Heavy rains, possible coastal storm surge of 2-4 feet expected in our area.

4 p.m. A tropical storm watch went up for the north-central Gulf Coast on Friday as Subtropical Storm Alberto meandered across the northwest Caribbean Sea before an anticipated march toward the northern Gulf Coast.

In its 4 p.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center said the storm had changed little in intensity, but was slowly drifting east. It is expected to move north into the Gulf of Mexico later today or tomorrow and gradually transition into a tropical storm. At that point it might become stronger, although no strengthening is expected on Monday.

A storm surge watch and a tropical storm watch were issued for the Gulf Coast on Friday afternoon. The storm surge watch extends from Horseshoe Beach, Florida westward to the mouth of the Mississippi River. The tropical storm watch lies from Indian Pass, Florida to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

A storm surge watch means there's a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline over the next 48 hours. A tropical storm watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within the area within 48 hours.

Alberto's winds remained at 40 mph and the barometric pressure had not changed from 1005mb.

Check this page for all watches and warnings issued for our area by the National Weather Services and NOAA.

1 p.m. Subtropical Storm Alberto has not moved much in the three hours since the previous advisory. 

According to the National Hurricane Center, Alberto was near latitude 19.5 degrees north, longitude 86.5 degres west, or just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The storm was stationary but was expected to start a generally northward movement later in the day.

Highest winds remained at 40 mph. The barometric pressure was still 1005mb.

A hurricane hunter aircraft is expected to fly into the storm this afternoon.

10 a.m. Tropical storm watches have been issued by the Mexican and Cuban governments as Subtropical Storm Alberto has formed in the northwest Caribbean Sea.

 

According to a 10 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Alberto formed at around 9 a.m. Friday and is expected to become a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.

The Government of Mexico has issued a tropical storm watch for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Tulum to Cabo Catoche. The government of Cuba has issued a tropical storm watch for the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within the next 24 hours.

The NHC said people along the central and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast should monitor the progress of Alberto. Tropical storm and storm surge watches could be required for portions of the area later today or tonight.

The NHC also released detailed graphics tracking the storm's path to the U.S. mainland and its potential wind speeds.

The Northwest Florida region could begin seeing sustained tropical storm-force winds, between 20 to 40 miles per hour, Sunday at around 8 a.m., according to the NHC.

Per the latest models, the storm is expected to head in a northeastern direction before making a sharp western turn. It could make landfall anywhere between the Mississippi and Alabama coasts.

9:32 a.m.: The National Hurricane Center says it will begin initiating advisories at 10 a.m. on Subtropical Storm Alberto. It's the first time the NHC has referred to the storm by "Alberto," indicating it has officially formed into a named storm.

Original story: According to the National Hurricane Center, a low pressure system known as "Invest 90L" is headed for the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to form into a tropical depression or tropical storm sometime within the next two days.

 

In the agency's latest update at 6:30 a.m. Friday, meteorologists said satellite images and surface observations indicate that the low pressure system, which is currently located over the northwestern Caribbean Sea just east of the Yucatan Peninsula, has become better defined overnight, and thunderstorm activity has also increased and become better organized. 

Environmental conditions are forecast to steadily become more conducive for development, and a subtropical or tropical depression or storm is likely to form by Saturday over the northwestern Caribbean Sea or the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. 

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the low this afternoon.

Locally heavy rainfall is forecast across western Cuba and over much of Florida and the northern Gulf Coast into early next week. 'Extreme' flood watches have already been issued beginning Saturday for counties from Mobile to Okaloosa. Walton County is not currently under a flood watch, according to the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, but that could change.

Northwest Florida emergency management officials say some areas could see up to a foot of rain from late Saturday into Tuesday, and widespread flooding is to be expected.

Models are starting to come into agreement and have the storm's path headed northeast towards the Florida panhandle, before turning west and making landfall somewhere near Mobile Bay on Monday. Forecasters say that puts Northwest Florida in the path of the storm's heaviest rains. 

According to the NHC, the system could also bring tropical storm-force winds and storm surge to portions of the northern Gulf Coast by late this weekend or early next week.  In addition, the threat of rip currents will steadily increase along the Gulf Coast from Florida westward to Louisiana over the Memorial Day weekend. 

The rain is expected to begin sometime late Saturday and remain steady into early next week.