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US Gulf Coast prepares as Alberto brings rain, wind to north

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida. Florida, Alabama and Mississippi launched emergency preparations before the arrival of Tropical Storm Alberto, a slow-moving system is expected that wet misery to the eastern US Gulf Coast over the holiday weekend.

Heavy rains were expected to begin lashing parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday. The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued a tropical storm warnings for parts of Florida and Alabama, saying tropical storm conditions are possible there through the night of Sunday to Monday. The governor of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi all declared states of emergency before the storm.

Approximately 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rain are possible along the areas affected in the east of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, western Tennessee and western Florida Panhandle. In isolated areas may see as much as 15 inches (38 cm).

Under overcast skies and occasional drizzle, different Gulfport, Mississippi, residents prepared to fill 10 – and 20-pound (5 – and 9-kilogram bags with sand is used for blocking the advancing floodwater expected as a result of Alberto.

Tommy said Whitlock sandbagging has become a normal event in his life since he lives next to a creek.

“I do this because every time we have a hard rain, flooding in my house,” said Whitlock. “We get water from other areas, and the water can get up to a meter deep in some places.”

Eddy Warner, a former consultant for a construction company, bags while waiting for his cousin to come and help transport them back home to protect his garage.

“I’m 65 and too old to be doing this,” he said, laughing.

Alberto — the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season, which officially starts on 1 June — is expected to strengthen on the northern Coast of the Gulf, probably on Monday night.

The NWS said waves as high as 18 feet (5.5 metres) could pound the popular Gulf beaches in Baldwin County, Alabama, and northwest Florida on Monday. A high surf warning was in effect until 7 a.m. Tuesday local time.

At 11 a.m. EDT Saturday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Alberto was about 400 miles (645 km) south of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving north-northeast around 13 km / h (20 miles / hour). The storm had top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and was expected to strengthen as it moves over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

A subtropical storm as Alberto has a less defined and a cooler center than a tropical storm, and the strongest winds are found further from the city centre. Subtropical storms can develop into a tropical storm, which, in turn, may strengthen into a hurricane.

A tropical storm warning expired for Cuba, in the western province of Pinar del Rio, where heavy rainfall can lead to floods and mudslides, the National Hurricane Center said.

The rain may dampen Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer tourist season along the Gulf beaches. Along with heavy rain and strong wind come rough seas and a threat of rip currents from Florida to Louisiana, that can sweep swimmers into the sea.

Tracey Gasper and her 6-year-old son, Chase, traveled to Biloxi Beach from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, for a day of fun in the sun with a group of friends from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The weather was afraid of the usual crowds are expected for the holiday weekend.

“It was a 50-50 chance of or to come down and we decided to chance it,” Gasper said.

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