Storm Alberto Forces Cuban Authorities to Evacuate Hundreds of Locals

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The center of the storm passed far enough west of the contiguous Florida Keys to avoid placing the region under a tropical storm warning.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for an area stretching from Florida's Suwannee River to the border of Alabama and Mississippi. The main threat is from heavy rain that could lead to flooding, the city said, but also high winds and storm surge could cause problems.

Tyler Ray Wells, 4, builds a sand castle by the water on Biloxi Beach in Biloxi, Miss., Saturday, May 26, 2018, as Subtropical Storm Alberto slowly makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico.

Alberto is scheduled to make landfall on the Florida Panhandle early Monday, and the three states likely to bear the brunt of the storm have begun preparing states of emergency.

Last week, another pulse of tropical moisture that didn't rise to the level of a storm soaked the South.

Subtropical storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, is bringing heavy rain Monday to the U.S. Gulf Coast as well as western Cuba.

As for potential impacts, with a more eastern track of the system, the heaviest rains will likely be seen in East Alabama with the strongest winds up to 35 miles per hour possible in West Alabama Monday night into early Tuesday morning.

In Taylor County, there are voluntary evacuations for those in coastal zones and beach communities, mobile homes, RV parks and low-lying areas.

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Governors in Alabama and MS also declared states of emergency on Saturday.

On Sunday, gusty showers began lashing parts of Florida, and authorities were warning of the possibility of flash flooding.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who issued a state of emergency on Saturday in all of the state's 67 counties, said on Sunday that the Florida National Guard has 5,500 guard members ready to be deployed if needed.

The National Hurricane Center said at 8 a.m. that Alberto had winds of 65 mph and was centered about 100 miles south-southeast of Destin.

Thousands of Florida residents evacuated their homes as Subtropical Storm Alberto drove north through the Gulf of Mexico, as forecasters said it could bring "life-threatening inundation" to southern coastal states.

A tropical storm warning remained in effect for Cuba's western Pinar del Rio province, where heavy rains could trigger flash floods and mudslides, the NHC said. Bands of dry air wrapped up with the storm spared Central Florida much of the feared rainfall that had triggered a flood watch, and the watch was discontinued Sunday afternoon.

The downpours could dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along Gulf beaches. The weather had scared off the usual crowds expected for the holiday weekend. According to the paper, politicians at the time downplayed the storm's severity to keep tourists flocking to Florida as a vacation spot.

Alberto's projected storm track has shifted eastward since Friday, lessening its threat to the active oil production areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Meteorologists are calling it a "subtropical storm", not to be confused with the just plain tropical storms we know and dread.

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