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Alberto Could Bring $1 Billion in Losses to U.S. Gulf Coast

Alberto Could Bring $1 Billion in Losses to U.S. Gulf Coast”

The storm comes during the Memorial Day weekend and was expected to scramble transportation on Monday as many people return from holiday travel.

The heaviest rain bands and strongest winds began coming ashore around 10 a.m. Monday in Panama City Beach. Alberto could wind up dropping back down the Atlantic seaboard from the northeast by the weekend, he said.

Forecasters warned of life-threatening surf conditions as Alberto approached the Florida Panhandle, where it was expected to make landfall later in the day.

The National Hurricane Center said at 8 a.m. that Alberto had winds of 65 mph and was centered about 100 miles south-southeast of Destin. According to the National Weather Service, almost half of all flash flood fatalities are vehicle-related.

Mandatory evacuations are being ordered for small barrier islands in one Florida county ahead of Subtropical Storm Alberto, and voluntary evacuations are issued for another county.

As of 5pm Sunday evening. subtropical Storm Alberto is now around 165 miles west of Tampa, Florida or around 120 miles south of the Florida panhandle.

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Although Alberto is not expected to make landfall on the US Gulf Coast until 00:00 GMT on Tuesday, heavy rains are expected to start across the region today and continue for several days. A tropical storm warning remained in effect stretching from Florida's Suwannee River to the border of Alabama and Mississippi. But forecasters said it will dump heavy rain on the Florida Panhandle, raising the risk of flash flooding and storm surges.

Nearly 140 damaging storm reports, including eight tornadoes, were made Sunday from the Midwest into the Rockies, where damage was reported to homes in Wyoming. The storm was moving north at about 6 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds measured at about 65 miles per hour.

As The Associated Press reports, Hurricane Season doesn't officially begin until June 1 - this Friday - but that hasn't stopped the first big storm from forming out in the ocean and bearing down on the Gulf Coast. Subtropical storms can develop into tropical storms, which in turn can strengthen into hurricanes.

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.

"Hazardous storm surge is possible along portions of the central and eastern Gulf Coast beginning Sunday".

Governors in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday declared states of emergency. While coastal areas may get from 3 to 6 inches of rain, the Florida panhandle into much of Alabama and western Georgia may see 4 to8 inches with isolated storm totals of 10 to 12 inches.



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