Alberto forms, puts Florida under flood watch

Alberto forms, puts Florida under flood watch

The first named storm of 2018 in the Atlantic Ocean has developed in the western Caribbean, and its name is Alberto.

Alberto, with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, is moving east at 2 miles per hour near the Yucatan Peninsula and is forecast to begin moving north Friday night.

Alberto was moving east at 5 miles per hour with 40 miles per hour sustained winds.

A tropical storm watch was issued Friday for the northern Gulf Coast from Indian Pass, Florida westward to the metropolitan New Orleans, as well as for Mexico, from popular cruise destination Tulum to Cabo Catoche.

Original story: According to the National Hurricane Center, a low pressure system known as "Invest 90L" is headed for the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to form into a tropical depression or tropical storm sometime within the next two days. Heavy rainfall is expected from western Cuba to Florida an through the northeast Gulf Coast through the weekend.

The system sits east of the Yucatan Peninsula but moving northward.

The slow-moving storm will also dump heavy rain across much of the southeastern United States through Memorial Day weekend.

A flash flood watch unrelated to Alberto has been issued for most of south Louisiana until Saturday night. Alberto started officially as a subtropical storm, a system that has some tropical characteristics but not all, and had 40-mph sustained wind as of the 1 p.m. weather briefing.

It's called a "subtropical storm" because it's something of a hybrid between a nontropical low-pressure area and a classic tropical storm. Rip current threats will also increase along the Gulf coast.

Julie Hilton, a hotel owner in Panama City Beach, Fla., said people are cancelling because of the weather and room reservations are down about 20 percent.

Forecast maps show rainfall amounts of 2 to 7 inches will be common across the Southeast, as far north as the Carolinas and as far west as Louisiana. It should be ready before hurricane season starts.

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