centered around 195 miles (315 kilometers) west of Tampa and had a maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 km / h) – 50 mph (85 km / h) earlier. Forecasters said Alberto has recently taken a north-northwest trail that would take it across the northern Gulf of Mexico during the night and land at or near the Florida Panhandle on Monday.

A subtropical storm like Alberto's has a less defined and cooler than a tropical storm, and its strongest winds are farther from its center. Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can amplify into hurricanes. The Forecasters warned that heavy rains and tropical storms could reach the northern Gulf Coast just outside the center of Alberto.

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center in Miami has suspended all storm surge warnings for most of the state's peninsula. He said sporadic tornadoes are a threat in Florida in the coming hours.

Mark Bowen, Bay County Chief Emergency Officer, said on Sunday afternoon in a news conference that concerns were not due to storm surges due to the timing of the high tide landfall. He said Alberto's biggest threat will be its heavy rains, with forecasts of somewhere 10-12 inches of rain in some areas.

In Taylor County there were voluntary evacuations for those in coastal zones and on the beach communities, campers, RV sites and low-lying areas. Gulf County, T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park began evacuation on Sunday morning.

In Miami, the organizers called on Sunday the sea part of the Miami Beach Air & Sea Show because of heavy rain and rough water from. And in the area of ​​Tampa Bay on the central Gulf Coast, cities offered sandbags to homeowners who were worried about flooding. Live videos from webcams published in Clearwater and Destin showed half-empty beaches, and white caps rummaged in the normally calm Gulf waters.

The hurricane center said on Sunday that a tropical storm warning would be in effect from Bonita Beach, Florida, to the Mississippi River. Alabama Border

In Gulf Shores, Alabama, webcams showed that the beaches began to fill up when the trail of the storm shifted slightly to the east, but red flags on the beach warned beachgoers to stay out of the rough waters. Grant Brown, the city's public information officer, said they had already completed a series of preparations, such as clearing culverts, to prepare for heavy rains, but Sunday had turned into a "really nice day."

They encourage people planning to check in on Monday to grab their time.

Jeffrey Medlin, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service's mobile office, warned that even after the storm to the north, waves from the south would still cause dangerous spikes. Just because it is "beautiful and sunny" after the storm is over, Medlin said there was still a risk for swimmers.

"People have drowned by going into the water too early," he said.

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AP author Rebecca Santana reported from New Orleans.


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