A stronger Alberto to make landfall along Florida panhandle Monday

Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to churn north through the Gulf of Mexico

The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Subtropical Storm Alberto, gained strength as it approached the northern Gulf Coast, emptying out beaches in Florida ahead of Memorial Day.

Alberto was expected to drop as much as 12 inches of rain, slamming an area from MS to western Georgia, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

Rick Scott (R) also declared a state of emergency in all of the state's 67 counties on Saturday. A high surf warning was in effect through 7 p.m. Tuesday local time. Rainfall totals of between 100-250 mm with up to 380 mm, are possible from eastern Louisiana to Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and the western Florida panhandle, the NWS said.

"This rain is going to start to pick up in intensity for our southern counties, but it could be mid-morning before it gets heavy around the Triangle", said Gardner.

"There is the risk that Alberto stalls near the coast on Monday and struggles to move inland", said AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey.

Florida and MS are under states of emergency ahead Subtropical Storm Alberto hitting the Golf Coast. Its top sustained winds were 40 miles per hour. Rough conditions were expected to roil the seas off the eastern and northern Gulf Coast region through Tuesday.

On Saturday, the National Hurricane Center called off the Tropical Storm Watch and Storm Surge Watch for the New Orleans area.

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The storm system could move slowly through Upstate; if so, that would increase the chances of heavy rain. Like residents in Sarasota and Manatee counties, people in Gulfport, Mississippi, lined up to fill sandbags.

Cuba maintained its tropical storm watch for the province of Pinar del Rio, while Mexico cancelled its watch for the resort-dotted coast of the Yucatan peninsula, where the storm brought heavy rain.

In contrast to a tropical storm or hurricane, where the strongest winds are at the center, a subtropical storm can have the most powerful winds far from the core.

Tropical-storm force winds will be possible in western Cuba and in the Gulf coast area where warnings are posted.

A satellite image shows subtropical storm Alberto in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Sunday morning, the storm was located about 210 km west-southwest of Tampa, Florida, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Alberto's landfall on Memorial Day also complicates matters as Dothan is a city that holiday travelers pass through as they go home from beach vacations. A more destructive storm could develop over the next 48 hours.

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