Tropical Storm Watch & Storm Surge Watch issued for MS Gulf Coast

A low pressure system nearing the Gulf of Mexico is expected to develop into a tropical depression by Saturday the National Hurricane Center said in its Friday morning update. It is expected to bring heavy rains to the Gulf Coast. (Image via NOA

A low pressure system nearing the Gulf of Mexico is expected to develop into a tropical depression by Saturday the National Hurricane Center said in its Friday morning update. It is expected to bring heavy rains to the Gulf Coast. (Image via NOA

Alberto, appearing a week before the official start of hurricane season, maintained sustained winds of 40 miles per hour and halted its forward movement Friday afternoon, although it is expected to resume a course toward the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Update, 8:00 p.m.: The chance of a tropical system developing in the Gulf of Mexico remains at 90 percent over the next five days, according to The National Hurricane Center.

Portions of the northern Gulf Coast are likely to experience tropical storm force winds and storm surge. It's expected to stay at "tropical storm" status through the duration of its life, not strengthening into a hurricane.

Alberto is not a fully tropical system, with most of its worst weather on its eastern side. The six-month hurricane season doesn't begin until June 1. If it becomes a storm, it will be named Alberto.

At the meeting, Gov. Scott urged Floridians to watch the weather closely and make a plan.

Areas along the coast can expect 3-6 inches of rain, with even more expected in the coastal Carolinas and southern Florida.

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a tropical system that will bring heavy rain to Florida and the Gulf Coast states by Memorial Day.

The system sits east of the Yucatan Peninsula but moving northward. Much of the convection (thunderstorms) is east of the center of the storm (see Fig. 2).

Parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have already seen heavy rain this week, and further deluges could leave those areas vulnerable to flash flooding and river flooding.

Gov. Rick Scott issued an advisory Thursday that said it's "absolutely critical that every Florida family is fully prepared for potential impacts" during the Memorial Day weekend from the brewing storm.

A visible satellite image of the cluster of thunderstorms forecasters are watching for signs of tropical storm development.

The NHC expects the storm to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday around the MS or Alabama coast, at which point its strength should decrease and it will become a tropical depression.

Heavy rain is expected to gradually taper down mid to late next week.

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