1st named storm of 2018 Atlantic hurricane season expected to impact Carolinas

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

Hurricane center increases chances of tropical development to 90 percent

For nearly a week, we have been watching a cluster of showers and thunderstorms in the Caribbean for signs it might develop into something more menacing.

The area of low pressure is forecasted to move into the Gulf of Mexico where conditions could become more favorable for organization.

The first tropical storm of the season, Alberto, has formed near Cuba and Mexico and appears to be heading for Florida.

The impacts from the system will stay east of Southeast Texas.

The official forecast calls for 60 percent to 80 percent chance of rain each day in Alachua and Marion counties through at least Wednesday.

A "subtropical" designation means it has characteristics of tropical storm but now lacks the potential of becoming a hurricane.

"Alberto is now struggling to survive strong wind shear and very dry air in the mid and upper levels now disrupting the developing convection", he explained. So far, none of the models suggest it will strengthen into a hurricane.

Heavy rain will be the biggest threat from Invest 90-L for the Tampa Bay area.

Tropical depression formation expected Saturday

Rainfall by the end of the weekend is expected to be between 2 and 4 inches, but areas close to the Gulf Coast could see as much as 6 or 7 inches depending on how Alberto develops and tracks.

A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for coastal Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties due to the potential for tides to rise 3 or more feet above normal. The sea surface temperature is not actually that warm right now.

Volatile upper-level winds are also preventing this system from developing into something stronger.

The system is now near the Yucatan Peninsula but could develop in the Southern Gulf by Saturday.

Last hurricane season - which produced the immensely destructive hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria - was exceptionally active, said Bell, who doesn't now expect this season to produce such intense activity.

This early development doesn't necessarily mean we are in for a busy hurricane season. The government of Cuba has issued a tropical storm watch for the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.

WIND: Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area through Saturday. The announcement of Subtropical Storm Alberto came Friday morning just before 11:00 a.m. EDT.

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