The National Hurricane Center has named the first storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, precisely one week before the season is expected to begin on June 1.
Subtropical storm Alberto formed over near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday and is tracking north, threatening to bring with it strong winds, rain and flooding to the Gulf Coast.
The weather service said on Friday morning that confidence continued to increase that a "significant" rain event will affect the northern Gulf Coast this weekend.
The storms' names come from six lists that are recycled, so this year's was previously used in 2012. All areas east of the Mississippi River across the Southeast have a chance to see flooding due to Alberto from this weekend into at least mid-week next week. It starts out mostly cloudy, expect a few rounds of potentially heavy rain to push through.
The main difference between a tropical storm and a subtropical storm comes down to the structure.
Subtropical Storm Alberto was "meandering over the northwestern Caribbean Sea" Friday afternoon, causing unsafe surf and rip current conditions on the Yucatan and the west coast of Cuba, according to the the center's website.
According to the National Hurricane Center, tropical storm watches are now in affect for parts of Mexico and Cuba.
Some far western N.C. counties along the Georgia border could see as much as 10 inches of rain, NOAA reported Friday. The coastal Carolinas and southern Florida are expected to have more rain.
STORM SURGE: The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.
The storm will also stir up seas, and a high surf advisory will be in effect from Saturday afternoon until Tuesday evening. "In Florida, we know how unpredictable severe weather systems can be and while the Gulf Coast and Panhandle are expected to receive the largest impact from this storm, all Floridians should be prepared".
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