Should the weather pattern become a full-fledged storm, with winds of at least 39 miles per hour, it would be named Tropical Storm Alberto. Tropical storm and storm surge watches could be required for portions of this area later today or tonight. With a subtropical storm, the strongest winds and thunderstorms are located far away from the center, even though they may be just as strong as those found in a tropical storm.
It's now a 40-mph storm located about 60 miles south of Cozumel, Mexico, according to the hurricane center's 2 p.m. Friday update.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the system, now centered over the southeastern Yucatan Peninsula, is becoming better defined. The tropical storm may bring some rain to our area, but very minimal.
This Memorial Day weekend, anyone seeking nice weather should avoid South Florida and the Gulf Coast. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Indian Pass near Apalachicola to Grand Isle, La. This would make Alberto a strong subtropical storm, although well short of the 74 miles per hour threshold for hurricane strength. The coastal Carolinas and southern Florida are expected to have more rain. The conditions are expected to spread to the eastern and central Gulf Coast later this weekend.
South Florida and the Florida peninsula can expect periods of heavy rain and gusty winds, including isolated tornadoes and 3 inches to 7 inches of rain from Friday through Wednesday.
Severe storms on Thursday raged from Minnesota to Georgia, creating flooding and damaging trees and homes.
The WGNO weather team will continue to monitor Alberto as it continues to churn into the Gulf of Mexico and will bring you the latest updates on-air and online. Rip current threats will also increase along the Gulf coast.
It might start as a subtropical depression - the atmosphere is not in a wholly tropical state over the Gulf - but if it sits over the warm Gulf waters long enough, it could well become Tropical Storm Alberto.