Alberto storm 2018: mass evacuations ordered as millions brace for horror cyclone

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States of emergency were declared in Florida, Alabama and MS on Saturday as upwards of 15 inches of rain is forecast for the national Memorial Day weekend holiday. Forecasters said Alberto has most recently taken a north-northwest track that would bring it over the northern Gulf of Mexico during the night and make landfall on or in the vicinity of the Florida Panhandle on Monday. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and the NHC says it is moving north-northwest at 12 miles per hour. A wave of showers rotating around Alberto will reach the area gradually, moving north along with the storm, which will be approaching the Gulf Coast later tonight as the main focus continues to be on Alberto.

Cuba is expected to get as much as 15 inches of rain, the hurricane center said in an advisory Saturday morning, and the Florida Keys and South Florida could get as much as 10 inches. Both countries issued tropical storm watches for portions of their coastlines, with rain totals in some isolated areas of up to 25 inches. Still, tornadoes, storm surge, flooding and strong winds are possible in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama.

Jeffrey Medlin, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Mobile office, warned that even after the storm moves north there will still be swells coming up from the south that could cause unsafe rip currents.

US National Weather Service (NWS ) on Sunday released warnings that people living along coastal regions in Florida, Alabama and MS should "take this storm seriously", as up to a foot of rain is expected to flood low lying areas alongside high winds over the popular holiday weekend.

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Friday in anticipation of the storm. The storm had top sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kph) and was expected to strengthen as it moves over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm
Earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm

The storm disrupted plans from Pensacola in the Panhandle to Miami Beach on Florida's southeastern edge. Little change in strength is expected before Alberto reaches the northern Gulf Coast. Storms again are more likely during the afternoon and evening. Alberto is now located about 165 miles west of Tampa.

Storms in the Gulf are closely watched because 5 percent of US natural gas and 17 percent of crude-oil production comes out of the region, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Winds of 40 mph extend outward up to 115 miles from the center.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office and Liberty County Emergency Management says they are making preparations to ensure they are prepared to respond to any impacts.

Please be prepared for possible areas of flooding and loss of electricity.

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