The first storm of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season, Alberto, is due to land east of Pensacola, Florida in the early afternoon – just before the hurricane intensity. It is still a subtropical storm, meaning that it does not have all the features of a purely tropical system and is more of a hybrid cyclone.
Regarding the impact on the coast, their technical classification makes no difference. It is still predicted that there will be extremely heavy rains, gusty winds and, east of the place where the center lands, seawater rising up to several feet above normal dry land.
A tropical storm warning is in effect Suwannee River in the Big Bend area of Florida to the Mississippi / Alabama border
As of Monday morning, Alberto's peak wind was persistently 65 mph and he crawled at 6 miles per hour to the north. Only a small change in intensity or forward movement is expected when it comes ashore. Alberto will be the ninth storm to land on the continental United States before June 1st.
The last time a named storm landed in this area was Tropical Storm Claudette in August 2009.
Subtropical Storm #Alberto is slowly approaching the Florida coast … landing early Afternoon expected, but storm surge and rain gangs are already affecting the area. @UMiamiRSMAS @capitalweather pic.twitter.com/XBzNI8kwo2
– Brian McNoldy (@BMcNoldy) May 28, 2018
A two to four foot one Storm surge or a rise in the water is still expected along the coast to the right / east of where Alberto comes ashore. Unfortunately for Apalachicola, the maximum storm tide should arrive at the high tide this morning, resulting in a total water level about 3.4 feet above the normal tide.
A tornado hazard exists in the front right quadrant of the storm, which today is North Florida and most of Georgia and South Carolina. On Sunday, however, no tornadoes were reported on the Florida Peninsula.
After the landfall, Alberto's winds will decay, but the humidity and rain will continue north by Wednesday through Alabama and finally Indiana. Increased precipitation over the next three days is tracking this northern trajectory.
The National Hurricane Center projects 4 to 8 inches of rain with sporadic amounts up to one foot in Florida Panhandle and large parts of Alabama and Western Georgia.
It is also worth pointing out that the extremely heavy rains over Cuba are still trailing off a trailing wet cell … This is the fifth consecutive day.
Trivia: Although subtropical storms have long been part of historical records, they were officially named in 2002.