New Orleans under tropical storm watch; see Subtropical Storm Alberto's latest track

Cesar Mills
May 26, 2018

As the center of circulation moves north of the Gulf Coast our rain chances will decrease, however, on and off showers should be expected through entire holiday.

Atlantic tropical storms have formed in May several times in the past decade: Arthur in 2008, Alberto and Beryl in 2012, Ana in 2015 and Bonnie in 2016. This broad surface low-pressure system is battling some high wind shear and interacting with land, most of the convection associated with this system is to the east of the center.

"Once the soil is completely saturated, it can only hold so much water, and that's when you get flooding", said Rodney Wynn, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Ruskin. With a tropical storm, the maximum winds and strongest thunderstorms sit close to the center of the storm.

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.

Even if the storm does not develop, the circulation is going to pull moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico and toward the southeast. Rainfall could reach up to 6 inches in parts of Florida up to the Carolinas. Alberto is projected to make landfall somewhere between the Florida Panhandle and southern Louisiana Monday morning.

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The system is now near the Yucatan Peninsula but could develop in the Southern Gulf by Saturday. The sea surface temperature is not actually that warm right now. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday released its forecast for the 2018 hurricane season, predicting 10 to 16 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes.

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. The government of Cuba has issued a tropical storm watch for the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.

The main difference between a tropical storm and a subtropical storm comes down to the structure.

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